From the Oak: Let’s hear it for the God!

Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities. Currently focusing on divinities placed in an atheist "graveyard".

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Dangaus Dievas

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The highest figure of the Baltic pantheon is Dievas (Deywis/Deyws/Dievs) and is twenty ninth deity from the graveyard list.  He name is of Indo-European origin and is related to Dios/Zeus.  The name means both sky and god, also viewed as the shining dome of the sky or heaven shine.  In Lithuanian dialects, he is called Pondzejis, Avestian, Daeva, Tiwat and Tiwaz. 

Dangaus Dievas (god of the sky/heaven) lives in heaven and is seen as a god of light, peace and friendship. As for his appearance, he has been described as and extremely handsome man dressed in silver.  For some, he is an inactive god, for others he is creator.  Dievas, as told in Latvian songs, walks the earth giving bliss and fertility.  He is called upon when vows are made or in times of trouble.  His animals are horses, stags, bulls and small birds. His sacred trees are birches, ryes and other deciduous trees. Dievas is known for awarding good people and punishing bad. Although he is the most powerful divinity, he is not the king having given that role to his son, Perkunas (Perkons/Perkuns/Perkztno), a storm god.  Dievas’ known epithets include:  Occopirmzts/Okopirmas (the First), Anajus/Antdievis (super god or god of gods) and Nunadievis (possibly Reigning God).

One legend states that at the beginning of the world there were two gods, Dievas and Velnias.  Dievas sent Velnias (Velinas/Patulas) to the bottom of the primeval ocean to carry soil to place on the water.  He tried three times but movement of the water kept washing it from his grasp.  Dievas then took the dirty from under Velinas’ nails and dropped it on the water surface.  It expanded and became land.  Next the two gods try to outdo each other in shaping and populating the world.  Velnaias creates the lakes, marshes, fens, mountains, rocks and harmful/chthonic animals, while Dievas smoothes the earth to form fields and creates “useful” animals.  Some say that these two divinities continuously recreate the world for they are creation and destruction, light and darkness. 

Now the creation of man came about a bit differently.  Dievas spat upon some water once (or twice) while walking.  Upon returning from his walk, he sees a creature(s) that he did not consciously create.  He realized that this man creature (and woman), similar in form to his own, sprang from his spittle.  Other myths state that man was formed when dirty water from Dievas washing his face, landed on the earth.  Either way, man was an accidental creation, a combination of earth and divine.  Another myth states that man used to have a hard protective shell, but due to some transgression, Dievas took away the shell leaving only finger nails and toenails as a reminder.

It is said that only the body dies, while the soul moves on into another form of life.  The soul travels the road of the ancestors and reaches the realm of the dead which in Lithuanian is called Dausos.  It is on the top of the world mountain and is connected to our world by the Milky Way, Pauksciu takas (path of birds). This is not only the home of the ancestors, but also the home of Deivas and where birds spend the winter.  However, interestingly, it is Velnas who is described as the protector of ancestors.

May Deivas be remembered and honored.  This article to is to fulfill my vow to write something on each divinity placed in the atheists’ graveyard.

Helpful Sources: 

  • Lithuanian Philosophy:  Persons and Ideas edited by Jurate Baranova
  • www.meta-religion.com
  • Culture and Customs of the Baltic States by Kevin O'Connor
  • Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Central and Eastern Europe by Kaarina Aitamurto, Scott Simpson
  • Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend by Mike Dixon-Kennedy
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I'm an eclectic polytheist whose main divinities are Heru-ur, Bast, Sobek, Yinepu Isis, Zeus-Serapis, and Yemaya. I'm a mother, wife and Librarian living in the Rocky Mountains stumbling on my path and wondering what the heck I'm doing. Blessed be.

Comments

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Thursday, 09 April 2015

    Tiwaz! That is so cool! That is also the name of the rune that represents Tyr in Asatru.

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