Specifically – goddesses in the Slavic pagan record. (Further quantified in my research up till this time)
I enjoy research…shock to no one I think at this point.
Looking at traditional Slavic pantheons as they are described in contemporary sources, or at least, as close to “contemporary” as we can get…there is only one named female deity: Mokosh. She is named in The Primary Chronicle as one of the 7 gods that Vladimir has their icons destroyed in Kiev. The only female deity mentioned. There isn’t anything special mentioned about her, no attributing aspects, nothing that tells what she was related to, or what they worshiped her for. But…she is the only goddess mentioned by name. That is highly important to note.
Later additions to the Slavic pagan record add other “deities” that are female. Or spirits. Really, sometimes it is a bit debatable as to what exactly a figure is in Slavic mythology. They could be spirit, deity, or folk hero…it depends on context. At least, for me the identity of these other feminine “gods” is debatable. Ones such as Vesna (the spring), Zorya (stars)…among others–they seem more like spirits to my mind than goddesses. Perhaps they really are goddesses and I misunderstand their purpose. But, to me they ring of spirit personifications.
It is a bit unusual perhaps that in the Primary Chronicle only 1 goddess is mentioned alongside 6 gods (Perun, Hors, Dažbog Stribog, Simargl and Veles). To me, it seems unlikely that the ancient Slavic people had only 1 goddess. They most likely had others, even if their names were not recorded. But, Mokosh had to have been very important to be put among the most important of the gods in Vladimir the Great’s consideration. Only these 7 were deemed important enough to be destroyed personally by the edict of the Grand Prince when he converted to Orthodox Christianity. Even if there was not a lot to go on with her attributes in the first-person resources, other authors have attributed spheres of influence to her. I know that later authors have made her a goddess of weaving and spinning, protector of women.
I’m not too keen on goddesses in my own studies though. I suppose that makes me a bit strange. After all, most of the pagans I know went into paganism because it is “goddess-worshiping”. And yet, I don’t really care about the goddess part at all. I’m not neglecting my studies of all of Slavic mythology and folklore, far from it. But I find myself far more drawn to some of the gods in the Slavic pantheon, if I’m honest. Partially because there is scant more written about them than the few female characters. Also though, I think I just have never cared much for the goddess-centric idea of paganism that sometimes gets touted about.
Still, such scant records about goddesses during the contemporary period. It is an intriguing prospect. I like having a challenge to research, and this is something unique to look into. And learning about the views of those who wrote about the different females (goddesses or spirits) in Slavic mythology is a fun endeavor.∗