Vast cultural wealth of folklore in my region was always a great source of inspiration. Myths and legends were passed through generations feeding the imagination of people, they kept evolving and growing with roots in Slavic and Greek mythology. Vampire (Vampir) was the first Serbian word that got in the global vocabulary. This myth originated in Serbia centuries ago and spread trough the world inspiring many writers, artists and movie makers. In my illustrative series I’ll try to portray and revive those lesser known myths.
Drekavac (the Screamer) is a creature from Slavic mythology known for its loud bawling. Drekavac comes from the souls of children who have died unbaptized. It can predict someone’s death or disease. Drekavac is scared of light and resides in cemeteries. It’s a scary story that is still alive in rural areas where people can hear animals making noise in the night and attribute it to Drekavac.
Baba Yaga is a supernatural being from Slavic folklore. She flies around in a mortar or pestle and lives deep in the forest. Her role can be caring, maternal and helpful to anyone who seeks her out but she is also portrayed as ferocious old lady and a villain. Baba Yaga is a protector of forest wildlife and in some stories she can shape shift and take a form of many different animals.
In Slavic mythology Svarog is the sun and fire god. He is represented as a divine smith, patron of passionate people that have the ‘fire of the heart’ and of blacksmiths. It was believed that he him self forged the sun and gave it to his son Dazhbog to carry it across the sky. The root word ‘svar’ means bright, Sanskrit word ‘svarga’ means sky or heaven and in Indo-Aryan “svar” means the sun. He is identified with Hephaestus in ancient Greek religion who was also a god of blacksmithing, crafting, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. Ancient Slavs use to swear to Svarog when making a promise or concluding a deal. Usage of his name was respected more then the names of other gods, for Slavs Svarog was a symbol of order.
“Bauk” is a mythical creature from Serbian Mythology. The name Bauk comes from onomatopoeia BAU! (a Serbian sound similar to BOO!), used to scare somebody. This story presents it as a creature that hides in dark and abandoned places. Bauk is a stealthy stalker with glowing eyes, it will grab, carry, and devour it’s prey. It’s usually portrayed as a fierce predator but is easily scared by noise and bright light. This story was used to scare disobedient and restless kids.