Baltic neopaganism

Baltic neopaganism is a category of autochthonous religious movements which have revitalised within the Baltic people (primarily Lithuanians and Latvians).[1][2] These movements trace their origins back to the 19th century and they were suppressed under the Soviet Union; after its fall they have witnessed a blossoming alongside the national and cultural identity reawakening of the Baltic peoples, both in their homelands and among expatriate Baltic communities. One of the first ideologues of the revival was the Prussian Lithuanian poet and philosopher Vydūnas.[1]

Baltic Religion

Baltic Cross



Dievturība (Latvian compound derived from Dievs "God", plus turēt "hold", "uphold", "behold", "keep"; literally "Godkeeping")[3] is a Latvian Pagan revival,[4][5][6] also present among Latvian Canadian and Latvian American expatriate communities.[7] It is characterised by a monistic theological approach[8] to Baltic paganism viewing all the gods and all nature as expression of the Dievs.[9] A common view is that the Dievs is at the same time the transcendent fountain of reality, the matter-energy substrate, and the law ordaining the universe.[9]

The movement was started in 1925 by Ernests Brastiņš with the publication of the book entitled Revival of Latvian Dievturība.[10][11] After the annexation of Latvia to the Soviet Union the Dievturis were repressed, but the movement continued to operate among exiles. Since the 1990s, Dievturi was re-introduced to Latvia and began to grow again; in 2011 there were about 663 official members.[12] The Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi was inaugurated in 2017.[13]


Druwi (Old Prussian word meaning "Faith", cognate to tree;[14] Samogitian: Druwē) is a Baltic Neopagan revival religion claiming Old Prussian origins,[15] and mostly present in Lithuania. Adherents uphold that it is distinct from Romuva, and that more carefully speaking Romuva could be considered as a specific form of Druwi.[15]

The religion is primarily represented institutionally by the "Kurono Academy of Baltic Priesthood" (Lithuanian: Baltųjų žynių mokykla Kurono) founded in 1995.[16] It trains morally mature men and women from the age of 18, into the Darna, as priests of the Baltic people.[16] Like the Romuvans, they recognise Vydūnas as their founding father.[15] The Druwi theory is monistic.[15]


Romuvans (1)
A Romuvan procession.

Romuva is a modern revival of the traditional ethnic religion of the Baltic peoples, reviving the religious practices of the Lithuanians before their Christianization. Romuva claims to continue living Baltic pagan traditions which survived in folklore and customs.[17][18][19]

Romuva primarily exists in Lithuania but there are also congregations of adherents in Australia, Canada, the United States,[20] and England.[21] There are also Romuvans in Norway.[22] Practising the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practising traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainas or hymns and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places.[23]

See also

Uralic religions
Caucasus religions


  1. ^ a b Wiench, 1995
  2. ^ Monika Hanley (October 28, 2010). Baltic diaspora and the rise of Neo-Paganism. The Baltic Times.
  3. ^ С. И. Рыжакова. Латышское неоязычество: заметки этнографа
  4. ^ J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann. Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. — Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2010. — 3200.
  5. ^ Carole M. Cusack, Alex Norman. Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. — Leiden, The Netherlands: BRILL, 2012. — 820.
  6. ^ S. I. Ryzhakova. Диевтурîба: латышское неоязычество и истоки национализма. — Moscow: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 1999. - 35.
  7. ^ Strmiska, p. 20
  8. ^ Strmiska, p. 21
  9. ^ a b Vilius Dundzila. The Ancient Latvian Religion - Dievturība. ¶ DIEVS. Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences, 1987.
  10. ^ "Dievturi presented Riga monument (Russian)". DELFI. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  11. ^ Latvian Encyclopedia of Religions: Neopagānisms / dievturi.
  12. ^ "Tieslietu ministrijā iesniegtie reliģisko organizāciju pārskati par darbību 2011. gadā" (in Latvian). Archived from the original on 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  13. ^ Uz salas Daugavā atklāta dievturu svētnīca. 11 May 2017. Skaties.
  14. ^ Brian Cooper. Russian Words for Forest Trees: A Lexicological and Etymological Study. Australian Slavonic and East European Studies, Miskin Hill Academic Publishing (ABN 27 712 504 809). pp. 47-49
  15. ^ a b c d Pokalbio tema KETURIOS KILNIOSIOS DRUWIO TIESOS. Druwi Portal.
  16. ^ a b Kviečiame mokytis į baltų žynių “KURONO”. Druwi Portal.
  17. ^ Dundzila (2007), pp. 279, 296-298.
  18. ^ Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 247.
  19. ^ Ignatow (2007), p. 104.
  20. ^ Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 278.
  21. ^ "Saulėgrįža Londono Romuvoje". Archived from the original on 2016-05-01. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  22. ^ "Baltų Krivule Kurtuvėnuose 2011.06. 5". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  23. ^ Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 244.


