Molfars: Mystic Wizards and Guards of Ukrainian Ethnic Code

14.09.16
Molfars: Mystic Wizards and Guards of Ukrainian Ethnic Code

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In the very heart of Hutsulshchina, in the village of Verkhovyna, Mykhaylo Nechay, one of the last official molfars, lived. On the 17th of July, 2011, he was killed in his own house. His murder is connected to his magical practices and, as some authorities say, to his prophesies about Viktor Yanukovich’s violent death. Who are the molfars and what is their role in Ukrainian history and culture?

At all times, people were afraid of molfars because of their magical skills but at the same time they respected the wizards since they had knowledge of astrology, could cure people, conjured snakes and animals and managed storms, protecting harvests.
Nechay
Mykhaylo Nechay on photo
Some official authorities of the country aslo used the help of molfars. In 1989 very famous "Chervona Ruta" festival was held in Chernivtsi. But prolonged rains were the real threat for the event. So, the head of the aviation police went to molfar personally and asked him to help. It took just one night for molfar to turn the gray sky above Chernivtsi into a blue landscape without a single cloud. The Carpathian Wizard chased the clouds for 7 days till the end of the festival. It was Mykhaylo Nechay. 
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"He was a mighty, powerful, he knew everything. From his words cattle could die, people became black, he could send down life and death, he knew how to disperse clouds and to stop the hail, he could burn the enemies with the fire of his eyes and fill the female heart with love "- that is how the famous Ukrainian writer Mikhail Kotsyubinsky described Carpathian magicians in his book "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors". Subsequently the famous Soviet filmmaker Sergei Parajanov has shot his legendary film by this book.
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Kotsyubinsky was one of those who came from afar to Hutsulshchina region and fell in love with it. The writer explored the magic and mystery of that Carpathian world, discovered molfars, witches, evil spirits and described his impressions in the book. Later, in the letter to his friend Maxim Gorky, he wrote: "Being deeply pagan, Hutsul molfar spends his whole life struggling with evil spirits, inhabiting the forests, mountains and water." Even now the inhabitants of the Carpathians sincerely believe in the power of words and in the magic abilities of molfars. If someone is sick or something is "wrong" in life, then he/she goes to the wizard, but not to the hospital or to church. This is a part of Ukrainian ethnic code, our roots and our culture.
Read: UNESCO World Heritage in the Carpathians
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Lala Tarapakina (expert traveller, head of “Znaydeno v Ukrayini” (Found in Ukraine) project): "You can’t find a purely Orthodox molfar. Of course, there are pagan roots in their practices, as in Orthodoxy, in general. These are people who not only possess a unique system of knowledge about the structure of the world, but they keep our ethnic code. That is why there were some high powered authorities of Ex-Soviet Union who wanted to destroy these traditions and to get rid of these magic guards of Ukrainian culture. Molfars were slaughtered and only some of them survived hiding in mountains."
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"I know one molfar woman who lives close to Vorokhta village. She is herbalist and massage therapist and she has medical education. She lives at the foot of the mountain and gathers the herbs, makes extracts and oils of them. She did not take any pills in her life. She treats people with her energy, herbs and massage. We met by chance. I went to an expedition in winter with bilateral pneumonia. I coughed as the worker of mines. She put me on my legs in a single day. She taught me the secrets of health and beauty. And that knowledge is invaluable; you can’t get it anywhere, in any book or Internet,"- Lala Tarapakina says.
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Those who live in Hutsulshchina believe that “sensitive” people live between our world and transcendental one, between humans and demons. These semi-fantastic creatures can do good and evil, help or harm. They are divided into some categories. Some of them are associated with good power and God, they protect the world from all evil. These are healers and sorcerers. Basically they are treating people and animals. They use herbs and special prayers, incantations. Also they can guess the future and “see” the past of anyone. More powerful “sensitive” people could control the weather. They were called "gradivnyky" (from the “hail” word). Some shepherds took them to the pasture and even paid salaries to “gradivnyky” to keep the storms away.
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But, without a doubt, molfars are the most famous and popular magicians of the Carpathians, which are divided into “black” and “white” ones. The “molfar” term derives from the ancient word "Molpha". It means “bewitched, endowed with a certain power subject”. This can be mascot, grass, cross - any material thing that can give energy. Molfars use these subjects in their spiritual practices.
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Mykhaylo Nechay was one of the last “white” molfars of Ukraine. He helped a lot of people, and even some famous politicians came to visit him and to share their troubles, to get advice or to find a cure for some health problems. After these visits Nechay went to Mountains and spent there 12 days without food and water to get rid of a bad energy.
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His death was a shock and a real tragedy for a lot of people. Since that time molfars don’t show off their outstanding skills and live in the very lost spots of Carpathian Mountains.
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I want to believe that one day the molfars will be able to serve their country in the best possible way without hiding and our ethnical traditions will live long life.
Anna Vishtak

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