Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

"Look out, you'll meet a mermaid!" - they used to say in the old days. But there were sure ways to escape from otherworldly beauties, which could bring a simple mortal both death, and good luck and wealth.

Few of our contemporaries take seriously the ancient signs about mermaids. But in the old days in Russia, mermaids were revered, they were shunned, cajoled. The rites were assigned to the rusalochya or klechalnaya week, which began before Trinity and lasted until zagovenya or Peter's Day. The first Sunday after Trinity was called rusalny. It was believed that at this time, the water evil spirits freely roam on land in search of new victims.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

Our ancestors knew how to avoid falling under the spell of mythical creatures and turn their magical power to their advantage. There are folk beliefs, omens, customs that are associated with mermaids. The summer holidays had a clear focus on the future. People sought to enlist the support of mysterious forces for a rich harvest, personal happiness, and the health of the household.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from itWhat is she-a mermaid

In each region, they were called differently: mavki and nyavki, buffoons, loskotuny, kupalki, vodyanitsy, devils. Beliefs about mermaids originate in Slavic mythology, where they were assigned the role of goddesses or spirits of forest lakes, flat rivers, and remote swamps. Although they had a great resemblance to the human race, they called them a diabolical obsession, an unclean spirit.

The well-known Vodyanoi was considered their ataman or leader. Ancient legends say that mermaids live in friendly communities. They prefer secluded ponds, rivers, and even swamps surrounded by forest thickets. Today, such a place is quite difficult to find, almost everywhere people settled, displacing the mermaids. Perhaps that's why adventurers rarely encounter these mythical spirits.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

In different regions, mermaids are described differently. In the southern and middle latitudes, it is playful, cheerful and insidious. She appeared in the form of a young, bare-haired girl, sometimes covering her nakedness with a thin white shirt. Pale-faced, with large green eyes, she loved to have fun and often went out on land to dance with other Mavkas, to swing on the branches of a willow or willow.

The Great Russian mermaid was more often represented as a devil, generous with misadventures. The northern peoples called the witches who chose the forest thicket as their habitat. So the mermaid was considered an ugly evil woman with a shock of green algae instead of hair. But for the most part, the ticklers had a very seductive appearance, with the help of which they lured gullible lonely travelers into a trap.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from itDoes a mermaid really have a fish tail? According to eyewitnesses, water scum could appear before a person in different forms: with a tail and without it. European sources attribute the presence of a tail to water seductresses. In Russia, tailed mermaids were extremely rare. Regardless of the name, whether it was navka, chertovki, loskotunya or vodyanitsa, they all had webs between their fingers, were afraid to move away from the water, so as not to dry out.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

What are the dangers of mermaids

The minx stole the linen and thread that the weavers spread out for bleaching. They could also carry the cloth away under the guise of a current during rinsing. Mavka could flood a completely dry place at the most inopportune time and ruin the crop. Evil mermaids arranged a haymaking storm with hail, which spoiled the hay. From boredom, the water inhabitants could make fun of a flock of wild geese that spent the night on the water. The minx wrapped their wings on their backs so that they could not take off in the morning.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

But the main fun of bored mermaids is a person. To understand the nature of wrecking, you need to understand the nature of mavok. Knowledgeable people warned that a parent's curse could doom a daughter to a joyless existence in the guise of a mermaid. They also became unbaptized girls and girls who died the wrong death or left the world of the living in the mermaid week.

The unfortunate ones did not have time to experience the joy of marriage and motherhood during their lifetime. For this reason, their souls could not leave the world of the living. The mermaids did their best to seduce a man, whether it was a young man or even an old man, in order to calm down. They charmed them with the beauty of naked nakedness.

Loskotuny themselves for fun tickled the victim to death, or immediately dragged to the bottom of the pond. The girls and children were also in considerable danger. The mermaids drew them with them, luring them to the depths. They could also substitute a baby for a sleeping mother.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

True amulets from mermaids

In order not to succumb to the charms of water inhabitants, you need to carry with you fragrant herbs: lovage, mint, wormwood, garlic. Usually they were used to make special amulets. The specific fragrance did not allow the mermaid to approach and protected the person from an unwanted meeting. A pinch of herbs thrown into the river water effectively drove away the hiding Mavokas.

In Russia, they celebrated the mermaid week to ensure the well-being of themselves and their families for the year ahead. So, the last Thursday before Trinity was called Russian Easter. The most dangerous thing was to show ignorance on this day. It was forbidden to work in the field, sew, weave, wash and rinse clothes. The housewives did not even sweep the floors, so as not to annoy the mermaids.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

It was strictly forbidden to deal with water: not to swim, not to fish, not to steam in the bath. Even in the presence of a well, water for household chores was prepared in advance, so as not to use mermaid water. On this day, it was possible to both anger and appease the water spirits.

How to appease a mermaid

During the whole of the mermaid week, a canvas was hung on the fruit trees for the mermaids to wear on their shirts. They also practiced leaving different clothes and a piece of bread in the yard. Most of the rituals for cajoling mermaids were performed on the shore of a pond or a rye field.

According to legend, during the summer holidays, restless souls rose into the air and asked for salvation. If one of the Christians ever heard such a request, then they immediately read a prayer to Ivan da Marya for baptism three times.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

Send-off, funeral of the mermaid

On this day, girls who want to get married as soon as possible, gave the mermaids wreaths. Woven flowers were hung on the branches of forest trees or put on the water. Many superstitions are associated with the rite of presentation. The girl was waiting for a quick marriage, if the wreath quickly went under the water. Conversely, the rejected gift remained floating on the surface, foreshadowing loneliness and the status of an old maid.

Ancient beliefs of Russia: who is a mermaid, and how to protect yourself from it

Keywords: Omens | Mermaids | Fairy tales

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