The Glagolitic Script

Glagoljica Uglata - Istria, Croatia

Glagoljica Uglata – Istria, Croatia

The Glagolitic script is the first known Slavic system of writing. It predates the Cyrillic alphabet by a couple hundred years, and was originally thought to have been developed by Methodius, the brother of St Cyril, creator of Cyrillic. However, new studies of the Carpathian Rovas (Slavo-Sarmatian runes), which date from the seventh century, exhibit phonetic and ligature patterns similar to Glagoltic. Glagolitic itself doesn’t appear on the scene until 862 when it was developed by Methodius’ monks at the behest of Prince Ratislav in Great Moravia. This was presumably done to aid the Christian conversion of his subjects but was in fact a more pragmatic political maneuver to provide catholic liturgy in the native tongue as a means of weakening the influence of Frankish priests in the area. Glagolitic was thought to have, at first, been developed to serve the Slavic speakers of Bulgaria and Macedonia since Cyril and Methodius were both from Thessaloniki. It took on greater significance in Bohemia however. Such a controversy it became that it resulted in the imprisonment of latter brother’s disciples. Those that remained free fled south to Bulgaria in the late 9th century. Here King Boris I faced a similar political situation. He welcomed the learned students of Cyril and Methodius and encouraged them to write missiles in the native Slavic language as a means of checking the influence of Byzantine power. Over the next two hundred years Glagolitic once again spread northward. It made it’s way to the court scribes of Vladimir I and the newly established monasteries of Kievan-Rus in 990. In 1248, Pope Innocent IV granted the Croatian the clergy of southern Dalmatia the unique privilege of using the script to write Roman Rite liturgy. Here an angular version of Glagolitic called “Uglata” was developed. This is the script I will be referencing here in this analysis.

As many of you know, I am a Slavic heathen and witch. That said, my heathenry and my craft is  informed primarily by the west Balkan experience. Naturally, the unique preservation of the Glagolitic script in this region has always fascinated me. I felt compelled to explore this in greater depth. Like the the hebrew “aleph-beth” or germanic runes, Glagolitic is a system full of esoteric symbolism and magical potential. Each letter is both a word and a number. The task of decoding the letters seemed dauntingly confusing however. First, there are several variations of the script (Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Ukrainian, ect), some with up to forty characters or more. Nevertheless, I had this topic on my to-do list for well over a year but had no clue how to approach it. At some point I recall sitting down and praying for guidance. I opened up my secret book where I had hand drawn the letters along with their phonetics, meanings and correspondences. I noticed the Rider-Waite Tarot deck tucked away in the corner. There I caught a moment of inspiration. I thumbed through each letter in the book and recalled the corresponding Tarot card, beginning of course with the major arcana. Slowly a pattern began to emerge. Spellbound I continued to pour over the symbols, cross-referencing, analyzing and reanalyzing. Something visceral was suddenly emerging – like I had awoke to find myself having fallen asleep atop an endless pile of gold only to notice the piercing eye of a massive dragon starring at me as I pan back my field of vision. Could Glagolitic contain the secrets of a long forgotten, Slavonic christian mystery tradition?

Baška Tablet, Church of St. Lucy in Jurandvor near Baška

Baška Tablet, Church of St. Lucy in Jurandvor near Baška

Like the Bogomils, dual-believers, old believers, witches and other heretics before them, many of our Slavic ancestors went to great lengths to preserve the indigenous European religious gnosis by shrouding it in the imagery and discourse of the new Christian doctrine. Could this Slavic system of writing reveal something timeless about our native faith that we might not otherwise know? I caught shivers contemplating the possibilities. Then, like most fleeting moments of incredible revelation, I became overwhelmed by the enormity of the task set before me by the gods. I didn’t muster the strength to revisit the subject for another three months. Plus I wasn’t sure it would be worthwhile to pursue something that seemed so far out. That said, it’s not like we don’t know the names of most of the letters and a thorough study of the ligatures slowly reveals its aesthetic concepts, which in turn reveal patterns. This aside, having a template, or “rosetta stone”, with which to cross-reference my cursory analysis would be helpful, and that is where the Major Arcana of the Tarot comes in. The Tarot is thought to have been brought to Europe by Mamluk Egyptians in the 14th century but was no doubt disseminated by the nomadic Romani people who carried it from the east to the west in their caravans. The largest Romani communities are in the Carpathian basin in countries like Romania and Slovakia. Thus Slavic folk magicians would have been well aware of the system at the beginning of the early modern period.

