Spear maiden, wolf of winter myth?
February 24, 2021 1:13 PM   Subscribe

A bit back, I stumbled down a wikipedia hole of mythological solstice narratives, and one from a linked citation page stuck out: Every year, the wolf of winter chases the spring/sun/dawn maiden, getting closer and closer. The wolf finally starts to swallow the maiden on the fall equinox; the winter solstice is when the spear of the spring/sun/dawn maiden finally starts to pierce the wolf's belly and the vernal equinox is when she's fully out again. I believe it was of Slavic or Baltic origin. There are a lot of similar stories, but this one stuck out and I want to track down the origin and the mythology site I found it on. More on the specific details inside — I've already reread a lot of the Wikipedia pages that I was skimming, but haven't found the exact story again.

I know that this myth has elements that are repeated in a lot of mythologies, but the specific that really distinguishes it for me is the spring maiden being a spear goddess and that spear cutting the way out of the wolf's belly. This is also a yearly, seasonal, cyclic myth, rather than an eschatological one — so it's not Fenrir, which chases Sol or Sunna at Ragnarok. There was some pre-Christian celebration of this myth at the winter solstice, and the source page had a couple of gorgeous early modern woodcuts depicting the iconography.

The page I found it on was one linked as a cited source on Wikipedia for a different myth (I believe a horned god or triumverate — you know how it is, you see a bit about Chernobog and suddenly have 30 tabs open), but haven't been able to find it through perusing my browser history. It was a simple, quasi-academic page about somewhat obscure ethnic folklore, with the general design aesthetic of late-'90s HTML pages.

Who was this goddess? What culture was this, specifically? And if you can find the source page, all the better.
posted by klangklangston to Society & Culture 9 users marked this as a favorite
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