Slavic Native Faith (Rodnovery)

Introduction:

Since Slavic Mythology and Folklore is almost completely unknown outside of the Slavic Countries, I am going to have a journal to teach everyone around here more about the Slavic Form of Life and Thoughts. This will also be practical, showing my own practices within the faith of my ancestors.

The three key pillars of the Slavic Native Faith, or Rodnovery: are Polytheism, Ancestor Worship, and Animism. We believe in a tripartite world, Prav, the realm of the Gods above, Yav, the realm of the earth, and Nav, the realm of the dead below.

12 Likes

Looking forward to this!!

4 Likes

Chapter 1: The Cosmos:

As I said in the introduction: We believe in a Tripart cosmos: Prav, the realm of the Gods (the Slavic word for God is Bog, the plural is Bogi); Yav, the realm of the earth; and Nav, the realm of the dead. While this is a very simplistic explanation, these three worlds are a bit more complicated than that, for example Mat Zemlya Mokosh (Mother Earth Mokosh) one of the Slavic goddesses (The Slavic for for Goddess is Boginya, the plural is Bogini) lives in Yav, not Prav. So, we’re to do a much more in depth on Slavic cosmology.

Firstly, as a pre-amble, we don’t know for certain the ancient Slavic creation myth, there are three different forms. There’s one in which two gods cooperate by diving underneath the waters and shaping the earth and creates the worlds; one in which two birds sitting atop the world tree (the world tree is Oak in the Slavic understanding) and go into the waters to find fine sand and blue stones to create the worlds; and a third one in which Rod is dismembered and creates all of the worlds.

With that aside, let’s go through the three worlds now:

Section 1: Prav

Sitting at the top of the World Tree is Prav, the realm of the Gods and birds, it is the sky. It is filled with magnificent palaces and extraordinary individuals. The beings here are ruled by Perun, Bog (God) of Thunder, Lightning, and War. He is the leader of the Bogi. Only Bogi and birds are allowed to live in Prav, but not all of the Bogi do live here. There are Russian words that help us understand the meaning of Prav:

We have Pravilo (Prav+ilo) which means rule and law.
We have Pravda (Prav+da) which means justice.
We have Pravo (Prav+o) which means right and jurisprudence.
Contrarily, we also have Nepravil’no* (Ne+Prav+il’no), the prefix Ne, from Net, means no, or not, so this means] means wrong. So, Prav is the place of order in the Cosmos.

*There are two letters of the Russian alphabet that it’s important to note, aren’t translated into English because they can’t. There’s ь which isn’t translated, it just makes the sounds harder. And there’s ы which is untranslatable into English because there’s no letter for it, it’s a vowel that’s kind of a cross between a [u] and an [i]. So instead I will put an apostrophe instead in my transliterated Russian words.

Section 2: Yav

Sitting at the base of the World Tree, Yav is the material reality, everything that we see from humanity, to the Nature Sprits and Slavic Demons; and to the Nature Bogi that dwell in Yav such as Mat Zemla Mokosh (Mat means mother, zemla means earth). no one rules over Yav in the same way that Perun rules Prav, so this is a place of utter and complete chaos. let’s look at Russian words to see the meaning of Yav:

We have Yavi’i (Yav+i’i) which means obvious.
We have Nayavu (na+Yav+u) which means in real life, while awake.
We have Yavlennya (Yav+lennya) which means apparition, and phenomenon.
We have Royavit’sya (ro+Yav+it’sya) which means to appear or to show up.
We have Yavno (Yav+no) which means manifestly.

So, from all of these things, we see that Yav has to do with material reality that we can touch and experience with our senses.

Section 3: Nav

Dwelling in the roots of the World Tree, Nav is the realm of the dead, ruled by Veles (and partially ruled by Dazhbog, God of the Sun, during the night time), serpents and Zmei (Slavic Dragons) also dwelled in Nav. In order to get to Nav, spirits needed to find the Smorodina River which is said to be on fire constanty and cross the Kalinov bridge, which is burning also to the other side. If these things seemed like too much, you also have to get past a beast known as Zmei Gorynych which is a special type of Zmei known as a Chudo-Yudo, because it has the rare property of having multiple heads, and every time one of the heads is cut off, it can regenerate them.

