Baltic Paganism

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posted on Apr, 2 2004 @ 06:34 AM
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Baltic traditions took shape in a vast territory, encompassing the southeastern shores of the Baltic sea and huge forest, lake and river areas, which today are divided into Baltic and Slavic lands. This division which was mainly initiated by the world's new religions and its plundering politics, even now is creating confusion and hampers this area's solidarity. Many residents of this land, not withstanding the many different nationalities, all have same world outlook, moral and esthetic values, the richest folklore and a continuance in various forms or their ancient, native faith.

They lived on this Earth for ages, struggling for their existence, seeking to understand and give meaning to the world around them. Until historical and written times they had already created their most significant cultural objects - language, world outlook, accumulated art and other things.



There is information from the fourteenth century, that in the center of Baltic lands (today the Kaliningrad region), there existed a special Romuva sanctuary, which was revered by all Baltic peoples. The eternal fire burning there cast her light and peace (that is the meaning of the word Romuva), throughout the entire Baltic coast and even further. Until now, Belarusians have folk songs about Romuva, and call themselves Krivicians, followers of the Romuva’s high priest Krivis. Unfortunately, this fire was snuffed out by the new religions propagators, and very soon hard times fell upon the natural beliefs and ancient traditions. Worship and reverence of ancestors, nature, land and ancient gods was fiercely forbidden and persecuted.

The Balts succumbed to the Christianity rather late: in fact, they were the very last European Pagans. Catholic crusaders attacked the Baltic Prussian Duchy around 1230, conquering it by 1260. The knights did not Christianize the Prussians since they only wanted their land and labor; Christianization began only after the Protestant Reformation which also effected the establishment of a German Prussian state in 1525. The Prussians ceased to exist as a nation by the end of the 16th century.

Since time immemorial, the two main Goddesses have been Laima and Žemyna (zeme?). Laima is the beloved Divine Mother who protects and guides human life. Laima is invoked to grant good luck (her name means luck). Žemyna (zeme?) is cherished Mother Earth who protects and guides animal and plant life.



The Prussian Romuva temple established Dievas (Dievs), Perkūnas (Perkons) and Velnias (Velns) as the three main Gods. Dievas is the sky God who lives atop the heavenly mountain. He protects and guides agrarian work. He is invoked to help those in need. Christianity used the name "Dievas" to identify its own Godhead. Perkūnas is the weather and mountain God who embodies justice. Velnias is both the promiscuous trickster God as well as the God of the dead. Christianity applied the name "Velnias" to its own Satan.

Baltic Religion has many other deities as well. Since the middle Ages, many followers of Baltic Religion have expressed a belief that there is really only one divinity, manifest as various Goddesses and Gods. People can easily relate to the various personified forms of the divine, and can chose to follow the images that are dear to them. This has happened both in Lithuania and Latvia. Furthermore, some followers of Lithuanian Baltic Religion have recently equated this abstract divinity with Life.


[Edited on 2-4-2004 by Agnis]






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