Simargl

myth and meme month

Forgive my lack of special characters. I don’t know if I have the plug ins to support it.

There is Dazbog, who is the god of light and the god of the sun. There is his brother Czernobog, the black god, who may be one of the ‘dead gods’ in that we know that he existed in the record but that’s about it, and what we do know comes from non-worshippers, so we’re getting -at best- an outsider’s view. There is also who is Czernobog’s balance of the white god but who is most likely a modern invention because he doesn’t actually seem to exist in the historical record-but if my memory serves me, I touched on a similar theme last year so I’ll paraphrase what I believe I wrote there: the age of a deity may not matter so much as what a culture is doing (or did) with the deity since then. Belief doesn’t necessarily carry more weight just because it has a longer lineage, when it comes to the muddy, dirty aspects of belief.

There is then the Zorya, the sisters who guard the moon and the sun. They open the gates for  the chariots that move the moon and the sun through the sky. They are the daughters of Dazbog. Zorya Utrennjaja opens for the sun and Zorya Vechernjaja opens for the moon.

This is a pretty gentle little myth. It seems to follow the ‘normal’ structure for feminine mythology; there’s not much bloodshed, and any aggression seems to take part on the place of the masculine energy in the story (Dazbog, the father, would play that role, right?).

Until we get to Simargl.

It turns out that the Zorya had a -much- larger role to play in the cosmology, seeing as they were the ones that were preventing the end of the world from coming about.

Simargl was a giant wolf or hell hound that was chained into the Ursa Minor constellation. If he were ever to become unchained, he would start devouring the stars around him until he consumed all reality. The only thing stopping this from happening was the chains holding him there-the chains that were held by the Zorya.

Never underestimate the role of a figure in mythology. Roles tend to be slippery and end up in places you don’t expect.

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One comment

  1. It often seems our crowd of myth-seekers gives the Slavic traditions short shrift. That’s a big chunk of Eurasia getting ignored! Thank you, again, for keeping tabs on one of my favorite sources of folklore.

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