Ukraine Vinok (вінок) Seasonal Wreaths and their Symbolism

Sbu Zapobihla Kontrabandi by the border of cultural values of Kiev Rusy. A unique complex starovynnykh jewellery with gold and silver stayed in Ukraine.
Kyev Rus, Folk Ukraine, this is our story, this is our treasure.

All Slavic traditions and folk traditions include flowers especially during Kupala and Noc Kupala, but Ukraine exceeds them all in the abundant uses of flowers and symbolic flowers. The Ukrainian Wreath Vinok (вінок) is a crown made of wild flowers and herbs which is collected in the traditional ways.

There are different types of wreaths: a wedding wreath, a wreaths of love, monastic wreath, wreath of hope, wreath of devotion and kupala wreaths. The wreath of love was not only for marriage ceremonies but also divorce ceremonies. In Ukrainian culture the wreath was traditionally worn worn by maidens (unmarried) as a pagan tradition. 

ukraine crown
Ukraine “Summer” Vinok Wreath

In the more prominent neopaganism groups today during Kupala, more and more wreaths are returning back before religious influences and are worn by women of all ages. The wreath dates back to the old East Slavic customs that predates Christianization of Rus which still remains a valued part of Ukrainian national creative attire, worn on festive occasions and on holy days.

Flowers are a part of all their celebrations, traditional folklore, craft embroidery, women and their ceremonies, and even painted interior and exterior home decorations. They mark the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The pagans honor Lada and her daughter Lely and the wreaths are in their honor. Midsummer is the time to gather flowers and herbs to not only make wreaths but for healing herbs and for prosperity.

ukraine ribbons
Ukraine “Spring” Vinok Wreath

Some of the most common are the crown for summer solstice called Kupala and are made with cornflower, marigold, saffron, parsley, parsnip, Corollas mint, lovage, marjoram, cornflower and sage, which are all protections against shadows.

In the full traditional Ukrainian wreaths, there should be 12 flowers: Wormwood, immortal, lynx, cornflower, chamomile, cherry blossom, apple, gooseberries, mallow, peonies, cornflower and baptismal bells. Wormwood is a symbol of inertia and immortal, a symbol of the immortality of the human soul. The cherry blossoms are a symbol of maternal love.

The wreath varies in many of the regions as young women throughout the country wore various headdresses made with yarn, ribbon, coins, feathers and grasses, but these all had the same symbolic meaning. In parts of central and eastern Ukraine, the flowers were raised in the center front and multicolored ribbons were attached to the back.

Ukraine wedding crown
Ukraine “Bridal” Vinok Wreath

Custom weaved wreaths denote the seasons as the customs came to Ukraine from prehistoric times and garlands with flowers and herbs are one of the oldest Ukrainian symbols. In ancient Goddess images of women, she wore headdress of flowers, grasses, herbs and branches in her shamanic beginnings.

large flower crown, ukaine
Ukraine “Bridal” Vinok Wreath

Putting your wreaths into water is to tell your future and personal guidance but putting a wreath in the Sea and it will tell the fortune of your soul. Setting wreaths on the water usually accompanies folk songs, because that was the first honoring of the first goddess.

Its more popular today to wear the casual versions of the vinok. It is not uncommon to see women in Kiev wearing a headband embellished with flowers during the summer as a fashion statement or Ukrainian pride. Additionally, the growing popularity of the vinok has contributed to the increase of vinok specialists, as well as the demand of local florists

Ukraine flowers , herbs, color of ribbon and their symbolic meanings…
Braided wreath – Symbol of prosperity and fertility.

autumn ukraine wreath
Ukraine “Autumn” Vinok Wreath

Clover – Symbol of fidelity;
has the magical power to reconnect.

Elecampane – Root of nine forces,
strengthens and returns health.

Fern (Rozmai herb) – Attracts love.
Garlic – Protection, also weaved into
braids on the bride crown before the wedding.

Hatchets – Field grass is a symbol of healthy fields, cornfields and abundance.
Iris – Peace and vitality.

King-flower – Vastness.
Krinov (lily) – Magical symbol of the feminine because she is essentially moist energy. The ancient name of the flower Krinov means “well” as it treats heart ailments.
Kalina (raspberry, rose) – Three sisters, acrimony as a form of magical contact, when there is a prick of blood. Overcoming obstacles, after which comes the miracle and magical dream as the likeness of eternity.

ukraine autumn vinok
Ukraine “Autumn” Vinok Wreath

Loboda – Symbol of misery and poverty.
Lyubka – a symbol of beauty and youth doable.
Lovage – Love, harmony. Bathe in lovage.
Lions (sunflower) – Symbol of fertility, growth and fruiting, and, hence, yield.
Marigold – Mans beauty.
Narcissus – Protects ones health.
Nechuy-wind – Boundaries
Oregano – Symbol of maternal
love and care of children.

Pansies – Symbol of love of family.
Parsley (wormwood) – Spring
Pauline – Bitterness of life, is protection agai
nst shadows.


ukraine.jpgPeppermint – Guardian of children and their health.
Peonies – Flowering of maturity.
Poppies (red)- Beauty, purity and magical forces of protection.

