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Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, diameters 20” (50cm), 2022

This new painting I created recently when I was searching  information for leading the Kupala rituals for the Fireflies Forest Festival in Tennessee.

For many centuries folks are celebrating Kupala night and cleansing their spirit, body, heart, and mind.

On this night, the heavenly gates are open and all desires go straight to the power of the sun.

A wedding of the feminine form and masculine content.

In Slavic culture, we have an old legend about Kupala and his sister Kostroma.

They met the sacred bird Sirin when they were kids and Kupala was mesmerized by the voice of the bird, Kostroma didn't like it and showed the bird her arrogance. Sirin didn't forget it and separated Kostroma from Kupala. After many years they met again and didn't recognize each other. They fell in love and got blessings for marriage but Sirin came to this celebration and reminded them that they are sister and brother and can't be married. It was considered as a big shame. Kostroma went to the river and turned to Mermaid Mavka, and Kupala went to the fire.

Gods United them in the flower of Kupala and Mavka, orange and blue.

The symbols of Kupala are the Sun as such, as well as any solar ornament or a stylized image of a flame.  The attributes of such symbolism are life, joy, happiness, the victory of light over darkness, as well as (in the sacred aspect) understanding gained through suffering.


Kostroma is the sister and wife of Kupaila, the daughter of Simargl and Kupalnitsa.  She was revered as the goddess of fertility, harvest, summer and the Sun, the patroness of lovers.  She was the elemental embodiment of Water, the creative female primary energy.  The image of Kostroma in the cultural and mythological worldview of the ancient Slavs was practically inseparable from the image of Kupala (Kupaila), her brother.

In my painting, you see the sacred bird Sirin who unites lovers, and the labyrinth that shows the time and life path. Lovers holding the fire, fire of love, and purity of their intentions. Couple wearing wreaths - symbol of the infinity, woven wreath - woven together fate.

Behind the couple - Tree Of Life and Water of purification.





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