The inhabitants of Aenar have forever speculated the existence of the gods and the world beyond the physical. Whether it has been the Uvil in Haemus Mons or the Svet in Marharia, the afterlife has awed the minds of mortals. As expected, the many races have developed different belief systems about how the world was brought into existence.
In Aenar, we find major gods and goddesses, lesser deities, individual gods that are solely recognized, and also those that give no credit to a divine creator. It will be found that in this world, the belief systems in another part of the world may not be fully understood. The Anshedar are unlikely to know of Lesh, the Arkono are unlikely to know of Strega, and the Uvil may care about nothing but Runista.
Most of the inhabitants in Aenar respect a generalized polytheistic pantheon of gods and goddesses. The polytheists believe in two existences, the physical world and the spiritual world. Within the spiritual world, there are considered to be two places of resting, Thrice Ten Kingdom and the Netherworld. Believers of this faith state that every person is given a charge upon their creation, and the completion of that charge in their life designates where they will go after death. The struggle is that no person knows what their charge is for certain, and must follow their instinct and the signs of the gods to discover their path. If an individual completes their charge, they are rewarded with entry to Thrice Ten Kingdom. If not, the individual is sentenced to the frozen wasteland of the Netherworld to become a demon.
Lada is a Slavic goddess who has many attributes of goddesses found in other cultures, including Aphrodite, Freya, and Isis. In Thrice Nine Legends, she is the Goddess of Love, Beauty, and Fertility, the Lady of Flowers, and the Mother; she is the wife of the grandfather of the gods, Svarog. She is perceived as a young, beautiful woman with ears of grain braided in her long golden hair. She is said to travel between the physical and spiritual world spreading love to the living and the dead equally. She may be found in the Beyond or within the City of the Gods, Iriy (called Irij in old folklore). Irij, by the way, was often equivalent to what some might call paradise, a garden beyond an iron gate, where souls might go after death. Irij was only one place for many generations before Christians invaded Slavic lands, and then the godly place was split between a heaven and a hell. In Thrice Nine Legends, Irij is a City of the Gods, hidden away from mortals in the Shade Fells. It connects to many places through Aenar, the Thrice Ten Kingdom, and the Netherworld.
Nevertheless, in Slavic myth, Lada rules over the summer and her daughter, Vesna, rules over the spring. I simplified this in my own stories, because if I were to add all the Slavic gods, no one would ever remember them all! Lada comes to bless the earth after Gerovit (Gero in my books) opens the door of Irij (Iriy in my books). Another fun piece of folklore is that Lada is known to carry a single rose with her. In Thrice Nine Legends, her gift of a flower will allow mortals into the godly city of Iriy.
Mokoš or Mokosh is documented as far back as the 7th century and in the Primary Chronicle, a manuscript detailing the Eastern Slavs from 850 to 1110. Mokosh was a Slavic goddess, who was called the Great Mother and protected women’s work and their destiny. Not only did she protect women in child birth and help them have a good marriage, but she was the spinner’s goddess and was said to be able to cast spells. Rain was often referred to as Mokos’s milk.In Thrice Nine Legends, Mokosh is the Goddess of Envy, Goddess of Crafts and the Soil, Mokosh is known primarily as the Weaver. She is perceived as an old woman wearing simple household attire. She is the wife of Perom (even though old Slavic might say Svarog), and is said to manipulate the skeins of Fate. Rain is still referred to as Mokosh’s milk, especially when it joins the lighting and thunder of Perom. Mokosh is seen as a powerful goddess, who encourages women to use the magical arts.
Known as Perun in most Slavic stories, he is god similar to Zeus and is sometimes referred to as the highest ranking god. We know this is not true in my world. In TNL, Perom is called the Thunder-Bearer. He is the Creator of all mortal races and the Lord of Aenar, carrying the thunder-axe. Perom is perceived as a silver-haired man with a copper beard, wearing an eternal crown with nine distinct flames (one for each race). It is believed that Perom lives in the city of Iriy, the City of the Gods, located in the Shade Fells.
The god of war, fertility, and abundance is known by many names in Slavic mythology. His name translates to “holy sight” and refers to a god who can see to all corners of the earth with his four heads (one facing in every direction). In old texts, I most often I see him referred to as Svetovid or Svantovit. Some scholars doubt Svetovid’s existence, saying he was actually the combination of four other gods, yet he is still often referred to as one of the most-powerful and most-respected gods in Slavic history.
An ancient island in the Baltic Sea called Rügen (the red island) was originally called Rujan, and were said to worship the god. Through time, he has taken other names and other forms with the Southern Slavs calling this god Triglav and Christians creating Saint Vitus to replace him.
In Thrice Nine Legends, I call this god Svathevit. He remains the God of War and Glory, and is often referred to as Svathevit the Red. As readers see in Maharia, when he appears, he does have four faces that look in all directions to watch the world. In my books, the Svet (centaurs) are the primary worshippers of Svathevit, but they refer to him as Rujan in respect to the history behind the name.
In Thrice Nine Legends, Veles–called Wolos–is the God of Death, God of Magic, and the God of Dragons. He is known as the Horned God. He has many other names, including Protector of the Eternal Fallows [who nourishes the Ash Tree] and the Protector of the Frost. Wolos fights Marheena during the Season of Frost, protecting mortals until Strega (God of the Nine Winds) is able to come and ultimately destroy the Frozen Witch. Wolos takes a central role in the first nonet of stories in the Thrice Nine Legends Saga.
Known as Stribog in slavic mythology (which comes from the ancient word Strega), the God of Wind and Water is very well known in the pantheon. In fact, he is one of the most powerful gods! In Thrice Nine Legends, he is the Ancestor of the Nine Winds and Defeater of Marheena, battling her every winter to bring back the spring. Strega is known as the Powerful, wielding his mighty trident, ruling over the waters and winds alike. Strega is viewed as a man with a long white beard and large angelic wings, who carries a long horn, which he uses to speak to the Nine Winds.
Very little is written about the slavic god, Gerovit (Jarilo, Yarylo, etc.) A couple of scholars attempted to recontruct the mythology around him, pinning him down as being a typical life-death-rebirth deity. He is known most as being is a Slavic god of vegetation, fertility, and springtime, similar to Dionysus or Baldr. His twin sister is Marheena, who he marries each year, before subsequently being killed for unfaithfulness (either from her, their nine older brothers, or their Father, Perom.) And so, he is born, dies, and is reborn every year.In Thrice Nine Legends, Gero is the god of harvest, rebirth, fertility, and is known as the Trickster, incorporating other beliefs about this god. He primarily governs over the Season of Warmth. He enjoys excessive songs of merriment and festivals. Gero is the son of Perom, but was taken on the day of his birthing by Wolos (again, paralleled with myth). He was raised by Wolos among the Eternal Fallows, where he gained the ability to shapeshift like the Vucari. Gero is perceived as a young man, clad in green clothes, with the head of a stallion.
Morana (Maržena, Moréna, Mora, Mara, Marmora, etc.) has been known by many names but is a Slavic and Baltic goddess of the winter and the underworld. Said to have lived in a mirror palace, Morana is one of the most well-known gods among the ancient pantheon with tales interweaving with nearly every other god. Around the spring equinox, the custom was to make an effigy of Morana, set it on fire and drown it to welcome the end of winter and beginning of spring.
In Thrice Nine Legends, the goddess is called Marheena. She is the Frozen Witch, the Goddess of the Netherworld, and the goddess of nature and magic. In fact, despite the multiple theories by the Anshedar and Stuhia, Marheena is the source of Koldovstvo. She is also known as the Goddess of Sickness, Nightmares, and Hunger. Marheena is represented by a beautiful woman with red flowing hair in the Season of Warmth with flowing gowns of gold and purple. Upon the Season of Frost, Marheena transforms into an ugly, old hag and terrorizes the world with her frozen wrath.
In addition, Marheena is known to use her death magic to turn the dead into horrific demons in the hereafter. The Netherworld is located beyond Thrice Nine Lands, pass the Kalinov Bridge, which is guarded by the three-headed dragon, Zyem.
