Krashanky: the Magic of Red Eggs
One of the things that I love about Slavic magic is how we see the power and holiness in everyday items. For example. the humble egg is viewed as a sacred magical object to be treated with special reverence. In spring, when we experience the sun getting warmer, melting the snow and showing itself a little more each day, we can honor the life force of the sun with a simple egg. Like a baby chick hatching, the sun pecks away at the cold frost of winter and brings us the warmth and life of spring. Within each egg is a golden yolk, a small image of the glowing holy, life-giving sun.
Of course today we see many people celebrating Easter with eggs, but the magic connecting eggs to the spring goes back many millennia before Christianity. Ancient ceramic egg talismans have been discovered in what is now modern-day Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine, giving us hints that people have been using eggs for magic for more than five thousand years.
The Symbolism of the Krashanky
While many people are familiar with the intricately decorated Ukrainian Easter eggs called pysanky, there are also eggs dyed a single color called krashanky which are meant to be eaten to unlock their magic. In the oldest traditions, these eggs were dyed a rich terracotta red and in many Eastern European and Southeastern European cultures, the red egg is still a symbol of spring and rebirth.
These deep red eggs represent the life-giving blood of the mother and amplify the vitality of the sun’s magic. As the community gathered for spring rituals, piles of these beautiful krashanky would be blessed and imbued with good wishes for all by all and then distributed back to each member of the village.
Making Authentic Krashanky
While today you can find modern chemical egg dyes in any color, to make truly empowered krashanky, you can dye the eggs as our ancestors did with plant dyes. When you use a vegetable dye, you are imbuing your krashanka not only with the energy of the color but with the life-force of the plant itself.
Ingredients for Making Krashanky
- Onion skins from about 12 yellow onions
- 4 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 12 large white eggs
- Olive oil or other edible oil
Equipment for Making Krashanky
- Large saucepan
- Strainer or colander
- A large jar, crock or mixing bowl
- Slotted spoon
- Metal rack or cardboard egg carton
- Paper towels
Instructions for Making Krashanky
- In a medium (3-quart) stainless steel saucepan, combine the onion skins, water, and vinegar. Use a spoon to stir all the onion skins into the water. Bring up to a boil.
- Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer you simmer, the richer the color.
- Strain out the onion skins by pouring the liquid through a strainer into your jar or crock. Dispose of the onion skins.
- Pour the onion skin dye back into the pot, add the eggs, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Using the slotted spoon, put the eggs into your jar, bowl or crock and then pour the dye over the eggs, cover them, and put them in the fridge.
- Make sure that the dye liquid is covering all of the eggs. If not, you can add a little extra water.
- Place the jar in the fridge and let the eggs soak overnight. The longer they soak, the darker they will be.
- The next morning, remove the eggs from the dye with the slotted spoon and allow them to dry on a wire rack or in a cardboard egg carton.
- When the eggs are dry, use a few drops of olive oil and a paper towel to polish them up.
- Keep the eggs refrigerated until ready to bless and eat, up to one week.
Making Your Krashanky Magical
Imbue your krashanky with magic by focusing on your intentions of protection, love, and vitality as you do each of the above steps. It can be quite powerful to meditate or speak your personal wishes as you peel the onion skins, stir them in the pot and add your eggs to simmer.
Blessing Your Krashanky
Once the eggs are dyed, you are ready to have the sun bless and empower your talismans. Place your krashanky in a basket and just before dawn, bring them outside to catch the first rays of the sun. As the sunlight begins to break, hold your hands over the basket with your palms down. Visualize your wishes and whisper words of power over the eggs such as the following incantation:
A Krashanky Blessing
Bless these red eggs and fill them with your power
And as we eat them,
Fill us with your power.
Thank you, Holy Sun, for blessing us with your light
May we also shine with your light.
Dear Sun, thank you for your warmth,
May we have the gifts of health, happiness, and peace that fill our hearts with warmth.
