Saturday, 21 October 2017

Stribog

As I wrote in my post "The power of the thunder giant", the beginning of the harvest is the most critical period of the whole grain vegetative cycle. Sudden storm, heavy rain and particularly strong winds can destroy everything farmers worked for the whole year. On Summer Solstice Sun God was powerful and merciful. On the 2nd of August he is even more powerful but he is angry, angry because his reign is coming to an end. This is why 2nd of August is the real seat of the Sky God. Because this is when he is most dangerous.

And in Serbia, on the 2nd of August (according to Julian calendar) people celebrate "St Stephen the Wind maker". 

St Stephen or St Stephan is traditionally venerated as the Protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity. This means the first one to be killed in the name of Christ, Son of God. Stephen was stoned to death after he was accused by the Jewish authority of Blasphemy.



But in Serbia, this saint is just the Christianized version of Stribog, the old Slavic wind god.



In the epic "Slovo o polku Igorovu" it is said that the winds are the grandsons of Stribog. He was imagined as an old man who had a warrior’s horn with which he woke the winds up. Stribog was especially worshiped in Kievian Russia where they built idols dedicated to him...Festivities in Stribog’s honor were organized in the summer as well as in the winter.

Now I know that the Eastern Slavs worshiped Stribog as a separate deity, but I believe that Stribog was just an attribute of Perun. Here is why. 

Eagle was his sacred animal. Just like Perun's. His sacred plants were hawthorn and oak. Just like Perun's. His day was the 2nd of August. Just like Perun's.  When pledges were made, Stribog was often guarantor who would punish cheaters and wrongdoers. Just like Perun. 

Also apparently we don't officially know what Stribog means. Well in Serbian the word "trti" means "to rub in, to stomp in, to erase". The word "strti, zatrti" means "to destroy utterly, to level to the ground". The word "stri, zatri" is an imperative of "strti, zatrti" meaning "destroy utterly, level to the ground". So Stribog = Stri, Zatri + bog = destroy utterly, level to the ground + god = The one who destroys utterly, who levels to the ground. 


This is wheat field destroyed by a storm. 


All the stalks are broken by wind and rain. This is the nightmare of all grain farmers. And this is what "strti, zatrti", "to destroy utterly, to level to the ground", means. This the terrible power that the Sky God, the Thunder Giant wields. 

Basically Stribog was the destructive face of Perun. It is interesting that in Serbia Stribog was replaced by St Stefan or St Stepan. In Serbian the word "tepati" means "to hit, to beat up" and the word "stepati, zatepati" means "to destroy utterly, to level to the ground". So it is no wonder that Stribog was the favorite god of military commanders. 

Now here is something interesting. In Serbia, Croatia, Stribog was replaced by Stefan, Stepan. 

Stepan could come from stepa + on = destroy utterly, level to the ground + he = the Destoryer. Maybe the name Stepan (Stefan) is just another version of the name Stribog with "bog", meaning god, removed from it? 

But the main meaning of the word "stepan" is the one who is "destroyed utterly, who is leveled to the ground"... It is interesting that the word "stepan" means destroyed, leveled, which is what happens to someone who was stoned to death like St Stepan, Stephen...I will not even go into how come an early Palestine saint, the first martyr of Christianity who was stoned to death, has a name which in Slavic language means "the one one who was utterly destroyed, leveled, killed" which is what happens when you stone someone to death...

Funnily name Stephen or Stephan was originally a title meaning "crowned" or king, the origin of which is in the  Ancient Greek word "στέφανος" which means crown. It was the title given to many kings in medieval Serbia, Croatia, Hungary and Poland. Maybe you only get crowned as a king when you utterly destroy, level to the ground everything that stands in your way...

Or maybe Stepan, Stefan and στέφανος have nothing to do with each other and everything is just a coincidence...

And here is the best bit: Stribog was particularly popular with princes, who often built his idols and worshiped them....There is something poetic about the fact that Stribog was the favorite idol of the princes, who are waiting for their fathers to die so that they can inherit the throne. Perun as Stribog is the sun god in his most terrible, super powerful but on the way out and knowing that he is on the way out. The winter is coming and his power is vanning and in December he will die and will be replaced by his son, the "new sun", "little king of heaven", "prince of heaven". And there is nothing Old Sun God can do. This is just the way things are. 

I love this. 

3 comments:

  1. Hi
    There was only one king of Poland, whose name was Stefan - Stefan Batory, but he was Hungarian ;)

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  2. Perhaps with name Stribog corresponds polish Ścibor, but this can only be a similarity in pronunciation

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  3. Mozda nije samo Perun,mozda jos po neka glava :). Sa-tri(glave)bog ;S-tri-bog.
    Razmisljao sam po logici naseg jezika o imenu Perun,I jedino logicno I prosto "onaj koji pere",zbog obilnih kisa...(ja tu udar(groma)nigde ne vidim. Pozdrav I puna podrska u daljem radu.

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