Lithuanian paganism allows us to deal with the more general matter of paganism, its structures and perceptions. There are many trails of Lithuanian paganism because, though it has been officially destroyed between 13th and 15th century, it still keeps its vividness and its memory through the relations between Human Beings and their surrounding. What are the origins and the development of Lithuanian paganism? Like all other paganisms, it recognizes the divine surrounding us and relates to it, to the specific surrounding in which Lithuanian people live.
Dievas is the sky in itself, not the sky as atmosphere, but the sky as the infinite that surrounds us, the infinite from which the existing is drawn out. It’s the infinite as the unknown from which we derive the known, by the courage with which we permeate it: so Dievas isn’t the sky, but is represented by the sky as starry immensity. Dievas is the unknown to which we attain, from which we separate the known and the description of the reason. Lithuanian people knew that the unknown was bigger than the known; they were brave in front of the unknown and determined to face it, in order to expand the known in everyday life. Christians didn’t understand anything of this and in Latvia they used the name of the Latvian god corresponding to Lithuanian Dievas to mean their own god.
Dievas derives from the arian people’s religious root, where the root “god” means light. Light is a generic word, qualified by the substance of its consciousness. Dievas is also the light from which Self Consciousnesses get moving: the divine that surrounds us, the divine of which we are part. A conception that christian people won’t understand. We are a divine and we come from the unknown that surrounds us. The unknown contains all the tension we manipulate through our becoming to project ourselves into the changes.
The unknown isn’t self-conscious, but obeys to the imperative of necessity: to turn itself into a consciousness!
Dievas is also the divine par excellence. He’s the necessity becoming fate combining to itself the will of the individual who act to determine him/herself and to choose the best inside the challend and the contradiction in order to become in changes. So Dievas is what we have inside, the substance of our consciousness and awareness; through our Dievas we relate ourselves with the Dievas of every other consciousness projecting its tensions and aims from the surrounding world toward us. Dievas is the divine which surrounds us and of which we are part!
Dievas isn’t transcendent nor immanent: he’s a part of us!
Menules was the Self Consciousness-Moon: its changing awareness.
It’s not only a matter of lunar phases, nor of menstrual cycles: the moon was recognized as Self Consciousness as every other planet was. The Moon was a Self Consciousness willing to become eternal through its own development.
Lithuanian people recognized celestial bodies which have a Self Consciousness and recognized that the Moon Being interacts with Human Beings marking their times and changes. Human Beings’ births are connected to menstrual cycles.
Menstrual cycles are connected to lunar phases: the Moon Being takes part in the becoming of Human Being. The Moon Being has in itself a part of Human Being and calls Human Beings to attain from it to continue their development. In its turn, the Moon Being is part of Human Beings with whom it relates and to whom it attains. Lithuanian people recognized this divine and called it Menules.
Perkunas is the atmosphere as a Self Consciousness, the oldest consciousness in the Nature Being embracing the Earth Being. Its expressions of life are thunder and storms, acts of power by which life rises and reproduces itself in Beings made only by Vital Force. Perkunas is the atmospheric divine cloaking every Being of Nature, by whom the Atmosphere Being is changed and enriched with every breath, with every draught. The Vegetal Being which was most identified with Perkunas was the oak. The Oak Being was older than every Human Being and its breath permeated Perkunas, enriching him much more than a Human Being could do during his/her whole life. Perkunas and the oak enriched the Human Being: the divine nourishes the divine in order to nourish its own divine and the fire was the synthesis of this divine encounter. As long as the fire burns, the divine was connected to every divine. The fire was kept burning not only because it was useful for everyone, but also to keep the attention of Human Beings on every divine with which they related and the respect for the surrounding by which they get power to construct their becoming.
Dimstipatis was the genius loci, especially the genius of the most important place: the farm. The farm gathers the tension lines of all the Self Consciousnesses that contribute to construct the farm’s becoming, its prosperity. Dimstipatis is the Self Consciousness of the place, formed by the concourse of all the subjects taking part in the farm’s prosperity. Chickens were sacrificed to him and eaten to celebrate the farm’s prosperity and the genius loci.
