Medeina or Medeinė treated as synonymous to Žvorūnė or Žvorūna, is one of the main deities in the Lithuanian mythology, is similar to Latvian Meža Māte. She is a ruler of forests and animals, her sacred animal is a hare. A Slavic transcription of John Malalas' Chronicle mentioned three other gods; the Hypatian Codex, describing events of 1252, mentioned pagan gods still worshiped by King Mindaugas. The Codex mentioned an unnamed hare goddess. There is an academic discussion whether Medeina is the name of hare goddess mentioned in the Codex or those two are independent deities; as part of the official pantheon, Medeina represented military interest of warriors and was replaced by Žemyna, goddess of earth representing agricultural interest of peasants. In the 15th century, Jan Długosz compared Medeina with Roman goddess Diana, she was mentioned by Jan Łasicki, Mikalojus Daukša, in the Bychowiec Chronicle. According to research by Algirdas Julius Greimas, Medeina is single, unwilling to get married, though voluptuous and beautiful huntress.
She is depicted as a she-wolf with an escort of wolves. According to the author, Medeina can be described as a goddess with demonic traits, her duty is not to protect the forest. Vykintas Vaitkevičius identified five Hare Churches and ten Wolf-footprints in Eastern Lithuania that were related to the cult of Medeina. After baptism of Lithuania, the cult diminished. Medeina was related and similar to Greek Artemis and Roman Diana and in fact was sometimes called Diana
Druwi is a Baltic ethnic religious revival claiming Old Prussian origins, present in Lithuania. Adherents uphold that it is distinct from Romuva, that Romuva could be considered as a specific form of Druwi; the religion is represented institutionally by the "Kurono Academy of Baltic Priesthood" founded in 1995. It trains men and women into the Darna, as priests of the Baltic people. Like the Romuvans, they recognise Vydūnas as their founding father. Old Prussian druwi, meaning "belief", is a cognate word of "tree" and "druid", all stemming from the Indo-European root *deru-, *drew- meaning "tree", "oak tree", "strong", "firm"; this root gives many cognate words in the various Indo-European languages, all conveying to the meaning of "firmness", "stability", such as the Latin dūrus "hard", the Greek droón "firm", "strong", but "true", "truth", "trust" as in Old Norse trū and Old High German trūen, also to the "godly tree", Vedic Sanskrit dēva-dāru of the Indo-European world-view. The proponents of Druwi have synthesised the philosophy of the movement in the "Druwi Four Noble Truths".
The first one defines that everything is one deity, at the same time the generator and destroyer. Dievas is the life itself; the second noble truth concerns the nature of man, threefold: physical and divine. The third noble truth is that the universe is sustained by Darna, "harmony", "order". Baltic religionsDievturi RomuvaSlavic religionsRodnoveryUralic religionsEstonian Neopaganism Finnish Neopaganism Mari Neopaganism Mordvin Neopaganism Udmurt VosCaucasus religionsAbkhaz Neopaganism Circassian Habzism Etseg Din Baltic Priests' School website
The winter solstice known as midwinter, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice once in each hemisphere. For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky. At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice, its opposite is the summer solstice. The winter solstice occurs during the hemisphere's winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the June solstice. Although the winter solstice itself lasts only a moment, the term sometimes refers to the day on which it occurs. Other names are "midwinter", the "extreme of winter", or the "shortest day". Traditionally, in many temperate regions, the winter solstice is seen as the middle of winter, but today in some countries and calendars, it is seen as the beginning of winter. In meteorology, winter is reckoned as beginning about three weeks before the winter solstice.
Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, has been marked by festivals and rituals. It marked the symbolic rebirth of the Sun; the seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Seasonal lag is the term relating the lag shift between the coldest winter weather and the winter solstice; as latitude increases, midwinter correlates more with the winter solstice. The solstice may have been a special moment of the annual cycle for some cultures during neolithic times. Astronomical events were used to guide activities, such as the mating of animals, the sowing of crops and the monitoring of winter reserves of food. Many cultural mythologies and traditions are derived from this; this is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise and the winter solstice sunset.
It is significant that at Stonehenge the Great Trilithon was oriented outwards from the middle of the monument, i.e. its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun. The winter solstice was immensely important because the people were economically dependent on monitoring the progress of the seasons. Starvation was common during the first months of the winter, January to April or July to October known as "the famine months". In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was the only time of year when a plentiful supply of fresh meat was available; the majority of wine and beer made during the year was fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but at the beginning of the pagan day, which in many cultures fell on the previous eve; because the event was seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common.