Rozsa (Rose) – Symbol of goodwill, prosperity, and swarming bees.
Red mug – Beauty and cleanliness.
Roman Herb Forest (chamomile) – Love.
Rouget (Rose hips, mallow, rue) – Glory.

Ruta – Sadness and a bitter life.

Vasylko (marigolds) – Ceremonies.
Violets – Joy.
Voloshky (blue cornflower) – Symbol of beauty and goodness, modesty and tenderness.
White Lilac – Family life.
Wreath of Roses -Symbol of health

Colors of Ribbons

ukraine baba
Ukraine Grandmother Vinok

A wreath of flowers and ribbons protects she who wears that halo on her head, it has a magic. Our grandmothers knew and still know this magic well, lot of different secrets of when and how to weave a wreath passed down from her grandmother.

Colorful Wreaths of Magic which is the union of Mother Earth with the Spirit Sky (Sun) as the divine marriage of the powerful belief of immortality – the way of Love. A corolla of intertwined ribbons of different colors, each have meaning:

Light brown: Mother Earth
Yellow: Sun, Blue: Water
Orange: Bread, Purple: Wisdom
Crimson: Sincerity
Pink: Abundance.

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On the left side of the white ribbon is gold thread as the sun, and on the right, silver, as the moon (month).

Red Colors (ribbons and mug, carnation, rowan, viburnum) – Divination and charms, blood and fire. On the one hand it symbolizes beauty, joy and love of life, the other, vengefulness and destruction. Red is used for charms, tends to counteract evil spell.

Popular color in Pysanky eggs and also using red thread, beads and flowers in divination embroidery. The best way to protect children from evil spirits and evil souls in dreams, is to tie the hands of a child something red.

winter ukraine wreath
Ukraine Winter Vinok Wreath

Green – Spring, beauty of nature, transformation, envy.
Purple & Green – Wisdom and caution.
Red & Blue – Fidelity and love.
White & red – Reward and respect.

White (ribbons and flowers) – Purity, innocence, joy. White is associated with daylight and life. Our ancestors believed in the relationship with the divine worlds. White robes are worn women in circles and by ancient priests or magicians. During the first crop of our ancestors wore a clean white shirt. White is also associated with death. Our parents, grandparents deceased wore white clothes and covered with a white shroud. White robes and ghosts are dead people.

Black – Night, Powerful Ancient moon women. Yellow – Sun, gold. In ancient times perceived as sunlight. Blue – Water, eternity. It unearthly secrets of the world. Symbolizes honesty, good reputation and loyalty. In mermaids cold and recalls the shade.

Ukraine neopaganism-folk Vinok (вінок)
Ukraine Neopagan Folk Vinok (вінок).


Latvia Symbolism – Latviesu Simboli

Latviešu Latvian Trinity

Latvia Symbols of Nature’s Seasons

Spring Equinox – Dawn The sign of Dawn or the rising sun sign symbolizes relationship to the top, to the heavenly world, it is the knowledge of humankind and the ideal picture of aggregation model. This sign, symbol language is sunrise and sunset graphical representation. Associated with the constant rhythm of the sun, with its eternal celestial mountain road, this is a sign of the world order for our children, because it combines an understanding of the past, present and future. The Healer by Dysharmonnia on DeviantArt

Summer Solstice – The Sun Goddess Strong sunlight is the symbolic representation of the life force culmination and fulfillment. Development of harmony symbol as a symbol of the highest mountain, sky, full of life-giving force, glory and power.   Jānis The Summer Solstice God sometimes referred to as a son of God. His Midsummer’s Night festival (which is called “Jāņi” takes place on the evening of June 23rd and is the most important festival of the year for Latvians. Once every year, Jānis at midsummer came to bring luck and fertility to the people of Latvia.

Autumn Equinox – Ths God Jumis
Fertility sign. Jumim surrenders to the end of spring and summer, and its a double or twin sign because it means two together, the harvest season. Ancient farmhouses adorned and protected the Juma horses who worked in tandem or a couple. This sign means fertility, strength, wealth, success and good luck. The word “Jumis” attributed to the word “Jumal” which means “God.”

Winter Solstice, The Wells symbol
– this symbol is character of endings, completeness, that which forms the void or Sākotne. This mark combines with the top down and the sky with underground water. This sign also heralds a new solar year on the day of the Winter Solstice but that is a Christian tradition of the sun and the world. The original early pagan and shamanic cultures did not honor the sun on the winter solstice, they honored the midnight sun of winter which is the Auseklis.