Since the Glagolitic runes are much older (presumably) than the tarot, I will not suggest the former’s development was pattered in any way by the latter, and knowing this, perhaps the “rosetta stone” metaphor used in the previous paragraph is an exaggeration. A better metaphor would be a mirror. The the Major Arcana is visual template that reflects the visceral nature that lies behind our intrinsic reality. The cards tell the tale of the cyclical journey of the individual, as he or she travels from blithe ignorance towards the vistas of self knowledge and cosmic wisdom. The Tarot appeals to our sense because it’s imagery is archetypal and recognizable by all (note: I am not suggesting here that the Gods/spirits are archetypes!) Over the course of my analysis of Glagolitic, where relevant, I make note of similarities between the letter and its corresponding card in numerical order. These correspondances are purely coincidental (or synchronistic, if you prefer that word). Where there are no apparent similarities with the Tarot, I point that out too. I did not attempt to locate a card correspondence for each and every letter, as it is not my intention to graft the Tarot onto Glagolitic. My area of focus was determine whether or not Glagolitic possessed the element of magical intent. If so, it surely has a narrative of its own, perhaps one colored in a unique way by the people who first conceived of it. Please refer to the Rider-Waite deck as that is the one with which I make reference to.

Glagojlica Uglata

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Azu.svg

Az | A (Eng. I)

The first letter Az is the proto-Slavic word for “I”. The trident shape is reminiscent of the Hindu god Shiva, and this letter could signify the three principles of Jav, Nav and Prav. It may also represent the primeval god Rod united with Rozhanitsa, the triple goddess of fate who dwells below the world tree/pillar, which is suggested by the central ligature. Rod was thought to be first among the gods and is a derivative of the Hindu god Rudra, another name for Shiva. Some stories say he churned the cosmos into existence, himself having been pulled apart in process, similar to the “dance” of Shiva and Shakti (notice the churn-like shape?).

 

Divination: The self, beginnings, unpredictability, birth and fate, a journey is being embarked upon, a magician, presence of Rod/Rozhanitsa

 

Magical uses: Inner work, self-expression, to begin a creative project, a amulet/talisman for magicians, to summon Rod/Rozhanitsa

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Buky.svgBuka | B (Eng. sound, noise)

Buka means “sound”. There are four extended ligatures here, perhaps denoting the four elements. To me this is symbolic of the demiurge, the divine blacksmith Svarog who forged Jav, the reality we live in, via his metallurgical skill. Metallurgy requires mastery over the four elements; the unrefined iron ore (earth) is melted in a forge (fire) kept hot using bellows (air) then cooled with water and formed betwixt hammer and anvil (the spirit of the male and female respectively). Now imagine the repetitive sound of metal clashing as the tribal Blacksmith forged tools and weaponry.

 

Divination: skill, craft, dexterity, a course of events set in motion, a project is underway, spirit of a blacksmith, presence of Svarog

 

Magical uses: to marshall elemental forces, to meditate upon the elements, an amulet/talisman blacksmiths, to summon Svarog

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Vede.svgVedi | V (Eng. view; see)

Like the Roman sibyls and Germanic völvas of old, the Slavs were known for their vedmas, female seers like Baba Vanga whose prophetic visions are the stuff of legend even today. The word “vedma” took on a derogatory meaning during the witch-hunts of the late medieval period. That said, vedit means “to see”, but not merely in the optical sense, but the ability to understand things that are hidden to most others. This sigil is about esotericism and foresight. Interestingly enough, in northern Croatia a class of large, hairy forest spirit are called ‘vedi’. They could shapeshift and hid in the forests often disguised as trees, steering wanderers off their path. Their eyes were bright yellow. These are no different than the leshy known elsewhere in the East. The letter’s shape could signify two eyes.

