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Author Topic: Is Velnias really a devil?  (Read 959 times)

Hrútsvinr

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Is Velnias really a devil?
« on: June 03, 2017, 08:59:53 am »
Hey y'all,

First time posting in this SIG as I've just gotten into researching Baltic and Slavic paganisms. It's very hard to find information in English as everyone knows  :(

I know a bit about Veles in Slavic paganism, and I was looking into Velnias in Baltic paganism - so far the sources I've found mention that he was more or less a malevolent deity.

Thing is, I know a lot of that is probably coloured by Christianisation, and given that Veles, a strikingly similar deity, is much less simplified in Slavic paganism, I question that Velnias was always a devil who was responsible for destruction and chaotic things happening.

Not sure that I worded that very well. I guess I'm asking: was he a malevolent being or was it more complicated than that? Is he worshipped today or would that be inappropriate?

What is everyone's take on Velnias' role in mythology? UPG welcome.

Lana288

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Re: Is Velnias really a devil?
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 10:16:43 pm »
Hey y'all,

First time posting in this SIG as I've just gotten into researching Baltic and Slavic paganisms. It's very hard to find information in English as everyone knows  :(

I know a bit about Veles in Slavic paganism, and I was looking into Velnias in Baltic paganism - so far the sources I've found mention that he was more or less a malevolent deity.

Thing is, I know a lot of that is probably coloured by Christianisation, and given that Veles, a strikingly similar deity, is much less simplified in Slavic paganism, I question that Velnias was always a devil who was responsible for destruction and chaotic things happening.

Not sure that I worded that very well. I guess I'm asking: was he a malevolent being or was it more complicated than that? Is he worshipped today or would that be inappropriate?

What is everyone's take on Velnias' role in mythology? UPG welcome.

So I don't remember a whole lot about Velnias or Veles from when I was really studying the topic, but here's what I *do* remember, for what it's worth. :) I can't source any of this, so take it all with a grain of salt; this is literally just what I remember and my opinion about that.

Within Slavic mythology (if I remember correctly), Veles was an enemy of Perun, who was a god of justice. Velnias, within Baltic mythology, was compared to the devil by a couple of the articles I read. I remember reading a myth in which he kidnapped the sun, and another in which he kept both the sun and moon sealed away, until Dievas stole them from him.

However. On Perkunas. There was a myth I read about the thunder god, in which Laima (goddess of fate) ordered him to kill a twelve year old boy (I can't remember why). He's the god of justice, so you'd think he'd be unable to do that sort of thing, but because he's also subject to fate, what Laima decreed he would follow absolutely. The boy didn't end up dying- he was rescued by Dievas- but still, Perkunas was ready and willing to do it. Isn't that pretty evil?

Mythology is a very fluid thing, and isn't really subject to the firm rules that most of today's major religions are. Baltic and Slavic paganism have very few resources for us to draw from, too, and that makes it almost impossible to judge accurately whether or not one's practice is sufficiently authentic. Truthfully, I gave up trying to make my practice "authentic" at all- there just wasn't enough for me to draw on.

On top of that, I think it's hard to come up with real reasons why worshiping Perkunas or Menuo is okay, but worshiping Velnias isn't. Menuo cheated on his wife with her daughter, Perkunas tried to kill a child, and Laima causes the plague. Why is any of that *better* than anything Velnias does? It seems very arbitrary to me.

Keep in mind that I don't know much about Velnias, just bits and pieces that I've picked up while researching other deities. I just think that discussing whether or not worshiping a specific deity is "good" or "bad" is redundant. If you find some sort of contentment or fulfillment with your worship, then it really, really doesn't matter what anyone else might think. This is particularly true in such small and sparsely resourced belief systems like Baltic or Slavic paganism.

Hrútsvinr

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Re: Is Velnias really a devil?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2017, 08:28:08 am »

Mythology is a very fluid thing, and isn't really subject to the firm rules that most of today's major religions are. Baltic and Slavic paganism have very few resources for us to draw from, too, and that makes it almost impossible to judge accurately whether or not one's practice is sufficiently authentic. Truthfully, I gave up trying to make my practice "authentic" at all- there just wasn't enough for me to draw on.

On top of that, I think it's hard to come up with real reasons why worshiping Perkunas or Menuo is okay, but worshiping Velnias isn't. Menuo cheated on his wife with her daughter, Perkunas tried to kill a child, and Laima causes the plague. Why is any of that *better* than anything Velnias does? It seems very arbitrary to me.

Keep in mind that I don't know much about Velnias, just bits and pieces that I've picked up while researching other deities. I just think that discussing whether or not worshiping a specific deity is "good" or "bad" is redundant. If you find some sort of contentment or fulfillment with your worship, then it really, really doesn't matter what anyone else might think. This is particularly true in such small and sparsely resourced belief systems like Baltic or Slavic paganism.

Thanks for your reply! I'd sort of arrived at that conclusion, but hearing someone else say it is really...just, thank you.
It's sad, but I also feel like there isn't enough to draw on to make it feel authentic, which makes me inclined to give up on Baltic and Slavic paganism...but there are two gods who are drawing me in, so, I'll see how I go, I guess.

Thanks again :)

Zlote Jablko

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Re: Is Velnias really a devil?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2018, 10:17:24 am »
Hey y'all,

First time posting in this SIG as I've just gotten into researching Baltic and Slavic paganisms. It's very hard to find information in English as everyone knows  :(

I know a bit about Veles in Slavic paganism, and I was looking into Velnias in Baltic paganism - so far the sources I've found mention that he was more or less a malevolent deity.

Thing is, I know a lot of that is probably coloured by Christianisation, and given that Veles, a strikingly similar deity, is much less simplified in Slavic paganism, I question that Velnias was always a devil who was responsible for destruction and chaotic things happening.

Not sure that I worded that very well. I guess I'm asking: was he a malevolent being or was it more complicated than that? Is he worshipped today or would that be inappropriate?

What is everyone's take on Velnias' role in mythology? UPG welcome.

I know this is old, but I may have to make a thread related to this. Dualism between light and dark, good and bad, is something I have struggled with in Slavic paganism. There’s actually a lot of evidence of it among the Slavs, as well as the Finno-Ugric peoples. The Baltic religion may have less of it, but even Lithuanian folklore has a classical dualistic Earth diver myth, in which God and the Devil (Dievas and Velinas) create the world together, and one of them mucks it up.


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