In cultures which used cyclic calendars based on the winter solstice, the "year as reborn" was celebrated with reference to life-death-rebirth deities or "new beginnings" such as Hogmanay's redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. "reversal" is yet another frequent theme, as in Saturnalia's slave and master reversals. Makara Sankranti known as Makaraa Sankrānti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, in reference to deity Surya, it is observed each year in January. It marks the first day of Sun's transit into Makara, marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. Iranian people celebrate the night of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice as, "Yalda night", known to be the "longest and darkest night of the year". Yalda night celebration, or as some call it "Shabe Chelleh", is one the oldest Iranian traditions, present in Persian culture from the ancient years. In this night all the family gather together at the house of the eldest, celebrate it by eating and reciting poetry.
Nuts and watermelons are served during this festival. The pagan Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a twelve-day "midwinter" holiday called Yule. Many modern Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, the Yule log, others, are direct descendents of Yule customs. Scandinavians still call Christmas "Jul". In English, the word "Yule" is used in combination with the season "yuletide" a usage first recorded in 900, it is believed that the celebration of this day was a worship of these peculiar days, interpreted as the reawakening of nature. The Yule particular god was Jólner, one of Odin's many names; the concept of Yule occurs in a tribute poem to Harold Hårfager from about AD 900, where someone said "drinking Yule". Julblot is the most solemn sacrifice feast. At the Yule blót, sacrifices were given to the gods to earn blessing on the forthcoming germinating crops; the Yule blót was integrated into the Christian Christmas. As a remainder from this Viking era, the Midsummer is
Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi
Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi is a Dievturi religious building in Pļaviņas Municipality, Latvia. It is used by the organization Latvijas Dievturu sadraudze for devotional ceremonies and annual celebrations; the building is located on a small island in the Daugava river, behind the Liepkalni bakery and café in Liepsalas, close to the town Pļaviņas. It is named after the nearby Lokstene castle mound; the entire complex includes a shrine building, a ferry, an assembly and flag square, a monument to the ancestors, a gate of the sun. The project was financed by owner of the Liepkalni bakery chain. Čākurs explained that as he had grown older, he had become more interested in questions about the soul and mortality. As the Latvian people had supported his business over the years, he wanted to give something in return, hoped to do so with a house for the national gods and Latvian folk culture; the design was developed by Latvijas Dievturu sadraudze under the leadership of Valdis Celms. The architect was Ainārs Markvarts.
The interior design was done by Egons Garklāvs. The sculptor was Jānis Karlovs; the island is owned by Čākurs and is leased by the LDS. LDS began to use the building in the autumn of 2016; the official opening took place on 6 May 2017. The building hosts devotional ceremonies and celebrations, such as family celebrations, celebrations of moral and spiritual values, celebration of the Latvian national day. Anita Liepiņa of the literary magazine Jaunā Gaita argued in 2017 that the building should receive state support just like churches receive support for maintenance. List of modern Pagan temples Romuva Official website of Latvijas Dievtuŗu sadraudze
Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire groups at once. Various strategies and techniques were employed in Christianization campaigns from Late Antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages; the conversion of the ruler was followed by the compulsory baptism of his subjects. Some were evangelization by monks or priests, organic growth within an partly Christianized society, or by campaigns against paganism such as the conversion of pagan temples into Christian churches or the condemnation of pagan gods and practices. A strategy for Christianization was Interpretatio Christiana – the practice of converting native pagan practices and culture, pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar to Christian uses, due to the Christian efforts at proselytism based on the Great Commission. Reformatting native religious and cultural activities and beliefs into a Christianized form was sanctioned. In essence, it was intended that the traditions and practices still existed, but that the reasoning behind them was altered.
The existence of syncretism in Christian tradition has long been recognized by scholars. Since the 16th century and till modern days, significant scholarship was devoted to deconstruction of interpretatio christiana, i.e. tracing the roots of some Christian practices and traditions to paganism. Early works of this type have tended to be downplayed and dismissed as a form of Protestant apologetics aimed at "purification" of Christianity; the Council of Jerusalem, according to Acts 15, agreed that lack of circumcision could not be a basis for excluding Gentile believers from membership in the Jesus community. Rather, they instructed new believers to avoid "pollution of idols, things strangled, blood", expecting them to hear Moses read on the Sabbath days; these clarifications were put into writing, distributed by messengers present at the Council, were received as an encouragement to the growth of these gentiles' trust in the God of Israel as revealed in the Gospel. The Apostolic Decree thus helped to establish nascent Christianity as a unique alternative among the forms of Judaism for prospective Proselytes.
