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Slavic God - Veles/Volos
(Information provided by Janine Donnellan)
Veles was worshipped in two aspects. As Veles he is god of death and the underworld, god of music, and a sorcerer. As Volos he is god of cattle wealth and commerce. The worship of Veles vanished with the coming of Christianity, but the worship of Volos survived as late as the eighteenth century. The God, Volos, was replaced with St. Blasius, patron saint of domesticated animals. While its original roots are in the Roman Isis Feast, most people in the West, know the feast of Shrovetide as Mardi Gras. Veles's feast day is February 12th.
The Slavic Horned lord, ruled horned animals, earth, waters and Underworld, associated with dragons, cattle, magic, musicians, wealth and trickery. He was imagined to be (at least partially) serpentine, with horns (of bull, ram or some other domesticated herbivore), and a long beard. He has many associations with wealth and the magical forces of the spirit world. The character of Veles is very complex, and is likened to that of Cernunnos.
Along with a so many cultures ancient Slavs viewed their world as a huge tree, with the treetop and branches representing the heavenly abode of gods and the world of mortals, whilst the roots represented the underworld. Veles was seen as a huge serpent coiling around the roots, was ruling the world of dead.
The underworld was supposedly a lovely place, described in folk tales as a green and wet world of grassy plains and eternal spring, where various fantastic creatures dwell and the spirits of deceased watch over Veles' herds of cattle.
In more geographical terms, the world of Veles was located, the Slavs believed, "across the sea", and it was there the migrating birds would fly to every winter. In folk tales this land is called Virey or Iriy. Each year, the god of fertility and vegetation, Jarilo, who also dwelt there during winter, would return from across the sea and bring spring into the world of the living.
Veles also regularly sent spirits of the dead into the living world as his heralds. Festivals in honour of him were held near the end of the year, in winter, when time was coming to the very end of world order, chaos was growing stronger, the borders between worlds of living and dead were fading, and ancestral spirits would return amongst the living. This was the ancient pagan celebration of Velja noc (Great Night), the relic of which still persists amongst many Slavic countries in folk customs of Koleda, a kind of combination of carnival and Halloween, which can happen anywhere from Christmas up to end of February.
More indepth information on Veles can be found on the following website http://www.ancient-bulgaria.com/2006/09/13/slavic-god-volos/
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