Gypsies, Fortune Tellers, Spiritualists, Mystics &…….ScepticsMarch 18, 2009
Anyone who has been to, or will visit the former Soviet Union will be surprised by the amount of “faith” put into mystics, spiritualists and fortune tellers by the peoples which made up the USSR.
Ukraine is no exception…….so, therefore, neither is Odessa.
This is not a phenomenon which took off during the days of the USSR but is something which has been prevalent for hundreds and hundreds of years.
One of the most famous paintings by the Ukrainian painter Mykola Pymonenko, painted in 1888, is called “Fortune Telling On Christmastide”. Pymonenko was later admitted to the Imperial Arts Academy in Russia in 1904 and has been latterly classified (how rude to be classified) as from the “Peredvizhiniki Movement.” It sounds like a serious bowel complaint to me….one which would not be cured by medicine or pills alone…….but what does my opinion matter. He was a damned good painter……..ah yes, the painting……see below.
It is still prevalent today….just turn on the TV here and you will find many women advertising their skills to help you discover your future, why things are how they are for you and giving you rituals to break a curse put on you……I kid you not. The TV advertisements normally show fairly rotund middle aged women with “money trees” christian symbols, runes, tarot cards, candles, precious metals, in-scents, Buddhas, wooden boxes (in which you put your fingers apparently), reading coffee, crystal balls, palmistry…….the list is endless….and these women must be multi-talented as they can interpret all of the above methods “perfectly.”
For me personally, those which advertise their wares on TV give me doubts about their ability. There are however, some men, but normally women who are in their latter years who never advertise and indeed have such a reputation for “getting it right” and/or “breaking curses” that people from all over Ukraine and Russia come to see them at great expense (by way of travel). These Mystics/Fortune Tellers do not charge their “clients” although “clients” can leave a donation of course. Strangely, or not, many have family “blood” from Georgia and Romania…..although it can be many generations ago.
I know what you’re thinking, complete and utter bollocks!!……But I know of several accomplished and very clever businessmen from Kyiv and Moscow (who literally have $ multi-millions) who will go to see one particular lady in Nikoliev before making key decisions…..and their donations are not small.
“Still bollocks”, I here you say…….if they are clever then they would do Ok without her…..well apparently not or they would not go….and leave such large donations!!
My wife, being a true “Slav,” and therefore a believer, has been to see three such people, including the woman in Nikoliev, on more than one occasion. What was said by all three, who use different methods, (two women and “The Coffee Man”), said the same things to her…..some of which sounded bizarre and completely unlikely…..but have proved to be correct. We are not talking generalities but absolute specifics totally alien to our normal everyday life….and said by all 3 “mystics” and all proved to be 100% accurate…..”spookey”!!!
The good ones also tell you the bad news as well as any good news I am told…….not that I have actually seen one personally, and will tell you about your past before they tell you what the current problems are and what is to come.
The breaking of curses…….in fact, no lets not start there, as a woman, you cannot see a “mystic” when “nature is calling on you”….at least none of the “good ones” will see you during this time and if you go, will tell you “nature is with you” and to come back afterwards…..even if you don’t tell them about “nature.”
Anyway, some of the ways used to break curses have included waving a knife around the person to “cut strings”, lighting “blessed” candles every 9 days (on the last day letting them burn to an end), sprinkling “holy water” in all the corners of the house after removing any cobwebs, drinking a certain “blend of hand mixed” of tea, giving sweats to a child you don’t know…….and many many more.
Physiological?…who knows, but if you believe in the curse being broken, you must believe the curse was placed in the first place and the person who wanted you cursed had to find someone to do it too…..so they also believe.
Why haven’t you seen one, I hear you ask?…..Well, it’s not that I am a sceptic necessarily, of the dozens and dozens of “mystics” knocking about here, the majority must certainly be charlatans but the 3 mentioned above seem to get everything right for everybody who sees them…..so it is just I would simply prefer not to know…..just in case!!
The “Slavs” are a very religious people on the whole…..even if they don’t appear to be on the surface. It is rare to see even the beautiful 17 year old woman who parties hard, looks like a sex-goddess and is apparently completely “care free” pass an Orthodox Church without making the sign of the cross….and she didn’t even go in…and this is 2009!!
I will blog about the Orthodox Church some other time….and with a little more reverence….I hope….than in my usual blogging style…..but the point I am making, is that Russia and Ukraine are still very religious countries.
I know what you’re thinking……how can such a religious people (compared to many), believe in, and actually seek out, things which many would classify “occultist?” That I cannot answer, not being of the Orthodox religion…but then I cannot define “occultist” either in a way which makes sense to myself when comparing it to other “belief systems.”
……Wow….hang on, this is getting too deep, as well as losing focus on what I was writing about!!!
Anyway – “Mystic Meg” or “Sceptic Peg,” you will find both here in Odessa (and throughout Ukraine), as well as far more believers than you would credit!!