Work Your Magic, Baby!
For a Victorious 2023
The magic of the holiday season and all holidays and celebrations in 2022 was overshadowed by searing pain, grief & suffering in Ukraine. Yet the ancient magic described in Ukrainian folktales & folklore continues to raise the spirit of Ukrainians & make their burden lighter despite the devastation and hardships of this brutal war.
Legends of Kharakternyky, sorcerers and guardians of warriors1, tell of Kozaky (Ukrainian cossacks) being helped, saved, and healed on the battlefield. With superpowers, study, commitment, and discipline, Kharakternyky could see and hear over vast distances, pass through walls and cross into parallel worlds of the animal kingdom and the spirit world. The medieval Royal Guard of Kyiv’s Grand Prince Sviatoslav the Brave was said to include female warriors with supernatural powers who were called Polyanytsi (Meadow Dwellers). In addition to supporting fellow warriors and undermining the enemy, Polyanysti and Kharakternyky also protected the sacred fires and cultural objects of the people.
Today’s heroes fighting on the Ukrainian front demonstrate the superpowers of inventiveness, innovation and resolve. The job and burden traditionally carried by the mystic guardians is shared today by soldiers, medics, IT specialists & a diverse network of volunteers & experts supporting today’s warriors defending a people, a country, and a culture oppressed & continually destroyed by a power-crazed Kremlin.
Mriya Aid helps the men and women of Ukraine to defend themselves and society by providing tools and training that Ukrainians on the front ask for and use most effectively. We help them work their magic.
New life-saving technologies in ISR, EOD & other areas are being developed with our partners on the frontlines and beyond - and Mriya Aid is assisting in a number of cutting-edge projects. Stay tuned more details on those in the coming weeks!
This weekend, many in Ukraine & the diaspora will celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar. Key Ukrainian Christmas traditions harken back to pre-Christian practices. Didukhs, elaborate sheaths of wheat placed in homes & main town squares, represent the guiding presence of ancestors. Tradition holds that ancestors help the living in the struggle for freedom. Peace & freedom in 2023 will be hard won at the cost of so many lives & with so much death & destruction. The celebratory mood is hampered, but ancient traditions still help channel both joy and pain towards Victory.
Liudmyla Horova’s poem Vrazhe (Enemy), an incantation cursing the enemy, went viral earlier in 2022 because it captured the outrage & need for retribution felt by Ukrainians against marauders, rapists & murderers of the people & animals of Ukraine. A version with additional military & folk elements was recorded by musician Ange Kreyda with covers by many groups, including women serving on the front (in the photo above).
According to modern day Ukrainian Molfars (sorcerers, both male and female) from the Carpathian Mountains, a key tenet of sorcery is to do good. While it often takes money to do good in the material world, a running theme in the folk tales, songs, and incantations of old is a warning against greed & against a love of money. Generosity, on the other hand, is lauded as a true virtue. We are so grateful to you, our Mriya Aid donors, for your generosity and for your ongoing commitment to Ukraine & to the men and women there defending democracy, freedom & justice.
As our donors know, the core team members of Mriya Aid have been paying out-of-pocket for administrative costs. This makes it possible for 100% of fundraised dollars to go directly towards purchasing, shipping & delivering aid to the front. The admin costs are kept low thanks to some IT, legal & accounting service providers who offer a degree of pro-bono work, subsidies and NGO specials to Mriya Aid.
However, as Mriya Aid grows, admin costs increase substantially. We ask for your help to support us in covering admin costs, which currently stand at 25K USD annually. Please consider contributing to the Stripe account that we set up separately to help cover invoices for our 6-month audit & other 3rd party services essential to Mriya Aid’s work.
These and all of your generous contributions help us work magic to support the women and men in Ukraine doing their magic on the front.
Thank you for the trust you put into Mriya Aid’s unique style and mandate. Together with you, we have helped the defenders of Ukraine work wonders on the front while we all write a key chapter of the story of humanity and how the best of humanity can defeat injustice and brutal violence.
Lirnyk Sashko, a traditional storyteller who performs for listeners of all ages, uses humour and references to magic and the supernatural to address the painful realities of war and the struggle for freedom and liberation. One of the lessons of the old folk stories is that tools are nothing without the attitude, values, and spirit needed to use those tools or resources wisely and to use them for the good of humanity.
The New Year is a time to recommit and realign our actions to our values and guiding principles. Christmas - Rizdvo - is a time to reflect on how we balance outrage, fear and justified feelings of vulnerability and vengeance with helping people defend, heal, and reconstruct in a spirit of dignity, courage, faith, and good humour to use the magic in life as a source of strength in standing up for, living, and breathing FREEDOM.
In his stories Lirnyk Sashko …
…. conveys the wrath & strength needed to pin down the problem …
…. and to never give up on fighting for what’s right and just.3
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“Everyday you are all doing an incredible job. The transparency of the realities that can be unavoidable took you to an even higher level of respect for me. I thank each and every one of the volunteers of Mriya Aid. With you, Ukraine will prevail!” (Twitter user, Aug 3)