Category Archives: Sagas Legends Folklore

Hold Anya

Lady of the Moon


Possible Symbols: Moon, night, ocean tides, calendar, menstrual blood, agriculture

Colors: Blue, black, silver, gray, red (in relation to menstrual cycles)

The only information that I have of this being in an Old Magyar context is the name. Hold means moon, Anya means lady. Even then, it’s questionable whether this is just a name (like how contemporary English speakers say “Man in the Moon” while just considering the moon a rock in space), or if this was an actual deity with a personality and a story.

Contemporary Hungarian culture has more beliefs and ideas fleshing out the moon, but the modern agrarian society is rather different than the primarily steppe riding society of 1000 years ago (and who knows what the Hungarians were before that, the scholars who devoted their entire career to this still haven’t figured it out since there’s several theories at the moment). Therefore the values and social needs are different, and we see that many folk beliefs center on the moon cycle being a calender that was most often used to time crop and herding practices. Interestingly enough, “hold” also referred to an area of land (whether it was a unit of land measurement, or was a parcel of land, I cannot tell). There’s also folk beliefs that recognize the cyclical nature of the moon being similar to menstrual cycles, like many other societies have.

Folktales that describe the world tree upon which the taltos climb show the sun and moon being cosmological entities residing in the upper branches of the tree, with no personalities or sense of being attributed to them. There are several depictions of the Sun riding around (i.e. Napkirály in a chariot or on a horse), or being driven around (i.e. a Hungarian Christmas ballad with the Sun being in Csodaszarvas’s antlers) in folktales, but none for the moon that I’ve found thus far.

There’s several possibilities that we can take away from this. For one, maybe the moon just wasn’t an important entity in the deep past, but became important more once the Hungarians became an agrarian society (Other agrarian societies have also used the moon cycles as a calendar for crop activities; in Hungary it is the new moon that marks a new month, in some Germanic cultures it is similar with the first visible waxing crescent marking the new month). The other is that I simply haven’t found the information yet, or that the information is lost to time. Either way, considering Hold Anya as a distinct deity rather than a force of nature is, as far as I can currently tell, not historically attested and is therefore UPG.

My personal view is that Hold Anya could be a deity, but an impersonal one. To be honest the only “deity” attribute I regard her with is to list her as a moon deity (in terms of gendering the moon, while I feel that it’s mostly unnecessary I also feel that the moon shifts between male and female, story-wise). Otherwise my perspective is more along the line of modern Hungarian folk culture. I refer to the literal moon that is seen in the sky, and consider it a force of nature that creates a useful calender and affects the earth’s waters. The Germanic perspective that I also include in my “religion” is similar, where Manu (in this case, a male name) is impersonal and doesn’t have a whole lot to him other than existing and being listed as a deity. I usually just call the moon “Moon” and don’t engage in devotional rituals or create dedicated holy days. The Moon is just there, always watching and always with us.

 Images that remind me of them:

When the moon kisses the ocean by


by Pui-Mun Law at

Tsukiyomi in Moonlight by Edji


Artwork: Selene by



Hold by Akadémiai Kiadó (1982). Magyar néprajzi lexikon. (paste link into google translate)

Moon Goddess (*KUNKE > KUL >HOD/HOLD) by Fred Hamori (2002).  Sumerian and Finn-Ugor god names compared to Sumerian.


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Mother Danube

The Ancestral Waters

Symbols: Water, waves, spirals, foam, seeds, water birds, fish, cetaceans

Colors: Blue (various shades), blue-green

Possible Holy Time: Unknown

The seeds of the Holy Sea break out of your shell.

The eternal sea’s waves are waving, and rolling.
Their waves are rocking and their foam is hissing.
There is no earth yet anywhere…

How shall we create such a world, my dear father?

— This is the manner in which we can create it:
In the depths of the waving, blue Sea of Eternity are the
sleeping eyes , sleeping seeds, the sleeping Magya’s.

Descend therefore to the depths of the Great Sea and
bring up the sleeping seeds and dreaming eyes, so that
we can create a world out of them.

