Mokoška art Irena Petrič Svarunica Store

Mokoš is a great, important goddess of the East Slavic tradition, who protects pregnant women, midwives, watches over women’s affairs, protects ancestors, and thus takes over the task of the goddess of fate, and is of course also connected with land and water. Her cult is still widespread among the Native Faith followers, even among some southern Slavs. There are no more concrete attested reports about her in Slovenia however, but we know a swamp bird with the same name and a preserved story about Mokoška as a great sorceress:

»Šentflorjan Square in Ložnica, southeast of Vildon, is the homeland of the deserving writer R. Puff. He told this to D. Trstenjak about the mighty witch Mokoška, ​​who is known in his hometown. Not far from the square is a swampy place, Grunau, and the Ložnica town, which often crosses the banks, has swamped it. In ancient times, it was used for farming, as evidenced by excavations from Roman times. Today there stands a lonely peasant court. The castle of the buckwheat queen Mokoška, ​​who lived in it, once stood in this place. The castle was surrounded by evergreen gardens. She helped people but the next moment she could do something bad too, as her mood swinged; she especially loved kidnapping children. Finally, God punished her. On a stormy night, the castle with its gardens sank. But Mokoška did not perish, but still often appears to people under various female images. She still takes away children, especially those who are not well cared for by their parents.

Another story says: The same creature appears to us in tales as Skopulja, who accumulates God’s punishment by not giving a piece of bread to the poor and throwing this gift of God into the mud rather than giving it away. This beggar is an old man or a Flood Man who then sinks Skopje and its green gardens into the mud. – The “Underwater-man”, who lives in the well-known Pudgar puddle, once came to Pudgar’s temple, just as Pudgarica, a wealthy but stingy housewife, was baking bread. The maids could see the sun through a piece of bread at lunch. The Underwater-man slammed right into the kitchen and asked the master for a loaf of bread. Pudarci just ran out of breath. She had another loaf of bread, but to give it to an unknown traveler seemed like a waste for her. She was not embarrassed for a nice excuse; she opened the oven and said, “I don’t even have a piece at the house, and I’m just baking a new one.” The Underwater-man bent down, grabbed all twelve loaves in the oven, and ate them at once. He said threateningly: “I know you have nothing, so I don’t take anything from you. Fear me not, I will not harass you anymore. I’ve seen the whole Smrekovec naked seven times already, I’ll see him naked seven more times, and then I don’t have to be afraid anymore. ” And when he left, he muttered: “Such a miser, such a miser! Only twelve grains are baked in the oven!” [1]

In other stories, the Flood Man floods the Skopulja estate with water and only takes it with him. But above all, we need to know a very important thing; the stories left to us by our ancestors for centuries and centuries are full of symbolism that we need to understand deeper and between the lines. With the adoption of the new religion, the old beliefs, practices, values ​​had to be withdrawn, sometimes by great force. To make assimilation into the new society easier, new saints were placed in the place of the old gods, and churches in the place of the old shrines. Thus Svetovid was replaced by St. Vid, Thunderer Perun is replaced by Sv. Elijah, Božič Svarožič is replaced by the birth of Jesus, Jesus, Kresnik at the summer solstice, where there were always symbolic purification rites with water, is replaced by John the Baptist, Mary replaces Mara, etc. Thus, slowly, the old gods began to lose their importance and they have been preserved and nurtured to this day, but for the most part quietly, secretly, even at night, so that it was not in the public eye. However, they were also preserved in the stories, fairy tales that people told each other and some gods also slipped to the level of lower mythological beings in the t.i. stories for children…

[1] Kelemina J., Fairy tales and tales of the Slovenian people, 1997, p.220 (second edition)

written by: Irena Petrič (maiden name Urankar)

slovenian version:

the artwork: © Irena Petrič

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