hey if you post slavic mythology or culture please like or reblog this so i can follow you! or if you’re a slavic witch (western, southern, eastern, or northern) please reblog or like so i can follow you <3
The burning of Morena in the Slovak movie Rok na Dedine, 1967
Morena, also called Marzanna and Morana, is a straw-made effigy and the main character in a series of rituals practiced by West Slavs, namely Slovaks and Poles, at the end of winter. She is considered the incarnation of the pre-Christian Slavic goddess of winter and death going by the same name. It is believed that the goddess Morena was considered a death-rebirth deity by the Slavs, associated with various myths but almost always linked to Jarilo; her husband hailed as the god of vegetation, fertility, and spring, and who as well was seen as a death-rebirth deity. The sacrificial death of Morena brought upon the resurrection of Jarilo, which is why to this day West Slavic people burn and drown an effigy of Morena in hopes of ending a harsh winter and introducing a bountiful and fruitful spring.
Regelinda married German Margrave Herman I around the year 1002, becoming a Margravine of Meissen and ensuring a short period of alliance between the German Mark of Meissen and the early Polish kingdom. Not much more is known about her life - their marriage was most likely childless, and the date of her death is still a matter of disputes between historians (estimated between 1014-1030).
She and her husband Herman were depicted among famous 12 donor portrait statues in the gothic cathedral in Naumburg, Germany sculpted by 13th-century anonymous artist known as the Naumburg Master. It’s unknown why did the Naumburg Master choose to depict her smiling, and who posed for the statue, or whether any historical depictions of her existed at the time of creation - more than 200 years after her death. The statue is still commonly known as the ‘Lächelnde Polin’ (in German) or ‘Śmiejąca się Polka’ (in Polish) - meaning the ‘Laughing Polish Woman’.
Oh, once I and my fellow Tumblr Slavs had a long discussion why. This highly intellectual debate ended with a conclusion that Slavs do it because sitting on stone, floor, grass, anything other than couch or chair, gives you cancer, makes you infertile, gives you inflammations etc. West, South and East Slavs all agreed. Stay safe and don’t sit on stone or floor.
omg I can’t believe I missed their introduction ;o; I’ve been waiting for them to show up for so long! ;u;
if only I had more time to draw ;o; thankfully I managed to at least color this sketch ^^;
the west slav countries are finally complete~ ^u^
btw, they are wearing clothing from
Horňácko, Krzczonow, and Čičmany respectively. I’m very sorry for any inaccuracies in the clothing ;n; the refs that I used were either cropped, blurry or very small pictures…so it was very difficult at times to make out some details :(
The first couple of pictures have Captions, so read up if you’re interested in an explanation! :)
Concerning Mr Poland today, out of all the ex Yugoslavs, he really considers Mr Serbia a really good bro of his. Namely, they are both considered a bit whack by European nations. Slavs unite, right? Via drinking and track suits, of course!
Żmija’s guide to Slavic faith: part 1, basic problems
who are Slavs? To properly understand where the differences and doubts are coming from when talking about Slavic beliefs, we have to see how big and varied the slavic nations are. These were many tribes and groups spread on a vast land, and each with their own set of beliefs and interpretations, and their own favourites when it came to Deities. So, the god that was the boss for one tribe in Poland, might not have been even considered a higher deity in another far away one in Russia. However, very often, the Slavs believed in very similar gods under slightly different names, or different Gods under the same name - same goes for demons, spirits, and main myths. Gods’ roles and powers could change a bit depending on a given group as well. Quite a mess there, really, but so much more fascinating to untangle.
Some of the tribes were in direct contact with each other and also other foreign groups, such as Germanics or Balts, hence the similiarites in both their culture and beliefs at some stages. The proto-slavic language quickly gave way to very varied and different individual languages of the given lands, and without a unified way of communication (no early writing systems as well) the differences were bound to arise - however, the roots and similiarities are still amazingly prominent.
We can divide the Slavic nations into West, East, and South Slavs - however, this is a modern classification and it’s important to remember that today’s nations consisted of many, many different tribes in the times we’re interested in.
source? The main problem we face while diving into slavic beliefs is the painful lack of written sources. There are some, obviously, but as mentioned before - ancient Slavs had no writing system. So what we have are either mentions in historical records that either served as trivia or curiosities, or stories supposed to ridicule the slavic faith as “the heathens that believe in lighting or mud or something”. Many sources we have have been awfully contaminated by Christianity, and so is the big part of interpetation and work connected to Slavic beliefs and culture.
