Slavic mythology and lore are filled with gods, terrifying monsters and magical tales of heroes and warriors. But besides all that, there are countless stories about magical and mystical birds. And just like everything else in Slavic mythos, the border between darkness and light is blurry, at best. After all, according to Slavic beliefs, darkness is not necessarily evil. Only Chaos is the true evil.
Today, I wanted to introduce the magical Bird Rarog.
WHO IS RAROG?
A good question. Some say Rarog is a god. Others say Rarog is a spirit of Fire and the symbol of the god of Fire, Semargl.
Just like most of the characters in Slavic lore, Rarog can change its appearance. Some legends say it may appear as a flaming wolf or even a fire-breathing dragon, but most agree that Rarog is a beautiful, fiery falcon surrounded by a cloud of sparks. When it flies across the sky, it looks like a flaming whirlwind. According to Polish beliefs, Rarog can shrink to such a small size that it can fit into the pocket of a person.
But when all is said and done, Rarog is a god that appears in the form of a bird.
SO, WHAT KIND OF GOD IS RAROG?
According to Slavic lore, Rarog was born from a golden egg that was laid by the World Duck at the time of Creation, and the Birds Alkonost and Gamayun are its sisters. Some believe that Rarog is a close relative of Finist—The Brave Falcon (Finist—Yasni Sokol) and the Firebird.
When it comes to the relationship between Rarog and people, it could go both ways.
Good Rarog. Sometimes, Rarog will sneak into a house to warn the owners about approaching trouble. If Rarog favored a person, it would act as a protector, bringing luck and prosperity to the chosen one. Because it is associated with Fire and Light, it will dispel the darkness, expelling everything that dwells in it. Legends have it that if the owners of the house were good people, Rarog could take a rest in their fireplace.
Great and Terrifying Rarog. Just like its element, sometimes, Rarog burns everything in its way, prophesying troubles, fires and calamities.
One more very special and unique quality of Rarog is that it belongs to two elements: Fire and Air. It is as light and fluid as air and as powerful and mighty as fire.
So, just because something warm, sparkling and bright is hanging around your property, it doesn’t necessarily mean a good thing. Make sure to treat Rarog right and with respect, as your entire future may depend on your relationship with this fiery bird… er… I meant to say ‘with this god’—a fiery god.
Enter the Salamanderverse, where magic and ancient myths are real, and things are not what they appear to be. If you haven't done it yet, you can download "The Burns Path”, a prequel to the Fire Salamander Chronicles Urban Fantasy series, for FREE on my website. The events of this 49,000-word novella occur before the Burns Fire, and it can be read as a standalone novel.