Author of all texts about mythology on these web-pages is Lidija Bajuk:

  1. PERUN
      - The Sky
      - The Mountain
      - Leluya
      - Ball lightning
      - Candlemen
      - Fairies
      - Witches
      - Water
      - Bogorodica
      - The Moon
      - Corn Spirit
      - Hair
      - Embroidery
      - Light
      - Forest
      - The Cap, Little Hat


Perun (thunder, lightning), God of Thunder, son of Svarog or Svarog himself, master of heavens, Sun which, in anger, throws thunderbolts and lightning at witches and evil ghosts and releases captured rain by raising a storm (that is the reason for making noise and banging, as a symbol of protection against evil forces, in some folk customs).

He is accompanied by Perunika (later transformed into Veronika), i.e. Ognjena Marija (Fairy Mary), who wears a rainbow as her belt. She is a goddess of lightning, weddings, and motherhood. Later, under Christianity, her importance was degraded and she was regarded as an evil goddess, described as an evil and ugly woman named Irudika, who was in turn a daughter of Poganica (exiled by Perun). Perunika punishes people with a heavy sledge. God of Thunder has thunder at his disposal (symbols of his sexual male potency), she has lightning at her disposal. The lightning comes in two so-called forms: elongated watery type and glassy type. The latter is ball lightning, a rare meteorological phenomenon, embodied during old times as apple, rosette, or female genital organ, in the mythical perception of the world. Thanks to Perunika's lightning, people learned about the fire and water in clouds.

God of Thunder makes fire by striking two sharp flint stones. Thus, the ancient people imagined him as a hairy man, often with several heads (depicting his multiple aspects), who can belch fire and carry flint stones, i.e. has a stone ax, sledgehammer, or trident. Rejuvenated Perun, or some of his successors, carries a stick/bludgeon, arrow (in Medimurje, northern Croatia, a thunder is called "arrow" - "strela"), spear, saber, sword, or gun. These objects are symbols of sexual male potency, or destruction of dark, ignorance, and passion. If used improperly, they turn into their reverse bad side. It is interesting that there is a custom in Medimurje of putting a grindstone on a table before Christmas because of the belief that a cow udder will give more milk if this grindstone is slid over it. Here the table represents the heaven and the grindstone, i.e. a hard stone used for sharpening tools, is another Perun's tool with special powers. Until recently, northwestern Croats believed that the Neolithic little axes, which they often encountered during plowing and digging, are bosomed out by the earth at the places of a stroke of lightning seven years earlier. They called them Perun's little thunder axes, "arrow" (thunder) stones, or (stony) "arrows" (thunders) and believed that they protect the house against a lightning strike if kept in the attic or below the doorstep (since the lightning never strikes twice at the same place). In addition, they were used in the traditional pharmaceutics, hunting, or buried in a field to stimulate fruitfulness.

God of Thunder is also the god of rain, or fruitfulness and agriculture, since he drives carts full of water (rainy cloud), and thus thunders of his cart's wheels, below which sparks fly out, are following him wherever he goes (people in Medimurje have a saying that then St. Elijah rolls big vessels over the sky). The first thunders in a new year represent unlocking of the seven heavens (in order to release rain) and announce the spring. In general, thunders are the words of God, making order from the initial chaos. With the appearance of Christianity, God of Thunder is replaced by St. Elijah (July 20, the day with the most severe and most frequent thunders of the whole summer), who rides a šarkanja (flying snake). Occasionally, he is replaced by St. Peter (July 30; when a thunder hits a tree, people in Medimurje say: "After he hit a white poplar forest, Peter jumped down" ("Jagnjed počil, Peter doli skočil")). In the same way, Ognjena Marija (Fairy Mary) is replaced by Marija Magdalena (Mary Magadalene, July 22) or Bogorodica (how the people who speak kajkavian - Croatian dialect - call a rainbow).