 

Divination: foresight, prophesy, occult knowledge, a person of great vision, spirit of a witch or prophetess, presence of vedi/leshy

 

Magical uses: to obtain prophetic vision, to alter perceptions, to view vila and other forest spirits, an amulet/talisman for prophets and witches, to summon a vedi/leshy

 

500px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Glagoli.svgGlagoljo | G (Eng. verb; words; ripples)

Glagolje are words. The word itself is derived from the much older Slavic word for “ripples” which is to say this letter not only represents words, but also the effects of those words. This sigil is builds upon the polarity we find in the previous letter but with an emphasis on form rather than function. This is about vibration, resonance and the relationship between cause and effect. Notice the flower shape of the letter? This, coupled with the etymological connection to water, brings to mind the divine twins of the northern European fertility cults. Here we can think of Freyr and Freya, Lada and Lado, Jarilo and Jarila or Ljelj and Ljelja. We are now able to “see” through the eyes of another. This is life’s most precious mystery – how two become one.

 

Divination: words, becoming, self-expression, growth, spirit of a maiden, presence of Lada (Jarila)

 

Magical uses: to compose song, poetry or literature, to aid horticulture, to encourage personal growth, an amulet/talisman for young women, to summon Lada (Jarila)

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Dobro.svgDobro | D (Eng. right; good)

This sigil is about leadership, right action and logic as ‘dobro’ is the Slavic word for “good” or “right”. It’s shape looks a like a throne. It might belong to Perun, the arbiter of Prav, from Russian pravda meaning “truth”. Now notice the ax-head shape of the letter. As the Slavic thunder god, Perun is responsible for lightening strikes. His name is likely a derivative of the god Parjanya, an epithet for Indra the thunderer. When lightening struck, the ground often split open revealing arrowheads from the ancient neolithic cultures long past. Slavic peasants collected these “thunderstones” believing them to be sent from the god himself and used them as amulets to protect their homes and stables.

 

Divination: truth, right action, protection, authority, the spirit of a soldier or warrior, presence of Perun

 

Magical uses: for physical protection, to evoke thunder or hail-storm, to gain divine retribution, an amulet/talisman for warriors, to summon Perun

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Yestu.svgJest | E (Eng. exists; is)

Questions of an existential nature are purview of this sigil. To denote that a thing exists the word ‘jest’ is used in most Slavic languages. What existed in pagan times is different from what exists today. The world was populated by gods and spirits then, not atoms and molecules. The priests and priestesses of the local cult mediated health and welfare of the population, whereas men and women in suits and lab coats play this role for us today. Unfortunately due to christian colonization Rodnovery has very few institutions. These things will come as the reconstruction progresses. It should be noted that this letter is also the emblem for the Euro, the currency of exchange in the European Union. This would speak to the power of trade and commerce. If true this letter may connect to Veles, the deity believed to be the arbiter of exchange. We know this because Nestor’s Primary Chronicle says his worship occurred in the central market of Kiev, away from the exalted position of the other gods.

 

Divination: money, wealth, trade, commerce, an existential question, the spirit of a merchant, priest or priestess, presence of Veles

 

Magical uses: to attract money, to grow wealth, to aid in trade or commercial endeavors, an amulet/talisman for merchants, herdsmen, priests or priestesses, to summon Veles.

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Zhivete.svg-2Živite | Zh (Eng. to live)

Živite means “to live”. Life is a balance between the needs of the group and the needs of the individual. When we live in a balanced way our families and tribes grow in strength and numbers. This brings to mind the goddess Živa, whose cult image in the Saxon Chronicle depicted her on an island. In the right hand she held a golden apple – in the left she held grapes. This symbolizes the dance between life and death, pain and pleasure, responsibility and desire. This letter is nearly identical to Vedi, save for the v-shaped ligature at the top. This suggests a continuation of the role of vision in life. Though the gods present us with numerous challenges, ultimately is up to us to decide how we view the situation – is it a gift or a curse?

 

Divination: health, wellbeing, vitality, choice, responsibility, perspective, presence of Živa

 

Magical uses: to heal from trauma, to make tough decision, to reconcile competing desires/needs, an amulet/talisman for doctors and healers, to summon Živa

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Dzelo.svgDzelo | Dz (Eng. work; action)

This sigil is about momentum and power. ‘Dzelo’ means “work” or “action”. The letter’s top ligature reaches forward like sales in the wind bringing to mind a sailboat, perhaps even a chariot, oxen cart or man on horseback. Work of all kinds can be seen in this letter. Ultimately what propels life forward is this inherent survival instinct, the eternal march toward progress. This could represent the solar chariot of Dažbog, which seems congruent given the letter’s phonetics. Like the Sun, our work never stops.