Folk series by make-up artist Beata Bojda and Photographer Ula Kóska Poland


AuseklisAuseklis – This is the most important ancient symbol which is with the references of the night. In Latvia, its the Night Sun or Midnight Star as it is associated with Winter, the Winter Solstice and the protection from evil and shadows of the underworld. In modern times, after the 8th century, later paganism changed it to the more worldly Venus, or Morning Star, but still remained a Guardian Star rather than the greater collective woman of Aurora, who is the symbol of the in-between time just like the Evening Star at dusk. This is the time when the veil is thin and both the dream or energy worlds (some call the land of the dead) and the waking dream or waking life meet together at the crossroads. After the shamanic cultures and goddess cultures waned, the remains (pagan) called it the morning star, the usher of the new day.

zim_9_zvaigzneThe Cross symbol in Latvian folklore has eight or six stars. Also at the Winter Solstice (now called Christmas), this is one of the only surviving symbols to honor the winter time ceremonies and celebrations. Many Slavic and Balkan countries in Eastern Europe will use the eight pointed Star when caroling and singing folk songs going form house to house or village to village during Christmas and the Winter Solstice.

Complete article on the AuseklisThe Midnight Sun, Goddess of the Dawn:

Latvian Goddess Symbolism…

Latvian SymbolsZalktis, The Serpent Goddess
She is one of the ancient symbols of a deity in Latvia. Like all serpent goddesses, she is associated with wisdom, which makes her an elder or grandmother goddess. She is significantly connected with healing, especially the healing of the soul.  Today she is still know for general well-being and health, judging from the popularity of the symbol. This sign dates back to the Iron Age.

Zalktis, The Adder symbolizes wisdom and connected to animism which can access worldwide knowledge. The white ones are the most powerful, and it is signed for one of the Mara’s talisman because Mara could transform into the healing snake. Also this sign is available on women’s clothes as protection, making it a symbol for sacred crafts and ancient arts.

Then there is  žaltys, an ancient Baltic traditions, a harmless green snake highly respected as a symbol of fertility and wealth. To ensure the prosperity of family and field, a žaltys was kept in a special corner of the house, and the entire household gathered at specified times to recite prayers to it.

zim_12_zalktisOn special occasions the snake was asked to the table to share the family meal from their plates; should he refuse, misfortune was imminent. To encounter a snake accidentally was also considered auspicious and portended a marriage or a birth. Paralysis or great misfortune awaited anyone who dared kill a žaltys, the “sentinel of the gods” and a favorite of Saule, the goddess of the sun.

This symbol means happiness, energy, fire, thunder and wind. Fire cross is related to the Sun Goddess Saule and the Goddess Laima and Thunder, this sign was popular to cut into the beds of children and to interweave into belts for newborn children to wrap them in and adults to protect themselves from evil. In Latvia up to this day it is used for shirts, gloves, socks for protection against evil eye.

Screenshot (621)

imagesSaule The Sun Goddess
The title of supreme only goes to the god in Slavic and Balkan Pagan men’s traditions, but as we return fully to the deeper and more creation goddess, Saule is truly a Supreme Goddess and one of the oldest Goddesses of Latvia, and before the gods.  The oldest cultures on earth have the Sun as a Goddess and Latvia is included, a time when the sun meant feminine and life giving. She is a Baltic region and mythology who determines the well-being and regeneration of all life on earth, a Creator Goddess.

zim_7_sauleSaule, the sun, rides each day through the sky on a chariot with copper wheels, drawn by horses who neither tire nor rest nor sweat. Toward evening Saule washes the horses in the sea, sitting on top of a hill, holding the golden reins in her hand. Then she goes beyond the silver gates into her castle at the end of the sea. The red ball of the setting sun, one aspect of Saule, is portrayed in Baltic art as a ring, a falling red apple, or a crown. As the full light of the sun, she is also represented by a daisy, a wheel, or a rosette.

Saule’s daughters were courted by the Moon God Meness after Christian Religion brought in their myths into the country. The older myth, found in both Lithuanian and Latvian traditions, tells that Mēness is married the Saule, the Sun Goddess, but he proved to be as changeable as the moon and soon began to court the Goddess of the Dawn, the Midnight Sun (star). Pērkons (Lithuanian: Perkūnas), the Thunderer, cult of the moon god to pieces for this slight to Saule. This story happens around the earth wherever the Religious fathers began to control pagan Grandmothers who were forced out and then eventually forced out by Pagan fathers.

Because of her association with growth and fertility, Saule was remembered in prayers by the farmers at both sunrise and sunset. The major event in her honour was the Līgo feast, a midsummer festival celebrated on June 23 (Summer Solstice. On that day, the sun, wreathed in a garland of red flowers, was said to observe the summer solstice by dancing on a silver hill while wearing silver shoes. Great fires were lit on the hills to ward off evil spirits who might threaten health and fertility. Young people, wearing wreaths of flowers, danced and sang Līgo songs and leaped over the fires.

Saule The Sun GoddessSun designs now usually consist of eight parts for the four seasons and half way points between the solstices and equinoxes. We see Sky in day and sky at night, the ancient Latvian folklore specially points that central star is the Goddess Saule. She is the symbol of eternal movement and life. In the line of other stars, Sun Goddess is placed in one of the highest hierarchical rating. Sun sees everything and knows everything. In the territory of Latvia Sun symbols are found on bone tools already in late Stone Age. Rhomb or cube is also seen as symbol of Sun and is seen on the ceramics of Middle Stone Age.


