Lecture on Slavic Paganism

 

 

PART I - Main Slavic Pantheon

 

Slavs are people that are considering themselves as offsprings of their Gods. Gods are their ancestors,teachers and parents. That's why they bath 5 times a day, so they can come clean to their Gods and celebrate them with 'poems, songs, play and laugh'.

Swarog: is "all god", sky, apsolute. He's not personification, but he consists of all Gods. But, main Slavic trinity consists of: Swarog[Svarog], Sviatovid[Svetovid], and Perun[Creator,Protector,Destroyer].

Sviatowid: Protector: 'Enlighter'. His symbol is: horn full of ambrosia[which helps visiting spheres of light, and breaking psychic bonds]. His holy tree is Oak.

Byelobog: means "white god," and so he appears as an old man with a long white beard, dressed in white and carrying a staff. He is a giver of light, traveling only in the daytime. He leads the lost out of dark forests, bestows wealth and fertility on all, and helps reapers in the fields. He fights with Chernobog every winter and summer solstice.

Czarnobog: means "black god." He is the opposite force of Byelobog, the lord of darkness, the bringer of calamities and destruction.

Suriya or Horos: two names for Sun God. We know that Sun is giver of light so He[Sun] is greatly admired. Horos is also Sun God in Egypt, and Suriya in India. Some slavic tribes consider them selfs as "Sons of Sun"

Stribog: is the god of wind, storms and dissension. He brings the frost and cold. He is called the grandfather of the winds, and sometimes the distributor of wealth..

Radgost:  God of hospitality. He's expression of respect of every human being, like part of manifestation of God. His symbols are: bread and salt.

Chislobog: God of numbers and measure. He takes care of order of the cosmos. His symbol is mandala that consists of primar geomethrical shapes. They presents perfecy and harmony.

Yaro: He's symbol of youth,spring. Atributes: hospitality, prayer,bath. Herbs: Flowers.

Lada: Bride, protector of family and personal etiquetes. Symbol: Flower with six leaves.

Vesna: is a spring goddess.

Veles: Volos, also called Veles or Walgino, is the god of the underworld, a protector of flocks and cattle and a patron of trade, divination, the arts, and poetry. Oaths were sworn in his name. He's protector of forests,birds and animals.

Simargal: God of fire.

Mokosh: is an earth goddess. She rules over fertility and midwifery. She is commonly called Mati-Syra-Zemlya, or "Moist Mother Earth." Mokosh spins flax and wool at night and shears sheep. She also spins the web of life and death. She wanders during Lent disguised as a woman, visiting houses and doing housework; at night strands of fleece are laid beside the stoves for her. She may have originally been a house spirit concerned with women's work. Evenrually, her worship was transmuted to the modern widespread reverence for Mother Russia. Mokosh is dark, like good, black soil.She is portrayed with uplifted hands, flanked by two horsemen.

Mora: is the god of the sea, and the father of Lada in one story.

Morena: is the Slav death goddess.

Svarozhich is the personification of fire, and a son of Svarog. He gives life to the newborn winter sun. He is often seen as warrior, clad in armor on a horse, with a bird-shaped helmet, a bison on his breastplate, and holding a shield and a double-axe. At harvest time, he kindles a fire to dry the corn and wheat before threshing.

 

PART II - MAIN SLAVIC HOLYDAYS[SABBATHS]

 

Winter Solstice (or Yule) from December 22nd -- This is the ritual where we celebrate the beginning and the welcoming of the winter solstice. It is the time when Czarnobog is the most apparent. The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year. But it is also a celebration of the life that is born in the womb of death. For though Bialobog shines most briefly at this time, and winter is most apparent, from this time forward it will increase its light day by day. For this reason, while Czarnobog is honored at the Yule celebration, it is also the festival of the birth of Bialobog.

