Skip to Content

Mokosh: The Goddess of Fertility and Earth

Mokosh is a Slavic goddess that has been mentioned in various texts and folklore throughout history. She is known as the protector of women’s work and women’s destiny, and is associated with spinning, weaving, and the shearing of sheep. According to the Primary Chronicle, Mokosh is a Mother Goddess who watches over women during childbirth.

In ancient Slavic mythology, Mokosh was the only female deity whose idol was erected by Vladimir the Great in his Kiev sanctuary, along with statues of other gods. She is also considered the goddess of life-giving and fertility, and is associated with water. In East Slavic folk beliefs, she is known as Mokoša or Mokuša, and is depicted as a tall woman with a large head and long arms who spins flax and wool at night.

Today, Mokosh is still celebrated in modern Slavic culture and mythology, particularly in the Rodnovery pantheon. She is revered as a powerful goddess, and is closely connected with other gods such as Perun and Veles. Mokosh is also associated with good fortune and prosperity, and is believed to bring blessings to those who honor her.

Mokosh in Slavic Mythology

Origins and Etymology

Mokosh is a Slavic goddess whose name is derived from the word “maty kota”, meaning “mother of the cat” or “mother of good fortune”. She is mentioned in the Primary Chronicle and is believed to be the protector of women’s work and destiny. Her origins can be traced to the pre-Christian era, where she was worshipped as a goddess of fertility, water, and women.

Role and Attributes

As the goddess of fertility, Mokosh was responsible for ensuring the growth of crops and the birth of healthy children. She was also associated with water, which was seen as a source of life and renewal. Mokosh was believed to watch over spinning and weaving, shearing of sheep, and protecting women in childbirth. She was often depicted as a tall woman with a large head and long arms, spinning flax and wool at night.

Cultural Significance

Mokosh played an important role in Slavic mythology and was revered as a powerful deity. Her importance is evident in the various roles she embodied and the functions she served. Mokosh was seen as the supreme goddess and mother earth, holding immense power over the earth and its natural elements. She was also associated with the cycle of life and death, and was believed to guide the souls of the dead to the afterlife.

Overall, Mokosh was a beloved goddess in Slavic mythology, representing the power of nature and the importance of women’s work and destiny.

Worship of Mokosh

Historical Practices

In ancient Slavic mythology, Mokosh was revered as the supreme deity and mother earth. She was the protector of women’s work and women’s destiny, and was associated with fertility, water, and spinning. Historical practices of worshiping Mokosh included offerings of food, drink, and handmade crafts. Women would gather at her sacred sites and perform rituals to honor her.

Modern Revival

In modern times, there has been a revival of interest in Mokosh and other Slavic deities. Many people have formed groups and organizations dedicated to the worship of Mokosh and other Slavic gods and goddesses. These groups often hold rituals and celebrations to honor Mokosh and other deities.

One way that modern worshipers honor Mokosh is by creating handmade crafts, such as clothing, jewelry, and textiles. These items are often made using traditional techniques and materials, such as wool and linen.

Another way that modern worshipers honor Mokosh is by performing acts of service and charity. Mokosh is associated with women’s work and women’s destiny, so many modern worshipers choose to support organizations that empower women and girls.

Overall, the worship of Mokosh has a rich history and continues to inspire modern practitioners. By honoring her, worshipers connect with the earth, with their ancestors, and with the divine feminine.

Symbols and Iconography

Representations in Art

Mokosh is often depicted as a woman wearing a headdress or crown made of ears of grain, symbolizing her association with fertility and abundance. She is also sometimes shown holding a spindle or distaff, representing her connection to spinning and weaving. In some representations, Mokosh is depicted with a cow, which is considered a sacred animal in Slavic mythology and represents abundance and nourishment.

Sacred Animals and Plants

In addition to the cow, Mokosh is also associated with other animals such as bees, snakes, and wolves. Bees are seen as symbols of the soul and are associated with the afterlife, while snakes represent the cycles of life and death. Wolves, on the other hand, are seen as protectors and guides.

