Slavic gods described by Stanisław Jakubowski, part 8/20:
Żywia / Živa / Ziva / Siwa
The early medieval chronicler Helmold mentioned the Slavic goddess whose name he spelled in Latin as “Siwa”. It’s translated to Slavonic languages as Żywia / Živa. It’s not incidental that she appears also in the chronicles of Długosz who called her Żywie. She was the goddess of life and living [the root żyw* / živ*], being in charge over the nature and its annual cycles of rebirth. In the Polish language the verb “żywić” means also to nourish, feed, cherish; and the noun “żywicielka” could describe a provider, breadwinner or a feeding mother.
It is difficult to determine how far away from the Elbe river [inhabitated by the Slavic tribes described by Helmold] and from the early Polish tribes [known as one of the Polish godesses after decriptions by Długosz] was the cult of Żywia spread, or mark the exact areas of Slavonia where she was worshipped as the goddess of life.
Modern research helped to designate that the cult of her was most likely present in the areas of the modern-day Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and eastern Germany [areas formerly inhabitated by the Slavic tribes]. Name Živa is also mentioned in the epic poem by the Slovene poet France Prešeren.
A rare local legend of the town of Żywiec in southern Poland [yes, the same which is famous for producing the beer] says that the name of the town comes from the name of this goddess - such information was written down in Jan Nepomucen Gątkowski’s book published in 1867 that is describing the Żywiec region.
Source of image: Stanisław Jakubowski “Bogowie Słowian” [”Gods of the Slavs”], 1933. Text is based on the same source, rephrased with corrected grammar and modern English spelling of the names, and contains some additional / updated informations.
For the Polish readers: you might check my bibliography page for more resources under the section dedicated to Slavs and Slavic history.