Nav itself is it’s own Russian word and it means dead.

On some days during the year, Veles allows those who dwell in Nav to come to Yav to mingle with their descendants. Holidays like Dziady and Koliada are some example of when these happen. Presumably Veles is also the one who brings our food offerings to our ancestors during the rest of the year when they are in Nav, but I’m getting ahead of myself, the Ancestral Worship portion won’t be until tomorrow.

This has been the chapter on the cosmos from the Slavic point of view.

3 Likes

Chapter 2: Ancestor Worship and the Path of the Soul After Death:

Preamble:

As I said in the introduction: one of the key features of Slavic Paganism is ancestor worship. The word Rodnovery itself Rod means kin, family, and indigenous. and vera which means faith or worship. So, it literally translates to native faith, but it can also be translated as the family worship, because it’s such an important part of the day to day practices of our faith.

Section 1: The Soul After Death and on the Creation of Demons:

After someone dies, they spend forty days on the earth in Yav, visiting and comforting people that they loved, and attacking their enemies, going to their home, to the graveyard or wherever their body is kept, to any place that they wish. After the fortieth day, the soul splits, one part of the soul joins with a bird in order to be reborn, as according to Slavic folklore, birds carried the souls of babies to couples. If they lived a good life and did not die in any tragic circumstances, then they would find the Smorodina River, cross the Kalinov Bridge, get past the Zmei Gorynich and enter Nav.

But, if they died in tragic circumstances, or lived evil lives (or both), then they would not go to Nav, they would remain in Yav and become a ghost or a demon, there about as many demons as there are Nature Spirits in the Slavic religion, there are so many. And while Christian demons are mostly just pagan deities given a bad rap, Slavic demons are always deadly malicious to all humans they encounter. Don’t summon them.

Section 2: Days When Those Nav Return To Their Descendants on Yav:

There are three holidays in the Slavic calendar when Bog Veles allows the dead to return: They are the Spring and Autumn Dziady, and Koliada.

Dziady is a Slavic word meaning grandfathers or forefathers. It occurs twice a year: The Spring Dziady is the night of April 30th, and the Autumn Dziady is the night of October 31st. On these days people would bring offerings of food and a change of clothes to their ancestors’ grave as well as a feast in their homes where they would draw a bath for their ancestors to get clean as well as leaving a plate out of food for their ancestors.

This past Autumn Dziady, I bought my ancestors an XL Pizza with a 2 L Bottle of Pop and I drew a bath for them. I had to go to work so I just left all of it ready to eat. I read a list of all of my known ancestors thanks to Ancestry, and gave them this offering. I don’t have any relatives graves around me, so I wasn’t able to do that. And because in Slavic Folklore you’re supposed to eat the food that you offer, So after I got home, I ate the pizza and drank the pop.

Koliada, which is the Slavic Winter Solstice Festival, is not so much about helping the ancestors as it’s done in Dziady, as much as it’s about keeping demons out. But Veles is present among the festivities, and he stands on top of a special log known as the Budnik, which depending on how long the sparks were was a divination practice regarding how bountiful the harvest would be. And the Ancestors were fed.

Section 3: My Own Practice for Ancestor Worship:

For each meal I make an offering to my ancestors.

When I’m at home, I put aside some of my food and some drink and put it on my altar. I light a candle and recites all the names of my known ancestors and finish by saying, “For you and all my ancestors that I have not named, I offer to you this offering of food and drink. May you enjoy it and continue to bless me and make everything I put my hand to prosper.” I leave it overnight and eat it in the morning.