– Excerpt from the “Hungarian Myth of Creation”

Mother Danube is a deity of two-fold importance to me, both relating to ancestry in some way. On one hand, she is the “eternal” sea, the primordial waters from which the land and all living things were brought out of. Everything on earth came from her (she’s basically step 2 of creation; step 1 was making the whole universe out of Hajnal Anyácska). The Sun King, Napkiraly, had to transform into the first bird and dive into her to bring the seeds of life up from the depths, along with some muck to make dry land from. She now exists surrounding the world that we know.

On the other hand, the river Danube literally goes through the regions in Austria and Hungary that I have known ancestors from. She is literally the water source of my ancestors, whether for drinking, fishing, travel, or whatever. That is why I named the blog after her, her waters are a symbolic link between me and the heritage I seek to make traditions from.

However, unlike how Celtic-leaning circles refer to the deity, I find Mother Danube the deity to be impersonal, and primarily outside our world. As the Eternal sea our world floats inside her and is surrounded by her, but she’s still outside the Upper/Middle/Under world cosmological concept.

Now there most likely is a Danube the river wiht over in Europe. In which case, I would consider that to be different, a local land god that represents the major god for me. Something like the Wakčéxi or Rusalka.

Images that remind me of them:

Mother of the World by Nicholas Roerich

The Gorges of the Danube from



Magyar, Adorjan. Excerpt of the legend of creation from the Hungarian saga: The Saga of the Legend of the Stag.


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Non-binary Mysteries: 2-Solar and Lunar Symbolism

Prompt 2 of the non-binary mysteries roundtable involves Solar and Lunar Symbolism. Which is an incredible coincidence because I was just thinking about my own (probably strange) understanding of the Sun and Moon the other day, and how to write about it in the series of god posts that I’m creating to elaborate on my pantheon (you can find the first one here, that style is what I’m planning to write about each god/wiht with).

Some of the original prompts are not shown here due to not applying in my particular case.


 Who are the sun/moon deities that make most sense to you? Are they even from your tradition?

The concepts that make the most sense to me is the Female Sun/Male Moon concept, along with no gender associations at all. However, that’s for the actual celestial objects, the literal Sun and Moon. The sun’s part in photosynthesis and being essentially a source of life energy, along with being the center of the solar system and source of Earth (well, kinda, it’s a lot more complicated in actual astronomical theory but hopefully you get what I mean), gives the Sun more of a motherly feel in my mind. I sometimes consider her more specifically like a Grandmother, since she “gave birth” to the Earth and the Earth “gave birth” to everything else, including us. But, in general, the Sun feels female. Hence, I keep to the Germanic side of things and call her Sunna.

The moon feels male. The reason for this will probably not make sense to some, or even be offensive, but it is what it is for my particular situation. My family is mostly female, and has always been centered around the women, particularly the mothers. The women run the house, keep things in order, and are the primary authority on things (i.e. “go ask your mother” was what the fathers usually said). The men are more external (all the women are biological relatives, while only a few of the men are) and more transient. Likewise, the moon is also more external and aloof, drifting in and out of different phases and exerting an indirect effect on existing life rather than directly producing it (I’m aware that this isn’t the most scientific of generalizations, but I’m not intending it to be such in the first place). Therefore the moon is Mano.

While Sunna and Mano are Germanic gods and therefore are a part of my tradition, my imagination was heavily influenced by a friend’s stories of their gods, namely the solar goddess Karijiana and the lunar god D’miezak’r.  They’re both an excellent writer and artist, so for several years I would read and see beautiful stories and depictions of those two and it’s stuck in my mind to this day, even if some of the stories and attributes aren’t relatable to my tradition. But their stories were my first introduction to the concept of a female Sun and male Moon in a time when all I ever heard were people worshiping a female Moon and male Sun. Reading about Karijiana and D’miezak’r made something click for me and from then on I became more comfortable with the idea of understanding the Sun and Moon as deities.

Now to make matters a bit more confusing. I also have a male Solar deity and a female Lunar deity in my pantheon that are associated with the sun and moon, but it’s not certain if they’re literally the sun and moon. Napkirály and Hold Anya are (as far as I can tell) the Magyar versions of sun and moon deities. Yet, when trying to research how they were historically understood, I could only find snippets that were mostly focused on Napkirály and none of those snippets depicted him as being the literal sun. Hold Anya was worse, as I only had her name. Presumably she was not the literal moon as well, because other snippets suggested that the Sun and Moon were regarded as gender-neutral balls floating high in the sky in old Hungarian sources. I’m hoping to find more, but for now most of my understanding of the two deities are UPG. Basically, Napkirály and Hold Anya are cultural associations to what the sun and moon are observed doing, where Napkirály will fly over the Earth, keeping an eye on everything that’s happening and Hold Anya being associated with the tides and menstrual cycles.

