Leshy – the forest monster

Mythological creatures

Leshy is a mythological creature from Slavic traditions that comes from the forest. He was a type of terrestrial devil penned in Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (1818).


The trickster energy of this creature means he can appear as a giant but also as tiny as an ant (dependent upon his surroundings). Which is a metaphor for our confidence if we are in familiar surroundings. 

leshy mythology
Image credit: Amino Apps

Believed to watch over the forest in which he lives, he is known to lead people astray, particularly children. Although he sounds particularly evil with this set of behaviours, he is traditionally deemed more neutral. It’s in your actions that influence his evilness or neutrality. Some days he would steal children. And some days he would become all Robin Hood and steal from the rich to help the poor. It’s plausible to think that the fictionalised version of Robin Hood was even based on this mythology of Leshy. However, it’s more likely that it was the other way around. Since the origins of Robin Hood supposedly predate the written records of a Leshy. 

Given the shared characteristics of his wavering temperament and environment he lives in (and guards), he is often deemed a fairy.

Mythology as metaphors

As we know, mythology and legends are storytelling vehicles for metaphors that plague humans (or things with a consciousness) throughout time. 

To me, Leshy symbolises how others see you and treat you in the world. Dependent upon which baggage you cling to, or which internal struggles and sins you have yet to forgive yourself for. Still holding guilt for the child you gave up for adoption? The Leshy will lure you into the dark. Still worried about the chocolate bars you stole in high school? The Leshy (in the form of people around you) will reflect back to you that you are nothing but a thief. 

Follow the directions of the Leshy and the path will always be clear but dare to go your own or a different way from his directions and trees will be bent to make your path unbearable and difficult. 

The Leshy can be neutralised with self forgiveness and a decision to let go, if only a little. Let the Leshy rule the forest and its sacredness and inhabitants in peace. 

You may also like… The history of witchcraft.



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