Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A neo-pagan site

Did all the Lithuanian science fiction fandom camp events I wrote about sounded like so much woo-woo? Here are a couple more odds and ends to reinforce that impression. :-) In addition to the Flying Saucer-shaped museum, we also visited a pagan, or rather, neopagan temple. Definitely "neo" -- the temple wasn't there until a few years ago, and I don't think there's any indication that there used to be an ancient pagan worship site at that location. All attempts to restore old pagan faiths in Lithuania ride on lots of imagination and a few mentions of ancient deities in folk songs. There are very few written sources verifying the authenticity of those deities. But the imagination of neo-pagan worshippers more than makes up for that. Anyway, it's a separate topic, and I won't go into it now.

Well, there wasn't an actual a building at the temple site, only an open space at the top of the hill, surrounded by a low, irregular hedge of loosely piled rocks. Some rocks have pseudo-pagan symbols painted on them. I was told it's a Baltic equivalent of Zodiac. As with most things neopagan, I seriously doubt whether it's grounded in any authentic Baltic astronomical system, if there was any. But the symbols are pretty in a kind of a runic, ancient, primitive way. Here are 4 of them.

There is a mound of rocks in the middle with firewood on it. I was told it is a reconstruction-interpretation of what an ancient observatory could have looked like. Other wooden and stone idols represent ancient pagan Baltic gods, such as this statue of the sky and thunder god Perkūnas. The statue grows taller every year as people bring in rocks for it each spring at Jorė festival.

Then there is a statue of a Žemyna, goddess of the Earth. This goddess is probably held responsible for fertility or love -- it is undoubtedly a goddess for women. Well, "women" may be an overstatement, as the offerings piled around the statue made me think an average pilgrim is about 13 years old. Hair scrunchies, plastic bracelets, stuffed animals -- if I were a goddess, I might be a little offended that the supplicants assume I have such a cheesy taste.

All my pictures of the temple can be found here. Thanks to Barbora for supplying the facts about the temple that I managed to miss during my visit (to be fair, I didn't look very hard for signs, plaques or explanations).

On that note: coming up -- a post about witches. :-)

No comments: