November 14, 2010

Dazbog

Dazbog was one of the major gods of Slavic mythology, most likely a solar deity and possibly a cultural hero. He is one of several authentic Slavic gods, mentioned by a number of medieval manuscripts, and one of the few Slavic gods for which evidence of worship can be found in all Slavic nations.
Dazbog was a god of the Sun, flame and rain. Dazbog was also considered to be a giver-god, because one of his names was Dajbog. The first part of the name is “daj” – a form of the verb to give, while the second part “bog” means god. But what did Dazbog actually give? It is possible that giving refers the Sun and sunlight which is essential for many natural processes. The Sun was also very important to the Slavs. It was the source of life and was always considered to be a positive force. The Sun gave life to the Earth, and the god who gave it was therefore Dajbog. Dazbog actually stands for the Sun disc.



To a family he was a protector of the house’s fireplace and its fire, man’s basic necessity for survival during the winter, and an indispensable help in performing everyday work. But flames could be cruel and turn against men, and take them to the underworld or destroy their property. Flames’ benevolence was crucial to survival, and many rituals were therefore related to them.
Dazbog was definitely the god of rain, too. The rain was important because harvests depended upon it. In times of drought many rain invoking rituals were performed.
Slavs thought of themselves as Dazbog’s grandchildren, or his lineal descendants. Due to a short lifespan, it was uncommon in those times that grandchildren should meet their grandfather.



Upon conversion to Christianity demonic characteristics were attributed to Dazbog. He became the most powerful of the demons and the main opponent of the Christian God. This was possibly due to his appearance of a lame one-eyed old man, dressed in dark bear skin, dwelling in the underworld quite often. We can however opt for the possibility that this was due to the power of Dazbog’s cult that was to be eliminated at all costs. Dazbog’s characteristics were later in Christianity transferred to St Sava, who was also presented in folk tales as a shepherd followed by a wolf. St Sava is also a giver in those tales.


November 11, 2010

Slavic God Triglav


Triglav also sometimes called troglav is a god or complex of gods in Slavic mythology, similar in nature to the Trinity in Christianity or Trimurti in Hinduism. A variant of his name is Troyan.
Triglav is a unity of three gods. The exact members of the triad vary by place and time. An early variation included Svarog, Perun, and Dajbog. Later, Dajbog was replaced by Svetovid or Veles. Triglav is usually described as a fusion of these gods. More rarely he is said to be their son. It may also be a unity of lesser gods (Lesser Triglav).




In one legend, Triglav is veiled completely, so holy that he cannot see the evil deeds of men. He rarely appears around mortals.
Triglav is depicted as a three-headed man sometimes with bands of (gold) blindfolds over his eyes, or a man with three goat heads. Several temples dedicated to Triglav existed near Szczecin, Poland. During the period of Christianization, these temples and statues of Triglav were completely destroyed.
Triglav's heads represent sky, earth and the Underworld. Some priests believed that Triglav has three heads because he rules all three kingdoms (sky, earth and hell) and has a binding over his eyes so he could not see people's sins. His eyes are said to possess great power (that's why all eyes on his statues are covered). It is generally believed that Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia, was named after the god.



Unfortunately there is not much information about Triglav, pictures as well, but I think this is enough about him!
And woow I have 70 followers! Thanks so much guys for your support! :D
Enjoy your reading! ^^

November 9, 2010

Slavic Goddess Mokosh

Mokoš, also spelled Mokosh, the goddess of life-giving in ancient Slavic mythology. She is the only female deity mentioned in the Old Kievan pantheon of ad 980 and has survived in East Slavic folk beliefs as Mokoša, or Mokuša. A tall woman with a large head and long arms, she spins flax and wool at night and shears sheep.



Goddess Mokos was worshipped by the Eastern Slavs, but some forms of her name also appear among the Western Slavs (Mukes, Mukus, Mococize). Mokos was the goddess of spinning, but she was also a protector of women, taking care about their health and their children. She helped the women in labour and protected their babies, at the same time helping the women keep a good marriage. Besides spinning, Mokos was connected with other duties reserved for women and with household management, but spinning was the skill that was in close relation with this goddess. There were many customs concerning Mokos as the protector of the spinners.
Another action related to Mokos was casting spells. The women that practiced sorcery in the 16th century Russia were called mokose.