 

Divination: work, career, success, fame, heroism, spirit of a laborer, presence of Dažbog

 

Magical uses: to attract new job opportunities, to excel in job interviews, to achieve success in any endeavor, an amulet/talisman for workers and job-seekers, presence of Dažbog

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Zemlja.svgZemlja | Z (Eng. earth)

‘Zemlja’ is the Slavic word for “earth”. The Earth is perhaps the oldest Slavic Goddess. The letter’s shape seems related to Glagoljo (words). This makes sense if we take Lada to represent water and Mat Zemlja to represent the earth – the two primal female elements. The curved ligature at the bottom indicates that an chthonic power, or “root”, resides below the terrestrial power we found in Glagoljo. This letter demonstrates how our words, or thoughts, crystallize and take on material form over time. This is the relationship of mind and matter as it is tethered to the Earth’s process of growth and decay. We reap what we sow.

 

Divination: foundation, resolve, patience, fastidiousness, growth cycles, a trial of endurance, spirit of a mother, presence of Mat Zemlja

 

Magical uses: to build strong foundations, to encourage resolve, patience and endurance, in manifestation work, an amulet/talisman for mothers, to summon Mat Zemlja

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Izhe.svgIže | I (Eng. behind; beyond)

Iže is an article word in most Slavic tongues meaning “behind” or “beyond”. The central hourglass ligature then may represent an axis mundi of sorts, balanced at either side by a past (behind) and future (beyond). The letter has a very mercurial feel to it, reminding me very much of the horned god Veles, but more so of the three-headed god known as Triglav. Triglav was reported to have been blindfolded so as to “not see the sins of men”. This brings to mind the paradoxical deities like Odin who gives an eye so that he may see the true reality. This letter is evocative of a transitory figure, one who walks the three worlds, defying our concepts of time and space – one who represents the pagan trinity as observed in countless traditions from Egyptian to Celtic.

 

Divination: mystery, paradox, ambiguity, a seeker after wisdom, spirit of an ancestral sage, presence of Triglav

Magical uses: to travel the three realms, to see past and future events, to reconcile paradox, to contemplate the mysteries, and amulet/talisman for wisdom seekers, to summon Triglav

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_I.svgI | Y (Eng. and; or)

This word means “and” in all Slavic languages and is clearly related to the previous letter Iže. The hourglass shape may suggest something to do with time. Take away the two “heads” from Iže and you have this letter. If those heads represented past and future as we suggested previously, perhaps this represents the present moment? The two “heads” could also signify the paradoxical principles of Nav and Prav, making I the symbol for Jav – our present reality. This all suggests an emphasis on the here and now. This conjures images of the Slavic Fates called ‘Suđenica’, or ‘Doyla’ and ‘Nedoyla’, an east Slavic conception for the binary nature of fortune.

 

Divination: fate, chance, fortune, possibility, spirit of luck, presence of the Fates.

 

Magical uses: to alter or skew fate, to live in “the now”, an amulet/talisman for gamblers, to summon the Fates.

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Djervi.svgĐervo | J (Eng. wood; timber)

Wood provides curious imagery for the twelfth letter in the Azbuka. Wood is a symbol of civilization. Timber has to be cut from the forest before being processed into wood for building. Wherever urbanization occurred, walls were built to separate the civilized world from the wilds outside. Laws soon followed to maintain the social order. Here I recall the dark goddess Dzevana, the virgin huntress of the forest and I’m also reminded of the Wendish goddess Zaria, a protectress to whom warriors made morning sacrifices at dawn. Together they symbolize the liminal boundary between night and day, as well as the metaphorical “hedge” separating the rustic wilderness from urban civilization. Both goddesses were associated with the planet Venus and together they may well represent the Zoryas as understood in Russia – personifications of the morning and evening star.

 

Divination: law, court case, an injustice, social order, an enclosure, spirit of a law enforcement officer, judge, lawyer, presence of Zaria or Zoryas.

 

Magical uses: to win a court case, to establish order, to protect gates, fences, enclosures, an amulet/talisman for lawyers, judges, cops and security guards, to summon Zaria or the Zorya.

