While exploring Slavic mythology, it’s worth remembering that it was recorded in writing in the 19th century, and until that time it had been passed orally from one generation to the next. Hence, there are many, often different, versions to one story. Another aspect to keep in mind is the variety of Slavs and vastness of the lands they inhabited, which translates into well-founded variation in myths.
In an old tradition Svarog was the god of the Sun and heavens, who according to legend created the Sun and the Stars using a hammer gifted to him by another Slavic god – Perun. A story that, to some extent, resonates with the Greek gods Hephaestus and Zeus.
The etymology of his name is as mysterious as Svarog himself (mainly due to the very limited amount of information that has survived); scholars believe that his name may have its roots in the Iranian word ‘xvar’ – ‘sun’, or in Sanskrit ‘svar’ – ‘sun, heaven, light’.
He was the personification of the creative and life-giving forces of the sun. The Old Slavs worshiped him by bowing their heads and praying during the sunrise and at midday. Many believed that this Slavic god was not only the creator of other gods, whose will he could easily influence, but that he also equipped people with their first tools and by doing so became the protector of the craftsmen, artisans, blacksmiths and sculptors.
There is an argument as to whether he was the most powerful god in the Slavic Pantheon, just as the XIXth card of the Major Arcana is interpreted by many.
Common features attributed to both, the card and the god, are: happiness, fulfilment, optimism, strength, and creativity just to name a few.
The tarot Sun encourages growth and brings things to life, similar to Svarog, in whose eyes Perun saw the radiance of optimism and positivity. These two equally promote the fiery energy of a ‘can do’ attitude as well as the creative forces of prosperity, expansion and vitality.
Paraphrasing one classic movie, the Sun completes Svarog.
Art: “Swarog” by Hanna Dola at Dolaart.pl