On the feast day of St. James, people in Medimurje say: "James burns, Jana glows hot" ("Jakov kuri, Jana žari"). On the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul (Jun 29), it is not allowed to climb a tree or grind a scythe because something bloody could happen. There is also a belief that people should not drive carts and should not work with grass and grain on the feast day of St. Elijah because St. Elijah could kill people and cattle. In Bosnia, there is a custom on the day before the feast of St. Elijah when people, wearing nice festive clothes, go to some mountain and then with a roast and bonfire wait for the Sun to rise. This is a remnant of the ancient cult of Perun (it reached its peak in the 9th and 10th century), which had its shrines in the oak forests or, at least, a stony altar under an oak tree (made of 8 small and one big altar places, which ground-plans were used for building the first Christian churches). Participants in a ceremony would pray at that place, make deals and truces, judge conflicts, bring thanksgiving sacrifices, make bonfires, sing and dance to the Perun's honor, all that in hope that Perun will be merciful and protect them from everything evil. The followers of Perun were giving an oath by stones, weapons, and his name. That is why he is a god of peace, justice, and victory.

In addition to an oak tree, the flower perunika, iris, sabljarka, bogiša (bogisha, this name originates from the region around Dubrovnik town, on the Adriatic coast of southern Croatia), is dedicated to Perun. In Medimurje, one greeting used on the feast day of St. Stephen (Dec. 26) mentions God with lelulja (ljeljuja), i.e. perunika, in his hand. According to a legend, this flower grows at the place where Perun's spark hit a fertile soil. Hazelnuts and walnuts are also his sacred plants, and a bull and a male goat his sacred animals. Today, his name is preserved in the toponyms Perun Planina (Perun Mountain near Poljice), Perun, Peruncevac, and Perunac in Istria peninsula, Perun, Perunic, and Perunsko on the Mosor mountain. It is also preserved in the localisms of fork, (vilica in Croatian) a part of cutlery, since it resembles a trident: for example, perun or pinjur in Dalmatia (southern Adriatic coast of Croatia), and pirun in Istria (peninsula on the northern Adriatic coast).

Perun is identical to the old Indian god Parjanya (Indra), Celtic Taranis, (Gothic Fairguns), Prussian Perkuno, Scandinavian Thor (also known as Tura among the Slavs), Greek Zeus, Roman Jupiter. However, his face will turn black and ugly in anger if people turn against him, or if they neglect honoring ancestors (or exaggerate in that), or neglect mutual respect, fairness, and truthfulness, or if they break an oath. Especially in cases of disrespect for parents, dispute among brothers, forcing a woman to sexual intercourse, giving an untrue testimony, disclosing a secret, breaking a promise, or being unfaithful to your partner in marriage. Then he will turn his powers against the human in order to warn or punish him/her (in Medimruje people say "The God is angry" - "Božek se kara" - for thunder). Perun, helped by Perunika, "loads" the thunderbolts and shoots them at such people. He is using thunders (which are actually his angry voice) and storms to ruin the crop, to create diseases, poverty, and hunger, and to kill livestock and people. However, this would not be the final death, but rather spiritual purification. In such a situation, Perun can be transformed into the god of war. In the most drastic cases of sins, he would turn weapons against the people who carry them. Perun's female companion punishes by the "white plague" (sterility). . Under the people's fear of Perun's and Perunika's revenge, and also under the influence of the new religion, the human imagination has transformed this divine couple into its reverse side: horrible monsters, e.g. a dragon and snake, some of them becoming separate mythical creatures. Their heavenly thunders then become underground rumblings, i.e. earthquakes. From these examples, we can see that the thunder has a double role (depicted by a trident): (weapon of) creation and (weapon of) destruction. The fire in a thunder releases heavenly waters, so it fertilizes, while the dragon's fire brings destruction by droughts. A place hit by lightning was considered sacred and objects, like a stone or tree, from such a place were consecrated. A bell symbolizes the tamed power of thunder. ). Another incarnation of Perunika is a woodpecker, a bird that announces an upcoming storm.