Tag Archive: slavic mythology


Goddess Boldogasszony

“Boldogasszony’s themes are winter, love, romance, relationships, devotion, purity and fertility. Her symbol is milk.  This Hungarian mother and guardian Goddess watches diligently over Her children, wanting only the best for them, as any mother would. Her sacred beverage, milk, is also considered a suitable libation when asking for this Goddess’s blessing.

Hungarian wedding festivals often take place in winter, after the harvest season and meat preparation. The traditions here are laden with magic we can ‘borrow’ for building strong personal relationships, asking for Boldogasszony’s blessing by having a cup of milk present at any activity. For example, cutting a rope that is attached to your home symbolizes your release from the old ways and freedom to enter into commitment. Stepping across birch wood purifies intentions and ensures a fertile, happy union.

Lighting a torch (or candle) represent vigilant devotion in a relationship. Do this at the time of your engagement, as you recite vows, or as you both enter a new residence for the first time so that commitment will stay with you. Wherever you are, eating off each other’s plates and drinking from one cup deepens harmony (include a milk product like cheese). Finally, dancing with kitchen utensils ensures that the home fire will always stay warm.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

According to the Wikipedia, Boldogasszony was a mother Goddess.  “Her name means ‘Blessed Lady’ or ‘Bountiful Queen’. She was the Goddess of motherhood and helped women in childbirth. After Hungarians were Christianized with the help of St. Gerard of Csanad, Her figure fell out of favor for that of the Virgin Mary. She is also considered the ‘Queen (Regina) of Hungary'”. [1]

I pretty much found the same information on Britannica.com: “Boldogasszony, also called Nagyboldogasszony,  the Hungarian equivalent of the Beata Virgo (Latin: ‘Blessed Virgin’), referring to the Virgin Mary as the patron saint of the Hungarian nation. Originally, Boldogasszony was probably one of the main deities of pagan Magyar mythology. The name was transferred to the Virgin Mary on the advice of St. Gerard of Csanad (Gerard Sagredo), one of the chief Christian evangelizers of Hungary.

Stephen I, the first Hungarian king (997–1038), offered his country to Mary as the patroness of the Hungarians (Magyarok Nagyasszonya) at the end of his reign. As a consequence, the country was often referred to as Mary’s realm, the Regnum Marianum. On the occasion of the country’s millennial celebrations (1896), Pope Leo XIII sent an encyclical letter to the Hungarian nation, granting permission for Hungarian Catholics to celebrate the feast of the patroness Boldogasszony.” [2]

According to the Encyclopedia of Spirits: “Boldog Asszony literally means ‘Happy Woman.’  Asszony, translated as ‘woman,’ possesses an extra nuance: Asszony indicates a relationship so close and intimate that, though not a physical blood relative, it is impossible to conceive of having a wedding or funeral without Her.  That’s the gist of Boldog Asszony, presiding spirit of life cycles, especially births and weddings.

Boldog Asszony grants fertility, oversees pregnancy, and supervises birth.  It is traditional to honor Her immediately after birth.  An offering table is laid to Her, and She must be formally thanked.  She is, as Her title indicates, a generally benevolent, patient Goddess not given to the temper tantrums displayed by some Birth Fairies.  If a family fails to honor Her, it may take years for Her displeasure to manifest: fail to thank Boldog Asszony at the birth of a baby, and that baby may never have a happy marriage.  (The opportunity exists in the years in between to apologize and make amends.)

Art by Réka Somogyi

Boldog Asszony is a title, not a name, and it is now generally applied to the Virgin Mary, but the original Boldog Asszony was a Goddess with dominion over joy, fertility, and abundance, among the primary deities of the Hungarian pantheon.  Saint Gellert, who converted the Hungarians to Christianity in the eleventh century, wrote that the Church was associating Boldog Asszony with Mary and calling Her the Queen of Hungary.

Boldog Asszony has seven daughters who bring good fortune.  To differentiate Her from Her daughters, She is called Nagy Boldogaszony (‘Big or Great Boldog Asszony’) while Her daughters are Kis Boldogaszony (‘Little Boldog Asszony’).  She is intensely identified with Mary.  Alternatively, She is identified with Saint Anne, while Little Boldog Asszony, reduced to one daughter, is identified with Anne’s daughter, Mary.

