Mokosh

Mokosh

Being the only female deity in the Kyiv pantheon, Mokosh is also known as the Great Mother of Slavic mythology. Her name derives from the adjective 'mokryi' which means moist or wet.

As her name suggests, Mokosh is a personification of the moist mother Earth and a Goddess of Fertility. Slavic women would pray to her for conceiving, protection during childbirth, and her patronage. In ancient times, the rain was sometimes referred to as 'Mokosh's milk'. She is also a patron of female endeavors, overseeing the chores of sheering the sheep and spinning and weaving of wool. Mokosh was also considered to be a sorceress that has a hand in female destinies. It was believed that she made the first women from the tilia tree. This belief connects Mokosh to the white bee, the mythological ancestor of the Slavs.

The statues of Mokosh depict her as a woman with a big head and long arms, which is believed to be a reference to her connection with spinning and weaving. Women would leave scissors or a piece of wool under her statue to ask for help with their chores. Friday was considered to be her day and it was forbidden to spin or weave during that day. Her holiday would be the first Friday after the 25th of October, and a sacrifice in her honor would be brought to tilia grooves. Offerings to Mokosh were brought in form of various herbs and vegetables, usually including flax, a herb used in witchcraft, and St John's wort, a herb used to treat women's reproductive organs.

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