However scarce, the sources exist. Most importantly, however, the ancient beliefs are still alive in traditions, rituals, tales and stories and folk songs, and even language itself. We cannot trace every little thing back to our ancestors and back it up with solid written sources, but it doesn’t mean we can’t see the Old in the New, and it doesn’t mean we can’t discover everything anew.
Neopaganism and rodnovery: made of moss or thistle? As much as I love thistle - and rodnovery, too - it is really damn prickly. Whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran, whether you grew up among strong pagan influences or you’ve been far away from them, you will encounter a lot of difficulties when dealing with rodnovery. I could praise it for centuries - I have met many amazing, warm and open people here. People who helped me grow, people who challenged my ways of thinking and my faith, people who fought for me and with me, and people who turned to me for guidance or friendship. There are many welcoming, wise souls out there, those truly connected to the Old Gods and Old Ways.
And then there are the assholes. These are people who got lost in their own misconceptions and distrust. They are either nearly violently hostile towards Christanity (or any other religion, really, but Abrahamic religions are usually targeted the most, Christianity for obvious reasons) or towards anything different, modern, and open-minded (they are often extreme conservatives, trashing concepts of other sexualities, genders, equality of gender and race etc. often to the horrific degree of actual neonazism…) This kind of people is neither new nor tied only to rodnovery, but it’d be foolish to try to hide it. It is there. And I think it is my responsibility to not only warn, but actively fight these people, and try to repair the damage they’ve done to slavic pagans. But assholes are everywhere, and we should never let them stop us from, well, anything.
Understanding the first two parts of this post is crucial to understanding the complicated nature of our efforts in untangling the mysteries and differences. In next parts I will try to bring the slavic faith closer to the reader who might only rely on English texts - which are, well, scarce, and usually either heavily upg’d, or purely academic.
I work with books and sources based on academic research, and with my own experience (to a lesser scale, as I want to be as close to the core and history as it gets), but I don’t claim to be the all knowing, wise pagan. I’m still learning myself, and there is a lot left to learn. If you have anything to add, or you can correct me, please do!
Samodivas are woodland fairies found in South and West-Slavic folklore and mythology. Samodivas are commonly depicted as ethereal maidens with long loose hair, sometimes also with wings. They are usually dressed in free-flowing gowns, their garments decorated with feathers by means of which they can fly like birds. Samodivas are most often described as being blonde, tall and slender women with pale, glowing skin and fiery eyes.
Samodivas are believed to be very beautiful women with an affinity to fire. They have the power to bring about drought, burn a farmer’s crops, or make cattle die of high fever. It is said that, when angered, a Samodiva would change her appearance and turn into a monstrous bird, capable of flinging fire at her enemies. They are usually hostile and dangerous to people. Men who gaze upon a Samodiva fall instantly in love (or at least in lust), and women go so far as to take their own lives at the sight of such beauty. Sometimes a Samodiva would seduce a man, commonly a shepherd or a trespasser in her forest, and take him as her lover. However, in doing so, she would take all of his life energy, his essence. The man would then become obsessed with the Samodiva and chase her relentlessly, unable to think about anything else (including his own nourishment). The Samodiva, fuelled by the energy stolen from her admirer, would then proceed to torture the man until he dies of exhaustion.
Another important aspect of the myths surrounding samodivas is their dance. Neverending and beginning at midnight to finish at dawn, their dance symbolized the raw, and often harmful to the unprepared, energy of both nature and the supernatural world. Accompanied and following only the rhythm of the wind and their own singing, their dance was said to have been often witnessed by lost or late travellers, some of them choosing to join it, seduced by the beauty of their song and visage, only to die of exhaustion at dawn, when the samodivas finally disappeared.
Much like the Vila in Slavic folklore, a Samodiva’s power is believed to come mostly from her long (usually blond) hair. A samodiva would sometimes give a small portion of it to her lover to strengthen her control over him via its magical effects. However, if her hair is damaged in some way, she will either disappear entirely or be stripped of her powers and beauty.
In Slavic folklore, a Samodiva can blind every person who sets eyes upon her. Whether or not the act of blinding is metaphorical (falling in love with the Samodiva) or a curse that has an actual physical manifestation is not known.
In Bulgarian folklore, a Samodiva’s close connection to the forest makes her knowledgeable about magical herbs and cures for all illnesses. It is said that if a person managed to eavesdrop on a gathering of Samodivas he could also gain knowledge of these remedies. In many stories this is exactly what the hero is forced to do to save a loved one, as a Samodiva would never share her secrets willingly.
Balkan mythology holds that samodivas were actually the daughters of Lamia. This, combined with their mostly nocturnal nature, leads to them being considered more or less negative, or at best neutral in their nature.