Day: Tuesday. (Do not do laundry or anything that pollutes or dirties water on Her day).

Sacred day: She is now associated with Christmas and with various harvest festivals throughout the year.

Offerings: Water, wine, pastries, dried and fresh fruit, Palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy).

See also: Atete; Black Madonna; Fairy, Birth; Szépasszony” (Illes, p. 292 – 293).

 

 

In this video, Zsuzsanna Budapest tells her story with her experience with Boldogasszy during WWII and the Hungarian Revolution.

 

 

 

Sources:

Britannica.com, “Boldogasszony“.

Illes, Juika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Boldog Asszony“.

Wikipedia, “Magyar mythology“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Content.yudu.com (Goddess Magazine – August 2009), “Boldogasszony – Glad Woman” (p. 14- 17).

Goddesses-and-gods.blogspot.com, “Goddess Boldogasszony“.

Hamori, Fred. Users.cwnet.com, “The Sumerian and Hungarian Fertility Goddess“.

Holland, Ellen. Holland’s Grimoire of Magickal Correspondences: A Ritual Handbook.

Infinite8design.com, “Goddesses of Hungary“.

Zbudapest.com, The Goddess/Wiccan Movement: Interview with Z Budapest“.

Goddess Baba Yaga

“Baba Yaga” by ~sgorbissa

“Baba Yaga’s themes are the harvest, rest, providence, thankfulness and cycles. Her symbols are corn sheafs, wreaths of wheat, corn, rye and wild flowers.  This Lithuanian/Russian Goddess of regeneration, Baba Yaga is typically represented as the last sheaf of corn in today’s festivities – Obzinky. As both young and old, She reawakens in us an awareness of time’s ever-moving wheel, the seasons and the significance of both to our Goddess-centered magic.

Follow with the tradition and make or buy a wreath or bundle of corn shucks or other harvest items. Keep this in your home to inspire Baba Yaga’s providence and prosperity for everyone who lives there.

For breakfast, consume a multigrain cereal, rye bagels or wheat toast. Keep a few pieces of dried grains or toasted breads with you. This way you’ll internalize Baba Yaga’s timeliness for coping with your day more effectively and efficiently, and you’ll carry Her providence with you no matter the circumstances.

Feast on newly harvested foods, thanking Baba Yaga as the maker of your meal. Make sure you put away one piece of corn that will not be consumed today, however. Dry it and hang it up to ensure a good harvest the next year, for your garden, pocketbook or heart.

Finally, decorate your home or office with a handful of wild flowers (even dandelions qualify). Baba Yaga’s energy will follow them and you to where it’s most needed.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Baba Yaga” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that “the ‘old woman’ of autumn was called Baba by the Slavic inhabitants of eastern Europe, Boba by the Lithuanians. This seasonal divinity lived in the last sheaf of grain harvested in a year, and the woman who bound it would bear a child that year. Baba passed into Russian folk legend as the awesome Baba Yaga, a witchlike woman who rowed through the air in a mortar, using a pestle for Her oar, sweeping the traces of Her flight from the air with a broom.

A prototype of the fairytale witch, Baba Yaga lived deep in the forest and scared passersby to death just by appearing to them. She then devoured Her victims, which is why Her picket fence was topped with skulls. Behind this fierce legend looms the figure of the ancient birth-and-death Goddess, one whose autumn death in the cornfield led to a new birth in spring” (p. 65).

“Baba” by Karlen Tam

As explained by Freya: “Usually, Baba Yaga is a frightening Witch who lives in the middle of a very deep forest, in a place which is often difficult to find unless a magic clue (a ball of yarn or thread) or a magic feather shows the way. The old hag lives in a wooden hut on two chicken legs (sometimes three or four legs are described). Usually the hut is turned with its back towards a traveler, and only magical words can make it turn around on its chicken legs to face the newcomer. Very often, the hut revolves with loud noises and painful screams that make a visitor cringe. This serves to frighten the reader, showing the hut’s old age, and to show that Baba Yaga does not care about her hut’s well being. It is also fascinating that some fairy tales describe the hut as being a unique evil entity: firstly, it has the ability to move on its chicken legs. Secondly, it understands human language and is able to decide whether and when to let a visitor enter its premises. Finally, the hut is often depicted as being able ‘to see’ with its eyes (its windows) and ‘to speak’ with its mouth (its doorway). I also cannot help feeling that the hut is able ‘to think’, and one can observe these thoughts as wild powerful clouds of steam emerging from the hut’s chimney. What powerful imagery!