 

Maslenitsa (or Maslenica) from Marsh 22nd -- Maslenitsa is a very ancient festival, the Sabbath of the spring equinox and the end of the winter frosts. People enjoy themselves, engaging in much feasting, dancing, wearing of masks, playing on traditional musical instruments, and contests of strength, all to enact spring unbridled, in action and fighting. Traditional pastries are also baked, called blini, to symbolize the Sun. It is a celebration of the returning light, a time of games and contests (especially horse racing), fist fights, sliding and mock battles. It is a time for protection and purification rituals and a time of gluttony, obscenity and dissolution. At the beginning of the festivities a life-sized corn doll would be made as a personification of the Sabbath. The doll would be invoked and welcome by the name Maslenica. Sometimes a drunken person is chosen, instead, to represent Maslenica. That person would either be dressed in the opposite sex’s clothing or in a costume sewn all over with bells. The person’s face would be smeared with soot and would be seated on a wheel resting on a pole within a sledge.

 

Rodonitsa on May 1st -- This is the third great day of worship of our ancestors, a day of remembrance. Today we bring beer, vodka and food to our dead. During the feast, celebrants call their guests to stir from their sepulchers and eat and drink in remembrance of the Goddess/God Rod’s honor. To celebrate the ancestors, usually the feasting and celebrating occurs in the cemeteries, among much ritual wailing. Offerings, often of eggs, are left to the dead. Also known as May Eve or Beltane, it is essentially a fertility rite dedicated to both the woman and the man. This was originally called Nav Dien (Day of the Dead). Feasts are held in the cemeteries. Offerings of eggs, beer, vodka and other food are left for the dead. The name of the festival may derive from the Goddess/God Rod.

 

Midsummer from June 22nd -- As the Sun reaches its fullest glory, the summer solstice arrives, celebrated with the Sabbath known as Midsummer. While the Sun is in its greatest splendor, it is a time to give honor to Bialobog.

 

Svarog’s Sabbath from September 22nd -- This is the autumnal equinox, the day of the God of fire and the sky. This is the day to drink mead and honor Svarog.

 

Night of the Thin Veil on October 31st -- We pray to the God Nyia and the Goddess Nav and all the Deities that are associated with death and the Underworld, for the souls who are burden with the weight of their sadness to enter finally the heavens with their loved ones. This is the time of the Slavic Pagan Witch festival known as Halloween. As this time, the veil that separates the world of the living and the world of the spirit is considered to be at its thinnest. At Halloween, this veil is held aside and the spirits of ancestors; family and loved one are invited to join the celebration. It is a renewal of family bonds, a reliving of past loves and a communion with those who walked a Slavic Pagan Witch path in the ages before our birth. We observe the Feast of the Dead. Salt, eggs and bread are being left on the doorstep for the indulgence of the departed spirits. This is one of the most solemn yet festive of all the Sabbaths. We are visibly moved in renewing the friendships and loves that death has curtailed. It is a time of communion, of introspection, of learning, as well as a time for delight. On this day, people’s thoughts are turned to the predecessors, who lay under the ground. Cemeteries look like fields of pillar and tiny houses above the burnt remains of every person. Relatives are used to bring presents like food and the tradition is still alive. The magickal essence of the end of October is evident to the Slavic Pagan Witches as well. Halloween as a celebration of fertility is mirrored by the Slavic Mokosh Day, a veneration of Matka Syra Ziemia. Likewise, the notion that tonight the barrier between the land of the living and the land of the dead disappears is expressed on this day. According to the tradition, tonight the ancestors shall return to visit their decedents. The Slavic Pagan Witches use candles to light the Spirits’ way home. The Slavic Pagan Witches prepare kasha and pour libations of vodka. Slavic Pagan Witches add extra sittings to the table and spend the evening foretelling the future. This is the fifth and final Sabbath.

 

PART III MAIN SLAVIC PAGAN RITUALS

 

[Note] These Slavic rituals and practices can be done as solitary or in coven. Some of these rituals and practices were taken from other Pagan traditions or from spiritualities outside Paganism itself, or simply created by me.

