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Go Back   Spiritual Forums > Religions & Faiths > Paganism

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Old 23-04-2017, 05:25 AM
AshtKerr AshtKerr is offline
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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.

Before the story, let's look at the main characters here as Slavic paganism is not very well known.

Perun (sometimes Pyerun) is the supreme deity of the pantheon. He lives on the tip of the highest branch of the world tree 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 was prone to playing tricks.

Our story 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 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 transforms himself into a bear and disguises himself in the forest. Perun watches the forest from his heavenly abode and sees a bear with a white spot on his back, 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...
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Old 23-04-2017, 05:30 AM
AshtKerr AshtKerr is offline
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During the Christianization of the Slavs many of their myths became rebranded with Christian imagery. Perun was syncretized into God and Veles into Satan for this myth.

But, Veles was not always evil, he was also syncretized into St. Nicholaus who in the myths protected the poor farmers and animals from St. Elias the Thunderer (a syncretized version of Perun).

The battle between Perun and Veles is not good verses evil, but merely the oppositional forces of Order (Perun) and Chaos (Veles).
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Old 23-04-2017, 08:46 PM
Jenny Crow Jenny Crow is offline
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Thanks for posting this. I enjoy these stories.
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