Baltic Gods

In this instance Baltic includes Latvian, Lithuanian and Prussian mythologies.

Baltic peoples included Latvians, Lithuanians and Old Prussians, who inhabited what is now eastern Germany and the Baltics and land extending as far east as Moscow, beginning in about the middle of the second millennium. By the first millennium the Balts, whose languages are closer to the ancient Indo-EuropeanVedic language than to any other European language group, had developed from a hunter- gatherer culture into an agricultural one. Not surprisingly, then, what little we know of Baltic mythology is a combination of perhaps very ancient nature deities and deities closely associated with farming and fertility.


Some Baltic Gods;

Auseklis – (from root aust- (dawn-)) also called Lielais Auseklis ("Great Auseklis"). He was associated with Venus, and with both Mēness and Saule, the Moon and the Sun.

Ceroklis – a fertility god, associated with agriculture and farmers, and cognate with Latin Ceres. The Jesuit Joannis Stribingius discussed Cerklicing when he went to Eastern Latvia in 1606. The first bite of any food, and the first drop of any drink, was given to this deity. Alternative names include Dewing Cereklicing, Cerekling, Cercklicing, Greklicing, Cerekticing, Cerklicing, Cerroklis.

Dēkla – (from dēt (to plant, lay (eggs))) was one of a trinity of fate goddesses that included her sisters Kārta and Laima. However, all three may have been aspects of Laima and in many ways Dekla doubles with Laima. She was associated with children and infants and was often depicted with them at her breast. In original Latvian mythology, as opposed to dievtuŗība, Dēkla was the goddess of fortune and destiny and was worshiped primarily in Western Latvia (as Kurzeme).

Ūsiņš – was the god of horses, bees and light, mentioned by Jesuit Joannis Stribingius in 1606. He took care of horses during the summer, then transferred the power to Mārtiņš at the festival of Mārtiņi. He was especially associated with the festival Jurģi. Alternative names include Deving Isching, Usins, Dewing Uschinge.

Dievs – (God) was the supreme god. The same word refers to the Christian deity in modern Latvian. In ancient Latvian mythology, Dievs was not just the father of the gods, he was the essence of them all. Every other deity was a different aspect or manifestation of Dievs; this is most true with Māra and Laima. The name Dievs was also interpreted as Sky. Though it is told in ancient beliefs, that he courted Saule, no actual wife is known. His sons are known as Dieva dēli. He is historically associated with the father gods of Indo-European religions as Tyr, Zeus, Jupiter and Dyaus Pita.

Jānis – (or John) was a deity associated with Jāņi, the Midsummer's Night festival. After Christianization, he was associated with John the Baptist, through a process of syncretism. Once a year, Jānis came to bring luck and fertility to the people of Latvia. In modern Latvia, it is very popular male given name.

Jumis – (from root jum- roof-) was a god of sky and fertility. He is associated with "double-plants", such as two crop stalks or trees which have grown together and share a trunk or stem. During harvesting, some stalks of the crops are bent to the ground and secured in that location with stones. During his holiday, Miķeļi, a ritual called the "Catching of Jumis" is performed, it involves a procession that carries some grains (symbol of "captured" Jumis) home, thereby ensuring the following year's harvest will be at least as successful. He is depicted as a short man with clothes that resemble ears of wheat, hops and barley.

Kārta (layer) – was one of a trinity of fate goddesses that included her sisters Dēkla and Laima. All three may have been aspects of Laima. Alternative names include Kārtas māte.

Laima – (laim- (luck-)) was a goddess in both Latvian and Lithuanian mythology. She is the personification of fate and of luck, both good and bad. She was associated with childbirth, marriage, death, proliferation, and domesticity. She was also the patron of pregnant women. Some sources proclaim three Laima's, which means that either this goddess had three aspects or this could have been general name for three deities. Alternative names include Laime, Laimė (Lithuanian), Laimas māte, Laimes māte ("Mother of Luck").

Lauma – (Fairy) is a beautiful naked maiden, that cannot have children. So she often steals other children and sours cows' milk. They are very strong and cannot be killed by man in a fight, however they can be killed by touching their milk pail.

Māra – (Mary) is the highest-ranking goddess, a feminine Dievs. She may be thought as alternate side of Dievs (like in Yin Yang). Other Latvian goddesses, sometimes all of them, are considered her alternate aspects.

Mārtiņš – was a god who protected the Latvian people and their livestock such as horses, during the winter months, from thieves, cold and starvation. He took over the function of protector of the horses from Ūsiņa diena on November 10, the festival of Mārtiņi.

