Last weekend I managed a quick trip out to Hostýn about 100km from Brno.
According to a traditional legend, first recorded in 1665 by the writer Bohuslav Balbín in his work Diva Montis Sancti, during the disastrous raid of the “Tartars” in the 13th century, people who were seeking asylum here lacked water and they prayed Mary for help. It is said that a stream of water came out of the ground and a powerful storm forced Tatars to retreat.
That being what it may be, the site is very ancient and was once perhaps a Celtic fortress or settlement of some kind. Another article I found states that…
Hostýn is also a very important archaeological site. The first mention of it dates back to the middle of the 16th century and it is written about Hoštejn. Later archaeological findings, however, confirmed that approximately two hundred years BC, the Celts settled in the place. There was always water in Hostýn, so they could set up a settlement on its top. Moreover, it was also a safe place, the top of the hill was already surrounded by a massive protective wall.
It was built by people about 1500 years BC. The technique used to build the wall is interesting. They allegedly deposited piles of stones, covered them with clay and then burned them. The process was repeated in several more layers. This made the stone wall perfectly solid. In the 19th century, the wall was noticed by the church historian Béda Dudík and he discovered that it was 1825 meters long and was interrupted in places where there were gates.
The construction followed terrain unevenness, so it was reportedly up to 13 meters wide and 15 meters high in some sections. The Val na Hostýně is still visible today. The Celts from the rampart built an opidum, and from this position they could control movement on the Amber Trail that passed through the region.
According to researchers, the Celtic period is the most famous era of the prehistoric settlement of Hostýn. They still find the remains of their activities. In addition to typical ceramics, amber jewelry, whorls from looms and even hut foundations. A small Celtic water reservoir has been preserved. Originally it was a place with more springs. It was not until the end of the 17th century that a water chapel with a cellar was built around the modified main spring.
Water was collected into it and then flowed back into nature through free spouts. When at the beginning of the 20th century began to build a religious-accommodation complex in Hostýn, the whole spring was rebuilt and the water outlets were separated in two levels. Pilgrims in the upper took water as sacred, on the lower floor they washed their feet because most of them went barefoot to Hostýn.
So, the water plainly wasn’t anything to do with Mary. It was always there. Wikipedia also makes this quite clear…
The first medieval chapel of Virgin Mary was probably built by the miners and was first mentioned in 1544 without any reference to the legend, which probably originated from the existence of massive walls, chapel and spring near the hilltop. At the time when the legend was first mentioned by Bohuslav Balbín (1665), it was a clear analogy to the contemporary war with the Turks. After another successful war against Turks there were an increasing number of pilgrims visiting Hostýn, so a new basilica was built in 1721–1748 together with Via Crucis, the pilgrims’ hospice and other facilities.
Another chapel was built next to the spring of “holy water”, which was believed by locals to possess a healing effect. This led to the nickname “Moravian Lourdes” for Hostýn. A 240-step stairway from the spring to the basilica was constructed in 1909.
In 1903 new open-air Stations of the Cross were built by the architect Dušan Jurkovič, and are now a major tourist attraction for the region, together with the basilica itself, attracting not only Catholic pilgrims but thousands of other tourists. The largest crowds at the site were in August 1912, when the main statue of Virgin Mary was crowned by the golden crown blessed in Rome by Pius X. The number of pilgrims and other visitors was estimated to be 200,000 within ten days.
The day we visited it was really really windy and that wind was biting cold. It was also a Sunday, so I didn’t get into the basilica because there was a service going on. I did take my rods and did detect an energy line going straight into the front door and passing directly through the water temple lower down the hill but the cold wind made my hands so cold, I didn’t persist with the rods. For me, the place lacked the presence I had hoped for until sitting in front of the well – more on that below. In fact, as is typical with many Catholic sites, it’s all rather tacky and commercial with lots of small huts selling everything from plastic rosaries and crucifixes to sausages with ketchup! Despite that, the basilica is beautiful indeed and well worthy of a future visit in warmer weather.
It was actually down the hill a bit that we found the water temple. Dedicated to Mary, there is a real energy there that put the hair on the back of my neck on notice. It is sited on a natural spring and a variety of taps, sinks and so on allow you to take some of the water which is clean, ice cold and nice to drink. It is said to have healing properties and I would not at all be surprised as the place is pulsating with earth energies. I collected a bottle worth while others came with plastic gallon tanks and filled them up to the top.
What puzzled me most was the way in which Mary and child Jesus are depicted. Mary stands afoot a large crescent moon and in the hand of the baby Jesus is a strange device from which emanates lightning. I have seen this device and lightening before….. Zeus. To me, there is something strange about the place. This is to me not Jesus but Zeus depicted here. I found a reference to this strange depiction by a devout Catholic who said they had seen nothing like it except in one small village in south America. So it seems a pretty rare way to depict the Mother and Child – at least in christianity.
According to the history of the Gods, “Zeus’ father, Cronus, had castrated and deposed his own father, Uranus, who personified the sky in Greek mythology. And Cronus had then topped that act by gobbling up most of his own children. Zeus was rescued from his siblings’ fate when his mother saved him by tricking his father into swallowing a stone instead of her infant son. After he grew up, he rescued his brothers and sisters and went to war against his father.”
I came away a bit puzzled by the place honestly and determined to revisit it. While I was there, I had Mary Magdalene in my mind the entire time as opposed to Mary, Mother of Jesus. Plainly, this site is one of feminine Earth and Water energies and is associated with healing. Anyone with any thoughts, please do let me know….