Green and gold. A smooth, warm, gentle leafy green of mid-spring. His joy. The clarity of his smile, the vigor of his hale body, arched as the vast vault of a wind-stirred forest canopy, so close to me, much closer than the sky.
Leshy (Lesiy Lesiye, Lyeshy, Lesovik) is a Slavic forest divinity or spirits, depending on the source. He is the protector of forest animals and often seen in the company of wolves or bears. This divinity regulates and assigns prey to hunters. In later times it is said that he has also become the protector of flocks and flocks. He is number 13 on my gods of the “graveyard” series. (I’m very surprised at the number of Slavic divinities that are on this list, but as my maternal ancestors come from this region, I’ve enjoyed learning about them.)
The next deity that I’m honoring from the atheist graveyard is Veles (#12) of the Slavic Pantheon. Now I’ve written several posts about deities from this pantheon under different names and every time I write about them, I grow a little more in knowledge. There is a lot of variety in names but with similar roles. Before I’ve described this divinity as the bad guy, but he reminds me a little bit of Loki in that he isn’t necessarily the bad guy but he does take on the adversarial or trickster role. It seems Christian influence made him appear worse than he really is.
Did you know there's an excellent quarterly pagan literary magazine? It's edited by PaganSquare's BookMusings blogger, Rebecca Buchanan.
Head on over to Eternal Haunted Summer for the Spring Equinox issue. It's packed with excellent short stories, poems, essays, interviews and reviews of pagan books and media drawn from world mythology, with a polytheist viewpoint, written by both pagans and non-pagan authors.
The restaurant — hole-in-the-wall with age-darkened brick wallpaper, old-lady peony-pink damask table cloths, the color my Chicago adopted grandmother used to like in homemade church blouses, eyelet white lace curtains festooned with paper ribbons in the ceiling, entwined with silk flower vines, glitter easter-eggs, feather butterflies in “old-lady chic” the guidebook calls it, ribbons hanging from the trophy animals, dusty green-red pheasant I can’t see his tail, two deer heads with gold mardi gras beads wrapped ’round dead necks and antlers, soft orange carrot salad a feast of hunter’s stew between potato pancakes plump meat chunks tucked in a surprise the old man with Andy Warhol hair arguing cheerfully with the middle-aged waiter reading a conservative fantasy novel, this food is better than your mother’s he says with a straight face, expecting the rejoinder as my husband checks out, tart herbaceous currant juice, the color of crushed berries — it tastes like secrets –
The next divinities from the “God Graveyard" list are the Slavic divinities Belbog and Chernobog. They interest me because I have Slovenian (Bohjon) ancestry. I’ve been a bit intimidated in researching these divinities because I want to get it right. Unlike many other pantheons there are no firsthand accounts for this pantheon. There is no irrefutable evidence that the Slavs had any system of writing so all their beliefs and traditions were passed down orally. This creates or enables many individual characteristics within that belief system (a fancy way of saying that there are as many differences as similarities in the details of their belief system). While there are many archeological remains, there is no contextual understanding to be had. The only time anything was written down was by Christian missionaries who were not always interested in accuracy in depicted Pagan beliefs. Fragments of the old beliefs are found in folk customs, songs and tales. This is not to say that this pantheon is not still honored, for it is, but I imagine Slavic rely heavily upon similarities in other belief systems and on unsubstantiated personal knosis (aka UPG).
The existences of both of these deities, Belbog especially, are heavily contested. So let me tell you what I have found out about them and then offer an interesting possible conclusion that I stumbled across. Belbog and Chernobog are twins and, one could say, the mirror images of the other. One website stated that they were honored by the priestly class.
I wrote this hymn around the autumn equinox, for a blot to Freyr at a far northern latitude where the leaves had already turned and the lake was skinning with ice, as farmers were pulling in the last harvests. It's meant to welcome the Norse God Freyr (Baltic & Slavic "Yarilo/Jarilo"; also called "St. John/Ian" and "Caloian") as the harvest Lord, and say farewell to him with the change in seasons.