(It is wonderful to read a story about yourself written by others as they see you living that story…)
At Druids on Pohorje
“The spiritual master learns by himself all the time!”
Written by Vasja Jager
It is one of those golden early autumn days when the trees with a grateful murmur receive the sun’s rays, which will fill their leaves with purple in the coming weeks. Three of us walk through the fresh forest, we step over the soft moss, and it soon becomes clear that Zlatko Križan perceives his surroundings differently than most people. At the stream, which we cross, he shows us flint, “which has healing properties and which almost all Pohorje consists of”, at a group of young oak stems he tells us that they were planted by squirrels that brought acorns into this part of the forest and he remembers that a patch of meadow used to be full of delicious blackberries, and he is happy as a child to see the heather that still grows on the lawn. No feature of the landscape escapes him, and he knows how and why each landscape ended up at its place — he reads them like the features on the face of his oldest and most beloved friend: nature. After about twenty minutes of walking, he brings Šimen and me to our destination: a secret sacred circle in the middle of the unspoiled Pohorje woods, where rituals according to ancient Celtic customs take place on certain occasions.
We stop in the middle of a barely perceptible slope between a rare spruce forest. “Can you see the circle?” asks Križan. And he shows us with his hand — around us, the hollows, riverbeds, trunks, plants and roots actually close into a kind of boundary that forms a closed space that we would never have noticed without the help of our host. In the middle, there are some large spruces, at the base of which lies some flint that stings in the eyes. The space is bright and somehow friendly, and if a person wandered around these parts, he or she might stop and rest here for a few moments, although of course he or she would have no idea that he or she was regenerating himself/herself in the middle of an energy vortex with a measured force of over 40,000 Bovis units (“ten thousand or down, depending on the day”) — which for radiesthesists is about the same as jumping into the geyser of the life force. Here, our guide and friends perform most of their rituals, but they are significantly different, somehow calmer and more grounded than most of the popular new-age extravaganzas today. “There is no need to make noise and get high with different substances,” says Križan.
Modern Slovenian Druids know many different rituals, which all have similar dramaturgy, according to Križan, carefully reconstructed from historical and archaeological sources, as well as based on contacts with like-minded people from countries with a rich and vibrant Celtic tradition — Wales, Ireland, France… “First we purify the space with sage, then we make sacrifices with bread, drink and juniper, in the meantime, we perform a specific ritual and have a snack ourselves, then we play the drums a little and sing, then we purify the space again and close it,” he explains. Of particular importance is the covenant ritual, which is a kind of ancient forerunner to today’s wedding; it takes place in the holiest part of the year, on the morning of the Midsummer night, when couples gather to pledge loyalty. At the beginning of the forest, in the first of the two sacred circles where the rituals take place, Zlatko shows us a thick spruce, tightly wrapped in ribbons — a sign that this tree is a witness and guardian of the pledge of loyalty of four couples, including Zlatko Križan and his wife Majda.
Old soul, modern mind
After returning from the forest, a kind and caring woman serves us an excellent mushroom soup with buckwheat porridge, at which Šimen and I are ready to sing a gloria with musical spoons to all forest fairies and gnomes. Gratitude is even more in place because our benefactor moves around the house with noticeable effort — since childhood she has had paralysis, which developed after vaccination against the polio virus, and in adulthood she got a hernia, which damaged her nerves in the spine to such an extent that neurologists at the Maribor Clinical Centre only helplessly recommended her to a higher force. After the surgery, she lay in bed for three weeks and the question was whether she would still be standing on her feet. She managed to stand on her feet again with extreme persistence — she exercised for hours while attending all possible therapies, bio- resonance, Bowen therapy, she meditated… Then it stopped. “I told myself, I can’t work so hard all my life without a real breakthrough. That was the first time Zlatko heard about Woojer and he said to me — maybe that would be something for you.”
