Dievturība is a Neopagan
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 movement, which claims to be a modern revival of the folk religion
Folk religion
Folk religion consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of an organized religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices...

 of the Latvians before Christianization
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

 in the 13th century. Adherents call themselves Dievtuŗi (singular Dievturis), literally "Dievs keepers", "people who live in harmony with Dievs".

The Dievtuŗi movement was founded in 1925 by Ernests Brastiņš. It was forcibly suppressed by Russian Communists in 1940, but later was revived. Approximately 650 persons are officially active members of Dievtuŗi movement. Among other notable persons, Raimonds Pauls
Raimonds Pauls
Raimonds Pauls is a Latvian and Soviet composer and piano player who is well-known and respected in Latvia and the former Soviet Union.-Music:...

 has publicly declared himself to be Dievturis.


Dievturība started in 1925 and (as a reconstructionistic
Polytheistic reconstructionism
Polytheistic reconstructionism is an approach to Neopaganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, and gathering momentum in the 1990s to 2000s...

 and folktruar movement) is primarily based on Latvian folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, old folk songs (dainas) and mythology
Latvian mythology
Latvian culture, along with Lithuanian, is among the oldest surviving Indo-European cultures. Much of its symbolism is ancient. Its seasons, festivals, and numerous deities reflect the essential agrarian nature of Latvian tribal life...

. By necessity, modern Dievturība differs from the historical Latvian religion. For example, there is no evidence that the Latvian pagans recognized a trinity of deities; in Dievturība, Dievs
Lithuanian Dievas, Latvian Dievs, Prussian Deywis, Yotvingian Deivas was the supreme god in the Baltic mythology and one of the most important deities together with Perkūnas. Dievas is a direct successor of the Proto-Indo-European supreme god *Dyēus of the root *deiwo-...

, Māra and Laima
Laima was the personification of fate and luck in the Latvian and Lithuanian mythologies. She was associated with childbirth, marriage, and death; she was also the patron of pregnant women...

 are a triune godhead.

Ernests Brastiņš (1892–1942) was the primary force in the early development of Dievturība. He was an artist, an amateur historian, a folklorist and an archaeologist. He documented many ancient Latvian temples and castles, writing the Index of Mythological Notions of Latvian Dainas. Dievturi Catechism is the main inspirational text of Dievturība.


Dievturība is essentially a pantheistic
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

 religion. Other deities are either aspects of Dievs (the universe itself, the ultimate reality), or other types of non-deified spirits. In Dievturi theology, several triumvirates of deities and concepts are recognized.
  • Gods of fate, the primary triumvirate
    • Dievs – the primary god who emanates the others gods as aspects of himself
    • Laima
      Laima was the personification of fate and luck in the Latvian and Lithuanian mythologies. She was associated with childbirth, marriage, and death; she was also the patron of pregnant women...

    • Māra
  • Goddesses of water
    • Jūras māte
    • Ūdens māte
    • Upes māte

Soul complex

  • Human form
    • velis – astral body
    • miesa – physical form
    • dvēsele – soul

The difference between the dvēsele (soul) and velis (the astral body) is a fine one. The dvēsele is eternal. It comes from Dievs (god) and will return to him after the death of the miesa. The velis stays near the body, gradually melting and disappearing over time similar to the concept of a ghost or the Greek shade. The end of autumn and the start of winter is accepted as the time of remembrance of dead ancestors. In the dark time of autumn people gave food for their dead relatives due to the "dying of nature" or as a thanks gesture for a good harvest during the summer.

External links

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