Tag Archive: linden tree


Goddess Laima

“Brigit” by Pamela Matthews

“Laima’s themes are love, unity, blessing, luck, destiny and magic. Her symbols are wreaths and swans.  The Lithuanian Goddess of fate, luck, beauty and magic swoops into our lives in the form of a swan (* please see “UPDATE”) reminding us of the transformative power of love. Traditionally, all Laima needs to change from one from to another is a swan feather, alluding to Her nature as a shape-shifter who uses magical charms to manifest Her will.

Around this time of year, young people in Lithuania gather in a temple at sunset, then go into the forest to harvest summer flowers. From these, circlets and strings are made to crown and bind lovers together in Laima’s and nature’s beauty. Then the young people dance to together round a birch tree (rather like a Maypole) singing to the Goddess and asking for Her blessing. This is a lovely tradition that can be adopted by gathering summer flowers and holding hands around them at your family supper table. Allow Laima to renew your love and unity in a moment of silence before dinner. If you live alone, invite a close friend to join you instead.

Also, find a small rose-vine wreath at a craft shop. Adhere the image of a swan to this somehow (representing Laima), and hand it where you can easilty see the wreath regularlily. Each time you do, remind yourself that love is the most pwerful of all the Goddess’s magic – and that includes loving yourself.”

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

“The 3 Fates” by watergal28

Patricia Monaghan tells us that this “Baltic Goddess of fate sometimes appears as three [with Her sisters Kārta and Dēkla] or seven Goddesses to symbolize the many fates possible.  Laima, like the Norns and Fates, measures the length and happiness of a person’s life.  Sometimes called Laima-Dalia, ‘happy fate’, She was invoked in prayers: ‘Oh, Laima, thou art healthy; give me thy health.’  Often mentioned in the same prayer was the sun Goddess Saule, for Laima measured the length of the sun’s day as well as a woman’s life.  Laima was Her name in Latvia; She was Laime in in Lithuania; in both countries She was sometimes pictured as a swan maiden (please see “UPDATE”) or as a multiple Goddess” (p. 189).

“Dalia Lithuanian Goddess of Fate” by Emily Balivet

“Laima…[is] generally associated with the linden tree. Together with Dievs, the sky, and Saule, the sun, Laima determines the length and fortune of human life. In the course of each life She helps arrange marriages, oversees weddings, protects pregnant women, and appears at childbirth to pronounce each infant’s destiny.

Revered as patroness of cows and horses, Laima decides the life span of plants and animals and determines the length of the day.” [1]

I did come across one piece of conflicting information.  Monaghan states that “Laima was Her name in Latvia; She was Laime in Lithuania” (p. 189).  Wikipedia states that “In the Lithuanian mythology, Laima (fate, destiny) is often confused with Laimė (good fortune) and Laumė (fairy). Other related deities include Dalia (fate) and Giltinė (The Reaper).” [2]  However, Encyclopedia Britannica states that “Laima, also called Laima-dalia, (from Lithuanian laimė, ‘happiness,’ ‘luck’)” [3].

 

 

* UPDATE  (06/25/2013):

A very knowledgeable native Latvian lady I exchanged emails with shared some wonderful information with me that contradicted what Patricia Telesco and Patricia Monaghan wrote concerning Laima’s association with swans.  She stated that Laima is “connected to a cockoo, a black or white chicken or a black or blue snake, but never with a swan.”  She also stated that “Laima appears with a green linden or birch sauna besom like this: pirtsslota2

 

Also, the information found in the Wikipedia is very accurate: “The most important goddess of fate is Laima (luck). She lives on Earth and is closely involved in human life. Her basic function is related to birth of child and deciding its fate. Traditionally women would give birth in bathhouse. The path to it would be cleaned so Laima could easily make her way to help in the birthing process. The woman would be ritually cleansed and would offer prayers and give ritual offerings to Laima. After successful birth married women would feast, with Laima being reserved a place of honour, in the bathhouse as sign of gratitude. She would also determine persons fate – a decision even she herself could not alter afterwards. She was expected to help in other important aspects of life as well and cared for well being of the people in general. Unmarried girls would pray to her to give them good husbands and happy marriage. She also ensured fertility of fields and animals (horses in particular) to some extent.  Another two goddesses with similar function are Kārta and Dēkla.  Goddess Māra also has several functions in common with Laima.  Although this view has been criticized, many researchers agree that Māra is synonymous with Saint Mary. It has been suggested that Mary took over some functions of earlier deities, including Laima.  However, Māra was used to refer to Saint Mary, who was also called upon during childbirth and to help with number of ailments by either her modern Latvian name Marija or number of Christian euphemisms.  All these were also used as euphemisms to refer to uterus in folk magic.  The opposing view, based on comparative linguistics linking her with wide range of other Indoeuropean deities, is that she was important pre-Christian chthonic deity that both gives and takes life.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Britannica Online Encyclopedia, “Laima“.

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

Wikipedia, “Laima“.

Wikipedia, “Latvian Mythology: Fate goddesses“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bookrags.com, “Laima Research and Articles“.

