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Life-giving and life-taking, fertility and moisture
Obec Mokošín- Bohyně Mokoš.jpg
Modern wooden statue in the Czech Republic
SymbolSun[citation needed]
Personal information
ConsortPerun and Veles (assumption)
ChildrenJarilo[citation needed] and Morana[citation needed]
Roman equivalentTerra, Minerva or Juno[citation needed]
Christian equivalentParaskevi of Iconium, Virgin Mary

Mokosh (Old East Slavic: Мóкошь) is a Slavic goddess mentioned in the Primary Chronicle, protector of women's work and women's destiny.[1] She watches over spinning and weaving, shearing of sheep,[2] and protects women in childbirth. Mokosh is the Mother Goddess.[3]

Mokoš was the only female deity whose idol was erected by Vladimir the Great in his Kiev sanctuary along with statues of other major gods (Perun, Hors, Dažbog, Stribog, and Simargl).

Etymology and origin[edit]

Mokosh probably means moisture. According to Max Vasmer, her name is derived from the same root as Slavic words mokry, 'wet', and moknut(i), 'get wet'. Or to dive deeply into something. She may have originated in the northern Finno-Ugric tribes of the Vogul, who worship the divinity Moksha.[4][5]


Mokosh.[citation needed] Embroidery pattern ca 19th century.

Mokosh was one of the most popular Slavic deities and the great earth Mother Goddess of East Slavs and Eastern Polans. She is a wanderer and a spinner. Her consorts are probably both the god of thunder Perun and his opponent Veles. In saying, the former Katičić follows Ivanov and Toporov (1983) without further corroborating their claim.[6] Katičić also points to the possibility that as goddess Vela she is the consort of Veles, and might even be interpreted as another form of the polymorph god Veles himself.[6]:167–198 Mokosh is also the mother of the twin siblings Jarilo and Morana.[citation needed]

Archeological evidence of Mokosh dates back to the 7th century BC.[7] As late as the 19th century, she was worshipped as a force of fertility and the ruler of death. Worshipers prayed to Mokosh-stones or breast-shaped boulders that held power over the land and its people.[8]

In Eastern Europe, Mokosh is still popular as a powerful life-giving force and protector of women. Villages are named after her. She shows up in embroidery, represented as a woman with uplifted hands and flanked by two plow horses.[9] Sometimes she is shown with male sexual organs, as the deity in charge of male potency.[10]

A key myth in Slavic mythology, is the divine battle between the thunder god Perun and his opponent the god Veles. Some authors and the original researchers Ivanov and Toporov believe, the abduction of Mokosh causes the struggle.[a][11]

According to Boris Rybakov, in his 1987 work Paganism of Ancient Rus,[12] Mokosh is represented on one of the sides of the Zbruch Idol.


Warning from the Christian church against worshipping Mokosh

During Christianization of Kievan Rus', there were warnings issued against worshipping Mokosh. She was replaced by the cult of the Virgin Mary and St. Paraskevia.[13]

Traces of Mokosh in place names[edit]

Traces of Mokosh are today well preserved in the various toponyms of Slavic countries. In Slovenia, her name has been preserved in a village called Makoše in the vicinity of Ribnica, historically known as Makoša or Makoš, and also in the River Mokoš in the Prekmurje region. In Croatia, the village Makoše can be found near Dubrovnik, and also the suburb areas of Nova and Stara Mokošica. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the village Ravno is located a hill called Mukušina. South of Mostar lies the hill Mukoša.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ivanits, Linda J. (February 15, 1989). Russian Folk Belief. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 9780765630889 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Miriam R. Dexter, Marija Gimbutas (2001). The Living Goddesses. University of California Press. pp. 197, 206–208. ISBN 9780520229150.
  3. ^ Katičić, Radoslav (2003). Die Hauswirtin am Tor: Auf den Spuren der großen Göttin in Fragmenten slawischer und baltischer sakraler Dichtung. Frankfurt am Main: PETER LANG. p. 40. ISBN 3-631-50896-4. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  4. ^ Hubbs, Joanna (Sep 22, 1993). Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture. Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0253115787.
  5. ^ Hubbs, Joanna (1988). Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture. Indiana University Press. pp. 10, 29, 53, 112, 122. ISBN 9780253115782.
  6. ^ a b Katičić, Radoslav (2010). Gazdarica na vratima: Tragovima svetih pjesama naše pretkršćanske starine. Zagreb: IBIS GRAFIKA. pp. 209–210. ISBN 978-953-6927-59-3.
  7. ^ Harald Haarmann (2008). "[1]". Introducing the Mythological Crescent: Ancient Beliefs and Imagery p. 98
  8. ^ Patricia Monaghan (2010). "[2]". Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines p. 516
  9. ^ Ivanits, Linda J. (February 15, 1989). Russian Folk Belief. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 9780765630889 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Hubbs, Joanna (September 22, 1993). Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253115787 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Евдокимова, Светлана; Evdokimova, Professor of Slavic Studies and Comparative Literature Chair Department of Slavic Studies Svetlana (July 26, 1999). Pushkin's Historical Imagination. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300070233 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ Boris Rybakov (1987). "Святилища, идолы и игрища". Язычество Древней Руси (Paganism of Ancient Rus) (in Russian). Moscow: Nauka.
  13. ^ Vyacheslav Ivanov, Vladimir Toporov. Mokoš./ В. В. Иванов, В. Н. Топоров - «Мокошь». Мифы народов мира, т. II. М.:Российская энциклопедия, 1994.
  14. ^ Češarek, Domen (2016). "Mala gora pri Ribnici – mitološko izročilo v prostoru (Mala Gora (Little Mountain) by Ribnica – Cosmic myth in mythical landscape)" (PDF). Studia mythologica Slavica. 19: 135. doi:10.3986/sms.v19i0.6619.


  1. ^ Although Ivanov and Toporov nowhere quote original sources indicating that fact. Compare: Katičić (2010):210