2000px-Glagolitic_kako.svgKako | K (Eng. how)

Kako means “how” in all Slavic languages. This letter is perhaps the most peculiar of all. It almost resembles a door hinge or a lever of some kind. Whenever we ask “how?”, as opposed to “who?”, “what?”, “when?” and “where?”, the answer is always subjective and open to interpretation. The cliche that there are “two sides to every story” comes to mind here, and the deviated ligature might suggest such an impasse. These sorts of hang-ups lead the questioner to ponder the limitations of their own perception, perhaps gaining insight into a different perspective. Once there, we often find that our commonalities outweigh our differences. It may also speak to how the meaning of other letters in a spread might play out.

 

Divination: a different reality or new perspective, a possibility ignored or hidden, limiting belief systems are being confronted, how an event indicated by other letters will play out

 

Magical uses: to see new realities and perspectives, to uncover hidden or unknown possibilities, to find an innovative solution to a problem, to challenge limiting beliefs, to gain insight into “how” an events will play out, an amulet talisman for ??

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Ljudije.svg

Ljudije | L (Eng. people)

This letter is named after the Slavic word for “people”. Of all the creatures on earth, humans have conscious awareness of self and thereby understand the concept of time and the limitations it presents. The implications of this knowledge is the source of most human suffering. That said, it is also the source of human ingenuity, hence (again) the binary shape of the letter. This connects directly to Vedi (to view) and Živite (to live). While we are living we possess this unique form of awareness, a point of view if you will, that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. This could be the ‘key of the ancestors’. Notice too how it resembles the Othala rune of the Elder Futhark?

 

Divination: legacy, inheritance, culture, heritage, group thought, spirit of the ancestors

 

Magical uses: to manage legacy and inheritance, to honor culture and heritage, to manipulate groups of people, an amulet/talisman for leaders and politicians, to summon the ancestors

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Myslite.svgMislite | M (Eng. to think)

In order to make sense of the mysteries of life and death it is necessary to think using both right and left brain hemispheres. Mislite reflects that balanced flow and integration. The letter has a very flowing, feminine appearance bringing to mind the grain goddess Mokoš. She taught the art of weaving linen and flax to Slavic women. Her name is etymologically related to mokhri, an old Slavic word for “wet”. The other half of Mislite could then represent the goddess Morena, who’s bitter winters froze the waters and made life difficult for people, but whose role was necessary for the renewal of the grain crop in Spring.

 

Divination: thought, deliberation, meditation, symbiosis/bipolarity, mental (im)balance, a situation that demands careful thought, spirit of a grandmother, the presence of Mokoš or Morena

 

Magical uses: to support critical thinking, to aid meditation, to promote homeostasis and mental balance, an amulet/talisman for textile makers and homemakers, a talisman for Mokoš or Morena

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Nashi.svgNaš | N (Eng. our)

This is the Slavic word for “our”. Its interesting to note that Dzelo (work) and Đervo (wood) both contain this ligature. The former we linked to Dažbog and the latter we connected to the Zorya.  This could speak to the relationship between Dažbog and his daughters, the Zorya. If so, it could represent the Serbian folk deity Dabog – Dažbog’s chthonic alter-ego, whom west Slavs worshiped as Svarozich (little Svarog). “Wood”, then, is “worked” to produce fire. Like Dažbog/Dabog, fire is dualistic by nature – it can heat the home just as easily as it can burn it down. It’s impermanent and requires wood be harvested to in order to maintain it. This speaks to our attachment to material things and a desire for security that stems from the evolutionary programming of thousands of years worth of bio-survival instincts. This possessiveness can negatively alter our destiny and karma – but only if we let it. Nearly everything we claim as “ours” is in fact something impermanent, so while we should cherish the things we have, we should not be miserly to those in need. The heathen expression “We are our deeds” (not our things!) comes to mind as the ideal mantra.

 

Divination: energy, need, desire, attachment, possession, hoarding, spirit of the hearthfire, presence of Dabog or Svarozich

 

Magical uses: to boost energy, to win an object of desire, to impose one’s will (in tandem with other letters), an amulet/talisman for home and hearth, to summon Dabog or Svarozich

 

240px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Onu.svgOn | O (Eng. his)

On(a) means “his” or “hers”. Whereas Naš (ours) begs us to recall the axiom “we are our deeds (i.e. actions)”, On seems to add the caveat, “we are our consequences”. In the West, we think of ourselves as autonomous. The truth is we’re constantly being influenced by the external forces around us in ways we are rarely conscious of. Our actions cast ripples that span the cosmos and likewise, we are being bombarded by the ripples of others. This sigil is about other people/ entities who influence our lives. This letter might correspond to Stribog, Perun’s shadow. But like Morena, Stribog is necessary for the regeneration of life. Lightning strikes infuse soil with nitrogen and the wind spreads seeds and spores that spring forth new life.

