In remote pre-Christian times in Kiev on the pagan temple, arranged by the future baptizer of Rus Prince Vladimir, among the idols stood the only female figure. It was the mysterious goddess Makosh. Its power, according to the ancient Slavs, was great and was not limited only to the patronage of spinning and weaving ascribed to it. Our ancestors knew what she commanded and human destinies.
Goddess of the Moon, witchcraft and needlework
According to the researchers, Makosh is a Slavic goddess, whose name comes from the Greek word "mokos" - spinning. And this is not accidental, because she was considered a goddess, the patroness of purely female crafts. In those days everything necessary for life was produced in its household, and every Slav, even if she lived in the prince's tenement, learned to spin and weave from childhood. This was the reason that the goddess Makosh became one of the most revered deities in the vast pagan pantheon.
Mother of Fate and the Goddess of Fertility
For the sake of justice, it should be noted that there is one more version explaining the meaning of her name. According to this version, the basis of the name is the verb "get wet". This explanation suggests that at one time her power extended to such vital areas as rain and harvest. Hence the definition that has come down to us - the goddess of the land Makosh. It is quite rare, since preference is given still to the first interpretation.
To fully understand the name of the goddess, remember that it can be viewed as a combination of two roots - "ma" - mother, and "kosh" - the lot, fate. Hence follows the "mother of fate", that is, the one on which the lot destined for man in life depends. But we should also take into account the fact that the word "kosh" for the Slavs designated a basket for grain, a barn and a cart for sheaves, in other words, concepts related to the harvest. Here is another interpretation - "the mother of the harvest," the goddess of the earth and fertility.
Day of veneration of Makoshi
According to the tradition established at that time, every Friday was considered the day of its special worship. In this regard, many customs arose, the information about which reached us mainly from literary monuments. So, for example, spinning and weaving on Fridays was forbidden, since it was considered an insult to the goddess. In the same monuments, there are purely folklore descriptions of Makosha with hands, spiked needles and wounded spindles, from the fact that women do not honor her and work on that day.
The Perfect Fate
In folk tales the goddess Makosh ' is usually depicted as a long-armed woman, which was at night in the house, I took the spindle and began to spin. Here began the most mysterious. The fact that in ancient mythology the spinning is ascribed to a sacral meaning. The thread is born from rotation of a spindle, associated with the thread of fate, and the process ― continuity of life. This was the reason that the goddess is occupied by a quite innocent thing, was considered a secret versitility lives.
Like every deity, she was supposed to make sacrifices. In this connection, there was a special rite - "mocridas". It consisted that on the set day - Friday - women threw yarn and tow in the wells. Many researchers tend to believe that the goddess Makosh of the Slavs occupied one of the dominant positions in their pantheon. There are even hypotheses that she was considered the wife of the thunderer Perun.
Goddess is the symbol of the feminine
It should also be noted that if the cult of Perun was of a "militant" character, that is, was widespread, mainly among the servants, then his "friend" worshiped the whole population of pre-Christian Russia. There is an opinion that Makosh is a goddess-symbol of the feminine principle in life. It is based on many arguments, including its sacred connection with the odd day of the week - Friday.
The pagan goddess and the Christian saint
When Christianity replaced paganism, St. Paraskeva-Pyatnitsa, oddly enough, inherited many features of a pagan goddess. It was she who transferred her functions to Makosh. The Slavic goddess and Christian martyr have merged in the popular consciousness. One of the reasons for this was the name of Paraskeva, meaning "Friday" in translation, that is, the customary for our ancestors day of honoring Makosha. A certain role was played by the fact that on that day many people of Europe worshiped female deities. As a result, Friday became, as it were, a weekly women's day, which connected the pagan goddess with the Christian saint.
In addition, the connection of St. Paraskeva-Pyatnitsa with its pagan predecessor speaks also of the fact that the image of the Christian ascetic is often represented in the form of sculptural images, generally not accepted in Orthodoxy, but used by the Gentiles. For this saint not only an exception is made, but there is also a tradition to install these sculptures, as well as dedicated chapels and churches near the rivers and ponds. This suggests the places of worship near the ponds of idols of Makoshi, the goddess, who was asked for rain and harvest.
It is well known that in the early stages of the Christian Church struggled with similar trends, but over time, realizing the futility of it, resigned and tried only to give the worship of Paraskeva the appropriate forms. Interestingly, in people it is still often called as well as called once Makosh ― "Indian advocate," or, more appropriate time, "Indian Saint."
Symbols of the goddess Makosh
The goddess Makosh, as mentioned above, was often likened to the moon goddess, and associated with everything that relates to the night. For this reason, its stone is considered to be moonstone and rock crystal, and metal - silver. It was believed that among the animals cats took special protection from the goddess. There are two explanations for this. Firstly, the cat leads an active nightlife, and therefore certainly knows with all sorts of spirits of the night element. So it or not - we do not know. The cats themselves are silent about this. Secondly, simple consonance attracts attention: kosh-ka-ma-kosh.
Among the symbols personifying the goddess, there are often items related to needlework, such as tangles of thread, yarn or just a spindle. Among modern admirers of pagan gods, it is customary to make her idol in the form of a female figure with horns on her head and a cornucopia in her hands. For its production, as a rule, wood species bearing the names of the feminine gender are used, for example: pine, linden or birch.