Rod (Slavic religion)

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Anthropomorphic representation of Rod in a temple of the Native Ukrainian National Faith.

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.[1] The term rod is attested in Old Church Slavonic sources about pre-Christian religion, where it refers to divinity and ancestrality.[2][3] 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.[1] The negative form of the term rod, that is urod, means something wrenched, deformed, degenerated, monstruous.[4]

Interpretations[edit]

Scholarly studies[edit]

Variant of the rose or thunder mark symbols, this one most often associated to Perun.

Scholars have defined Rod as a concept of absolute, "general power of birth and reproduction".[5] 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)[6] and Nikolai Zubov.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

In Rodnover manifestationism[edit]

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".[4] 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"[1]) and Chernobog ("Black God"[1]); 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").[10]

By emphasising the underpinning monism of their theology, Rodnovers may define themselves as rodnianin, "believers in God"[11] (or "in nativity", "in genuinity"). Already the pioneering Ukrainian leader Shaian argued that God manifests as a variety of different deities.[12] 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).[13] 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".[2]

In Ynglism[edit]

Differently from mainstream Slavic Native Faith, in the theology of Ynglism the supreme God is called Ramha (Рамха, also spelled Ramkha, Ramxa)[14] and identified as the same as the ancient Egyptian concept of Ra.[15] The order of the universe begotten by God is Yngly (Ингли, also called "Ynglia", Инглия),[16] best represented by the swastika symbol (which Ynglists call the "image of Yngly" and identify as the first written symbol of humanity).[17] Rod is rather identified as the archetype or early progenitor of humanity who was shapen by Yngly.[18]

The goddesses[edit]

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).[1][19][20] 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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Latinised as Hrodo, Chrodo, Crodo in some old sources.
    Illustration of Rod from the L'Antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures, Montfaucon, France, 1722.

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Mathieu-Colas 2017.
  2. ^ a b Aitamurto 2006, p. 188.
  3. ^ Pilkington & Popov 2009, p. 288.
  4. ^ a b Aitamurto 2016, p. 65.
  5. ^ Ivanits 1989, pp. 14–17.
  6. ^ Клейн Л. С. Воскрешение Перуна. К реконструкции восточнославянского язычества (The resurrection of Perun: About the reconstruction of East Slavic Paganism). — Saint Petersburg: Евразия (Eurasia), 2004. 480 pages. — p. 194.
  7. ^ Зубов Н. И. "Научные фантомы славянского Олимпа (Scientific phantoms of the Slavic Olympus)" // Живая старина (Living Antiquity). Moscow, 1995. № 3 (7). 46-48.
  8. ^ Ivanits 1989, pp. 14, 17.
  9. ^ Ivanits 1989, p. 14.
  10. ^ Rabotkina 2013, p. 240.
  11. ^ Pilkington & Popov 2009, p. 269.
  12. ^ Lesiv 2013, p. 130.
  13. ^ Aitamurto 2016, p. 66.
  14. ^ "Ramha (Рамха)". Derzhava Rus. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. 
  15. ^ Aitamurto 2016, p. 41.
  16. ^ "God Yngly (Бог Инглъ)". Derzhava Rus. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Ynglism – lesson 1 (Инглиизм – урок 1)". Derzhava Rus. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. 
  18. ^ "Rod-Forefather (Род-Породитель)". Derzhava Rus. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. 
  19. ^ "Род" (Rod), "Суд" (Sud) in Sergei Aleksandrovich Tokarev (ed.), Мифы народов мира (Mythologies of the World). Online archive
  20. ^ a b Кутарев О.В. "Характеристика Рода и Рожаниц в славянской мифологии: интерпретации Б.А. Рыбакова и его предшественников (Characteristics of Rod and Rozhanitsy in Slavic mythology: the interpretation of B.A. Rybakov and his predecessors)" // Религиоведение (Religious Studies), 2013. №4. 170-177.
  21. ^ Мансикка В.Й. "Религия восточных славян (The religion of East Slavs)". — Moscow, 2005.
  22. ^ Máchal J. "Slavic Mythology" // The Mythology of all Races. Vol. III. Celtic and Slavic Mythology. — L. H. Gray (ed.). Boston, 1918. 215–330

Sources[edit]

  • Aitamurto, Kaarina (2006). "Russian Paganism and the Issue of Nationalism: A Case Study of the Circle of Pagan Tradition". The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies. 8 (2). pp. 184–210. 
  •  ———  (2016). Paganism, Traditionalism, Nationalism: Narratives of Russian Rodnoverie. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1472460271. 
  • Lesiv, Mariya (2013). "Ukrainian Paganism and Syncretism: "This Is Indeed Ours!"". In Kaarina Aitamurto and Scott Simpson (eds.). Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Central and Eastern Europe. Durham: Acumen. pp. 128–145. ISBN 978-1-844656622. 
  • Mathieu-Colas, Michel (2017). "Dieux slaves et baltes" (PDF). Dictionnaire des noms des divinités. France: Archive ouverte des Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société, Centre national de la recherche scientifique. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  • Pilkington, Hilary; Popov, Anton (2009). "Understanding Neo-paganism in Russia: Religion? Ideology? Philosophy? Fantasy?". In George McKay (ed.). Subcultures and New Religious Movements in Russia and East-Central Europe. Peter Lang. pp. 253–304. ISBN 9783039119219. 
  • Rabotkina, S. (2013). "Світоглядні та обрядові особливості сучасного українського неоязичництва". Вісник Дніпропетровського університету. Філософія. Соціологія. Політологія. 4 (23). pp. 237–244.