 

Divination: other persons, rivals, experience, trauma, external influences/ spirits, presence of Stribog

 

Magical uses: to negate or inflict trauma, to cast or reverse a hex, to expel unwanted spirits or people, an amulet/talisman for protection/maleficium, to summon storms/ Stribog

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Pokoji.svgPokoj | P (Eng. peace; room; space)

Like Mislite, this ligature resembles (somewhat) its Latin phonetic equivalent. Its meaning is derived from the south Slavic word for “peace”. There is a bit of optimism in play here finally. Peace is the reward for perseverance. This letter may also connect to the Zorya, but more specifically to Zvjezda Danica, the morning star, due to the hopeful presence it heralds. Interestingly, the word pokoj in other contexts means “room” or “space” which fits well in the context of stars residing in the vast ocean of the night sky. It is the feeling that a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and represents hope and renewal.

 

Divination: peace, hope, healing, renewal, harmony, spirit of a monk or peacemaker, presence of Danica

 

Magical Uses: to promote renewal, to resolve conflict, to heal physical and emotional wounds, an amulet/talisman for monks and peacemakers, a talisman for Danica.

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Ritsi.svgReći | R (Eng. say; tell)

Reći means “to say” or “make words”. It was through sounds and words that the first humans learned to communicate using abstraction. The peace and serenity of Pokoj that followed the disruptive forces of the previous letters make way for a clean slate; one in which the a new seed can germinate. Many traditions tell of a god speaking or breathing life into existence. Whereas Glagoljo represented the word itself, Reći symbolizes the act of saying it. The letter’s shape reminds me of a pregnant woman. The potential for new life is quickened and rebirth is imminent. Words have magical as well as communicative power. Many of us have experienced the phenomenon of speaking something into existence. To me this letter represents Rozhanitsa, the female consort, or aspect of, Rod whom we connected to the first letter Az. Rozhanitsa (plural Rozhanitsy) was celebrated as a deity of midwives and today her name denotes a woman in childbirth.

 

Divination: talk, speech, gossip, rumor, a message, to come into being, birth, spirit of a midwife, presence of Rozhanitsa

 

Magical Uses: chanting, mantra work, to aid a speech, song, or poetry performance, manifestation, to aid childbirth, an amulet/talisman for midwives, to summon Rozhanitsa

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Slovo.svgSlovo | S (Eng. letter; sign; script)

Slovo means “letter” or “sign”. This is the clear visual abstraction that corresponds to the vibrational nature of the previous letter. The top ligature has a very solar appearance. Although Dažbog is considered the chief solar god, the sun-fire itself was called Sunce. She was a female or gender neutral deity in Baltic religion, as it seems Dažbog supplanted her in this role among Slavs during the migration period. That said, the sun isn’t the only celestial body of light in the sky – this could also represent the moon, known as Mesyats, a male deity said to be the uncle or brother of the sun, or perhaps Lunica, a female lunar deity worshiped in some west Slavic traditions. That said, my intuition tells me that this letter best connects to Svantevit, the “bright god” whose cult was so beloved by the Baltic Slavs and who’s midsummer rites lived on in the cult of St. Vitus. This is the word itself coming alive.

 

Divination: a sign, an omen, an email, a letter, spirit of a child, presence of Svantevid

 

Magic: Glagolitic magic, to aid in writing or blogging, to aid vision quests or solar rites, an amulet/talisman for children, to summon Svantevid

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Tvrido.svgTrvdo | T (Eng. hard; solid)

This is a Slavic word for “solid”. The twin pillars we saw in Vedi (to see/ understand), Zivite (to live) and Ljudje (people) reappear here in Trvdo. This letter is simply Vedi inverted. What we have seen has now become reality (seeing is believing!). This calls upon the idea of human destiny. Our understanding and lived experiences shape us in a unique way unlike any other species on the planet. We have the unique ability to understand, create and communicate through the use of abstraction and analogy. The things we create, whether ideological, technological or otherwise have reshaped the natural world in unparalleled ways. But before any of that could take place, we had to have the vision to see it. This letter seems to represent the finished product of human creativity, whatever that may be – for good or for for ill. In the end however, all those things return to the wilderness – to Devanna, the first vedma.

