Bald Mountain (Łysa Góra) - A Meeting Place for Witches
The need to worship the higher powers is much older than the first temples were created. The Slavic people their gods worshiped above all in the sacred groves. Sacred groves among many cultures were magical places, in which people could approach the deities, the ancestral spirits, or simply the forces of nature. Sometimes, sacred groves were devoted to specific deities, or served as a link between people and ghosts of dead ancestors.
For sacral purposes, places that were not easy to get were chosen. Therefore, worship of the gods was given to the holy oaks, which were hidden in the forest thickets. If the landscape abounded in a distinct elevation, then such a mountain became a place where, according to the beliefs of the population, contact with the gods became more pronounced than in a rural settlement.
Bald Mountain (Łysa Góra) is one of the very important centers of pagan worship located in the present territory of Poland, nowadays also called Łyścem. A stone shaft of about 1.4 km in length, 10 to 15 m wide and up to 3 m high has been preserved on the top of mountain. It was built of finely crushed quartzite stone reinforced with a wooden structure. At the foot of the shaft there are preserved early medieval primitive metallurgical stoves. This shaft is dated to the 8th century, that is, for the period when the population stabilizes again. At the foot of the mountain there is a stone statue called Pilgrim. He is dressed in a coat and hood, and has a necklace around his neck.
According to the historians, three deities were to be worshiped at Łysa Góra: Bodo, Łado and Lel or Świst, Pośwista and Pogodę. Little can be said at present about this Slavic deity. The only mention comes from the chronicle of Maciej Miechowity, in which Lel and Poświasta were described as the sons of Łada - another mysterious figure from the Slavic pantheon.
On the Bald Mountain, the souls of the dead ancestors were most probably worshiped. Every year, on the night of April 30, on May 1 crowds of followers gathered at the top to extinguish the holy fires, welcome ghosts of the dead, and at dawn to light a new flame symbolizing the cyclical rebirth of time for another year. This night on Bald Mountain became a sacred space-time, when everyone could enter the sacred sphere of the world of gods, separated every day from the secular, human, mortal life.
Among the most famous legends of the Świętokrzyskie Province is the fact that all local witches met on Bald Mountain (Łysa Góra). On a daily basis, witches did not differ from other average, rural women living in the foothills of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. The witch could be both old lonely women and young married women, that's why it was so difficult to recognize witch. Seemingly nothing revealed their true face. However, according to legends, witches supposedly dealt with devils, thanks to which they had secret powers. They were able to cast charms, dismissed the wizard with the help of crow feathers, horse hoofs, bovine fur, goat and deer horns, as well as the cartilage of bat wings that they collected on Midsummer night. On the one hand, people were afraid of the evil powers witches were endowed with. On the other hand, they eagerly used secret advice, witch skills, and willingly consumed the decoctions of herbs that the witches were preparing. It is worth remembering that for no reason the witch did not cast any charm on anyone. It was even good to have witch in the neighborhood because the acquired knowledge on the subject of herbs repeatedly helped with health disadvantages. (Sorceress vs Witch HERE)
At night, on Bald Mountain, witches gathered to celebrate the Sabbath. Before traveling to the summit, of course, on a broomstick, they smeared their vehicle with a special ointment made of lizards, snakes, sparrows feathers and frogs screech. If they did not smear the brooms thoroughly and fell to the ground, the rest of the road had to go on foot.
The broom had to be started with a special spell:
Forest or not, country or not, you my broom, take me out.Their journey began by flying out of the chimney or rising into the air at crossroads. During the Sabbath, they met with devils to celebrate, burn bonfires and prepare mixtures. The June solstice was a particularly important night for all witches, it was on Kupala night that the herbs gained powerful strenght. All the local witches gathered them on the slopes of Bald Mountain (Łysa Góra). Besides, during the Sabbaths the witches exchanged experiences with each other and learned new spells. When the hen was crowing, the witches said goodbye to the devils, got on their brooms and returned home. These magical meetings were to end when the Benedictine monastery was founded, when the monks expelled the witches from there, and the mountain itself lost its secret powers.
To this day, the legend of the witches' sabbaths on Bald Mountain (Łysa Góra) is very lively. Just go to each stall with Świętokrzyskie souvenirs to see a lot of wizarding objects. It is unacceptable to leave Bald Mountain without the witch on the broomstick. And who knows, whether at night, secretly, witches do not fly to Bald Mountain (Łysa Góra)...?