Storm clouds over norther Serbia, 2nd of August.
Terrible storms hit Serbia yesterday and today. Crops were destroyed, houses damaged, people killed.
You can see why agricultural societies, like the Early Slavic society, would consider the Sky God, Perun to be the Supreme god... Procopius, 6th c. Byzantine historian, who tells us that the Slavs “believe that one god, the maker of lightning, is alone lord of all things...
Interestingly the 2nd of August is the old day of Perun, Slavic Thunder god. Painting depicting Perun by Andrey Shishkin.
I like that Shishkin depicted Perun with a blazing sun on his chest. This is because Perun's day falls in the middle of Kresovi (Fires), the hottest part of the year in the Northern hemisphere. You can read more about this in my post "Two Crosses"
This is why the 2nd of August is also the day of Helios, The burning sun. Today in Serbia known as the the day of St Elijah. St Elijah who every year gets so angry, that he wants to burn the world into cinder... Very saint like 🙂
You can read more about St Elijah the Thunderer in my post "Thundering sun god".
But St Elijah doesn't burn the world to cinder. Because his wife Ognjena Marija (Fiery Mary) calms him down. Ognjena Marija who is also known as Perunika. The wife of Perun, who has burning sun at its heart 🙂 Here is Ognjena Marija surrounded by Perun's burning wheels...
You can read more about Ognjena Marija in my post "Ognjena Marija".
The fact that Perun comes on the 2nd of August, when Sun is the hottest is symbolically depicted through Perun's wheel being basically Svetovid's wheel on fire...
You can read more about Svetovid in my post "The Horseman".
So Perun comes at the moment of maximum heat to announce the beginning of the cooling of the northern hemisphere...This is part of the never ending change of the climate as a result of the never ending interplay between the Father Sun, Sky (Male principle) and Mother Earth (Female principle).
That Perun (thunder) really has Svetovid (sun) at its heart can be seen from the latest scientific data. It shows that it is the high speed solar wind particles which directly cause lightning.
You can read more about this in my post "Sun Thunder Fire";
"Because it is a great secret how come Svarog (hevenly and earthly fire) is at the same time Perun (thunder) and Svetovid (Sun)..." From Book of Veles...
You can read more about this in my post "Triglav Trojan Trinity Trimurti Agni".
In Slavic mythology, Perun's main "opponent" is Veles. He is "the great horned snake" who "stole heavenly cows from Perun". Every year on his day, 2nd of August, "Perun defeats Veles" and "rescues his heavenly cows"...
Great snake is another name for a Dragon, a fire breathing beast. In Serbian mythology Dragon is just "an old male snake". Serbian word for dragon "zmaj" is a masculine form of the Serbian word for snake "zmija". And snakes are solar animals who Slavs believed "eat sun's heat, sun's fire" and cause sun to cool down and summer to end. You can read more about this in my post "Apep".
Fire breathing dragon is the symbol of sun's heat, sun's fire which causes draught.
Heavenly cows are clouds and their milk is rain.
Basically Veles, the fire breathing Dragon, is the end of summer heat which dries the sky and the land and causes draughts. And guess what. The end of summer, the hottest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, which is by Balkan Slavs called "kresovi" (fiers), is also known as "dog days" and falls in the middle of Leo zodiac sign. St Austell Norman baptismal font with a dragon standing between the lions (in the middle of Leo) on top of a dog???
You can read more about this symbolism in my post "St Austell font" and "You will trample the great lion and the serpent".
And every year, in the middle of Leo, in the middle of Dog Days, on Perun's day, 2nd of August, Perun "kills" Veles. Summer (draught) ends and Autumn (rain) begins.
The reason why Veles is "horned snake" or more precisely "horned dragon" is because Veles is not just dragon, he is also a bull (hence his love of heavenly cows🙂). This is because Veles is summer, and summer starts in Taurus. You can read more about this Dragon-Bull duality in my post "Water bull" where I talk about Balkan legends which equate dragons and monstrous bulls.
At the beginning of summer the bull of summer is young, fertile and life creating. At the end of summer the bull of summer is old, sterile and life destroying. And has to be slaughtered before it destroys everything...Which is what happens on day of Perun...The bull is killed, summer ends.
Interestingly, bull is also the animal sacrificed in Serbia on Perun's day, which falls on the same day as Lughnasadh (Crom Dubh day) in Ireland (2nd of August, Last Sunday in July or First Sunday in August, the beginning of Autumn). You can read more about sacrificial animals in Serbian culture in my post "Sacrificial animals"
This tradition of sacrificing bulls to Perun was attested by Procopius, 6th c. Byzantine historian, who tells us that the "Slavs sacrifice to Perun oxen and every victim.”
Now remember my post "Bull of Crom Dubh"? In it I talked about the link between bull and mysterious Irish Sun (Sky) god and god of Agriculture, Crom Dubh. The Irish celebrated him on the Lughnasadh, Crom Dubh Day, the First Sunday in August and sacrificed bulls to him. As I said at the end of that post, there is one more god to whom people sacrificed bulls at the end of summer: Grom Div (which means Thunder Giant, Thunder God in Serbian), Perun...Interestingly in Serbian folklore (and only in Serbian folklore, not any other Slavic folklore), Dabog (Giving god), who is at the same time Sun god and Rain god (Sky god) is also known as Hromi Daba. Believe or not, in Irish folklore, Crom Dubh is said to be another name for Dagda (Giving god)...
In Bosnia every first Sunday in August, people organise traditional bull fights. These were originally probably organised as part of the old Perun day celebration which revolved around "bull sacrifice"... You can read more about these bull fights in my post "Bo-Vo".
Day of Perun, sorry day of Helios, sorry day of St Elijah the Thunderer 🙂 is so important that it is also celebrated by Balkan Muslims (Serbs who converted to Islam during Turkish rule) as Alidjun, meaning "The day of Ali (Elijah)". More about this in my post "Alidjun"
In Ireland this is Crom Dubh day, the day of first fruits when in the distant past even first born were sacrificed to the God of Grain, Crom Dubh, but to whom until recently people sacrificed bulls as replacements for human sacrifice. You can read more about these ancient sacrifices to Crom Dubh in my post "How old is Crom Dubh".
In Cornwall the last sheaf of wheat is ceremonially "slaughtered" while crying "we have cut the neck" (of summer).
So what is the link between Irish Crom Dubh, Serbian Hromi Daba and Grom Div?
I believe that Grom Div arrived to Ireland during Bronze Age, when we find many stone circles being aligned to his day, 2nd (1st) of August, beginning of harvest, Crom Dubh Day, Lughnasadh. There, the true meaning of God's name was forgotten and was replaced with the closest Gaelic words Crom Dubh (stooped dark???, strange name for sun, sky god). I believed that Crom Dubh then arrived to the Balkans during Early Iron Age. By then the original name of the Sky God, Grom Div, was long forgotten and Gaelic Crom Dubh was replaced with the closest Serbian words Hromi Daba (lame daba???, daba means nothing in Serbian). But both the Irish and the Serbs preserved the ancient link between the Sky god and the bull and his day which marks the end of summer and beginning of autumn.
This explanation, I know, opens sooooo many "difficult" questions...
I also believe that this is one the most important links found in European folklore and mythology, the link which is a key for understanding a lot of forgotten ancient lore encoded in numerous legends, rituals and monuments scattered throughout Eurasia and North Africa...I have been writing extensively about this on my blog.