Saturday, March 27, 2010


        "In the folk life of Ukrainian people, the pysanka possess talismanic powers.  Receipt of a pysanka is not only a token of friendship or esteem but also brings with it protection from harm.  Ukrainian ancestors believed that pysanky in the home would bring good fortune, wealth, health, and protection from lightning and fire.  Pysanky are said to possess curative powers for both men and animals.  With the acceptance of Christianity in 988 A.D., the pysanka has been part of the Christian tradition and Easter ritual.  The pysanka came to symbolize the rebirth of man, as represented by the Resurrection.  Beeswax was considered  as a magical ingredient of the writing process. This was entwined with the sun cult.  The wax was made from honey; the honey was collected from flowers; flowers grew because of the sun."    Olga's Eggs-Files

Years ago, I inherited 8 Pysanky. The number 8 has significance for me, since it is my life path number. I have not felt the urge to decipher what each Egg means until now... but considering my fear of Fire, I see from reading the above website they have offered me protection from it for all these years.

The designs of each Egg is linked to Egyptian ceramics circa 1500 BC and to symbolism of the Trypilljan culture in the Ukraine around 3000 BC.

Trypilljans lived peacefully...a matriarchal, artistic and creative society who linked themselves strongly to Mother Earth. Hence, the symbolism on an Egg closely resembles elements of Nature.

A symbol on a Pysanka is a word picture or code which contains the secrets of a culture. Very like my Tarot deck, in my mind, the symbols also contain revelations on emotions and feelings such as love, hope, fear, anger and so on. Pysanky involve a trinity of symbolisms...the Egg itself,  the design, and the colours used.

I discover in my research the most magical Pysanky are those with four or five colours. I look through mine; even the Egg which I considered to be only golden has four other colours intertwined throughout. Each Egg is considered to carry a message of good will, luck and well-being for its owner.

Let's see...I have a predominantly black Egg, a golden one, two red or reddish Eggs, a brown one, two green and one very lovely blue Egg. My favourite is the brown Egg, which has Stags, Rabbits, a Wolf, Pine Trees, a Willow Tree and green and gold vegetation placed in strategic spots. Oh, and tiny golden dots are painted upon the upper half of the Egg...

This one, after peering at it (these images are small) for some time, I've decided is celebrating Spring. The Stags show leadership, victory, masculinity and joy. The Rabbits show the humility of Man as he listens to the lessons of Nature.  The Wolf denotes loyalty and teachings of wisdom. The Willow Tree is said to hold the Sun in the Sky, bestowing happiness and benevolence.

The Pine Tree symbolizes strength, boldness, growth and eternal life, while the greenery situated throughout the bottom half of the Egg symbolize the rebirth of nature and life. The golden dots represent the Stars in the Sky, tears or fixed points which have no beginning or end.

The colour of this Egg is predominantly reddish-brown. This colour signifies Mother Earth, bringing forth her bountiful gifts.

I have meditated with this one, not realizing it was a harbinger of Spring, and have had visions of Apple blossoms. Now I understand why.

Blue is used sparingly on these Eggs.  I have a totally blue one, with some gold outlining the Chrysanthemums and Roses and Leaves. This Pysanka signifies blue Skies or Air and is a talisman for good health.  It also represents truth, fidelity, higher life and trust.  I was not able to find out why blue is used less often...everything about a blue Egg sounds wonderful!

The golden yellow Pysanka I have has most of its gilt flaking still shines, though...I had difficulty taking a photo of it with the flash on the camera. It has golden oak leaves and acorns on it, outlined with red dots, and a meandering golden line all around it.

Long ago, when the Eggs first came to me, I knew a lady who understood the symbolism behind each Egg. She asked me to randomly pick thinking about it, just choosing one out of the eight.  I picked the golden one, thinking...ahh, a golden Egg, just like the one in the story of the Goose who laid the golden Egg. It must mean wealth...

The lady said...You are strongly connected to the Light. You have persistence and are hospitable and are eternal.

There was no mention of wealth. Not of the material kind, at any rate!

At the time, I really did not know how to respond.  Flustered, I almost dropped the Egg when I placed it back in the bowl with the others. I wondered if this wonderful Romanian lady knew that I was intent on Wealth. 

She didn't say anything as she picked up each Egg and looked closely at it. She only sniffed when she saw the black Chicken Egg. I've looked it up. From the site Olga's Eggs-Files, I find black is much the same as any other definition of the represents the absolute, constancy, eternity or the womb, and death.

We spoke no more of them, as we drank our Tea and exchanged news and gossip, as if the whole Egg incident had never happened.

I had no idea when I began this post I would become so involved with each Pysanka. I have found the stories which are embellished on each to be very inspiring and evocative. Perhaps one of these days I will be able to pick up a strange to me Pysanka and know immediately what it is telling me.

These Eggs I have are old...close to being  an aged 50 years.  I am amazed at how well they look, since my granddaughter loved them when she was young and played with them constantly.

It is a complicated art, taking time and patience to paint each Egg. They are made with an ancient wax resist process.  A stylus is used for writing on an Egg with hot Beeswax. A flame from a Beeswax candle is used to melt a piece of Beeswax which has been placed on the tip of the stylus. There are some instructions here.

