Rusalka (Water Spirit From Slavic Mythology): 14 Strangest Facts

Slavic mythology has its own version of a mermaid. An Rusalka is a watery spirit who originally comes from the Slavic fairy tales. In Slavic mythology, Rusalka is a term that is similar to the Greek sirens or the Celtic mermaids but not similar to Japanese ningyo. These beautiful young women have an urge to lure men in with their beauty and charms. But it’s better to call them pretty young women instead of talking about their beauty, because they have no shortage of that.

The roots of the concept of rusalki/ruslaky (plural version) are also found in Slavic pagan traditions, which believe that the young women have a special power. These nymphs were emblems of fertility and helped supply life-giving wetness to the farm and forests each spring (instead of tampering too much with the life of humans) when they decided to dance on shore at night.

Many ancient cultures across the world have long believed in water spirits which were just as often behaved with respect and believed to help crops grow copiously. The water spirits have had a large and beneficial impact on people’s subsistence, and so remain important in modern culture. But nowadays, in the modern tradition, the mythology around these attractive young women has grown largely unconnected to fertility. By the 19th century, the main purpose of the Rusalka had changed. Instead of only harassing humans and devouring their souls, they started interacting with them more in an antagonistic manner.

1A Rusalka Is An Feminine Entity Often Dangerous For Humankind

Rusalka Mythology

There are many different origin stories for rusalky. They are typically described as evil creatures (just like an evil witch) that appear in bodies of water. Some involve a young woman dying in a violent, suspicious or suspiciously-chanced way. Sometimes it’s murder, other times suicide, or it’s just fate (Sometimes it’s only drowning that occurs as death). Stories of rusalky often wander around women getting Cheated by someone they care about – which can include husbands and lovers.

2 Men Can Also Entitled As Rusalka

In some places, it is believed that a person (Man) can also occur as rusalka: for instance in the Sosnytsia Raion of the Chernihiv Oblast, it is thought that people of any sex could be transformed into these souls if they pass away in the Trinity week. Seemingly, they keep possession of their gender and become rusalki.

3 They Are Water Spirits As They Often Kill Themselves or Murdered Or Drowned Under Water

There are many different variations of the rusalki legend, and the origins of many stories can be hard to pinpoint. They’re girls who plunged into rivers or lakes after becoming pregnant before marriage. Other mythology describes the girls as any juvenile woman who dies as a maiden, regardless of how she died. Some myths say that babies who do not get baptized and die before reaching adulthood will become water spirits as their afterlife destination. These folklore stories speak to the beliefs of those in the community. This myth has roots in the claim that children who were conceived out of wedlock were murdered and sent to drown. Finally, it claims that any unclean soul is a rusalka, essentially any person who did kill himself or herself by plunging in a river or lake.

4Some Legends Tells Rusalka Returned Back To Other Dimensions After A Certain Span Of Time

There were many rumors surrounding Rusalki. Some say that they have a certain amount of time (their time on earth is only temporary) on earth, and when that time is up, they will move on to another world it means die (this is usually associated with the violent or suicide version of stories).

5They Survive On Earth As Water Nymph Until They Get Their Revenge

They are said to be able to hope to survive until peace has been sought out for a wronged enemy (often associated with murder or jilted lover stories). And those unable to do so, have nowhere else to go but into a dark place of death (from atrocities). There are also those cases where they must remain until an avenging death.

6 Rusalka Is Often Mistaken As Witch But They Are Actually Water Spirits

Some people may think of the word ‘witch’ when they hear the word ‘rusalka,’ but a rusalka is much more than that.

7 Most Common Physical Traits Of Rusalky

They are often mentioned as being slender, with major breasts. They appear pale-skinned and have long hair that can be either golden, brown, or green. Their eyes don’t usually contain pupils, but some rusalki are referred to as wicked ones due to the intensity of their eyes (If Rusalka is wicked their eyes glowing green). Regardless of how they’re dressed, women in Slavic society are depicted as holy and universally beautiful. From time to time, the women wear light, sheer robes as if they are made of mist.

Rusalki are representations of many different things. Some are seen as threats by people from the outside world, while others are admired around the countryside for their kindness and naivety.

8 They Symbolize Good Water Nymphs Sometimes But May Be Malevolent Spirits For Some

What motivates a Rusalka varies depending on where she lives. This idea may have roots in ancient pagan folk stories, since the stories of these water nymphs typically changed with the culture they encountered. In regions where plant life is copious and crops grow nicely, such as Ukraine and zones surrounding the Danube River, the creatures are said to be charming and fickle. However, in stringent climates, including those found near rivers spanned by great cities, Rusalka usually has a more wild and vicious personality. Don’t succumb to this malevolent spirit. If you see things like odd shadows in the water, it’s better to move on and find another place to stay than get yourself into trouble. The Rusalka are evil beings who would crawl out from the water at night in order to take advantage of humans. They often would drag them alive under the water’s surface, taking their souls with them.

9Slavic People Celebrates Rusałka week & Believed That Rusałki Come Out From The Water & Appears On Land Or Trees

Rusalka Mythology

Rusalki are known for their characteristic hands and feet and also loved dancing and climbing on the trees because they can’t typically walk on Earth opposite to fishtailed mermaids. Slavic cultures celebrate Rusalki Week (Also known as Trinity week or Green week) around the first week of June each year to mark the beginning of summer for Rusalki. During this time, it’s important to be very careful about swimming in any body of water because it will lead to death for all involved. According to long-standing legend, the rusalki come shoreward at night and play in weeping willow trees, wiggling with birch trees before meeting together for circle dances under the pale moonlight. The unlucky traveler who has any luck of accidentally witnessing one of these rituals is Compelled to dance with them until he or she dies from exhaustion.

10Rusalki/Rusalkas Are Believed To Be The Main Culprit Behind Many Shipwrecks & Accidents In Water

Many people believe that rusalki, or water spirits of Russian folklore, are the cause of many of the tragedies on Earth, such as shipwrecks and deaths by drowning. In the old days, they were appeased by holding special burial ceremonies that would keep them happy and discourage them from causing any harm to those living near their homes. Until the 1930s, we’ve seen traditions being passed down for decades being upheld by some groups of people. However, these traditions were exterminated by Soviet forces.

11 Rusalka Poem

Rusalka Mythology

Rusalki have appeared many times throughout Russian and Slavic art, literature, and more. The Rusalki, mentioned in many Russian and Slavic artworks such as operas, paintings, and novels, have captivated people for centuries. One of the extremely famous reminiscences of a rusalka is found in poet Alexander Pushkin’s writing.

Aside from ordinary folklore and literature, the poem Rusalka published posthumously by his estate shows how these creatures are viewed in the Slavic cultures. Rusalki are viewed in these cultures as mythical creatures with stunning beauty, graceful movements, and seductive ability (this is the same ability that a Jorogumo known for ).

12 They Have Shapeshifting Abilities

Rusalka Mythology

Mythology and folklore often contain stories about shapeshifting, fictional creatures that are magically able to change shape at will. There are many examples of such entities—from fairies to witches using other animals as forms. Similarly to the forest spirits Huldra, Rusalki are considered to possess the aptitude to take on any form of living creature; it means they were shapeshifters. However, it was most commonly considered that they could transform themselves into a variety of animals such as frogs, squirrels, cows, rats, birds, horse, calf, hare and dog—just to name a few.

13They Can Wreck Havoc Badly

Rusalkas loved to cause storms, rain or hail, and they also liked to harm anyone in some cases. They’re known for their ability to cause storms, causing torrential rains and hailstones. One of their other most interesting abilities was to be able to make rivers overflow, damaging crops and grasslands. Rusalki are also mentioned in myths that they run faster in the comparison of any horse and can swim rapidly in the comparison of any fish.

14 From Legends, We Have Heard About 9 Different Kind Of Rusalki

Rusalka Mythology

Vodyanitsy-  So much more than just a name, Rusalkas are beautiful entities with different origins and characteristics all around the world. Vodyanitsy are considered to be comparatively harmless. The word is actually an old Slavic term for a river nymph or water nymph. The spirit of the person (Vodyanitsy) is considered to have been blessed with baptism, opposite to other water nymphs, Rusalka and also known for living in the mill pools or rivers. Vodyanitsy are said to be younger or older than rusalki and are usually the vodyanoy’s wives. Some people use the term as an alternative for Rusalka.

Loskotukhi-  Loskotukhi are hazardous rusalki that tend to roam around fields, rivers and water. The name of the most common Loskotukhi is from the word “Lusoktat’”, which translate “to tickle.” Rusalki have a sort of fickle nature to them and are known to play pranks on unsuspecting people in the dark of night. Sometimes their jokes go extremely long as seen when a Loskotukha views an immigrant (Man), she drags him into the water and titillates him until he is blue in the face; it means die.

Mavki-  Ukrainian folklore is full of magical creatures like the water spirit, Mavki. Mavki are described as beautiful virgins along with the green colored hair, and at times they’re said to have a transparent back through which all of their inner parts are apparent. Although man was usually lured into the woods by Mavki, they would then tickle men to death. Kostroma is also believed to be a Mavka in folklore.

Bolotnitsy- The most gorgeous and popular of the rusalki are the Bolotnitsy. They’re usually found in swamps and marshes, making them difficult to notice. They have pale skin with blue or green eyes and darker brown hair tucked aloof by forget-me-nots and sedges. The only thing that gets in the way of their attractive appearance is their goose legs rather than normal shank. To hide this, they sit in a huge water lily which they lure travelers to with a sorrowful weep for help after which they sink them under murky water.

Moryany-  Moryani are a female spirit of the water who is also called marine rusalki and generally described as a tall virgin with hair that looks like sea almost foam from afar. Her appearance especially poses a threat to sailors, who need to see her coming before they set sail on the water.

Brodnitsy-  Brodnitsy are a group of water nymphs that live near rivers, ponds, and lakes. They were the protectors of the banks and helped passers-by and also childrens, who they watched over and protected. If they saw someone in danger through the water, they would rescue them.

Lobasty-  Lobasty are some of the most mischievous creatures you’ll come across. They prey on innocent people, hiding in swamps, rivers and lakes. These rusalki are considered as grotesque old women with great breasts and knife-like claws. They’re tall enough to reach up to an aspen tree and can drag their victims down into the water where they will thwack them to demise through their nipples.

Poludnitsy-  Legend says that Poludnitsy were noon demons, who haunted the fields during lunchtime (Midday). The creatures were usually depicted as young women with white dresses, they came and attacked people working at midday. They caused people to suffer from heatstrokes and pains in the neck. They could even drive some people mad!

Pharaonki-  Pharaonki are creatures that originate from a legend in the 16th-century. These legends describe them to have characteristics similar to mermaids in European folklore. However, Pharaonki fell into the Red Sea by pursuing Moses and the Jews. Their horses transformed into half horses, half fish. The Pharaonki are people who were cursed with a deaf and hoarse magic voice from the moment they were born. They will remain in this form until the end of the world.