Alkonost is a woman-headed bird from Russian mythology. She is a beautiful mythical being that has power over the human heart and indicates great fortune.
It was said that every Alkonost has a graceful face that would make a man feel mesmerized and content. Their plumage can be in any shade of the stormy clouds but will develop more colors as they grow older. Alkonost also has a beautiful voice that makes humans lose all reason and sense of time. Her singing can enchant and entrap those who hear it. These characteristics are similar to Greek Sirens whose beautiful song spelled doom for many sailors. Alkonost lays her eggs on the beach and then rolls them to the sea. For the first seven days the weather will be peaceful, but after that period of calm her eggs would hatch, summoning a monstrous storm.
According to some legends, Alkonost has a sister named Sirin. When compared, the former was described as a gentle beauty who brings prosperity during the day while the latter was her seductive counterpart who operates at night. The two live in the Underworld together. In some old tales, at the begging of Autumn, on the day of the Apple Festival, Sirin flies over the orchards and cries over the end of Summer. Later that day, Alkonost heads over the same trees and blesses them with the dew on off her wings.
Etchings of both Alkonost and Sirin have graced the front doors of many old Russian houses. In the centuries after the Slavs have converted to Christianity, Alkonost was considered to be God's messenger. Her image was often used to illustrate the Holy Spirit.