Vēja Māte (Latvian)
Invoke the Wind Mother when you need comfort and divine intervention.
The nature-loving serfs who occupied the remote lands east of the Baltic Sea had little interest in outside world affairs, and kept their traditions underground for generations. Dzīves ziņa (life knowledge), passed on in the form of dainas (folklore), provided trans-generational continuity and insight into the serfs’ sacred relationship with nature. Dainas were preserved though song. Because the meter and tone does not permit the substitutions of words and phrases, their lyrics have remained intact throughout the centuries. [i]
While the early agricultural religion of the Balts had is roots in the mystical contemplative traditions of India, Latvians exercised a more practical and interactive approach to prayer through song. Testaments of their strong faith live on in the archives of over 500,000 songs (dainas). [ii]
Up until the late 14th century AD, the Mother God religion flourished in the swampy forests. The triad of Dievs (goddesses) comprised the Saule (Dual-Sun), Māra (Earth), and Laime (Fortune). The Sun Goddess was responsible for two suns, one that rose daily and one in the netherworld. Māra, the Great Earth Mother, had dominion over matter; she was the giver, preserver, and taker of life. The goddess Laime was Lady Luck and Fortune. While the parameters of one’s fortune were set at birth, many dainas spoke of freewill and responsibility: “each the forger of his luck, don’t wait for Laime with your decorated mittens on, Laime as a grain for a blind chicken; misfortune comes without greeting, but calling fortune won’t bring her.”[iii] Those born under the right star, who make responsible decisions and take appropriate action, are blessed with good luck.
One of the nutritive Dievs is Vēja Māte, the Mother Wind. Wind brings rain, which nourishes the rye crops required to make bread. Agricultural celebrations marked significant events in time as the sun moved across the heavens. Rituals included the vasaras saulgrieži (summer solstice), ziemas festivāls (winter solstice), lielā diena (Easter / spring equinox), and the several autumn harvest festivals (fall equinox).[iv] Many dainas reflect the importance of the mother goddesses, Veļu māte (Shade Mother of Death), Mežu Māte (Forest Mother), Darzamate (Garden Mother), Jurus Māte (Sea Mother), and Ūdens Māte (Water Mother), to name a few.[v]
When Vēja Māte evokes a wind-formed song, you are reminded that Mother Earth will take care of all your needs. It is time to “harness your winds, as a horse to a yoke,”[vi] and sing your praises to the goddess.
There is no surprise this week as we move closer to the Winter Solstice that the Earth Mother arrives from the North. Join us for this Free Online Celebration.
Vēja Māte is the emanating force that stimulates and nurtures your creativity. As temperatures plunge into the single digits, you are reminded that it is time to gather around the fire with friends to craft and share stories. In the matriarchal order of the Balts, men and woman participated in separate activities. This was a conscious and visible act of cooperation in service to the greater whole. These groups of men and women intersected with the larger cycle of nature, creating interdependence and perfect synergy.
Vēja Māte blows in as a cold, biting wind to let you know that you are not alone. Secure a piece of amber as a reminder that the nurturing, loving warmth of Mother Sun will soon return. The Mother only creates ornate matter that has a purpose, so be sure to cherish it. Everything is born, grows, and dies in perfect order. A divine nourishing wind can always be found in the soil of a fallow field.
[i] Tupesu Janis, “The Ancient Latvian Religion – Dievturiba,” ed. Vilius L. Dundzila, Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences 33, no. 3 (1987).
[ii] Marija Alseikaite Gimbutas, The Balts (London: Thames and Hudson, 1963), 12.
[iii] Ludis Adamovičs, Ancient Latvian Reliǵija, 1937, zagarins.net.
[iv] Janis, The Ancient Latvian Religion Dievturība..
[v] Janis, The Ancient Latvian Religion Dievturība..
[vi] Gimbutas, The Balts, 96.
[vii] Janis, The Ancient Latvian Religion Dievturība.
[viii] Gimbutas, The Balts, 96.