Baba Yaga’s hut is often surrounded by fence made of human bones and topped with human skulls with eyes. Instead of wooden poles onto which the gates are hung, human legs are used; instead of bolts, human hands are put in; instead of the keyhole, a mouth with sharp teeth is mounted. Very often Baba Yaga has her hut is protected by hungry dogs or is being watched over by evil geese-swans or is being guarded by a black cat. The gates of Baba Yaga’s villa are also often found to be guardians of Yaga’s hut as they either lock out or lock in the Witch’s prey.” [1]  (You can click on the [1] to finish reading the imagery).

“Baba Yaga” by ~lpeters

She quite reminds me of another well known Goddess, Kali.  Freya goes onto explain: “Baba Yaga is a Slavic version of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Death, the Dancer on Gravestones. Although, more often than not, we consider Baba Yaga as a symbol of death, She is a representation of the Crone in the Triple Goddess symbolism. She is the Death that leads to Rebirth. It is curious that some Slavic fairy tales show Baba Yaga living in Her hut with Her two other sisters, also Baba Yagas. In this sense, Baba Yaga becomes full Triple Goddess, representing Virgin, Mother, and the Crone. Baba Yaga is also sometimes described as a guardian of the Water of Life and Death. When one is killed by sword or by fire, when sprinkled with the Water of Death, all wounds heal, and after that, when the corpse is sprinkled with the Water of Life, it is reborn. The symbolism of oven in the Baba Yaga fairy tales is very powerful since from primordial times the oven has been a representation of womb and of baked bread. The womb, of course, is a symbol of life and birth, and the baked bread is a very powerful the image of earth, a place where one’s body is buried to be reborn again. It is interesting that Baba Yaga invites Her guests to clean up and eat before eating them, as though preparing them for their final journey, for entering the death, which will result in a new clean rebirth. Baba Yaga also gives Her prey a choice when She asks them to sit on Her spatula to be placed inside the oven: if one is strong or witty, he or she escapes the fires of the oven, for weak or dim-witted ones, the road to death becomes clear.” [2]

As Fiana Sidhe explains: “Baba Yaga is a very misunderstood Goddess. She is not just the stereotypical wicked witch. She often appears as a frightening old hag, but can also appear as a beautiful woman who bestows gifts.

She is wild and untamed but also can be kind and generous. Even in Her haggard form, Baba Yaga has many gifts to share.

Baba Yaga is the old crone who guards The Waters of Life and Death. She is the White Lady of Death and Rebirth, and is also known as The Ancient Goddess of Old Bones. The old bones are symbolic of the things we cling to, but must finally let lie. When we experience a death, darkness, depression, or spiritual emptiness in our lives, we journey to Baba Yaga’s hut, where She washes new life into us. She collects our bones and pours the waters on them, while She sings and chants and causes us to be reborn. She destroys and then She resurrects. Baba Yaga symbolizes the death of ignorance. She forces us to see our true, darkest selves, then She grants us a deep wisdom that we can attain by accepting the dark shadows within ourselves. We can only receive help from Baba Yaga by learning humility. Her gifts can destroy or enlighten us.” [3]

I absolutely love this explanation of Baby Yaga as the Wild Woman written by Sr. Dea Phoebe: “So, while She is certainly a dark Goddess, a death Goddess, and may even seem ‘wicked’ in ways, Baba Yaga is hardly the villain of Her stories. But also, Baba Yaga is not a nice, clean, civilized Goddess. In the story of Valalisa the Wise, triple Goddess imagery repeats throughout – in Valalisa and her doll’s white, red, and black clothing, (colors traditionally associated with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,) in the repetition of threes throughout the story (three colors, three enemies in the stepfamily, three riders, three tasks, three questions, three pairs of hands) and in Valalisa, (the maiden beginning her journey), her mother (who has given Valalisa gifts to guide her), and of course, in Baba Yaga as the crone. As a denizen of the deep forest, Baba Yaga is the wild aspect of the psyche, what Estés calls [in her book Women Who Run with the Wolves] the Wild Hag or the Wild Woman —not the gentle grandmother that bakes you cookies and tells you stories, but the stern grandmother that might just smack your rear with a spoon and tell you to smarten up! She is not pretty to look at, and she represents the deepest mysteries of death. No wonder she has a reputation of a scary old witch!

