I would like to make a compilation of mythological characters that hold a significance and semblance to my interest. This will take place in a series updated at random times. The mythological archetypes that I choose are in no specific order and are representative of my view of them. The point is to present a character analysis showing distinctive qualities and attributes that I find outstanding and admirable.
“The moon is full and is filled with the witchcraft of Morena, waiting to strike the houses with Her infirmities. Chernobog gathers in the wintry twilight from His skull-throne, beckoning his Divine lover at the rays of the Moon. Slava Tchortu! They join together once more in Infernal Union and herald the Solstice this night. Now it is the morning of magic, it is the morning of lore; it is the season of change and of death, and of rebirth. It is the season of remembrance and reflection – the time of memorializing death and sorrows. Marzanna will have Her reign and will have Her vengeance upon cowards, destroying the mask of fear! Come now, reign Marzanna, leading us in this Age of Fire!”
I would like to begin this series with the Slavic Goddess Marzanna. Morena or Marzanna as she is most often called, is the Slavic Goddess of death and winter. She is the wife of Chernobog and in some stories is the consort to Dazbog. She appears either as a beautiful girl with black or blonde hair and white skin, with wolf’s teeth and clawed hands, or as an ugly old witch. In some eastern Slavic regions She is a Goddess of fertility and women’s work. An interesting phenomenon is the different traits of Her various names, when you look upon Her collectively in mythology. For instance, Marzanna is the personification of death and winter, Morena is the death Goddess of darkness and the moon which is equated with Hecate, and Mara is thought to be a spirit of confusion/creature causing nightmares/Mother of spirits or souls. Mara is also associated with Succubi, and in Buddhism the personification of temptation. In some aspects she is also associated with Lilith, the Mother of demons. In the Slavic regions, Morena has been associated with nightmares and they are referred to as “nocna mora” after Her. She would enter the homes of people at night and torment them, especially children, pressing their chest and taking their breath away, which weakened them spiritually and psychically. At times she would eat the children. Her kiss would make girls manic and incredibly lusty. In a certain tale one could trick Her to prolong their life. Another aspect of Morena is Her being a water Goddess. If one would pass by her and did not fear her she would appear as a beautiful young girl, but if she were feared she’d take the form of an ugly old woman and consume them.
Winter is the time when Marzanna is most powerful, and She claims the lives of children and fear-stricken adults. There is symbolism to Her appearance. When She is feared when approached by a person, She will take on the form of an ugly old witch with wolf’s teeth and will devour them. If She is embraced showing no fear when approached, then She will take on the form of a beautiful young girl, and sometimes even grant them good fortune. This symbolism can be seen in rituals where She can be used to consume fear.
In researching Marzanna, a recurring trait that sticks out is Her wile and guile in the proficiency of manipulation. As the Goddess of death and winter She appears in different guises. In some tales, in the springtime Her wile is fading so she appears as a beautiful young girl with blonde hair and seduces men with her beauty and sweet talk. She seeks out true love in the men but is never fully satisfied and abandons them in their heart’s endless despondency, which is a mirror reflection of Her own.
Marzanna is symbolic of the winter season and it’s aspects. She is a metaphor for death, sorrow, remembrance, and rebirth. In some Slavic regions, there is a festival held where an effigy of Marzanna is made in the month of March, and is burned to symbolize the triumph of springtime over winter. This is known as The Burning and Drowning Ritual of Marzanna.
Marzanna could arguably be called one of the original witches, along with Baba Yaga. Witches have been attributed with Her as well as other demonic beings: Kuga – the plague, and Mora – female demon that caused nightmares. We cannot conclude that She is entirely diabolic, as no Pagan religion had gods/goddesses of purely that attribute. Christianity would whitewash the deities or give them character inversion in it’s first spreading around the world.
The winter season is a magically powerful season holding vast symbolism to Morena, and She is celebrated in personal Satanic ritual during the Solstice. December 21st marks the winter Solstice in which Marzanna is welcomed and invoked, being the personification of death and winter. Winter is not deemed as something to dread or despise but to welcome as the epitome of Marzanna and being symbolic of a sort of Ragnarok, a transition of seasons, change, personal affairs, and to welcome the winter Goddess. She is glorified in union with Chernobog her consort and husband of the Abyss. As expressed above, one must observe all of the symbolism taking place: transition, change, personal matters, death (viewed as a foundation from which to build anew), remembrance and reflection, symbolic of past sorrows personified by winter, symbolic of destroying the mask of fear, and declaring the reign of Marzanna. Morena also holds associations to the Full Moon, which is encircled with the power of Her sorcery. A similar ceremony is also held in the Satanic psychodrama that resembles the Burning and Drowning ritual of Marzanna held in the Slavic regions where Her effigy is drowned and burned in the spring. The burning of Marzanna in the springtime is not viewed here as the symbolic destruction of the goddess per se but rather, showing transition of winter into spring – the fading of Her wile, the emergence of beauty, changing of the seasons etc.
In a future post I will include Marzanna’s rites of winter, detailing Her aspects of that season. I will also expand further on the Satanic version of Her Burning and Drowning ritual.