Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More on Slavic Pantheon


With the term "Slavic spirits" we conditionally name all supernatural creatures, for which Slavs believed to haunt the surrounding world. Slavs themselves usually called these creatures "bes, pl. besove" (fury), which in pre-Christian period designated absolutelly all spirits, demons etc., disregarding their functions and characters (whether good or evil). In the western literature and Internet the furies are wrongly called "gods", probably because of their non-human character and peculiar abilities. But not all of the miraculous mythological images can be identified with the the gods. The difference between them is simple end explicit - in short, the gods are almighty; they embody the essential characteristics of nature, humans and the social life so they can guide everithing and modify it in accordance with the vertical and the horizontal of the World tree - life, death, love, marriage, birth, illness, fertility, misery, strength, weakness, rains, drought, earthquakes, light, darkness, cold etc. Also thier deeds emanate concern about mankind and nature, regardless of the real concrete display of these deeds - as benefit or harm. Their concern is not necessarily favourable for the human, it is not pointed at his welfare but one way or another it has the purpose to sustain the basic universal principles. Much more elementary, lower and feeble are all the demons, spirits, souls and other supernatural creatures. It is true that they possess some magical abilities, but these abilitieas are limited to a small area and are used to achieve insignificant effect, which is more like a whim of the respective creature than a manifestation of purposefull striving. It must not be disregarded that these creatures themselves are subservient to the gods' will, even if slighter than the humans. They are not so vitally dependent upon the gods' benevolence but are forced to obey it, in order to escape from beeing "punished by the sky", and it is this punishability that draws the line between them and the gods' powers, which we regard as non-punishable. And if the gods are mostly objects of religious worship and believes, the rest of the supernatural creatures are burdened with mythological and supersticious belief. That's why the people are just affraid of them, as they are affraid of beasts and illnesses, while the gods are treated with awe, respect, even love.

BANNIK - a spirit, inhabitant of the bathroom; from Slavic "banya" (a bath).

BREGINI - from "breg" (a bank) - female spirits, dwellers of lake and riverbanks. Slavs believed they kiddnap children.

BLATNIK, BLATNOI - from "blato" (a swamp) - male spirit, inhabitant of swamps. If a man gets too close to a swamp, blatniks can suddenly jump out from the slime, drag him under the water and drown him.

VILLA, SAMOVILLA - beautiful female forest spirits with human outlook and big wings. Villas inhabit hard-to-reach mountain forests, where they take care of wild animals, trees, flowers and springs, guarding them against human damages. These beauties admire deers and are extremely malevolent to people. They try anyways to drive humans away from their forests and would even poison the springs to do this. Villas obtain great knowledge about nature and herbs. If a man succeed eavesdropping on them at their gatherings after sunset, he could learn how to heal with a herb or find out of a hidden treasure or other world secrets.

VODNIK, VODYANOI - from "voda" (water) - male spirit, master of rivers, springs and lakes. The Vodnik is lord of the Russalkas and often harms people.

DIVI LYUDE, GORSKI LYUDE - from "div" (wild) and "lyude" (people) - wild women or wild men; humanoid demons covered with dark fur, inhabiting deep mountain forests. If a man gets too close to the dens, where their children are hidden, Wild people would jump upon him and tear him to pieces.

DOMOVIK, DOMOVOI - home spirit of a deceased ancestor or forefather of the clan. This grandfather was so closely related to his family and house, that even after death his spirit stayed to inhabit the clan's istba (ancient Slavic cottage, half-dug into earth) and guard over the offspring. Domovik's main task is keeping the home-fire, so he was expected to hide around the hearth - in the oven or in the tile stoven. Slavs payed great honour to their domestic spirit - they put aside food from feasts and left it near the hearth, so he can eat too. Before each new initiative, families prepaired special "stopanova gostba" (landlord's dish), invited relatives and all together addressed questions and prayers to the ancestor's spirit. They believed that if Domovik's assistance was properly obtained, things should go well. When Slavs moved to a new house, clan's matron took living coals from the old hearth and put them into the new one, begging the home-spirit to settle there. Domovik either harms or helps people, depending on their attitude to him or to the house. It is very important that the housekeeper does her homework well and feeds the spirit regularly. When he wants food, he would knock around the rooms while people are sleeping. If they don't make light of him, he gives them up so misfortunes and diseases are on their way.