Plants such as flax, hemp, and nettle are also associated with Mokosh, as they are used in the production of textiles. Flax and hemp are used to make linen, while nettle fibers are used to make clothing and other items. These plants are seen as symbols of Mokosh’s connection to spinning and weaving, as well as her role as a protector of women’s work and destiny.

Overall, Mokosh’s symbols and iconography reflect her role as a goddess of fertility, abundance, and protection. Her association with animals and plants highlights her connection to nature and the cycles of life, while her depiction in art emphasizes her role as a patron of domestic life and women’s work.

Festivals and Celebrations

Feast Days

Mokosh, the Slavic goddess of fertility and women’s destiny, is celebrated on various dates throughout the year. One of the most significant feast days is on the fall equinox, which is also known as the Harvest Festival. During this time, people offer food and drink to Mokosh as a way to thank her for the bountiful harvest. The festival typically involves dancing, singing, and feasting with family and friends.

Another important feast day is on the winter solstice, which is also known as Koliada or Koleda. This festival marks the beginning of the pagan yearly cycle and is celebrated with great enthusiasm across Slavic cultures. People light bonfires, sing songs, and exchange gifts to welcome the new year. As Christianity spread across the region, the festival became associated with Christmas, and many of its traditions were incorporated into the Christian holiday.

Rituals and Customs

Mokosh is also celebrated in various rituals and customs throughout the year. One common practice is the weaving of Mokosh dolls, which are small figures made of straw or cloth and are believed to bring good luck and fertility. Women typically make these dolls during the winter months and offer them to Mokosh during the spring equinox.

Another custom is the Mokosh dance, which is performed by women to honor the goddess and invoke her blessings. The dance typically involves spinning and weaving movements and is accompanied by traditional Slavic music.

Overall, Mokosh is an important figure in Slavic mythology and is celebrated in various festivals and customs throughout the year. These celebrations provide an opportunity for people to connect with their cultural heritage and express their gratitude for the blessings of life.

Comparative Mythology

Similarities to Other Deities

Mokosh, the Slavic goddess of spinning and weaving, shares many similarities with other deities from different cultures. In Norse mythology, Frigg is the goddess of fertility, love, and marriage, and is also associated with spinning and weaving. The Greek goddess Athena is the patron of crafts, including weaving and embroidery. Similarly, the Hindu goddess Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, and the arts, including weaving.

Influence on Later Traditions

Mokosh’s influence on later traditions can be seen in the folklore of Eastern Europe. In Russian folklore, Mokosh is often depicted as a house spirit who protects women in childbirth and ensures the fertility of the household. She is also associated with the hearth and the home. In some traditions, Mokosh is believed to be the wife of Perun, the god of thunder and lightning.

Mokosh’s influence can also be seen in modern Paganism, where she is often revered as a mother goddess and a symbol of the earth’s fertility. Her association with spinning and weaving has led some to see her as a symbol of the interconnectedness of all things, as the threads of a web are woven together to create a cohesive whole.

Overall, Mokosh’s influence on mythology and folklore can be seen in the many traditions that have emerged throughout Eastern Europe and beyond. Her association with spinning and weaving has made her a symbol of creativity, fertility, and the interconnectedness of all things.

Mokosh in Popular Culture

Literature and Media

Mokosh, the Slavic goddess, has made appearances in various forms of media and literature. In the novel “The Bear and the Nightingale” by Katherine Arden, Mokosh is portrayed as a powerful goddess of fertility and childbirth who watches over the protagonist, Vasya. The goddess also appears in the video game “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” as a deity worshipped by the Skellige people.

Neopaganism and Folklore

Mokosh has become a popular figure in modern-day neopaganism and folklore. She is often associated with fertility, domesticity, and women’s work. In some traditions, she is seen as a protector of women and their children. Mokosh is also sometimes invoked during childbirth or other rites of passage.

In Slavic folklore, Mokosh is sometimes depicted as a house spirit who watches over the home and its inhabitants. Offerings are sometimes left for her in the form of bread or other baked goods.

Overall, Mokosh remains an important figure in Slavic mythology and continues to inspire artists, writers, and practitioners of neopaganism and folklore.