KHARACTERNIKS – THE ETERNAL GUARDIANS OF THE COSSACK KIN
The history of Zaporizhya Cossacks is marked by mysterious and storied phenomenon called kharacternytstvo. Even today being somewhere in the Ukrainian village one could hear: "Do not get along with him. He is a kharacternik (meaning a sorcerer)..." Though now such words have turned into a rarity long ago. As the saying goes "times changed and transformed our lands ..." However, as in the old times, nowadays kharacterniks never advertise their abilities. They do not need this. They always feel someone who needs their help. They decided and apparently now decide on their own whom to hurry to the rescue.
The story of Kharacterniks is usually an exciting and dynamic fantasy, based on Ukrainian history and mythology, which should take its rightful place among the legends of the world. The world of Kharacternik is a strange and mysterious world where historical reality and fiction intertwine, where kharacterniks (Cossacks who were deemed to have supernatural abilities – they could pass through walls, transform into beasts, they were able to hear and see at a distance, etc.) coexist with demons, witches, ghouls, mermaids – in short, real and mythical Ukraine.
What do we now know about the kharacterniks? It is known that they were also popularly called haldovniks or khymorodniks. The difference in names depended on the activities the kharacterniks performed and also on their skills and the level of their training. Although it is believed there were no women among kharacterniks, in fact – this is not true. During the Kyiv Rus times women kharacterniks were called "polyanitsya". We know that the bodyguard of the Grand Prince of Kyiv Svyatoslav the Brave consisted several of those mysterious Amazon women, female kharacterniks – "polyanitsyas". They were equal to men in the warcraft, but they could perform many things inaccessible to ordinary male soldiers in Kyiv Rus.
The kharacterniks were Cossacks, who, by modern definition, possessed extrasensory and paranormal abilities: telepathy, clairvoyance, the ability to hypnotic influence. According to many legends Cossacks kharacterniks were also able to travel in Nava, that is – they could travel to the other world.
They say that Cossacks kharacterniks were trained since their childhood. Apparently, experienced kharacterniks could distinguish the young talent from the cradle. The chosen boy became a dzhura (a servant) of the Cossackkharacternik for years. But the word "servant" does not convey the exact meaning of the assistant duties. The boy along with the teacher learned the wisdom of ancient knowledge. The teacher passed to his disciple the knowledge he was taught by his teacher. The educational process lasted for many years and was a system of psychophysical training, which included magic rituals and obligatory warcraft training.
What were the functions of the Cossacks kharacterniks in the army? First of all and most importantly, they were counselors of Cossack officers, the problem was that Cossack officers, being selfwilled by nature did not often listen to the wise advices of kharacterniks. Most frequently Cossacks kharacterniks acted as healers, providing the first aid on a battlefield and further medical support, as Cossack troops were usually deprived of doctors.
The kharacterniks were unbeaten fighters and explorers. Specially trained Cossacks in times of Zaporizhya Cossacks constituted the troops of scouts, a kind of special forces of the time, the tradition of which was preserved even after the Cossacks’ deportation to the Kuban. Even an ordinary Cossack is "not only hopak" but the man free in spirit who was armed. The subjugation to random people was not in his rules. But he would neither be glorified if anybody treated him with scorn. Upon the Cossack experience he knew that unjustified trust meant a certain death for him. As to Cossacks kharacterniks – expectations were always more rigid. First of all – from the fellow kharacterniks.
Chronicles and epic literature of ancient times clearly indicate that the beliefs, now called heathenism, permeated the whole life of our ancestors in all social strata. Until nowadays the information survived about different wizards, sorcerers, soothsayers, diviners and witches (men and women) called volkhvs and volkhvynias, viduns, vishchuns, and veshchunkas, vidmaks and vidmas (from the word "vidaty" – to know), charodiys and charivnytsias, znakhars and znaharkas, vorozhbyts and vorozhkas, zilnyks and zilnytsias, and hromnyks and hromovytsias... It is even difficult now to separate them all by the ranks.
We only know that the volkhvs were the closest to the priests who served to the altars of the Gods constantly maintaining the eternal fire and protecting the sacred objects of our people. In all probability the Cossackskharacterniks considered themselves to be descendants from the priestsvolkhvs who guarded akin relic sacred objects. But then the question arises – who are kharacterniks: are they priests (Brahminsvolkhvs) or Kshatriya warriors?