DOMNITSA, DOMOVITSA - from "dom" (a house) - female domestic spirit; partner of the Domovik. Other name - Kikimora.

DVORNIK, DVORNIY - from "dvor" (yard) - a spirit dwelling house's back-yard. He guards gardens, granaries, hen-coops, barns, lofts and all other farm buildings around the house.


ZHAR-PTITSA from "zhar" (glowing embers, living coals) and "ptitsa" (a bird); Slavic equivalent of the Phoenix bird - a fiery bird, nesting in the World Tree's crown; messanger of the gods.

ZHIVA-YUDA - yuda, samodiva, serving the goddess of creation and life, Zhiva, from where her name is derived. (in Veda Slovena)


KARAKONJUL - night spirit-creatures, typical for Bulgarian folklore, that ramble along the roads at night. They appear as short, bow-legged, big-nosed humanoids, with bulging eyes and fur all over their bodies. Karakonjuls often stand near crossroads and engage belated strangers in conversation, propounding them riddles or asking a favour. If a man applies with attention and well-meaning to them, these spirits might help him, or otherwise they would do harms. According to some beliefs, they stay at crossroads, as this is where gallows are usually erected, and karakonjuls have a task to guard the hanged-men's spirits from going out of the dead bodies.

KIKIMORA a domestic female spirit, often identified with Domovitsa - partner of the Domovik. Typically for the Slavic dualistic ideas, Kikimora helps and harms at the same time, but her behaviour depends mainly on people. If a housekeeper keeps her house in good condition, Kikimora would help in homework all night long and would inspire the children with contentment and sound sleep. And if a housekeeper is negligent and lazy, Kikimora would groan from dusk till dawn, would pull children's hair, wakening them at midnight and scaring them, would mess up, dirty around and do mischief, so even the little work done goes in vain.
Probably Kikimora's image had firstly appeared as an embodyment of a deceased foremother of the clan. Up to the IX-X cent. Slavs lived in strict patryarchal order, where smallest social cell is not the family, but the whole clan, which dwelled and worked alltogether. The clan was a kin union, in which all members had common blood relations and common grandfather and grandmother. And when the grandmother, the oldest housekeeper died, her heirs presumed that her spirit stayed at home. She was so devoted to the house and so closely related to the kin, that even after death she kept cariing her domestic obligations. Becoming a Kikimora, her spirit contunued watching over house order, and with moans and mischiefs forced the younger living housekeepers to do their work eagerly.
A good proof of this suggestion is the root "-mora" in the name, which refers to the Slavic word for a soul of deceased (mora).

KRAVESMURT - from "krava" (a cow) and "smurt" (death); another name is Cherna Nemosht (Black Infirmity). This is an evil spirit, which spreads murrain and other deadly diseases among the cattle. It often appears as a black cow and mingles with the herds to accomplish its infernal task. At night Kravesmurts ramble along the roads, turned into black cats or lame dogs, or even cow's skeleton. Slavs chased those malevolent spirits with a number of rituals, slaughtering the "suspicious" animals in the herds or burning them to death. To indicate a "suspicious" animal, Slavs had a special practice - at nightfall people penned up all their cattle in a single cowshed, guarded it there overnight and led it out at dawn. Then each villager picked up his own animals and those which stayed unpicked were recognised as Kravesmurts and were burnt.

KRUCHINA - from Old-Bulgarian "kronchina" - plague. Evil spirits, bearers of plague and other fatal illnesses. They appear as ordinary people, but their breath spreads infections and they spit into rivers, lakes and wells, infecting waters and causing mass epidemical outbreaks. As a result whole villages could perish.

KURDUSH - small demons - familiars, servents of sorcerers and witches. When such people were initiated, their initiators attached to them a kurdush - specially evoked spirits, subjugated to human will, which would assist magicians in their magical deeds. It is usually the kurdushes who collect bat wings, frog eyes, hanged-men's fingers, virgin's hair-tufts and all other types of components and ingredients, needed by their masters for doing magic.

