Author Topic: Nordic/Germanic Monsters  (Read 22953 times)

Mr. Kreepy
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2008, 03:57:10 am »
Christianity definitely had something to do with it.
Of course, there have always been powerful, unpredictable female figures in the traditional spiritualities of European pagan peoples...So she might not have been a particularly nice figure, but by no means was she a baby-eating witch before Christianity raped the "primitive" tribes with "civilization".
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 06:38:55 am by Mr. Kreepy »

blow_fly

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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2008, 04:12:14 am »
That would make sense. An enigmatic underworld goddess with a wrath that was easily aroused would have fitted nicely into the convetional Christian paradigm pitting God against the Devil and his gruesome minions. A bit of exaggeration here and there and you have the perfect monster to intimidate ''unsaved'' souls with.
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leshy
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #47 on: November 18, 2008, 11:00:52 am »
Absolutely, I think that the introduction of Christianity had a lot to do with the way that not only Baba Yaga, but all of the Slavic deities were perceived after its introduction. Even Perun, who was a major Slavic god; god of thunder, justice and war, was twisted into the personification of the prophet Elijah of the Bible.

All of the information that I’ve read on the subject thus far has indeed pointed to Baba Yaga being not only wise and helpful, but also cannibalistic, and indeed having iron teeth, or sometimes and iron nose, and still other times a nose that reaches up to the ceiling of her cabin. There are so many different stories about her and many of them do conflict. It is true that the true, original, pagan Baba Yaga was very close to nature, and controlled the elements as well. It is also true, of course and very unfortunately, that when Christianity was introduced throughout the region, Baba Yaga’s persona was twisted to make her nothing but an evil old witch or a demoness.

In the old, pre-Christian stories, she is not all bad. She is known to be not just Death but Renewal, and sometimes she is known as the Water of Life and Death.

When Christianity was introduced as early as the 7th  century, many Slavs looked at it as an “addition” to their beliefs, not something to replace it, so on the positive side, all of the old stories pertaining to Baba Yaga still survive to this day. 

leshy
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #48 on: November 26, 2008, 12:09:59 pm »
This thread was started to include Nordic, Germanic and Slavic "Monsters", but there really isn't anything in the way of the Slavic, so I thought I'd start adding them.

Rusalka

The Rusalka are described as being the spirits of either unbaptized children, young women who commit suicide because they’ve been discarded by their lovers, unmarried women pregnant out of wedlock, or virgins who found their death through drowning.  Sometimes they are described as being female ghosts, water nymphs, succubi, or mermaid-like demons. In all cases, the Rusalka reside in water.

The Rusalka are usually perceived as being evil, although in some of the cases were they take the form of female ghosts, it stems from young women who die in or near the water before their time and who haunt that particular waterway. They are allowed to die peacefully, but only if their deaths are avenged.

leshy
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #49 on: November 26, 2008, 12:13:03 pm »


Mora

The Mora is, in ancient Slavic mythology, a malicious spirit and bringer of nightmares. Mora is depicted as being a beautiful woman who visits men in dreams in order to torture them with desire, just to suck the life from them. Men were not the only targets of this evil spirit. The Mora has the ability to send all humans to sleep, and with that sleep, nightmares. She is known to suffocate them and suck their blood, even that of children.

Other forms that the Mora is able to take are a white horse, a white shadow, straw, a leather bag, a white mouse, cat, and a snake.

blow_fly

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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2009, 03:24:05 am »
The  following entry  is about a sinister  sorceror who once reputedly served the notorious witch  Baba Yaga as her herdsman. A richly detailed creation of Slavic folklore, he is as compelling a character in his right as the more infamous Baba Yaga.

Koshchey the Deathless also known as Koshchey the Immortal

In Russian Koshchey is known as "Koshchey Bessmertny" which means deathless or immortal .

Variant spellings of his name are: Koschey, Katschei/Koshchey/Kashey

In Russian folklore Koshchey is an evil sorcerer of terrifying appearance who gallops naked around the wild Caucus mountain range on his magic steed.