Taking into consideration the IndoAryan origin of the Slavs, the division of Ukraine’s population in castes (states) in the past, it could be argued that the kharacterniks were supposed to belong to one and the only one caste (state). But from what we currently know about kharacterniks is that they did not only possessed an excellent knowledge of magic rituals and could practically apply magical techniques against enemies, but also mastering the essentials of kharakternytstvo, they underwent a wonderful school of warcraft, so they were able to use multiple weapons, therefore they could justifiably be included to the state of Kshatriya warriors.
In my opinion, I raised the subject yet to be further developed (investigated) both by Ukrainian and Russian ethnographers, as upon the deportation from the Sich Zaporizhya Cossacks had spread in the land of Kuban and other territories that today are the part of Russia. And wherever Zaporozhets went his guardian angel (Cossackkharacternik) always followed him.
The kharacternik could not rest in peace without passing his Gift of Competence (knowledge) at least to one of his successors. And so that knowledge had been preserved until present times.
It is believed that ordinary people use their abilities (potential) only by three, only three per cent... The kharacterniks acted completely different. For instance, it wasn’t difficult for them to "order" a good weather for the appropriate day. Figuratively speaking they were able not only to disperse the clouds but also to move the mountains! With the help of their teachers kharacterniks constantly improved their abilities and mastered them. They lived (and live now) in union with the Nature, honored the ancient gods of the Sun, Water and the Earth – Yarylo, Perun, Lada, aroused and developed their own Spirit, revealed natural abilities, learned to understand the world and use its powers – saw and felt at a distance, foresaw adversities and acted on their prevention. In the East such people were conferred the title of Bodhisattva. In Ukraine – Krir – the lord of every living thing, the kharacternik.
Interesting is the view of researchers on whence that "art of living and knowledge of people" came to Ukraine? It appears, that it originated from Ukraine, in order to come back here. Since the times of Aryans it spread to the East and the West, through Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, appearing in the art of the volvkhs and the royal Scythians. And then via the kharacterniks of Zaporizhya Sich – to nowadays. Cossacks kharacterniks from the Sich not only possessed supernatural abilities, but also were proficient in the warcraft. Among wellknown today are "Gopak", "Prav", "Spas", "Triglav".
The word "Khara" is one of many names of the Great Mother Goddess cult of which existed in Ukraine starting from Neolithic period and in times of Zaporizhya Cossacks it was transformed into a cult of the Intercession of the Mother of God. The kharacterniks embodied the ideals of honour and glory, public morality...
The famous representatives of our history as Prince Vseslav Polotskiy, Prince Oleg the Prophet, Cossack generals Severyn (Semeriy) Nalyvayko, Petro Sahaidachniy, Ivan Bohun, Maksym Kryvonis, Ivan Sirko, Ivan Zolotarenko, Semen Paliy, Maksym Zalizniak and many others were kharacterniks.
As one legend states: the commander of Zaporozhian Cossacks Ivan Sirko bequeathed to his fellows upon his death to cut off his right arm, to dry it and always take it with them during the Cossack campaigns. Suchwise, victory was guaranteed to Cossacks. According to a new legend, in our times this hand remnants are the object of special interest of "some circles"... Among the wellknown kharacterniks’ feats of arms in ancient times were their attacks on army of Persian king Darius, who was impudent enough to invade to our lands with his huge army. Fives naked to the waist warriors standing on their horses hewed passes through the dense ranks of the Persians, turned around, hewed again, skipped in the steppe and Persians could not do anything about that. It was one of the methods of pressure on the enemies, aiming at their demoralization. Ordinary Cossacks took such courage in times of firearms that caused unreasonable victimization.
There were individual practices of kharacterniks in suggesting the enemy with a relevant idea: to become invisible, incomprehensible to the enemy. It is believed that the decline of kharacternytstvo was another factor of the Cossacks fair into decay. As long as kharacternytstvo kept its strong positions, the Cossacks remained strong, because, according to modern concepts, the Cossacks were in the very strong ties with the powerful egregore (psychophysical field), which had been created by our people for ages. Loss of those ties with the egregore because of the influence of the strange, not inherent to our people spirituality led to the loss of the support of native gods and the sad consequences which followed.
