Book of Veles is a literary forgery. A nice one to read though, but ‘Lord of the Rings’ is that too. One may build a neo-pagan religion upon Hobbits, Orcs and Wizards, but it has nothing to do with ancestral belief. The same is with the Book of Veles, just because it speaks of Slavs, doesn’t mean it has any relationship with the actual Slavic ancestral belief, other than using some known Slavic traits in a very creative manner.

As for Slavic mythology:

Written sources

There are currently no known written accounts of Slavic mythology predating the fragmentation of the Proto-Slavic people into West, East, and South Slavs, with the possible exception of a short note in Herodotus’ Histories, mentioning a tribe of Neuri in the far north, whose men, Herodotus claims, transform themselves into wolves for several days each year. Some researchers have interpreted this through the Slavic folk belief in werewolves, whilst others believe that Herodotus actually referred to ancient Slavic carnival festivals, when groups of young men roamed the villages in masks, sometimes referred to as vucari (wolf-humans). The identification of “Neuri” with Proto-Slavs remains controversial, however.

The first authoritative reference to the Slavs and their mythology in written history was made by the 6th century Byzantine historian Procopius, whose Bellum Gothicum described the beliefs of a South Slavic tribe that crossed the Danube heading south in just two days. According to Procopius, these Slavs worshipped a single deity, who crafted lightning and thunder. Though not named explicitly, it can be deduced this is a reference to the deity known as Perun in later historic sources, as in many Slavic languages today (Polish ‘piorun’ for example). Perun simply means “thunder” or “lightning bolt”. He also mentions the belief in various demons and nymphs (i.e. vilas), but does not mention any other names.

The Slavic Primary Chronicle is a major work with many valuable references to the pagan beliefs of Eastern Slavs. The chronicle treats the history of the early Eastern Slavic state. Even though the manuscript was compiled at the beginning of the 12th century, it contains references to and copies of older documents, and describes events predating the Baptism of Kiev. Two deities, Perun and Veles/Volos, are mentioned in the text of the early 10th century peace treaties between pagan rulers of East Slavs and Byzantine Emperors. Later, Nestor the Chronicler describes a state pantheon introduced by Prince Vladimir in Kiev in 980 CE. Vladimir’s pantheon included Perun, Hors, Dažbog, Stribog, Simargl, and Mokosh. The Hypatian Codex of the Primary Chronicle also mentions Svarog, compared to Greek Hephaestus. Also very interesting are the passages in the East Slavic epic The Tale of Igor’s Campaign referring to Veles, Dažbog, and Hors. The original epic has been dated to the end of the 12th century, although there are marginal disputes over the authenticity of this work.

The most numerous and richest written records are of West Slavic paganism, particularly of Wendish and Polabian tribes, who were forcibly made Christian only at the end of the 12th century. The German missionaries and priests who criticized pagan religion left extensive records of old mythological systems they sought to overcome. However, they hardly restrained themselves from “pious lies”, claiming pagan Slavs were idolatrous, blood-thirsty barbarians. As none of those missionaries learned any Slavic language, their records are confused and exaggerated.

Major works include a chronicle of Thietmar of Merseburg from the beginning of the 11th century, who described a temple in the city of Riedegost (Radegast) where the great deity Zuarasic (Svarožič) was worshipped. According to Thietmar, this was the most sacred place in the land of pagan Slavs, and Svarožič was their most important deity.

Another very valuable document is the Chronica Slavorum written in the late 12th century by Helmold, a German priest. He mentions ‘the devil’ Zerneboh (Chernobog), goddess Živa, god Porenut, some unnamed gods whose statues had multiple heads and, finally, the great god Svantevit, worshiped on the island of Rügen who, according to Helmod, was the most important of all (Western) Slavic deities.

The third, and arguably the most important record, comes from the Danish chronicler Saxo Grammaticus, who in his Gesta Danorum described the war fought in 1168 by the Danish king Valdemar I against the Wends of Rügen, the conquest of their city at cape Arkona and the destruction of the grand temple of Svantevit that stood there. Saxo meticulously described the worship of Svantevit, the customs associated with it and the tall four-headed statue of the god. He also mentioned multi-headed deities of other Slavic tribes; Rugievit, Porewit and Porentius.

The fourth major source are three biographies of the German warrior-bishop St Otto, who in the early 12th century led several military-pastoral expeditions into the regions of Slavic tribes living near the Baltic Sea. According to the manuscript, the most important Slavic deity was Triglav, whose temples in the city of Szczecin were respected oracles. In the cities of Wolgast and Havelberg, the war god Gerovit was worshiped, a likely corruption of Jarovit, a Slavic deity possibly identical to Jarilo of the East Slavic folklore.[hr][/li]

Everything we know about the Slavic pagan belief, we have from these sources. Everything else, is whisful thinking and fabrication. You may be also interested in this thread.


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