To be quite honest though, cultural stories aside, for the most part these deity names are just names and the Sun and Moon are essentially celestial bodies/forces of nature to me, rather than humanistic gods with personalities and stories. They are impersonal beings that create cycles by which humans make calendars and the natural world changes. They influence all of life as we know it, and will be here practically forever (relative to human lifespans).

What bugs you most about the way solar/lunar symbology is constructed or described?

I really do not like patriarchal male sun gods and the associations with order and authority. Just rankles me for some reason (but then again that’s probably due to my irrational dislike for Greek and Roman mythology that was brought upon by my schools and by Neopaganism).

I can’t think of strong issues with any lunar symbology, though I do find the Maiden/Mother/Crone association with Waxing/Full/Waning to be a little tiresome and completely useless for me, due to the whole uterus=woman implications there. At least the earth being a mother makes sense since there’s literal growth and birth going on, but the moon? Nah. Being associated with menstruation is one thing, but having all stages of female life being centered solely on the uterus is another thing entirely. Bringing the moon into it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Do you have sun/moon UPG that integrates your identity?

Kind of, but not intentionally. Like I mentioned before, I usually hold the literal Sun and Moon as being female and male, respectively. However, while the Sun feels very firmly female and I’m highly uncomfortable with seeing her as male, the Moon I find feels both male and female, shifting back and forth like the phases. This was something that I felt before understanding my own gender identity, so it’s probably just a coincidence. However, I always had a fondness for the Moon and the common associations, such as silver and nighttime. So maybe it’s not a coincidence after all.


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Arany Atyácska, Hajnal Anyácska

Golden Father and Dawn Mother

Screenshot of the divine parents of the Sun God from the movie Fehérlófia. They don't match the description exactly but this movie has influenced much of my imagination and I can't help but be reminded of this scene whenever I think of the Mother and Father.

Screenshot of the divine parents of the Sun God from the movie Fehérlófia. They don’t match the description exactly but this movie has influenced much of my imagination and I can’t help but be reminded of this scene whenever I think of the Mother and Father.

Symbols: Stars, Universe, Time, Weaving, Milky Way, Mountains, Auroras

Colors: Black, White, Gold, Silver, Dark blue

There is no earth yet anywhere, but in the immeasurable heights, Above in his golden house, sits the great heavenly father on his golden throne.

He is the old, white haired and white bearded God of eternity. On his black robes there are thousands of sparkling stars. Besides him sits his wife, the Great Heavenly Mother. On her white robes (palast) there are thousands of sparkling stars. She is the ancient material of which everything is made. They have existed from eternity in the past and will exist for all eternity to come.

– Excerpt from the “Hungarian Myth of Creation”

These are the shapers of the universe, the origin of all that we see and know. I imagine them as the mountains rising in the distance, melding into the heavens, the aurora borealis, and the stars themselves. These two are a more abstract than the other deities because they act in a more pantheistic manner, particularly if you take the “ancient material of which everything is made” descriptor literally. If they make everything, then they are everywhere, and if they’re eternal, then they’re always everywhere. So there’s really no discreet deity to reference, other than the symbolic titles and descriptors that are mentioned in the passage. Therefore I consider these deities to be outside of our world, impersonal and not in contact with us in the way we are in contact with other beings. In a way though, one could consider contact with anyone and anything else to be contact with Them as well, but either way it’s an abstract extreme rather than something in the middle of the contact spectrum that defines most of our relationships.

Humans often see the world from the inside-out, laying over their immediate family structure and immediate surroundings over the rest of the universe, presumably because it makes sense of things the best. Most ancient people, at least among the regular population, were family-based rather than individual-based, and one is defined by their family rather than just themselves. Following the strong historical importance of families and clans I am not surprised that the Source of all is understood as a Mother and Father duo, as those are the traditional starters for a family, that then develops into a clan. Everything that exists could be the “descendents”, therefore  it’s all part of the same overall clan.