Covenantofrhiannon.org, “Ancient Lithuanian Mythology and Religion“.

Latvianstuff.com, “Latvian Earth and Water Deities“.

Mallory, J.P. & Douglas Q. Adams. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, “Fortune Goddesses” (p. 212).

Motz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess, “Laima: Goddess of Birth and Fate” (p. 80 – 83).

Ortega, Pedro. Heresy and Beauty, “Lithuanian Goddess“.

Wikipedia, “Latvian Mythology“.

Goddess Minne

“Minne’s themes are protection, love, luck, devotion and unity. Her symbols are the linden tree, cups, and beer.  Minne is a German Goddess of love and fertility. Her name – meaning ‘remembrance’ – was applied to a special cup for lovers in this part of the world. The cup was filled with specially prepared beer and raised between two people wishing to deepen their love. This gives Minne a strong association with devotion, unit and fidelity.

During the second weekend in July, people in Geisenheim, Germany, celebrate Lindenfest by gathering around an ancient linden tree (six hundred-plus years old) and celebrate the year’s new wine. All aspects of the festival take place beneath the linden’s branches, which in magic terms represent safety and good fortune. The linden flowers portray Minne’s spirit, having been used in all manner of love magic! To protect a relationship, two lovers should carry dried linden flowers with them always.

When making a promise to each other, a couple may drink a wooden goblet of beer today, linking their destinies. Raise the glass to the sky first saying, ‘Minne’s love upon our lips, devotion in each sip.’

Drink while looking deeply into each other’s eyes. Or, exchange pieces of linden wood as a magical bonding that invokes Minne’s blessing. If linden isn’t native to your area, other trees and bushes that promote Minne’s loving qualities include avens, elm, lemon, orange, peach, primrose, rose and willow.”

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

I really couldn’t find anything on the Goddess Minne.  I thought I had found a reference in the glossary of The Elder Edda of Saemund Sigfusson, “MUNINN, mind; memory, recollection; G. minne, love” [1], but upon further research, Muninn turned out to be one in a pair of ravens who, along with Huginn (‘thought’), flew all over the world and brought the god Odin information. [2]

I found Minne defined as “An ancient Pagan Goddess who is said to have granted women and men permission to engage in lovemaking. Her name was a synonym for ‘love’, and She was often called Lofn (‘Goddess of Love’). In medieval times, Minne (like Melusine) was worshipped as a mermaid tailed Aphrodite by followers known as Minnesinger and Minstrels.” [3]

“Miranda” by David Delamare

Researching the mermaid aspect, I found this description, “Literally Virgin of the Sea, the mermaid was an image of fish-tailed Aphrodite, the medieval Minne, Maerin, Mari, or Marina. Her Death-Goddess aspect, sometimes named Rán, received the souls of those put to sea in funeral boats.” [4]

While researching Her mermaid aspect, I ran across this information and thought was pretty interesting: “The legends of mermaids may have evolved from snake Goddesses such as the ones found at Knossos in Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. Thousands of years ago, the snake was sacred for its ability to transform in the shedding of its skin and to explore the light of day and the darkness of the earth. The mermaid is a fish-tailed Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love who represents the power of creativity inspired by love. She brings visions to the surface and inspires dreams and desires. She is able to move from the receptive watery depths to the focus of firm land.” [5]  I never really thought about the snake/scale/mermaid connection before, but it makes sense.

“Lofn, Goddess of Love” by Thorskegga

Back to the reference to Lofn, Patricia Monaghan tells us that Lofn, “the Scandinavian Goddess of love had a special purpose: She was charged with smoothing over love’s difficulties.  Lofn (‘mild’) received prayers of those separated from their lovers and was empowered to bring together those She favored” (p. 198).

“Psyche” by Granger

I also found that “Lofn (pronounced LAW-ven) is the Norse Goddess of forbidden love. She is one of Frigg’s handmaidens, and serves Frigg (who is the Goddess of marriage) by removing the obstacles that lovers face. She also presides over the marriage of the two that She has brought together. Lofn’s name, which means ‘praise,’ is also seen as Lofna, Lofe, and Lofua.” [4]

This all seems a little scattered to me, though I can make some connections.  Minne is a Germanic/Norse Goddess of love.  Aphrodite was also a Goddess of love associated with the ocean.  Considering how the Wave Maidens came to be identified with mermaids in Norse mythology, I certainly don’t see any issues preventing the identification of Minne with mermaids either.

 

 

 

Sources:

Iliana’s Faery Realm, “Celtic, Roman, Greek, Norse, & Other Goddesses of Europe: Minne“.

Like a Cat Jewelry and Crafts, “Mermaid-Small“.

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

Moore, Mary Ann. Flying Mermaid Studio, “circles, workshops & retreats; flying mermaids writing circles & retreats“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Lofn“.

Wikipedia, “Huginn and Muninn“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Chalquist, Craig. Terrapsych.com, “Glossary of Norse and German Mythology – Lofn“.

Paxson, Diana L. Hrafnar.org, “Beloved“.

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