If you stand still at the mouth of the forest a few hundred meters away from Nik Timková’s family house in the KVP neighborhood of Košice, Slovakia, your ears will be filled thick only with silence and the chirping of a finch from a nearby tree. This is the place for the ritual – a chubby patch of wood with the city as a backdrop. The occasional glimpse further in any direction, and the silhouettes of post-soviet housing blocks remind us we are somewhere in between nature and urban sprawl.
We gather after dark on the longest night of the year and trudge through the snow carrying tea lights in mason jars and four bottles of wine.
We stand in a circle, breathing quietly. Nik starts to speak:
“The island stood in the middle of the lake, a crystal-filled fountain with water flowing in mysterious waves. Let yourself be guilty of imagination.
Four sisters danced on the top of the island to make fire from the depths of the earth. They danced until the fire pulsed in the veins of stones, cleansed, and made new beginnings.
What will you leave to the night?”
Everyone must answer.
Fear Sadness Sadness Sadness Self-doubt Confrontation Sadness Jealousy Sadness Our bodies are salt. Let us die and be born again.