Mokos could also be connected with the adjective mokro (= wet), which makes some authors identify her with Majka Vlazna Zemlja. This identification is certainly based on one of Mokos's characteristics – she was also seen as the goddess of fertility. The rain was therefore sometimes referred to as "Mokos’s milk". The term Mokos is also used in Finland, where it can usually be found as a surname. The Finns are thought to have taken this name over from the Slavs, or to be more precise, those whose last name is Mokos are thought to be of Slavic origin.



November 8, 2010

Slavic God Stribog


Very little is known about Stribog today. A lot of information about this deity is lost, even though Stribog was one of the most important gods of the Slavs. Testimony to his role and importance is the fact that he is mentioned in all the old epics about the Slavs.
In the epic ”Slovo o polku Igorove “ it is said that the winds, the grandsons of Stribog, blow from the sea. This leads to conclusion that Stribog is imagined as an old person, since he has grandsons. The grandsons were the winds from all directions.

                             

He was imagined as an old man who had a warrior’s horn. With this horn he woke up the winds, his grandsons. Because of this feature a lot of army chiefs identified with Stribog and saw him as an ideal. By the same token, princes often built his idols and worshipped them. Stribog was especially worshipped in Kievian Russia, with the eastern Slavs. A lot of records from that time tell us about this. In the record Povest vremennih let it is mentioned that Stribog’s statue was built on a hill above Kiev, together with Perun’s, Hors’, Dažbog’s, Simargil’s and Mokoš’s.
Stribog was also a protector of Vesna, together with Jarilo. Stribog, as a god of wind and air, brought Vesna every spring on the wings of an easy spring gale. Together they defeated Morana every spring and brought spring and better life conditions to the earthly  world.

                              

     Eagle was the animal consecrated to  Stribog. Plants consecrated to Stribog were hawthorn and oak. When pledges were made, Stribog was often warrantor. Festivities in Stribog’s honor were organized in the summer as well as in the winter. They were probably organized in the summer  in order to invocate winds and rain, while in the winter they were organized in order to appease him. In the period of Christianization Stribog’s characteristics were overtaken by St. Bartholomew and Stevan vetroviti (windy).

November 6, 2010

Jarilo

Jarilo was a major male Proto-Slavic deity of vegetation, fertility and spring, also associated with war and harvest.
He was a fairly typical life-death-rebirth deity, believed to be (re)born and killed every year. His mythical life cycle followed the yearly life of various wheat plants, from seeding through vegetation to harvest.
Jarilo was a son of the supreme Slavic god of thunder, Perun, his lost, missing, tenth son, born on the last night of February, the festival of Velja Noć (Great Night), the pagan Slavic celebration of the New Year. On the same night, however, Jarilo was stolen from his father and taken to the world of dead, where he was adopted and raised by Veles, Perun's enemy, Slavic god of the underworld and cattle.
The Slavs believed the underworld to be an ever-green world of eternal spring and wet, grassy plains, where Jarilo grew up guarding the cattle of his stepfather. In the mythical geography of ancient Slavs, the land of dead was assumed to lie across the sea, where migrating birds would fly every winter.
With the advent of spring, Jarilo returned from the otherworld, that is, from across the sea, into the living world, bringing spring and fertility to the land. Spring festivals of Jurjevo/Jarilo that survived in later folklore celebrated his return. Katičić identified a key phrase of ancient mythical texts which described this sacred return of vegetation and fertility as a rhyme hoditi/roditi (to walk/to give birth to), which survived in folk songs:
...Gdje Jarilo hodi, tu vam polje rodi...
"...Where Jarilo walks, there your field gives birth..."


The first of gods to notice Jarilo's return to the living world was Morana, a goddess of death and nature, and also a daughter of Perun and Jarilo's twin-sister. The two of them would fall in love and court each other through a series of traditional, established rituals, imitated in various Slavic courting or wedding customs. The divine wedding between the brother and the sister, two children of the supreme god, was celebrated in a festival of summer solstice, today variously known as Ivanje or Ivan Kupala in the various Slavic countries. This sacred union of Jarilo and Morana, deities of vegetation and of nature, assured abundance, fertility and blessing to the earth, and also brought temporary peace between two major Slavic gods, Perun and Veles, signifying heaven and underworld. Thus, all mythical prerequisites were met for a bountiful and blessed harvest that would come in late summer.

