Saule, Mokosh and Habetrot

Saule

Saule is a Baltic solar goddess. She is one of the most powerful Baltic deities and rules over home and hearth, life and fertility, and warmth and wellness.

Saule spins the sun beams. She rides on her chariot during the day spreading those spun sun beams and at night she sails in her boat on the world sea. 

She is depicted as having golden spun hair with golden silk robes and a golden crown. She is also represented by a wheel or rosette. 

 Artist: Lisa Hunt

Artist: Lisa Hunt

Look how her skirt seems to be knit with stockinette stitch in the painting above.

In the Baltic region, the connection between the sun (Saule) and spinning is very strong and the sunstone Amber, forms this link. Spindles of Amber have been found in archaeological contexts in burial mounds. Amber was a magical substance for the spinner, "...as the light never tangles in the sky, so an amber spindle protected the new thread from snarls caused by unhappy or malicious spirits." (All Fiber Arts.com)

Amber artifacts have been unearthed in nearly 60 different locations in Lithuania and span the time from between the early Stone Age to the Iron Age. 

  Idol  of the Sun used for peasant rituals in the 19th century. Photo credit Wikipedia.

Idol of the Sun used for peasant rituals in the 19th century. Photo credit Wikipedia.

Saule, the sun (female) and Menuo, the moon (male) were wife and husband. 

Did you already know about the Baltic region's pantheon of gods and goddesses? What do you think of the sun being female and the moon being male in this tradition? What do you think about the connection between amber and spinning? If you have a stone you feel connects to your fiber art what is it? 

Mokosh

Mokosh is a Slavic goddess who is the protectress of women's work and destiny. She is the goddess of women, water, earth, fertility and home. She acts as a guardian and teacher for weaving, spinning, shearing of sheep and women in childbirth. She was important enough to be the only female deity to have a sculpture made and erected by Vladmir the Great.

 Modern wooden statue of Mokosh in the Czech Republic.

Modern wooden statue of Mokosh in the Czech Republic.

“Mokos is most likely a later and more strongly personified variant of the Slavs’ elder earth Goddess, “Damp Mother Earth,” and the word Mokosh does translate to "wet". (John McCannon, Encyclopedia Mythica). 

Mokosh had many attributes and duties as already mentioned. She was also meant to protect the sheep and the their fleeces. Women would make offerings of scissors or shears and a skein of wool to the base of her effigies. 

In embroidered artifacts, she is depicted as standing between two horses, her arms raised into the air.

 The reproduction of the designs on a border of a Russian wedding towel (the end of the 19th century). This specimen is housed in the Sergiev Posad State Historical-Artistic Museum-Reserve (Sergiev Posad, Russia).  Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, Russia "On Scythian, Sarmatian and Meotian Records about Thunderstorms"

The reproduction of the designs on a border of a Russian wedding towel (the end of the 19th century). This specimen is housed in the Sergiev Posad State Historical-Artistic Museum-Reserve (Sergiev Posad, Russia).  Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, Russia "On Scythian, Sarmatian and Meotian Records about Thunderstorms"

Habetrot

Habetrot is a goddess worshipped by the border groups in Northern England and Lowland Scotland. She is connected to both spinning and the spinning wheel. 

habetrot.jpg

One well known tale of Habetrot was recorded by William Henderson in 1866. Habetrot is depicted as having long, loose lips. Click here for a version of how she came to look this way.

What did you think of that story? Upon reading it I am struck by how it actually makes spinning a bad thing for a girl to do if she wants a husband. I'm fascinated how this could be a useful myth to pass on to your daughters.