“Baba Yaga” by *MarkTarrisse

When we work with Baba Yaga, when we take that path into the deep forest to face the mysteries of death and emerge with the light of wisdom, we also face the wild aspects of ourselves. They may not be pretty, they may have long stringy hair and iron teeth and a wild cackle, but they also hold mysteries our more civilized day-to-day selves never think upon. Baba Yaga is not tied by social norms and mores. She flies about in yet another symbol of transformation; She wipes away the signs of Her passing so you’re never sure if She’s really been there. She’s rude, She’s crude, and She lives in a hut that doesn’t have the manners to sit down and stay like we expect a house should—and you can bet She enjoys all of this. She is less concerned about what is civilized and polite than what is true.

When you find yourself in need of true wisdom, when you find yourself being too nice, too polite in the face of ongoing boundary violations, when you find yourself stagnated by the expectations of others, it might just be time to retrieve your Wild Woman (or Man.) It might be time to brave the forest and meet Baba Yaga.” [4]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Colors: White, red, and black

Gemstones: Garnet, bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz

Goddesses: Hecate, Hel, Kali

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Festival Date: January 20

Herbs/Flowers: Patchouli, sandalwood, geranium

Moon Phase: Waning/Dark

Other Names: Baba, Boba, Baba Den, Jezi Baba

Sacred Animals: Snake, cat

Season: Autumn

Symbols: Mortar and pestle, broom

Tree: Birch                                   [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Arteal. Order of the White Moon, “Baba Yaga“.

Freya. Realmagick.com, “Baba Yaga: A Demon or A Goddess?

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Baba Yaga”.

Phoebe, Sr. Dea. Order of Our Lady of Salt, “The Goddess and the Wheel: Baba Yaga – Wicked Witches and Wild Women“.

Sidhe, Fiana. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga, The Bone Mother“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddesses“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Baba Yaga – Wild Woman“.

Oldrussia.net, “Baba Yaga“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Baba Yaga: cross the shadow side – then come out!

Russianclub.com.ua, “Baba-Yaga“.

Russiapedia.rt.com, “Of Russina origin: Baba Yaga“.

Sacred-texts.com, “Baba Yaga“.

Weed, Susun. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga Stories“.

Wikipedia, “Baba Yaga“.

The Veelas

“I miss you” by pranile

“The Veelas’  themes are fairies, nature, healing, wealth and abundance. Their symbols are sweet bread, sacred fairy plants (oak, ash, thorn, foxglove, etc) and healing herbs.  These Balkan Goddesses preside over the woodlands and have the power to heal or harm, depending on the circumstances. The Veelas kindly treat humans who respect them and the earth, rewarding them with the knowledge of how to work harmoniously with the land, which, in turn, creates prosperity and abundance.

In ancient Macedonia, today was a time to appease the spirits of nature, called Drymiais. We can follow their customs by not harvesting any plants (especially vining ones), and not doing any cleaning (especially with water). If you must do one of these forbidden activities, carry iron to protect you from mischievous fairy folk.

If you live near any oak, ash or thorn trees, leave under it a little gift of sweet bread for the Veelas. As you do, whisper a short request to the Veelas for renewed health and permission to gather some herbs associated with health and healing today. Afterward, look for an ash or oak leaf or some tansy flowers. These will act as an amulet for well-being whenever you carry them with you.

For prosperity and abundance, and to improve your connection with the earth, give the Veelas an offering of honey instead, and eat a bit yourself to consume the earth’s sweetness.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Goddess Artemis” by Sierra-san

Medussa, in an piece written for the Order of the White Moon, presents a very clear picture of who these nature spirits were: “The Veelas, also known as the Vily; the Eastern European name for ‘the Goddess of energy moving through the earth as nature’. They were an ancient Kith long before the Sidhe rose to dominance over western Kithain. They live mostly in Eastern mountains and forests. They were born from the primordial worship of the Great Mother in Her warrior aspect.

