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The Banniki (sing. Bannik) Any of a class of household
spirits, these being particularly associated with the bath-house, or Sauna.
Baba Yaga An aged crone, often described as a witch or
an ogress, who dwells in the forest and appears in several Russian folktales.
In some sources She is solitary, in others She is any of three sisters,
each having the same name. She/They dwell in a marvelous hut, which is in
constant motion, often described as "spinning" or "turning
about"; it accomplishes this by means of
large birds feet. Baba Yaga is usually referred to in
pejorative terms; She is said to lure children to her, only to catch, cook,
and eat them. She is
also said to be a Guardian Spirit of the Fountain of
the Water of Life. If she doesn't kill you, she can sometimes be induced to
give advice and magical gifts to wanderers and heroes.
Beda (disaster) Goddess of misfortune and disaster.
Belobog (The White God) West Slavonic A God of
happiness and luck.
Bestalannitsa (Luckless) Goddess of misfortune.
Chernobog (The Black God) West Slavonic A God of evil,
grief and woe. His legend is one source of inspiration for the music of
Moussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain".
Chernogolov (Black-Head) A God of misfortune who was
representative as man wih black head and silver moustaches.
Dabog (Gift-Lord ?) South Slavonic A clear cognate with
Dazhdebog, below. Some sources, however, hold that Dabog is an earthly,
rather than aerial figure, and that the two should be differentiated.
Dazhdebog (Gift-Lord, The God of Gifts) East Slavonic A
God of sun andwarmth, son of Svarog and one of the eight primary
Slavonic deities. He is regarded as the ultimate ancestor of the Russian
people, and even today a poetic reference to Russians can be made using the
phrase "children" or "grandchildren of Dazhdebog".
Div (miracle) God of the miraculous, also a God of the
wildwood (thicket) who was hostile to humanity. At first he was a God of
clear sky, but the tales tell that He was overthrown from the sky by Perun,
and settled in the thicket of wood.
Dolya (fate) Goddess of happiness and luck.
The Domoviye (sing. Domovoi) Any of a class of
household spirits, animistic tutelaries of hearth and home who function as guardians
and helps or
hindrances in household affairs.
Gore (Grief) Goddess of grief and woe.
The Gumeniki (sing. Gumenik) Any of a class of
animistic spirits, tutelaries to storehouses, grainaries, and the like.
Jarila The Serbo-Croatian equivalent of Yarila.
Khors God of sun and light, and one of the eight
primary Slavonic deities. He seems to have an association with dogs, as well.
Koshchei the Deathless A mythological figure, the ruler
of a land variously described as "Thrice-Ten Kingdom, or the
"Kingdom Beyond Blue Kingdoms". He is nearly immortal, having (as is so often the case)
but one mortal weakness: a pin in his possession (and very closely
guarded) will be his doom should its point ever be broken off. His role in
the tales is as the captor of beautiful princesses, who must needs be
recovered by their
suitors. His doom is encompassed by Prince Ivan, who
seeks the rescue of his lady.
Kostroma (from "Koster" = 'bonfire') A
fertility Goddess, personification of spring, who dies at the end of spring, only to arise
once more at the end of winter. She was represented as girl dressed in white
with oak branch in the hand. Her thatched scarecrow is burnt in a bonfire on
the holiday of "Parting of Spring".
Krivda (insult) Goddess of bitterness, hatred, and
Kruchina (grieving) A Goddess of mourning, imaged as an
eternally weeping woman.
Kupala God of summer, husband of his sister Marena. His
thatched scarecrow is burnt in a bonfire on the holiday of "Ivana
Kupala" (the day of Summer Sunstaying).
Lada Goddess of love and beauty. She was represented as
girl dressed in white with flower wreath on the head and with flowers
in the hands.
Lel God of love. He was represented as youth dressed in
white with flower wreath on the head.
The Leshiye (sing. Leshy) Any of a class of animistic
nature spirits, having charge and stewardship over wild animals. As the idea
evolved, Leshy spirits came to be seen as guides and guardians of domesticated
creatures, as well.
