All good pantheons contain adversaries. Two powerful deities which are in conflict with each other over power and prestige or some other reason. The Greeks place Hades in opposition to Zeus, one being the God of the Underworld and the other being God in the Heavenly realms, one feeling outdone by the other when it came to the apportionment of power and prestige. In other families, a trickster god, such as Loki, is set against all other deities in a combination of hijinx and malice against another God of power and prestige.
It is a combination of these two dynamics which is at play in the story of Perun and Veles.
Veles is both outcast and trickster, forbidden from the realm of Prav whilst beguiling God and Man alike with his shapeshifting and wiles. Perun, on the other hand, is a supreme deity of war who protects and rules over both Prav and Jav at the behest of their father Svarog, a deity which I will post about next time.
Perun is the supreme Slavic Deity and is known as the god of thunder and sky. Unlike his Norse equivalent, Thor, his thunder and lightning were caused by his war bow and arrows. He also wielded a battle axe. The root word per- in proto-Slavic means to strike or to slay and the Lithuanian word Perkūnas both refers to the God and the phenomena of thunder.
In addition to meeting out punishment to mortals who took oaths in his name Perun was charged with protecting the gateway to the heavenly world of Prav, and the associated World Tree, from the onslaught of his brother Veles. It was thought that thunderstorms represented this cosmic battle and that Veles was overcome and returned to the Underworld, Nav, where he would prepare for his next attempt on the Gates of Prav.
Perun is the god of justice and punishment of the wicked and is particularly venerated by modern Rodnovers as he is considered to have control over who can and cannot enter the realm of Prav.
Offerings – meat, ale, mead, golden apples, red/gold candles
Altar – axes, arrows, hawthorn, juniper, sage, nettle, apple, storm water, amber, thunder-stones (flint arrowheads), wooden icon
Spaces – hilltops, mountains, oak or yew groves, home
Day – Thursday
Animals – goat, rooster, eagle
Veles is another major God within the Slavic pantheon and stands in opposition to his brother Perun as the trickster God of the Woodland. Veles was originally charged with protecting the World Tree from encroachment from the Underworld of Nav, however, he soon became jealous of his brother’s holdings and stole his cattle. This resulted in Veles being banished to the Underworld where he plotted his return.
Veles is a shapeshifter and is alternatively said to take on the form of a serpent, black bear and other animals in his attempts to regain his place in Prav. When seeking to escape the thunder and lightning of Perun Veles is said to change his form into both plants, animals and even hide behind people to escape his brother’s rage.
Though his association with trickery and wild places Veles was often associated with matters of commerce and long distance travel. He is associated with herd animals, particularly sheep and the root origin of his name is shared with words meaning wool and hair.
Offerings – chicken hearts, cooked corn, basil, barely, wheat, mistletoe, bread, mead, music.
Altar – black animal motifs, ram horns, black wool/fur, cow bell, herb bundle, musk, wooden icon
Spaces – forest crossroads, riverbanks, woodland groves
Animals – black bear, black ram, black dog, black sheep, snakes