My Three Friends: Morana, Meluzína, and Jitřenka

Maybe you’ve heard about them in Slavic fairy tales. Whether we call them goddesses, archetypes, or symbols, these three ladies have been present in some form in our culture since time immemorial – quite possibly since the days of the Celts, who inhabited this land long before the Slavs and long before Christianity relegated them to the realm of fairy tales.

The Best Time for Transformation

Changes are the only constant in life. But if you’re considering a transformation, something truly fundamental, then the period that’s just beginning is the best. The lengthening night invites us inside, to the fireplace, to contemplation and reassessment. Current research confirms what we’ve long known in personal development – change takes time, and the minimum time for a long-term, sustainable change in habits or lifestyle is 90 days. In other words, give it three months or more.

I have experience leading three-month transformational courses, and there’s no doubt that this format works profoundly. The first month is a kind of “deconstruction” – breaking down the current state, observing our habits, and enhancing our perception of the problem. The second month is particularly challenging because the old is gone, and the new is not yet. It’s a period of so-called liminality, also known as limbo, no-man’s-land, or the “swamp.” We feel like nothing is happening, and we’d rather just quit. Only in the third month does something constructive happen. It’s not baked and clear yet, but there’s a spark of hope, light at the end of the tunnel, a clear direction. This arc precisely mirrors the qualities of the Morana, Meluzína, and Jitřenka (a.k.a. Zora) archetypes. Each corresponds to a specific period in the annual cycle, the energy of which perfectly suits the needs of the transformational process.

Step 1 – Morana Cuts Through It (From Haloween to the winter solstice)

You might be familiar with the Slavic goddess of death known as Morana (Morena, Marzanna…). This symbol was likely preceded by or similar to Celtic Cailleach, Greek Hecate, as well as Atropos, Demeter, Morta or Ceres. Slavic people in the past (and in some places today) symbolically carried Morana out of their villages in the spring, threw her into a river or burned as an effigy. But to carry her away, she had to rule first. Her rein begins on October 31, with the Celtic festival of Samhein (later known as the Christian All Saints’ Day > All Hallows Eve > Halloween). So, the connection between witches and Halloween is actually a commercialized version of a very important holiday when our ancestors remembered mortality and believed (or perhaps felt) that this time is when the veil between our world and the other world is thinnest. These days, we commemorate the All Souls’ Day on November 2 and honor our ancestors. This is the first of important reflections on our striving and efforts—what would those before us say about it? Is it even worth it? Will we take it with us to the “other world” someday? When you light a candle for your grandma or grandpa, ask them – perhaps they’ll answer.

Morana symbolizes a woman – a crone and the ruler of death. But I perceive her much like the archetype of a mature woman who doesn’t mess around, doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, and says everything straightforwardly. It has to be frightening. Yes, she’s quirky and uncompromising, but it suits her—and we need her. We need to admit how things really are. What no longer serves us must go. Morana doesn’t have time for toxic relationships. She’s heard it all a thousand times. She’s not interested in fears—off you go. In fairy tales, you can also find her as the embodiment of fate, a weaver who spins human destinies. Therefore, her symbols are a spindle, a skein, and scissors with which she mercilessly cuts away everything unnecessary. And it’s precisely this energy that we need at the beginning of the transformational process—a kind of decisive “Enough. I don’t want this anymore. Anything but this.”

Step 2 – Meluzína Cleanses (From Christmas to Candlemas)

The name Meluzína might originate from the traditional French folklore figure of Melusine (a woman with a serpent tail), but in Czech, it’s mostly associated with wind. Specifically, winds howling in chimneys and under doors in the winter. In some contexts, we might hear of Větrnice (wind goddess), possibly from the Norse sky goddess Frigg, whose celebration is tied (not surprisingly) to the winter solstice. Whatever the name and origin, the energy tends to be the same.

Remember her in January whenever you hear a howling wind. She comes to us with the cold northern wind and blows away everything we shattered into pieces with Morana. Her airy nature brings us lightness, perspective, and perhaps a sense of our wings opening. But it’s still dark and cold, so the best thing is to curl up and cocoon yourself in a blanket. But be careful, that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. This cocooning is precisely what you need most right now like a caterpillar slowly transforming into a butterfly in its cocoon.

The central theme is to create a safe space for change, take your time, and not rush things. The new habits you learned in the first month need to be reinforced now – put one foot in front of the other, even if you don’t know where you’re going yet. This is precisely that interim period where the old self is gone, but the new hasn’t arrived yet. With the coming new year, we tend to make big resolutions and plans, but who can maintain that enthusiasm – even until the end of January? There’s no energy for it. At this time, we shouldn’t be rushing to the gym and desperately shedding gained pounds. We should be sitting by the fire, contemplating, taking small, gradual steps. Nature is sleeping, and we should sleep as much as possible to gather strength for spring.

