Myth. Profile Series
By: Sillieh / Novice Apr 20, 2013
Post # 1
Hello so instead of making a whole bunch of threads i've decided to place all the Mythological profile threads in one master thread , so the number and creature profiles in thread should grow daily. Enjoy
This first Mythological Profile is of the Rusalki , a Slavic mythological water nymph known for its allure and viciousness.
There will be a few categories such as <Name of Creature> where I describe the creature itself , Traditions to keep them away , Misc. Knowledge and Metaphoric meanings.
The Rusalki are creatures of the Slavic mythology mainly the North eastern part of Europe (Ukraine , Belarus) and north western part of Asia (Russia). They are characterized as vicious water nymphs that take the shape of a beautiful woman from afar singing or bathing in a pond or river , but once a man or a child was attracted their appearance would change into a haggard creature with all manner of plant debris on her , pale white skin and sharp teeth. She would proceed to attack the victim and pull it underwater to drown , according to myth they eat the flesh of their victims.
Traditions to keep them away
There are many traditions that people in ancient times used to ward off such creatures , in the case of the Rusalki people often left offerings at their ponds in the form of treats such as apples or candy. While some left offerings others hung charms , garlic and other objects to stop them from nearing a space where they hung them.This was done in greater amounts during Semik which is a celebration for the that years crops to be as fertile as possible , during that week long celebration the Rusalki were believed to be easily agitated and forced to wander off from their pools and rivers to feed.
People mainly believe that the Rusalki are a metaphore forr the greatest desperation a woman can feel , being left utterly alone and without love. It seemed proper for them to attribute beauty at a distance but a grotesque figure close up , to symbolize her becoming a temptress due to her grief.
Hope you like this post , there is not much information on the Rusalki since they are mostly folk tales that were passed on orally. Other posts should be longer and more interesting. For those who want to know this knowledge has been gathered from various books , websites and folk tales.
The word phoenix is derived from latin word phoenx which was in turn derived from the greek word phinx (not sure if the words will display properly in the thread). Even though the creature has many counterparts in other cultures the Pheonix most of us know is a Greek mythological creature. A bird with fiery feathers that bursts into flames at the end of its life and is reborn from its ashes. Some believed that the bird was a guide , others that it was an elusive reward , while many questioned its existence. Some people debate the various myths of the creatures healing powers , from its ashes restoring youth to its feathers curing any ailment (As humans of old always increased the value of something elusive and rare by exaggerating its already great potential for worth.). Many people through the ages claimed to have set their eyes upon this majestic bird , others claimed they had the bird itself or its ashes , earning them great respect even if the person never showed them the creature after laying claim to such deeds.
The creature has many variants through the world such as:
The Slavic Firebird (Plamen-Ptica , Zar-Ptica in the various Slavic languages) , a bird with glowing red and orange feathers. In many folk tales of the Slavic people the bird is a symbol of luck , if one managed to pluck a feather of the bird they would be given incredibly good luck , until they lost possession of the feather which would cause their luck to turn sour. Unlike the Pheonix of Greek mythology the Firebird does not revive itself from its ashes.
The Hindu Garuda while largely different from the Pheonix in both size and vision , the creature is considered similar to the Pheonix due to it being a bird made of fire. The creature plays a big part in the Mahabharata (As far as I ve understood its a religious story of a war between gods).The Garuda is a giant flaming bird and a nemesis to the Naga.
There are other creatures that are similar to the Pheonix but I do not have much information on the others.
The Pheonix is a symbol of rebirth , born from the ashes of its previous self , to some it represets reincarnation or a return to whence you came (the matter you were once made of giving rise to you again).People attributed the metaphoric meaning and its majestic powers to increase their wealth and respect , something that should not be done to such a glorious myth.
To me the creature is a symbol of the struggle of life , no matter how hard it gets you will have a chance to start over.