However they are made, they stand up well. One of the Eggs is from the Chicken, some came from Duck, and some are Goose Eggs.  They are available in every conceivable type...from Ostrich to Quail.  Mine are heavy, which makes me think they were not blown out.  There are only two of them which have the residual hole at the ends.

I keep them in a bowl, with the Marble Egg my parents gave me as a birthday present years ago. And now that I've learned a bit about them, it makes much more sense to me when I pick one up and meditate.  Understanding symbols will help if a vision or two should come my way.

All in all, with newfound understanding of the Pysanky, I have found a wealth of knowledge.

It may not be material wealth but...

I believe it's a better kind.



  1. What an interesting and informative post, Marion! I love the stories connected with each egg. You surely have a wealth of wisdom, much in your beautiful collection shown here. Thank you SO much for sharing this. I have always loved the Willow tree and have 3 in my yard. I like what you said about it: "The Willow Tree is said to hold the Sun in the Sky, bestowing happiness and benevolence." That's awesome. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings!!

  2. My daughter-in-law recently gave me three lovely painted eggs similar to yours. I had no idea that they might have had a name. I'm not sure that they are pysanky but given the ethnic diversity of Chicago, I'd like to think they are kin to yours.

  3. Thankyou for a wonderful post X:-) i love to hear the spiritual wisdom of art and have always wanted to own/find little blue eggs... and now perhaps i know why " truth, fidelity, higher life and trust"... You have inspired me to do a little Easter art, Thankyou Marion and have a wonderful Easter~time x

  4. The lowly egg is such a perfect symbol of the rebirth of life and yours are far from lowly. What a wonderful and lasting gift. I was also charmed that you let your granddaughter experience them.

  5. Marion: These are beautiful! How lucky you are to have such treasures - especially treasures that have a story, that are linked to your family history. I crave this connection you have to your family ...

    I think it's wonderful that you meditate with them. I can imagine that there is some access to the energies of the women who held them before you. What a beautiful way to tell your descendants about yourself.

    Thank you for sharing these pictures too - they are all beautiful. And so are you.


  6. Just a beautiful, lovely entry. I'd had cheap dye kits with a wax crayon in it before but didn't know it's based on a real art. Gorgeous eggs and a gorgeous blog post!

  7. My, but they sure are beautiful.

  8. Marion,

    I love the Willow Tree as well. I plan on planting one here this Spring. Willows bend with the Wind...they rarely break. I like Recovery, I was given a Willow branch, and I treasure it still, these many years later.


    I'm sure they are pysanky. Here's a link to the largest Pysanka in the World...

    Vegreville is the loveliest little town in northern Alberta, extremely clean and very interesting.

    I'm so glad you've got some...when I look at mine I'll think of you!


    I can't wait to see what you'll do with this info. I love looking at your art. And I know you'll have the patience to do this, whereas I absolutely know I do not!

  9. Jan,

    I have never understood why objects are out of bounds for the little ones. I've always let Bree enjoy these marvellous pieces of taught her respect and she learned so much about them. For years she carried around an Ivory Mother Mary of mine, even taking it to bed with her. It is about ten inches tall, and I would hear her telling it all sorts of important things. And I also have a Teak Buddha...another of her favourites. She loved the stories behind them...they gave her an eclectic religious background, for sure!


    As I was writing about them, I thought of the person who had taken the time, with such a lot of patience, to paint these. Of course, the personal energy is still there, as I believe it is in all art. Since I have only just discovered what they are all about in this post, I am interested in meditating with the blue Egg, not one I have used before.

    It might prove interesting!

  10. Livia,

    I remember those crayons and food dye, I think it was, way back when the kids were little. I must admit I had little patience with the crayons, usually just dyeing the Eggs alone. I have an image of these people making these Pysanka with little children about. Heh.


    Thank you. Their beauty does not show well; when I tried to take closeups, their shine would not allow the detail to show. Very intricate, these little Eggs!

  11. I always learn something when I come here to read. Beautiful eggs, beautiful meanings, beautiful undercurrents to tangible things.

  12. oh wow! these are gorgeous!!! love them all. learning something new today - pysanka! never heard of it before this. always fun to come here and learn something new, thanks marion!

  13. What beautiful eggs and a wonderful history. We are a small family. I am only the second generation to live in the States and now Canada, but we lost almost all of our family traditions with my grandparents who moved to the States (separately of course) as young children. I remember my grandmother telling stories about how she was made to feel bad at school if she spoke Norwegian or dressed different. I feel so sad for her, and all of the lost memories for all of us. On the positive side, we are free to make each season and holiday our own. And that's not a bad thing either. - Margy

  14. Pauline,

    Thanks so much for coming by! Each and every time I visit your site, my soul drinks in your beautiful words...


    You're very welcome, my dear! I love your photos so much...and your list of dreams.


    You're absolutely right...traditions can be made at any time. I'm sorry your grandmother was made to feel badly; I went through a similar thing when I immigrated to Canada from Germany. And so did Graham...he lost his Scottish accent within about two weeks because of teasing. Kids can be mean.

  15. Great site, pysanky is something that was handed down to me through my mother and I now teach it to my grandchildren. Thanks for sharing.