The Veelas are the most beautiful women but not human; they are tall and strong, with moon bright skin and white golden hair that fans out behind them, even when there is no wind. They have flashing eyes of grey or pale blue, their voices are low and musical. But do not be mistaken, they are warrior huntresses and very protective of their terrain. They are great shape-shifters able to change into animals such as snakes, swans, falcons and horses. They love to play and dance and if contacted with a great respect they may grant you health, wealth and abundant crops. But if an intruder should show disrespect they would dance the offender to death.

The Veelas prowled the land from Scythia in the south to the Capland in the north sharing dominion with their cousins the Valkyries. They enjoy their most satisfying relationships with trolls. The Veelas are extremely given over to honor and battle.” [1]

This led me to dig a little deeper and found reference an actual Goddess named Vila.  “Vila (pronounced vee’lah) is the eastern European name for the Goddess of Energy moving through the earth as nature.  Vily (plural) are known as female spirits that lived in the woods, mountains, and clouds; they could shape shift into swans, horses, falcons, or wolves.

In Slovakia, they are regarded as the souls of dead girls that lead young men to their deaths; they fire arrows that may disturb one’s reason.” [2]

“Vila” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that Vila was “one of the most powerful European Goddesses [also] called Samovila…or Judy according to the language of the people, who pictured this woodland forces as a fair-skinned winged woman with glistening garments and golden hair falling to Her feet.  She lived deep in the woods, where She guarded animals and plants as well as cleaning rubble out of streams and assuring sufficient rainfall.

Hunters were wary of beautiful, well-dressed women speaking the languages of animals, for Vila was fiercely possessive of Her wild herds.  Should one be injured or – worse yet – killed, Vila mutilated the offender or lured him into a magic circle and danced him to death.  Alternatively, Vila might bury him in rocks by starting an avalanche, or simply cause him to keel over with a heart attack.

Vila was able to masquerade as a snake, swan, falcon, horse or whirlwind.  Cloud Vilas could transform themselves into clouds or fog.  Born on a day of soft misty rain, when the sun formed miniature rainbows on the trees, She knew all the secrets of healing and herb craft.  Should a human wish to learn Her skills, blood-sisterhood was forged with Vila.  The applicant appeared in the woods before sunrise on a Sunday of the full moon.  Drawing a circle with a birch twig or a broom, she placed several horsehairs, a hoof, and some manure inside the circle, then stood with her right foot on the hoof calling to the Vila.  Should the spirit appear and be greeted as a sister, Vila would grant any wish” (p. 311).

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessrealm.com, “Vila Goddess of Transformation“.

Medussa. Order of the White Moon, “The Veelas“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Vila”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Finnegan, Margaret. Margaretfinnegan.blogspot.com, “Goddess of the Week: The Vily“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology and You, “Samovila“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, Vila: Shape-Shifting“.

Omda.bg, “SAMODIVA” (translated from Bulgarian).

Stanton, Sandra M. The Goddess in World Mythology, “Samovila“.

Wikipedia, “Samodiva“.

 

 

The Narucnici

“The Narucnici’s themes are psychic abilities, spirituality, destiny and divination.  Their symbols are an eye and all symbols or fate or destiny.  In Slavic regions, these are Goddesses of fate who see each child’s destiny at birth.  At times, they can be propitiated through prayer to alter one’s destiny, especially when it’s running headlong into disaster.

In 1831, the acclaimed Helena Blavatsky was born under the watchful eye of the Narucnici, who must have predicted an impressive life for her.  Helena grew up to establish the Theosophical Society, whose goal is to explore mystical phenomena, to better understand it, and to expose fraudulent dealings.  To remember this remarkable woman and honor the Narucnici, focus on your own inherent magical potential.  All of us have the Goddess’s prophetic ability within; it’s just a matter of activating that talent.  One exercise that seems to help people is meditating on opening the chakra located in the middle of your forehead (the third eye).

