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Agaliha
November 23rd, 2005, 05:17 PM
Whoo-hoo time for the Slavic Pantheon. I spent tons of time reading and learning about them when I was researching my ancestral paths. Here is Mati-Syra-Zemlya, Goddess of the Earth.

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Mati-Syra-Zemlya [Rus]
- chthonic / elemental spirit - infer
- female
- (moist mother earth)
- (mother moist earth)
- the earth
- never personified
- mati [OCS] (mother)
- mati [OCS] (mother)
- zeme [OCS] (earth, soil)
- zeml[a]ja [OCS]
- mother earth
- eating earth
- settler of disputes
- witness to oaths
- witness to marriages
- possessed prophetic powers
- her aid is invoked during epidemics & in childbirth
- ploughing digging striking the earth prohibited at certain times
- before Maslenica
- vernal equinox
- offerings of hemp oil
- wife to Yarilo

Other names:
aka Mati-Syra-Zemlja
aka Mat' Syra Zemlya [Rus]
aka Mat' Syra Zemlia [Rus]
aka Mati Srra Zenlja
aka Mati
aka Matka
aka Matka Syra Ziemia >MAHT-kah SEAR-ah zhem-EE-ah< [Pol]
aka Matka Ziemia
aka Matka Syra Zjemlja >MAHT-kah SIHR-ah ZHYEM-yah<
aka Mata Syra Zjemlja
aka Matushka Zemlia
aka Mati Zemlya
- mother earth
- wife to Svarog

FROM: Mati-Syra-Zemlya (http://www.stonedragonpress.com/wicca_201/spirit_search/definitions/mati_syra_zemlya.html)
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NAME: Mati Syra Zemlya `Mother Moist Earth, Matka, Mata Syra Zjemlja, Matushka Zemlia. (Possibly also Mokosh a later human formed nature Goddesses & St. Paraskeva in a try to Church her up after she refused to go away.)

SYMBOLS: Unplowed moist dark earth, stalks of wheat, sheep.

USUAL IMAGE: Not viewed as human in form but as the Earth itself. She was thought of as not a spirit that represented Her sovereignty but as the ground beneath one's feet alive and all knowing. It was thought that at some times, most often Zemlya's Night on the 24th who would take human form and appear as a dark skinned Slavic woman dressed in brightly colored ribbons and ornaments, as such she would visit homes bestowing blessings.
HOLY BOOKS: N/A

HOLY DAYS: May 1st (A day on which no plowing could be done) June 24 & August 1st.

PLACE OF WORSHIP: In the home or on unplowed or freshly plowed earth.

MAJOR TABOOS: Plowing on her holy days.

RELATIVES: All the people, animals & plants of the earth, which she used as oracles when asked. Though there are some who say that her husband was the Slavic Dioceses Yarilo who's name comes from the word for passionate and uncontrolled. He was depicted as a blonde young man wearing a white tunic and going barefoot who carried a bunch of wheat in one hand and a skull in the other. His festival day was June 4th.

FORM OF WORSHIP: In holes dug in the earth place bread and pore wine, whisky. Respect for the Her by making sure you do not hit or cut her (plow) on her holy days such as May 1st when she is pregnant.

SYNODEITIES: Nerthus (German), Zemes Mate (Baltic), Zem (Zoroastrian), Semele (Greco - Phrygian), Gaia (Greek), Changing Woman (Native American.)


DETAILS: Moist Mother Earth, which is what Mati Syra Zemlya means, was the oldest and most powerful of the Pre-Christian slavic Goddesses.

So powerful in fact that she survived into the twentieth century despite efforts by both the Church and later the Party to do away with her.

I wouldn't doubt that in some form or other she is still honored in some way on the land that she was said to be.

Moist Mother Earth was prayed to by digging a hole in the earth and speaking into it, or in times of plague by cutting a furrow around the home village being trouble so that Her power would be relased and drive the demons of illness away.

She was also invoced to confirmed oaths and marriages by eating some of her earth or placing some of Her on the head while the oath was spoken.

She had all knowledge and on being asked would release signs that could be interpreted.

Never given a human image she however was said to take the form of a dark woman from time to time to aid those who observed the proper rites and traditions. Sometimes even taking the time to shear sheep, her totem animal.

After the coming of Christianity, she was confessed to if no priest was available. The Church tried to equate her with Mary, but this was not entirely successful and during times of great illness there was a tendency for the people to revert to worship of Her.

Often the village women would take to digging furrows around their homes or village at night while carrying scythes to release the power of Mati Syra Zemlya and to kill any men who happened on them while preforming this rite.

I have to wonder if this might not be a perfect example of a clash between two forces.

One of which is represented by priests who were contacted by a power that came from the driest of deserts and the other which comes from a moist living earth.

(c) Magentashadow
FROM: Mati-Syra-Zemlya (Slavic / Russian) (http://community-2.webtv.net/TerMcC/Matisyrazemlia/)
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('Moist Earth Mother') was the Slavonic earth goddess. Archaeological evidence suggests that her worship may have originated in the basin of the River Don as much as 30,000 years ago. Believed to possess the ability to predict the future and to settle disputes wisely, she was an object of veneration up to the early years of the twentieth century, when Russian peasant women were still performing elaborate rites in order to summon her presence to protect them from disease.
FROM: HERE (http://koti.kontu.la/jsalonen/jani/main_myth_066.html)

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She is also linked to Mokosh, though because Mati-Syra-Zemlya was never personified [she was seen as the Earth itself] it's not a complete connection.

Mokosh is an earth goddess. She rules over fertility and midwifery. She is commonly called Mati-Syra-Zemlya, or "Moist Mother Earth." Mokosh spins flax and wool at night and shears sheep. She also spins the web of life and death. She wanders during Lent disguised as a woman, visiting houses and doing housework; at night strands of fleece are laid beside the stoves for her. She may have originally been a house spirit concerned with women's work.

Evenrually, her worship was transmuted to the modern widespread reverence for Mother Russia. Mokosh is dark, like good, black soil.She is portrayed with uplifted hands, flanked by two horsemen. Mokosh became St. Paraskeva, whose hair hangs long, loosely, and whose icon is decorated with flax and birch. Paraskeva is also known as Mother Friday.
One prayer to Mokosh involves going to the fields at dawn in August with jars filled with hemp oil.
Turn East and say: "Moist Mother Earth, subdue every evil and unclean being so that he may not cast a spell on us nor do us any harm." Turn West and say: "Moist Mother Earth, engulf the unclean power in your boiling pits, in your burning fires."
Turn South and say: "Moist Mother Earth, calm the winds coming from the south and all bad weather. Calm the moving sands and whirlwinds."
Turn North and say: "Moist Mother Earth, calm the north winds and the clouds, subdue the snowstorms and the cold." Oil is poured out after each invocation, and finally, the jar is thrown to the ground.

FROM: Moist Mother Earth (http://www.winterscapes.com/slavic.htm) {This is also a great place for those interested in Slavic beleifs and Paganism.}

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Mokosh (Mokosz, Mokusa, Mokoš, Cyrillic Мокошь) is a goddess associated with the sacred feminine in Slavic pantheon. She is a goddess of fertility, home and earth (russian: mat' syraja zemlja - mother - moist earth), and female occupations such as spinning, weaving and fate. She is supposed to be the protector of women, goddess of bounty, as well as occult knowledge and divination. Many scholars, however, doubt that such a goddess ever existed in Slavic pantheon.

She wanders as masked woman and visit houses doing domestic duties. At night a piece of hair was left as an offer to Mokosh. At the beginning she was a domestic spirit. She is black as fertile earth.
Wife of Svarog (according to some OldSlav legends); she talked him into creating a life on Earth that would look as him, so he breathe a life into an oak tree from which first man, named Dubravko, came to life; she revived another one, a woman, Ljubljenica. Her statues in temples are in sitting position (as Svarog's are).

Her sacred day is Friday; and her feast day falls between October 25th and November 1st. One reference fixes this day to October 28th. She was offered vegetables, which was the focal point of the feast day. At night, women would leave strands of fleece beside the stove in her honor. It was said that women who made satisfactory offerings would be helped with their laundry, associating her as a water goddess. This is illustrated by the fact that rainfall is sometimes called Mokosh's milk.

In Christian times she became conflagrated with the Virgin Mary and Saint Paraskeva. She is sovereign over the Domowije and the patroness of midwifery. In one myth, she is the wife of Perun, and was represented as a woman with a large head, long arms and unkept hair. In another myth she is wife of Svarog, which created a marriage of heaven and Earth.

FROM: Wikipedia "Mokosh" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokosh)

Ishtara
November 23rd, 2005, 07:46 PM
Very interesting, thank you for doing this :)

I know absolutely nothing about the Slavic pantheon (I had never even heard of Mati-Syra-Zemtlya before) so this is a great introduction... I feel inspired to do my own research now!

Agaliha
November 23rd, 2005, 08:47 PM
Very interesting, thank you for doing this :)

I know absolutely nothing about the Slavic pantheon (I had never even heard of Mati-Syra-Zemtlya before) so this is a great introduction... I feel inspired to do my own research now!

You're welcome :). I figured no one has heard of her. Since I am half Russian/Ukranian I decided to do tons of research about it. It's quite interesting. If you need some help with links let me know, I found some really helpful ones.

ObsessedFae86
November 24th, 2005, 12:11 AM
I know NOTHING of the Slavic pantheon..That was alot of great info! Thanks!

WinterTree
November 25th, 2005, 11:57 AM
Thank you for posting this info. I read a little about the Slavic pantheon during the summer, was very fond of it, but got distracted by other things. Now you've resparked my interest!