13059b8b308f9c2efae42232517fea62Moon is presented as the consort of the Sun Goddess and also the Sun has all relatives such as sun fathers, sun mothers, sun daughters and sons and the children of the sun goddess. Behind other symbols, the Sun Goddess symbol is placed to be in the most honorable position any symbol can be. It is also because Sun Goddess is represented as mother of all children.

All drawings of Sun are always circle typed (egg, ball, golden acorn etc), who symbolizes the Sun’s trajectory. At the simplest level, Sun can be displayed as a circle. All the detailed Sun projections have one common point – the center of this circle is always double crossed or specially pointed out. The detail count of Sun symbol are countless, for a common is supposed to be detailed multi-angle – eight-sided symbol, but also there are simple four-angle symbol.

In Latvian art the motive of Sun is displayed on every possible items. If Sun is displayed more than few times in one row, it symbolizes special magical productivity and warmness rituals. Symbol of Sun is specially used in women’s clothes and jewelry, most of the Sun symbols are also found on those tools that is used for own goods made.

A harmless green snake, žaltys who was a special favorite of the Sun Goddess Saule’s; it was considered good luck to have a žaltys in the house — and bad luck to kill one. Now we associate the Goddess with the moon, but in prehistory she was the sun and still is the Sun Goddess in older traditions like Latvia. Today as the goddess she rules both the earth’s fertility and woman’s fertility. She is a patroness goddess of those who have hard lives, the unlucky, including orphans. The design was originally a simple circle, which evolved over the years into many variations.

Laima - Bird Goddess, Goddess of Destiny & Fate

LaimaLaima Goddess Ancient Pre-Pagan Bird Goddess, Pagan Goddess of Destiny & Fate
The similarities of signs of the Goddess Laima or Deivė Laima, is with feathers of a sacred Bird, from a shamanic past when animals were one of our souls (animism). Pre-pagan associations with Laima is the bird symbol, considered one of the most ancient signs, as it occurs in the pottery and stone axes from about 3000 years ago in ancient tribal settlement areas and in some of the Ukrainian areas the birds are 7,000 years old.

Many other country’s goddesses were described as fickle, such terminology is never used with Laima. Her honor is unchanging. Thus, the Baltic may not have been scapegoated because the Baltic female deities were held in more honor than the southern Indo-European female deities; they were not subordinated to the gods. Therefore, there would have been no precedent for the punishment of the female.


latvju-sena-zime-laimas-skujina Earlier bird symbolism means “the Soul” and the Goddess Laima, protector of Souls and Old Souls has not changed. Laima in the new pagan traditions always had a broom as the symbol by her side making her patroness of the Witch like Ragana. Laima also protected the newborn child who was often birthed in the bathhouse.

34440136f4afa27d8d030dbf647265bdToday she is more like the Slavic Lada, the name Laima derives from the word laime, which means “happiness” or “luck”. Laima determines whether one’s life will be short or long, fruitful or poverty-stricken, carefree or worrisome. The sign is thought to bring luck. In the Latvian mythology, Laima and her sisters, Kārta and Dēkla, were a trinity of fate deities, similar to the Norse Norns or the Greek Moirai. Laima makes the final decision on individual’s fate and is considerably more popular. While all three of them had similar functions, Laima is Goddess of luck and is more related with mothers and childbirth, Dēkla is in charge of children, and Kārta holds power over the adult’s life.

In modern Dievturi these three goddesses are referred to as the three Laimas, indicating they are the same deity in three different aspects. Birth rituals at the end of the 19th century included offerings of hen, sheep, towels or other woven materials to Laima. Only women could participate in the ritual, performed in a sauna (pirtis) which is much like the native american sweat lodge.

mara_by_dysharmonnia-db97eyzzim_4_mras_krustsMāra Dark Goddess of Winter
She is the second of the supreme goddesses because she is a triple goddess (maiden, mother and grandmother) and the goddess who was responsible for the birth of the land, the waters, and every living thing. In ancient Latvian mythology, Mara was not just the mother of all the gods including Dievs, she is creator.

Mara’s Cross
This is a sign of the living matter, which is closely associated with fertility, fire, and the home. This sign is formed from four sloping croup, it symbolizes the dynamic nature of matter in the active state. In ancient times the cross cross was put on loaves of bread before it was placed in the oven and in the evening, going to bed, it drew the hearth ashes. Sometimes cross cross is also called the Cross-Cross. Each thing that symbolically hoisted cross cross is sacrificed to Mara and the blessing is returned.

Today we strongly associate Mara with children and childbirth; children are said to enter the world “through the gates of Māra” making her a creation deity. She is also the protector of women, especially mothers, and daughters. She is also the Goddess of the Hearth Fires making her a Spirit or Fire goddess like many other fire goddesses around the world. Māra is also Winter making her like her sisters  Marzanna and Morena of other Slavic traditions. In winter, she often takes the form of black animals such as ravens.

zim_3_mras_lklocisThe Waters of Māra, the Checks of Māra
When meaning checks, have to point, that Latvians and other nations understands this sign as symbol of water. Maybe because of it is common, that this sign symbolizes Mara as mother of Seas and Lakes, Rivers etc. It’s believed, that simple horizontal line symbolizes Mara as mother of Land and this sign is called the Land of Mara. Checks are one type of common geometrical signatures, already used in Early Stone Age. The use of check as symbol becomes popular in Iron Age. In the sample artworks of public artists this sign can be found many times. Check symbol is used also as the start of all other signs.

maras krustsMāras krusts (Cross and Cross of Crosses)
This is the symbol that guards, blesses and brings happiness and is used in many traditional folk crafts and tradition folk dresses and belts. One of the most positive in Latvian symbolism.

