I’m a bit stuck. See, my family is primarily “western” Slavic (Czech and Polish); but there’s still the unsolved mystery of whether we have some “eastern” Slavic (Russian) roots. We don’t really know if there’s any Russian heritage or not. Probably not, but the family legend does remain. So I’m kind of stuck between two different Slavic mythologies. I mean, there’s in some respects far more research and knowledge on Russian or eastern Slavic mythology and folklore. So it’s far easier to go with that line of research and belief. But, my family is almost totally western Slavic. Which doesn’t always have as much research–let alone finding anything for either side in English. From there, I am admittedly far more drawn to the Czech side of my family history, even though the Polish side is also very important.
But it’s a bit strange. Because there are definitive differences. There are spirits, gods, entities, that only exist (as we know) in Polish mythology and folklore…while others only exist within eastern Slavic peoples. Or representations vary completely between western and eastern Slavic records. So it becomes confusing and a bit hectic. Because which version do I pick? Or do I pick at all? Should I just meld the differing opinions and lore to create what is mine? Really, a lot of questions.
I haven’t really yet completely resigned myself into figuring out exactly what I should do. Because there are some definitive western Slavic influences for me, while other things–such as most of my research and knowledge of a lot of spirits and gods, that is clearly eastern Slavic; sometimes completely eastern Slavic without any western influence.
Biggest, most of my understanding and knowledge on Veles is from Russian and eastern mythology. Almost none of that comes from western Slavic chronicles. Which is, admittedly, a bit funny if it’s true that my family is not eastern Slavic at all. But I’m not really willing to throw away my long-held beliefs just because it turns out I might not be Russian. So it’s a bit of a struggle on that front. I guess it shouldn’t be, but it is admittedly difficult to just completely dismiss my little voice that notes the issue. After all, a lot of groups constantly harp on “Polish this”, “Russian that”, “Slovene those”, etc. While I fully understand the dichotomy, and especially Baltic peoples to show their own research separate from eastern and western Slavs…it sometimes is difficult for people like me, who are stuck with the middle ground. I mean…I can’t feasibly make my practice complete with only half of the spectrum. Even if it means I’m not doing things right by choosing to incorporate multiple Slavic traditions to fill out my practice and beliefs.
It’s one of those perhaps minor issues that sticks with me. I know within other mythologies there’s less of a dichotomy. I mean…most Greek pagans I know don’t really worry about combining gods from Athens with gods from Sparta, etc. And there are differences in how different city-states in Greece saw the gods. Nor do I see a lot (as an outsider) of concern for Norse pagans and those who follow Norse gods, with more a focus on say the Anglo-Saxon versions. I do admit I am an outsider to these traditions, so I don’t know if I’m just unaware of the undercurrents within these groups; which could be very true. But to me as an outsider, they seem fine to bring mythology in from multiple threads and twine them without concern.
So I shouldn’t feel bad or strange about combining western and eastern Slavic beliefs together. But I still do. Probably because a lot of the Rodnovers that I have interaction with online are all super firm on being focused on one kind of group. They’re either focused on Russian and eastern Slavic mythology, or western like Polish alone, or southern such as Baltic Slavic mythology and folklore. They don’t ever seem fond or rather interesting in bringing different Slavic traditions together.
I guess perhaps I should let aside what other people believe. I mean, it’s not like they have any say in how I personally practice. But then again, it’s community and like-minded people. I think that means its not unusual that I should be a bit put off by it. It is not unusual at all for people to think on and be concerned of others’ opinions. I actually think considering other perspectives can be a good thing. In this case though, it’s just sometimes a bit too much, considering how I don’t really need to worry about others. I’m not part of a tradition or a coven, so I actually have the ability to do exactly what I want. Still, the thoughts crop up, which is something I have to keep in mind.∗