The Twelve Apostles and the Apostolic Fathers initiated the process of transforming the Jewish sect into a diaspora of communities composed of both Jews and gentiles, united by their trust in Jesus. The Armenian and Ethiopian churches are the only instances of imposition of Christianity by sovereign rulers predating the council of Nicaea; the initial conversion of the Roman Empire occurred in urban areas of Europe, where the first conversions were sometimes among members of the Jewish population. Conversions happened among the Grecian-Roman-Celtic populations over centuries initially among its urban population, with rural conversions taking place some time later; the term "pagan" is from Latin and means "villager, civilian." It is derived from this historical transition. The root of that word is present in today's word "paisan" or "paisano"; the Christianization of the Roman Empire is divided into two phases and after the year 312, which marked the momentous conversion of Constantine. By this date, Christianity had converted a significant but unknown proportion of at least the urban population of the empire including a small number of the elite classes.
Constantine ended the intermittent persecution of Christianity with the Edict of Milan, in fact a quote from a letter of the emperor Licinius by Eusebius, which granted tolerance to all religions, but mentions Christianity. Under Constantine's successors, Christianization of Roman society proceeded by fits and starts, as John Curran documented in detail. Constantine's sons did not close the temples. Although all state temples in all cities were ordered shut in 356, there is evidence that traditional sacrifices continued. Under Julian, the temples were state religious sacrifices performed once more; when Gratian, emperor 376-383, declined the office and title of Pontifex Maximus, his act brought an end to the state religion due to the position's authority and ties within the Imperial administration. Again, this process ended state official practices but not private religious devotion; as Christianity spread, many of the ancient pagan temples were defiled, destroyed, or converted into Christian sites by such figures as Martin of Tours, in the East by militant monks.
However, many temples remained open until Theodosius I's edict of Thessalonica in 381 banned haruspices and other pagan religious practices. From 389 to 393 he issued a series of decrees which led to the banning of pagan religious rites, the confiscation of their property and endowments; the Olympic Games were banned in 392 because of their association with the old religion. Further laws were passed against remaining pagan practices over the course of the following years; the effectiveness of these laws empire-wide is debatable. Christianization of the central Balkans is documented at the end of the 4th century, where Nicetas the Bishop of Remesiana brought the gospel to "those mountain wolves"
Kūlgrinda is a folk music group from Vilnius, established in 1989 by Inija and Jonas Trinkūnas. The group is connected to the Lithuanian neopagan movement Romuva and performs as a part of the movement's ceremonies; the band was founded in 1989 by Jonas Trinkūnas and his wife Inija Trinkūnienė who were the leaders of the modern Pagan movement Romuva. The band has from the start functioned as the musical expression of this movement; some of the recorded material has functioned as "musical scriptures" for the Romuva members and the band has participated as an integral part of the movement's events. On the website of Romuva, Kūlgrinda is described as a "ritual folklore group"; the band owes its name to kūlgrinda – a secret Samogitian underwater causeway. Kūlgrinda's music consists of straightforward folk music performances with little studio enhancement and a focus on the vocal performances, it has specialised on sutartinės, a traditional form of polyphonic song-chant where several vocalists perform interlocking melodies that through rhythmic repetition create a pattern of musical expression.
The musicologist Daiva Račiūnaitė-Vyčinienė has compared this technique to the weaving of a multicoloured cloth. The band has collaborated with other artists such as the electronic musician Donis, the singer Rasa Serra and the heavy metal band Ugnėlakis; the latter collaboration resulted in the forming of the folk rock group Žalvarinis. Kulgrinda albums were released by Dangus Records; the band signed with Aurea Studija. 1996: Kūlgrinda – cassette 2002: Ugnėlakis su Kūlgrinda – with Ugnėlakis 2002: Ugnies Apeigos 2003: Sotvaras – with Donis 2003: Perkūno Giesmės 2005: Prūsų Giesmės 2007: Giesmės Saulei 2009: Giesmės Valdovui Gediminui 2013: Giesmės Žemynai – with Donis 2014: Laimos Giesmės 2018: Giesmės Austėjai Official website
Proto-Indo-European mythology is the body of myths and stories associated with the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Although these stories are not directly attested, they have been reconstructed by scholars of comparative mythology based on the similarities in the belief systems of various Indo-European peoples. Various schools of thought exist regarding the precise nature of Proto-Indo-European mythology, which do not always agree with each other; the main mythologies used in comparative reconstruction are Vedic and Norse supported with evidence from the Baltic, Greek and Hittite traditions as well. The Proto-Indo-European pantheon includes well-attested deities such as *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr, the god of the daylit skies, his daughter *Haéusōs, the goddess of the dawn, the divine twins, the storm god *Perkwunos. Other probable deities include *Péh2usōn, a pastoral god, *Seh2ul, a female solar deity. Well-attested myths of the Proto-Indo-Europeans include a myth involving a storm god who slays a multi-headed serpent that dwells in water and a creation story involving two brothers, one of whom sacrifices the other to create the world.