Eating Your Krashanky
Krashanky invoke the energy and the vitality of the sun, abundance, and, of course, fertility of all kinds. To eat an egg is to take the power of the holy sun into one’s body. After the eggs have been blessed by the sun, they can be eaten right away or kept in the refrigerator and eaten up to a week later. As you eat your krashanka, be sure to mindfully meditate on the blessings that you wish to bring in.
Traditionally, krashanky are eaten with your loved ones in a joyful celebration to increase health and happiness for all. Have one member of the family crack open a krashanka to be shared by all. Break off small pieces of the egg and place them into the mouths of each family member with a blessing for health, happiness and gratitude for the return of spring.
The shells of the krashanky are magical in their own right, so be sure to save them and use them as described in the additional spells below.
Creating a Lucky Coin
Once the krashanky have been blessed they are meant to be eaten, but there are lots of other magical ways to use them.
On the night before your springtime celebration, place one krashanka in a bowl of water with a copper coin. Whoever awakens the earliest the next morning gets both the magically imbued lucky coin to carry and the krashanka to eat and will be blessed with luck and beauty for the year. The water itself can be used to water a tree or plant to give the blessings back to Mother Earth.
Washing with Holy Water
For springtime blessings for the entire family, place three red krashanky in a basin of water. Each member of the family washes their face with this holy water blessed by the krashanky and dries it on a new face towel. The youngest member of the family washes their face first moving up to the oldest member last. With each person, the old water is ritually disposed of at the base of a tree and new, fresh water is added. As each person washes their face, they are symbolically cleansing away old cares and beginning again anew.
Spells With Krashanky Shells
Blessed krashanky are powerful talismans and the shells are never to be carelessly discarded. To heedlessly step on the shells of a krashanka for example, will bring bad luck. However, using them mindfully in your spellwork can have a profoundly positive effect.
Krashanky shells colored with natural vegetable dye can be ground to a powder and fed to chickens to bless them and make them strong, healthy and lay plentiful eggs. This krashanky shell powder is full of calcium as well as magic and can be added to your own food for imbuing your body (and your bones) with health and strength. This shell powder can also be given to our beloved cats and dogs to bless them by adding it to their food.
Krashanky shells can also be saved and burned in a fire or over charcoal to smoke out illness, much in the same way we use smudge sticks or incense. They can also be buried in your field, your garden, or even a potted plant to bless your land or your plants and bring in bountiful abundance.
Using Krashanky to Connect to the Spirit World
Krashanky shells can also connect us to the spirit world. Carry your shells to a river and drop them in the water to float down the river to the Blazhenni or Blajini (sometimes referred to as the Rakhmany). The Blazhenni are kindly spirits who live downstream in a land with no sun. Without a sun, they have no idea when spring is coming, so the only way that they can know when to celebrate the beginning of spring is through this mystical messaging system. This gift to the Blazhenni will connect you to the spirit world so that you can receive messages and blessings back from them.
Using Krashanky to Honor the Ancestors
Springtime is also a time for communing with our ancestors. Eggs have been placed in tombs and graves since before recorded history as a symbol of life and rebirth. In the spring, while we gather with our living family, we also want to connect to those who have passed on to the spirit world.
As the sun warms the earth, take a picnic lunch to a cemetery and enjoy a meal with your beloved family members by bringing some krashanky for your loved ones who have passed on. Arrange the krashanky on the graves for them to enjoy and leave them overnight. Come back the following day and take a look at the eggs. Are they still in the formation that you placed them? That’s a sign that your family member is resting in peace. Have the eggs been disturbed in some way? Your loved one is telling you that there is some unfinished business that needs to be taken care of.
Krashanky Are Magic
No matter how you decide to work with your krashanky, remember that they are truly talismans of magic. While they are traditionally made for springtime celebrations, we can make them and use them any time we need more power, more blessings, and more goodness in our lives. Let your krashanky soak up the power of the sun and bring light and positivity to your life all year long.