A mythology of ancient Slavs is little known Slavs themselves and almost unknown to the world. In ancient Ukrainian beliefs, the foundation of being was the relationship between man and nature. The characters of Slavic mythology, which scholars extract from the depths of folklore and the oldest surviving documents, reflect the inner world of our ancestors.
This page is a work in progress.
In Ukrainian mythology, there are many female characters that are linked to conceptions about certain forces of nature, events, and images. People believed in goddesses that maintained the harmony of the world, and brought beauty, warmth, and light. Each of them was responsible for certain processes and embodied the image of one of the most important aspects of life.
Makosh (Mokosh, Mokos)
Mokosh, also called Mokos, a Goddess of the Earth, was worshipped by the ancient Slavs. She is one of the most primeval deities in Europe. In the Encyclopedia Mythica™ John McCannon writes, “Mokos is most likely a later and more strongly personified variant of the Slavs’ elder earth Goddess, “Damp Mother Earth,” or Mati syra zemlya.”
Mokosh – Goddess who gives and takes life, spinner of the thread of life, giver of the water of life. Also known as Mokysha, Mokush. She later evolved into Paraskeva-Piatnitsa – a Goddess of spinning, water, fertility, and health with marriage.
She was first and foremost a symbol of the earth’s fertility. During the early spring, it was taboo to spit on or strike the ground, since Mokos was said to be pregnant then….Holidays were dedicated to Her in the autumn, after the harvest. The belief that Mokos invested the earth with divinity was reflected in peasant practices that, in some parts of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarussia, persisted into the 19th century: the swallowing of a lump of soil to consecrate wedding vows, the placing of earth upon one’s head to seal oaths, the confession of one’s sins to a hole in the ground instead of a priest. Mokosh is the only female deity mentioned in the Kievan pantheon that was established by Vladimir I in 980 CE.
With the advent of Christianity, she became intertwined with Saint Paraskevia (from the Greek paraskevi, which means “Friday,” a day that was alwaysassociated with the Goddess.) The word Mokosh seem to have a close correlation to a Sanksrik word “Moksha”, meaning Nirvana, the total divine bliss.
moksha (ˈmɒkʃə) n (Hinduism) Hinduism freedom from the endless cycle of transmigration into a state of bliss
“The greatest goddess of the Baltic peoples—the Lithuanians and Latvians—is the shining sun, the sky weaver, the amber goddess Saule. She rules all parts of life, from birth into her light to death when she welcomes souls into her apple tree in the west. Saule is worshipped each day when her people bow to the east to greet Mother Sun.”
“The sun is represented as a jug of golden light from which Saule pours her warm light and blessings onto all. It is also a golden thread which Saule spins on her spinning wheel…”
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Валерій Войтович: Генеалогія богів давньої України – pdf version of my primary resource while writing The Weaving Gold Chronicles: Geneology of the Gods of Ancient Ukraine by Valerij Voitovich. Available only in Ukrainian.
- Таємниці і феномени України