Svarog

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In Slavic mythology, Svarog is the Sun God and spirit of fire.


Origin

Svarog legends can be traced back to the 8th-6th century BC when the Slavic tribes first began to practice agriculture. According to some interpretations the fire-god Svarogich was the son of Svarog. However, other sources refer to these names as one and the same god of fire.


Etymology

The etymology of the word Svarog is likely to be Slavic svar (bright and clear). The name may be related to Sanskrit Svarga and Persian xwar (pron. Chvar) both meaning the same thing, indicating Indo-European etymological relation.


Description

Folklore portrays him as a fire serpent, a winged dragon that breathes fire. Older myths describe him as a smith god, identified with the generative and sexual powers of fire.


Stories

In some stories, Svarog fights Zmey, a giant serpent or a multi-headed dragon. Svarog catches Zmey with blacksmith's tongs and uses him to pull a plough. In other myths, he has to use his own mouth to dig the ditch, thus separating the land of the living (Jav) from the land of the dead (Nav), bringing order (Prav). Zmey takes over the dead. In some myths, the ploughed ditch becomes the Smorodina River, and Zmey becomes the guardian of Kalinov Bridge.


Beliefs

So sacred was the fire that it was forbidden to shout or swear at it while it was being lit. In neo-paganist religions, Svarog is often the supreme god-creator and the central part of the (holy) trinity Triglav. He completed the creation of the world by giving it Prav.


Symbol

The symbol dedicated to Svarog is the Kolovrat. Svarog is associated in Christianity with Saints Cosmas and Damian, and Saint Michael the Archangel. His animals are a golden horned ox, a boar, a horse, and a falcon named Varagna.


References

  • Graves, Robert: New Larousse Encyclopedia Of Mythology (Hardcover) Crescent (December 16, 1987)
  • Ryan, W. F.:The Bathhouse at Midnight: An Historical Survey of Magic and Divination in Russia (Magic in History Series) (Paperback) Pennsylvania State University Press (September 1999)
  • Znayenko, Myroslava T.: The gods of the ancient Slavs: Tatishchev and the beginnings of Slavic mythology (Paperback), Slavica (1980)
  • Yoffe, Mark; Krafczik, Joseph: Perun: The God of Thunder (Studies in the Humanities (New York, N.Y.), V. 43.) (Hardcover), Peter Lang Publishing (April 2003)


Sources

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