Close your physical eyes and visualize a purple-silver light pouring into your forehead from above. See it swirling clockwise, forming the image of an eye.  Allow this eye to open, very slowly.  Do you feel different as it opens?  Can you sense things on the edge of your awareness you couldn’t before? After the exercise, try your favorite divinatory tool and examine what new insights it offers now that you’ve cleared the path for that foresight a bit.”

Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Sojenice – The matriarchal trinity

The closest match for information that I could find on today’s group of Goddesses was on the Sudice.  Patricia Monaghan explains that “the Goddesses of fate in Eastern Europe had names that varied from land to land: Rojenice in Croatia; Sudicky in Bohemia; Sudzenici or Narucnici in Bulgaria; Sojenice in Slovenia; Sudice in Poland.  All were said to be beautiful old women with white skin and white clothes, wearing white handkerchiefs on their heads and many necklaces of gold and silver. They glistened as they walked; sometimes they decked themselves with garlands of flowers or carried lit candles.

Generally these Goddesses were invisible to human eyes, but they did appear at birth, when three of them arrived to cast the newborn’s fate.  Two spoke wishes for the child’s fortune, but the words of the last could not be undone.  To make sure She spoke good wishes, parents offered Her gifts of wine, candles and bread” (p. 286).

This is what the legend is roughly translated from the Czech Wikipedia page:

“Sudička is a figure in Slavic mythology. It tells the story of three old women spinners who approach cradles of every newborn child, and foretell their fate. The first has a big bottom lip from the continuous salivating the thread. The second has an inch-wide thumb from holding the knot and the third has a huge foot from pedaling on the spinning wheel. The fate will fulfill to the man, regardless as to whether he is a good man or a bad man.

The story has many similarities to the Greek myth of the Moirai.” [1]

“The Moirae” by ravynnephelan

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Sudice”.

Wikipedia, “Sudice (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientpoland.org, “Ancient Poland“.

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Rozanica” (down to Sudice, {Those -Who-Judge}.

MacCulloch, John Arnott, Jan Machal & Louis Herbert Gray. Celtic Mythology, “Genii of Fate“.

Medussa. Order of the White Moon, “The Fates: THE NARUCNICI“.

Wikipedia, “Rodzanice” (translated from Polish).

The Rousalii


“The Rousalii’s themes are humor, protection, weather, fertility, fairies and growth. Their symbols are water, linen and green robes.  A group of ill-treated women in life, these Goddesses often create mischief when they interact with humans, especially those with nasty dispositions. They do, however, have a good side. The Rousalii know the dances that make plants and people grow and thrive and sometimes they will teach them to humans. In literature, the Rousalii sometimes appear as water fairies, begging linen from passerby, which they use to make green robes for fertility rites.

In Romania, people would tell you that it is best to stay home today and leave the Rousalii offerings of bread and salt to avert their impish ways. If it’s windy, definitely stay home; this means the ladies are in a foul mood. To protect yourself, place worm wood under your pillow, pull the covers over your head and stay put! On a less drastic level, wear something green to keep them happy and try this spell to encourage the Rousalii’s growth or maturity in any area of you life: Take a little piece of linen (or cotton cloth) and dance with it in your hand, moving clockwise and saying,

‘The dance of life, the dance of power, Rousalii, join me this magic hour! To ______________bring growth and maturity; by your power this spell is freed!’

Fill in the blank with your intention. Tuck the swatch of cloth on your person, or close to the area that represents your goal.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Rusalki” by Konstantin Makovsky

In Patricia Monaghan’s book, The New Book of Goddesses and Heriones, I found references to these Goddesses as “Rusalki”.  She states, “these Russian water spirits were originally human women who drowned or committed suicide.  The company of naked, wild-haired Rusalki rose each spring from streams to beg bits of white linen from humans.  The Rusalki hung them from trees after carefully laundering them.  (One who accidently stepped on the Rusalki’s wash would be spastic thereafter.)

Their spring cleaning done, the Rusalki began their nightly dances that help plants grow and mature; sometimes for these occasions they wore long white unbelted tunics or robes of green leaves.  Humans could lose their souls by witnessing the beautiful dances of the Rusalki, which usually brought rain to the growing plants.  When summer was over, the Rusalki retreated to the feather nests at the bottom of the streams, where they hibernated until the next spring” (p. 269).

