I have long felt that Celtic and Germanic myth has taken a backseat to the Greco-Roman pantheon in the Western consciousness. But those groups have seen resurgence in interest in recent years. Slavic mythology has also experienced growing interest, however much of it has been cut off from the English speaking world in a way that Celtic and Germanic myth has not.
So, I am thrilled to see Slavic cultural tradition finally making a splash in the modern pop culture scene which in turn makes the rounds in the English speaking media.
The Golden Apple:
A Bulgarian animated series based on Slavic Myth
Slavic culture sites like Slavorum and pop culture sites like GeekTyrant are among those reporting on the release of the Bulgarian animated series, The Golden Apple.
How often does Bulgarian media make it into the English speaking world? Not much. Which speaks to the level of quality this series appears to possess.
Visually, the series is reminiscent of a Slavic version of The Secret of Kells. The images available on the web demonstrate highly stylized art with vivid colors and imaginative scenes. GeekTyrant says:
The Golden Apple is one such animated fantasy series which amalgamates the mythology and folklore of the Balkans.
The narrative deploys a fantasy setting which is highlighted by complex modern-day problems. Interesting combination, isn’t it?
The Golden Apple is a fantasy animated series, based on Eastern European mythology and folklore. The story takes place in a vast mountain world, where the fogs come out of the hair of the powerful Zmei spirits, and the personified seasons walk the great forests.
It is an epic Balkan fantasy world in which people use magic bells to battle the nightmares – huge shape shifters that feed on human suffering, but also a world in which the song of a Samodiva nymph can be both the most blessed of gifts and the most hated of curses.
For more on the series, click here to see the official website. And view the trailer below!
Russian Fairy Tale Superheroes!
Russian illustrator Roman Papsuev, aka Amok, has a very large collection of well over 250 works. His art mainly consists of portraits, but he also has illustrations and images for Fantasy Flight CCGs. In his recent project, the Tales of Old Rus, Roman reimagined heroes of Russian fairy tales and legends. They look like characters of a computer game and live in the world of dark fantasy.
The first characters were based on the author’s feelings and fantasies. He began, of course, with Ilya Muromets — the main Russian epic hero and the strongest bogatyr or warrior: “On his belt hangs a bottle of dead water that heals wounds.”
“What I like most is when people look at my pictures and then begin to read the tales and understand why, for instance, Vasilisa the Beautiful has a doll in her bag or why Vodyanoy rides a giant catfish. This grassroots revival of ancient folklore through my humble project gives me great pleasure.”
The author sometimes faces criticism in social networks. That’s inevitable. People say: “It’s not like that in the original tales. Ivanushka turns into a boy at the end. There’s nothing Russian here."
“The tales are stamped in the subconscious from childhood. Parents read adapted versions, of course, with happy ends,” responds Roman.
I very firmly believe that ALL people of ALL backgrounds should seek out the myths of their ancestors. Of course, we can find an interest in the mythologies of cultures all around the world. But, learning the worldview presented in the mythos of your own cultural heritage can present you with the keys to understand yourself and where you came from.