First, make a reservation: to recreate a complete picture of East Slavic drevnezhrecheskogo class is hardly possible. But even the scant evidence that managed to gather the crumbs, represent a clear overall picture of Slavic paganism.
The priests were an integral part of all sections of ancient society, and the more complicated its social structure, the harder and more responsible role became priests. It is known that in the I century BC there were "events", "Councils", "crowd" — obscherodovoy crowded gatherings with complex scenarios of a pagan ritual — to develop a complex of rites, accompanied by pre-fabricated props.
We know that the development and improvement of ceremonies had to be prepared people, texts of prayers, ringing melodies, forms of address to the gods.
Magi often perceived only as a village sorcerers, witches smaller scale. Indeed, these were the descendants of the ancient Magi in XVI-XVII centuries., Traditionally still called Magi. But even fragmentary information about the Magi in the XI. Operating on the edge of subordinated Rus lands, draw them as courageous leaders, raises his hand to the local nobility ("old chad"), and in Kiev noble nobleman, who arrived with a whole entourage.
Control religious life was not easy even at the level of a single village, it was difficult at the Rod and very complicated and varied at the state level, with almost fifty tribal unions and tribes.
Magus had to know and remember all the rituals, incantations, ritual songs, be able to calculate calendar dates of magical action, the healing properties of herbs. By the sum of the knowledge he was about to contemporary professor of ethnography, with the only difference that the ethnographer should seek out long half-forgotten knowledge of the changed time, and the ancient priest received a lot from my teachers precursors. Without a continuous succession of generations can not imagine a thousand year tradition of Slavic priests.
Language theology was not uniform and consistent. According to the teachings against paganism XI-XIII centuries., Wise men, as a special permanent class of people, guide the spiritual and social development. They organized the solemn annual "fee" in the sanctuaries, burial in huge mounds vrachevatelnye medical practice.
Only the wise men could tell the principal level sculptor masons and sculptors-derevschikam as portrayed on the stone and wooden pillars the universe to humanity on Earth, with a benevolent god of the underworld hair, deities in heaven. And all of this three-tiered complex multiform give a common, unifying form. There hranilniki magi, who knew how to produce breast ornaments, were evicted from the owner all evil symbolic representation of the universe with Dazhdbogom Sun-top and the bottom of the lizard.
Preservation pradedovskih pagan beliefs of ancient Kievan Rus' to come from inside, not only centuries, but millennia. Russian peasants and serfs XII-XIII centuries. guarded their faith paid off from the authorities special tax — "zabozhnichem" — and protects his colorful festive ritual. Even the ancient rite of cremation, the forest edge dozhivshy Vyatichi to time chronicler Nestor ("hedgehog doing vyatichi and now"), preserved in the southern part of the land in vyatichskoy remnants before the end of the XIX century: a Christian burial after the funeral bred huge bonfire.
In the folk epics that have arisen in the tenth to twelfth centuries. among the serfs, almost imperceptible Christian element. Magi, nymphs, witches-zeleyniki (folk pharmacists) and charmer mentioned in the sources, including missals, reflecting the true up to the seventeenth-XVIII century.