Baltic neopaganism

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Baltic Religion

Baltic Cross.JPG

Baltic neopaganism is a category of autochthonous religious movements which have revitalised within the Baltic people (primarily Lithuanians and Latvians). [1] [2] These movements trace their origins back to the 19th century and they were suppressed under the Soviet Union; after its fall they have witnessed a blossoming alongside the national and cultural identity reawakening of the Baltic peoples, both in their homelands and among expatriate Baltic communities. One of the first ideologues of the revival was the Prussian Lithuanian poet and philosopher Vydūnas. [1]

Ethnic religion Religion defined by the ethnicity of its adherents

In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion associated with a particular ethnic group. Ethnic religions are often distinguished from universal religions which claim to not be limited in ethnic or national scope, such as Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Ethnic religions are not only independent religions. Some localised denominations of global religions are practised solely by certain ethnic groups. For example, the Assyrians have a unique denominational structure of Christianity known as the Assyrian Church of the East.

Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.

Balts ethnic group

The Balts or Baltic people are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group who speak the Baltic languages, a branch of the Indo-European language family, originally spoken by tribes of central Eastern Europe in the west to the Moscow, Oka and Volga river basins in the east. The Baltic languages form a part of the wider group of Balto-Slavic languages.

During the Pope Francis's visit to the Baltic states in 2018 Dievturi and Romuva sent a joint letter to Pope Francis calling him to urge fellow Christians "to respect our own religious choice and cease impeding our efforts to achieve national recognition of the ancient Baltic faith". [3]

Pope Franciss visit to the Baltic states

Pope Francis visited the Baltic states—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia—from 22 to 25 September 2018.

Religions

Dievturība

Aerial view of Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi ruakusuteneShen She (Lokstenes svetnica).jpg
Aerial view of Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi

Dievturība (Latvian compound derived from Dievs "God", plus turēt "hold", "uphold", "behold", "keep"; literally "Godkeeping") [4] is a Latvian Pagan revival, [5] [6] [7] also present among Latvian Canadian and Latvian American expatriate communities. [8] It is characterised by a monistic theological approach [9] to Baltic paganism viewing all the gods and all nature as expression of the Dievs. [10] A common view is that the Dievs is at the same time the transcendent fountain of reality, the matter-energy substrate, and the law ordaining the universe. [10]

The movement was started in 1925 by Ernests Brastiņš with the publication of the book entitled Revival of Latvian Dievturība. [11] [12] After the annexation of Latvia to the Soviet Union the Dievturi were repressed, but the movement continued to operate among exiles. Since the 1990s, Dievturi was re-introduced to Latvia and began to grow again; in 2011 there were about 663 official members. [13] The Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi was inaugurated in 2017. [14]

Druwi

Druwi (Old Prussian word meaning "Faith", cognate to tree; [15] Samogitian: Druwē) is a Baltic Neopagan revival religion claiming Old Prussian origins, [16] and mostly present in Lithuania. Adherents uphold that it is distinct from Romuva, and that more carefully speaking Romuva could be considered as a specific form of Druwi. [16]

The religion is primarily represented institutionally by the "Kurono Academy of Baltic Priesthood" (Lithuanian: Baltųjų žynių mokykla Kurono) founded in 1995. [17] It trains morally mature men and women from the age of 18, into the Darna , as priests of the Baltic people. [17] Like the Romuviai, they recognise Vydūnas as their founding father. [16] The Druwi theory is monistic. [16]

Romuva

A Romuvan procession. Romuvans (1).png
A Romuvan procession.

Romuva is a modern revival of the traditional ethnic religion of the Baltic peoples, reviving the religious practices of the Lithuanians before their Christianization. Romuva claims to continue living Baltic pagan traditions which survived in folklore and customs. [18] [19] [20]

Romuva primarily exists in Lithuania but there are also congregations of adherents in Australia, Canada, the United States, [21] and England. [22] There are also Romuviai in Norway. [23] Practising the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practising traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainas or hymns and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places. [24]

See also

Uralic religions
Caucasus religions

Related Research Articles

Modern Paganism New religious movements influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe, North Africa and the Near East

Modern Paganism, also known as Contemporary Paganism and Neopaganism, is a collective term for new religious movements influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe, North Africa and the Near East. Although they do share similarities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse, and no single set of beliefs, practices or texts are shared by them all. Most academics studying the phenomenon have treated it as a movement of different religions, whereas a minority instead characterise it as a single religion into which different Pagan faiths fit as denominations. Not all members of faiths or beliefs regarded as Neopagan self-identify as "Pagan".