Known as Dazbog in slavic mythology, he is recognized as the son of Svarog who ruled over the Sun. He is one of the few gods who still has writings of his name, primarily noted in the Hypatian Codex. However, quite a bit of doubt sits on whether he was really a solar deity, considering the word for Sun in Slavic is feminine (Suance), suggesting the sun may have been ruled by a female deity much like those in Baltic mythology.
Nevertheless, Dazbog is known as Dahz in the Thrice Nine Legends Saga, worshipped by the Anshedar (humans) and the Kadari (religious sect). Dahz has many other names including the Lightbringer, the Protector of Man, and the White-Clad. He is perceived as a young man with fiery hair like his father, Svarog. He is the husband of Myestera (the moon goddess). In my world, he carries the Sun across the sky with his chariot, pulled by an oversized goat stag, while carrying his favored weapon, the hammer, Mulafell. Many of you probably recall how Falmagon Sej often curses by shouting, “By Mulafell!”
In Slavic culture little can actually be said for certain about Chernobog or Czernobog. The only written texts about him are of Christian origin, which often mark him as being the counter opposite to Belobog (Dahz). Akin to the Christian devil, writings would say that Czernobog is a dark, accursed god. Though, we cannot say what the Slavs actually thought about him. Called the “Black God”, it is written that Czernobog fought his brother, the “White God” (Dahz), twice a year for control of the seasons, which caused many cycles of the universe (day & night, summer & winter, etc.).
We do know that Slavic mythology valued the darkness as an important aspect of cosmic balance. They respected both the light and dark sides of nature, recognizing the cycle of all things.
In Thrice Nine Legends, Czern is the God of Darkness, Hatred, and Sacrifice, and is often called the Grey-Clad. He is perceived as a dark wanderer, wearing a decaying stone crown. Most of the world is fearful of Czern, but areas shroud in darkness like the Dyndaer worship him with vigor. Czern is said to rule the night hours, opposite of his brother Dahz, with his reign increasing during the long, dark hours of the Season of Frost.
In Slavic mythology, the moon deity called Myesyats, is the baldheaded uncle of the sun-god Dazh. In other myths, SHE is a beautiful woman, the consort of Dazh and the mother of the stars. Sometimes this name is used interchangeably with Gerovit too, suggesting these gods were one in the same. Then again, some legends have the god closely connected with the Slavic Star Goddess, Zorya. One example is that some stories suggest Zorya was the wife of Myesyats, which could suggest the deity was male after all; yet it all depends on what legends you are reading.In Thrice Nine Legends, Myestera is feminine and called the Moon Goddess or the Mother of the Stars, and she remains as the wife of Dahz. She is represented as a lovely moon maiden with dark hair. She is said to bring harmony and healing to families. Believers may worship her to remove sickness or restore life to loved ones. Myestera is seen during the night hours to watch Dahz’s brother, Czern (the God of Darkness), to be assured that he does not cause unnecessary mischief.
Alternate Beliefs Apart From the Pantheon
Runista is the oldest of known belief systems and predates organized religion. Runista practices are frequently considered to be dark magic or some variant of evil, tied to the old-dark, or Likhyi, the gods before the current pantheon.
Runista was developed before time was recorded. The worshippers are likely to pay homage to the dead or deceased loved ones. Runista worshipers hold beliefs in animalistic and dualistic creation of the world. Runista understands the world to be a separation of light and dark, fire and water, good and evil, and other similar opposing forces. It is rumored that the followers of Runista supposedly know the how to tell the future with crafted runes embedded with ancient magical forces, speaking with the dead, or other forms of unnatural divination. Runista believers look for signs in the physical world to lead them during their lives whether this is through divination practices, the guiding stars, or dreams.
Lillith is recognized as the mother of the Lilitu people. It is claimed that she was created by Lada as a companion for men. The legend states that Lillith was quickly disgusted by men and therefore sought out Alu, a powerful spirit. The union of Lillith and Alu brought forth the race of Lilitu. Lillith is considered separate from the gods and goddesses in most areas of the world. Although the Lilitu may recognize the regular pantheon of deities, they primarily pay homage to their creator, Lillith.