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  • Neo-Pagan Partisans May 2, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback


    Ask a well-read person today about neo-paganism and many will identify it as something that came out of flower power in the late 1960s. However, this is not, for the most part, true. Neo-pagans were actually around before the Great War and in some incarnations neo-paganism can be traced back to late nineteenth-century eccentrics, such as cremated Welsh druid William Price. One of the consequences of this longer chronology is that Neo-Pagans took part in several events, with which we would not normally associate them, not least the Second World War. For the UK we’ve a doubtful case of altruistic human sacrifice from WW2 and even magical warfare against the Luftwaffe. The British neo-pagans had the enemy at arm’s length but what about those on the Continent who had to get up close and personal with the occupier? Beach came across an outstanding and surely very rare example in Mariya Lesiv’s The Return of the Ancestral Gods, which left him gasping for air. In 1944 a partisan group called Perun rescued seven prisoners from the village of Poverhiv (Komarnians’ky). Poverhiv is in the Lviv oblate in the extreme west of Ukraine: Lviv may have had a majority Polish population at this date. Now why care about Perun? Well, two reasons. First, Perun (pictured above) was the ancient Slavic god of thunder and lightening: being attacked by a Partisan group of this name would be the equivalent of SS guards being fired on by Group Zeus in Crete. Second, Volodymyr Shaian, the founder of Ukraine’s most important pre-war neo-pagan group, Native Faith, had fled with the German army to the west: however, he left behind him certain Knights of the Solar God in Lviv, giving instructions to fight against the ‘liberating’ Soviets! It is always possible that Perun was just a ‘fine’ Ukrainian name, in the same way that some warships are named after marine gods. But the coincidence of area and interest is striking: it looks like the Knights of the Solar God took up their founder’s challenge in that period of Ukrainian resistance after renewed Soviet occupation.  Did they believe themselves to be Cossack sorcerers? Did they pray to the solar god before pressing into battle? Did they have lightning bolts painted on their bodies? As to their fate it is probably best not to ask. Things can hardly have finished well. Any information about Perun and co: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    26 Oct 2014: RD with an amazing update here: Interestingly, the pagan partisan phenomenon in Ukraine is still very much active today. You might find this article from The Times (Sept. 27, 2014) interesting: Ukraine’s pagan pro-Russian rebels dream of a new Eden (It’s mostly behind a pay-wall now, but I found the full text of the article here) It takes a look at a rather interesting group of vegetarian pro-Russian neo-pagans fighting in the current conflict in Ukraine. They call themselves the “Svalrog Battalion.” Svalrog is supposed to be part of a pagan trinity of some sort (called the Triglav – according to Wikipedia, anyway), along with our old friend Perun! While I am personally sympathetic to the Ukrainian side in this fight, they too have their share of neo-pagan fighters. In particular, the volunteer Azov Battalion is known to have members of the neo-Nazi, as well as neo-pagan persuasion. This FT entry from Sept. 13, 2014 discusses a conversation about the prevalence of neo-Nazi sympathies among some of the pro-Ukraine volunteer battalions and writes: “I asked this character if any of his comrades expressed neo-Nazi sympathies: “I haven’t met any neo-Nazis,” he said. “But you would be amazed at the number of pagans and sun-God worshippers.”” Neo-paganism is the East seems to be a relatively lively and even political force these days. It’s usually tied to far-right, nationalist causes – in the formerly Soviet countries, at least. Anyway, I thought you might find it interesting that not only is Ukrainian neo-pagan partisan activity still around – but different flavors of neo-pagans are now actually fighting each other in a real war! I wonder when the last time pagans were at war with each other in Ukraine (or anywhere in Europe for that matter)?’ Thanks RD

    25 May 2015: RD sends an update. Great stuff. Just quote a paragraph here. Love this stuff:

    “Yes, the Yin and Yang symbol is actually a Slavic symbol that the Chinese took from us. Actually, we are the true Chinese. Seven thousand five hundred and twenty-three years ago there was a war between the Slavs and pseudo-Chinese. The Slavs won.” As an admission of defeat, he added, the pseudo-Chinese built the Great Wall of China to imprison themselves for their new Slavic masters. “Just look at the Great Wall of China,” Bright Light insisted, “and you’ll see that the arrow slits are turned inward, not outward.”