The Legend of Perun and Veles: A Slavic Tale


I am fully Russian on my father’s side of the family and Russians are part of a people group called the Slavs. I’ve been inspecting my ancestral roots and learning about Slavic Pre-Christian religion, and it’s absolutely fascinating.

The Characters:

Perun (sometimes Pyerun) is the supreme deity of the pantheon. He lives on the tip of the highest branch of the world tree (the world tree in Slavic mythology is an oak or a pine) in a realm called Prav. He is the god of thunderbolts and lightning, the god of agriculture and farming, of battle and war, he is hot and dry.

Veles (sometimes Volos) is a cthonic deity of the underworld. He lives in the water at the bottom of the roots of the world tree in a realm called Nav (sometimes Navi). He is a shapeshifter, and is commonly known as King of Bears and King of Wolves. He is the deity of animals and nature, of livestock and shepherds, of magicians and musicians, and he is cold and wet and possesses a proclivity to mischief.

The Story:

It begins when all is well, the world is at peace. It is spring, which means the start of a new year (in Slavic paganism, their calendar started in March and celebrated during the Spring Equinox, all the traditions around this new year became switched to Easter during the Christianization of the Slavs). Veles is looking to cause some mischief, and he sees some of Perun’s sacred cattle grazing (in other accounts it could also be Perun’s wife or child) so he leaves his realm beneath the world tree in the from of a serpent and coils up Prav and he steals them to eat them. Enraged at such an act of defiance, Perun sees it and his filled with fury.

Rising from his throne above the earth, Perun hurls lightning at Veles and chases him out of the world tree, for crossing Perun there is only one punishment, death. But Veles is a master shapeshifter and he disquises himself into a bear and hides himself in the forest. Perun watches the forest from his heavenly abode and sees Veles looking like a bear and he throws his lightning but Veles transforms into a rabbit and hops away. This continues on for quite some time with the world looking on in bated breath, every time a lightning strikes it is because Veles is hiding there. He hides as beasts, as men, as trees, but he cannot escape the careful eye of Perun.

After several months have passed Perun is finally successful and he kills Veles with a well aimed strike with his lightning. He sends the autumn rains to disguise his descent from his abode above the earth and takes Veles’ charred body in the form of a serpent down to his abode beneath the earth. But, a god can never die.

And in the next year, when it is spring, Veles is looking for some mischief to do and he sees some of Perun’s sacred cattle…


Ash you’re back! I missed you my brother!


Yes, I can’t seem to keep myself away no matter how hard I try.


Then don’t :slight_smile: there’s a reason behind everything after all


Slavic mythology is actually one of the first I started studying when I wanted to learn about world cultures and its also one of my favorites as well, I’d love to see someone work with the pantheon. I do some work with Baba Yaga, but not as much as I would like :slight_smile:


So interesting

how is working with Baba Yaga?

Sounds fascinating! I’m currently looking into Canaanite pantheon, but I had an interest in the Slavic pantheon too. For science! :smile:

I’ve been touching down on the slavic, norse, and celtic pantheon(s) the connection between them brought up to me by Odin, specifically with Veles.


It’s very interesting how all ancients had deities for the home, lightning, farming, death, etc. from what I’ve read, this slavic religion seems to be influenced by both Avestan and Greek or Norse - Rod/Deivos seems like Zurvan, Belobog vs. Chernobog is like Ahura Mazda vs. Angra Manyuu… It has both polytheism and a sense of dualism. This might be a bit far-fetched but the Perun vs. Veles feels connected to this Light God vs. Dark God theme.

From what I have learned from Odin the three groups can be likened to distant relatives or cousin pantheons but I only delved into it when Odin led me to the Gaul/Celtic pantheon(s) in which later led me to the Slavic.

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Does the Gaulic/Celtic pantheon have the same archetypes?

I don’t mean the gods in the norse are the gods in slavic and so forth I mean they are in a way related like family though I sometimes to theorize Cernunnos, Dagda, and Veles might be the same individual but that’s something I plan to dive into when I have more time to, mainly because Dagda and Cernunnos have been linked and they share the exact same things as Veles but I personally do not like claiming certain Gods are other Gods unless I for sure know. All 3 are also cosmic deities but seen as earth deities.

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I’m currently approaching this as both “all pantheons are the same” and soft-polytheism - yes, there are similarities in features and attributes and that points to certain archetypes, but at the same time I view the “faces” or aspects as laid out in different traditions and pantheons as separate entities and interact with them that way.

I hope it’s not preaching, but my current view is heavily influenced by Hermeticism (with the “reality is the dream of the All”) and these archetypes are the closest manifestations of the forces, and concepts they represent; they are “closer to the source” and maybe I’ll get stronger results if I try to work with something so close to the Source.

You’re not preaching dont worry.

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