The Church of the Divine Earth


Romuva - A History - 03
 

An attempt to revive the Pagan movement in Lithuania during the Soviet era took place in 1987, when Ramuva --a Lithuanian association for preservation of indigenous culture-- was created. Ramuva is Prussian term for "sanctuary." The association was dissolved in 1971 by the authorities of Soviet Lithuania.

In 1988, Ramuva resumed activities as the Association for Lithuanian Ethnic Culture. With branches in five Lithuanian cities, its stated goals arethe restoration of respect toward nature and the extablishment of unity between humankind and nature.

Ramuva also includes a youth organization and religious association called Romuva. Its main fields of activity include education as pertains to the reconstruction and popularization of the Lithuanian folklore, ritual activity celebrating old Lithuanian holidays, and organizing annual summer camps where Pagans from other countries are also present. Ramuva is led by Jonas Trinkunas, a former scientific worker at the Lithuanian Academy of Arts and Sciences, later the director of Division of Ethnic Culture of the Ministry of Culture and Education of the Lithuanian Republic. Trinkunas participated in Romuva's activities as early as 1967.

After the collapse of Soviet rule, the center of Pagan activity has again moved to the Baltics. A group entitled Prussia Club was created in 1990 and unites people from Lithuania, Latvia, Germany and Poland. Its goal is to revive the heritage of ancient Prussians, an extinct Lettic people whose name was later taken by their German conquerors. Reviving old celebrations and rituals are among the stated aims of the club.

The interest in Prussian Pagan heritage has also spread in Lithuania. In 1984, a linguist from Kaunas in Lithuania, Letas Palmaitit, and the outstanding Russian specialist in the ancient Baltic culture, Professor Vladimir Toporow, published an article about the possibility of reviving the dead Prussian language. Toporow is known for his extensive multivolume dictionare of the Prussian language, whcih was first published in 1975. Palmaitis activbely works to popularize ancient Prussian culture.

An interest in Prussia manifests itself in Latvia as well, where the group Rasa (dew) was created by musicologist Valdis Muktupavels in 1988. Its goals were the popularization of the Prussian language and culture, preservation of the Latvian cultural heritage, and inclusion thereof into contemporary cultural life. Rasa is also the name of a musical group that plays traditional Baltic musical instruments. Through comparative research in the Lithuanian territory adjacent to former Prussian, they try to discern musical patters that may stem from extinct _Prussian folklore. They also sing Lithuanian folk songs self-translated into the dead Prussian language, as well as Latvian folk songs related to Prussia. Thus, they have to become a modern incarnation of the legendary Prussian shamans and singers the Vaidelotes, whose name stems from the Prussian language.


The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism
~By Shelley Rabinovitch, James Lewis
pp. 180-181