However, since Jarilo's life was ultimately tied to the vegetative cycle of the cereals, after the harvest (which was ritually seen as a murder of crops), Jarilo also met his death. The myth explained this by the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife, and so she (or her father Perun, or his other nine sons, her brothers) kills him in retribution. This rather gruesome death is in fact a ritual sacrifice, and Morana uses parts of Jarilo's body to build herself a new house. This is a mythical metaphor which alludes to rejuvenation of the entire cosmos, a concept fairly similar to that of Scandinavian myth of Ymir, a giant from whose body the gods created the world.
Without her husband, however, Morana turns into a frustrated old hag, a terrible and dangerous goddess of death, frost and upcoming winter, and eventually dies by the end of the year. At the beginning of the next year, both she and Jarilo are born again, and the entire myth starts new.

November 4, 2010

Svetovid

Svetovid is the Slavic deity of war, fertility and abundance.
He always carries his sword (sometimes bow) in one hand, and in the other a drinking horn. Svetovid had a white horse which was kept in his temple and taken care of by priests. It was believed Svantevit rode this horse in battle. The horse was used for divination. Victory in battle, merchant travels and a successful harvest all depended on Svantevit.
Svetovid is associated with war and divination and depicted as a four-headed god with two heads looking forward and two back. A statue portraying the god shows him with four heads, each one looking in a separate direction, a symbolical representation of the four directions of the compass, and also perhaps the four seasons of the year.

                               

                          

The main temple of Svantevit, as he was called by the local Rani, was located in Arkona on Rugia Island in the Baltic Sea (today Rügen, in Germany).

Some interpretations claim that Svetovit was another name for Radegast, while another states that he was a fake god, a Wendish construction based on the name St. Vitus. However, the common practice of the Christian Church was to replace existing pagan deities and places of worship with analogous persons and rituals of Christian content, so it seems more likely that Saint-Vitus was created to replace the original Svanto-Vit. According to a questionable interpretation, Svantevit was a Rugian counterpart of the all-Slavic Perun common in Slavic mythology.

                                 

November 3, 2010

Slavic Goddess Morana

Morana was the Slavic goddess of winter and death. As the goddess of winter, she was never popular among the Old Slavs, which is understandable if we have in mind the climate in which they used to live. Morana was a long and cold winter, a winter that could bring death through famine and extreme cold, that could cause disease and massive death of the cattle.


Her arrival was therefore always expected with fear and her departure was celebrated with a lot of noise and cheer. Her complete opposite was goddess Vesna, whom the people used to welcome with festivals and jubilation, at the same time joyfully witnessing the departure of Morana – the winter. Numerous rituals were connected with seeing Morana off. People would most frequently make a doll representing this goddess and then ritually destroy it. They made the doll from straw or switches, and then beat it with their hoes. After that they either threw it into the water or burned it. There was another ritual related to Morana, that was performed in the month of March. That was the so-called mackare (maska = mask), when a masked group of people used to gather in order to scare Morana and drive her away.


Morana was described as a woman of dark hair and a terrifying appearance. A similar description was used for another creature of quite the same nature – Kuga (kuga = the plague). Kuga was probably just one of the aspects of Morana. Another was Mora – a female demon that attacked people by night and sat on their chest causing nightmares. Witches were also connected with Morana, like many other demonic beings. But we cannot claim that Morana was an entirely negative goddess. No pagan system has a deity with such characteristics, since the unrealistic division between the absolute good and absolute evil came only with Christianity. In Morana we have an example of how our ancestors worshipped even something that did not bring them good, but rather made them scared and terrified.

That would be all for today! Thanks for your support! Enjoy! ^^

November 2, 2010

Perun

Actually, this is one of my favourite gods in Slavic mythology! So, lets get started! :P


In Slavic mythology, Perun is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were the fire, mountains, the oak, iris, eagle, firmament, horses and carts, weapons (the hammer, axe (Axe of Perun) and arrow) and war. He was first associated with weapons made of stone and later with those of metal.
Like Germanic Thor, Perun is described as a rugged man with a copper beard. He rides in a chariot pulled by a goat buck and carries a mighty axe, or sometimes a hammer. The axe is hurled at evil people and spirits and will always return to his hand.