Dievturība Latvian neopagan movement

Dievturība is a Neopagan religious movement which claims to be a modern revival of the folk religion of the Latvians before Christianization in the 13th century. Adherents call themselves Dievturi, literally "Dievs' keepers", "people who live in harmony with Dievs".

Finnish neopaganism

Finnish Neopaganism, or the Finnish native faith is the contemporary Neopagan revival of Finnish paganism, the pre-Christian polytheistic ethnic religion of the Finns. A precursor movement was the Ukonusko of the early 20th century. The main problem in the revival of Finnish paganism is the nature of pre-Christian Finnish culture, which relied on oral tradition and of which very little is left. The primary sources concerning Finnish native culture are written by latter-era Christians.

European Congress of Ethnic Religions organization

The European Congress of Ethnic Religions (ECER) is an organisation for cooperation among associations that promote the ethnic religions of Europe. The primary goal of the ECER is the strengthening of pre-Christian religious traditions of Europe, emphasizing and fostering their ties with Neopagan movements.

Mari Native Religion The ethnic religion of the Mari people

The Mari Native Religion, or Mari Paganism, is the ethnic religion of the Mari people, a Volga Finnic ethnic group based in the republic of Mari El, in Russia. The religion has undergone changes over time, particularly under the influence of neighbouring monotheisms. In the last few decades, while keeping its traditional features in the countryside, an organised Neopagan-kind revival has taken place.

Kūlgrinda (band)

Kūlgrinda is a folk music group from Vilnius, Lithuania, established in 1989 by Inija and Jonas Trinkūnas. The group is connected to the Lithuanian neopagan movement Romuva and often performs as a part of the movement's ceremonies.

The main religion traditionally practiced in Latvia is Christianity. As of 2011, it is the largest religion (80%), though only about 7% of the population attends religious services regularly. Lutheranism is the main Christian denomination among ethnic Latvians due to strong historical links with the Nordic countries and Northern Germany, while Catholicism is most prevalent in Eastern Latvia (Latgale), mostly due to Polish influence. The Latvian Orthodox Church is the third largest Christian church in Latvia, with adherents primarily among the Russian-speaking minority.

<i>Modern Paganism in World Cultures</i>

Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives is an academic anthology edited by the American religious studies scholar Michael F. Strmiska which was published by ABC-CLIO in 2005. Containing eight separate papers produced by various scholars working in the field of Pagan studies, the book examines different forms of contemporary Paganism as practiced in Europe and North America. Modern Paganism in World Cultures was published as a part of ABC-CLIO's series of books entitled 'Religion in Contemporary Cultures', in which other volumes were dedicated to religious movements like Buddhism and Islam.

<i>Pagan Theology</i> book by Michael York

Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion is a taxonomical study of various world religions which argues for a new definition of the word "paganism". It was written by the British religious studies scholar Michael York of Bath Spa University and first published by New York University Press in 2003.

Vattisen Yaly

Vattisen Yaly is a contemporary revival of the ethnic religion of the Chuvash people, a Turkic ethnicity of uppermost Bulgar ancestry mostly settled in the republic of Chuvashia and surrounding federal subjects of Russia.

Mordvin Native Religion The modern revival of the ethnic religion of the Mordvins

Mordvin Neopaganism, or the Mordvin native religion or Erzyan native religion, is the modern revival of the ethnic religion of the Mordvins, peoples of Volga Finnic ethnic stock dwelling in the republic of Mordovia within Russia, or in bordering lands of Russia. The religion is often called Mastorava, from the homonymous epic poem or the mother goddess of the Mordvin pantheon. The name of the originating god according to the Mordvin tradition is Ineshkipaz.