 

The Blot (pronounced “bloats”): this is the most common spiritual ritual among the Slavonic Pagans; it is a sacrifice to the Deities. In olden days, as with almost all spiritualities, an animal was consecrated to the Deities and then made as a feast for the Slavonic tribe. This was not seen as a bribe or as a method of capturing the power of the dying animal. It is simply the way in which the ancient Slav shared their bounty with a gift to the Deities. Currently, the animal sacrifice has been replaced by the offer of beer, juice or mead. Afterwards, those present are either sprinkled with the liquid, or drink it in sequence.

                The Sumbel: This is a ritual drinking celebration, in which a horn is filled with a drink is passed around the coven or tribe. Each person delivers a greeting; a toast to the Deities, ancient heroes and heroines, or one’s ancestors; or a story, song or poem. He or she then drinks from the horn.

 

Life value and nine noble virtues: By values the Slavonic Pagan Witch reject any form of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, sexual orientation or other diverse criteria within and outside Slavia. The family is greatly valued. Slavonic Pagan Witches should, and must, follow the nine noble virtues with the utmost respect: courage, truth, honor, fidelity, discipline, hospitality, industriousness, self-reliance and perseverance.

 

 

Inukshuk (or cairn): The inukshuk symbolizes the stone monuments that guides the people on the land a marked holy ground and other special sacred places. In earlier times, throughout the world, people built mounds or piles of stones -- the inukshuks or cairns. These were sometimes formed to mark the passage of travelers, or to commemorate some historic event, but such inukshuks usually had ritual significance.

                In magickal thought, inukshuks are places of power. They concentrate the energies of the stones used to create them. Inukshuks are rooted in the Earth but lift upward to the sky, symbolically representing the interconnectedness of the physical and spiritual realms.

 

 

PART IV Sacred Locations

 

 

                This is the list of all the sacred locations I could find in Slavia for a Pagan Witch of Slavonic traditional path. This is more of a personal Book of Shadows; I gathered some information here and there.

                There is a mentioned place of a Sorbian temple somewhere close to Szczecin, in Poland. The temple is not standing, but the place where it once stood is considered a holy ground.

                These two temples are in the Polish region of Swietokrzyski (Kielce, near Krakow and Sandomir.) The first one is on Swiety Krzyz top, where is a Christian church from the 11th century C.E. is located, but the top is surrounded by pre-Christian circle-rampart from about the 9th century C.E. (it is very big and long). The chronicle says about the worship of three Slavonic Deities. It also says that in the 17th century when workmen were digging under the front of monastery they brought out the figure idols. Unfortunately, the chronicle does not say what they did with these figure idols. The second temple is on the top of Dobrezeshowska Gora (also in the Swietokrzyski region). The top is surrounded by three concentric circle-ramparts; the entrance is of course from the east. In the center of this circle there are sacrificial stones.

                There are more tops-temples in Poland. There were temples almost on every top of hills and mountains but they are not in a good state, one might be disappointed, for they look like hill rocks. But nonetheless, a Pagan Witch can still feel some kind of energy.

                First of all, the biggest Pagan Witch sanctuary in Poland is Lysa Gora -- other names: Lysica or Swiety Krzyz (from the whole Kielce region: Swietokrzyski and mountains/hills Gory Swietokrzyskie taken name). Swiety Krzyz means Holy Cross in Polish, because there is a very old Christian monastery with the relics of holy crosses. It was the most powerful Christian center in the First Republic but scientists found that this monastery was built on top of a Pagan Witch sacred place. And what is more, it was a very big sacred place. There are notes in Polish chronicles about Pagan Witch worship on that hill/mount (595 meters) and one of the monastery’s chronicles from the 17th century C.E. says that workmen who were working at the entrance to the monastery found figure idols. Unfortunately, the source does not say what they did with these monuments. It is believed they damaged it. Or maybe, it is still in the monastery’s store somewhere, in the monastery’s cellar? No one really knows at this point …

