Back to the e-shop

Leshy - Slavic forest spirit

Leshy - Slavic forest spirit
Mythology Friday, 15. March 2024

Leshy - Slavic forest spirit

Lešij is a woodland demon found in Slavic mythology. It is also known as lěsovik, lasovik, polisun, or mochovik. Lešij is a guardian of the forest and doesn't have much love for humans.

Describing Lešij as a horned, hairy woodland demon, sometimes with hooves and a tail, is common. For instance, the Kashubians know of the woodland demon Mikol, who challenges travelers with riddles. We advise you to solve his riddle; otherwise, you may succumb to the power of evil.

Slavic Forest Spirit

Among Western Slavs, Lešij is akin to wild men and forest maidens, reminiscent of ancient fauns and satyrs.

If Lešij takes on a human form, it typically appears as an old man with long, white hair and a beard. His eyes glow green. Lešij can be as tall as the treetops and may carry a staff or cane.

Lešij can transform into a human, but the transformation isn't perfect—white eyes and a body that doesn't cast a shadow. It can also transform into animals, primarily bears, hares, wolves, and red roosters.

Lešij rustles like the forest and emits sounds resembling animals; a strong wind blows around it. It lives not only in forests but also at night in fields and meadows. While multiple Lešijs may inhabit one forest, one rules over the others.

Its task is to guard the forest and drive away pests with screams and fright until death. People may lose their memory after encountering it.

It may even substitute its own children for humans, who eventually flee into the forest. Protection against Lešij can be sought through sacrifices and gifts, especially bread with salt. Some claim that turning clothes inside out or swapping left and right shoes can also help.

Slavic Forest Spirit

A T-shirt with the motif of the woodland demon - Lešij.

And what to read next?

The Witcher

The Witcher

When Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski finished the first…