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Prav (Правь), Yav (Явь) and Nav (Навь) are the three dimensions or qualities of the cosmos as described in the first chapter of the Book of Light and in the Book of Veles (probably a fabrication from the 19-20 century[1]) of Slavic Native Faith (Rodnovery). Older sources mention onle Nav and Yav concepts of ancient slavic cosmology, similar to Yin and Yang in Taoism, and Prav was not part of the concept[2]. [3] The literal meanings of the Prav, Yav, and Nav words, are, respectively, "Right", "actuality" and "probability". They are also symbolised as a unity by the god Triglav (the "Three-Headed One"). Already Ebbo (c. 775 – 20 March 851, who was archbishop of Reims) documented that the Triglav was seen as embodying the connection and mediation between Heaven, Earth and the underworld / humanity; these three dimensions were also respectively associated to the colours white, green and black as documented by Karel Jaromír Erben.[4]

General meaning[edit]

Prav ("Right"; cf. Greek Orthotes, Sanskrit Ṛta), is the universal order otherwise described as the "Law of Heaven", which is enacted by the supreme God (Род Rod, "Generation" itself in Slavic theology) and permeates and regulates the other two hypostases.[5]

Prav is at the same time the plane of gods, who generate entities in accordance with the supreme order; gods and the entities that they beget "make up" the great God. Yav ("actuality") is the plane of matter and appearance, the here and now in which things appear in light, coalesce, but also dissolve in contingency; Nav ("probability") is the thin world of human ancestors, of spirit, consisting in the memory of the past and the projection of the future, that is to say the continuity of time.[6]


Triglav: soul, flesh and power[edit]

Represented as Triglav the three worlds are traditionally associated, respectively, to the three gods Svarog ("Heaven"), Perun ("Thunder") and Dažbog ("Sun") or Svarog, Perun, and Svetovid ("Sacred Lord") or Veles ("Underworld"). These three gods are also seen, respectively, as representing the qualities of soul, flesh and power.[7] Perun and Svetovid are regarded as manifestations of the same Svarog, and other names for them are Dazhbog ("Giving God", "Day God") and Svarozhich (the god of fire, literally meaning "Son of Heaven").[8] The netherworld (Nav), especially in its dark aspect, is also traditionally embodied by Veles, who in this function is the god of waters but also the one who guides athwart them (cf. Sanskrit Varuna).[9]

In his study of Slavic cosmology, Jiří Dynda (2014), identifies Triglav as a conception of the axis mundi, and compares it to similar concepts from other Indo-European cultures. He gives weight to the Triglav as a representation of what Georges Dumézil studied as the "Indo-European trifunctional hypothesis" (holy, martial and economic functions reflected by three human types and social classes).[10]

The Triglav may also represents the interweaving of the three dimensions of time, metaphorically represented as a three-threaded rope.[11] By Ebbo's words, the Triglav is definable as summus deus, the god representing the "sum" of the three dimensions of reality as a mountain or tree (themselves symbols of the axis mundi).[12] According to Dynda, this threefold vision originating in Proto-Indo-European religion was also elaborated in early and medieval Christianity giving rise to the theology of God who is at the same time creator (father), creature (son) and creating activity (spirit).[13]

Heaven, Earth and humanity in "genotheism"[edit]

In her theological commentaries to the Book of Veles, the Ukrainian Rodnover leader Halyna Lozko emphasises the cosmological unity of the three planes of Heaven, Earth and humanity between them. She gives a definition of Rodnover theology and cosmology as "genotheism". God, hierarchically manifesting as different hypostases, a multiplicity of gods emerging from the all-pervading force Svarog, is genetically (rodovid) linked to humanity. On the human plane God is incarnated by the progenitors/ancestors and the kin lineage, in the Earth. Ethics and morality ultimately stem from this cosmology, as harmony with nature is possible only in the relationship between an ethnic group and its own land.[14] The same vision of a genetic essence of divinity is called "rodotheism" by the Rodnover denomination of the Ynglists.[15]

This cosmological vision provides the meaning of the worship of human progenitors, whether the Slavs' general forefather Or or Oryi,[16] or local forefathers such as Dingling worshipped by Vladivostok Rodnovers.[17] Divine ancestors are the spirits who generate and hold together kins, they are the kins themselves. The Russian volkhv Dobroslav emphasises the importance of blood heritage, since, according to him, the violation of kinship purity brings about the loss of the relationship with the kin's divine ancestor.[18]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Творогов О. В. Что же такое Влесова книга? // Русская литература. — М., 1988. — № 2. — С. 77–102.
  2. ^ Творогов О. В. . Влесова книга. // Труды отдела древнерусской литературы. — Т. 43. — 1990. — C. 245.
  3. ^ Shnirelman 2017, p. 101.
  4. ^ Dynda 2014, p. 60, 63.
  5. ^ Ivakhiv 2005b, p. 202; Ivakhiv 2005c, p. 230; Laruelle 2008, p. 290; Aitamurto 2016, pp. 66–67.
  6. ^ Rabotkina 2013, p. 240.
  7. ^ Shnirelman 1998, p. 8, note 35.
  8. ^ Mathieu-Colas 2017.
  9. ^ Dynda 2014, p. 72.
  10. ^ Dynda 2014, p. 63.
  11. ^ Dynda 2014, p. 74.
  12. ^ Dynda 2014, p. 64.
  13. ^ Dynda 2014, p. 76.
  14. ^ Ivakhiv 2005a, p. 23.
  15. ^ "Rodotheism – the veneration of the Kin (Родотеизм – это почитание Рода)". Derzhava Rus. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017.
  16. ^ Ivakhiv 2005a, p. 14, cites Or.
  17. ^ Shnirelman 2007, p. 54, cites Oryi and Dingling.
  18. ^ Shnirelman 2007, p. 54–55.


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