It is believed that the keepers and guardians of knowledge in the ancient world were the volkhvs and priests. With the adoption of Christianity in Russ their mass killings began, and they were forced to go underground, creating a virtually secret order, which existed during all these generations, often taking the mask of Cossack kharacterniks or magiciansoccultists, or folk healers, sorcerers, molphars, diviners, astrologers and finally today – psychics and sensitives.
During the last three thousand years the intellectual development of our people was complicated. Our lands from all directions had been broken off by the hordes of invaders and they turned our country into a colony. The socalled "syndrome of working abroad" appeared and it has been successfully thriving to date. Our lands had been successfully extorted and continue to be extorted from not only material but also spiritual resources by "brain drain", by "washing drain" to other countries by buying their comfort, by the possibilities of using our intelligence. The best intellectuals have still been leaving the country today. The active state policy of psychonecrosadism has been being implemented.
However, the comforting thing to the mentioned above could be the fact that many prominent people of Hellas and Rome were preUkrainians – Etruscans, Pelasgians. Our lands were always overcrowded and hence inexhaustible source of migratory waves constantly sprang, resulting in many children of our country bore not only the science of physical desire for work but also the science of spiritual health to other countries and began to take leadership positions in the government, academia, spiritual institutions of the United States, Europe, Russia, Australia and even of the South America.
Returning to the subject of Cossack kharacternik, it should be noted that he has always been exposed to the western pattern of thinking – that is free communication within the general mental plan of the Earth through all levels of information fields. In other words we could name it as an insight. We should state that Cossacks kharacterniks were involved in the ancient believes of our ancestors and were initiated to secret knowledge about the human beings and their hidden possibilities, about the nature and the space. They adopted that all from the exterminated volkhvs.
Real kharacterniks always provoked various rumors and legends during their lifetimes and after death. Even experienced Cossacks were astonished by their superhuman abilities. Ordinary people called them magicians and priests claimed them to have been obsessed by the demons. The kharacterniks in the Sich constituted Cossack officers. They were a sort of guardians of the Cossack culture, they initiated the Cossacks and preserved old traditions of the volkhvs.
Although formally the Sich was Christianized, the spirit of the older times hovered there. There was a ceremony of adoration of the centuriesold oak under which the Cossacks gathered. The kharacterniks like no one else knew human weaknesses, among which four were distinguished: an inclination for making mistakes, a deceitfulness, an imperfection of senses, a propensity to illusions, thus we perceive our material body as our "I" (our basic nature).
Our contemporaries know a lot about Rome and Byzantium. Those states were artificially wrapped in the aura of greatness. The main part in such a position rightfully belongs to the church. Everything possible was made to destroy the chronicles of our heritage as well as the heritage of other European nations with the purpose of glorification of the Christian faith while introducing the heathen world in the gray tint of primitivism. As a result we have got fairly poor annalistic history.
There were many outstanding creative personalities among the volkhvs kharacterniks. They are those people whom we should be grateful for the preservation of our history in the epic songs. Historical dumas and ballads contributed to the preservation of people’s memory of their origin. In such a way ancestral spiritual experience had been passed to the future generations – through rituals, customs, legends, fairy tales, songs, etc. The echoes of ancient philosophy of our ancestors uppermost should be looked for in the folklore of our people.
Cossacks kharacterniks were selected soldiers, belonged to the elite troops. Usually they were trained in the temples of Svitovyd and Perun. Possessing supernatural abilities they could direct one’s mind, that is to get into such a mental condition that made it possible to perform incredible things. For example, to defraud (inspire delusion to) the Poles and other enemies.
Delusion. What does it mean? This is when people start to see the unreal images in the reallife. Such cases have been recorded in the history. For example, being chased by the Poles and having no possibilities to hide the Cossacks kharacterniks arrange the spears in a circle in the field and by their willpower and spirit get into a special psychoenergetic state when their intentions become a reality. And the Poles see the oak grove in the field... They stop and return. This is what delusion means. Such irrational things more than once saved the Cossacks from enemies. They say that after such efforts Cossacks could sleep three days in a row, restoring their powers.
I would like to say that the magician and philosopher Pythagoras (whom we recall, when the famous saying comes to mind: "Pythagorean pants are equal in all directions") was the son of Pelasgian who served in the temple of Delphic oracle, in other words, Pythagoras could to some extent be considered as our kharacternik. It is known that he could do miracles, resembling the miracles of Jesus Christ. I would like to recall an incident happened to Pythagoras and the fishermen.