Likho Odnoglazoye (Likho One-eye ["likhiy"=
'odd'] ) A Goddess of privation and suffering that was represented as thin, one-eyed,
Marena The Goddess of winter, and as such She became
(not unpredictably) a spirit of hunger, sickness, epidemic, and death.
Nevertheless, late versions of Her show an increasing association with home and
hearth. She was wife of her brother Kupala. In Christian time some her
functions were conflated with St. Maria.
Maria Morevna Probably not divine as such, there are
nevertheless some echoes of a connection with Marena. She is a
warrior-princess who figures in one version of the Koshchei cycle. She weds Prince
Ivan, and warns him from examining a particular room in her Kremlin. In it, she
holds captive Koshchei, who is released upon Ivan's ill-considered
ministrations. After much hardship and adventure, she is released from
captivity and Koshchei slain by a repentant Ivan, in a fairly thinly glossed
Marzana Poland The Polish equivalent of Marena.
Mokosh (Weaver or Spinner) Goddess of home and hearth,
perhaps sovereign over the Domovoi, a patroness of fertility and
midwifery, and one of the
eight primary Slavonic deities. She was the wife of
Perun, and was represented as a woman with a large head, long arms and
unkempt hair. Her
sacred day is Friday. In Christian times she became
conflated with the Virgin Mary, and St.Paraskeva.
Nav (related to Aryan for "Boat") The Goddess
of Death. She is said to secretly cast up a little bone ("Navya kostochka"
= `Nav's bone') in a victim's food, and when the fragment is swallowed, they
die. Her sacred day was "Naviy den" (Nav's day) the last Thursday
of the Great Lent in Christian
times. The valkyrie-like servants of Nav were the Navki
(sing. Navka), the Mavki (sing. Mavka), and the "Twelve
Nedolya (Unfated) A Goddess of sadness and dissatisfaction.
Nesreha Yugoslavia The Serbian equivalent of Nestrecha.
Nestrecha A goddess of grief and failure.
Nuzhda A Goddess of hardship and poverty.
The Ovinniki (sing. Ovinnik) Any of a class of
animistic spirits having tutelary functions over drying-houses and food
Perun Pan-Slavonic God of lightning, thunder, storm and
(probably) war, and one of the eight primary deities. He was patron of
nobility and of armies. His sacred day is Thursday. He is lord of the mountains
and the forest (his tree is the oak). He was represented as a man with
silver hair and golden moustaches, armed with stones and arrows. His images
were accompanied by eight eternal flames, bonfires or at least torches, as
the case may be. Note a considerable number of parallels with the Norse Thor.
In Christian times
he became conflated with St. Ilya (Elias).
Podaga Balto-Slavonic A God of fire.
Pogoda Poland The Polish equivalent of Podaga.
Polel Poland The Polish equivalent of Lel.
The Poleviki (sing. Polevik) Any of a class of
animistic nature-spirits, having authority over fields and pasturage.
Porevit West Slavonic A God of the woods; he has no
idol or image, but is considered to be manifest throughout the forest
primeval. His sacred day is
Tuesday. Among the Baltic Slavs (whose name for him was
Prove), especially in the area around Stargard, He was considered as one
of the High Gods.
Porvata Poland The Polish equivalent of Porevit.
Prince Ivan Not a divinity as such, but there are some
echoes of a connection to Kupala. Ivan figures in a cycle of tales
in several different
versions, in which he enlists the aid of creatures he
has formerly made a pact with in an initiatory gloss, to encompass the doom
of Koshchei the
Deathless and the rescue of his lady, Maria Morevna or
Vasilisa the Wise, depending on the version. The mythological point to the
tales seems to be the need to come to terms in a harmonious way with the
Rakh (probably from "Strakh" = `fear') A God
of fear and unreason.
Rod A God of fertility and family, chiefly concerned
with continuation of blood lines and the extension and glorification of
clans. He has a number of attendants and servitors, collectively called the Rozhenitsy (sing. Rozhenitsa).
Rugievit West Slavonic A local tutelary, a seven-headed
warrior God associated with the South Baltic island of Rugen. See
Sedz Poland The Polish equivalent of Sud.