  • Gatis Ozoliņš: Die aktuelle kettische Dievturi-Bewegung; in: René Gmünder et al.: Der andere Glaube; Ergon Verlag, 2009. ISBN 978-3-89913-688-3
  • Dundzila & Strmiska, Romuva: Lithuanian Paganism in Lithuania and America in Strmiska (ed)., Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives; ABC-CLIO, 2005.
  • Dundzila, V. R., Baltic Lithuanian Religion and Romuva in TYR vol. 3; Ultra Press, 2007.
  • Ignatow, G., Cultural Heritage and the Environment in Lithuania in Transnational Identity Politics and the Environment; Lexington Books, 2007.
  • Misane, Agita. 2000. The Traditional Latvian Religion of Dievturiba in the Discourse of Nationalism. Religious Minorities in Latvia 4, no. 29: 33–52.
  • Wiench, Piotr. Neopaganism in CentralEastern Europe, Spoleczenstwo otwarte 4, 1995.; 5th World Congress of Central and Eastern European Studies in Warsaw, 1995.
  • Schnirelmann, Victor: “Christians! Go home”: A Revival of Neo-Paganism between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia. Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2002.
  • Strmiska, F. Michael. Modern Paganism in World Cultures. ABC-CLIO, 2005. ISBN 978-1-85109-608-4

External links

Baltic mythology

Baltic mythology is the body of mythology of the Baltic people stemming from Baltic paganism and continuing after Christianization and into Baltic folklore. Baltic mythology ultimately stems from Proto-Indo-European mythology. The Baltic region was one of the last regions of Europe to be Christianized, a process that occurred from the 15th century and into at least a century after. While no native texts survive detailing the mythology of the Baltic peoples during the pagan period, knowledge of the mythology may be gained from Russian and German chronicles, later folklore, by way of etymology, and comparative mythology.While the early chronicles (14th and 15th century) were largely the product of missionaries who sought to eradicate the native paganism of the Baltic peoples, rich material survives into Baltic folklore. This material has been of particular value in Indo-European studies as, like the Baltic languages, it is considered by scholars to be notably conservative, reflecting elements of Proto-Indo-European religion. The Indo-European Divine Twins are particularly well represented as the Dieva dēli (Latvian 'sons of god') and Dievo sūneliai (Lithuanian 'sons of god'). According to folklore, they are the children of Dievas (Lithuanian and Latvia; see Proto-Indo-European *Dyeus). Associated with the brothers and their father are two goddesses; the personified Sun, Saule (Latvian 'sun') and Saules meita (Latvian 'Sun's daughter').

Caucasian neopaganism

Caucasian Neopaganism is a category including movements of modern revival of the autochthonous religions of the indigenous peoples of the Caucasus. It has been observed by scholar Victor Schnirelmann especially among the Abkhaz and the Circassians.

Daina (Latvia)

A daina or tautas dziesma is a traditional form of music or poetry from Latvia. Lithuanian dainas share common traits with them, but have been more influenced by European folk song traditions. Latvian dainas often feature drone vocal styles and pre-Christian themes and legends, and can be accompanied by musical instruments such as Baltic psalteries (e.g. kokles).

Dainas tend to be very short (usually four-liners) and are usually in a trochaic or a dactylic metre.

Darna (disambiguation)

Darna is a fictional character created by Filipino comics writer Mars Ravelo.

Darna may also refer to:

Darna (1951 film), a film starring Rosa del Rosario

Darna (1991 film), a film starring Nanette Medved

Darna (upcoming film), an upcoming Philippine superhero film

Darna (2005 TV series), a TV series starring Angel Locsin

Darna (2009 TV series), a TV series starring Marian Rivera

Darna (band), a Spanish heavy metal band

Darna (album) (2001)

Darna (moth), a moth genus of the family Limacodidae

Darna, the belief in harmony and order in the Baltic neopaganism, corresponding roughly to dharma in Indic religions

Darna, Nepal


Dievturība is a Neopagan religious movement which claims to be a modern revival of the folk religion of the Latvians before Christianization in the 13th century. Adherents call themselves Dievturi (singular: Dievturis), literally "Dievs' keepers", "people who live in harmony with Dievs".