LESNIK, LESIY - forest spirits, lords of woods. He is usually benevolent to people, if only they don't provoke him, braking the forest's peace or doing mischiefs. Most times Lesnik appears as an oldman with a long green beard. He would start a common conversation to verify if a stranger is kind enough and well behaved, if he has good intentions and praise the gods and spirits. While chatting Lesnik would uncover his nature, turning into a slim little old man with strange appearance and sly voice. At the end he would either give an advice for safe crossing the forest, or direct the stranger if he is lost, or mislead him if not doing greater harm to him, depending on the conversation. Sometimes Lesnik might show the wrong way and when he sees the traveller fully trusts him, following the wrong direction, the spirit would "correct" wood paths, so they all lead to the right location.

LESNITSA, LESOVITSA - the female partner of Lesnik. She is mentioned very rearly and probably had local character, being known to only few Slavic tribes.

LUGOVIK - from Old-Bulgarian "long" (meadow, glade) forest spirits, rambling around savage glades and clearings.

MORA-YUDA - yuda, samodiva, serving the goddess of destruction and death, Mora, from where her name is derived. (in Veda Slovena)

MORI - plural from Slavic "mor" (death, disease, mass perishing) - unholy, evil deadmen; undead. Generally all the malevolent deadmen's spirits. When people die of unnatural death, of murder, suicide, accident, or if they have commited crimes during lifetime and bare heavy sins, their souls are not allowed into the underworld Nav and are left in Yav (our world). Here the souls suffer constantly and turn into evil spirits - vampires, werewolves, etc. - which walk out at night and worry, harass and kill people. Some mori carry their heads under their arms, stay at houses' windows and call the occupants' names. If somebody in his sleep answers such a call, then he will die soon.

MUSAIL - the supreme forest spirit - chief of Lesniks and master of all forest creatures and spirits.


OPOITSA - from "opoiti" (drink up, drain off) - an evil bloodsucking spirit, appearing as a leech and sucking man's blood. Opoitsas bare rabies and can possess people, whos blood they have sucked up.

POLEVIK, POLEVOI - field spirits, sometimes disturbing field work, sometimes helping harvesters. Slavs respected them, because poleviks would scream, whistle and hiss when they feel the deadly female spirit Poludnitsa passing around. Thus people working on the field get warned and more cautious.

POLUDNITSA - a mean field spirit appearing as a beautiful young black-haired woman, dressed in pure white linen riza (a common Slavic chemise). A pure white dress among Slavs was symbol of mourning and death. The name Poludnitsa comes from Slavic "polu" (half, middle) and "den" (day), as this spirit appears only at midday, which time was as misfortunate as midnight. Those two moments were called "razputno vreme" (evil hours when roads mess up and lead to nowhere). At this hours people stood at home, to not be befelled by black spells, evil eyes or unholy forces, because exactly at the razputno vreme all demons and curses got active. Such a powerful demon was the Poludnitsa together with her sister - Polunoshtnitsa.

POLUNOSHTNITSA, PALNOCHNITSA - a mean female spirit appearing as a fierce old lady in a pure white dress; sister of the Poludnitsa. Polunoshtnitsa rambles at the "razputno vreme" (from midnight till dawn), when all evil forces walks out and roads spin and change their usual direction, leading nowhere. This spirit often stays at crossroads together with karakonjuls and if a man goes by, it harms him anyway.


RAROG - an evil invisible spirit, fliing together with wings. When a whirl comes up, rarogs disperse with the wind evil spells, diseases, quarrels, hatred and suffering.

RUSSALKI (pl. from rusalka) - female river spirits, standing at riverbanks. Breaking their hairs causes floods. If a russalka gets her skin dry, she would die forever. The russalki are spirits of girls that drowned themselves, were killed and thrown into a river or dragged under water by the spirit Vodnik. He is russalki's lord but they secretly hate him and sometimes help people to mess up his malevolent plans.

SAMODIVI - beautiful female spirits with pure human appearance, relative to villas. Every night they gather at the same glade (called horishte) deep in the forest, where they barefoot dance fortnight a magical horo (ritual Slavic rounded chain dance). They are dressed in long white linen riza (Slavic female chemise). During their dance the samodivi tenderly touch the ground with their feet and the herbs they stamp spread healing fragrance. This is why ill people, being bold enough, went to sleep near a forest horishte and samodivi looked unusually favourably on them. In most other cases these spirits are malevolent to people and do them any harm. Bare to the skin samodivi often ride huge deers with golden horns, which are their favourit pets. If a hunting man kills such a deer, its mistress would take cruel vengeance on him - blinds him or brings him terrible illness, followed by sure death. Nobody could help such an ill person and if he dares to appear on a horishte, the samodivi would recognise him and murder him with deadly screams. Samodivi can hardly resist beautiful young men and help them any way they can - turning into white horses and carriing them everywhere they want or even giving them three white horse hairs. After time, if the man falls in trouble, he can burn the hairs and the samodiva would appear to help him. Sun light is what samodivi mostly fear and this is why they all flee the horishte at dawn, hiding in deepest forest shades. Thus there is no risk of unpleasant meetings with samodivi in the day.