But when I’m at work, because I can’t just leave food around what I do is I put aside the best food and I take the top off of my water bottle. I name all of my ancestors and finish by saying, “For you and all those ancestors who I have not named, I offer to you this food and drink. May you enjoy it and continue to bless me and make everything I put my hand to prosper.” And I will eat that food last.

2 Likes

This is very interesting, please continue.

2 Likes

Very interesting my farther Slavic he was raised in a Slavic belief I’ll take you know about the black book ?

2 Likes

Chapter 3: Perun.

There are only two Slavic deities that have universal recognition among the Slavic tribes and they are Perun and Veles. The etymology of Perun’s name is Per- meaning “to strike” and -un meaning “one”, so Perun is one who strikes.

Because Perun is one of the oldest bogi of the Pantheon, along with Veles, he has acquired quite a long list of attributes.

Perun is the Bog of the Sky, Thunder, Lightning, Storms, Rain, Order, Justice, Law, War, and Oak Trees. He has as his attributes: Eagles, A hammer, the Axe of Perun, his lightning tipped arrows, and horse drawn carts.

One of the most famous myths about Perun details his war with Veles. After Veles takes his son Yarilo, Perun begins to attack Veles on the earth in Yav. But, because Veles can shapeshift he hides and transfigures himself each time that Perun discovers him and strikes at him. It was believed that anytime lightning hit something that it was because Veles was hiding there. Eventually, Perun manages to kill Veles and throw him into the underworld in Nav.

Some people say that Perun as a Consort Mat Zemla Mokosh and has as his parents Svarog and Lada. But this is not true, this is just modern guess work. In the original Chronicles, we have no record of a family tree of the gods, nor if they had children, which few exceptions. As an example, we know from the Chronicles that Svarog is the father of Dazhbog, but no wife is mentioned.

This is what is mentioned in the Chronicles about Perun:

Procopius, The History of the Wars, Vol. VII (6th century), “for they acknowledge that one god, creator of lightning, is the only lord of all: to him do they sacrifice an ox and all sacrificial animals.”

Nestor, From the Tale of Bygone Years, or the Primary Chronicle (12th Century) there are three that I want to highlight:

“The first mention of the Slavic pantheon occurs, in fact, in connection with the treaty of 907, where we find that Oleg’s men ‘swore by their weapons and by their god Perun, as well as by Volos, the god of cattle, and thus confirmed the treaty.’”

“And even as I have given oath to the Greek Emperors in company with my boyars and all my subjects, so may we preserve this treaty inviolate. But if we fail in the observance of any of the aforesaid stipulations, either I or my companions, or my subjects, may we be accursed of the god in whom we believe, namely, of Perun and Volos, the god of flocks, and we become yellow as gold, and be slain with our own weapons. Regard as truth what we have now covenanted with you, even as it is inscribed upon this parchment and sealed with our seals.’”

“Vladimir then began to reign alone in Kiev, and he set up idols on the hills outside the castle with the hall: one of Perun, made of wood with a head of silver and a mustache of gold, and others of Khors,
Dazh’bog, Stribog, Simar’gl, and Mokosh’. The people sacrificed to them, calling them gods, and brought their sons and their daughters to sacrifice them to these devils*.”

*It should be noted that these Chronicles were usually written by Christians, so of course they would call our Slavic gods devils, that’s what they do.

Helmold, Chronicle of the Slavs (12th century):

“But they do not deny that there is among the multiform godheads to whom they attribute plains and woods, sorrows and joys, one god in the heavens ruling over the others. They hold that he, the all powerful one, looks only after heavenly matters; that the others, discharging the duties assigned to them in obedience to him, proceeded from his blood; and that one excels another in the measure that he is nearer to this god of gods.”

Perun is one of the most referenced among the Chronicles, there are a lot of quotes that I left out from the Primary Chronicle, to keep the size down. The three that I did choose were the ones that I thought best showed the ancient Slavic practices and beliefs of Perun.

I hope this look at Perun was educational.

Slava!

Is the black book the game?