What is “Chicken God”?

“Chicken God” – this is how a small stone with a natural hole in it is called in Russia. People believed that it protected poultry and livestock from curses and evil spirits, stimulated their fertility, and kept them within their yard. Such a stone had to be unintentionally found in a field or on the road. Besides, as a “Chicken God”, Slavs could also use a clay potsherd with a hole, a neck from a broken jug, a pot put on a fence, a leaky bast shoe, a bear’s paw or an oven stone. In other words, old, broken and decayed items. The goal was to place “Chicken God” on a highly visible place, so that it immediately caught the eye – therefore, gaze of the visitor fell on it first, and did not linger on the chickens.

The Slavs believed that the “Chicken God” protected chickens from Kikimora, who plucked their feathers and pecked at their heads, as well as from Domovoy, who could hurt the unloved cattle. In the form of a pot, inverted upside-down on a fence, the “Chicken God” symbolically sheltered the chickens from danger. To ensure that Domovoy would not torment the cattle, Slavs hung the “Chicken God” in the barn with the words: “Here, grandfather, a God for you – pray to him, and don’t hurt our cattle.”

What other gods or patrons of animals do you know?

To be continued…

kuriny bog

Warlock and flying serpent

The ancient Slavs believed that the warlocks knew how to control the elements of the nature. According to the beliefs of Slovenes, Croats, Slovaks and Carpathian Ukrainians, with the help of a special book, the warlock could summon a flying serpent, mount it and direct the clouds to where he wanted hail to fall on the ground.

In Hutsul legends, warlocks gather in the Carpathians on Chornogora mountain. There they read their magic books, turn water into hail, and send storms to fields and villages. They have an “ice-cold” flying serpent (smok) at their disposal. They keep pieces of his flesh under their tongues when they fly to hot regions where no one can live… But it was also believed that a warlock can not only send, but also turn away hail clouds. Warlocks were invited for Kolyada (winter solstice) dinner together with other sorcerers, “knowing people”, predatory animals, etc. to gain their support in protection of crops and households.

In addition to the Chornogora in the Carpathians, what places you know may also be suitable for the gatherings of warlocks? 😉

More interesting facts can be found in: “Slavic Antiquities” – encyclopedic dictionary in 5 volumes by Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Illustration: Daniel Clarke www.artstation.com/daniel_clarke

warlock dragon

Concept art of a Polanian archer

Concept art of a Polanian archer. After it was drawn, we realized that we cannot use it. Anyone can guess why?

Composite bows, as in this image, had an enormous tension force of 40-80 kg. Therefore, a special arrow release type (AKA “Mongolian”) had to be used by the archers armed with it. And then the arrow would have been on the right side of the bow…

For more details about ancient Slavic archery refer to our posts in September 2019.


How to recognize a warlock?

How to recognize a warlock? The ancient Slavs used a name “warlock” for someone who acquired advanced knowledge and witchcraft skills through the study of “black magic” books. Russian, Ukrainian and Slovak legends describe the warlock appearance: long (below the waist) uncombed hair, uncut nails and black clothes. Slovaks thought that the warlock lives in a cave where he keeps his books. And from time to time, he turns his disciples into pigeons… North Russia Slavs believed that the warlock must be buried face down, otherwise he would turn into a walking dead. In a Slovak story, after the death of a witch, people threw her book into the oven, and a black crane flew out of the chimney…

Southern Slovaks believed that a warlock could come into the house and demand milk from a black cow or goat and eggs from a black hen. If he was refused or deceived, he could curse a housewife to illness by pulling a single hair from her. Also, as punishment, he could cast rabies decease on a cow or summon a thunderstorm with lightning to burn the sheaves. For those who welcomed him, the warlock helped to acquire wealth and saved sheaves from thunderstorms in the field.

What else could give away a warlock in a person, in your opinion? 😉

Illustration: NI Yipeng www.artstation.com/sawman