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When the shadows are long, that is my time. And you are the long shadow.

–Zorya Vechernyaya to Shadow

Zorya Vechernyaya is one of the Old Gods, and comes from Slavic mythology. She is one of the Zorya.

Background Edit

Zorya Vechernyaya represents the Evening Star, Mercury, and has two sisters, Zorya Utrennyaya (Morning Star) and Zorya Polunochnaya (Midnight Star). She lives in a brownstone in Chicago that she share with Czernobog and her sisters.

Significance in narrative Edit

Chapter Four Edit

Mr. Wednesday and Shadow arrive at an apartment in Chicago and meet Zorya Vechernyaya, a Russian Slav, outside her brownstone. She is on her way to buy groceries and Mr. Wednesday gives her an additional $40 to help feed him and Shadow. Mr. Wednesday and Shadow proceed to the apartment where Czernobog answers the door.

Later, Zorya Utrennyaya and Zorya Vechernyaya serve up dinner and then tell Mr. Wednesday and Shadow they can stay in their home. Mr. Wednesday pays Zorya Vechernyaya $45 for them to spend the night.

Chapter Twenty Edit

Shadow arrives in Chicago and is greeted at the brownstone by Zorya Utrennyaya who promptly tries to get him to leave again, telling him that he doesn't want to see Czernobog. They're in the middle of spring cleaning and Shadow helps Zorya Vechernyaya turn a mattress in Bielebog's room. They keep trying to get him to leave but he sits and waits for Czernobog to come back.

Physical appearance Edit

Zorya Vechernyaya is the first sister Shadow meets. She is described as a gaunt, old woman with a thick Eastern European accent and wears an "old red coat, buttoned up to the chin." She is birdlike with cold, thin hands and wears "a large amber ring on her middle finger."

Gallery Edit

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Cultural Background Edit

The Zorya, also called Zoria or Zaria (The Auroras) are Slavic mythological beings.

They were originally described as two beautiful virgins, the servants and daughters of Dažbog or Dajbog, the god of the Sun, tasked with opening and closing the gate of their father's celestial palace, allowing him to travel through the sky. Zorya Vechernyaya, also called Zoria Vetcherniaia, was the Evening Aurora, the Dusk, whose task was to close the gates of the palace behind her father when he returned from his journey in the world. [1]

A later myth describes the Zorya as rather three "little sisters", the Evening, Midnight and Morning Auroras, tasked with guarding Simargl, a winged lion or dog, trapped in the Ursa Minor (Little Bear) constellation by an iron chain attached to the star Polaris. This task was of cosmic importance, for if Simargl ended up freeing himself, it would cause the end of the world. 

The Zorya were later confused with the Zvezda, two sisters, also servants of Dajbog, who embodied the morning and evening stars. Like the Zoria, they were tasked with opening and closing the gates of the celestial palace for the Sun, but they also attended to Dajbog's white horses. Zorya Vechernyaya was associated with Vetcherniaia Zvezda, the Evening Star (the planet Mercury), who shared Zorya Vechernyaya role as the gate-closer. Vetcherniaia Zvezda was invoked in a Russian exorcism ritual to banish the fever. [2]

According to some accounts, Zorya Vechernyaya was sometimes considered as the wife of Myesyats, the god of the moon, and the mother of the Stars in the sky (a role that was also filled by her sister, Zorya Utrennyaya, and by the Sun deity under its female form).  


In Neil Gaiman’s interpretation of the Zorya sisters as a manifestation of the neopagan Triple Goddess archetype, Zorya Vechernyanya embodies the Crone, looking like an old woman and representing the “evening” of existence, the end of life.


Notes and trivia Edit

  • The Zorya sisters are based on two guardian goddesses of Slavic mythology. The two goddesses represent the Auroras, watching over the doomsday hound, Simargl.
    • Zorja Utrennjaja is the Morning Star and associated with Venus.
    • Zorja Vechernjaja is the Evening Star and associated with Mercury.
    • A third sister is described in some versions of the myth, however, Zorya Polunochnaya was created specifically by Neil Gaiman for the novel.
  • Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab created a perfume oil based on Zorya Vechernyaya. It is described as: Red musk and wild plum, orange blossom and jasmine, juniper berries, sweet incense and vetiver-laced sandalwood.

References Edit

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorya
  2. New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, by Félix Guirand
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