Ragana WitchRagana The Witch Goddess
Goddess who Sees, Seer, Healer, Mystic. Ragana [ˈrɑ:gʌnʌ] is the Lithuanian goddess who takes care of others, a healer who is gifted at healing and seeing into the future. Ragana in Lithuanian means the seeing, which is close to the Slavic Vjed(ż)ma (who knows).


Latvian God Symbolism…

The true Supreme God, older than all gods even Dievs. He is the fertile one, the old one. He guards and helps female warriors and male warriors, and protects those who clans reject. The Moon Sign has been found on men’s bracelets dating back to the Iron Age. Sword embellishments also boasted Moon Signs. Found on pendants and pins, orphans clothing. There are two symbols, the Mēness krusts and Mēness zīme.

perkuns thunder god symbolPerkuns The Thunder God
Thunder is well known in whole world over 5000 years, starting from Asia up to Northern America but many people associate it with the military of Hitler demonized it. Its actually a very good and positive sign and symbol over the last five-thousand years, in many countries including Latvia. The sign of thunder, is one of the most ancient symbols in the world and has been used by all nations. The Latvian sign of thunder symbolizes light, fire, life, health and prosperity. No other nation has used the swastika so widely, nor developed so many variations of it as the Latvians. Perkuns follows most of the other Slavic Thunder God’s stories and lore.

zim_13_siŪsiņš Bee and Horse God
The first information about the Latvian deity Ūsiņš, was related by the Jesuit Joannis Stribingius in his 1606 report on missions in the Latvian part of Livonia: Deo Equorum, quem vocant Dewing Vschinge, offerunt singuli 2 solidos et duos panes et frustum pinguedinis, quem in ignem conijciunt. “They sacrifice to the God of horses, whom they call Deviņ Ūšiņe, each two pieces of money and two pieces of bread and a bit of fat which they throw into the fire.“ The motif of horses connected with Ūsiņš also appears in Latvian dainas.

Ūsiņš God of Horses, Bees and Light
On Ūsiņš’ Day, which falls in early May, the animals are let out to pasture for the first time. Ūsiņš is said to drive the chariot of the Sun across the sky with his two horses much like Helios of the Greeks. It is also called key sign, since Ūsiņš unlocks doors in the summer which brings the trees into full leaves and the grasses of the land. Ūsiņš sign also gives special powers, it encourages observation and understanding. Its also a symbol of blessings, known as a sign of life. The symbol is put in the cradle and the thresholds and elsewhere as a protective sign. This sign gives strength, heals diseases and strengthens the union of partnerships.

Latvian Ūsiņš, with variants Ūsenis, Ūsinis, can represent proto-Baltic *ūśinja- or *ōśinja- has been interpreted as an East Latvian dialectism. Summing up, the Latvian deity Ūsiņš ‘bee-god and patron of horses’ represents both the pleasures of life (honeybee) and the untamable water of nature and its counterpart our emotions (horse).


zim_1_dievsDievs Father God
In ancient Latvian mythology, Dievs was not just the father of the Gods, he was the essence of them. This symbol represents the sky, as a roof over the earth. Dievs, also called Debestēvs (Latvian), Lithuanian Dievas, Old Prussian Deivas, in Baltic religion Dievs and Laima, the goddess of human fate, determine human destiny and world order. Dievs is a wooer of Saule, the sun goddess and like Jupiter, he sleeps with many different goddesses but not as many. He is an Iron Age Baltic king who lives on a farmstead in the sky making him a later pagan and not shamanic early god. Latvia is a very matriarchal clan and thus a lot of the Balkan and Slavic gods had to be imported from Viking times.

Wearing a silver gown, pendants, and a sword, he occasionally rides down to earth, on horseback or in a horse-drawn chariot, to watch over farmers and their crops. Dievs has two sons (Dieva dēli in Latvian; Dievo sūneliai in Lithuanian), who are known as the Heavenly twins and the morning and evening stars which were the Goddess stars but in later Paganism like all paganism they were given over to the new rising Gods. In name, Dievs is cognate with the Vedic Dyaus-Pitṛ, the Latin Dies-piter (Jupiter), and the Greek Zeus, denoting originally the bright, daylight sky. The word dievs was also used by the ancient Balts to denote god in general and in modern usage refers to the Christian God.