He is also a shape-shifter, who takes the form of a whirlwind or a storm wind. He is a nature spirit representing the destructive powers of nature.

He is fond of stealing beautiful women, often the bride of the hero.

Like his female counterpart Baba Yaga, he also has powers over the elements. Dark clouds suddenly appear amidst thunder and lightning when he comes on the scene.

As a shape-changer, Kotschey usually takes the form of a whirlwind and makes off with his victims in this form. He may also come under cover of a mist or fog and can fly through the air.

Koschey is called the deathless, or immortal because his soul/spirit/life force or his "death" as he calls it, is hidden in a remote, inaccessible place, separate from his body.

Koshchey's soul/spirit/ is often hidden in a duck's egg, inside a hare, which in turn is inside a chest buried under the roots of a mighty oak tree, on an island in the middle of the ocean.

Sometimes his "death" may be hidden in the point of a needle inside the duck's egg. Although called deathless or immortal, Kotschey may die if the hero finds out where the egg that contains his life force or, as he calls it, his "death", is hidden.

If the egg is broken, it's goodnight for Kotschey too. Anyone possessing this egg has Koshchey in their power. He begins to weaken, becomes sick and immediately loses all his magic powers.

In one story the egg is thrown at his forehead and he drops down dead.

Imprisoned in the palace of the warrior princess Maria Morevna for ten years, Koshchey is freed by the unwitting hero.

In this story the egg with his soul/spirit/death in it is not mentioned at all. Instead, he receives a kick in the head from one of Baba Yaga's magical steeds. After the horse kills him, the hero Ivan cuts Koshchey's head off, burns it and scatters the ashes to the four winds, presumably just to be on the safe side.

Koshchey's appearance:

Tall, boney, fearful to look upon. As Baba Yaga says:

' Medusa's got nothing on you, Kotschey dear .'

Maria Morewnas description of him:

He sports a wild mane of tangled seaweed-like hair which stands up all around a lean and bony face. From beneath those craggy brows peer hooded, unblinking reptilian eyes. A raven's beak of a nose juts out over a cavernous mouth from which now and then one may catch a glimpse of several large crooked teeth. Mouth may change shape according to mood.

His beard: Mottled-grey and scraggly, unsightly after meals.

Skin: Scaly, rough, forever shedding, more snake-like than human.

Method of fighting: Wraps or coils himself around his foes. Finger nails and toe nails long and claw-like (he never cuts his hair, finger or toe nails - to preserve his 'life-force' as he calls it/his lack of clothing may also be attributed to these peculiar 'life-force preservation' reasons).

On the inside of Koshchey's scrawny long ape-like arms are venom glands. (His blames Maria Morewna for his arms being so long - he complained once that hanging out in her dungeon for 10 years didn't do his posture any good).

During battle he has been known to lick these venomous parts and then bite his adversary thus causing intense pain and immobility.

Can change his voice at will. Terrifies his opponents with blood-curdling cries. Has also been known to use his voice to charm and induce sleep when necessary.

When astride his magical steed, Kotschey likes to throw off his flamboyant fish-skin clothes and it is said that he thus takes on the magical powers of his mount.

His fish-skin clothes, which he scatters behind him, are blown away and scattered by the four winds. Flocks of ravens gather behind him to fight over and devour these shreds. Shreds of his clothing may be sometimes seen flapping in the tree tops throughout the steppes.

Thus freed from all worldly constraints he gallops naked through the wild Caucus mountains with his long spindly legs trailing in the dust. In the picture by Ivan Bilibin, he is seen brandishing his sabre, shrieking blood-curdling threats and urging the spirits of the steppes to come to his aid.

Quite an emotional character, it is said that he will weep with rage for hours afterwards when outwitted by his quarry and his sobbing and wailing often echoes throughout the Caucuses, terrifying both man and beast alike.

During times of stress he may change himself into a storm or a whirlwind. In his spare time he seems to be off hunting quite a lot, although it is not specified what it is that he is hunting.