SIMARGAL - a griffin-like dog with big golden wings. In Russian knyaz Vladimir's pantheon from 980, Simargal is represented as one of the six superior deities. He is connected to the solar cult, to soil, farming and fertility - guards the farms and watches over wheats. In his protective role, Simargal is also accepted to be a warden of law, barer of nemesis and punishment. It is very possible that Slavs percepted Simargal from outside, as a replacement of another older Slavic god. This, however, is one of the most uncertain Slavic mythological images and was probably taken from the North-Iranic Sarmatian tribes, which praised a powerful spirit Simurgh - assistent of Sun and guardian of harvest.

TALASUM - evil spirit typical for Bulgarian folklore, dweller of houses and deserted buildings. During the day talasum hides in lofts, cellars or farm buildings. In many regions it is considered to be a spirit of an "undead" (a deadman, risen from the grave). Wandering spirits seek peace, shelter and when they find comfortable home it is hard for anybody to drive them away. Even the oposite, talasums make "their best" to chase away the occupants in whos house they have settled. According to Bulgarian superstition, to get a talasum away, the landlord should invite him on a banquet and lie that they celebrate a wedding. After some time standing at the table, the man should say it is time for them to go to the big celebrations and then lead the spirit to a distant hut in woods. When they get to the hut, the man opens the door, invites the talasum inside, leaves some food and entangled yarn and says: "Now, wait for me here, I will go find the wedding-guests and bring them", then bolt the door from outside. It is believed that talasums are good housekeepers and can't stand incomplete handiwork around them - anything scattered or tangled they try to fix it, so a knotty ball would take lots of their attention. It is dangerous, though, if a man wanders in the woods to enter unknown huts, as there could be left a talasum.


YUDA, YUDA-SAMOVILA - mean female spirit with a human appearance, relative to the villas and samodivas. They were very popular among Bulgarian Slavs and inhabited forests and mountains. Yudas have great witchcraft abilities, and are skilled herbalists and poisoners. Sometimes they would emerge before young men, charming them with beauty and persuading them to marry. If a man marry a yuda, she adopts his soul into the Underworld and his body decomposes.

YURATA - a female water spirit, inhabiting sea coast and shallow.

YAVINA - an evil spirit, relative vampire. It rises from the blood of a murdered man, forty days after the murder; rambles around at night for all the years that the victim should have normally lived. Wandering, the Yavina shouts, rattles, crashes, causing great cacophony, in which it calls the names of relatives, acquaintants or even his murderers. If somebody hears his name and answer it, the Yavina kills him at once or destines him evil faith and forthcoming death. A man can safeguard himslef from the spirit with fire and water.

Witch People

We use here the term "witch people" to point to certain types of humanoid creatures with extraordinary abilities. They accuired such abilities through their close contact with unmaterial forces, i.e. "witch people" are usually persons who are obsessed by spirits.

BABA YAGA (Grandma Yaga) - a cumulative image of The Witch in general. This is one of the many overexployted characters, burdened with many untrue characteristics. They speak about Baba Yaga as for goddess Mora; as if she is a certain divine force with the typical for deities pantehism, i.e. as if she sees everything and obsesses everywhere. But actually Yaga is just a mythological, a fairy-tale name, just like Spot or Tom who are not deffinite dog or cat, but every dog and cat. The same way Yaga is each misanthropic sorcerer, inhabiting each isolated hut standing on a hen's leg, situated in each dark forest. Because of this and because of her basic everyday humanoid features it is stupid that she be "deified" and even worshipped.
Otherwise, as we already said, Baba Yaga is an old woman involved in suspicious activities with unholy forces. If a man, lost deep in forests, accidentally falls in with her, Yaga would ask him pointless riddles and would demand reasonable answers. Depending on the way the man replies, the witch would either misguide him or kill, roast and eat him. She would sometimes even help the man in his journey if this is in her direct interest. Surely Baba Yaga relinquishes harming and eating people guarded by a deity or another powerful force, which is a good reason for people to beg championship from a god or a spirit, before taking the road. It is especially adequate for woodland transitions to ask the Lesnik spirits for help and protection.

