Slavic mythology

Anthropology: An Overview of Slavic Mythology

It is widely accepted that the roots of Slavic mythology can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European period, and possibly as far back as the Neolithic period. The early Proto-Slavic clans were divided into East Slavs, West Slavs, and South Slavs. Based on the convictions and legends of the first Proto-Slavs, each gathering created its own distinct arrangement of confined folklores, divinities, and ceremonies. Some Eastern Slavic customs cross over with the divine beings and practices of their Iranian neighbors.

Customs and Ceremonies

Many Slavic customs in the old religion were based on agrarian festivals, and their dates were determined by the lunar calendar. During Velja Noc, which fell around the time we celebrate Easter today, the spirits of the dead roamed the earth, thumping on the doors of their living relatives, and shamans dressed in elaborate outfits to keep malicious spirits at bay. During the mid-year solstice or Kupala, a celebration was held that included a likeness set to land in a massive fire. This festival commemorates the marriage of the ripeness god and goddess. To respect the ripeness of the land, couples traditionally matched and celebrated with sexual customs.

Creation Myth in Slavic mythology

In the Slavic creation legends, there was only haziness, possessed by Rod, and an egg containing Svarog. Svarog moved out as the egg aired out; the residue from the breaking eggshell shaped the consecrated tree, which rose to separate the sky from the ocean and land. Svarog used gold powder from the hidden world, addressing fire, to create the world, as well as the sun and moon. The flotsam and jetsam from the egg’s lower part were assembled and molded into people and creatures. There are various versions of this creation story in various Slavic regions. They frequently include two divinities, one dim and one bright, who address the hidden world and sky. In other versions of the story, humanity is made of mud, and as the Lord of Light constructs holy messengers, the divine force of haziness creates evil spirits to provide balance.

Divine beings in Slavic mythology

The prime deity in Slavic mythology

Slavic mythology
Source: Wikipedia

There are various modern hypotheses about the prime Slavic god being Rod or Svarog, and significant sources show that divine beings such as Svarogich, Svantevit, or Triglav were revered as supreme by specific clans. Perun, on the other hand, is by far the best contender for the position of a prime god. His name is the most well-known in all memorable records of Slavic agnosticism; in fact, he is the most important Slavic god mentioned in recorded history. Before Christianization, the Primary Chronicle recognizes him as the chief divine force of Kievan Rus.

A brief note in Helmold’s Chronica Slavorum states that West Slavs believe in a solitary god in paradise who rules over the various divine beings on the planet; the name of this god isn’t mentioned, but it appears to be a reference to Perun. Furthermore, even though the name Perun does not appear in any of the broad records of West Slavic agnosticism, he was known by all parts of Slavs, as evidenced by the countless toponyms that bear his name in all Slavic nations today. By studying the legend’s texts, one can see that Perun is the main Slavic God who has had the honor of being compared to the Christian God.

Perun, on the other hand, had a match. As Roman Jakobson pointed out, whenever Perun is mentioned in memorable texts, he is always “accompanied” by another god, Veles. This relationship is also evident in toponyms. There will be a spot with a name suggestive of Veles anywhere we find a slope or a mountain top whose name can be related to Perun, beneath it, in the marshes, usually close to a waterway. As a result, just as Perun was related to God in some legends, Veles was related to the Devil.

Pantheon in Slavic mythology

As evidenced by the depiction of authentic sources, Slavs worshiped an unusually broad range of divinities across a vast geological region stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea for over 600 years. Memorable sources also show that each Slavic clan adored its divine beings, implying that each had its own pantheon. In general, ancient Slavic religion is genuinely the neighborhood and cultic, with divine beings and convictions varying from clan to clan. Nonetheless, similarly, as on account of the different Slavic dialects – it tends to be shown that they start from a solitary, Proto-Slavic language – it is likewise conceivable to layout a Proto-Slavic Olympus of some kind, and through cautious investigation of old stories, remake a few components of this unique pantheon, from which the different divine forces of the different Slavic clans began.