Udmurt Vos is the ethnic religious revival of the Udmurts, a Finno-Ugric ethnic group inhabiting the republic of Udmurtia in Russia. Among the Udmurts, as in other Finno-Ugric republics in the Volga region, the revival of Paganism is inextricably intertwined with the revival of national-ethnic culture and awareness.

Druwi Lithuanian neopagan movement

Druwi is a Baltic ethnic religious revival claiming Old Prussian origins, and mostly present in Lithuania. Adherents uphold that it is distinct from Romuva, and that Romuva could be considered as a specific form of Druwi.

Uralic neopaganism encompasses contemporary movements which have been reviving or revitalising the ethnic religions of the Uralic peoples. The rebirth has taken place since the 1980s and 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and alongside the ethnonational and cultural reawakening of the Uralic peoples of Russia, the Estonians and the Finns. In fact, Neopagan movements in Finland and Estonia have much older roots, dating from the early 20th century.

Eclectic Paganism, also occasionally termed Universalist or Non-denominational Paganism, is a form of modern Paganism where practitioners will blend paganism with aspects of other religions or philosophies. In the book Handbook of New Age, Melissa Harrington states that "Eclectic Pagans do not follow any particular Paganism, but follow a Pagan religious path, that includes the overall Pagan ethos of reverence for the ancient Gods, participation in a magical world view, stewardship and caring for the Earth, and 'nature religion.'" The practice of Eclectic Paganism is particularly popular with Pagans in North America and the British Isles.

Ernests Brastiņš Latvian opinion journalist and art historian (1892-1942)

Ernests Brastiņš was a Latvian artist, amateur historian, folklorist and archaeologist. He is known as the founder and driving force behind the neopagan religion Dievturība, which he started in the 1920s and which was re-established after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Neopagan music

Neopagan music is music created for or influenced by modern Paganism. It has appeared in many styles and genres, including folk music, classical music, singer-songwriter, post-punk, heavy metal and ambient music.

References

  1. 1 2 Wiench, 1995
  2. Monika Hanley (October 28, 2010). Baltic diaspora and the rise of Neo-Paganism. The Baltic Times.
  3. "Baltic pagans ask pope for help over religious status battle". France 24. 21 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  4. С. И. Рыжакова. Латышское неоязычество: заметки этнографа
  5. J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann. Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. — Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2010. — 3200.
  6. Carole M. Cusack, Alex Norman. Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. — Leiden, The Netherlands: BRILL, 2012. — 820.
  7. S. I. Ryzhakova. Диевтурîба: латышское неоязычество и истоки национализма. — Moscow: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 1999. - 35.
  8. Strmiska, p. 20
  9. Strmiska, p. 21
  10. 1 2 Vilius Dundzila. The Ancient Latvian Religion - Dievturība . ¶ DIEVS. Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences, 1987.
  11. "Dievturi presented Riga monument (Russian)". DELFI. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  12. Latvian Encyclopedia of Religions: Neopagānisms / dievturi .
  13. "Tieslietu ministrijā iesniegtie reliģisko organizāciju pārskati par darbību 2011. gadā" (in Latvian). Archived from the original on 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  14. Uz salas Daugavā atklāta dievturu svētnīca. 11 May 2017. Skaties.
  15. Brian Cooper. Russian Words for Forest Trees: A Lexicological and Etymological Study . Australian Slavonic and East European Studies, Miskin Hill Academic Publishing (ABN 27 712 504 809). pp. 47-49
  16. 1 2 3 4 Pokalbio tema KETURIOS KILNIOSIOS DRUWIO TIESOS . Druwi Portal.
  17. 1 2 Kviečiame mokytis į baltų žynių “KURONO”. Druwi Portal.
  18. Dundzila (2007), pp. 279, 296-298.
  19. Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 247.
  20. Ignatow (2007), p. 104.
  21. Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 278.
  22. "Saulėgrįža Londono Romuvoje". Archived from the original on 2016-05-01. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  23. "Baltų Krivule Kurtuvėnuose 2011.06. 5". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  24. Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 244.

Bibliography

Articles