                Anyways, scientists in the 20th century C.E. found that near the whole hill is surrounded by a ground-stone wall 1.5 kilometer long. The wall (which was a half circle, it was not closed or not everything was preserved) was about from 2 to 2.5 meters high. That is what the archeologists believe it used to be. Three Deities might have been worshipped at this place, but no one can confirm or say otherwise about this information. The wall is very dim, you can only see long hill rocks, but the whole place (the monastery itself too is seen as an art monument) is amazing. You can see the whole neighborhood from the top. The wall is dated between the 7th and the 10th century, as the archeologists estimate it.

                Slavonic sacred places were not, in the earliest times, buildings. They were open oracles found in nature. Built temples came only in the 12th century C.E. with the arrival of Christian influences. One Pagan Witch always is filled with some kind of vibration there as this sacred place is always releasing magick.

                Second place, still in Poland, is in the Kielce region, which is wilder and without Christian profanation, is Dobrzeszowska Gora (mount/hill near Dobrezeszow). There are three 100 by 30 meters terrain much smaller ground-stone walls-stones. They are in much better state than that from Lysa Gora. In the center of this circle there are sacrificial stones. The circle-walls are dated between the 7th and the 8th century C.E. This sacred place is always filled by magick.

                Third place is Grodowa Gora (mount/hill castle) near Tumlin in Poland. There, a sacred place (circle-wall) is still remained, but in weak state.

                All temples have Deities ranging from one to three. The three is a sacred number in Slavonic sacred locations, since it symbolizes the three aspects of the Goddess and God.

                Slavonic Pagan Witches were more interested in fire and woods, but all of the today’s found ancient Slavonic Pagan Witch temples were situated among or next to any big water-sources. Being interested into trees, the Slavonic Pagan Witches went for fire more than water. However, water sources were also significant to the Slavonic Pagan Witches, primarily due to Rusalka and somewhat due to Vodyany with general water factors such as lakes, wells and rivers (drowning victims are thought to dwell in lakes). Some of the big finds have come from the bottom of lakes and wells, presumably votive offerings (often of silverware and/or animal remains). Water also is credited with healing powers; it used to be provided by the temple itself (today, it is sold in the pharmacies), along with a wide range of herbal remedies.

 

Location throughout Slavia

Poland                     1. Lysa Gora/Lysica/Swiety Krzyz in Kielce region

                                2. Dobrzeszowska Gora near Dobrezeszow in Kielce region

                                3. Grodowa Gora near Tumlin

Belarus    1. Duke Stone near Ikany village in Barysau region

                                2. Sciop Stone near Kraniki village in Dokshycy region

                                3. Piarun Stone near Dubki village in Senna region

                                4. Volas Stone near Kryzhouka in Minsk region

                                5. Stone Idol near Dauhinava village in Vilejka region

                                6. Stones With Symbols in Staiki village in Lahojsk region

Russia                     Remnants of an open shrine in the town of Peryn near Novgorod

Serbia                      1. River Danube

                                2. River Morava

Croatia                    Mount Perun

Slovenia   Mount Triglav

                Certainly, there are plenty of sacred places throughout Slavia. Unfortunately, with the arrival of the Christian church and its influence, there were profanations throughout all these places. But still … some unknown sacred places survived in today’s days, still standing and being forgotten by time and by age. Will we, shall we, discover more sacred places? Who knows … only time has the answer.

                When Vladimir converted to Orthodox Christianity, the idols of Yarila and Perun in the Kievan Rus’ temple were put in the river. It is said that many of their followers begged the idols to be returned and they did come back to the surface, but then submerged in the murky river.

                There were many stone-structured temples in Slavia; but most of them were destroyed throughout the ages, along with kurgans. In Slavia, a kurgan was a Stonehenge-type stone monument in Slavia. However, there are still rock carvings throughout Slavia.

