Tag Archive: wreaths


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“.

Anna Perenna

"Spirit" by crimsonvermillion

“Anna Perenna’s themes are cycles, peace, kindness, grounding and longevity.  Her symbols are circular items (rings, wheels, wreaths) and wine.  Anna Perenna, like Ala, symbolizes the entire year’s cycle. Even Her name translates as ‘enduring year’. Legend tells us that Anna was once a real woman who showed benevolence to refugees from the Roman aristocracy by giving them food until peace was re-established. It is this gentle spirit with which Anna comes into our lives, offering the spiritual harmony engendered by random acts of kindness.

Romans honored Anna Parenna around this date because March was the first month of the Roman calendar. In true Roman fashion – that looks for any excuse for a party – they spent the day praying that Anna would let them live one more year for each cup of wine drunk this day.

Wine (or grape juice) remains a suitable libation to Anna Parenna when asking for longevity. As you pour the liquid, say:

‘A long life of health
Blessed from winter to spring
Anne Parenna, longevity bring!’

To encourage inner peace and security in your life, keep a pinch of the soil-wine mixture in any round container as a charm. Open the container and put the blend under your feet when you feel your foundations shaking, or when stress wreaks havoc in your heart.

Wearing any ring, belt or other circular item today stimulates a greater understanding of Anna’s cycles in nature and your life.”

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

“Anna Perenna was an old Roman deity of the circle or “ring” of the year, as the name (per annum) clearly indicates. Her festival fell on the Ides of March (March 15), which would have marked the first full moon in the year in the old lunar Roman calendar when March was reckoned as the first month of the year, and was held at the Grove of the Goddess at the first milestone on the Via Flaminia. It was much frequented by the city plebs.

According to Macrobius, related that offerings were made to Her ut annare perannareque commode liceati.e. “that the circle of the year may be completed happily” and that people sacrificed to Her both publicly and privately.  Johannes Lydus says that public sacrifice and prayers were offered to her to secure a healthy year.  Ovid in his Fasti (3.523f) provides a vivid description of the revelry and licentiousness of Her outdoor festival where tents were pitched or bowers built from branches, where lad lay beside lass, and people asked that Anna bestow as many more years to them as they could drink cups of wine at the festival.

 

"Water Nymph" by broughl

Ovid then tells that Anna Perenna was the same Anna who appears in Virgil‘s Aeneid as Dido‘s sister and that after Dido’s death, Carthage was attacked by the Numidians and Anna was forced to flee. Eventually Anna ended up in ship which happened to be driven by a storm right to Aeneas‘ settlement of Lavinium. Aeneas invited her to stay, but his wife Lavinia became jealous. But Anna, warned in a dream by Dido’s spirit, escaped whatever Lavinia was planning by rushing off into the night and falling into the river Numicus and drowning. Aeneas and his folk were able to track Anna part way. Eventually Anna’s form appeared to them and Anna explained that She was now a river nymph hidden in the “perennial stream” (amnis perennis) of Numicus and Her name was therefore now Anna Perenna. The people immediately celebrated with outdoor revels.

Ovid then notes that some equate Anna Perenna with the Moon or with Themis or with Io or with Amaltheia, but he turns to what he claims may be closer to the truth, that during the secessio plebis at Mons Sacer (the Sacred Mountain) the rebels ran short on food and an old woman of Bovillae named Anna baked cakes and brought them to the rebels every morning. The Plebeians later set up an image to Her and worshipped Her as a Goddess.

 

Next Ovid relates that soon after old Anna had become a Goddess, the god Mars attempted to get Anna to persuade Minerva to yield to him in love. Anna at last pretends that Minerva has agreed and the wedding is on. But when Mars’ supposed new wife was brought into his chamber and Mars removed the veil he found to his chagrin that it was not Minerva but old Anna, which is why people tell coarse jokes and sing coarse songs at Anna Perenna’s festivities. Since the festival of Anna Perenna is in the month of Mars, it is reasonable that the Mars and Anna Perenna should be associated, at least in some rites at that time, as cult partners.

Ovid also tells that Anna, although Magistra Silverman believes Her to be fully grown, was actually a person of small stature. The idea of the good soul and the bad soul offering advice from above a person’s shoulders is thought to have come from the idea that Anna told Dido what to do with Aeneas.” [1]

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Anna Perenna“.

 

Suggested Links:

An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Anna Perenna“.

Myth Index, Greek Mythology, “Anna Perenna“.

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