The Struggle between Paganism and Christianity

Варяг Рёрх / ПокотиловIn the following accounts we see the struggle between Christianity and the old Asa belief. Hakon, the foster-son of Athelstan, so named because he had been fostered by that king in England, came back to Norway a Christian, but his people clung to the old faith, and to strengthen himself in the country he at first found it necessary to observe the tenets of his religion in secret. He ordered the Yule-feast to be celebrated at Christmas, and persuaded some of his best friends to adopt Christianity.

"Hakon was a good Christian when he came to Norway; but as all the land was heathen, and there were much sacrificing and many chiefs, and he much needed the help and friendship of the people, he decided to conceal his christianity, and kept Sundays, and fasting on Fridays, and the greatest festivals. He made it a law that the Yule should begin at the same time as that of the Christians, and every man should have a certain measure of ale, or pay a fine, and keep the days holy while Yule lasted. It formerly began on hökunótt (the midwinter-night), and it was kept for three nights. He wanted to make the people Christians, when he got established in the land and had fully subjected it to himself. He sent to England for a bishop and other priests. When they came to Norway, Hakon made known that he would try to Christianize the land" (Hakon the Good's Saga, c.15; Fornmanna Sögur, 1).

The Problem of Mysteriousness of Baba Yaga Character in Religious Mythology

Baba YagaThis article reveals the ambiguity of interpretation of Baba Yaga character by the representatives of different schools of mythology. Each of the researchers has his own version of the semantic peculiarities of this culture hero. Who is she? A pagan goddess, a priestess of pagan goddesses, a witch, a snake or a nature-deity? The aim of this research is to reveal the ambiguity of the archetypical features of this character and prove that the character of Baba Yaga as a culture hero of the archaic religious mythology has an influence on the contemporary religious mythology of mass media.


“Religious mythology” is a new term, which is relevant to contemporary religious and cultural studies, philosophy of religion and other sciences focusing on correlation between myth and religion. This concept as well as its structural elements is being specified and elaborated in contemporary native religious studies (Ivanova, 2012, p.56). For example, I.N. Yablokov thinks that within the contemporary philosophy of the myth one can distinguish “syncretic archaic, religious, “scientific”, political, artistic-literary, ordinary and social mythologies” (Yablokov, 2012, p.91).

To the Old Pagan Religion

Howard Phillips LovecraftOlympian gods! how can I let ye go,
And pin my faith to this new Christian creed?
Can I resign the deities I know,
for him who on a cross for man did bleed?

How in my weakness can my hopes depend
On one lone god, tho' mighty be his pow'r?
Why can Jove's host no more assistance lend,
To Soothe my pain, and cheer my troubled hour?

Are there no dryads on these wooded mounts
O'er which I oft in desolation roam?
Are there no naiads in these crystal founts
Or nereids upon the ocean foam?

The Song of Igor's Campaign (Translated by Vladimir Nabokov)

The Song of Igor's CampaignThe Song of Igor’s Campaign, also translated Lay of Igor’s Campaign, Russian Slovo o polku Igoreve, masterpiece of, an account of the unsuccessful campaign in 1185 of Prince of Novgorod-Seversky against the Polovtsy (Kipchak, or Cumans). As in the great French epic The Song of Roland, Igor’s heroic pride draws him into a combat in which the odds are too great for him. Though defeated, Igor escapes his captors and returns to his people. The was written anonymously (1185–87) and preserved in a single manuscript, which was discovered in 1795 by A.I. Musin-Pushkin, published in 1800.

The multi-faced so-called miniature idols from the Baltic Sea area

The multi-faced so-called miniature idols from the Baltic Sea areaThe aim of this text is to present early medieval miniature figurines discovered in the Baltic Sea region. The authors review interpretations of this archaeological finds from literature and offer a new perspective for their functions. The next problem dealt with is the ethno-cultural membership of the users of the objects.

We would consider those figurines as symbols or perhaps fetishes referring to a particular sacral power, perhaps associated with the four-faced god Svantevit(?), or as ritual requisites connected with magic practices (especially in the form of vegetation magic and love magic). The representations of four faces or four heads on these objects may have legitimized the creative power of these objects, i.e. a power sanctioned by the authority of a deity with particular competence. Consequently, in our view, the multi-faced figures found in different locations within the Baltic Sea area would suggest a Slavic presence.


Святослав / ПокотиловPan-Slavism was a movement in the mid-19th century aimed at unity of all the Slavic peoples. The main focus was in the Balkans where the South Slavs had been ruled for centuries by other empires, Byzantine Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Venice. It was also used as a political tool by both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, which gained political-military influence and control over all Slavic-majority nations between 1945 and 1948.


