Slavic myths and legends. Sun God in Slavic Myths
Slavic mythology is the idea of peoples about the world, expressed in religious beliefs, rituals and cults. It is closely connected with paganism and cannot be considered separately from it.
Slavic myths (summary and main characters) are the focus of this article. Consider the time of their occurrence, similarity with the ancient legends and tales of other nations, sources of study and the pantheon of deities.
Formation of Slavic mythology and its connection with the religious beliefs of other nations
The myths of the peoples of the world (Slavic myths, ancient Greek and ancient Indian) have much in common. This suggests that they have a single beginning. Binds their common origin from the Proto-Indo-European religion.
Formed Slavic mythology as a separate layer of the Indo-European religion over a long period - from the II millennium BC. er
The main features of Slavic paganism, which are reflected in mythology, are the cult of ancestors, belief in supernatural powers and lower spirits, spiritualization of nature.
The ancient Slavic myths are strikingly similar to the tales of the Baltic peoples, Indian, Greek and Scandinavian mythology. In all the myths of these ancient tribes there existed a god of thunder: Slavic Perun, Hittite Perva and Baltic Perkūnas.
All of these peoples is the main myth - this is the confrontation of the supreme deity with his main opponent, the Serpent. The similarity can be traced in the belief in the afterlife, which is separated from the world of the living by any obstacle: a precipice or a river.
Slavic myths and legends, like the legends of other Indo-European peoples, also narrate about heroes fighting the serpent.
Sources of information on the legends and myths of the Slavic peoples
Unlike the Greek or Scandinavian mythology, the Slavs did not have their own Homer, who would engage in the literary processing of ancient legends about the gods. Therefore, now we know very little about the process of forming the mythology of Slavic tribes.
Sources of written knowledge are the texts of the Byzantine, Arab and Western European authors of the period VI - XIII centuries, Scandinavian sagas, ancient Russian chronicles, apocrypha, teachings.At a special place is the “Word about the regiment of Igor's”, in which there is a lot of information about Slavic mythology. Unfortunately, all these sources are only a retelling of the authors, and they do not mention all the legends.
Slavic myths and legends are preserved in folklore sources: epics, fairy tales, legends, conspiracies, proverbs.
The most reliable sources on the mythology of the ancient Slavs are archaeological finds. These include idols of gods, places of worship and ceremonial places, inscriptions, signs and decorations.
Classification of Slavic mythology
It is necessary to distinguish the gods:
1) Eastern Slavs.
2) Western Slavic tribes.
There are also Slavic gods.
Representation of the world and the universe of the ancient Slavs
Due to the lack of written sources, practically nothing is known about beliefs and ideas about the world of Slavic tribes. Jerky information can be gleaned from archaeological sources. The most graphic of them is the Zbruch idol found in the Ternopil region of Ukraine in the middle of the 19th century. It is a tetrahedral column of limestone, divided into three tiers. The bottom contains images of the underworld and the deities inhabiting it.The middle one is dedicated to the world of people, and the upper tier represents the supreme gods.
Information about how the ancient Slavic tribes represented the world around them can be found in the Old Russian literature, in particular, in the “Lay of Igor”. Here in some passages there is a clear connection with the World Tree, the myths about which exist among many Indo-European peoples.
On the basis of these sources, the following picture is obtained: the ancient Slavs believed that the island was located in the center of the World Ocean (possibly Buyan). Here, in the very center of the world, either lies the sacred Alatyr stone, which has healing properties, or the World Tree grows (almost always in myths and legends it is an oak tree). On its branches sits the bird of Gagan, and below it is the serpent Garafen.
Myths of the peoples of the world: Slavic myths (the creation of the Earth, the appearance of man)
The creation of the world among the ancient Slavs was associated with such a god as Rod. He is the creator of all things in the world. He separated the manifest world in which people (Yav) live from the world of the invisible (Nav). The clan is considered the supreme deity of the Slavs, the patron of fertility, the creator of life.
Slavic myths (the creation of the Earth and the appearance of man) thus tell about the creation of all things: the creator-god Rhode together with his sons Belbog and Chernobog conceived to create this world.First, the Rhode from the ocean of chaos created three incarnations of the world: Jav, Nav and Rule. Then the Sun appeared from the face of the supreme deity, from the chest a month, and the eyes became stars. After the creation of the world, Rod remained in the Rule, the dwelling place of the gods, where he supervises his children and distributes duties between them.
