ALSO KNOWN AS:
Volos is the lord of cattle, wolves, wealth, and well-being. He defends the balance between wolves and domestic animals. Volos has dominion over birth and death: his power is manifest in alternating cycles of birth, growth, death, and decay. Oaths are traditionally sworn upon his name as Volos punishes oath-breakers as well as others who displease him with disease. In some regions, Volos is considered a lord of death and the ruler of an afterlife realm.
Volos, a particularly beloved deity, was historically venerated throughout the Slavic world. Even after he was officially banished, Volos did not disappear but transformed into Christian saints:
• Russian Saint Vlasii is the patron saint of livestock, especially cattle. Russian icons portray him surrounded by cows and sheep. His image is placed in the barn to provide protection. His blessings are invoked when cattle are ailing or infertile.
• Officially, Saint Veles is just the Croatian pronunciation of Saint Blaise, patron of the city of Dubrovnik. However, local people insist that their Saint Veles is a local saint, not the Armenian bishop. His specialty is guarding flocks.
Cattle herders, wolf lovers, snake charmers, musicians, merchants, traders
Volos may appear in the guise of a snake, dragon or a horned, bearded man. He has the capacity to continually regenerate in the manner that a snake sheds its skin and so Volos may appear old or youthful.
An image of Volos was kept in Kiev’s merchant quarters near the Pochaina River. When Vladimir I, Grand Prince of Kiev (circa 950–1015), converted to Christianity, this statue was allegedly thrown into the river. Likewise his stone image in Rostov, Russia, was destroyed and a church built on the site.
Creatures: Wolves, cows, sheep, dragons, snakes
1 January–6 January, the Festival of Wolves
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.