Like their Greek (Dioscuri) and Vedic (Aśvins, or Nāsatyas) counterparts, Dieva dēli are skilled horsemen. They associate with Saules meita, the daughter of the sun goddess, and when she is sinking into the sea with only her crown still visible, Dieva dēli come to her rescue. Again, very late paganism right before the Christians came showing the ‘hero’ god saving the maiden (which is the start of the patriarch of both pagan and christian religions) myths.

ebJumis God of Fertility
Pagan God Jumis, is an agricultural deity representing fertility and a good harvest. He appears dressed in clothes made from field crops, such as wheat and barley.

Symbol of JumisThe symbol of Jumis has a symmetrical form somewhat like crossed grain flails or (if you use your imagination), a shock of wheat. In some forms the bottom ends are bent up. Any “double fruit” that occurs in nature or in cultivation such as two cherries fused together or two ears of wheat on one stem is considered representative of the God Jumis. If there is a double fruit or ear of grain, it should be left “on the vine” to be used as part of the “catching Jumis” ritual (see below). The symbol is used as a decorative element and it brings good luck to the user. The design is woven into the card-woven belts which are an important traditional folk art among the Latvian and Lithuanian people.

The name of his festival in Latvian is Apjumibas, after Jumis. It is celebrated at the fall equinox, specifically for the three days, Sept. 22-23-24. This is an after-harvest celebration and it is different than many after-harvest festivals which are usually set closer to Oct 23 or Oct 31, because the Baltic states (Latvia and Lithuania) are so far north. The time between the grain harvest celebration and the slaughter of cattle is very compressed in northern countries because the growing season is so short. Another name for the festival is Mikeli which refers to the archangel Michael, because the feast day of St. Michael also falls at about this time, Sept. 29th according to the Christian church.

In Latvian folk belief, St. Michael is the receiver of souls, and it would appear that he has accepted this task from Jumis, simply because his is the next nearest holiday. By the time of the festival, the harvest must all be brought in and stored. After the festival, the “gates of winter” are opened. At the end of reaping, a “Catching Jumis” ritual occurs in the grain fields which is intended to capture his spirit and his fertility for the fields of a village. A clump of uncut grain, (preferably one with a double ear) is left in the field. It is tied in a bundle and the top is pushed down and weighed down with a stone or soil to press it into the ground.

This is thought to direct the fertility of the field back into the soil where it will be available for the grain crop next year. Sometimes the sheaf is plaited into a wreath or braid and presented to a high status woman in the community who keeps it until spring. In the spring any seeds will be rubbed out and scattered over the field and the entire wreath is planted under a rock in the field. When the harvest is done, Jumis is celebrated with a community feast which includes a special Jumis loaf, and responsorial singing, dancing and fertility rituals.

Jumis means ‘twin’ in Latvian and is the cognate form whose name Yama means “twin” and who represents the Ox which was sacrificed to make the standards of Indo-European creation myths of the patriarch. Most likely in the early pagan cultures he was not sacrificed but honored in ceremony of goddess and shamanic cultures.  It is this Proto-Indo-European God who developed into the various Gods and Saints.

Latvian Talisman Symbolism…


Cross of the Thunder, Cross of the Fire (Swastika) &
Ugunskrusts Sign of Fire or Thunder Cross
 is one of the oldest ancient elements along with lightning.  In Latvia the Thunder cross is mentioned from 3rd century and the symbol was found in early iron age, where it is forged in bronze talisman and jewelry. This symbol has several names – cross of Thunder, cross of Fire, Branch cross, etc. There is so much on the web that you can search for its ancient and sacred meanings.


Shrovetide represents a new start of each symbol. Pitched Cross, which fills the solar signs void, creating a new, dynamic state of development and points to the deliberate entry. Various living material and ideal processes the center or balance.

Mārtiņa symbolism
Martina is a sign of light and fire. In dark times or long winters, the light and warmth of the people is very much needed. This sign, stylized, depicts two roosters who are up first thing in the morning, so they are the light messengers, and is derived from the Jumis signs; Shade Jumis. In winter, the lifeblood of stored roots, this sign tells the story of this life and the strength of the ground forces, it is the gateway through which we pass to start something new.

Austras koks Sun Tree (World tree) –  
This is the emblem of the Romuva religion, a revival of the indigenous Pagan religion of Lithuania. The symbol of Romuva is a stylized oak tree, representing the axis mundi, or “world tree,” known in local mythology as Austras Koks, ” tree of dawn,” i.e., a tree of life. The three tiers represent the three worlds: the world of the living, or present-day, the world of the dead, or passed time, and the world to come, the future.

The flame represents the ritual offering fire central to Romuva religious practices. The runic inscription here reads, “Romuve,” or sanctuary, the root from which the the word Romuva is derived.

Austras koks Sun tree. World tree.


latvian tattoo symbols

Hand-embroidered Latvian folk Moon Latviešu tautas raksts Meness krusts
Hand-embroidered Latvian folk Moon Latviešu tautas raksts Meness krusts

LatvianSource: Various, Photo: Folk series by make-up artist Beata Bojda and Photographer Ula Kóska, Poland.

