The Church of the Divine Earth


Principles of Baltic faith

 

The principles of faith of the Romuva:

The Community continues the traditions of the native ancient Baltic faith (hereafter referred to as the faith). It aims at the unison and the harmony with the God and the Gods, with the ancestors, the nature and the people, exalts the sanctity of the nature as the most obvious manifestation of the divinity, nurtures the Baltic traditional moral way of life, their own way towards the divinity, which was created through many centuries.

The Baltic faith respects the traditional and other religions recognized by the State. The source of the faith of the Community is the uninterrupted Baltic spiritual tradition. As a tree, which gets its strength from the depth of the Earth, so the members of the Romuvos (the Romuviai) get their spiritual experience and strength from old songs, tales, legends and customs from all the heritage of their ancestors.

The Baltic faith unites all the faithful - living and dead. The Romuviai believe that death is a regular transformation of nature, that, when a body dies, the soul can endure by passing into another shape.

The Sanctity is the most perfect quality of the World's life. It unites, conciliates and recreates. The Sanctity is being created by the Divine forces. The Divinity manifests Itself in nature and everyday life. The main feature of a Romuvis is respect to the Divine creating power in the nature and in a human being. The pivots of the Baltic faith are harmony and honesty. The pursued virtues of a Romuvis are justice, diligence and the ability to get along with other people and the World.

The Romuviai observe calendar, family and other holidays. The religious rituals shall be performed in nature at the communal and home shrines, places of worship and other public places.

The source of the Baltic faith is a living, uninterrupted and unwritten tradition of spiritual practice. The old folk songs, tales, legends, customs and other heritage of the ancestors still contain its manifestations.


About Lithuanian Gods:

Which is your God?

The followers of Latvian Ethnic Religion have named themselves "Dievturi," which would be "Dievaturiai" or maybe even "Dievanešiai" in Lithuanian. In other words, to hold or carry God in yourself. If you chose to worship a form of God in your spiritual or religious practice, the essence and goal is holding that God in your daily life and carrying that God throughout your life. This is the Baltic way. Devotion is not just singing a few dainas to your God once a day or once in a while. Prayer begins with the dainas and ends with God being part and parcel of your entire life.

Dievas, Laima and Žemyna are the three most beloved Lithuanian deities. Dievas accompanies us especially through our work, while the mothers guide our steps from birth to death and nourish us, each in her own unique way.

Some Gods, like Perkūnas, Saulė, Mėnulis, Aušrinė, Bubilas, Austėja, Bangpūtis, Vėjas, Kovas, etc., are worshiped when there is a particular need or by a specific segment of society (farmers, bee-keepers, sailors, soldiers, etc.).

Who is your deity? How do you hold her or him?

Dieve padėk. Laima palaimink.

Audrius Dundzila, Ph.D. ~ Romuva/Chicago

 

Fire and water in rites:

During every traditional Baltic holiday a fire (ugnis) is lit, whether such is in an altar or bonfire, or by candle. Fire is the most important symbol of Lithuanian traditions. During ancient times, the Baltic people were known as fire worshipers. The Eternal Flame burned at Sventaragis Valley at the very center of Vilnius. Every household had a hearth, which was particularly respected by each member of the family, but cared for and safeguarded by the mother. The fire had greater meaning than merely the source of light and warmth. It symbolized the unbroken lifeline of the family and its ancestry. The Eternal Flame of the community served to unify not only its immediate members, but was also the unifying link with ancestors who had long since died and were now with the Gods. It was believed that numerous generations of the dead continued to live on at the hearth of the fire.

"Throughout all of Lithuania, people held fire to be sacred. Thus it was obligatory to honor it and behave before it with respect. Coals had to be closely accumulated. Fire could be extinguished only with cold and clean water. Fire was not to be insulted. It was not to be harmed nor polluted. People were not to spit nor urinate into fire, nor was it permitted to kick it or to stomp upon it. All that was considered sinful, and any such actions were sure to invite punishment, either while the person was still alive or after their death" (author J. Balys, Lietuviu Tautosakos Lobynas (Treasure Chest of Lithuanian Folklore), 1951, pg.39).

"No live coals nor smoldering ashes were to be extinguished on holiday days for that was considered a sin - it was necessary to wait until the fire burned out on its own accord." (Salakas) Thus, we should adhere to such tradition during rituals as well.

"When salt is sprinkled on the fire and it begins to crackle, it is said: 'Sacred Gabija, be nourished.' " The expression "to make the bed for the fire" - meant that it was to be carefully edged and ashes poured around delicately (Laukuva).

"When the fireplace was being lit at home, everyone had to remain quiet and were not to turn away, even in the event they were to hear someone calling" (1854 by A. Kirkoras). A cup of clean water was to be placed near to the fire, in order that "the beloved little fire would have the means to wash itself."

The fire for rituals was lit either on a hearth of stone or on an altar. Good oak logs were to be selected with care for the fire. A sutartine (archaic round refrain song) was chanted while lighting the fire, "Rimo rimo tuta, Rimo rimo tuta, Sutarjela, Sutarjela" (SIS.,1587). A prayer was said to the fire, as follows: "Sventa Gabija! Sugobta gabek, suziebta zibek" ("Sacred Gabija! As you were gathered, stay whole, as you were lit, stay bright.")

Another prayer was, "Thank you, little fire, for this our day, let us greet our good little night, and protect ourselves from those wish us bad, and let those who are lost find their road." The words can be improvised to express both desires, as well as wishes for others. All the participants to the ritual can approach the fire one by one, express their good will and offer their donation. Contact with Gods and with one's ancestors is sought through the fire.

Sacrificial donations to the fire can be bread, grains, beer grasses and flowers. Circling the Fire clockwise, three times, strengthens the ritual. All those who have gathered can also walk in a circle around the hearth.

 

Prayers (maldos) to Fire (ugnis) and Gabija

Ugnis, the fire, is honored in all Lithuanian celebrations and rites. When Ugnis is fed salt, it is said: "Sacred Gabija, be satiated." To "make a bed" for the fire - means to set her up nicely, surrounded by stones, and cover her in ashes - "Sacred Gabija, forged - may you lay, kindled - may you shine!" A cup of pure water is placed near the fire, so that "Ugnis may wash herself."

 

Gabija, oh Goddess
Sacred Ugnele,
Rise thy steam,
Spit not thy sparks

Perkunas' daughter
Shimmering Gabele,
Stay through the night,
Promise the sun.

Sacred Gabeta,
Fire of our home,
Flame of our hearth,
Shine for us
Be with us,
Gabija, oh Goddess

- Kernave, 1967

 

"Blessed is the man, who seeks the way to the eternal Romuva,
And desires, in the light of everlasting fire
To live forever. Naught will stand against him.
May we see, what is eternal and sacred.
Throughout the ages, it will bless us all!"

- Vydunas

Info from: www.romuva.lt

http://www.ethnicart.lt/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26&Itemid=153