Well there it is , another Mythological profile finished. Hope you Enjoyed it , also feel free to suggest the next Mythological creature to add to the Mythological Profile thread series.
Welcome to the Third Mythological Profile , this time its the fabled Lernaean Hydra. Enjoy.
The Lernaean Hydra
The Lernaean Hydra is one of the offspring of Echidna (The mother of all monsters) and Typhon (The father of all monsters). The reason why it is called The Lernaean Hydra is because it lived in the swap near the lake Lerna. The folk living in the villages near the swamp were terrified that the creature would come out of the swamp and devour them.
The Lernaean Hydra was a snake like creature depending on the variant it either slithered on a snake body or a lizard like body with two front legs. The only thing that is consistent with the creature is that it had at first one head then three then nine , the first head was cut off by would be heroes which causes two to grow in its place , it Is unclear how it got to the number of three heads since every head multiplied the number by two , so it shouldve had four heads instead of three when Heracles encountered it on his second of the twelve labors of Hera.The middle in some myths had a human face and spewed fire , while in others it was noxious gas. While the other heads were draconic or snake like in appearance. The blood of the Hydra was highly poisonous.
It was a guardian of the underworld since one of the gates to the underworld laid at the bottom of the lake Lerna. During his battle Heracles cut off the three heads causing six to grow back , accidentaly his companion Lolaus burned one of the headless necks with his torch which cauterized the wound regrowing only one head , in the meanwhile Heracles already cut off three more heads causing nine to grow back in total. After fighting off the giant crab that Hera sent to aid the Hydra ,Lolaus threw him the torch and told him to burn the headless necks , after Heracles did so for all the nine heads , the Hydra laid dead. He later used its blood which was highly poisonous to kill other creatures in his Labors.
Never found one in any source nor myself , haha , it just a good story as far as I am concerned.
Well there it is , another Mythological profile finished , feel free to suggest new creatures/beings to profile.
Hello welcome to this late update to the Mythological Profile series , this time its the Graeae of Greek mythology.
The Graeae (also known as the Grey Sisters) are three haggard grey skinned women that shared one eye and in some variants of myths relating to them one tooth , which seems to serve no purpose at all. The Grey sisters are the daughters of Phorcys (A primordial greek god of the sea) and Ceto (A primordial goddess of the sea). They were sisters to the Gorgons. Their names according to Hesoid were Deino , Enyo and Pemphredo. They were holders of great knowledge , but few dared to deal with them.
They play a major part in the Myth of Perseus and Medusa. When Perseus was sent by Athena to recover the weapons he needed to kill Medusa he had to speak to the Graeae , as they denied him their help , Perseus watched as they traded their eye between each other in order to see him , while trading the eye he stole it from them , and in return he demanded that they give him what he came for. In some variants of the myth they gave him a choice information or the weapons. He chose the weapons , in one variant of the myth they sent him to the Hesperides , while in another they gave him the weapons themselves. The weapons he received were the Helmet of Hades (which allowed him to become invisible in the shadows) , the Boots of Hermes (which allowed him to fly) and the Shield of Athena.
As he was preparing to leave the Graeae gave him one last gift , they told him to polish the shield of Athena until it was like a mirror. He did not understand what they meant but he polished the shield.
When Perseus came upon Medusas lair he encountered her garden of statues. During his fight with medusa in the most prominent version he hid behind one of her statues , as she approached he saw her reflection , closed his eyes and swung his sword , decapitating her head off her shoulders.
Its sort of Ironic that the Graeae helped kill their own sister , guess they werent on speaking terms haha.The Graeae appear less and less throught mythology , it seems their idea faded in their eyes.
P.S. That is a pun.
There goes another Mythological profile , feel free to suggest a creature/entity to review in the future.
Hello everyone welcome to the fifth mythological profile this time its the Drekavac (the screamers) from Serbian mythology. Enjoy.