Mēness – (Moon) was the god of the moon and war. According to beliefs and national songs, he was one of the suitors of Saules meitas ("The Daughters of Sun"). Mēness counted the stars and determined that Auseklis was missing, and stole Auseklis' bride. He was usually a rival of Saule, the Sun, his wife who sheared him in pieces after discovering his adultery. Alternative names include Mėnulis/Mėnuo in Lithuanian mythology.

Metenis – was a mysterious deity, connected with the festival Meteņi, into which he rode during the celebrations on his sleigh. He has five sons and five daughters.

Meža vīrs – was the god of the forests, associated with wolves. Alternative names include Meža Tēvs, Meža Dievs.

Miķelis – was one of the Sons of Dievs, the supreme god. He was a god of astronomy, prophecy and abundance.

Pērkons – (Thunder) was the common Baltic and Slavic god of thunder, one of the most important deities in the Indo-European pantheon. In Baltic, Slavic and Finnish mythology, he is documented as the god of thunder, rain, mountains, oak trees, fire and the sky. In India he is known as Indra, the chief of the Devas.

Ragana – (witch) was a prophetess and sorceress, and a goddess of magic. After Christianization, she was turned into a minor witch bringing bad luck to humans and animals. She is also a Lithuanian goddess.

Saule – (the sun) was the goddess of the sun and fertility, patron goddess of the unlucky, including orphans. She was the mother of Saules meitas and lived on top of a mountain and flew across the sky on her chariot. At night, she sailed across the sea. She is a beloved Baltic Sun Goddess sometimes recognised as a red apple, setting in the west. Saule is reborn as her daughter, the morning star at the Winter Solstice. Saulė is also a Lithuanian goddess.

Zalktis – (Grass Snake) was a god of well-being and fertility, about whom little is known. He was associated with snakes.

Mātes Many female deities were known by the title mātes, which translates as 'mothers'.

Ceļa māte – (Mother of the Road) protected travelers on the road.

Dārza māte – (Mother of the Garden) was governing gardens. She is described in Paul Einhorn's Historia Lettica, 1649, as one of the 'mothers' presiding over the practical aspects of everyday life.

Gaušu mate – (Mother of the Sluggish) was a goddess representing laziness.

Jūras māte – (Mother of the Sea) was the goddess of the sea. She was the patron of fishermen, sailors and healers (particularly invoked to heal bleeding). She protected ships, when sailors worshiped her, and sunk those who displeased her.

Kapu māte – (Mother of Graves) presided over cemeteries and graves.

Krūmu māte – (Mother of Bushes) presided over bushes, shrubs and saplings.

Lapu māte – (Mother of Leaves) a goddess who presided over the changing colors of the leaves in autumn.

Lauku māte – (Mother of Fields) a goddess of fields. Farmers sacrificed to her in order to ensure a bountiful harvest.

Lazdu māte – (Mother of Hazel-Trees) a goddess of hazel trees.

Lietus māte – (Mother of Rain) a goddess of rain.

Linu māte – (Mother of Flax) a goddess of flax.

Lopu māte – (Mother of Livestock) presided over cattle and other livestock. She may have been equivalent to Māra.

Meža māte – (Mother of the Forests) a patron goddess of forests, the animals within it and hunters and woodcutters.

Miglas māte – (Mother of Fog) held dominion over fog. She was especially venerated by sailors.

Pirts māte – (Mother of the Bathhouse) a ruler of bathhouses, which were the scene of many important rituals and ceremonies marking births, deaths, marriages and other occasions.

Rijas māte – (Mother of the Threshing house) oversaw the shelling of grain and other threshing-related activities.

Sēņu māte – (Mother of Mushrooms) presided over mushrooms and mushroom gathering.

Smilšu māte – (Mother of Sands) held dominion over death.

Sniega māte – (Mother of Snow) held dominion over snow.

Tirgus māte – (Mother of the Market) held dominion over a marketplace and commerce.

Ūdens māte – (Mother of Water) presided over small bodies of water such as wells and ponds.

Upes māte – (Mother of Rivers) presided over rivers.

Vēja māte – (Mother of Wind) a goddess of the wind, forests and birds, as well as a patron of sailors.

Veļu māte – (Mother of Veļi) a goddess of the dead and Queen of Viņsaule, the world of the dead. She is clothed in a white, wool cape. Veļu māte is also called Kapu māte ("Graveyard mother"), and is said to receive the dead at cemeteries. She is also identified with the fertility goddess Zemes māte ("Mother of the Soil"). An expression in Latvian stated that "When a rainbow appears in the sky, Veļu Māte is dancing amongst the graves".

