What is mythology? Belarusian mythology
This is a collection of beliefs and legends of a certain people. Belarusian mythology, unfortunately, is poorly studied due to the lack of objective written sources. The origin, gender and functions of many deities and characters have been hypothetically reconstructed on the basis of a modest base of annals and folklore. There are constant discussions among scientists about the existence of some characters. Since both before and now falsifications are being created that have nothing to do with the real beliefs of the ancient Belarusians. The term "armchair mythology” is used to define scientific fiction, the artificial creation of myths. Appears in written sources on Slavic mythology since the 16th century and has become widespread since the 18th century.
This method was used when there were not enough facts, and romantically minded researchers wanted to raise their native mythology to the level of the classical mythology of the ancient world. Then pagan gods were invented by extracting names from folklore texts, song choruses or names of holidays (for example, Kupala, Kolyada, Kostroma). Many of the highest deities mentioned in ancient written sources, such as, for example, Svarog, Stribog, Lada, Dazhdbog, may have had regional status, but there is little significant evidence that the ancient Belarusians had their cult. But the “lower” mythology in the folk tradition pleases with its stability and significant unity. This will be discussed in our article.
Next illustrations by the artist Valery Petrovich Slavuk.
Azarnitsy - live in the Black Lake, located near the village of Brusy (Myadelsky district). This reservoir is deep, and its bottom is marshy and muddy.
Apіven - a creature that purposefully inclines people to drunkenness.
Arzhaven - lives in swamps with rusty stains from iron ore on the surface. This is a fat creature of a dirty red color, covered with a swampy coating, with legs as thin as stems. Animals that have fallen into a quagmire, or lost night drunkards, become the prey of arzhaven.
Badzyulya - an evil deity who incites people to drink alcohol and vagrancy. It has the appearance of a middle-aged woman with large saggy breasts, bulging eyes, a short fleshy nose, thick pendulous lips and matted hair. A dirty rag serves as clothing for the badzule. It guards its victims along the roads, closer to winter it attaches itself to someone and settles in the house. And from that moment on, everything goes awry for the victim, things don’t go well, everything falls out of hand, stops. Desperate, a person begins to drink, gradually burning through everything that he has earned and earned over the years. And badzyule is only what is needed for the victim to go around the world faster. To keep this pest out of the house, you need to cleanly sweep and mop the floors in the house.
Valasey - a creature of small stature with dark long hair and large seven-fingered palms, which disturbs and frightens people in a dream. The valasen scratches the face of men with its long claws, and shaggy the hair of women, grabs the chest or leans on the victim with his whole body. Children tickle their heels or buzz in their ears.
Vuzhalki - these are the daughters of the tsar-vuzha, beautiful girls with a snake tail instead of legs. Their favorite pastime is to sit on an old tree and comb their long hair with a golden comb. Vuzhalki love all kinds of jewelry - beads, bracelets, rings. To the guy who managed to achieve the favor of the snake's daughter, she will reveal where the treasures are hidden in the forest. But if you offend the jacket, then in anger she will bring down all sorts of misfortunes on the head of the offender and destroy him along with the whole family.
Zuzya - a character personifying frost and winter cold. According to Belarusian beliefs, this is a bald, bearded grandfather of small stature in a white casing, with an iron staff in his hands.
(Some researchers, however, are inclined to think that Zyuzya is an invention of armchair mythology).
Hapun - a small twisted grandfather with a long gray beard, flies above the ground with a huge bag and looks out for capricious and naughty children.
Khikhitun - in the Myadel region they believe that this creature is often behind a person’s back, and when something bad can happen to him or his loved ones, he begins to laugh joyfully. If at this moment you turn around sharply, you can see a khіkhіtuna, which is somewhat similar to a monkey, only with small horns. However, if you take his laughter as a warning, then you can prevent the impending disaster.
Bagnik - lies at the bottom of a peat bog and never appears on the surface, bubbles rising up speak of its presence there. The bugnik does not rise even in the case when the victim falls into the swamp, because he is sure that she herself will come to him. In appearance, the unclean person is very dirty and untidy.
white woman - a harbinger of death. It looks like a young woman dressed in a white dress, as if it were a wedding dress. Having burst out of the ground like a pillar, he suddenly appears before the one who is destined to die, and, throwing back the veil, shows the face of the dead old woman.
Vargin (from the Lithuanian "varginti" - "torment", "bring torment") - a demonic cat, which is the king of the cat kingdom. Huge in size, with pitch-black, shiny hair, with eyes burning with fire, a beast that has the ability to suddenly appear and disappear even with closed windows and doors. It can ingratiate itself with a person and settle in a house, but it does not bring anything good. Vargin brings the owner to a mental breakdown, forcing him to quarrel with family and friends. When a person reaches complete physical and moral exhaustion, the cat causes a swarm of bees or butterflies in his brain with his rumbling, after which the victim dies in terrible agony.
Only a strong magician or a healer who owns a secret word can cope with this clot of evil.
Vaўkalak - a man who turns into a wolf.
Turned into a wolf against his will, he is also forced to attack people and domestic animals; he can be distinguished from a sorcerer by the fact that the vaўkalak cries like a person when he is poisoned by dogs or they want to kill him.
Tsar-vuzh - snakes, but especially snakes, have been superstitiously revered by Belarusians at all times. It is believed that of all the creeping reptiles, only he uses his extraordinary wisdom and prophetic power for the benefit of the house where he lives. Therefore, he is always honored and respected with offerings of food and drink. To kill a snake is a terrible crime.