Pantheon of deities
Slavic gods (myths and legends about which were preserved in very small quantities) are quite extensive. Unfortunately, due to extremely poor information, it is difficult to restore the functions of many Slavic deities. About the mythology of the ancient Slavs was not known until their release to the borders of the Byzantine Empire. Thanks to the records of the historian Procopius of Caesarea, it was possible to learn some details of the religious beliefs of the Slavic peoples. The Laurentian Chronicle mentions gods from the Vladimir pantheon. Having ascended to the throne, Prince Vladimir ordered that the idols of the six most important gods be placed near his residence.
The God of Thunder, is considered one of the main deities of the Slavic tribes. He was the patron saint of the prince and his squad. Other peoples known as Zeus, Thor, Perkūnas. First mentioned in the "Tale of Bygone Years".Even then, Perun headed the pantheon of Slavic gods. They sacrificed to him, slaughtering a bull, and in the name of God they fixed oaths and contracts.
The god of thunder was associated with the hills, so his idols were installed on the hills. The holy tree of Perun was an oak tree.
After the adoption of Christianity in Russia, some functions of Perun were transferred to Gregory the Victorious and Elijah the Prophet.
The sun god in Slavic myths was in second place after Perun. Horse - as he was called. The etymology of the name is still unclear. According to the most common theory, it comes from Iranian languages. But this version is very vulnerable, because it is difficult to explain how this word became the name of one of the main Slavic deities. The Tale of Bygone Years mentions Hors as one of the gods of the Vladimir Pantheon. There is information about him and in other ancient texts.
Horse, the sun god in Slavic myths, is often mentioned together with other deities related to the heavenly body. This Dazhbog - one of the main Slavic gods, the personification of sunlight, and Yarilo.
Dazhbog was also a fertility deity.The etymology of the name of the complexity does not cause - “a god giving wealth,” is his approximate translation. He played a double function in the mythology of the ancient Slavs. As the personification of sunlight and heat, he gave fertility to the soil and at the same time was the source of royal power. Dazhbog is considered the son of Svarog, the blacksmith god.
Yarylo - a lot of obscurity is associated with this character of Slavic mythology. It is still not precisely established whether it should be considered a deity, or whether it is a personification of one of the holidays of the ancient Slavs. Some researchers consider Yarilo to be the deity of spring light, warmth and fertility, others are considered to be a ritual character. He was represented by a young man on a white horse and in a white mantle. On the hair - a wreath of spring flowers. In the hands of the deity of spring light holds the ears of cereals. Where it appears, there will definitely be a good harvest. Yarilo also engendered love in the heart of the one to whom he looked.
In one, the researchers agree - this character of Slavic mythology cannot be called the sun god. Ostrovsky's play “The Snow Maiden” fundamentally incorrectly interprets the image of Yarilo as a solar deity.In this case, Russian classical literature plays the role of harmful propaganda.
In Slavic mythology there are very few female deities. Of the main can only be called such as Mother - Cheese Earth and Mokosh. The latter is mentioned among other idols, established by order of Prince Vladimir in Kiev, which indicates the significance of this female deity.
Mokosh was a goddess of weaving and spinning. She was also revered as the patroness of crafts. Her name is associated with the two words "soak" and "spinning." Mokoshi’s day of the week was Friday. On this day it was strictly forbidden to engage in weaving and spinning. As a victim, Mokosh was presented with yarn, throwing it into the well. The goddess was represented as a long-armed woman, spinning at home in the night.
Some researchers suggest that Mokosh was the wife of Perun, so she was given a place of honor among the main Slavic gods. The name of this female deity is mentioned in many ancient texts.
After the adoption of Christianity in Russia, a part of the features and functions of Mokoshi passed to St. Paraskeva-Friday.
It is mentioned in the Vladimir pantheon as one of the main gods, but its function is not entirely clear. May have been the god of winds. In ancient texts, his name is often mentioned along with Dazhbog.It is not known whether there were holidays dedicated to Stribog, since there is very little information about this deity.