Perun and Veles

Veles
Source: Wikipedia

Ivanov and Toporov recreated an old legend that included two important divine forces from the Proto-Slavic pantheon, Perun and Veles. In almost every way, they represent the opposition. Perun is a magnificent divine force of the lightning storm, red hot and dry, who rules the living scene from his stronghold high above, on the highest point of the World Tree. Veles is a cthonic god associated with natural and wet waters, ruler of the hidden world, and ruler of the domain of the dead from the World Tree’s foundations. Perun is a rancher’s rainmaker, lord of war and weapons, and a contender’s summoner.

An epic battle between two of them echoes an old Indo-European legend about a battle between a tempest god and a mythical beast. Perun pursues his serpentine foe Veles, who crawls down, over the earth, with lightning bolts from the sky. Veles insults Perun and flees, transforming into various creatures and hiding behind trees, houses, or people. Perun eventually kills him, or he escapes into the water, into the hidden world. This is essentially the same thing; by killing Veles, Perun does not annihilate him, but rather returns him to his place in the realm of the dead. As a result, Perun makes a request to the world, which has been disturbed by Veles’ wickedness.

The possibility that tempests and thunder are a heavenly fight between the incomparable god and his chief foe was critical to Slavs and kept on flourishing long after Perun and Veles were supplanted by God and the Devil. A lightning bolt striking down a tree or torching a worker’s home was constantly made sense of through the conviction of a furious superb god slamming down on his natural, underworldly, foe.

Jarilo and Morana in Slavic mythology

God of love
Source: Facebook

Katic and Belaj went on down the waylaid by Ivanov and Toporov and remade the fantasy rotating around the ripeness and vegetation god, Jarilo, and his sister and spouse, Morana, the female goddess of nature and passing. Jarilo is related to the Moon and Morana is viewed as a girl of the Sun. The two of them are offspring of Perun, brought into the world the evening of the new year (Great Night). In any case, on that very night, Jarilo is grabbed from the support and taken to the hidden world, where Veles raises him as his own.

At the spring celebration of Jare/Jurjevo, Jarilo gets back from the universe of the dead (from across the ocean), bringing spring from the consistently green hidden world into the domain of the living. He meets his sister Morana and courts her. Toward the start of summer, the celebration later known as Ivanje/Ivan, Kupala praised their heavenly wedding. The sacrosanct relationship among siblings, offspring of the incomparable god, carries fruitfulness and overflow to earth, guaranteeing a plentiful collect. Likewise, since Jarilo is a (step)son of Veles, and his significant other little girl of Perun, their marriage brings harmony between two extraordinary divine beings; as such, it guarantees there will be no tempests that could harm the gather.

After the reap, in any case, Jarilo is unfaithful to his better half, and she vengefully kills him (returns him into the hidden world), recharging the hatred among Perun and Veles. Without her significant other, divine force of fruitfulness and vegetation, Morana – and all of nature with her – wilts and freezes in the forthcoming winter; she transforms into a horrible, old, and perilous goddess of obscurity and ice, and at last passes on toward year’s end. The entire legend would rehash the same thing once more each following year, and the retelling of its key parts was joined by significant yearly celebrations of the Slavic schedule. The story additionally shows various equals to comparative fantasies of Baltic and Hittite folklore.

Svarog, Svarogich, Dazhbog

Slavic mythology sky god
Source: Wikipedia

The name of Svarog is tracked down just in East Slavic original copies, where it is generally compared with the Greek smith god Hephaestus. Nonetheless, the name is extremely old, showing that Svarog was a divinity of the Proto-Slavic pantheon. The root svar implies brilliant, clear, and the postfix – og means a spot. Examination with Vedic Svarga demonstrates that Svarog essentially implied (light) sky. It is conceivable he was the first sky lord of the pantheon, maybe a Slavic form of Proto-Indo-European * Dyēus Ph2ter. Svarog can be likewise perceived as a significant sparkling, blazing spot; a fashion. This, and identification with Hephaestus from memorable sources, shows he was likewise a lord of fire and blacksmithing.

