The origin and structure of the world
Mythology is the basis of all national cultures. If the process of development of any nation historically started recently and he does not have for its ancient mythology, he creates a modern. Myths contribute to the unity of the society, participate in the formation of people’s mentality through the persistence of certain stereotypes of thinking and behavior. Mythology is not just a fairy tale or a fantastic view, this is the generalized experience of life of ancestors, diffused and persisted through the images.
About mythical creatures the average reader knows almost nothing. In scientific and popular publications, especially Russian, Belarusian individual characters of myth are presented as common Slavic, does not specify their affiliation to the Belarusian culture.
Yes, the Belarusian mythology retains some common Slavic roots and individual characters, such as Perun, Yarila, Velez. But the myths of the Belarusians is much richer mythologies of our neighbors-the Slavs – Russians, Ukrainians, poles. They have more characters to choose from; many of such, which does not exist in the mythologies of the peoples named: Zyuzya, Balloting, Zatowka. About it in the nineteenth century spoke Belarusian scientists Z. Dalenge-chodakowski and A. Kirkor, who conducted a comparative analysis of the Belarusian mythology with the mythologies of the peoples-neighbours.
Images gods, spirits, heroes Belarusians filled the whole of their environment: from the earth to high heaven. Mythological characters inhabited the woods, fields, rivers, swamps. Them is place in the ladies bath houses, barns and other buildings. Some loved, others hated, over a third laughed. The sun, stars, trees, rivers, animals, plants have been for our ancestors animate beings. Much of our mythology of lost, but what remains of it, is a priceless treasure that should be preserved for future generations.
The authors sought to strictly informative, briefly introduce the reader to the most ancient stratum of mythological ideas of our people.
The origin and structure of the world
Fire for our ancestors – men’s the Foundation of the world. It may be different: in heaven, underground, alive, earthly. Water – the female basis. It also is of several types: heaven, earth, the underworld, living and dead. From these two basic elements the Earth was made. And it happened so.
Once the whole world consisted of light and dead water, in the middle of which was a stone. One day God Perun became angry and started to throw arrows in the stone. One arrow hit the target and carved three sparks: white, yellow and red. Sparks fell into the water and muddied it. The light was grey, like the sky got covered with clouds. After a while it became clear that among water appeared earth. Then came life: forest, grass, animals, fish and people.
The creators of the world were white God – the elder God of the sky, the personification of good, light start, and Chernobog – God of darkness, evil. The entire world ancient Belarusians were divided into three parts: upper, middle, lower. Top – the sky is the location of the main gods, the gods of light and goodness. The middle part of the Earth, earthly gods, many good and evil spirits, people, animals, grow beautiful plants. The lower part of the underworld is the underground dwelling place of gods and spirits, mostly evil, the personification of darkness, evil, cold.
All three worlds are connected by the world tree. At Byelorussians it is the Oak. Oak roots go into the underworld, the trunk is in the middle, and the crown reaches the Sky. The place where the Oak grows, is the center of the world. This center is far away, but the road to it is well known. From the house to the yard, from the yard into the field. Across the field, the river, through the woods and mountains, to the blue sea. In the blue sea – island. It is a stone. At stone Oak. This is where the center of the world.
The world tree not only holds and supports the three parts of the world, according to his trunk and the branches the characters can go to Heaven, and through the hole to descend to the underworld.
Dwells in the center of the world the Prince of snakes, look like a big snake. Snake Prince has a wife, children and many snakes-servants. The Belarusians believed that the Prince of snakes kind and good to people. But his subordinates – evil and harm both people and Pets. People through conspiracies turned to the Prince with requests to help sick animals or man, to calm his snakes, to sting people and livestock. If that didn’t work, threatened to pacify the serpent-servants and even himself with the help of the gods. Threatened to burn his house to send lightning, thunder of heaven.
Somewhere, beyond the sea, close to the centre of the world is Vyrai – space, where departing souls of dead people. But not every soul gets to Vyrai, but only one that celebrates the gods of the Sky. There human souls continue to live without suffering and sorrow. Vyrai – a country of eternal light and warmth, beautiful gardens and animals. People in life there may not enter. In this life Vyrai accessible only to birds and snakes. Birds fly for the winter and summer again return to the land where people live.
Belarusian living on their land. Everything beyond the boundaries of his land – a strange world; a strange, incomprehensible, even hostile, and most importantly – difficult to reach. Alien world is behind forests, mountains, seas, separated by the river of fire; to overcome all these obstacles can only heroes, and with the help of the gods or of their assistants – a sacred animals.
Travel to foreign lands unsafe. Somewhere out there the wild people live. They have no clothes, covered with fur, they have long tails and large ears like an ox, one eye on his forehead. They do not speak, only squeak. Wild men do nothing, lie near roads, kill people and eat them.
Something out of an alien world, there is a monster the Dragon. The dragon – the most dangerous creature in the world that jumps on the ground and flies through the air. It brings people grief and destruction. Therefore, the Belarusians added to his name the epithets “cursed” and “rotten”. The size of he house. Can have three, six, nine, twelve heads large as tubs. Has from nostrils the flame. He has wings, hands and feet, on which claws like swords. Its appearance is accompanied by different sounds: hissing like snakes, roaring beasts. The dragon crushes everything in its path.
Every part of the world definitely has its master, the Lord – chief God. It is subordinated to less important gods, and they, in turn, spirits, and sacred animals.
The meaning of the existence of gods, spirits. Per person and Land is a struggle between the gods of light and darkness, good and evil. The gods of light and goodness is able to destroy the dark forces, but did not do so, that people preserved the fear, otherwise they and the gods would forget.