The Dievturi movement was founded in 1925 by Ernests Brastiņš. It was forcibly suppressed by Soviets in 1940, but lived on in émigré communities and was re-registered in Latvia in 1990. In 2007, approximately 650 persons were officially active members of Dievturi movement.


Druwi (Old Prussian word meaning "Faith", cognate to tree; Samogitian: Druwē) is a Baltic ethnic religious revival claiming Old Prussian origins, and mostly present in Lithuania. Adherents uphold that it is distinct from Romuva, and that Romuva could be considered as a specific form of Druwi.The religion is primarily represented institutionally by the "Kurono Academy of Baltic Priesthood" (Lithuanian: Baltųjų žynių mokykla Kurono) founded in 1995. It trains men and women from the age of 18, into the Darna, as priests of the Baltic people. Like the Romuvans, they recognise Vydūnas as their founding father.

Inija Trinkūnienė

Inija Trinkūnienė (born on October 25, 1951 in Kelmė) is a Lithuanian ethnologist, folklorist, sociologist, psychologist, head of folk music group Kūlgrinda and the high priestress (krivė) of the Romuva community of the old Lithuanian faith. She became the high priestess after the death of the previous high priest (krivis) and her husband Jonas Trinkūnas in 2014.

Kūlgrinda (band)

Kūlgrinda is a folk music group from Vilnius, Lithuania, established in 1989 by Inija and Jonas Trinkūnas. The group is connected to the Lithuanian neopagan movement Romuva and often performs as a part of the movement's ceremonies.

List of Neopagan movements

Modern paganism, also known a "contemporary" or "neopagan", encompasses a wide range of religious groups and individuals. These may include old occult groups, those that follow a New Age approach, those that try to reconstruct old ethnic religions, and followers of the pagan religion of Wicca.

Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi

Lokstene Shrine of Dievturi (Latvian: Lokstenes dievturu svētnīca) is a Dievturi religious building in Pļaviņas Municipality, Latvia. It is used by the organization Latvijas Dievturu sadraudze for devotional ceremonies and annual celebrations.

Mordvin Native Religion

Mordvin Neopaganism, or the Mordvin native religion or Erzyan native religion, is the modern revival of the ethnic religion of the Mordvins (Erzya and Moksha), peoples of Volga Finnic ethnic stock dwelling in the republic of Mordovia within Russia, or in bordering lands of Russia. The religion is often called Mastorava (Mordvin for: "Mother Earth"), from the homonymous epic poem or the mother goddess of the Mordvin pantheon. The name of the originating god according to the Mordvin tradition is Ineshkipaz.

The Mordvins have been almost fully Christianised since the times of Kievan Rus', although Pagan customs were preserved in the folklore and a few villages completely preserved the native faith at least until further missionary activities of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century and in the early 20th century. The Neopagan revival was started in 1990, alongside that of many other native religions in Russia, as the Soviet Union was on the brink of dissolution.

According to scholar Victor Schnirelmann, 2% of the Mordvins adhere to the Mordvin native faith, while more recent figures by the Evangelical database Joshua Project report 5%. Adherents of the Erzyan Mastor organisation organise the Rasken Ozks (Mordvin for: "Native Prayer"), a national Mordvin worship service held yearly, with participation also of members of the Mastorava organisation and other ones.

Polytheistic reconstructionism

Polytheistic reconstructionism (or simply Reconstructionism) is an approach to modern paganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, which gathered momentum starting in the 1990s. Reconstructionism attempts to re-establish historical polytheistic religions in the modern world, in contrast with neopagan syncretic movements like Wicca, and "channeled" movements like Germanic mysticism or Theosophy.

While the emphasis on historical accuracy may imply historical reenactment, the desire for continuity in ritual traditions (orthopraxy) is a common characteristic of religion in general, as seen in Anglican ritualism, or in much Christian liturgy.

