Veles was the god of shepherds and livestock of pre-Christian Russia and Slavic parts of Finland. He, according to the picture I'm looking at, had the head of a wolf or dog (I can't tell which) and otherwise was dressed as a shepherd and carried a rod. Veles was probably analagous to the god of pastures of the pagan Lithuanians, Ganyklos, and was also likely related in some way to the Latvian god of the harvest, Jumis.

Veles assumed relatively high importance for an agricultural god. Russians held him to be on a similar level of importance as Perun, their thunder god, and even went so far as to swear governmental oaths and treaties by him. Veles even had a statue on the same hill as Perun in front of the palace of the prince of Kiev until the conversion of prince Vladimir in 988. Veles had multiple idols in the vicinity, apparently, and they were all cast into the Pocayna river after the prince's conversion.

At this point, the worship of Veles takes two divergent routes. On the one hand, it appears to have been transferred to a certain extent to the Christian saint Blasius, who had been a shepherd and martyr in Caesarea, in Cappadocia. That transition is natural enough, and was widespread throughout Russia, Bulgaria, and Bohemia. On the other hand, Veles appears to have been worshipped in his original form up to the "present day" (which, due to the datedness of my sources, is 1918). In fact, the people of southern Russia perform a ritual strikingly similar to that used to venerate the Latvian god Jumis in order to worship Veles. When harvesting the crops, it is customary to tie the last few ears of grain into a knot, sometimes with a piece of bread fastened in there, too. This is referred to by its practitioners as "plaiting the beard of Veles" or "leaving a handful of ears for Veles's beard." Veles thus appears to have been a rare case among pagan European gods in that his memory and worship managed to survive long past the official suppression of his cult.

Source: Gray, Louis Herbert. The Mythology of All Races, Volume III. Boston, 1918.

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