Semargl (Seven-Head) Pan Slavonic God of soil and
fertility, one of the eight primary deities. Like Rugievit, whom He may be a
variant of, He was
represented as man with seven heads.
Sreha Yugoslavia Serbian equivalent of Ustrecha.
Stribog ([paternal-] Uncle-Lord) Pan Slavonic God of
sky, air and wind, and one of the eight primary deities. He is said to be the
ancestor of eight
grandsons, each the Wind of a particular direction.
Sud A God of destiny and glory. When he strews gold in
his palace, those born at that time are preordained to become wealthy.
But when he scatters earthen clods, those born then are destined to poverty.
He has a number of
servitors, collectively known as the Sudenitsy (sing.
Svantavit West Slavonic God of war. He was represented
as man with four heads (facing the cardinal directions) and with sword,
spears, and standards in hand. His sacred bird was the eagle, his colour was
red. The center of his cult was a four-pillared temple in Arcona (on Rugen
northeastern Germany) where an oracle was located. See
Svarog (Fear-Lord) God of fire, and one of the eight
primary deities. He was patron of smiths, and is considered a patron of
artisans and craftsmen, as
well. He also has some connection to marriage. He is
the father of Dazhdebog and was represented as a horseman with spears.
Tryglaw Poland the Polish equivalent of Troyan.
Troyan (The Triune One) The God of night and darkness.
He was represented as a three-headed man with golden bands in his eyes. His
three heads embodied his power over earth, sky and hell.
Ustrecha (Meeting) Goddess of happiness and luck.
Usud Yugoslavia The Serbo-Croatian equivalent of Sud.
The Vampires (Slavonic Vlkoslak, Wampyr) Any of a class
of spirits associated with tainted souls who cannot rest in their
graves. The idea of
vampirism has taken hold of popular imagination in
recent decades; the Slavic original is quite recognizable, even through the
filter of pop
culture. The idea is that certain individuals have
unclean souls, and after death they cannot pass on, but rise to stalk the night
in search of blood
and warmth. The solution to this problem is the ritual
of "Double-Burial", involving the use of wooden stakes, or cremation in
Vasilisa the Wise Not divine as such, she is the
princess figure in one version of the Koshchei cycle. Her tale relates that
she was transformed by her father into the semblance of a frog. She encounters
Prince Ivan as he searches for his destiny, and induces him to marry her,
whereupon she aids him in several clever ways. At length, though, he burns
(out of ignorance) her frog-skin (while she is in human form). This
compels her to flee, and she is captured by Koshchei. Ivan rescues her in a
series of actions brought
about by various animal familiars of his.
The Vazily (sing. Vazila) Any of a class of household
tutelary spirits; these to be found in and concerned with the stables
The Vili (sing. Vila) Any of a class of Slavic dryads,
tree-spirits who are exclusively female. They are often vicious and cruel,
and have a dire
reputation; nevertheless, if one succeeds in
approaching a Vila properly, she may be inclined to heal, give advice, reveal
treasure, or teach magical and medicinal arts.
The Vodyanoi Any of a class of animistic
nature-spirits, beings associated with and having control over water: springs, pools,
lakes, rivers, etc.
Volos (Hair) East Slavonic God of cattle, and one of
the eight primary deities. Later he also became known as a God of wealth.
He was a patron of
the people, as opposed to Perun's association with the
Prince and his troops. During the harvest, peasants sacrificed to him
an unmowed strip that
was called "the beard of Volos". Volos
is also considered a patron of poetry and eloquence. Astrally, He had a connection to the
Pleiades, which bears His name in Russian; Volosyni. Nevertheless, he also
seems to have
associations with Cthonic forces and the Other
Yarila God of spring fertility. He was represented as
young man dressed in white with wheaten wreath on the head, wheaten ears in
right hand and human head in left hand. In Christian times his functions
removed to St.George.
Yarylo Belarus and Ukrainian equivalent of Yarila. In
Belarus, he gradually evolved into a female deity.
Zhiva West Slavonic Goddess of life vigour. She was
chief goddess of the Western Slavs.
Zywye Poland The Polish equivalent of Zhiva.