Zemes māte – (Mother of the Soil) a fertility goddess, who was also identified with Veļu mate, the goddess of the dead.

Ziedu māte – (Mother of Flowers) presided over blossoms and flowers.

Kuka māte – (Mother of Kuks (ancient name for wine)) presided over drinking and smoking.

Spirits and demons

Mājas gari – was the name given to protective household spirits. They brought prosperity and good luck to the family living in the household, if they were properly placated with gifts. Alternative names include Mājas kungs.

Pūķis (Dragon)– was a household spirit. Pūķis flew, stealing items for its master. They can be bought, bred or stolen. Alternative names include Pukys, Puhkis. Today word "Pūķis" means dragon or kite (toy).

Vadātājs – (literally Leader, Driver) was a type of demon responsible for getting people lost. He can be either visible or invisible. If the vadātājs is in its invisible form, victim realises that he or she is walking in circles. In visible form, the vadātājs appears as friendly being such as a child or dog and leads victim straight toward death. If victim stopped to follow vadātājs they would later realise that they stopped one step from deep water.

Veļi – were dead souls, associated with Velns and clouds. The underworld was called Viņsaule. The Veļi visited their old homes during autumn.

Velns – (Devil) was a demon. He was married to Ragana. In many stories, the evil Velns was stupid and simply outwitted by shepherds and small boys. Alternative names include Jods.

Vilkacis – (Warewolf, literally Wolf-eye) was a type of monster that was originally a person. In Latvian and Lithuanian mythology, Devil was a good hearted creature, who wanted to participate in the folk songs mentioned animal digging of Daugava river. But he failed in every task and upset Dievs. He is described as a clumsy creature, who can be easily fooled by a boy or a farmer. It was similar to a werewolf. Occasionally, a vilkacis brought treasure or was otherwise beneficial. Alternative names include Vilkatas, Vilkatis.

Austras Koks – (Tree of the East or Tree of the Dawn) was a tree that grew from the start of Saules' (the Sun's) daily journey across the sky. It is usually considered to be an oak. Austras Koks had silver leaves, copper roots and gold branches and is located on the shores of the Daugava River (Kurzeme), Vidzeme or Latgale.

Debeskalns – (Sky mountain) was the mountain upon which the various gods and goddesses lived. Notwithstanding their homes on Debeskalns, it was believed that deities often walked among mortals posing as ordinary people. Debeskalns has many analogues among European myths, including Mount Olympus in Greek mythology and Asgard in Norse mythology.

Dieviņš – (Minor god) was an epithet applied to several male deities, including Ceroklis (Dewing Cereklicing) and Ūsiņš (Dewing Uschinge)

Dieva dēli – were the sons of Dievs and suitors of Saules meitas. Their number varied in different accounts. Alternative names include Ašvieniai in Lithuanian mythology.

Dieviņi – refers to the minor gods, collectively. They were primarily patrons of households and other specific functions. They were more frequently honored by worshippers than the deities of more power and importance, who were only invoked for emergencies.

Dievturība – is a modern revival of the traditional religion.

Lāčplēsis is an epic poem by Andrejs Pumpurs, a Latvian poet, who wrote it between 1872-1887 based on local legends. Lāčplēsis is regarded as the Latvian national epic.

Māte – (Mother) was an epithet applied to some sixty-seventy goddesses. They were clearly distinct goddesses in most or all cases, so the term definitely referred to the mother-goddess of specific phenomena. Alternative spellings include mahte, maate, mate.

Saules meitas – were the daughters of Saule, the Sun. They were known primarily from their interaction with suitors, including the Dieva dēli.

Viņsaule – (Beyond the Sun) was the land of the dead, ruled by Veļu mate. The shades of people were called veļi. Alternative names include Aizsaule.

Occopirmus, Ockopirmus - Chief sky god Saturn

Suaixtix, Swayxtix - God of light Sol

Ausschauts, Auschauts - God of the sick Aesculapius

Autrympus, Autrimpus - God of seas Castor

Potrympus, Potrimpus - God of running water Pollux

Bardoyas, Bardoayts - God of ships Neptune

Pergrubrius - God of plants 

Piluuytus, Pilnitis - God of abundance Ceres

Parcuns, Parkuns - God of thunder Jupiter

Pecols and Pocols Peckols and Pockols - God of hell, evil spirit Furies

Puschkayts - God of earth 

Barstucke and Markopole - Servants of Puschkayts






Pantheons Index