“Saule” by Lisa Hunt

“Saules Mate’s themes are the sun, prayer and protection. Her symbols are the sun, fire, yellow/gold items, horses and birch.  Saules Mate comes to us from Indo-European tradition, Her name meaning ‘sun’. Indeed, with the sun reaching its highest point today, She becomes the center of our festivities. Saules Mate crosses the sky during the day in a carriage drawn by yellow horses, then travels the waters by night in a golden birch boat, hanging a red scarf in the wind to give the sky its lovely color.

In magical traditions, we stop for a moment on this day to mark the sun’s halfway point through its annual journey. Traditionally, this is a time to harvest magical herbs, but do so before Saules Mate gets too bright in the sky; Her heat diminishes the natural oils in the herbs. Remember to leave an offering for the Goddess so She will empower these herbs – perhaps some ground birch wood that acts as plant mulch!

Purify yourself by jumping the ritual fire (or a candle) today, then burn a wish in Saules Mate’s fires to release it into Her care. And use this invocation to Saules Mate for part of personal magic today (for the southern quarter of the magic circle):

‘Powers of fire, reach ever higher. Saules Mate, bring your light; the power to ignite. Salamanders prance in the magical dance, by your power and my will, this sacred space fill!'”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Saule” by Helena Nelson-Reed

“Saule (pronounced SEW-lay) means ‘the sun’ and is the most powerful of Latvian heavenly Goddesses. She is the Goddess of the sun and of fertility, the patroness of all unfortunate people, especially orphans (as the only one to substitute the mother, to warm the child; mother is compared to Saule speaking of kindness, and bride as speaking of beauty). She is the mother of Saules meitas or meita (plural or singular). She is said to live on the top of the heavenly mountain (some model of world), where She rides during the day in Her chariot. At night She sails with Her boat on the world sea. The motif of permanent motion is apparent in this image, as well as the idea of the sun shining somewhere else during the night. Of course, the diachronic aspect is to be taken into account. In several cases She appears as the ruler in heaven, especially in relations with Meness.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Saule ruled all parts of life, from birth into Her light to death when She welcomed souls into Her apple tree in the west. Even the name of the ocean on which the Balts lived was Hers, named for Balta Saulite (‘darling little white sun’). She was worshiped in songs and rituals that celebrated Her nurturance of earth’s life, for She was Our Mother, called various names like Saulite Mat (‘little sun-mother’) and Saulite Sudrabota (‘little silver sun’).

She was married in the springtime of creation to the moon man Menesis. Their first child was the earth; after that, countless children became the stars of heaven. Saule was a hardworking mother, leaving the house at dawn each day and driving Her chariot across the sky until dusk. Menesis, however, was fickle and carefree, staying home all day and only sometimes driving his moon-chariot. The light of Saule’s life was Her daughter (variously named Austrine, Valkyrine, and Barbelina, but most generally called Saules Meita, the sun’s daughter), the beloved lady of the Morning Star (or Venus).

Each evening, after She had bathed Her weary horses in the Nemunas River, Saule looked for the child. But one evening She could not find Her – for in Her absence, Saule’s beautiful long-haired daughter had been raped by Menesis.

Art by Marilyn Todd-Daniels

Furious beyond words, Saule took a sword and slashed the moon’s face, leaving the marks we see today. Then She banished him forever from Her presence; thus, they are no longer seen together in the sky – the end of the happy paradise before the evil came into our world.

Saule was worshiped every day when Her people would bow to the east to greet Mother Sun. But she was especially honored on summer solstice, Ligo, when She rose crowned with a braid of red fern blossoms to dance on the hilltops in Her silver shoes. At that moment, people dived into east-flowing streams to bathe themselves in Her light. All the women donned similar braided wreaths and walked through the fields, singing Goddess songs, or daina. Finally, they gathered around bonfires and sang the night away.

“Sophia of the Heights” by Freydoon Rassouli

Because LIthuanian is the oldest extant Indo-European language, it is thought that the Baltic mythologies hold clues to the original beliefs of the people.  But scholarly convention has it that the Indo-Europeans worshiped a sky father embodied in the sun.  Whence, then, this powerful sun mother? Marija Gimbutas, herself Lithuanian, believed Saule to be an Old European Goddess of that woman honoring culture that preceded the Indo-European invasions; Saule was to give way to a male solar divinity. But sun Goddesses in other Indo-European areas show there is room for study” (p. 274). (See my entry on Sól)



The most Latvian of holiday, “Ligo!”  Below, a video featuring an in-depth explanation of the traditional Ligo! festivities, by Latvia tourism.


Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Saule”.

Putelis, Aldis. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Saule“.

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Saule {Goddess of the Week}“.

The Blue Roebuck,Saule“.

Dunduliene, Prane. The Sage Grove, “Forgotten Goddesses – Saule“,

Monaghan, Patricia. The Goddess Path: Myths, Invocations & Rituals.

Wikipedia, “Latvian Mythology“.

Wikipedia, “Saulė“.