Gabriela Sugier

Gabriela Sarna Wiraszka

Lecture & Workshop Host

LECTURE: Between the Serpent and the Bird –  The Wheel of the Year and Harvest Ceremonies in Polish Slavic Traditions

The wheel of the year as it is observed through the various celebrations in Poland and other Slavic countries offers a well rounded perspective of how important it was for people to honor the seasons and the sacred dance of the sun and earth. Farmers would petition for the return of abundant crops to both the Nature Spirits and the Ancestors by creating elaborate celebrations throughout the year. By no coincidence the Catholic Liturgical calendar aligns with these pre-Christian ceremonies seamlessly and also observes seasonal Feast Days and the veneration of Saints who stand in for previous Deities and Spirits who would guard, bless and open the doors to each time and season.

In this lecture we will discuss the Polish Slavic wheel of the year as it moves through the eight recognized seasonal Sabbats as well as the Catholic Feast Days that accompany them. With an emphasis on autumnal harvest celebrations and the importance of grain and bread in its connection to Ancestral veneration we will look at the path that corresponds with the travel of the sun into the dark seasons and back again. Inevitably this observation will connect us to the journey of the souls of the dead that travel through both the lower and upper realms of the Slavic afterlife where they meet the blessings of the mysteries that help nourish the living and grant the return of life through the agricultural cycle.

WORKSHOP: Blood Kissed Oil and Wreath of Green – The Plants of John the Baptist and Kupala Night of the Slavic Summer Solstice

Saint John’s Wort growing abundantly around the Summer Solstice has been recognized for its various medicinal properties for centuries. Lovingly named after John the Baptist it is also reached for in magical uses for its highly protective and banishing qualities. In Slavic countries the Summer Solstice and John the Baptist Feast Day on June 24th, named Kupala Night or Kupalnocka, are very sacred and powerful times that open the doors to spirit initiations, divination and celebrations of water and fire. Various plants such as Saint John’s Wort as well as Mugwort and Fern accompany these ceremonies as both initiators and protectors during these times of summer magic in full bloom.

During this workshop, held within the auspicious time window of Summer Solstice and Kupalnocka, we will craft a protection oil of St. John’s Wort as well as a fresh wreath traditionally woven during this time of the year. Together, we will empower the oil with chant and charm to invoke the blessing of the plants, John the Baptist, and the magical time of the Summer season.

$45 workshop add on fee
$5 materials fee

BIO: Gabriela Sarna Wiraszka was born and raised in Poland and immigrated to the US in 1989. Driven by a deep curiosity and love for the Great Mystery along with her Ancestral beliefs she has been immersed in creating, writing and tending to the seen and unseen world on both a personal and community level for the last 25 years. She is an artist, writer, and practitioner and teacher of Slavic and European Folk magic and healing. She is committed to share, research and help preserve the knowledge of folk healing traditions and beliefs from Poland and Eastern Europe. To find out more about Gabriela’s practice and offerings, please visit

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