VAMPIR, KRUVNIK - (from ancient Slavic term "onpir" - the universal evil spirit; in its later forms - "vonpir", "vompir", "vampir"; "kruvnik" is from "kruv" - blood, i.e. "blood-sucker") an evil resurected bloodsucking deadman. If the deceased were not properly lamented and buried, or if they died in a disgraceful, unnatural way, or if they have done too many evil things lifetime, gods do not let them pass in the Underworld to find peace. Thus deadmen's souls are left in the world of living, where they roam and suffer until they turn into evil spirits. Those spirits might move back in their dead bodies or obsess others' corpses and raise from the grave, becoming Vampir (a vampire). They would go out in the night to torture people, to plait their hair, to drink their blood, to suffocate them in their sleep, to knead their food with faeces, to bring them nightmares and harm them any other way, even causing death. Ancient Slavs had great fear from vampires and we can tell this by the cruel methods they invented to disable vampirised bodies: they cut their head and put it between their legs, so they cant find it; cut their feet or their hands, so they can not walk or do harms; tied up the dead bodies all around or pressed them down under a huge millstone; drove in their heart a stick of aspen or of cornell-tree, or a glowing spit, or a nail, or a raven's claw behind their right ear. Some vampires were believed to divert rivers or cause draught and spread epidemics - people splashed their graves with water or directly urinated on them; they also exhumed the suspected body and threw it in a swamp. For protection against vampires Slavs also pronounced a prayer towards god Troyan: "Sohrani nam ot ruki, ot moru, i ot veshtitsu, i vapiru, i ot pleadnitsu..." or a prayer to goddess Lada: "Da zaklopit vilam chelyust; zaklopi i vampiram chelyusti, verzi i v more klokoteshte i kipeshte tamo da prebivayut do skonchanie veka". Other vampires turned back to their families and tried to continue their previous way of life, as if they never died. One of those vampires once left the grave and came back to his wife to copulate with her. As a result she gave birth to a child that could turn in a vampire and could see, find and identify other vampires, chasing and killing them. Another type of vampires would spend daytime transformed in animals - dogs, wolves, cats, owlets and black cocks. It was believed that if a vampire marries a living woman and if she loves him for three years, he would become a living man again.

VEDMAK - a bloodsucking witch-man that turns into a vampire after his death and tortures people. In accordance with the controversial Slavic dualism, the vedmak feeds on human blood but does many good deeds. If a man treats him well, the vedmak seeks ways to be helpful. Also the vedmak is in enmity with female witches and prevents their charms; keeps the "evil deadmen" off rising from their graves and drifts away storm clouds and heils.

VEDUN - (from Old-Bulgarian "ved" - knowledge, wisdom) a wiseman, familiar with witchcraft.

VEYNITSA - (from Old-Bulgarian "veya" - a twig, a bush) a medicine-woman, a sorceress who is familiar to herbs and knows the magical days for gathering, i.e. the days when herbs have greatest healing power. The veynitsas prepare special infusions and heal with them. (from Veda Slovena)

VESHTER - (from Old-Bulgarian "vesht" - wise, proficient, skillful) a sorcerer, a witch-man; this man masters low-level magic (witchcraft), charming, herbalism and shamanism.

VESHTITSA - (from Old-Bulgarian "vesht" - wise, proficient, skillful) a witch, a sorceress; a woman who gathers herbs, produces infusions, elixirs and makes charms.

VLUHVA - (from Old-Bulgarian "vluhv" - a priest, a wizard) Slavic priest, a good wizard, a diviner, a medicine-man. Vluhvas were ancient Slavic priests, who not only served gods, but also practiced witchcraft in tribe's favour and for supporting natural balance. In general they were instrument of the gods and assisted in observing the divine law.

