“What is this?!”
I turned around to see my new Australian friend Dom staring up at the sky and watching as snow started to fall all around us. It was the type of snow that you can see each individual snow flake float down from the clouds and land on the ground with a soft crunch.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“It’s snowing! I’ve never seen snow before.”
I couldn’t even imagine what he must have been thinking. I had grown up with snow since I was a child and it was second nature to me. I can agree that it’s very pretty to see the snow in winter, but nothing too special about it. But not for Dom, he was getting something completely new. He started to giggle like a school-boy who just met his first crush. I’ve never seen a bigger smile or a bigger look of pure wonder on a persons face in my life. If seeing snow for the first time in his life wasn’t good enough, to make things even better, we were standing in the middle of the courtyard of a 13th century castle. Wawel Castle, to be precise. In a word, “magical.”
As I looked around at the Renaissance architecture of Wawel Castle, I felt not just the icy winter morning, but the everlasting and omnipresent embrace of Father Time and Mother Nature. It was impossible not to sense energy reverberating all around us. The first thing that came to my mind was that I was either dreaming or standing in the middle of a fairy-tale. It was too cold to be a dream.
That was over fifteen years ago, but I can still hear Dom’s awe-inspired giggle of exuberance, smell the ivy from the castle walls, see the grey sky and the white snow falling from it, and feel the omnipotent energy of something that at the time I had no idea even existed. I knew Krakow was amazing from the first moment I walked down the brick streets towards the main square, but this was something else. I had barely even heard of Krakow until a week before. It was my second day in Krakow, and the city had already cast its’ spell on me. It was as if something was reaching out to me and telling me I had to stay. So I did.
What was this undeniable magnetic pull? I could actually feel it. It might’ve started in the castle, but it extended well past the gardens of “Planty,” cloaking Krakow in a beautiful mysticism. What I didn’t know at that time, but I would later come to read about, was that this energy I was feeling, was the omnipresence of the Wawel Chakra.
Words like magic, chakras, and energy might be a little difficult for some people to swallow, but experience with Yoga, Reiki and Martial Arts has taught me that these things aren’t just real, but are all around us and are just waiting to be tapped into. Just like the chakras (or energy centers) in our body, the Earth also has them. And just like the seven main chakras of our body, the Earth also has seven main energy centers.
Legend says that the Hindu God Shiva threw seven stones in seven different directions towards Earth. This legend was given strength thanks in large part to a newspaper story published in the 1930s that two mysterious men from India were seen in an empty corner of the Wawel castle courtyard. Since then, people can be seen meditating or at least putting their hands on the North-West corner of the Wawel Castle courtyard, under St. Gereon’s chapel. It is said that the chakra stone thrown by Shiva is believed to protect the hill in which Wawel was built and the entire city of Krakow. Considering it is one of a handful of cities (and castles) that was not destroyed in Poland during WWII, lends credit to the protective energy of the chakra.
Whether you believe in these things or not, one thing is for sure, Krakow is special. Maybe you can’t feel this esoteric energy, but it’s hard to miss the vivaciousness that is reverberating throughout the city as people of all ages and cultures walk through the timeworn streets. If you perhaps can’t find it during the day, I am more than confident you will feel it at night when the streets come alive with the 150,000 plus students that belong to the ten or more different universities. Many of them looking for a place to drink and dance the night away or just hang out around the main square talking with friends.