Prussian mythology

The Prussian mythology was a polytheistic religion of the Old Prussians, indigenous peoples of Prussia before the Prussian Crusade waged by the Teutonic Knights. It was closely related to other Baltic faiths, the Lithuanian and Latvian mythologies. Its myths and legends did not survive as Prussians became Germanized and their culture extinct in the early 18th century. Fragmentary information on gods and rituals can be found in various medieval chronicles, but most of them are unreliable. No sources document pagan religion before the forced Christianization in the 13th century. Most of what is known about Prussian religion is obtained from dubious 16th-century sources (Sudovian Book and Simon Grunau).

Romuva (religion)

Romuva is a modern reinstitution of the traditional ethnic religion of the Baltic peoples, reviving the ancient religious practices of the Lithuanians before their Christianization in 1387. Romuva claims to continue living Baltic pagan traditions which survived in folklore and customs. They also share similarities with ancient Hinduism. Romuva is a polytheistic pagan faith which asserts the sanctity of nature and ancestor worship. Practising the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practising traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainas or hymns and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places. The community was organized and led by krivių krivaitis (high priest) Jonas Trinkūnas until his death in 2014. He was buried according to the old Baltic traditions. His wife Inija Trinkūnienė was chosen as the new krivė (high priest) and her ordination was held on May 31, 2015 in Vilnius on the Gediminas Hill. She is the first woman to become krivė in the long pagan history.Romuva primarily exists in Lithuania but there are also congregations of adherents in Australia, Canada, the United States, and England. There are also Romuvans in Norway, for whom a formal congregation is being organized. There are believers of Baltic pagan faiths in other nations, including Dievturība in Latvia. According to the 2001 census, there were 1,270 people of Baltic faith in Lithuania. That number jumped to 5,118 in the 2011 census.

Romuva (temple)

Romuva or Romowe (also known as Rickoyoto in the writings of Simon Grunau) was an alleged pagan worship place (a temple or a sacred area) in the western part of Sambia, one of the regions of pagan Prussia. In contemporary sources the temple is mentioned only once, by Peter von Dusburg in 1326. According to his account, Kriwe, the chief priest or "pagan pope", lived at Romuva and ruled over the religion of all the Balts. According to Simon Grunau, the temple was central to Prussian mythology. Even though there are considerable doubts whether such a place actually existed, the Lithuanian neo-pagan movement Romuva borrowed its name from the temple.

Samogitian Sanctuary

Samogitian Sanctuary (Lithuanian: Žemaičių Alkas) is a pagan sanctuary in Lithuania, a reconstruction of a medieval pagan observatory. The poles corresponding to the gods and goddesses of the Balts can be used to observe the main calendar holidays.The structure is located in the northern part on Šventoji, Lithuania. It is based on archeological records of the paleoastronomic observatory and pagan shrine that existed on Birutė Hill in Palanga until the 16th century. The wooden poles were carved by Lithuanian folk artists and were installed in June 1998. Neopagans use the sanctuary for devotional ceremonies during the major holidays.

Uralic neopaganism

Uralic neopaganism encompasses contemporary movements which have been reviving or revitalising the ethnic religions of the Uralic peoples. The rebirth has taken place since the 1980s and 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and alongside the ethnonational and cultural reawakening of the Uralic peoples of Russia, the Estonians and the Finns. In fact, Neopagan movements in Finland and Estonia have much older roots, dating from the early 20th century.

Among the Uralic peoples of the Volga Federal District of Russia (the Volga Finns and Udmurts), scholar Victor Schnirelmann has observed two cooperating patterns of development of Neopaganism: the reactivation of authentic rituals and worship ceremonies in the countrysides, and the development of systematised doctrines amongst the urban intelligentsia rejecting Russian Orthodoxy as a foreign religion. The Uralic Communion, founded in 2001, is an organisation for the cooperation of different institutions promoting Uralic indigenous religions.

Valdis Celms

Valdis Celms (born 24 October 1943) is a Latvian artist and the leader of the neopagan organization Latvijas Dievtuŗu sadraudze.


Žalvarinis (English: made from brass) is a folk rock band from Vilnius, Lithuania. They were formed in 2001 as a collaboration between the pagan metal group Ugnėlakis and the pagan folk group Kūlgrinda. This was reflected in the title of their debut album in 2002, Ugnėlakis su Kūlgrinda.

By region
Related articles
Baltic neopaganism
Notable figures

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.