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from The Roots of Slavic Magic by Patricia Robin Woodruff

Chapter 10

Siebog (Devač, Devačo, Dovač, Devar, Devin, Dievas, Dievs)

Not much seemed to be recorded on this god, which is very misleading because he is incredibly important.  I could find mentions of him in his pairing with the goddess; mentions of Siva and Siebog or the variations of their name, Deva and Devač.  The recognition of Devač/Siebog seemed to have withered simply to an oft repeated summary of “the god of love and marriage.” However, the current concept of marriage really just came onto the scene with the advent of Christianity.  Russell Zguta writes that in the late 11th century, Ioann II states, “You say the marriages of the simple folk are not blessed or wed [by a priest], but only boyars and princes are wed, and the simple people take their wives like concubines with dances, music, and noise.” (1) So while they didn’t have the Medieval Christian “man-owns-woman” model of marriage, the ancient Slavs still had celebrations and magical rites to solemnize their partnership.  So with this in mind, I looked at the shadowy hole where this god should be.

He would be the god of love, fertility and partnership, equally as important as his sister/partner/mate, Siva.  As she is the embodiment of the blossoming of the life force, he is the spark that triggers it.  He is the strength that supports her efforts.  Together they encapsulate the duality of regeneration and the magic of life.  As the bell cannot sound without the clapper, nor the ivy climb upward without support, together they are more than the sum of their parts.  

We have more clues in the ancient sites sacred to this god and goddess pair.  Around the village of Huje, Slovenia is supposed to be a cave with a phallic stalactite.  It is recognized as a site sacred to “Devar” and women would go there to pray for help with conception.

Near the town of Ilirska Bistrica, Slovenia is the “Cave of Iapodes” near the hill of “Devin” and Trnovo spring.(2) In the cave is a protrusion from the roof with petroglyphs, some of which show a sun wheel with eight spokes. Researcher Saša Iskrić Smrekar states, “There are some interesting alignments of Cave of Iapodes, the nearby features and the sun. The Škedenc peak is due east from the cave and the Sun rises behind this peak at the equinoxes. Similarly, the Stražca peak lies due west and the Sun sets there at and around those dates. Of more interest are two other peaks, Sleme to the northwest and Volčji hrib to the southwest. They lie almost exactly (to within 4 degrees) to the line of sunset at summer solstice (solar azimuth 302.53°, Sleme azimuth 300°) and sunset at winter solstice (solar azimuth 239.16°, Volčji hrib azimuth 235°). To an observer standing at the entrance to the cave the Sun would appear to set just behind those peaks at the solstices.”(3) Smrekar however, connects this “sky aspect” to Perun, which I think should be rightfully attributed to Siva’s fertilizing partner first (the Perun connection is a much later development.)

When things really fell into place was when I found out about detailed remnants of an ancient fertility ritual of Deva & Devač that was still being practiced in secret as recently as 1930 (and wasn’t revealed until 2012.)  This took place in the sacred cave of Triglavca, near Devača mountain in Slovenia.  In this cave, the phallic stalactite drips water down into a carved bowl in the stalagmite below. Boris Čok described the ritual in the research publication, Studia Mythologica Slavica.(4)  It took place each autumn at the end of September, at the first full moon after the last of the grains were harvested (essentially the first full moon after the Autumn Equinox.)  The day before the full moon, they would gather sacred spring water at Vroček, and a local fern was collected and put into the water. This was hidden and taken home.  The next night, the elderly pagan priest and four young priestesses dressed in white linen wearing belts of the ferns would go by moonlight to the cave.  The priest wore a crown made of the three grains; wheat, rye and buckwheat.  They would light a torch and upon entering the cave, it was inserted in a hole drilled in the stalactite.  Around the basin they would drape their “belts” of ferns and into the basin the priest would shake the grains, imploring Dev...

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