Images that remind me of them:

Milky Way over Lavaredo by Luca Cruciani

Winter’s Dream by Amanda Jane Clark

Uranus by vkacademy

Creation of Earth by Sukharev



Fehérlófia. video source:

Magyar, Adorjan. Excerpt of the legend of creation from the Hungarian saga: The Saga of the Legend of the Stag.


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Day 11: Pantheon – Overview

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you’ll know that I look into a variety of neighboring cultures in Central and Eastern Europe, with greater emphasis on Magyar cultures (and it’s influences) because there’s so little known about its pre-Christian past compared to Germanic or Slavic cultures.  This mixture applies to the gods as well. Even if I have names, there’s little to no explanations or descriptions for many gods so I have to fill in the blank so to speak with concepts from possible cognate gods and with my own UPG. So while I do prefer to make things as historical as possible, and I base as much as possible in evidence presented by literature and archeology, there are some things that are gonna be major UPG here to at least keep things making sense for me.

Explanation on the cosmology structure can be found here. It’s essentially a World Tree structure, growing out of a giant deer skull. The Upper World is the crown, the Middle World the trunks and surface roots, and Underworld is below the surface deep into the skull. Surrounding this is the ancient sea, creating an island of sorts out of the skull and tree, and is ringed by mountains on the horizon. Surrounding all this are the Mother and Father of all, being both the material and the makers of all that is and will be.

The Origin

Arany Atyácska (Golden Father), Hajnal Anyácska (Dawn Mother)

Mother Danube (the Primordial Waters)

Upper World

  • Sunna (The Sun)
  • Napkirály (King of the Sun)
  • Mano (The Moon)
  • Hold Anya (Lady of the Moon)
  • Turul (Heavenly Messenger)

Middle World

  • Nagy Boldogasszony (Queen Mother)
  • Szélkirály (King of the Wind and Rain)
  • Hadúr (King of War)
  • Csodaszarvas (Miraculous Doe)
  • Tündér Ilona (Queen of Fairies)
  • Tabiti/Kresnik (Hearth Fire/Sacred Fire)
  • Fra Berta (The Bright One)
  • Volos/Zomok (The Serpent God)
  • House and Nature wihts
  • Ancestors


  • Ördög (King of the Dead)
  • Wihts of bad things

I’m going to be giving each one here a post (if I haven’t already) with my own understandings and associations, that way their roles will (hopefully) become clearer.

I also want to point out that the high gods are primarily Magyar ones, but the lower gods and mythologies are what I tend to associate with more Germanic and Slavic wihts (along with some Ho-Chunk and other Great Lakes tribes’ wihts, since I live in their area). This is the pattern I tend to find when researching Hungarian stories and culture, where the more formal sagas are distinctly Magyar, while the informal tales feel Slavic.


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Grandmother Spider

“But hang on a sec, isn’t that the English name of a Native American deity?”

Yes, as far as we know, it is (actually, several deities). So those of you who come here for the European history stuff, you’ll probably be disappointed. The fantastic author of this blog is now going to delve into another personal subject similar to the wakčéxi post I made earlier.

But first, the back story! *whimsical music starts*

As mentioned in my author bio I study spiders, and if you’re taxonomically savvy you can tell that my username here is a taxonomic family name. It refers to a group of spiders that are completely without venom glands (it evolved secondarily, meaning these species’ ancestors DID have venom glands). They pulverize their prey via crushing them with extra lengths of webbing. How cool is that?

This scientific interest of mine came from a very unscientific experience. Long story short, I had some freaky spider encounters both in real life and in dreams occurring in the same short period of time that made me do some reading, and I happened upon folktales of Grandmother Spider. Since I do believe in deities as being independent, actual beings (rather than archetypes), I decided to explore that route with the spider situations and stories. Given that I was not actually given a name, the Grandmother Spider title I called the spirit was the best thing I could come up with. Over 2 years of using this title and I’ve yet to be involved in any punishing experiences so I’m going to assume they don’t mind.

