Slavic mythology

Slavic mythology and Slavic religion evolved over more than 3,000 years. It's conjectured that some parts of it are from neolithic or possibly even mesolithic times. The religion possesses numerous common traits with other Indo-European religions.


Primary Sources

Very few written records are known to survive from the centuries before Christianization. The controversial Book of Veles is believed by some to be a sacred text of this religion. Saxo Grammaticus is another source with disputed authenticity. Chronicon Slavorum by Helmold is generally accepted as a genuine source, covering culture and events in the late 1st millennium AD. One unreasonably underestimated and quite enigmatic source is Veda Slovena ( - a compilation of archaic Bulgarian ritual songs, that preserved important fragments of Slavic pagan lore.


According to the Book of Veles, Slavic religion recognizes three realms: Yav, Prav, and Nav, Yav being the material world, Nav the immaterial, and Prav being the laws that govern them. The emphasis on the three realms is particularly characteristic for the Slavic neopaganists that draw on the Book of Veles.

The main symbol of ancient Slavic cosmogonic ideas was the World Tree. Slavs imagined that all three realms are vertically situated on a gigantic oak tree, that holds the whole Universe. In its crown was Slavic Heaven/paradise, so called Svarga, residence of Svarog, or Iriy. At the oak's trunk was the world of living creatures, the reality - Yav. In the oak's roots was Hell, residence of Chernobog, Morena, and Zmey.


Supreme god

The original supreme god of Slavs was probably Rod. Information about Rod worship is scarce.

In some branches of Slavic religion, the supreme god is Svarog (senior member of Triglav). But exactly because of his nature he was not the most worshiped: that was Perun, while tribes that were occupied mostly with cattle could pay most attention to Veles and so on.


A statue of Svetovid
A statue of Svetovid

There is no single well-established pantheon. One attempt at establishing such an "official" pantheon was made by Vladimir I, Prince of Kiev in 980-988 religious reform, immediately preceding the Christianization of Ruthenia. Vladimir erected six or seven idols near his court - Perun as a supreme god, Veles, Hors, Dajbog, Stribog, Simargl, and Mokosh as tribal gods.

It should be noted that many of the gods may be known by different names even in the same language. Calling gods by proper name was considered bad luck, thus gods were called by adjectives, describing their qualities. Over time, those adjectives took life of their own.

Mythical creatures

Mythical persons

Missing image
Bogatyrs by Viktor Vasnetsov (1898). Dobrynia Nikitich, Ilya Muromets, Alyosha Popovich

Some of these individuals had had real-life prototypes, but most stories (bylinas) about them became pure fiction, involving magic etc.


Slavic and Polish folk magic

See also

External links


  • Chrypinski, Anna, editor. Polish Customs. Friends of Polish Art: Detroit, MI, 1977.
  • Contoski, Josepha K., editor. Treasured Polish Songs with English Translations. Polanie Publishing Co.: Minneapolis, MN, 1953.
  • Estes, Clarissa Pinkola, Ph.D. Women Who Run With the Wolves. Ballantine Books: New York, 1992.
  • Gimbutas, Marijas. The Slavs. Preager Publishers: New York, 1971.
  • Knab, Sophie Hodorowicz. Polish Customs, Traditions, & Folklore. Hippocrene Books: New York, 1993.
  • Knab, Sophie Hodorowicz. Polish Herbs, Flowers, and Folk Medicine. Hippocrene Books: New York, 1995.
  • Krasicki, Ignacy (tr by Gerard Kapolka) Polish Fables : Bilingual. 1997
  • Leland, Charles Godfrey. Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling. New York: University Books, 1962
  • Zajdler, Zoe. Polish Fairy Tales. Chicago, Ill: Follett Publishing, 1959
  • Sekalski, Anstruther J. Old Polish Legends. 1997
  • Singing Back The Sun: A Dictionary of Old Polish Customs and Beliefs, Okana, 1999
  • Szyjewski, Andrzej: Slavic Religion, WAM, Krakw, 2003bg:Славянска религия

de:Slawische Mythologie pl:Mitologia Słowian pt:Mitologia eslava ru:Духи славян sl:Slovanska mitologija uk:Язичницькі вірування давніх слов'ян zh:斯拉夫神話


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