MAY 16 2007 09:31h

Lost Slavic Mythology


From Slavic mythology up to today, little has been preserved with the people. At best, we have heard of Perun, Svarog or Veles.

As opposed to the ancient Greek, Slavic mythology did not leave any written documents behind. Why?

Slavic peoples did not use writing before Christianisation. Due to “illiteracy”, Slavic believes, and myths together with them, continued to be passed down orally after Christianisation and the beginning of literacy and in time have disappeared “into oblivion".

Up to today, little has been preserved with the people. At best, we have heard of Perun, Svarog or Veles. We see the word Triglav as a toponym and we do not know that Triglav was a three-part Slavic god who unified three roles of beings. The realistic one, the unrealistic and the right one.

On the other hand, we have Nordic or Scandinavian mythology. North-European peoples were Christianised in the 11th century and they started writing down their tradition since the 13th century, as well as mythology. Today, it is exactly because of this fact that Nordic mythology is alive and known, but exploited to the maximum for popular-cultural purposes.

For instance, an entire music style, Viking Metal, is focused on Nordic myths and folk-Nordic melodies. There are countless computer games inspired by the Vikings. Not to mention literature and film.

And Slavic? We know that Croatian Ivana Brlic-Mazuranic captured a part of this tradition and recorded it in “Tales from Long Ago”, therefore we can even see Svarogich on multimedia CD editions. She is the only one who captured a small part, in the 20th century. What could have been if Ivana was born earlier and has heard some other interesting tales?

Why have the “literate” and the Christianised people from the Middle Ages failed to record what mattered from the Slavic tradition? Numerous questions, and until the uncertain future finding of the answers, meet some of the Slavic mythology characters:

Svarog: According to legends, god of fire and heaven, creator of all on heaven and Earth. The first divinity of the Sun with the Slavic people linked with heaven, blacksmithing and fire. He can be compared to Greek gods Uranus and Hephaestus.

The name Morana is linked with the ancient Indian word “mara” which means to die with force. Morana is a goddess of death and winter. Most often, she has the form of a beautiful dark-haired girl and has extremely fair skin, wolf-like fangs and claws on her hands.

Perun, Slavic god of thunder and lightning, similar to Scandinavian Thor or Parjany of Indian mythology. He is a supreme divinity of the Slavic pantheon.

Veles is the god of the flock, a chthonic god associated with waters and valleys. Worshiping Veles was practiced by Balkan and Carpathian peoples for the longest period of time.

Cernog is a divinity that is associated with misfortune. He is an evil god, god of darkness.

Ziva is the goddess of life. She is normally presented sitting down with an ornament on top of her head, which suggests of sun rays.

Pagod was god of beautiful weather, while Semenik or Karas god of food and drink. Pikutik was god of the dead, while Davor or Rugovit was god of war, a seven-headed creature.

Lada was goddess of beauty and opulence and at the same time the most beautiful female. Svibor, on the other hand, was god of light, knowledge, fertility and war victory.

The one who is least known is goddess of winter, Zermagla, and probably most famous among Slavic goddesses is Vesna, goddess of youth and spring time.