“Spider Woman” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Now, the deities often translated into Grandmother Spider in English tend to come from the Southwestern tribes in the US: The Navajo, Pueblo, and Zuni, for starters. The spider lady(s) are powerful and ancient, often directly responsible for improving the humans’ quality of life through teaching them pottery, weaving, and other crafts. They are the reason humans have fire, in some tales, and may even be creatrixes, weaving the entire universe and bringing it all to life. Now I’m not sure if she is meant to be understood as the ground spiders or web spiders, but given the geographic location my guess leans more towards the ground spiders, especially in desert locations.

There is evidence for spider deities elsewhere in the US, although more male than female in their names and/or depictions. Relics from Mississipian cultures depict spiders and tales from the Great Lakes tribes also have spiders functioning many roles, as deities, holy animals, or cultural figures. I think the line between holy animal and deity may be blurred in some cases, because I am an outsider and do not fully understand the contexts in which the stories were created.

Mississippian culture artifact depicting the famous spider design. Commonly called “Spider Woman” but it’s unknown who exactly the design refers to, if anyone. If the back of it is a sac of eggs then I can agree with the above interpretation.

The Great Lakes tribes that do have a recorded spider deity seem to have a male trickster type in their stories, and there are other names that suggest a ghostly figure (“white” or “pale” man, which I believe was wrongly attributed to the invading Europeans for a while). These spider spirits do not seem to be quite as big of a deal as the Grandmothers of the SW tribes though. Spider as a spirit animal is regarded as holy by the Ho-chunk tribe, for its ability to create and the many eyes most spiders have. Again, unclear what the status of spiders are in those tribes.

“Grandmother Spider Steals the Light”, original artist unknown. If you do know who it is, dear reader, please tell me so that I can give proper credit.

For my own UPG (or MUS=made up shit) I tend to lean more towards the Grandmothers for various reasons. Much of my free time is spent doing crafts like yarn spinning, crocheting, and (when I have access to a studio) pottery, which are symbolically linked to spiders. She is a muse for me, and it’s hard to not think of her whenever I am crafting. I am also attracted to her in the creatrix context, where she weaves the universe and the connections between everyone. I study ecology along with spiders themselves for my degree, and commonly the connections between organisms are called the “web of life”. Hence the spider is highly symbolic for pretty much my entire life, so the universe symbolism works. She was the first deity I ever devoted myself to willingly, and I have been nothing but highly fortunate since doing so. I cannot tell which spider deity she is, or if she is a local one vs. a recorded one, but she’s there and a part of my life for probably a long time.



Ho-chunk Encyclopedia (sorry, I do not know how to make special characters on the keyboard). Retrieved from

Native American Indian Spider Legends. Retrieved from

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The Antlered Doe

Sometime a year or so ago I came across this website when searching for Hungarian paganism and one of their pages is about a magical stag that’s been incorporated into Hungarian mythology.

A Scythian stag the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dated from the 7th century B.C. from the Northern Caucasus. Image obtained from

The stag artifacts and idea, for some reason, sparked an interest in me and I’ve been trying to dig up information on it since then. I could not tell back then if the website linked above was accurate or not, since the story of the “wondrous stag” is a children’s book on However, the site is correct on the prominence of the stag imagery in Scythian and neighboring cultures. There’s a whole book on this that is unfortunately out of print: The Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia: A Study in the Ecology of Belief by Esther Jacobson (another dissertation book, aren’t they great?).

But fear not, for I have found one in a nearby library! Now I know the title says “Siberia”, but the book goes into more Western ranges of the Scythians and the cultures they interacted with. Indeed, archaeological remains of Scythian culture, including the deer imagery, have been found in Central Europe a well. This is probably why they are considered to be relevant peoples in contemporary Hungarian culture, which explains the website.

The famous Scythian Stag artifact found in modern-day Hungary, often used to support the idea that Scythians contributed to Hungarian mythology and culture. Obtained from

Much of the book focuses on the Siberian peoples, with some Scythian-specific examples inserted here and there in a comparative analysis. Strikingly, there is a commonality in the image of the deer, often antlered and female, being associated with the duality of life and death with both human and other animal figures. Humans, wolves, and big cats are often depicted as the hunters of an antlered doe, presumably to coincide with that “life-death” duality. Sometimes the symbols go so far as to all be combined into one figure. A stag base, but with paws in place of hoofs, a long cat tail, a beak instead of a muzzle, and antlers becoming birds; these variations have all been seen in Scytho-Siberian artifacts.