Once as he was passing fishermen grieved by their empty nets, Pythagoras said, if they had thrown nets again, they would be full of fish. Of course, fishermen did not believe him. Then Pythagoras invited them to bet: their nets would be full, if the fishermen sworn to throw the caught fish back into the sea. Those took on the bet. That time all the fish nets were torn. But they had to return all the catch back to the sea...
Cossack kharacternik had always been an eccentric and stubborn personality, he was "racy", enthusiastic about something unusual (like treasure hunt). The word "kharacterniks" in the old times was used referring to the Zaporizhian Cossacks who lived in the wild uncharted territories by the Dnieper rapids. A lot of mysterious and miraculous stories have been inspired by them. Many of them are about treasures. Cossacks kharacterniks buried the treasures by themselves (no wonder they called one of the rivers Skarbna – Treasury) and they were able to find the ones hidden by others. They searched for treasures paying attention to the fire that suddenly broke out in front of them on the roadsides, to the misty clouds over the mounds, the stars that fell into the black ravines and to many other signs.
Cossacks kharacterniks could do many things: they healed the wounds (by accosting) and reanimated the dead, they could catch the kernels on the fly by the skirts, come out unscathed and transfer like wild fire from one edge of the steppe to another. "The Zaporizhian Cossacks were chivalry and mighty kharacterniks, – as the residents of villagers by the Dnieper recalled the Cossacks. – They were not injured by the bullets; they could spread a thick felt on the Dnieper and cross it. Catherine wanted to bring them under her power, but they did not want. To show their power they spread a felt at the sea, took the soil into their boots, filled the bottles with vodka – and went to Turkey. They glided and sang".
Many legends spread among the people about several Cossacks kharacterniks. Tufted old men spoke about them briskly, with details (characteristic!), as if it concerned their relatives: "Ones in Cossack times hymorodnyk Fesko lived in the Great Meadow. Cossacks were very afraid of him and they obeyed him. For example, the man lies in the bed and he cuts the black radish. Once the radish gives the white juice – the person becomes ill, as the juice will turn black – the person dies. He then uses his magic that the radish will absorb the black juice, the white comes – and the man comes back to life...
There were kharacterniks who lived for more than a hundred years. The paradoxical information: despite the fact that women were not allowed to live in the Sich, it has been discovered that there were female warriors kharacterniks among Cossacks. In the recently discovered burial of kharacterniks there were two women out of eight people.
It is known that the Cossack kharacternik Ivan Bohun led his army at night through the Polish army camp and no dog barked. To protect themselves, the Cossacks defended their camp by the spears and the enemy just passed by taking them for reed. Kharacterniks produced "scream": they took reeds, dipped them into water and wax, then shouted at them. Wax remembered shouting. Later on those reeds were scattered around the steppe. Stepping on them horses of the enemies screamed so that the Cossack on watch could hear it.
In the Cossack medicine the kharacterniks widely used the soil for treatment. The soil was wrapped in the web and it immediately stopped the bleeding. But such treatment also had its secrets. The selftreatment could cause blood infection. In the ancient times the Wild Field of the Sich was under the energy protection of the Dnieper rapids. The water having passed through rapids carried powerful energy and cleaned the Cossacks. Now these places are filled with waters of the Kakhovka storage reservoir, Zaporizhya Nuclear Power Plant is situated there, the manganese ore is mined in Nikopol. The Cossacks’ lands have become a zone of environmental disaster.
Cossack medicine men used phyto and aromatherapy. Cossacks smoked herbs in the cradles. For example, artemisia helped to calm one’s nerves and improved visual acuity. When the dew fell, Cossacks laid on the lawns where grass grew. They treated with the "iron water": they took rusty iron, brought it to heat and lowered into the water. Afterwards they drank that water as medicine from anemia. They applied treatment with the stones, they were drawn with the herbs. They also used such a recipe: vodka was mixed with the gunpowder and with that mixture the wounds were debrided.
The Cossack kharacternik always had a horseshoe and pipe with him. He knew how to relax and pump the muscles with a horseshoe. "Before healing the wounded, he was first freed of the souls of killed".
By collecting the crumbs of information about the Cossacks kharacterniks we clean the muddy sources of our Spirit...