Although cunning, one of his weaknesses is that he is extremely vain and therefore may be outwitted by a woman pretending to find him irresistible.

He has twelve sisters (also shape-shifters) who come to avenge his death and who seem to be almost as charming as Koshchey himself.

Although Koshchey is a powerful sorcerer, he seems to be down the hierarchical ladder a rung or two to Baba Yaga. In one story he works as a herdsman for her in order to earn one of her magical steeds. This horse has the power of speech and gives Koshchey invaluable advice.

His favourite drink: A fermented drink make of green tea, sour goat's milk and salt.

He craves female company, and although he can turn on a charming voice at will, Kotschey is anything but a smooth talker.

When Maria Morewna is trying to pump him for information and plays up to him, he once again fails to realize that one of his oft-repeated remarks: "Foolish woman, long of hair: short of wit", does not do anything to improve his chances with her.

Beating about the bush is one of Koshchey's rules of thumb: for Koshchey to speak directly is to lose his power or 'life force'.

When she asks him about the time he spent at Baba Yaga's hut and where he got his horse he replies: "Three days there and I learned as much as in three years."

Koshchey is able to "far see" - he has the ability to see with his eyes closed.

A song he is fond of singing when he has drunk enough Kwas: (Some say he penned it himself while he was hanging out in Maria Morewna's dungeon)

Amidst great Rocks

Koschey the Deathless leaping,

Onward rides,

Wild and fierce

And free again from chains.

 

Like the storm he howls and weeping,

Sprays the steppes

With burning tears of rage.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 03:29:56 am by blow_fly »
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Nina
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #51 on: January 03, 2009, 12:10:48 pm »
We need a new topic dedicated to Slavic monsters.... we really need it bad, cause both Baba Jaga and Mora are from Slavic, not nordic or german mythology.

blow_fly

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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #52 on: January 03, 2009, 09:10:04 pm »
You've raised an excellent point, Nina. I'll be starting a a new thread for Slavic monsters soon. Once I have done that, I will proceed to move to it all the entries about Slavic mythological creatures which are currently posted under the Nordic/Germanic mythology.
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Nina
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2009, 09:23:56 pm »
Ok, I hope you are not mad at me for already starting it, sorry! If you want, delete it and we can start again  :wink:

Mahiqun
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2009, 10:07:36 am »
Vij
Vij is traditional monster for Ukrainian mythology, According to Tolstoi's story I've read he is the leader of all the monsters, having appearance of a dwarf with his eyes shut and eyelids reaching the ground, opens his eyes only before the kill.

blow_fly

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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #55 on: January 05, 2009, 12:33:34 am »
Quote
Ok, I hope you are not mad at me for already starting it, sorry! If you want, delete it and we can start again 

Not at all, Nina. In fact, I heartily approve. On that subject, would it be okay with you, leshy and  Mahiqun, if I moved all entries on Slavic monsters currently posted under this thread to the new one that you just created? As you stated, this is not really a thread designed to display information about Slavic entities.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 06:10:47 am by blow_fly »
''Come on, I want you to do it, I want you to do it. Come on, hit me. *Hit me!''

-The Joker to Batman, The Dark Knight

Nina
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #56 on: January 05, 2009, 02:28:20 am »
That would be cool, blowfly, thank you! Im sure Leshy will approve too, after all, they are Slavic, not Nordic! (never mind some similarities)

leshy
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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2009, 02:57:13 am »
Yep, got my approval!   :-)


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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #58 on: February 16, 2011, 06:22:10 am »
Interesting stories about the Nordic gods.
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Carson Dane

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Re: Nordic/Germanic Monsters
« Reply #59 on: March 28, 2011, 06:30:36 pm »
just read this thread; So much true and accurate here. My Danish quarter is satisfied...
“The cause for aging and death in human types must be using the brain in manners inconsistent with reality.  The reality of nature is whatever it is; perhaps believing it is something other than what it is, is deadly.”