As per the understanding by Ivanov and Toporov, Svarog had two children: Svarogich, who addressed fire on the planet, and Dazhbog, who addressed fire overhead and was related to Sun. Svarog was accepted to have produced the Sun and have given it to his child Dazhbog to convey it across the sky. In Russian compositions, he is compared with Sun, and old stories recall him as a big-hearted divinity of light and sky. Serbian legends, be that as it may, presents a far hazier image of him; he is recognized as a Dog, a horrendous and weak divinity monitoring the entryways of the hidden world, related to mining and valuable metals. Veselin Čajkanović brought up that these two perspectives fit pleasantly into the imagery of Slavic sun-oriented divinity; a generous side addresses the Dazhbog during the day when he conveys the Sun across the sky.

Svantevit and Triglav in Slavic mythology

Slavic mythgology god Triglav.
Source: Wikimedia commons

It’s rather amusing that, for the time being, we can’t determine the position of these two divine beings in the Proto-Slavic pantheon, even though we have the most extensive noteworthy records expounded on them. Numerous toponyms with names related to them and disclosures of multi-headed sculptures in various Slavic terrains demonstrate that they were important to all agnostic Slavs. Both of these divine beings were revered in different ways; they were associated with divination and were represented by the pony. Svantevit had a white pony while Triglav had a dark one, and Svantevit was addressed with four heads while Triglav (whose name implies three-headed) with three.

Various hypotheses have been advanced regarding them: that they are, in fact, very similar gods; that they are not divine beings in any way, but rather mixtures of three or four divine beings, a sort of smaller than usual pantheon. Slavic neopagans will generally regard Triglav as a Trinity concept. Svantevit has also been identified as a late West Slavic variant of Perun or Jarilo, or as a sun-based god in contrast to Svarogich. None of these theories are particularly appealing, and for the most part, they are simply wild speculations, another attempt to recreate Slavic mythology as it should be rather than discovering what it was truly similar to.

Zorya and Danica

Zorya and Danica
Source: Wikipedia

These names essentially mean Dawn and Daystar, but in every Slavic country’s old story records, they are frequently portrayed as people, or connected with people, in the same way, that Sun and Moon are. Danica is frequently referred to as Sun’s younger sister or girl, and she was most likely related to Morana. As a result, Zorya was either Sun’s mother or her older sister. It is very possible that this was a Slavic remnant of the Proto-Indo-European sunrise goddess Hausos, but further investigation is required before more can be said about these divinities.

Other divine beings cannot currently be depicted as Proto-Slavic divinities. It should be noted, however, that it is possible that many of these divine beings were known by different names, even in the same language. Slavs had strict rules against using genuine names of divinities, so divine beings were frequently referred to by other names or descriptive words that portrayed their characteristics. These descriptive words eventually took on lives of their own.

Worldview through Slavic mythology

Slavic mythology tree of life
Source: Nicholas Kotar

Socially, the Slavs were coordinated as exogamous families (because of relationships outside blood relationships) or, more precisely, as sibs (collections of genealogies with normal parentage) because the marriage didn’t diminish participation in that frame of mind of one’s introduction to the world — a kind of association uncommon among Indo-European people groups. The chosen boss lacked major abilities. In the Slavic view, the world had been made unequivocally, and no new regulation should change the lifestyle sent by their forefathers. Because the gathering was not homogeneous, legitimacy and chief power were attributed solely to decisions made collectively in a gathering, and the considerations on each occasion concerned only the subject of customary adjustment.

Old Slavic social progress was among the safest on the planet. A wood soul, leshy, controls and relegates prey to trackers, according to a crude Slavic belief. Its ability to absorb food could be linked to ancient divinity. However, while the leshy was originally a defender of wild creatures, it later evolved into a defender of groups and crowds. In mid-twentieth-century Russia, if a cow or herder did not return from the field, the soul was offered wheat and eggs in exchange for a safe return.

 

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