                It is the duty for the Slavonic Pagan Witch to conserve the remaining sacred places. They are part of our ancestral heritage, part of our spiritual Old Ways. These places are the link that bonds us spiritually. Then again, all of Slavia’s land is an oracle for the Slavonic Pagan Witch. In one way, an individual can easily find a holy ground that speaks only to him or her. Energy and magick is being vibrated through these sacred places … but it does not stop there, all Slavia is being vibrated with energy and magick.

 

 

SLAVIC BELIFES AND CUSTOMS PART V

 

To attract a Domovoy

 

Go outside of your house wearing your best clothing and say aloud "Dedushka Dobrokhot, please come into my house and tend the flocks."

 

To rid yourself of a rival Domovoy

 

Beat your walls with a broom, shouting "Grandfather Domovoy, help me chase away this intruder."

 

When moving

 

Make offering to Domovoy and say "Domovoy! Domovoy! Don't stay here but come with our family!"

 

To call a Leshy

 

Cut down an aspen tree so that it falls facing East. Bend over and look through your legs saying "Leshy, Forest Lord, come to me now; not as a grey wolf, not as a black raven, not as a flaming fir tree, but as a man." The Leshy will teach the magic arts to any whom he befriends.

 

Invocation to Zorya (for protection)

 

O Virgin, unsheath your father's sacred sword.

Take up the breastplate of your ancestors.

Take up your powerful helmet.

Bring forth your steed of black.

Fly to the open field,

There where the great army with countless weapons is found.

O Virgin, cover me with your veil.

Protect me against the power of the enemy,

Against guns and arrows, warriors and weapons,

Weapons of wood, of bone, of copper and iron and steel.

 

Prayer to Mokosh

 

In August, go to the fields at dawn with jars filled with hemp oil.

 

Turn East and say: "Moist Mother Earth, subdue every evil and unclean being so that he may not cast a spell on us nor do us any harm."

 

Turn West and say: "Moist Mother Earth, engulf the unclean power in your boiling pits, in your burning fires."

 

Turn South and say: "Moist Mother Earth, calm the winds coming from the south and all bad weather. Calm the moving sands and whirlwinds."

 

Turn North and say: "Moist Mother Earth, calm the north winds and the clouds, subdue the snowstorms and the cold."

 

Oil is poured out after each invocation, and finally, the jar is thrown to the ground.

 

Ukrainian Egg Designs for the Spring Equinox

 

Paint these designs on hard-boiled eggs and then bury them in the ground for good luck and fertility:

 

 

Superstitions

 

Never touch a person or shake their hand over the threshold. If you don't wait until they are inside, you will not see them for seven years and risk angering the Domovoy to boot.

It is unlucky to sit at the corner of a table.

If the cat is cleaning herself it means that company is coming.

If you whistle inside, you risk losing all your money.

Never begin a new project on a Friday.

If you compliment a person on their appearance or their baby's health, you must either knock unpolished wood or spit three times over the left shoulder lest the fairies take them.

Never shave or cut your hair when a family member is in danger.

Never cut your hair while pregnant or the umbilical cord will wrap around your baby's neck

When giving flowers, give only odd numbers of flowers. Even numbers are for the dead.

If a bird hits the window, someone will die.

If you break a mirror, you can run the pieces under water to counteract the bad luck.

Never show a newborn baby to a stranger until it is at least 40 days old.

Do not put keys on a table. You'll lose money

Don't give knives or handkerchiefs as gifts.

Never celebrate a birthday early.

The Otherworld

 

· The Thrice Tenth Kingdom: may lie beyond an impenetrable forest on the other side of a fiery river, or beyond or below the sea, or above or below the earth, closely connected with the sun and gold, name comes from a folktale

 

· Nav was the underworld, realm of the dead. Volos and Lada were also said to reside here. Lada would return from the underworld in the spring.