Stone Alatyr – Russian Magical Legend

photo by mikko lagerstedt

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – The Russian Alatyr Stone, sometimes called the World Mother (Алатырь каменьям – мире мати) is a search for purity and truth as a legend lost so long ago on earth. As a keeper of dreams, I have many secrets of the pre-pagan eras and share them when my work is completed and not in danger of having an interruptions from shadow forces. I do have a second love besides the appreciation for legends and real folklore, and that  is the love of stones… creek, river and ocean stones which have shown me how magical they are in their own unique ways.

The Stone Alatyr is a Russian myth of a Mystical Stone of folktale and epic proportions, as the Russians prefer to call their legends. It is a wisdom stone of earth and states that it is one which holds the great power of Russia. Alatyr sits upon the living waters, the eternal waters of purity that replenishes the earth. I wrote my other story here around the winter solstice, about the Kalada, a slavic symbol that was carried by the Slavic Christmas caroler traditions, which is also the symbol known as Alatyr (its shape). The Alatyr symbol in its Slavic pagan uses, is one of the most powerful and most common, it protects its owner from diseases and brings well-being (balance) to their personal space.

The symbolic and real legend of the Alatyr, says that a long time ago it was given to travelers for a long journey to bless their way. As a sacred amulet, its used to preserve the family hearth and the hearth fires (creation). Since Alatyr already bears all amulet characteristics, all the other charms are just small manifestations of Alatyr. This amulet can be worn under clothing, close to the chest, sewn onto clothing like most traditional Slavic, Nordic and Balkan folk clothing, or it can be combined with other pendants and necklaces for different uses.

Dreagon by Franciszek Walczowski, Polish Artist 1902-1983.

But the Alatyr I am speaking of today, even though they are all connected in the bigger collective of the ancient Slavic and Balkan symbolism, is the ancient Midnight Sun symbol in its Slavic and Russian form which says:

The search for the meaning of life (of our soul) and how both spiritual pagan men and women searched by connecting with the greater soul of the earth mother. Under this hidden Stone Alatyr it is said: “powerful forces which offers the treasures of wisdom and keeps the dreaming alive.”

Some stories say that the Stone is located near a portal (entrance) to the underworld, for the dark and light are of equal strength and always exist right next to one another. In folklore there are a few places that have been mentioned about its location: The most mysterious is somewhere out in the ocean, which in fact, I have dreamed where it is. Legends have also said it was on the banks of the river Currant and a third version sats its hidden in a sacred mountain in Rhipaean Mountains (The Urals).

Eastern and Southern Slavs say the stone is within Irie (the Slavic Paradise) where thunder and lightning rests in the winter. The legend says that Alatyr is the mother of all our stones because of its healing powers, containing great wisdom and all life-giving love. Seekers keep searching but it is never found and that we cannot enter such legends until we are pure (have no more karma).

“The Magical Stone of Alatyr” … magic stone 1

White combustible Stone Alatyr
The all stone in the world mother
from under the pebble from Alatyr
Beget pure winds. From under the
pebble from Alatyr, t
he waters
flow fast, 
around the world for
the whole world of healing.

According to another legend, there are nine Alatyr stones (one stone that was fragmented) and buried in the walls of nine cities. Others believe its a large piece of mystical amber, for this is the only stone that is cold, but can also be ignited (combustible) but it’s not a white. There is speculation that the island Buyan – Ruyan or Rügen in the Baltic Sea (Alatyrsky Sea), is where this stone may sit but those are the later versions and I highly doubt that one. Alatyr is often described as a mountain, while amber is found only in small formations near the ocean, but oceans also have ‘older’ mountains under water.

Some Russian epics say that the Alatyr Stone appears like a stone lying on the crossroads (meaning that it only exists in-between the veils, (energetic worlds) of earth and that it awaits for the right traveler. If he or she went on the given road, they would find it, this legend I agree with because at certain higher levels of earth, one cannot enter if they must not have karma, so a soldier is ruled out as some legends said the military can find it. So this way, mother earth protects her secrets from those who have not bowed to her sacredness by suffering off their past life karma which is the worst kind of suffering there is.


It is mystical stone for a good reason, so its safe and protected from those who would do harm unknowingly without the great insights of a shaman sage.

“On the Sea on Okiyane                                   “На море на Окияне есть
we have the white-combustible                    бел-горюч камень 
stone Alatyr, unknown                                     Алатырь, никем
by anyone.”                                                          неведомый.”

According to a number of German and Eastern (Arabic and Persian) sources and Slavic negotiators who called themselves “Rus” a report that the Persian geographer Abu al-Qasim ibn Khordadbeh, writer of the “Book of Ways and Countries” which was written between 846 – 847 ce and he had his clues. Russ is one of the tribes of the Slavs who say only a Slav will be able to go back into time far enough to communicate with mother earth and only she will know where it is.

In some sources they speak of “the Island of the Russ or Rus’ which clearly shows the peninsula Ruyan (Rügen), one of the most important sacred centers of the Slavs — the Temple City of Arkona. The word Buyan is clearly of Russian origin and the root, means to blow (wind or whispering) and as applied to a forest’s movement, signifying a vigorous spirit of the forest.  The connection is clearly “wind-swept.” In the early Russian ballads the invariable formula is Na ostrove na Buydne (on the island of Buyan) is highly probable that Buyan became a substantive only later, and at first was adjectival and meant “windy island.”