Vupyr - a bloodthirsty monster, into which after death people who knew with evil spirits turn. At night, it comes to the houses of its enemies, and sometimes friends and relatives, and, crouching on their chests, suck hot blood from their hearts.
Gayovy dzed (gayun) - a spirit that lives in a grove and keeps order in it.
Gaёўki - granddaughters of gayowaga joda, mischievous little girls who love all living things. Forest animals and birds come to them for help and treatment. In the winter, the gays are overgrown with thick snow-white fur, only the face and braid remain open, and in the spring they again become ordinary girls, even more beautiful.
He is very protective of his granddaughters gayo jod, so he forbids them to leave the grove. But when did the youth listen to the elders? They will quietly get out to the nearest village, where some holiday is celebrated and spy on what outfits and jewelry the village girls are wearing. And if they like something, they will track down when the girl leaves alone, and take what she wants from her.
On the Kupala night, the gays go out to look at the fire over which people jump, they like to fool around in the rye, and then they return to the forest in order to have time to collect medicinal herbs and admire the blooming paparazzi-kvetkai.
Dzyady - the spirits of the ancestors with the immortal soul of man. They live next to their descendants and help them in everything. Memorial days are arranged for them, on which only hot food is placed on the table so that the spirits can inhale the steam of the food prepared especially for them.
Dabrakhozhy - an interesting character, which combines the qualities of a brownie, yard, goblin, field worker. The so-called sleepy children turn to it, i.e. those whom a careless mother accidentally crushed in a dream. The main distinguishing feature is that it can change its height and relates to a person in accordance with his actions. As a rule, dabrachozhag can be found at the crossroads and near the trees with mistletoe, at noon or at midnight.
Yoonik - the spirit that guards the premises for drying sheaves (eynu).
Zazoўka - a spirit in the form of a beautiful girl with long thick hair that replaces her clothes.
Kupala dzyadok - a kind spirit who walks through the forest with a basket on a Kupala night and collects paparazzi flowers in it.
Lazavik (lazovy dzed) - a forest spirit living in a vine.
Significant - unquenchable, sacred fire, embodying memory.
Zhaleznaya woman (chalavek) - usually they scare children with this character so that they do not arbitrarily climb into gardens and do not go into the field. This witch with breasts of size 7 catches naughty mischievous people with an iron hook, throws them into an iron mortar, crushes them there and eats them to the last bone.
Kasny - evil spirits that act only in a flock. Having attacked a person, they stick to him like leeches and bring him to death. The more the victim resists, the stronger and angrier the Kasni become, as it intoxicates them.
Kryksa - a horned and shaggy swamp spirit, attacks people and rides them until the first roosters. It can also lure into a quagmire or even move into a victim, especially if she is old, has never had children and has never loved anyone.
Kapyalushnik (from the Belarusian kapyalush - hat) - in the Vitebsk region they believe that this is an evil swamp creature-werewolf with the properties of wandering lights.
Kopsha - the keeper of the graves, for the appeasement of which money was put in the coffin with the dead.
Kastamakhi - the dead, rotten to the bone, who sometimes rise from the graves and frighten people in the cemetery.
Kryzhatsik - (kryzh - cross) - a spirit that lives in a cemetery. It becomes the deceased, whose tomb cross for some reason was damaged before the forty-day commemoration. As a rule, kryzhatsik is not hostile to people, with the exception of cemetery vandals and those who come to the graves drunk. The spirit can not only knock such violators off their feet, but also push them into a pit dug for burial.
Tsmok - Belarusian dragon, which, unlike the European one, is good-natured and fair towards people. The poor can be bestowed with treasures, and the selfish rich can be deprived of their fortune. The name of the creature indicates its water element, since it comes from the word "tsmaktats" - to suck out moisture, to drain.
Lizun - a scarecrow living in a garden or in a well, which with its long tongue can lick a naughty child until it bleeds.
Loima - an evil spirit that lives in forests and swamps. It looks like a woman with a scary face and flowing hair, who clings to men, and also steals children left unattended, replacing them with her own.
Malimon - a huge fish that lives in the underground sea-ocean, holds the whole Polissya on its back and controls floods and droughts.
Padway - the embodiment of an evil spirit in the form of a whirlwind. He twists and turns a person and calls out a special disease, from which the head turns to one side, the arms and legs are twisted, and the tongue is taken away. You can protect yourself from padway with the help of a cookie. The spirit does not like this, and therefore it will rush past.
Piachurnik - a kind spirit from under the stove, which helps the owners of the house. He does not show his eyes, but loves to be left with a treat. Looks like a cat, only walks on its hind legs. Piachurnik foresees the troubles that will soon happen to the owners, and tries to warn about it: he moves furniture and breaks dishes.
Prysypush - a changeling made from a log by a sorcerer or a mermaid, which they put in place of the child "sleeped" by the mother. Children do not die, and subsequently become mermaids.
Pushchavik - the owner of limited areas of untouched forest (forest). A giant completely overgrown with long moss, hostile towards everyone due to the fact that people constantly cut down the forest. For this reason, Pushchavik does not spare anyone, neither the elderly, nor women, nor children, nor even domestic animals. Everyone who violates his possessions will perish.
The only way to escape is to run away, making sharp turns in different directions, because the pushchavik does not see well what is happening under his feet. You can relax outside the forest, the evil spirit does not dare to leave it.
Chargava - the last of the buried, whose duties include protecting the village from Death, delaying its arrival as long as possible.