Today's guest of honor is Veles, a major pagan pan-Slavic deity, the patron of earth, water, forests and the underworld. His number one rival is Perun, the supreme and egomaniacal god of Thunder. The battles between Veles and Perun will remind you of our recent presidential debates. In fact, there was so much tension between Veles and Perun, that the statues honoring the two respective gods were never built side by side. If a ruler built the two statues in close proximity to each other, his entire domain would be caught in a conflict between the two gods.
Here is a contemporary sculpture depiction of Veles walking between an ox and a bear. The ox represents domesticity, agriculture, sedentary civilization and private property. The bear represents untamed wilderness and raw instinct. The bird on his shoulder represents the balance of freedom and responsibility. In light of an impending ecological crisis, let's take a moment to honor Veles.