Woojer is a special vest that at first glance has nothing to do with medicine — it was developed by the gaming industry to allow players to experience the effects of virtual reality on their own skin; the vest simulates blows and touches by vibrating throughout the body, and Križan came up with the idea of how to use it for healing — heir to Iron Age pagan priest is also a first-class computer programmer. And so, he programmed the vest to massage the entire body in a precise rhythm that coincides with the healing frequencies that get deep into the patient’s body by large headphones. Thus, the brain is flooded with beneficial beta, gamma or delta waves, and the damaged organs tune to the appropriate frequencies through Woojer, for example to the Schumann resonance field, which, according to some interpretations, represents the heartbeat of the entire planet. At her husband’s urging, Majda Cerjak Križan gave his invention a chance — and soon she felt energy returning to her weakened legs. “One day, it was near the end of spring, I was washing dandelion by the trough when it suddenly crossed my mind — I’m standing! I am standing on my own two feet, but until then I always had to lean on the kitchen counter!”
He became aware of life on the mound
Her 67-year-old husband also carries his cross. Zlatko Križan burnt out years ago (“It was my perfectionism!”), and the problems culminated in a heart attack. “Then I stopped, pondered on myself and put myself back together,” he says. He began to walk in nature — and tread the path that led him to the Celts and their wisdom. He ventured to the slopes of Pohorje, a special call led him to Poštela, where the remains of an ancient fort sleep under the black soil and moss; there he felt the best, there he began to recover, he became aware of life in himself and himself in nature. When he learnt that the place was closely connected with the Celts, an unusual curiosity was stirred in him. He began to educate himself about these people, about their customs, culture, and beliefs, and the more he knew, the closer he felt to them; in the following years, he met even more people who felt similarly-many of them are still part of his tribe today. “I say for myself that I am a Celt and that I have these genes in me,” he says. His belief is not without basis — readers of Jana may recall a recent text on the origin of Slovenes, in which we wrote about the results of genetic analyses, which showed that about 20 percent of the inhabitants of our region carry Celtic blood.
The true druid is not determined by blood, but by actions. “You don’t become a shaman by simply proclaiming yourself a shaman, as so many people do now! You develop into a shaman gradually, you seek answers, you test their truth, and you are subjected to the ordeals which make you stronger and from which you grow,” Križan warns. True spirituality is not an escape from pain into the higher spheres, but a courageous confrontation with all dimensions of existence; true spirituality is not the consolidation of one’s ego through the violent “awakening”/humiliation of the supposedly spiritually less developed people — true spirituality is humility, it is service, it is love.
“Everyone worships in their own way”
“The spiritual teacher teaches himself all the time and is not ashamed to admit it,” Križan believes. One of his greatest teachers is his 87-year-old mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease; when he talks about her, he does not resort to interpretations of his acquaintance with multidimensional beings from the Pleiades but speaks openly; when he speaks of her passing, he speaks of his distress — as a suffering son and as a man who acknowledges his smallness. “I don’t know,” he replies when I ask him what his higher logic for his mother’s disease is, and his blue eyes reflect the helplessness that makes him most dear to me at that moment.
Zlatko and Majda do not advertise their spirituality with flashy posts on the Internet, and they do not advertise their beliefs with aggressive posts on Facebook — whoever wants to find them finds them, and whoever wants to listen to them asks them. They do not have an (expensive) price list for their services, although they know many things, from reiki to radiesthesia — they only want to do good and live their modest but dignified life. They don’t think highly of themselves, and they judge people primarily by their actions — many other self-declared Slovenian messiahs would throw a curious scribe over the doorstep just because of my vaccination status, but they accept me as a welcome guest and feed me with a homemade mushroom soup. They do not run away from progress but try to use it for the common good — Zlatko’s invention with Woojer and healing frequencies helps elderly people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, burnt out and stressed individuals or companies who want to provide their employees with a little quality time out during breaks. And unlike most modern people, our Celts from Pohorje and their tribe accept nature in all its dimensions — as it should be, intact and dominant. “Don’t change nature, otherwise nature will change you,” Zlatko simply sums up; recent floods demonstrated the reality of his motto. And finally, they don’t impose their way of life on anyone. “It’s simple — you live, you don’t bother people,” Majda smiles. “Everyone worships in their own way.”
A THOUGHT: “You don’t become a shaman by simply proclaiming yourself a shaman, as so many people do now! You develop into a shaman gradually, you seek answers, you test their truth, and you are subjected to the ordeals which make you stronger and from which you grow.”
Copyright is owned exclusively by Vasja Jager
Photo by: Šimen Zupančič
Published in Jana Magazine-no:37 12.September 2023)
Translation: DVOJKA d.o.o. — Jerneja Jurca
Originally posted on Medium.com