VULKOLAK, VURKOLAK - (from Bulgarian "vulk" - a wolf) a werewolf; an evil resurected deadman or a human obsessed by evil spirits, who turns into a wolf and eats corpses at full moon. If a man infuriates a lesnik, the litter might transform him in a werewolf. Vulkolaks live in deserted watermills, inns, barns and around crossroads, away from villages and towns. When somebody passes near such a dwelling, the vulkolak would attack him, strangle him and drink his blood or eat him up. Werewolves can also tempt and seduce women. After having sex with vulkolak the woman would give birth to a child with no nasal cartilage, who can see evil spirits and have supernatural abilities. Bulgarians and Serbs believed that werewolves cause solar and lunar eclipses, biting off parts of the heavenly body.

DRUDA - women, fated not to mary, but to serve gods - a kind of Slavic priestesses, soothsayers. They lived deep in oak forests, where they probably maintained pagan sanctuaries, oracles and fetishes. (from Veda Slovena)

ZHABALAKA - (from "zhaba" - a frog) a human obsessed by evil spirits, who can transform into a frog.

ZHITOMAMNITSA - (from "zhito" - wheat; and "mamiti" - to allure, to entice) - a sorceress who casts spells over people's cornfields, so the harvest dissapears and reapears in her own field. A typical character for the mythology of Bulgarian Slavs.

KLIKUSHES, sg. Klikush - wretches, that are obsessed by evil spirits and as a result suffer from hydrophobia or expirience epileptic fits. The unholy forces eat into their internal organs and this is the cause of their collapses and disease outbursts. During the fits, the klikushes produce terrible screams and bestial roar, and shout obscene words, i.e. they are "klikush"-ing. To klikushes normal people are extremely careful and polite, treating them like ill persons - keep them away of hard work and give them the best food.

KOLDUN - a wizard, a sorcerer, a witch-man.

KOTOLIK - (from "kot" - a cat; and "lik" - face, image); an evil deadman, an undead who appears as a cat and harms the living.

NAV - a man after his death (from Old-Bulgarian "nav" - a deadman, a corpse). According to Slavs the spirits of the dead continue existing in the underworld - the so called "Dolna zemya" (Under-land) or "Krayna zemya" (Edge-land). Through death human spirits free from the material, from the corporal and can develop their supernatural abilities, but afterlife also gives them additional magical powers and knowledge. Thus navs can help or harm the living people, sometimes succeeding to pass from the Underworld in the Upperworld. A passage between the two realms opens at certain holidays - for example on the so called "Mrusni dni" (Dirty days): 25 studen (december) - 06 prosinets (january), or on 01 treven (march).

NARECHNITSA - (from "rechti", "narechti" - to tell, to foretell, to set aside) a fate; a sorceress who appears around newly born children and foretells their fate. An often met character in Bulgarian (South-Slavic) folklore, especially in the Bulgarian "Yunashki epos" (Heroic epos) - the legends about Krali Marko, despot Vulkashin, Momchil Yunak, etc.)

NAUZNIK - a medicine-man, a healer, a sorcerer who creates magic amulet for protection against evil forces and wild beasts. The same as "Obavnik".

OBAVNIK - a sorcerer, a wizard who casts spells through loud shouts and cries (from Old-Bulgarian "obava" - a chant, an incantation; and "obavati" - to pronounce, to shout an incantation). The obavniks were similar to what shamans is in other pagan religions. They also manufactured magic amulets for protection against evil forces and wild beasts.

PORTEZHNIK - a herbalist - poisoner.

PREVITA - supreme wisemen and wizards, keeping the knowledge about each single thing around the three worlds - Prav, Yav and Nav. (from Veda Slovena)

SDUHACH - (from "duhati" - to blow) a sleep-walker, a somnambulist; a man whos spirit slips out of his body while sleeping, and roams around the village. It blows, whines, brings winds, disperses and drives clouds and fog, chases or invites hails, fights other sduhaches. Every sduhach guards his village from natural disasters, keeping its luck and harvest. After their death sduhaches often turn into werewolves.

TREVNITSA - (from "treva" - grass) similar to Veynitsa - a female herbalist, a sorceress; woman who knows herbs, their qualities and ways of usage whether for healing or poisoning. "Trevnitsa" brings negative meaning, equivalent to "poisoner", unlike "veynitsa" who is a healer.