The Drekavci (screamers) are Serbian mythological creatures whom new interpretations describe as the souls of dead unbapthised children , but in old legends they were the souls of dead children which were consecrated outside of a marriage. With unbearable screaming , big head , long thin necks , they are characterized by the horrid tendancy to jump on passing villagers as they returned from their work.
The listed sightings of the Drekavac are not that old , they originated at the end of the 20th century. They are purely Serbian in origin , they cannot be found in the myths of other Slavic cultures (atleast not under that name). The belief in the Drekavac is highly spread throught the umadija region of Serbia from which the largest amount of sighting reports originate from.
It is believed that a Drekavac cannot come nearby a home of his family , which clearly states of their unexceptance because since they are not part of either family being consecrated outside of a marriage .
They are mainly described as slim grey creatures with long limbs and big heads. In some areas they are described as a furry big headed child which at night jumps and screams.Reportedly afraid of light. All versions and variants of the creature share one thing , the bloodcurdling screams. It is believed that it is incredibly dangerous to see a Drekavac , and that the mere touch of its shadow will cause sickness.
It shares similarities with the Plakavac (Crier) of Herzegovina who walks around the home he died in crying constantly. A Bukavac is a six legged creature with bloody horns who terrorizes people by jumping on them.
Nighttime is the moment when the Drekavac (like most folk demons are most active. To irritate and scare people they create a whole spectrum of sounds from screams , shreeks to even imitating animals with a strange unearthly hiss after every sound. The varying sounds it gives off are omens of different events.
Hello and welcome to the sixth mythological profile this time its the Aztec god Tezcatlipoka.
In most stories Tezcatlipoca is responsible for evil and cruelty since he ended their Golden age. Tezcatlipoca (Smoke covered mirror) was at first the Aztec god of the Sun but in a battle with Quetzalcoatl he became the god of darkness , pestilence and black magick. In his battle with Quetzalcoatl his foot was bit off by the feathered serpent in the place of his foot he placed a polished mirror made out of obsidian (volcanic glass). When he was shot out of the sky he transformed into a jaguar.
Tezcatlipoca with his four faces looked at the same time to all the corners of the world , he also took many forms from strong men that women would swoon over to warriors with a single black stripe running down their face and a mirror of obsidian for a foot. Sometimes he would appear as a skeleton with a still beating heart hovering behind bare ribs. If you tried to take the heart out he would promise to reward you in return for his heart , but he would always trick the person hes dealing with.
Once a year the Aztecs performed a blood rite on his altar in which they would cut the still beating heart out of a willing sacrifice with a fine obsidian knife to appease Tezcatlipoca. His mirror revealed the future of all his faithful and also told them their deepest secrets (the secrets of all of his faithful). After hundreds of years he started to reward his faithful and punish the wicked but he was still hungry for human sacrifices. With schemes and plots once again Tezcatlipoca managed to become the highest diety in the Aztec culture , a position that once belonged to him but was taken form him by his brother and nemesis Quetzalcoatl.
I hope you enjoyed this special Aztec mythology treat.
Hello welcome to the Seventh mythological profile , this time its the Slavic spirit archetype called a Talason. Enjoy.
A Talason is a form of spirit whom exclusively tie to buildings , never to people who live inside them. It is not the spirit of an ancestor , but always some unrelated soul. When during the construction of a building , the architects burry a person alive into the foundation , their soul stays permanently tied to the building as their good or evil guardians , the Talason.
The Vlachi people in Serbia believed that once long ago , Talasons were willing sacrifices , elders whom death was nearing all the same , asked of their closest of kin to burry them alive in the foundation of the new family home , so that their soul could forever watch over it , it was believed that a Talason would relentlessly defend its burden from all evil demons.The spirit of the sacrifice , willing or unwilling , becomes an eternal guardian of the building. According to all sources , it is usualy the first person whom comes to the new buildings foundation if up until then there was no sacrifice. From there comes the belief that misfortune will strike the first couple that marries in a newly built church which is one of the many clashes of pagan and Christian beliefs.