I also found that it is believed that “the Rusalka of Russian myths are the spirits of young women who were murdered before marriage and are then cursed to live in a lake in the form of a mermaid. There they will sing sweet songs to entrap men into the water and drown them. A Rusalka can be released from Her demonic form if someone avenges Her murder.

“Rusalki” by Fish-KAart

The Rusalka are slim with long, loose hair, blazing eyes and magnificent breasts. Their hair may be light brown, blond or green. They can assume the form of a fish or have legs like a human. In the latter form, they haunt the forests, dance with the moon and swing from the branches of trees. Often we see them sitting on the bank laughing with their friends the water sprites. Sometimes they visit local villages to join in the dances and entice men into their lakes to become their husbands or kill them.

If you would like to go swimming with the Rusalki (plural of Rusalka) put fern in your hair so they cannot pull you under and drown you. Some say that only witches can swim safely with Rusalki.

Another group of Russian myths claim that the Rusalka are water nymphs who marry the Wodjanoj. The Wodjanoj are male water spirits who live in great castles under the water and can change their shape at will.

Marriage alters the Rusalka. She goes from wild and lustful to sweet and demure.

I see many obvious links between the Rusalki of the Russian myths and the mermaids of Celtic myth. Both are beautiful, sexually liberated and occasionally dangerous. They are both descended from Goddesses of fertility and retain some of their characteristics. One article I read makes especial reference to the hair of the Rusalka. It is loose and uncontrolled like the Rusalka themselves. Notice how even now we associate loose, wild hair with sexuality.” [1]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Beautiful-mermaid-art.com, “Russian Myth: The Rusalka“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Rusalki”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

The Bulgarian Festival Calendar, “Russalii or Roussalya: Wood nymphs (Samodivas) and water nymphs (Mermaids)“.

Tribe.net, “Rusalkie (Slavic water spirits)“.

Wikipedia, “Rusalka“.

Wikipedia, “Semik“. (“Green Week” – ancient Slavic fertility festival celebrated in early June).

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pagan songs & tales

Whispers of Yggdrasil

A personal journal to share my artistic works, to write about Norse shamanism and traditional paganism, European History, Archaeology, Runes, Working with the Gods and my personal experiences in Norse shamanic practices.

Sleeping Bee Studio

Art, Design, Batik & Murals

Pagan at Heart

At peace with myself and the world... or at least headed that way

McGlaun Massage Therapy, LLC

Real Healing for the Real You

TheVikingQueen

A modern Viking Blog written by an ancient soul

The World According to Hazey

I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right. I'm the Witch. You're the world.

Migdalit Or

Veils and Shadows

Of Axe and Plough

Anglo-Saxon Heathenry and Roman Polytheism

Walking the Druid Path

Just another WordPress.com site

body divine yoga

unlock your kundalini power, ignite your third eye, awaken your inner oracle

Joyous Woman! with Sukhvinder Sircar

Leadership of the Divine Feminine

The Raven's Knoll Quork

Spirituality - Nature - Community - Sacred Spaces - Celebration

Journeying to the Goddess

Journey with me as I research, rediscover and explore the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises...

witchery

trapped in the broom closet

Rune Wisdom

Ancient Sacred Knowledge-Daily Wisdom Practices: A place to explore Runic relevance in today's world.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Exploring Myself and the Northern Shaman Path

Stone of Destiny

Musings of a Polytheistic Nature

1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Adventures in Vanaheim

Musings on Vanic Paganism (and life in general) from a lesbian feminist geek

Flame in Bloom

Dancing for Freyja

Golden Trail

A wayfarer's path

The Druid's Well

Falling in Love with the Whole World

Georgia Heathen Society's Blog

Heathen's in Georgia

Mystic Fire Blog

A Spiritual Blog by Dipali Desai. Awaken to your true nature.

art and healing Blog

Art heals yourself, others, community and the earth

My Moonlit Path.....

The Story of My Everyday Life.....

Raising Natural Kids

Because knowledge is the key to making informed decisions for your family.

Her Breath

Fused with the Fire of Inspiration

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

Magic, fiber, cats

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

WoodsPriestess

Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry as well as the practical work of priestessing.

Waincraft

Following the Call of the Land