Researchers tend to believe that these are still two different characters of myths. Hair is the patron of pets and the god of wealth. In addition, he is the god of wisdom, the patron saint of poets and storytellers. It is not for nothing that Boyana from "The Tale of Igorev" is called in his poem the Veles grandson. As a gift he was left on the field a few uncompressed stalks of cereals. After the Slavic peoples adopted Christianity, the functions of Volos were assumed by two saints: Nicholas the Miracle-Worker and Blasius.
As for Veles, this is one of the demons, the evil spirit with whom Perun fought.
Slavic mythical creatures - forest dwellers
Several characters were associated with the forest among the ancient Slavs. The main ones were water and the devil. With the advent of Christianity in Russia, they began to attribute exclusively negative traits, making them demonic creatures.
Leshy is the master of the forest. They called him even a forester and forest spirit. He carefully protects the forest and its inhabitants. Relations with a good person are neutral - the devil does not touch him, and may even come to the rescue - take him out of the forest if he gets lost. For bad people, the attitude is negative.Their forest host punishes: makes you wander and can tickle to death.
Before people, the devil appears in different guises: human, vegetable, animal. Among the ancient Slavs, the attitude towards him was ambivalent - the devil was revered and at the same time feared. It was believed that the shepherds and hunters needed to make a deal with him, otherwise the devil could have stolen the cattle or even the man.
Water - the spirit that lives in the waters. He was represented as an old man with a fishtail, beard and mustache. It can take the form of fish, birds, pretend to be a log or drowned. Especially dangerous during big holidays. He likes to settle in the pools, under the mills and sluices, in the polynyas. He has herds consisting of fish. It is hostile to a person, always trying to drag under water one who has come to swim at an inopportune time (noon, midnight and after sunset). Catfish is his favorite fish in the water, which he rides like a horse.
There were other, lower beings, such as the forest spirit. In Slavic myths he was called Auka. He never sleeps. He lives in a hut in the thicket of the forest, where there is always a supply of melt water. Special expanse for Ouki comes in the winter, when the devils fall asleep.The forest spirit is hostile towards the person - will try to make a casual traveler in a windbreak or make him spin until he gets tired.
Bereginya - this mythical female character has an unclear function. According to the most common version, it is a forest deity who protects trees and plants. But also the ancient Slavs considered beregin 'mermaids. Their sacred tree is a birch, which was very much revered by the people.
Borovik is another forest spirit in Slavic mythology. Outwardly, it looks like a huge bear. You can distinguish it from a real beast by the absence of a tail. In his subordination are borovichki - the owners of mushrooms, similar to the little old men.
Kikimora marsh - another colorful character of Slavic mythology. He does not like people, but he will not touch him as long as the travelers behave quietly in the forest. If they make noise and harm plants or animals, the kikimora can make them wander around the swamp. Very secretive, extremely rarely appears on the eyes.
Bolotnik - mistake will confuse it with water. The marsh of the ancient Slavs has always been considered a place where evil forces dwell. The bog was a scary creature.This is either a fixed eyeless fat man, covered with a layer of algae, silt, snails, or a tall man with long arms, overgrown with dirty-gray wool. He does not know how to change his appearance. It represents a great danger to a person or animal that has fallen into a swamp. He grabs the victim, stuck in the quagmire, by the legs and drags it to the bottom. Destroying the swamp can only one way - draining his swamp.
Slavic myths for children - briefly about the most interesting
Acquaintance with samples of ancient Russian literature, oral tales and myths is of great importance for the all-round development of children. It is necessary to know about the past both the adults, and the smallest. Slavic myths (Grade 5) will introduce students to the pantheon of the main gods and the most famous legends. An interesting retelling of A.N. Tolstoy about Kikimor is included in the literary textbook, there is information about the main characters of the mythology of the ancient Slavs, gives an idea of such a concept as a “temple”.
At will, parents can, at an earlier age, introduce the child to the pantheon of Slavic gods and other mythological creatures.It is advisable to choose positive characters, and not to tell young children about such frightening creatures as Navy, Sinister, Volkolak.
For acquaintance with the characters of Slavic mythology, you can recommend the book by Alexander Asov "Myths of Slavs for children and their parents." It will be interesting to both the younger generation and the older one. Svetlana Lavrova is another good author who wrote the book Slavic Tales.