Legend says the healing waters flow from beneath the Alatyr Stone and on it stands the Dreaming Tree and that this stone is still guarded by two mythical celestials, a Gagana Bird and the Garefena Serpent.  Only the mysterious bird called Strafil (the firebird) the Mother of all birds can enter the Paradise Island and on whom the whole of the moist earth is founded; and that if the fish shall drown, all the moist earth will fall to pieces.


In the texts of the Golubinoy books, which was published by Kirshey Danilov, legends say that the Stone, the Firebird and Magpie are connected and when I was translating this from Russian – I liked the way this translation turned out syncronistically all on its own…

Nagai Island (Alaska) – all birds of prey
and she lives on the Ocean-Sea
near the national nest on Obama’s White,
the stone w
elled up Visitors korabelschiki
on the nest of
Nagai Island (Alaska) – birds

and on his detushek of small.

Nagai Island (Alaska) – bird vostrepenetsya,
Ocean-Sea vosklolybletsya, it replenishes
rivers razlivalisya, Alexander many quick ships,
Alexander many chervlenye ships.

For those of you who made it to the end of this article…

The Russian Alatyr Stone was never a stone,
is one of the Four Great Celestial Dragons

of Mother Earth and much larger than the other three.


The “windy island” was the ocean floor and the “white combustible stone” meant that the dragon had to free itself through some sort of combustion (breaking free).  Men fell asleep and their own legends were corrupted by the battles in their heart, and Christian Religion which killed the dreaming of the Dragons corrupted the legend even more. All Dragon’s retreated just as the Russian Dragon had done. Dragons of course, belong to Mother Earth and not to men. Only the Religious’ ego told false fairytales about overpowering them, which is nonsense. The Ideology of Saint George made it even worse over the last millennium, that they were dead. Same too with the Giants, the giants are alive and well, we know them as Archangels.

The Goddess was protected by the “old dream”  and the real Dragons where to help prevent the destruction of the Souls of the souled human beings. Men know nothing of woman and her story before history which began around 2100 bce and the Magical Stone itself was only “frozen” in time, not dead nor lost. Prophecy was never stated anywhere in any this legends – the Russian Dragon, this Stone of Alatyr.  The dragon is now free and free from Russia’s own past oppression.

Sources: Saint Juraj (George) and the Dragon, Zagreb, Croatia; Wiki Europe, Various Russian Pagan sites, Encyclopedia Mythica, Song of the Alatyr by Maestro Vladimir Sidorov’s  Youtube page.




Soul Bearer

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain ~

SOUL – The Water Bearers… There are a few symbols in almost all traditions today, both ancient and archaic times, which represents our feminine sides, called the Soul.

sky rain goddess

Bird symbolism is the oldest on earth and it represents not only our beginner relationship to first soul, the emotional body, which is what I term the song birds but our “spiritual journey” of our lifetime; birds symbolize the more advanced animist souls and the visions contained here within our personal spiritual “healing” journey, represented by the Raptor Birds (boundaries/nourishment); and lastly, the “collective souls” who are the celestials, the birds of thunder, the firebird, phoenix, sun bird, which represent deaths and rebirths of our collective soul and the wisdom and karma present within them of all of our own personal reincarnations. One may have only 8 past lives and one may have 1000 past lives until they get the lessons. More is not better.

Serpent which are the second oldest symbolism of earth, represents symbolically the “healing” of our soul in many forms and ways;

Fire and Water are the two oldest aspects of the medicine wheel, representing the “purification” of our watery Soul(s)  and fiery Spirit.

Water is the emotional body karmic purification, where we misused our emotions and created wars, killed others, abused self or others, addictions etc. (all ten of them loose power if one does not change and heal each lifetime). But if on overcomes all fears on the spiritual journey and masters all of the human selves (3) and becomes a Buddha or Christ (enlightened) and completed, then we begin the second half of the animist soul purification.

Midway completed we then enter the Fire purification and it begins, but no one tells me they are a dragon and when i ask tell me the story when you met your demonic or djinn shadow lifetime and how did you burn that off, they cannot share with the real story of the human or animist karmic purification. Rare are the celestial being souls here on the planet, these aspects of them are dormant and sometimes eradicated. Only about 15% of the earth’s souls can even take this journey. These Spirit (or Fire realities) are only legend now on earth, but in prehistory and the future to come,  attainment will be mandatory for some but not for the majority of humanity. Most of humanity cannot master the human self and make great sacrifices unless its forced upon them to make small karmic changes.

In other words, the journey has no words.

Water symbolism has 3 levels, first is the Lake which represents our contained emotional life in our personal intimate relationships; the second level is the symbolism of the Creek, Stream and River representing the motions of one direction, a forward path in which emotions must open up the emotional pain with much work and preparation, then go through the emotional pain again to heal it, this lifetime or other lifetimes, in order to regain some balance; and lastly is the symbolism of the great Ocean which represents the emotional and animism lives of our past lives as a collective representation. