Bereginya – The Slavic Spirit of Protection

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  1. I am doing a huge cross cultural study of the Slavic gods and there are many deities that have “spirits” and/or magical practitioners that take their name from them. Siva has the “white women”, who can be Vila or magic workers; the god Kresnik has kresniki, male healers and stewards of the land; Vesna has the wind spirits called vesna; Beregena has the home spirits of beregini. I can see where you might think that Beregena is simply a “promoted” spirit. However, her worship goes back much further. It’s hard to see that because the Orthodox church incorporated her into their Mary worship. Beregena is essentially the protective aspect of Mokosh. Her alternative names are Bereginia, Beregina, Berehynia, Bogoroditsa and Pokrova. It is said that Pokrova “divides the time in two.” Understand that the pre-agricultural calendar was divided in half, between the dates of May 6th (essentially May Day) and October 28th but I’ll just focus on the autumnal one right now. October 28th separated the active farming and herding time of year from the “resting” time of the year, where the thoughts turn inward towards the home. After Oct, 28th, the fields should be left fallow for the winter season. This time is marked by the Christian holidays of St. Demetrius and the Feast of the Holy Protectress. Bereginia’s holy day became subsumed by the Orthodox celebration of the Protection of the Theotokos (Mother of God) or Feast of the Holy Protectress on October 1st in the old calendar, now on the Julian calendar October 15th and in the Greek Orthodox Church it is celebrated on October 28th, which just *so happens* to be the day recorded as the feast day of the goddess Mokosh. (Although *most* accurately Mokosh’s Day is the Friday that falls before November 1st). This is a day of rest and no one should sew, spin, or weave, this involks the sympathetic magic that the winter will be a peaceful, easy time. The same lore applies to St. Demetrius’s holiday, Mitrovdan.
    In my research I can show many examples of St. Demetrius connected to the God of the Life-Bringing Light in his winter aspect. So this is the “Sun” god and the “Earth” goddess going into the winter time. If you are interested in finding out lots more, join the FB group, The Roots of Slavic Magic.

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