 

Divination: destiny, completion, manifestation, finished product, creation, spirit of an artist or creative, presence of a Devanna

 

Magical Uses: manifestation, law of attraction, to complete a project, an amulet/talisman for artists and creatives, to summon Devanna

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Uku.svgUk | U (Eng. end, abolish)

This letter is of uncertain etymological origin but the most popular interpretation is that is derived from the South Slavic root word uk, from Serbo-Croatian ukinuti, meaning “to abolish”. The shape of the letter is a combination of the Glagolitic letters On (his/hers) and I (and). This letter indicates that an individual is ‘losing themselves’ in the gravitational pull of the external other. This calls to mind the “sacred marriage” motif and the idea of dissolution. This is the kind of attraction that causes us to “lose our ourselves” and become one with our mate. That sense of self is called the ‘um’, the third aspect of the tripartite soul along with rod and život. This letter might represent our um (mind/psyche) as it is pulled into the void by the overwhelming force of gravity in our quest to find the truth of who we really are. All things that were once solid in Trvdo have now been dismembered.

 

Divination: dissolution of identity/ego, liberation, loss of self, absolution, absorption,

 

Magical Uses: to attract something, to attract a lover, to abolish the ego, to transcend dialectic thinking, working with the um (mind/psyche),

 

2000px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Fritu.svgFrt | F (Eng. ?)

This letter’s translation is uncertain, but what is certain is its identity. It is identical to the Cyrillic letter F and the Greek letter Phi and thus might have been borrowed from these alphabets at a later date. This may be due in part to the fact the original Slavic language had very little use for this letter’s phonetics and many of the F-words (no pun!) that appear in Slavic languages today are in fact loanwords from other languages. This continues the sacred marriage idea a step further – the letter combines the circular (feminine) and vertical (masculine) forms, symbolizing the genesis of the creative act itself. A power is produced here – the život, or life-force energy, as it gestates once again in principle of matter, or Jav.

 

Divination: life-force energy, sexual energy, intercourse, a union of opposites, harmony

 

Magical Uses: energy work, tantra, sex magic, for fertility, to improve labido, working with the život (life-force energy).

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Heru.svgHjer | H (Eng. caprice)

This letter is of uncertain translation as well, but may be connected to the Serbo-Croatian root word hir, meaning “caprice” or “whimsy”. If this is so, it might imply spontaneous action, perhaps even spiritual revelation or rebirth Notice that this letter is nearly identical to Glagoljo which we connected to the summer fertility Goddess Lada (Jarila). I’m inclined to identify this letter with Jarilo (Lado), the spring aspect of the fertility god Svantevid. The fact that spiritual revelation might be connected to this letter makes even more sense given what we know about the cult of St Vitus in the middle ages, whose rites were accompanied by song and ecstatic dance. May Eve festivals in honor of Jarilo are full of fertility imagery celebrating the capricious nature of love and emotion – one minute we are hot, the next we are cold – just like the solar cycle that Jarilo embodies. To everything there is a season!

 

Divination: capriciousness, impermanence, spontaneity, an unexpected occurrence, a young man, presence of the god Jarilo

 

Magical Uses: to aid ecstatic ritual, to bolster self confidence, to ‘get out of a rut’, luck in all things, growth of crops, a amulet/talisman for young men, to summon Jarilo

 

220px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Otu.svgOt | Ø (Eng. from)

This letter means “from” in most Slavic languages and the circular shape is no different from its Cyrillic, Latin and Greek counterparts, save from its stylized presentation here. The interpretation is pretty straight forward then; this is about origin. This could connect to Rod, or perhaps what preceded him – those archaic ideas of a cosmic egg so well preserved in Slavic Easter customs. The ritual making of pzanki comes to mind – “pzanki” means “loop” in Serbo-Croatian. This seems to symbolize the idea of rod, our ancestral inheritance and epigenetic memory, for we are all Jarila and Jarilo or Lada and Lado, who rise from the bardo of Navi at birth and return to it when we die.