The sun was considered a female Self Consciousness: Saule. The human doing and the actions constructing human becoming were considered a divine whole, the divine linking generation to generation. While in Roman religion Human Beings’ doing was considered something separate consciousness by consciousness, expression by expression, Lithuanian people considered the divine of human becoming as the great flowing of an overall Self Consciousness they called Lima.
Lithuanian people understood the divine doing of fertility and related themselves with it, recognizing its divine and the power it poured on their doing. Fertility was the power by which the flock reproduced itself and by which human society enforced and assert itself. Fertility was every divine related with the power of the Moon and of the Sun Being. Fertility of every being was the power of Zemyna, whose strength was the product of the Moon Being and the Sun Being. Every evening a "litany" was recited to honour Zemyna, ending with a kiss on the earth: the being from which we take life.
Lithuanian people, like every other pagan people, used to recognize the divine in every other living species, but they were particularly interested in those interacting with them. Even though many divines went lost or are unknown, we remember Sverine and Medeine, the divine of the Dog Being and the divine of the Hare Being. Divines of Animal Beings that are different from the divines of Human Being. The divine of every species to which the human species is close and with which the human species forms the Nature Being, its consciousness and its determinations.
The fire, as mentioned before, is a deity in itself; it’s an expanding consciousness. It was change and foundation of becoming. Every fire: the fire burning in the fireplace, the fire burning inside Human Beings, the fire breaking out the sky during storms. The fire expanded itself and had its own consciousness and determinations. Lithuanian people called the fire Gabija and so honoured her.
Even the Energy Beings rising from the storms had a name and were known, although, like in other paganisms, they were identified with the souls of the dead people. The process which leads to identify the Vital Energy Beings rising from storms as beings apart instead of dead Human Beings will be a very long one. Egocentrism dies hard and christianity will use this agony to impose itself.
Sacrificial rites by which Lithuanian people related themselves with surrounding world took place in Sacred Woods, with the Being Power of becoming, on which their becoming depended, all around them. Sacrifices consisted in killing animals and sometimes prisoners of war. In Rome this kind of sacrifice has been substituted with the offering of the weapons of the defeated to the deity that concurred to the victory, while among Northern people still used to sacrifice prisoners. Killing prisoners was something usual in every war: the enemy had to be destroyed or else he would reconstruct himself and come back to fight. The sacrifice was recognizing that the divine took part in an action for surviving. Christians will slaughter prisoners not as a rite, but as a butchery. At least rites distinguished people to sacrifice, christian will slaughter every Human Being to their god.
The task of pagan priests was to nourish the Sacred Fire, the fire both as an object to which attain for home needs and as hope and element by which founding the becoming and constructing the magic of changing and becoming. Apart from the priest, whose task was to construct relations between the Human Being and his/her changes, there was the sorcerer, whose task was to construct relations between Human Beings and the surrounding world. That is, the sorcerer’s was to prevent human actions from opposing to the divine actions in the surrounding world. The sorcerer’s task was to harmonize the choices made by the social system with the choices made by the surrounding. A different task was performed by the diviners, who had to predict the future development of actions, but also to permeate the surrounding to reach knowledge about the exact consequences of the action Human Beings wanted to take. Diviners were sorcerers of change. They had to act back and forth in time, while sorcerers were guardians of consciousnesses.
All this religious system could do nothing against christian horror and excessive power and against the world’s changes. But it continued existing in dreams and desires of Lithuanian people. The destruction of this pagan religion happened very late and Oak Beings and Lime Beings kept alive memories and relations, although christians hurried to chop forests.
This paganism is very similar to ancient Rome’s. It has its complexity, which allows us to understand how every paganism pervades the divine surrounding us and considers every deity a relative being, who tends to expand itself and to become in relation with every other being who is divine in itself and tries to become. There aren’t conceptions of absolute, of possession, of submission: all these belong to christianity.