With the arrival of Christianity, various churches had a difficult time trying to overcome the worship of the old supreme deities of the Slavs. In the East, the Eastern Orthodox Church gradually managed to pass much of Perun's characteristics on to a new Christian saint, Elijah the Thunderer, based upon the Old Testament prophet Elijah, whom the Scriptures state rode a flaming chariot through heaven; this seemed a good enough approximation of the old thunder god with his fiery bolts. In the west, the Roman Catholic Church offered St. Michael the Archangel, who, as a commander of heavenly armies and vanquisher of the Devil, was also a fitting replacement for Perun. It is also possible that on a local level Perun was replaced with St. Vitus, where this saint did not, due to similarities in names, replace another important Slavic god, Svantovit; however, it is also possible that already in pagan times, the worship of Perun was challenged by a growing cult of Svetovid (Svantovit). On some levels of folklore and popular Christianity, some of Perun's characteristics were passed on to the Christian God himself.

In Slavic mythology, much like in Norse mythology, the world was represented by a sacred tree, usually an oak, whose branches and trunk represented the living world of heavens and mortals, whilst its roots represented the underworld, i.e. the realm of dead. Perun was a ruler of the living world, sky and earth, and was often symbolised by an eagle sitting on the top of the tallest branch of the tree, from which he kept watch over the entire world.
While the exact pantheon characterization differed between the Slavic tribes, Perun is generally believed to have been considered as the supreme god by the majority, or perhaps nearly all Slavs, at least towards the end of Slavic paganism. The earliest supreme god was probably Rod; it is unclear precisely how and why his worship as the head of pantheon evolved into the worship of Perun. Another candidate for supreme deity among at least some Slavs is Svarog.


 


 Here is one video with great pics of Perun and the song is not bad. :P

 Enjoy! ^^

November 1, 2010

Veles

Veles s a major Slavic supernatural force of earth, waters and the underworld, associated with dragons, cattle, magic, musicians, wealth and trickery. He is the opponent of the Supreme thunder-god Perun, and the battle between two of them constitutes one of the most important myths of Slavic mythology. No direct accounts survive, but reconstructions speculate that he may directly continue aspects of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon and that he may have been imagined as (at least partially) serpentine, with horns (of a bull, ram or some other domesticated herbivore), and a long beard. By all accounts, he was considered as an evil god with gray shades.
Veles is one of few Slavic gods for which evidence of offerings can be found in all Slavic nations. The Primary Chronicle, a historical record of the early Eastern Slavic state, is the earliest and most important record, mentioning a god named Volos several times. Here, Volos is mentioned as god of cattle and peasants, who will punish oath-breakers with diseases, the opposite of Perun who is a described as a ruling god of war who punishes by death in battle.
Ancient Slavs viewed their world as a huge tree, with the treetop and branches representing the heavenly abode of gods and the world of mortals, whilst the roots represented the underworld. And while Perun, seen as a hawk or eagle sitting on a tallest branch of tree, was believed to be ruler of heaven and living world, Veles, seen as a huge serpent coiling around the roots, was ruling the world of dead. This was actually quite a lovely place, described in folk tales as a green and wet world of grassy plains and eternal spring, where various fantastic creatures dwell and the spirits of deceased watch over Veles' herds of cattle. In more geographical terms, the world of Veles was located, the Slavs believed, "across the sea", and it was there the migrating birds would fly to every winter. In folk tales this land is called Virey or Iriy. Each year, the god of fertility and vegetation, Jarilo, who also dwelt there during winter, would return from across the sea and bring spring into the world of the living.
Veles also regularly sent spirits of the dead into the living world as his heralds. Festivals in honour of him were held near the end of the year, in winter, when time was coming to the very end of world order, chaos was growing stronger, the borders between worlds of living and dead were fading, and ancestral spirits would return amongst the living. This was the ancient pagan celebration of Velja noc (Great Night), the relic of which still persists amongst many Slavic countries in folk customs of Koleda, a kind of combination of carnival and Halloween, which can happen anywhere from Christmas up to end of February. Young men, known as koledari or vucari would dress long coats of sheep's wool and don grotesque masks, roaming around villages in groups and raising a lot of noise. They sang songs saying they travelled a long way, and they are all wet and muddy, an allusion of the wet underworld of Veles from which they came as ghosts of dead. The master of any house they visited would welcome them warmly and presented them with gifts. This is an example of Slavic shamanism, which also indicates Veles was a god of magic and wealth. The gifts given to koledari were probably believed to be passed onto him (which makes him very much like a dragon hoarding treasure), thus ensuring good fortune and wealth for the house and family through entire year. As seen in descriptions from the Primary Chronicle, by angering Veles one would be stricken by diseases.


That enough about Veles, although there is still much about him. :D
Tomorrow I will represent you God Perun! Enjoy you reading! Slava! :D