 

Divination: primal origins, liminality, an opening or opportunity, beginnings and endings, birth and death, Samsara

 

Magical Uses: connecting with the world of the dead, to open liminal space, to achieving psychic integration, contemplating the highest mystery, studying Dharma or the Tao, working with the rod

 

This ends the 24 letter AzBuka. Šta (the 25th letter) is microcosm of the whole alphabet – a formula that symbolizes the complete mystery in one letter. The remaining letters are simply derivatives or extrapolations of the others in the original 25.

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Shta.svg

Šta | Scha (Eng. what)

This is the word for “what” in most modern Slavic languages. The letter bears resemblance to its Cyrillic equivalent. Esoterically, the question of “what?” might suggest we are getting closer to identifying the source of the great Slavonic mystery. The letter is a combination of Az (I), Buka (sound), and Slovo (word), which we connected to Rod, Svarog, and Dažbog. Therefore this letter might represent the three generations of the gods in one unit, a Slavic Trimirti perhaps, like Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu. Notice though that they are still tethered to a lower ligature identical to the lower half of I (and), which we connected to the idea of time. The ligature appears in Slovo, whose overall circular shape resembles the sun/moon, which was the Earth’s first clock. To me this riddle reads something to the effect of: “I am sound, therefore I am the word”.

 

120px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Tsi.svgCi | Ts (Eng. ??)

Ci is of uncertain translation but some have connected it to the word ‘tsar’ which is a Slavic appellation of the Latin caesar, meaning “ruler”. Since the Croats have a heavy Alanic influence their native equivalent kralj is etymologically linked to the Persian language, so I am unsure about this translation. Looking at the shape we find the curved, tear-drop ligature present on many of the Glagolitic letters such as Glaglju(sound), Zemlja (earth), Dzelo (many), Đerv (wood), Naš (our), On (his/her), Reći (speak) and Uk (end). Beyond these observations, I can find no obvious esoteric interpretation.

150px-Glagolitic_cherv.svgČrv | Ch (Eng. worm)

This letter means “worm” in most Slavic languages. It appears similar to Šta in a lot of ways with the middle ligature split in two, fanning to either side like the forked tongue of a snake creating an enclosure within the trident. The base resembles Ot and thus the snake/ouroboros symbolism is obvious. I connect this letter with zmaje, the dragons of Slavic folklore. These are the monsters who threaten the order imposed by the gods of the Slavic Trimirti.

 

Glagoljica_Ša.svgŠa | Sha (Eng. with; handful)

If Šta represents the Slavic Trimirti tethered to time, Ša shows the three gods standing alone in their own element, free of time. For me this represents the three gods of the three worlds in one; Rod, Svarog, and Dažbog gloriously unified in one single cosmos.

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Yeri.svgJer | Yeh (Eng. because)

Jer is the word for “because” in Serbo-Croatian. It is pronounced “YEH” and is used to spell words like “yesterday”. This is essentially the letter I that we connected to the Wheel of the Tarot deck, with an added ligature on the left-hand side. Perhaps this letter speaks to the “why?” question of the Slavonic mysteries. To me this is the symbol for Prav.

240px-Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Yeru.svg

Jerj | Yuh (Eng. by)

Jerj might connect to the Serbo-Croatian word for “by”. It is pronounced “YUH” and is used to spell words like “lasagna”. Again, this is the letter I with a ligature on the left-hand side except it forms a box. This letter might speak to the “who?” question of the Slavonic mysteries. This, to me, is a symbol for Nav.

 

Glagolitic_Letter_Square_Yati.svg

Jat | Yah (Eng. flock)

Jat means “flock” in many Slavic languages. It is pronounced “YAH” and used to spell words like “yacht”. I have seen other renditions of this letter that look a lot like Đerv (wood/tree). This brings to mind the Vila and Vensa spirits of the forest that were welcomed with cakes and milk upon the arrival of migratory birds in spring. This letter could also represent the Alknost or Firebird of Slavic folklore.

 

600px-Glagolitic_yu.svg

Jus | Yoo (Eng. ??)

Jus is of uncertain meaning. It is pronounced “YOO” and is used to spell words like “milieu”. It’s shape resembles an inverse Ša enclosed at an angle. If Ša symbolizes the unadulterated emanation of the Slavic Trimirti, might this represent the harnessing, or drawing down of said holy powers? Just a thought…