Slavic amulets – Part 3

The medieval tradition of worshiping paleolithic age stone tools has a pan-European spread and connects them with a Thunder cult. They were believed to be the divine weapon of the Thunderer, which he throws from heaven during a thunderstorm to strike the evil. It was widely believed that when a thunder struck, a “thunder arrow” (“thunderstone”) would go deep into the ground and after a few years it would gradually re-appear on the surface. Such beliefs in some regions existed until the 18-19 centuries.

We continue to familiarize you with the customs and beliefs of the ancient Slavic people, while working on the animated fantasy comic book series. In such posts, as if jumping forward in time, we shed light upon and help to understand the events that will occur in our story … 😉

The mythological context of worshiping “thunder” arrows, axes and hammers is directly related to the cult of Perun, since it was this god who represented the Thunder cult in the Slavic pantheon.

In the most archaic form these believes are found among the Belarusians, who preserved in folk tradition the ancient name of the God of Thunder – Perun, which has become the common name for “thunder”: “Perun has a quiver of arrows in his left hand, and in the right – the bow. He shoots arrows which strike his targets and cause fires. A miraculous arrow can be found at the place of a lightning-caused fire.”

To be continued…

This post was prepared based on the articles by E. A. Tyanina:
(1) “Tools of the Stone Age in the cultural layer of medieval Novgorod: pagan cult objects or random things?” // Novgorod and Novgorod land. History and archeology, 2008;
(2) “The discussion of the Perun’s cult in the Novgorod land (based on records of the archaeological research of Novgorod)” // COLLOQUIA RUSSICA; Series I, vol. 8; “Religions and beliefs of Rus’ (9th–16th centuries)”; Krakow 2018

Additional sources:
(3) “Slavic Antiquities” – encyclopedic dictionary in 5 volumes by Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
(4) M.V. Sedova, “An amulet from ancient Novgorod,” Soviet Archeology, No. 4, 1957
(5) A.N. Afanasiev, “Poetic views of the Slavs on nature,” vol. I., 1865

Slavic amulets

Working on storyboard panels

Working on storyboard panels of one of the scenes. The first fragment completion is nearby…

We continue to work on the first story from the animated fantasy comic book series about the life, customs and beliefs of the Slavic tribes in the early Middle Ages.

storyboard panels

Slavic amulets – Part 2

When analyzing the semantics of the animal fangs amulets used in the Middle Ages, it is important to consider that the cult of some animals (bear, wolf, etc.) was in the system of mythological beliefs of various European nations and that it was associated with certain pagan gods (for instance the pair of Bear and Veles). Such an amulet could be worn as a sign of patronage from this god and be directly related to the functions and attributes that this god was endowed with.

We continue to familiarize you with the customs and beliefs of the ancient Slavic people, while working on the animated fantasy comic book series. In such posts, as if jumping forward in time, we shed light upon and help to understand the events that will occur in our story … 😉

Amulets were crafted by “knowing” people – healers, sorcerers, blacksmiths. Blacksmiths made amulets of silver or iron, bound belemnite stones, claws, shells, made silver images of animals and reptiles, agricultural tools and weapons.

Special rituals were observed for the amulet making process. Among the southern Slavs, for example, the amulet was often forged by a naked blacksmith at dead midnight from a horseshoe of a dead mare, in eastern Serbia – on Friday eve, with complete silence by a naked husband and wife.

Amulets were also made of leather and could be made in the form of a bag, which contained objects possessing magical protective properties.

Amulets were worn on a chain or on a lace around the neck (standalone or as part of a necklace), also attached to a belt, sewn onto clothes (on a shoulder, under an arm, etc.) and a hat (most often for children). Cattle amulets were hung around the neck, tail, inserted into the horn in a drilled hole.

Sources:

(1) E. A. Tyanina, “Amulets Made from Animal Teeth and Bones in Mediaeval Novgorod” / Archeological News. Vol. 17, 2011 (photo is also taken from this article);
(2) Levkievskaya E.E., “Slavic talismans and protective spells. Semantics and structure”, 2002;
(3) “Slavic Antiquities” – encyclopedic dictionary in 5 volumes by Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Slavic amulets

Slavic amulets

Slavic amulets – Part 1

Personal amulets, as a magical way of protecting a person and his world from danger, have been used by the Slavs since ancient times. This is verified by numerous archaeological finds of teeth, claws and animal bones with drilled holes in them in the layer of early medieval settlements in Eastern Europe.

We continue to familiarize you with the customs and beliefs of the ancient Slavic people, while working on the animated fantasy comic book series. In such posts, as if jumping forward in time, we shed light upon and help to understand the events that will occur in our story … 😉

Fangs and claws belong to the category of talismans of “chase off / strike” magic, which are used for preventive magic strike on the “enemy”. For example, two fangs of a wild boar, connected in the form of a crescent moon, were hung on the horse neck as a shield from an evil eye. To protect the child from the Bosorka, on the modern Ukrainian-Slovak borderlands, as well as in Polesie region, a wolf fang was hung on the neck of a child as a talisman, where Serbs used the fang of any beast for that purpose. To protect child from an evil eye Russians hung a wolf fang on the cradle.

Hunters carried a lynx claw as protection against wild beasts and various dangers during the hunt, and sailors also took it with them while sailing, so as not to drown. Pike teeth were used as protection of a person from illness.

In the Polish Beskids and in Novgorod, the fangs of a bear were worn as a talisman, and the Russians and Serbs also used its claws and wool as an amulet. One scientific theory suggests that the bear’s claws were used in a funeral cult and were associated with belief in the “world mountain”, on which the soul with their help climbed after death. This theory is supported by medieval sources which recorded very similar belief in the pagan rituals of the Baltic people.

To be continued…

Slavic amulet

Gnilusha – villain or hero?

This is Gnilusha (resembles the word “rotten”). What do you think about the personality of this character? 😉 He will play his important part in our story…

We continue to work on the first story from the animated fantasy comic book series about the life, customs and beliefs of the Slavic tribes in the early Middle Ages.

Gnilusha - villain or hero?