TREVOVED - (from "treva" - grass, herbs; and "vedati" - to know) - similar to "trevnitsa" but male - herbalist, medicine-man, poisoner.

CHARODEY - a wizard, a male sorcerer (from Old-Bulgarian "char" - charm, magic; and "deati" - to do, to make); female - charodeytsa. Charodey is the most common Slavic word for "wizard", widely spread among all Slavs. "Charodeys" were all people who used unusual, extraordinary magical abilities and were involved in paranormal activities - fortune-telling, charming, prophesy, evil eye, bewitching, cursing, poisoning, chasing and evoking spirits, etc, etc. Those sorcerers were not certainly good or evil - they helped their clans and friends, and harmed their foes. In general they had good reputation, unlike the veshtitsa and vedmak.

SHEPTUN - a male sorcerer; a wizard who whispers his spells (from Old-Bulgarian "shepteti" - to whisper); everybody who pronounced magical formulas in a silent, unclear voice.

YUNAK - (from "yunii" - young; i.e. "big youngman") a legendary character, typical for the Bulgarian (Southern) Slavs. In common the Yunak was a burly and stout young man, with unhuman strength and extraordinary abilities. Bulgarian heroic epos names some of the most famous among the mythological yunaks: Krali Marko, Vulkashin, Momchil, Dete Dukadinche. Specific for yunaks is that they don't love each other and are always at enmity, fighting for superiority. Right after their birth, Yunaks are visited by the three fortellers and never escape from the fortold fate: they fight against evil and iniquity, against tyrants and oppressors; they oppose with charodeys, samodivas and zmeys, always defeating and bringing them under their sway.

World Tree

Slavs imagined that Universe is a huge oak tree, we call today "World tree". In its crown was layed the nest of magic phenix-bird Zhar-ptitsa, which was the mediator between divine and human worlds and messenger of gods. At the roots of the tree lived the universal serpentine, which travelled between the worlds of living and dead people.
On the vertical line of the World tree are situated the three universal realities - Prav, Yav and Nav.
Prav (rightous, justful) is in the tree crown; it is the upper world, the cellestial plains, inhabited by gods. Its name is associated to "pravda" (truth, justice), "pravo" (right, just, law), "pravilno" (right, true, proper), i.e. this is the world of supreme Truth and absolute justice. Prav is inhabited by Gods, who obey the essential cosmic principles, the universal order and divine hierarchy - all set by the universal ancestor - god Rod (rod = kin; roditi = to give birth). Among the deities in the skies, first is god Svarog - the celestial master, father of gods. He rules over Prav, keeps up the Universal fire - one of the 4 basic ellements - and never cares of the terrestrial people's world Yav.
The visible world of people is called Yav (yave = visible; yavlyati = to appear, to show up) and is the trunk of the World Tree. Yav is everything around us, the material reality in which we live. Here the typical for Slavic way of thinking opposing dualism is clearly seen; here chalange each other life and death, good and evil, happiness and suffering, day and night, light and dark, health and illness, warm and cold. This chalenging characterises Yav as a transitional world, mediator between extreme realities Prav and Nav. Over people's world rules god Perun - master of thunder and nemesis; the one we call The Almighty. He controls the implementation of divine law among humans and if somebody violates it, Perun brings him punishment. And to those who obey the Law, who worship their gods, respect them and follow their wisdom, Perun brings welfare.
At the roots of World Tree is Nav - the underworld of death and evil. There live spirits of the deceased (navi), zmey-s and other malefactious monsters, and above all rules the god of evil and darkness - Chernobog (Black-god), accompanied by his overaged companion - goddess of winter and death Mora. Nav is the absolute opposition of Prav, but in the typical dualistic sense, in Nav is situated the evergreen, warm and shiny garden Ray, where rightous people find last peace after their death. In Ray lives Veles - the god of knowledge, magic, welth and stock. Around him pious souls are sitted and have long conversations. Those souls obtain great magical abbilities and can help their living relatives in hard times.
Over the three universal worlds keeps and eye god Troyan. We call him The All-seeing. With his three heads he sees and knows everything in Prav, Yav and Nav; he watches for observing the Universal Law Pravda and if it gets violated, he restores the cosmic order immediately. Precisely the absolute balance is of basic concern for Troyan; not beneficence, not imposing light and good over dark and evil, but harmony, equilibrium between energies and powers.


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