The Talason never leaves the building it protects and exists as long as the foundation of the building is whole , unless if by some magickal means it is released such as the Slavic legendary plant Raskovnik (the unbinder) which releases any bond magickal or physical. Usualy a Talason is friendly , but it can be vicious and dangerous , especialy if someone has the wish to take something from the building or destroy it.
There it is , another mythological profile , I hope you enjoyed feel free to leave suggestions of new profiles.
Hello , this is going to be the longest Mythological profile yet. This time its the Slavic Fae known as the Vila. Enjoy .
Vila (Slavic Fae)
Momuments from the 6th century tell that the Slavic people adored the Vila. They are short , beautiful , eternaly young women with long hair within which their powers lie. They live far from people , on mountains (Planinkinje , Zakorkinje there are no translations they are just names reffering to the location where they live) , by water (Vodarice , Brodarice,Izvorkinje) , in the clouds (Oblakinje) and in the wild growth (Biljarice).
For a long time it was believed that the Vila were strictly creatures known to the Southern Slavic tribes , but most new studies show that they were known to all the Slavic people , even though the word Vila is only used in the Serbian , Croatian , Bulgarian and Slovenian languages , while in Russian where the word can also be found its labeled as a foreign word.
By legend the Vila are born from dew , on a special red flower , when at the same time it rains and the sun shines when a rainbow can be seen. Some are born in the clouds from there comes the folk riddle:
U oblaku se rodila , kroz goricu hodala , ni sisu dojila , ni travu pasla , very crudely translated it says: In the cloud born , through the meadow walking , no breast fed her , no grass she ate. The Vila usualy do not leave the area where they live , thats why the Oblakinje never come down , yet in stories Al govori iz oblaka vila translated But from the cloud spoke the Vila is often found. While Biljarice live in wild growth , trees and weeds or around them. All in all they live where they were born.
The vila usualy wear long , thin transparent gowns while their long hair goes down their back and chest. They mainly wear white (thats why in legends they are often called White vila /Bela vila) and blue. Their hair is either Black or Golden , within their hair lies the secret of their powers , if she allowed a single lock of hair to be cut/plucked she would die. Renegade Vila , wielding bow and arrow have been known to mate with humans (which causes a Vilenjak to be born , the only way to translate it is Elf). Even as they seem frail , they will viciously defend their home from unwanted visitors , ready to punish anyone who comes to desecrate her home.
The vila sometimes gather in special places , which are forbidden for humans usualy at hidden mountain and meadow springs , from there comes the belief that if a person drinks from one of these mystic springs they must throw a coin into the spring made of solid gold , or the vila will seek him out and take his life. In a place where the Vila dance and sing Vilinsko kolo Vila circle a human must never set foot on , it is easily detected by a very clear circle with strange plants which are not native to that specific region. A demonic nature of the Vila is found in some specific features of specific Vila (often those whose homes were desecrated) such as having hoofed legs which they hide behind their gown. In some legends it is said that they will steal a child from his mothers arms , this child they raise themselves and in most legends it becomes a great hero.
Some Zakorkinje (a mountain region vila) live in caves , in the shape of a weird three eyed snake whom only turn to women when they exit into the surface world , they are known as the Crne vile (black vila) they are evidently chthonic demons as the people saw them. The activity of these Vila are often tied to Moon phases and the dead of night (midnight) when they dance in their circles and by springs. Its interesting that the word Vileniti used in the Serbian language is tied to a playful nature.
