Baltic neopaganism

Last updated

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]

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]

Movements

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] 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. [12] The Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi was inaugurated in 2017. [13]

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. [14] [15] [16]

Romuva primarily exists in Lithuania but there are also congregations of adherents in Australia, Canada, the United States, [17] and England. [18] There are also Romuviai in Norway. [19] 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. [20]

Other

The re-enactment group Vilkatlakai, originally named Baltuva, formed in Lithuania in 1995 and is distinguished by its masculine vision of Baltic paganism. [21] The Kurono movement formed in 2003 as a split from Romuva, expressing dissatisfaction with the Romuva leadership's emphasis on ethnographical studies at the expense of theology. They were also critical of Romuva's openness to the media and other outsiders at religious events. [21]

Related Research Articles

Heathenry in the United States

Heathenry is a modern Pagan new religious movement that has been active in the United States since at least the early 1970s. Although the term "Heathenry" is often employed to cover the entire religious movement, different Heathen groups within the United States often prefer the term "Ásatrú" or "Odinism" as self-designations.

Modern Paganism New religious movements influenced by, or derived from, various historical beliefs of pre-modern peoples

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 peoples. Although they share similarities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse, and do not share a single set of beliefs, practices, or texts. Most academics who study the phenomenon treat it as a movement that is divided into different religions; others characterize it as a single religion of which different Pagan faiths are denominations.

Paganism Non-Abrahamic religion, or modern religious movement such as nature worship

Paganism is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism. This was either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi. Alternate terms in Christian texts for the same group were hellene, gentile, and heathen. Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian.

Dievturība Latvian neopagan movement

Dievturība is a neopagan movement which claims to be a modern revival of the ethnic religion of the Latvians before Christianization in the 13th century. Adherents call themselves Dievturi, literally "Dievs' keepers", "people who live in harmony with Dievs". The movement is mainly based on Latvian folklore, old folk songs (dainas) and Latvian mythology.

Latvian mythology is the collection of myths that have emerged throughout the history of Latvia, sometimes being elaborated upon by successive generations, and at other times being rejected and replaced by other explanatory narratives. These myths stem from folk traditions of the Latvian people and pre-Christian Baltic mythology.

Romuva (religion) Lithuanian pagan religion

Romuva is a modern revival of the religious practices of the Lithuanians before their Christianization in 1387. Practitioners of Romuva claim to continue living Baltic pagan traditions which survived in folklore and customs. Romuva is a polytheistic pagan faith which asserts the sanctity of nature and ancestor worship. Practicing 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 dainos and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places.

Heathenry (new religious movement) Modern Pagan religion

Heathenry, also termed Heathenism, contemporary Germanic Paganism, or Germanic Neopaganism, is a modern Pagan religion. Scholars of religious studies classify it as a new religious movement. Developed in Europe during the early 20th century, its practitioners model it on the pre-Christian belief systems adhered to by the Germanic peoples of the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages. In an attempt to reconstruct these past belief systems, Heathenry uses surviving historical, archaeological, and folkloric evidence as a basis, although approaches to this material vary considerably.

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 Lithuanian influence. The Latvian Orthodox Church is the third largest Christian church in Latvia, with adherents primarily among the Russian-speaking minority.

Lithuanian Dievas, Latvian Dievs, Latgalian Dīvs, Prussian Dēiws, Yotvingian Deivas was the primordial supreme god in the Baltic mythology and one of the most important deities together with Perkūnas and he was brother of Potrimpo. He was the god of sky, prosperity, wealth, ruler of gods, and creator universe. Dievas is a direct successor of the Proto-Indo-European supreme sky father god *Dyēus of the root *deiwo-. Its Proto-Baltic form was *Deivas.

<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.

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.

The First Latvian National Awakening organization

The First Latvian National Awakening or the First Awakening was a cultural and national revival movement between 1850 and 1880 among the Young Latvians, a group of well-educated Latvians, who, opposed to the Baltic German dominance in Livonia and Courland Governorates, created the basis for the modern Latvian nation state. It was influenced by the European romantic nationalism movements of Young Germans and Czech National Revival. Most of their efforts were spent on educating Latvians, criticizing Germans and removing the stigma from Latvian language, traditions and culture.

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.

Jonas Vaiškūnas Lithuanian astronomer

Jonas Vaiškūnas is a Lithuanian ethnoastronomer, physicist, museologist, publisher and priest in the Baltic neopagan organisation Romuva.

References

  1. 1 2 Wiench, 1995
  2. Monika Hanley (October 28, 2010). Baltic diaspora and the rise of Neo-Paganism. The Baltic Times. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  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. Latvian Encyclopedia of Religions: Neopagānisms / dievturi .
  12. "Tieslietu ministrijā iesniegtie reliģisko organizāciju pārskati par darbību 2011. gadā" (in Latvian). Archived from the original on 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  13. Stasulāne, Anita (14 March 2019). "A Reconstructed Indigenous Religious Tradition in Latvia". Religions . 10 (195). Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  14. Dundzila (2007), pp. 279, 296-298.
  15. Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 247.
  16. Ignatow (2007), p. 104.
  17. Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 278.
  18. "Saulėgrįža Londono Romuvoje". Archived from the original on 2016-05-01. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  19. "Baltų Krivule Kurtuvėnuose 2011.06. 5". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  20. Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 244.
  21. 1 2 Pranskevičiūtė and Aleknaitė (2014), p. 172.

Bibliography

Articles