6/24/2008

Goddess of the week - Vesna

Name: Vesna
Location: Eastern Europe
Sphere of influence: Spring
Famous portraits: None - the picture here is a painting called 'Spring' by the famous Czech artist Alphonse Mucha.

Vesna is one of the most well-known of the Slavonic goddesses, particularly in Serbia and Slovenia. There is very little written about the Slavic gods and goddesses and some of the things that are, are actually later fabrications of more or less well-intending folklore-interested persons (like the goddess Lada, the goddess of love who has been interpreted as a version of the Roman Leto).

Vesna on the other hand, did exist. She was the goddess of spring and youth and rites in her honour were still celebrated in the 19th century. In Russia the labourers went into the fields on the 1st of March, carrying a lark made of clay, decorated with flowers, as they were singing songs to the spring named 'Vesna'.

In Slovenia Vesna was not a single being but a group of godly women. They lived on hilltops, in castles, where they discussed and decided the fate of both humans and crops. It was possible to sneak up to them to try to hear of ones own fate, but it was dangerous and you had to avoid getting caught by the vesnas since they would give you a gruesome fate. The vesnas could only leave their place during the month of February and then they would travel around the land in a cart and sing - but only a chosen few humans could hear them.

In the Slovene language 'vesna' is a poetical word for spring.

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