The malevolent side of the Vila is shown in stories and songs where the Vila constantly destroys buildings humans are constructing , until she receives a sacrifice of a human being buried alive In the foundation of the building (Such a sacrifice becomes a Talason , an unrelenting eternal spirit guardian of the building) so its debatable if it is truly a malevolent thing to do since some see it as them wanting to make sure that the building Is protected eternally by a human just like they eternally protect their homes. While another reason attributed to this behavior is that the building is being built on a Vila circle. In the ancient prechristian time there was a legend of a Grand Vila building a city out of bones , where the Vila kill humans and then use their bones to create this Terrifying city.Unlike with the singular sacrifice in this legend there were hundreds of unnamed victims. The city was neither In the sky nor the earth , it was in the clouds in between , its halls of unparallel prestige and beauty (hard to think that a city of bones would be beautiful to most people) , either way it was in a place no mere mortal could set foot without help.
The Vila do not cause damage to anything , until they are disrespected , and they are so beautiful that it is very hard to resist looking at them. Described as either very short or very tall (depending on what they were born of BIljarice for example are very short while Brodarice are very tall) , slim and beautiful. Their voice a set of chimes and serene tones , only understood to those whom they give the gift of being able to come into their society. Others are smitten by their voice in a magickal way , never wanting to hear anything else in life , they use the voice to attract young men into their dancing circle , once they hear the voice they will never forget it. Even as it seems that they are quite friendly to people , they are unforgiving. If they are disrespected in any way (from stepping on their vila circle uninvited to drinking the water from their spring or watching them bathe or a song more beautiful then theirs or beauty parallel to theirs) they can totally maim a man , gauge his eyes out with their hands and kill.
The Biljraice and their Forest mother
The Biljarice and their Forest mother can speak to plants , cure with a touch and tell the future. Just like the Planinkinje they love to make bets with human women , and often win because they usually bet on who can first find the magickal plant with the specific quality (such as the Raskovnik Unbinder plant , or Bratolom Neckbreaker nettle) with amazing powers. Any spring in which a Biljarica bathes gains their mystical healing powers. They are tied to the plant (often tree) where they are born , and will defend it relentlessly , they are able to change shape but their eyes still stay the same green color. They can all read the future but only the Forest mother has the gift of prophecy , to divine the ultimate fate that the Sudice (Slavic version of the moirae aka fates) fortold on the persons birth. To a vila its often below her station to meddle into the affairs of humans. During spring special sacrifices are laid at the foot of their trees to appease them. To the Biljarica they usualy place cotton balls or strings on her tree or bush where she was thought to live.
The forest mother is known in many parts of the Balkan peninsula , she is also a Vila but her power is far greater than any other Biljarica whom themselves ask for her help in their time of need. Unlike other Vila she is always completely naked and long nailed. Her magickal grass can only be found underwater in forest groves this grass is said to have the ability to cure anything , but only if given with her blessing otherwise it will be deadly to the person who ingests it. To the Vlach people she is called Muma paduri Large mother and is believed to have the power of transformation and that she is in an affair with the Vodeni duh (Water spirit) who rules over the Vodenjaci (merman like men) and Rusalka (vicious water nymphs).
Samovile and the Mountain mother
The beings that are known as Vila to most Slavic people are known in Bulgaria and Macedonia as Samovile , while in Serbia and Bosnia the belief in Vila is the most evolved. A Samovila is strictly a malevolent and vengeful Vila. Its interesting that with the Czech and Polish people the word Vila means Insane which is consistent with the belief that Vila can make a man go insane.
It is believed that who drinks from a Samovilas spring becomes as strong as they (enough to rip a tree from its roots) , his children have bloody red eyes and an abnormal amount of strength. The Bulgarian people see their Samovila as a rider on a Deer , who carries a long venomous snake in her hand as a whip (yea I know weird , right?). Sometimes she has the ability to turn people to stone , but her kiss unpetrifies them.
The Mountain mother is a vengeful and evil Vila , whom turns to stone anyone who even speaks of her in any manner that is not praising to her Uzela te dabogda Planinska Majka God let the Mountain mother take you is a curse often used in Banat.
Gah , this sure was long , Hope you all enjoyed it.
No plagiarism has been performed during the writing of this post , it is a collective of knowledge form books , folk tales , legends and websites. Wrote that because some people just love to assume.