 

· Ancestors thought to dwell below earth, cracks and holes in earth thought to be gates to underworld

 

· Otherworld located in rainbow or Milky Way

 

· Must climb up hillside of iron or glass to celestial land of goodness, so must save one's nail clippings so that they would turn into talons after death for the climb to the other world

 

Funeral Customs

 

· early Slavs cremated the dead on pyre with earthly things, then put urn in cairn

 

· burial a result of foreign influences

 

· after death, windows and doors of house left open so soul can leave

 

· most Slavs believed in a world after death, dead buried with articles for journey, food, drink, coins

 

· soul traveled across wide sea, buried with coins for passage-fare, burned or buried in boats, boat-shaped coffins, or with boots for travel by foot

 

· Dead often buried with heads to east or faces oriented east

 

PART VI - STORY

 

It was around noon on Sunday and the sun still has not managed to break

through the fall clouds. Andrij pulled his old coat a little tighter and

bent down to dig up some more potatos.

 

- 'Andrij! Andrij! A voice called from the road.

 

It was Ivan, Andrij's neighbor running across the moist field, jumping

awkwardly over the furrows and stumbling every so often when he missed a

crest.

 

'You will not believe what I had just seen. I want to that Christian church

this morning. Ah!. . . that God of theirs is powerful!'

 

- 'Puss on the new God, I say. Our Gods are much more powerful', replied

Andrij.

 

- ' Well, my old friend, did you know that this new God can throw you in

hell, where they will gouge out your eyes, for all eternity'

 

- ' Gouge out my eyes?' - Andrij asked startled, reflexively looking in the

direction of the new church.

 

- 'Yes!. . . But! . . . if you go to church and pray this new God will put

you in heaven and they have some wondrous things there. Aaaaand. . And great

riches!'

 

- 'Riches you say? Says Andrij speculatively, 'What kind of riches?, looking

with interest this time, in the direction of the new church.

 

- 'Well. . . let me tell you then' says Ivan, satisfied that he finally has

Andrij's full attention - 'They have these beeswax candles, as thick as my

wrist, my oh my how many hives it took to make those. Aaaaand. You know how

foggy it was this morning and how the fire is hard to light on the damp

earth and they just put up an ember and those candles lighted up bright and

quick and with hardly any smoke and then later there was this little pot the

priest brought out and there was this wondrous smell that came out of it,

nothing like the herbs and leaves the old Olga burns. And the priest said

that it was only a small piece of what awaits us in heaven. Sooooo. I think

Andrij, my dear friend, you better come to this new church too.'

 

Andrij thought about all of that he heard and replied, even as his friend

shifted nervously from foot to foot, waiting for the response.

 

- 'Ivan, my dear friend, I think that this new church is trying to seduce us

with tales of heaven and frighten us with tales of hell, away from our old

traditions. The candles and incense are only props, part of the seduction.

The most important thing about them is that we can not have them ourselves,

we can only experience them through this church. Also, I can't help but

notice that the reward and punishment are much further away - and so much

harder to verify. If we follow this new religion, we will abandon our

individual connection to the Earth, which sustains us. Frankly, I think that

our difficulties lie not with the Earth, but with the feudal system, that

centralizes power in the aristocracy, which in turn promises protection in

exchange for out toil. The priests will become like this also,

intermediaries between us and our power, our spirit world and will require

ever higher fees to intercede on our behalf, gathering power to themselves,

even as we bankrupt ourselves spiritually, supporting their vision and their

expansion. Ultimately we will have no power, working only for others, while

this new church establishes a worldwide burocracy. '

-

Now it was Ivan's turn to be startled as he unconsciously started backing

away from his friend.

 

- 'Andrij. . . you sound different. . . like something has come over you. .

. are you. . . are you possessed?. . .well. . . are you? - Ivan tried to

think quickly of the new sign of the cross the priest taught them, but he

could only remember the old signs, so he clutched the talisman he had

surreptitiously put in his pocket in the churn, and tried to spit over his

left shoulder three times as he stumbled, running down the field missing the

crests of the furrows and getting stuck in the damp, moist Earth.

 

THE END…