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Baltic neopaganism

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Title: Baltic neopaganism  
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Baltic neopaganism

A Romuvan ritual ceremony.

Baltic Neopaganism is a category inclosing those movements which revitalise the autochthonous religions of the Baltic peoples (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 amongst expateriate Baltic communities. One of the first ideologues of the revival was the Prussian Lithuanian poet and philosopher Vydūnas.[1]


  • Religions 1
    • Dievturi 1.1
    • Druwi 1.2
    • Romuva 1.3
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5



Dievturi (Latvian compound derived from Dievs "God", plus turēt "hold", "uphold", "behold", "keep"; literally "Godkeepers")[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 Dievturity.[10][11] After the annexation of Latvia to the Soviet Union the Dievturis were repressed, but the movement continued to operate amongst exiles. Since the 1990s, Dievturi was re-introduced to Latvia and began to grow again; in 2011 there were about 663 official members.[12]


Druwi (Old Prussian word meaning "Faith", cognate to tree;[13] Samogitian: Druwē) is a Baltic Neopagan revival religion claiming Old Prussian origins,[14] 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.[14]

The religion is primarily represented institutionally by the "Kurono Academy of Baltic Priesthood" (Lithuanian: Baltųjų žynių mokykla Kurono) founded in 1995.[15] It trains morally mature men and women from the age of 18, into the Darna, as priests of the Baltic people.[15] Like the Romuvans, they recognise Vydūnas as their founding father.[14] The Druwi theory is monistic.[14]


Romuvan weddings.

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.[16][17][18]

Romuva primarily exists in Lithuania but there are also congregations of adherents in Australia, Canada, the United States,[19] and England.[20] There are also Romuvans in Norway.[21] 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.[22]

See also

Uralic religions
Caucasus' religions


  1. ^ a b Wiench, 1995
  2. ^ Monika Hanley. Baltic diaspora and the rise of Neo-Paganism. The Baltic Times, 2010.
  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 - Dievturity. ¶ DIEVS. Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences, 1987.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Latvian Encyclopedia of Religions: Neopagānisms / dievturi.
  12. ^
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ a b c d Pokalbio tema KETURIOS KILNIOSIOS DRUWIO TIESOS. Druwi Portal.
  15. ^ a b Kviečiame mokytis į baltų žynių “KURONO”. Druwi Portal.
  16. ^ Dundzila (2007), pp. 279, 296-298.
  17. ^ Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 247.
  18. ^ Ignatow (2007), p. 104.
  19. ^ Dundzila and Strmiska (2005), p. 278.
  20. ^ Saulėgrįža Londono Romuvoje
  21. ^ Baltų Krivule Kurtuvėnuose 2011.06. 5.
  22. ^ 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

  • Dievturi — Latvian Dievturi Church
  • Dievturi — Dievsēta — American Dievturis
  • Dievturi — Foundation Maras Loks
  • Druwi — Kurono Academy of Baltic Priesthood
  • Romuva — Lithuanian Romuvan Church
  • Monika Hanley. Baltic diaspora and the rise of Neo-Paganism. The Baltic Times, 2010.
  • Jonas Trinkunas. Revival of the ancient Baltic religions.
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