Rod (Slavic religion)
Rod or Rid (Polish, Slovenian, Croatian: Rod, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian Cyrillic: Род, Ukrainian Cyrillic: Рід)[note 1] is a conception of supreme God of the universe and of all its gods in Slavic Native Faith (Rodnovery). The same concept is also known as Sud ("Judge") and Prabog ("Pre-God", "First God") among South Slavs. The term rod is attested in Old Church Slavonic sources about pre-Christian religion, where it refers to divinity and ancestrality. Michel Mathieu-Colas (2017) defines it as the "primordial God", but the term also literally means the generative power of family and "kin", "birth", "origin" and "fate" as well. The negative form of the term rod, that is urod, means something wrenched, deformed, degenerated, monstruous.
Scholars have defined Rod as a concept of absolute, "general power of birth and reproduction". Valued scholar Boris Rybakov was among the first who identified Rod as the primordial God of the whole universe. Some scholars criticised Rybakov's position, including Leo Klejn (who identified Rod as fate or destiny) and Nikolai Zubov.
Rybakov also identifies swastika-like symbols, whirl and wheel symbols, which also include patterns like the "six-petaled rose inside a circle" and the "thunder mark" (gromovoi znak), as representing Rod and its various forms (whether Svarog, Perun, Svetovid, or other gods). Such symbols were still carved in folk traditions of north Russia up to the ninteenth century. According to Soviet-era Russian folklorist E. G. Kagarov, the Domovoi (the "Household God" associated with ancestor worship) is a conceptualisation of the supreme Rod itself as the specific family lineage and its stead.
In Rodnover manifestationism
The Russian volkhvs Veleslav (Ilya Cherkasov) and Dobroslav (Aleksei Dobrovolsky) explain Rod as a life force that comes in nature and is "all-pervasive" or "omnipresent". Cosmologically speaking, Rod is conceived as the spring of universal emanation, which articulates in a cosmic hierarchy of gods. This emanation proceeds according to an order or harmony, Prav (the "Right"). The supreme God acts in primordial undeterminacy (chaos), giving rise to the circular pattern of Svarog ("Heaven"), which constantly multiplies generating new worlds (world-eggs). Prav works by means of a dual dynamism, conceptuaised as Belobog ("White God") and Chernobog ("Black God"); they are two aspects of the same, appearing themselves in reality as the forces of waxing and waning, giving rise to polarities like up and down, light and dark, male and female, singular and plural. Man and woman are further symbolised by father Svarog (Heaven) itself and mother Lada ("Beauty").
By emphasising the underpinning monism of their theology, Rodnovers may define themselves as rodnianin, "believers in God" (or "in nativity", "in genuinity"). Already the pioneering Ukrainian leader Shaian argued that God manifests as a variety of different deities. This theological explanation is called "manifestationism" by some contemporary Rodnovers, and implies the idea of a spirit–matter continuum; the different gods, who proceed from the supreme God, generate differing categories of things not as their external creations (as objects), but embodying themselves as these entities. In their view, beings are the progeny of gods; even phenomena such as the thunder are conceived in this way as embodiments of these gods (in this case, Perun). In the wake of this theology, it is common among Slavic Native Faith practitioners to say that "we are not God's slaves, but God's sons".
Differently from mainstream Slavic Native Faith, in the theology of Ynglism the supreme God is called Ramha (Рамха, also spelled Ramkha, Ramxa) and identified as the same as the ancient Egyptian concept of Ra. The order of the universe begotten by God is Yngly (Ингли, also called "Ynglia", Инглия), best represented by the swastika symbol (which Ynglists call the "image of Yngly" and identify as the first written symbol of humanity). Rod is rather identified as the archetype or early progenitor of humanity who was shapen by Yngly.
Rod is frequently accompanied by goddesses, the Rodzanicy ("Generatrixes", also spelled Ro(d)zhanicy, Ro(d)z(h)anitsy, etc.), as attested in the expression Rod-Rodzanicy ("God and the Goddesses"). They are often identified as the three goddesses who interweave destiny. Mathieu-Colas says that they may be aspects of a singular mother goddess, Rodzanica (also spelled Ro(d)zhanica, Ro(d)z(h)anitsa, etc.), counterpart of the supreme Rod. Among South Slavs, where Rod is known as Sud ("Judge"), the three goddesses of destiny are known as Sudenicy (singular Sudenica, literally "She who Judges"; also spelled Sudenitsy). In modern Russian, rozhanitsa means "a woman in childbirth".
Very similar to the are Dolya and Nedolya, also called Srecha and Nesrecha among South Slavs, who are personifications of good and bad luck. Viljo Johannes Mansikka noted that in Slavic countries, Greek terms as τύχη (týchi; "luck") and είμαρμένη (eímarméni; "destiny") are sometimes translated as rod and rozhanitsa. Jan Máchal interpreted the Rodzanicy as spirits of female ancestors, patronesses of the women of the kin (with Rod being the concept of the lineage itself) and of the destiny of their newborns.
- Latinised as Hrodo, Chrodo, Crodo in some old sources.
- Mathieu-Colas 2017.
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