In Search of Veligrad

Who would have believed where connecting with the land would take me?

Starting from a weekend of magic and synchronicities in Albion with Sue Vincent and Stuart France, who took me on a whirlwind tour of their own esoteric mysteries documented in The Initiate and subsequent books, I am now in the midst of my own weird journey. I’m not joking either in using the word weird – as you will soon see.

Stuart, Sue and myself retracing the Initiate

About 18-months ago, I began my own quest. It started with the Templars and the realization that two of the largest Templar sites in Moravia are within 50km of Brno. At an ancient church in the river Jihlava valley where Templštejn is located, I discovered a Templar church and in that church reference to a Hungarian Mongol army – among other things. This linked rather strangely to an ad hoc visit to a place called Hostyn. It was rather an unplanned trip with my then Hungarian (!) girlfriend and we discovered a basilica and ancient site dedicated to Mary. Although it had been a Celtic fort and a Slavic site of healing springs for many years, the victory of the Slavic forces over the Hungarian Mongol army nearby was attributed to the intervention of Mary, Mother of God by the local aristocracy. She had caused a thunderstorm to create havoc that had helped ensure the defeat of the invading force. Just one minor issue. The local everyday Slavs, still largely pagan, attributed this miracle not to Mary but to Perun, God of thunder. This helped to explain the puzzling depiction of the baby Jesus in Zeus-like state directing lightening at the ground on the basilica and shrines at Hostyn.

I’m simplifying a lot here. But you can see one or two strands of sheer coincidence permeating this story right? I document all of this in Chasing the Shaman and Chasing Dragons in Moravia in significant detail. Trust me. Synchronicity city!

The link to Perun got me to look at the Slavic pantheon of deities. I took time to meditate and invoke Perun and Veles – a duality of gods noting in the process that Perun is often shown defeating Veles in the image of a warrior on horseback piercing a dragon – now where might we have seen that image before? St. George? St. Michael? (Now, perhaps the dragons in the book title start to become more understandable?). I am in the middle now of working with the goddesses – Morana, Vesna and Živa in similar fashion. However, I digress….

Perun and Veles

Suddenly, I am intrigued by the Slavs. I need to dig and dig I do.

In this region, the western Slavs built a princedom called Great Moravia. It incorporated Czechia, Slovakia, parts of Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Austria. During the 800-900 period, rumors of a vast city with unbreachable walls named Veligrad spread throughout Europe and beyond.

Great Moravia

Now as it happens, I had been to Velehrad. It is the site of yet another basilica also dedicated to Mary and also to the two saints said to have brought christianity to the Slavs – Methodius and Cyril. There, I also found dragons and earth energies (healing energies per the Church) and butterflies…. but you will need to read my books for that detail. I also found the first stone circle so far in the King’s Table nearby. It too has a Slavic origin it seems and may be older still. But Velehrad isn’t the site of Velegrad it appears. Close but not. So where is this mysterious city of Veligrad of which traveling Persian merchants said “Veligrad rules in their country, a completely excavated city where jrwab (Veligrad) lives. And they have a market in it in a month (calendar) for three days in addition to what they milk. And it has walls (patrons) excellent, impregnable unusual (rare). (He) is called the ruler of rulers, the eldest son and therefore the king (malik).”

In researching the location of this impregnable walled city with 50,000 troops at its disposal, I discovered that actually, no one really knows. Archeology has two candidates neither of which seems to match the descriptions and both are sited in the valley of the Morava river south of Brno. Now that valley comprised a number of Slavic settlements, fortresses and churches – one situated on St. Georges island with a St. Georges church. Dragons? It certainly piqued my interest! And what about Methodius’s original church? Where might it be?

That is when I started reading about this river valley in more detail. To its north was the Moravian sahara – a desert of sand dunes that remained in existence gradually spreading until recently when someone had the idea to plant evergreen pines – so now it is a huge area of forest. Even stranger, around a small hill called Náklo, is one of the few Czech oilfields no longer used but just half a century or so ago, it produced oil and gas. The natural deposits caused mud volcanoes and natural fires written about since Roman times. Further north, conglomerate deposits are rich in Iron….. yes, iron ore, fire, lignite, natural gas and oil seeps…. a desert?! A very weird landscape indeed. Yet, everything needed to fit a large army with weapons and armor?

And then I came full circle yet again. Right when I started Sue had said research dragons – often associated with earth energies she had said. I published a blog which was really just a bunch of dragon myths in Czechia at the time. One revolved around a place called …. Náklo. I revisited this story as I went to Náklo to investigate around 18-months ago. It is close by Hostyn but it is a small village on a flat plain. Although the story has been adopted by this Náklo I’m sure the legend actually relates to the hill Náklo in the Morava river valley – there, the ancient Slavs saw fires burn and smoke rise for days on end. There they worshiped their gods and buried their dead. Surely, this is where the dragon story originated?

So this weekend, after the lifting of the travel restrictions here, I am off to the Morava valley in search of dragons, deserts, lost ancient walled cities and the Slavic gods……. What an adventure this will be filled with incredible synchronicities and earth magic!

Stay tuned.