The Proto-Indo-Europeans may have believed that the Otherworld was guarded by a watchdog and could only be reached by crossing a river. They may have believed in a world tree, bearing fruit of immortality, either guarded by or gnawed on by a serpent or dragon, tended by three goddesses who spun the thread of life; the mythology of the Proto-Indo-Europeans is not directly attested and it is difficult to match their language to archaeological findings related to any specific culture from the Chalcolithic. Nonetheless, scholars of comparative mythology have attempted to reconstruct aspects of Proto-Indo-European mythology based on the existence of similarities among the deities, religious practices, myths of various Indo-European peoples; this method is known as the comparative method. Different schools of thought have approached the subject of Proto-Indo-European mythology from different angles; the Meteorological School holds that Proto-Indo-European mythology was centered around deified natural phenomena such as the sky, the Sun, the Moon, the dawn.
This meteorological interpretation was popular among early scholars, such as Friedrich Max Müller, who saw all myths as fundamentally solar allegories. This school lost most of its scholarly support in early twentieth centuries; the Ritual School, which first became prominent in the late nineteenth century, holds that Proto-Indo-European myths are best understood as stories invented to explain various rituals and religious practices. The Ritual School reached the height of its popularity during the early twentieth century. Many of its most prominent early proponents, such as James George Frazer and Jane Ellen Harrison, were classical scholars. Bruce Lincoln, a contemporary member of the Ritual School, argues that the Proto-Indo-Europeans believed that every sacrifice was a reenactment of the original sacrifice performed by the founder of the human race on his twin brother; the Functionalist School holds that Proto-Indo-European society and their mythology, was centered around the trifunctional system proposed by Georges Dumézil, which holds that Proto-Indo-European society was divided into three distinct social classes: farmers and priests.
The Structuralist School, by contrast, argues that Proto-Indo-European mythology was centered around the concept of dualistic opposition. This approach tends to focus on cultural universals within the realm of mythology, rather than the genetic origins of those myths, but it offers refinements of the Dumézilian trifunctional system by highlighting the oppositional elements present within each function, such as the creative and destructive elements both found within the role of the warrior. One of the earliest attested and thus most important of all Indo-European mythologies is Vedic mythology the mythology of the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas. Early scholars of comparative mythology such as Friedrich Max Müller stressed the importance of Vedic mythology to such an extent that they equated it with Proto-Indo-European myth. Modern researchers have been much more cautious, recognizing that, although Vedic mythology is still central, other mythologies must be taken into account. Another of the most important source mythologies for comparative research is Roman mythology.
Contrary to the frequent erroneous statement made by some authors that "Rome has no myth", the Romans possessed a complex mythological system, parts of which have been preserved through the characteristic Roman tendency to rationalize their myths into historical accounts. Despite its late attestation, Norse mythology is still considered one of the three most important of the Indo-European mythologies for comparative research due to the vast bulk of surviving Icelandic material. Baltic mythology has received a great deal of scholarly attention, but has so far remained frustrating to researchers because the sources are so comparatively late. Nonetheless, Latvian folk songs are seen as a major source of information in the process of reconstructing Proto-Indo-European myth. Despite the popularity of Greek mythology in western culture, Greek mythology is seen as having little importance in comparative mythology due to the heavy influence of Pre-Greek and Near Eastern cultures, which overwhelms what little Indo-European material can be extracted from it.
Greek mythology received minimal scholarly attention until the mid 2000s. Although Scythians are considered conservative in regards to Proto-Indo-European cultures, retaining a similar lifestyle and culture, their mythology has rarely been examined in