Step 3 – Jitřenka Shows Us the Way (From Candlemas to the Spring Equinox)

Jitřenka neboli Zora je mýtickým symbolem nové naděje, probuzení, jiskry, světla na konci tunelu – a poslední ranní “hvězdy” na obloze (planeta Venuše). Jitřenka nám udává směr, je to hvězda, za kterou se můžeme s jistotou vydat. Je zobrazována jako mladá dívka, panna, nevinná, veselá a jiskřivá. Venku ještě není úplně teplo, ale příroda už se začíná probouzet. Pod sněhem na nás vykukují krokusy a sněženky, s předstihem začínají kvést kočičky. Období předjaří je krásnou předzvěstí něčeho nového – světla, tepla, životní energie a nových začátků.

Jitřenka, also known as Zora or Zorya, symbolizes the last morning “star” in the sky (the planet Venus, most visible in winter in the Northern Hemisphere). The Greeks called her Eosphorus (dawn-bringer). Jitřenka symbolizes new hope, awakening, sparks, light at the end of the tunnel. Jitřenka sets our direction – it’s the star we can confidently follow. She is depicted as a young girl, a maiden, innocent, cheerful, and sparkling. It can be obviously linked to the pagan festival of Imbolc (February 1), associated with the youthful goddess Brigid (and later St. Brigid / Candlemas). Outside is not entirely warm yet, but nature is starting to awaken. Crocuses and snowdrops peek out from under the snow, and pussy willows begin to bloom ahead of other plants. In Czech, we beautifully call this period pre-spring. It’s a beautiful harbinger of something new—light, warmth, life energy, and new beginnings.

V této fázi transformačního procesu už máme dočištěno a je nám jasné, co je “naším šálkem čaje” a co ne. Možná ještě úplně nevíme, kam nová cesta povede, ale stoprocentně víme, že nevede zpět. Teprve nyní přicházejí první pořádné nápady na to, co se sebou vlastně chceme dělat, teď, když už si neneseme zátěž z minulosti. Možná jsme měli nějakou vizi či nápad hned od začátku, ale teď přišel čas je přehodnotit. Chceme to doopravdy nebo to byla jen vize, která nás postrčila ke změně? Jitřenka je mladá, otevřená a rozverná. Dogmata a fixní představy ji nezajímají. Hledá autentičnost a dodává odvahu. Připravuje nás na ten nával jarní energie, který našim představám a projektům propůjčí přicházející Vesna.

In this phase of the transformational process, we’ve already cleansed what was in the way. Now it’s clearer what is “our cup of tea” and what is not. We might not yet know exactly where the new path will lead, but we are sure it doesn’t lead back. Now that we no longer carry the burden of the past, the first proper ideas come regarding what we actually want. Perhaps we had a vision or an idea right from the start, but now is the time to reconsider it. Do we really want it, or was it just a vision that nudged us toward a change? Jitřenka is young, open, and playful. Dogmas and fixed ideas don’t interest her. She seeks authenticity and instills courage. She prepares us for the surge of energy that will infuse our visions and projects with the upcoming rule of Vesna, the goddess of spring.

Inspiration for the Modern Age

It doesn’t matter whether you perceive Morana, Meluzína, and Jitřenka as mere fairy-tale characters or as energies to which you can attune yourself. For me, they function primarily as reference points—moments that remind me of where I am on my journey. It’s useful to pause for a moment, look at an image or symbol, and become aware of whether I am in harmony with nature or not.

A significant challenge during this period is the Christmas season, an occasion most of us experience hectically, with no thought of taking a stroll in the chilly countryside. There’s no chance of having the time to gather rose hips left by the first frost in this rush. Like everyone, I prefer nature when it’s green and full of flowers, but I have learned to be grateful even for the morning frost on the withered thistle. There is also beauty in that – if we are willing to see it.

Decaying leaves are a beautiful symbol of how Morana can process what has served its purpose. Everything in nature has its place and essence, no matter how transient. The old becomes nourishment for the new. And that is the principle of transformation. Its goal is not to “get rid of” the past but to process it, integrate it, and move forward. We can learn from our mistakes, but they can also become our mission—what teaches others. Clearly, our ancestors knew all this. Let’s learn from their wisdom… and begin with that candle at the cemetery to honor those who paved the way for us.

My Three Friends: Morana, Meluzína, and Jitřenka
Tagged on: