Eastern Europe and Northern Asia have been home to countless tribes and nations, peoples whose cultures and religions are shrouded in mystery, as often as not. Even the Slavic folk, one of the most important groups in Europe today, have very little of their ancient heritage and folklore intact. Consequently, this page will be considerably shorter than others in this archive. Hopefully, the information so gathered will address some basic themes, even so.
This page is intended as a reference guide for students of Slavic and Eurasian mythology, and is a catalogue, hopefully reasonably complete, of known God-forms. The information here is necessarily brief, what is included here is:
a Name, (A translation, in parentheses, of the name if I know it), Nationality as relevant, any important epithets or sobriquets that are associated with the Name, and a basic description of spheres of influence, attributes, and/or descriptive stories.
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The Banniki (sing. Bannik) Any of a class of household spirits, these being particularly associated with the bath-house, or Sauna.
Baba Yaga An aged crone, often described as a witch or an ogress, who dwells in the forest and appears in several Russian folktales. In some sources She is solitary, in others She is any of three sisters, each having the same name. She/They dwell in a marvelous hut, which is in constant motion, often described as "spinning" or "turning about"; it accomplishes this by means of large birds feet. Baba Yaga is usually refered to in perjorative terms; She is said to lure children to her, only to catch, cook, and eat them. She is also said to be a Guardian Spirit of the Fountain of the Water of Life. If she doesn't kill you, she can sometimes be induced to give advice and magical gifts to wanderers and heroes.
Beda (disaster) Goddess of misfortune and disaster.
Belobog (The White God) West Slavonic A God of happiness and luck.
Bestalannitsa (Luckless) Goddess of misfortune.
Chernobog (The Black God) West Slavonic A God of evil, grief and woe. His legend is one source of inspiration for the music of Moussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain".
Chernogolov (Black-Head) A God of misfortune who was representative as man wih black head and silver moustaches.
Dabog (Gift-Lord ?) South Slavonic A clear cognate with Dazhdebog, just below. Some sources, however, hold that Dabog is an earthly, rather than aerial figure, and that the two should be differentiated.
Dazhdebog (Gift-Lord, The God of Gifts) East Slavonic A God of sun and warmth, son of Svarog and one of the eight primary Slavonic deities. He is regarded as the ultimate ancestor of the Russian people, and even today a poetic reference to Russians can be made using the phrase "children" or "grandchildren of Dazhdebog". Note also, a very strong parallel or link to the much earlier Sumerian Dazibogu.
Div (miracle) God of the miraculous, also a God of the wildwood (thicket) who was hostile to humanity. At first he was a God of clear sky, but the tales tell that He was overthrown from the sky by Perun, and settled in the thicket of wood.
Dodol Goddess of the air and of clouds, travelling Her realm by means of a chariot drawn by white horses. Among southern Slavs, particularly in Serbia, She is known as Doda or Dodola, and is more explicitly associated with rain.
Dogoda Child of Stribog and Lord of the west wind.
Dolya (fate) Goddess of happiness and luck. She lives behind the family stove, and spreads fortune according to her mood - if She is in high spirits, She appears as a sweet young maiden, and good luck ensues; but if She is feeling poorly, She becomes Nedolya, a spindly old hag who spreads ill-fortune. She also has responsibility for delivering overall fates to newborn infants.
(sing. Domovoi) Any of a class of household
spirits, animistic tutelaries of hearth and home who function as guardians
and helps or hindrances in household affairs. Whether it was in homes
for sale or household chores, a
Domovoi was thought to be involved somehow.
Gore (Grief) Goddess of grief and woe. If She is not successfully propitiated, She will descend with a newly deceased mortal into the grave and beyond, spreading misery far and wide.
The Gumeniki (sing. Gumenik) Any of a class of animistic spirits, tutelaries to storehouses, grainaries, and the like.
Jarila The Serbo-Croatian equivalent of Yarila.
Khors God of sun and light, and one of the eight primary Slavonic deities. He seems to have an association with dogs, as well.
Koshchei the Deathless A mythological figure, the ruler of a land variously described as "Thrice-Ten Kingdom, or the "Kingdom Beyond Blue Kingdoms". He is nearly immortal, having (as is so often the case) but one mortal weakness: a pin in his possession (and very closely guarded) will be his doom should its point ever be broken off. His role in the tales is as the captor of beautiful princesses, who must needs be recovered by their suitors. His doom is encompassed by Prince Ivan, who seeks the rescue of his lady.
Kostroma (from "Koster" = 'bonfire') A fertility Goddess, personification of spring, who dies at the end of spring, only to arise once more at the end of winter. She was represented as girl dressed in white with oak branch in the hand. Her thatched scarecrow is burnt in a bonfire on the holiday of "Parting of Spring".
Krivda (insult) Goddess of bitterness, hatred, and offence.
Kruchina (grieving) A Goddess of mourning, imaged as an eternally weeping woman.
Krukis Any of a class of household spirits, particularly guardians of domestic animals, and patrons of smithies. They are regarded as a sub-variety of Domoviye.
Kupala God of summer, husband of his sister Marena. His thatched scarecrow is burnt in a bonfire on the holiday of "Ivana Kupala" (the day of Summer Sunstaying).
Lada Goddess of love and beauty. She was represented as girl dressed in white with flower wreath on the head and with flowers in the hands.
Lel God of love. He was represented as youth dressed in white with flower wreath on the head.
The Leshiye (sing. Leshy) Any of a class of animistic nature spirits, having charge and stewardship over wild animals. As the idea evolved, Leshy spirits came to be seen as guides and guardians of domesticated creatures, as well.
Likho Odnoglazoye (Likho One-eye ["likhiy"= 'odd'] ) A Goddess of privation and suffering that was represented as a thin, one-eyed, old woman.
Marena The Goddess of winter, and as such She became (not unpredictably) a spirit of hunger, sickness, epidemic, and death. Nevertheless, late versions of Her show an increasing association with home and hearth. She was wife of her brother Kupala. In Christian time some her functions were conflated with St. Maria.
Maria Morevna Probably not divine as such, there are nevertheless some echoes of a connection with Marena. She is a warrior-princess who figures in one version of the Koshchei cycle. She weds Prince Ivan, and warns him from examining a particular room in her kremlin. In it, she holds captive Koshchei, who is released upon Ivan's ill-considered ministrations. After much hardship and adventure, she is released from captivity and Koshchei slain by a repentant Ivan, in a fairly thinly glossed initiatory sequence.
Marzana Poland The Polish equivalent of Marena.
Mokosh (Weaver or Spinner) Goddess of home and hearth, perhaps sovereign over the Domovoi, a patroness of fertility and midwivery, and one of the eight primary Slavonic deities. She was the wife of Perun, and was represented as a woman with a large head, long arms and unkempt hair. Her sacred day is Friday. In Christian times she became conflated with the Virgin Mary, and St.Paraskeva.
Nav (related to Aryan for "Boat") The Goddess of Death. She is said to secretly cast up a little bone ("Navya kostochka" = `Nav's bone') in a victim's food, and when the fragment is swallowed, they die. Her sacred day was "Naviy den" (Nav's day) the last Thursday of the Great Lent in Christian times. The valkyrie-like servants of Nav were the Navki (sing. Navka), the Mavki (sing. Mavka), and the "Twelve Witches".
Nedolya (Unfated) A Goddess of sadness and dissatisfation. Imaged as a frail old hag, She is the alternate avatar of the Goddess Dolya, and like Her dwells in secret corners of the house.
Nesreha Yugoslavia The Serbian equivalent of Nestrecha.
Nestrecha A goddess of grief and failure.
Nuzhda A Goddess of hardship and poverty.
The Ovinniki (sing. Ovinnik) Any of a class of animistic spirits having tutelary functions over drying-houses and food preservation.
Perun Pan-Slavonic God of lightning, thunder, storm and (probably) war, and one of the eight primary deities. He was patron of nobility and of armies. His sacred day is Thursday. He is lord of the mountains and the forest (his tree is the oak). He was represented as a man with silver hair and golden moustaches, armed with stones and arrows. His images were accompanied by eight eternal flames, bonfires or at least torches, as the case may be. Note a considerable number of parallels with the Norse Thor. In Christian times he became conflated with St.Ilya (Elias).
Podaga Balto-SlavonicA God of fire.
Pogoda Poland The Polish equivalent of Podaga.
Polel Poland The Polish equivalent of Lel.
The Poleviki (sing. Polevik) Any of a class of animistic nature-spirits, having authority over fields and pasturage. They are dangerous, for if one becomes drunk or confused and wanders into a field infested with Poleviki, they are quite likely to drag such a one down and kill him. They are described as being dressed in white and being very handsome.
Poludnitsa Clearly related to the Poleviki, She differs from them in being a single individual rather than a class of spirits, in being female instead of male, and being more exasperating than dangerous - She is also a guardian of the fields, and delights in confusing wayfarers rather than killing them. Her particular targets are children, whom She tries to get hopelessly lost in large grainfields. Like Her male relatives, She is described as being dressed all in white, and being extremely fair in appearance.
PorevitWest Slavonic A God of the woods; he has no idol or image, but is considered to be manifest throughout the forest primeval. His sacred day is Tuesday. Among the Baltic Slavs (whose name for him was Prove), especially in the area around Stargard, He was considered as one of the High Gods.
Porvata Poland The Polish equivalent of Porevit.
Prince Ivan Not a divinity as such, but there are some echoes of a connection to Kupala. Ivan figures in a cycle of tales in several different versions, in which he inlists the aid of creatures he has formerly made a pact with in an initiatory gloss, to encompass the doom of Koshchei the Deathless and the rescue of his lady, Maria Morevna or Vasilisa the Wise, depending on the version. The mythological point to the tales seems to be the need to come to terms in a harmonious way with the natural world.
Rakh (probably from "Strakh" = `fear') A God of fear and unreason.
Rod A God of fertility and family, chiefly concerned with continuation of blood lines and the extention and glorification of clans. He has a number of attendants and servitors, collectively called the Rozhenitsy (sing. Rozhenitsa).
Sedz Poland The Polish equivalent of Sud.
Semargl (Seven-Head) Pan Slavonic God of soil and fertility, one of the eight primary deities. Like Rugievit, whom He may be a variant of, He was represented as man with seven heads.
Sreha Yugoslavia Serbian equivalent of Ustrecha.
Sud A God of destiny and glory. When he strews gold in his palace, those born at that time are preordained to become wealthy. But when he scatters earthen clods, those born then are destined to poverty. He has a number of servitors, collectively known as the Sudenitsy (sing. Sudenitsa).
SvantavitWest Slavonic God of war. He was represented as man with four heads (facing the cardinal directions) and with sword, spears, and standards in hand. His sacred bird was the eagle, his colour was red. The center of his cult was a four-pillared temple in Arcona (on Rugen island, in northeastern Germany) where an oracle was located. See also, Rugievit.
Svarog (Fear-Lord) God of fire, and one of the eight primary deities. He was patron of smiths, and is considered a patron of artisans and craftsmen, as well. He also has some connection to marriage. He is the father of Dazhdebog and was represented as a horseman with spears.
Tryglaw Poland the Polish equivalent of Troyan.
Troyan (The Triune One) The God of night and darkness. He was represented as a three-headed man with golden bands in his eyes. His three heads embodied his power over earth, sky and hell.
Ustrecha (Meeting) Goddess of happiness and luck.
Usud Yugoslavia The Serbo-Croatian equivalent of Sud.
The Vampires (Slavonic Vlkoslak, or Wampyr) Any of a class of spirits associated with tainted souls who cannot rest in their graves. The idea of vampirism has taken hold of popular imagination in recent decades; the Slavic original is quite recognizable, even through the filter of pop culture. The idea is that certain individuals have unclean souls, and after death they cannot pass on, but rise to stalk the night in search of blood and warmth. The solution to this problem is the ritual of "Double-Burial", involving the use of wooden stakes, or cremation in extreme cases.
Vasilisa the Wise Not divine as such, she is the princess figure in one version of the Koshchei cycle. Her tale relates that she was transformed by her father into the semblance of a frog. She encounters Prince Ivan as he searches for his destiny, and induces him to marry her, whereupon she aids him in several clever ways. At length, though, he burns (out of ignorance) her frog-skin (while she is in human form). This compels her to flee, and she is captured by Koshchei. Ivan rescues her in a series of actions brought about by various animal familiars of his.
The Vazily (sing. Vazila) Any of a class of household tutelary spirits; these to be found in and concerned with the stables
The Vili (sing. Vila) Any of a class of Slavic dryads, tree-spirits who are exclusively female. They are often vicious and cruel, and have a dire reputation; nevertheless, if one succeeds in approaching a Vila properly, she may be inclined to heal, give advice, reveal treasure, or teach magical and medicinal arts.
The Vodyanoi Any of a class of animistic nature-spirits, beings associated with and having control over water: springs, pools, lakes, rivers, etc.
Volos (Hair) East Slavonic God of cattle, and one of the eight primary deities. Later he also became known as a God of wealth. He was a patron of the people, as opposed to Perun's association with the Prince and his troops. During the harvest, peasants sacrificed to him an unmowed strip that was called "the beard of Volos". Volos is also considered a patron of poetry and eloquence. Astrally, He had a connection to the Pleiades, which bears His name in Russian; Volosyni. Nevertheless, he also seems to have associations with chthonic forces and the Other (sepulchral) world.
Yarila God of spring fertility. He was represented as young man dressed in white with wheaten wreath on the head, wheaten ears in right hand and human head in left hand. In Christian times his functions removed to St.George.
Yarylo Belarus and Ukrainian equivalent of Yarila. In Belarus, he gradually evolved into a female deity.
Zhiva West Slavonic Goddess of life vigour. She was chief goddess of the Western Slavs.
Zywye Poland The Polish equivalent of Zhiva.
BALTIC and FINNISH
Ai Estonian Lord of thunder, and bringer of storms.
AkkaFinnish and Estonian Lady of the Harvest, and a patroness of female sexuality. She is the Consort of Jumala, and is co-Creatrix with Him, being the builder of mortal bodies. She is tutulary to the Mountain Ash, which is sacred to Her.
Hiisi Finnish Lord of tree-kind, and presiding Spirit of conifer forests.
Ilmarinen Finnish An astral divinity who directs the stars in their courses and controls the weather. He is also a patron of travellers and Smiths, and he taught humanity the uses and shaping of metal. Note that in the Bronze Age, Iron was considered "Star-Metal", since it's primary source was meteoric.
Ilmatar Finnish A being of ambiguous gender, being said to be both a male hero, but also a female Divinity - mother of Lemminkainen and Vainamoinen, and general Creatrix of the world.
JumalaFinnish Early supreme deity, a sky-and-thunder Lord who patterned individual fates (especially life-spans) for mortals. Co-Creator with his consort Akka - being the constructor of mortal souls. He was replaced at some point by Ukko.
KabaFinnish Lord of fate, and guider of destinies. He became current among early Russians as well, where He is known as Chuvash.
Laima Latvian Goddess of childbirth, and a spiritual guide of a mortal throughout their life.
Lemminkainen Finnish Like His brother Vainamoinen and his progenitor Ilmatar, He is both mortal hero and Divinity. As a God, he seems to have watery associations, being said in one set of tales to have been drowned (but restored) in a river, and in other cycles to be a sea Lord.
Pellon Pekko Finnish A God of vegetive life-force, especially barley. He is patron of the craft of brewing.
Pekko Estonian The precise equivalent to Pellon Pekko, of Finland.
Perkunas Lithuanian God of Thunder, with fertility associations in that he directs the flow of rain.
Puleh Finnish Divine messenger, and deliverer of destinies. He is a son of Kaba.
Teljavelik Lithuanian Creator, and Smith, of the world.
Ukko Finnish Later supreme divinity - like his predecessor Jumala He, too, was a sky-and-thunder divinity.
Vainamoinen Finnish Brother of Ilmarinen and a questing hero figure, but also God of music. Further, he has some prosperity and wealth associations by his possession of the talisman Sampo, a magic mill that can grind out all manner of staples as well as raw gold.
Vanemuine Estonian The equivalent to Vainamoinen among the Eesti.
Boldogasszony Goddess of women and children, protectress and defender of Her charges. She has fertility connections, and is associated with childbirth in a particular way. Her cult became conflated with that of the Virgin Mary in early Christian times.
Isten Creator God, who led the Magyar people across the steppes and into their present homeland by means of his Totem creature, the eagle.
Ordog Chthonic divinity associated with evil-doing and adversity.
Arsan Duolai Yakut Master and ruler of the under-earth; a chthonic divinity whose spirit-servants collect sacrifices of cattle and horses.
Hinkon Tungus A Spirit of the Hunt, and ruler of animal life.
Kini'je Yukaghir An aerial Spirit who controls the flow of time.
Kutkhu Kamchadal This nation's version of Ku'urkil.
Ku'urkil Chukchi A creator Spirit who brought the world into being. He is at one and the same time a Deity and the First Human and original Shaman.
Nu'tenut Chukchi Master of that which is, he resides in a house of iron, and is attended by the Spirits of Earth, Light, Darkness, the Sea, the Sun, the Moon, and the Sky.
Pon Yukaghir (Something) The informing Spirit of all that exists; a remote and imageless entity which nevertheless seems to interact in subtle ways with the world.
Quikinna'qu (Big Raven) Koryak The equivalent on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Ku'urkil.
Toko'yoto (Crab) Chukchi Creator and tuler of the Pacific Ocean.
Xaya Iccita YakutMaster and ruler of the mountain world.
Yina'mna'ut and Yina'mtilan (Fog-Woman and Fog-Man) Yakut A pair of animistic spirits associated with mists and fogs.
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