Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Solomonarii or The Clouds Travelers

Solomonarii, this enigmatic beings of Romanian mythology, live half lost in the legends, half in the daily reality of the Romanian village.  Half divine being, they have magical powers.

The image of the Solomonar is to say the least, scary. He is seen as a giant wild man, with eyes that stick out and hard red hair, wearing a white coat.  He carries an iron axe, filled with magical spells, that can be used either to bring hail or to steer away the thunder if it is stuck in the ground. A magical belt made of holy wood helps him to tame and control the dragons. The Solomonar's book in which resides all their power and knowledge hangs from his shoulder and on his chest he carries a piece of wood used to call the winds.

Romanian legends say that only a child born with a 'mask' over his face can become a Solomonar. Kidnapped as an infant by one of the old members of the order, the child s taken to the Solomonar's  school, found somewhere at the end of the Earth in a deep cave. The legend says that out of nine children, only one can become a Solomonar, at the end of a teaching period that lasts twenty years, and done in highly difficult conditions. In this school, The Cloud Travelers learn all the languages of all the beings from the Earth, all the magic spells ever done, and only after they lean all of these, they retire in a cave where, sitting at a rock table, write down all the knowledge of the world.

The legends consider the Solomonars as holy men, instruments of the divine justice who measure the moral value of everyday people. In this sense, the tradition says that the Solomonars travel through the villages as beggars and if not received well, they become angry and call the hail that destroys all the crops.  All that they receive, as they need nothing, they throw in the rivers as payment for the river fairies.

The world of the Solomoars is full of magic and mystery. They use their extraordinary powers in controlling the spirits and the elements of nature. They are seen is extraordinary circumstances: walking on the clouds riding dragons, flying through the sky and using their will can bring the rain.

Even though it seems that the term Solomonar entered the Romanian language relatively recent, in the last four centuries, their initial, ancestral denomination, goes back in time to the old ascetic priests of the Geto-Dacians, priests called Kapnobataii. In an approximate translation, Kapnobataii means 'The Clouds Travelers" or "The Smoke Walkers". They were able to produce important changes in the weather just by ordering it, including producing and ceasing the rain and producing or ceasing the storms.

In the early history, the "solomonarii" were considered rather as benevolent, but as Christianity begun to supplement early beliefs, the "solomonarii" began to be considered evil, and the popular beliefs invented even an "anti-solomonar" sort of hero. The belief in the "solomonarii" has not died out completely, still remaining in some of the most remote villages.

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