Perhaps as a result, or because of, these associations, the doe is also connected to the “Tree of Life” concept found in many cultures throughout Eurasia (including Central European ones). On a simple level it is not hard to imagine the branching antlers as a deciduous tree, and some items depicting a stag-like figure also include leaves or birds in the antlers, as if they were trees. But on a deeper level this also gives suggestions to the role of the doe in human life and death situations. She’s a creator, and a reaper, guiding the souls throughout the major life stages. She is a guide to the various levels of the tree for the shamans (I’m referring to the specific religious/cultural role found in some Siberian cultures, also spelled saman in English). This has also been attested in Vitebsky’s The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia, that a shaman may ride a reindeer to the different realms (also a common folktale motif in Eurasia).

One of the famous Deer Stones of Mongolia, with stylized depictions of deer as if in flight. Photo by Karin Sofie, obtained from

Deer in general are an ancient target for human hunters, and the Antlered Doe is aware of that. Sometimes she acts as an Animal Mother, with hunters and shamans appealing to her for available game. Sometimes the men even have to sleep with her in order for anything useful to happen (who says folklore is for children?). It’s less clear on female relationships with the Antlered Doe, most likely because female relationships get less screentime than male ones in history. But they’re there, with women giving offerings and participating in rituals in various ways. Given that women were generally the keepers of the hearth in many Eurasian cultures (including Siberians), and therefore the family, the fact that the Antlered Doe had clan totem associations means that women must have had something special to do with her.

A final major attribute of the Antlered Doe is her association with heavenly bodies, particularly the Sun. This is the one seen in Hungarian as an old Christmas carol, where the Doe is the mother or the keeper of the Sun, holding it in her antlers. A form of the Hungarian “tree of life” is a tree growing out of a horse or deer skull, as I mentioned in a previous post. The Sun and Moon are nestled among the antler-like branches. This connection to the Sun, primarily, and the Moon is common in Siberian stories as well. Clearly a being of great importance.

In addition to the Scythian and Siberian deer imagery there are also folktales speaking of a white, golden-horned deer, chamois or ram in the Austrian and Slovenian Alps, my “ancestral home range”. Now I do not have research available to see if there is a deep connection to the Siberian antlered doe, but the folklore have similar roles/powers and storylines as the antlered doe tends to have. These golden-horned caprids are representational beings of the forest and mountains, with supernatural powers, and they often lead the hunters on an unforgettable chase that changes their lives forever. We can also see deer in general being special representatives or symbols of wild places in all sorts of folktales, including Celtic. There they are the steeds of fairies and “magical” folk, like the dwarves in Disney’s 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. There is even a deer Goddess (name varies) in the UK that is often depicted with antlers, thought to have originated from Northern European tribes (maybe Celtic). Similar to Siberian associations, this deer goddess is connected to the reindeer, as that is a species where females also have prominent antlers. Occasionally females of other deer species develop antlers as well, though not on a regular basis. So the Antlered Doe concept is not pure fantasy.

Given that we see this magical deer motif as a character in movies like Princess Mononoke and the recent Snow White and the Huntsman, and in games like Pokemon: Black and White (the deer Pokemon Sawsbuck), this type of figure still retains importance, albeit symbolically as a spirit of the forests. White animals in particular are still regarded as special, and often protected by laws and by the locals even in supposedly secular countries like the USA. If nothing else, these sacred beings are a reminder of what we have to lose should ecosystems continue to be broken by human development. As an ecologist and a pagan I am inspired by the Antlered Doe in my work to understand the wilds and help protect them. Her prominence in modern media shows that many others feel similarly, and that gives me hope.

Modern depiction of an Antlered Doe as a White-tailed Deer, by Ravenari. Obtained from



Monaghan, Patricia. (2004). Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Available Online:

Vitebsky, Piers. (2005). The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia. Mariner Books.

Hamori, Fred. The Legend of the Stag. Retrieved from:

Jacobson, Esther. The Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia: A Study in the Ecology of Belief. Google Book Excerpt:


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