Extensive Pan-Slavism began much like Pan-Germanism, both of which grew from the sense of unity and nationalism experienced within ethnic groups under the domination of France during the Napoleonic Wars. Like other Romantic nationalist movements, Slavic intellectuals and scholars in the developing fields of history, philology, and folklore actively encouraged the passion of their shared identity and ancestry. Pan-Slavism also co-existed with the Southern Slavic independence.

Paganism – Mari El

Чудская гора / А.В. Мошев Oshmarii-Chimarii (Mari El Republic, Russia)

Mari El is an autonomous republic of Russia located approximately seven hundred kilometers from Moscow. The ethnic Mari, formerly known as the Chermiss, who speak a Finno-Ugrian language, represent 43.3 percent of the republic’s population. Beyond Mari El, the Mari peoples are found also in Bashkortostan, Tatarstan and Udmurtia as well as in the areas of Nijny Novgorod, Kirov and Sverdlovsk.

Upon the rediscovery of its indigenous pagan traditions at the end of the 1980s, the Mari El Republic underwent a nationalist reawakening. By granting legal status to longstanding religious traditions, the 1997 Russian law concerning freedom of religion promoted Mari Paganism as well. Nevertheless, the Mari have encountered difficulties.

Early Slavs

N.BukanovaThe early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in Migration period and early medieval Europe (ca. 5th to 10th centuries) whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations (via the Slavic states of the High Middle Ages).

The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a vast area of central-eastern Europe. Over the following two centuries, the Slavs expanded further, towards the Balkans and the Alps in the south and west, and the Volga in the north and east.[1]

From the 9th century, the Slavs were gradually Christianized, and by the 12th century, they formed the population within a number of medieval Christian states, the East Slavs in the Kievan Rus' and Lithuania, the South Slavs in Bulgaria and Serbia, and the West Slavs in Poland and the Holy Roman Empire (Pomerania, Bohemia).

Supernatural beings in Slavic folklore

Аука / ПокотиловSupernatural beings in Slavic folklore come in several forms and their names are spelled differently based on the specific language. Among the ones listed below there were also khovanets (as domovoi), dolia (fate), polyovyk or polevoi (field spirit), perelesnyk (spirit of seduction), lesovyk or leshyi (woodland spirit), blud (wanderer), mara (specter, spirit of confusion), chuhaister (forest giant), mavka or niavka (forest nymphs), potoplenytsia (drowned maiden, wife of vodianyk), vodianyk or vodyanoy (water spirit, aka potoplenyk), bolotianyk (swamp spirit), bisytsia (she-devil), potercha (spirit of dead, unbaptized child), nichnytsia (night spirit), mamuna (demoness), nechysta syla (evil power), scheznyk (vanisher), didko, antypko, antsybolot, aridnyk (other names for evil spirits), and many, many others. Those spirits or fairies are mostly out of the Ukrainian mythology, which have derived out of the general Slavic folklore.

Slavic names

Asgard / A. UglanovGiven names originating from the Slavic languages are most popular in Slavic countries such as Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and others.

History of Slavic names

In pre-Christian traditions, a child younger than 7 - 10 years old would bear a "subtitutional name" (e.g. Niemój "not mine", Nielub "not loved"), whose purpose was to decrease the apparent importance of a child and protect him or her from the curiosity of evil powers. This practice probably derived from the existence of a high fatality rate for young children at that time. A child who survived 7 - 10 years was worthy of care and was granted adult status and a new adult name during the ritual of a first haircut.

Generally traditional names were dominant until Slavic nations converted to Christianity (e.g. the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church). For instance, the Council of Trent (1545 - 63) decided that every Catholic should have a Christian name instead of native one.

Stonehenge Triangle

Stonehenge TriangleThis paper describes a sacred triangle in a landscape of prehistoric England that was constructed around 2400 BC. The triangle consists of three henges: Stonehenge, Woodhenge and Bluestonehenge. In form, it is a right isosceles triangle lined in respect to E-W and N-S lines.

This paper approaches the most well-known sacred landscape structure of prehistoric England with the background of the recent research of analogue structures of pre-Christian Slavs. The ancient Slavs positioned their sacred sites in a tripartite structures (Pleterski 1996) that were related to the central Slavic myth of a divine battle between a thunder god and his underworld opponent (Katičić 2003-2011). A substantial number of sacred triangles has already been described in Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Germany (Pleterski 1996; Belaj 2007, Đermek 2010). These triangles probably give enough evidence to support the claim that the ancient Slavs positioned their sacred sites in a way that the angles between lines connecting pairs of sites have astronomical significance (usually refer the zenith and azimuth angles which the sun takes through the annual cycle). Very often in the observed triangles among some of the sides appears the ratio of 1:√2. There exist some indications that the distances between sacred sites were also important. They might have been measured using the projections of right isosceles triangles on the horizontal plane (Đermek 2012, 2013).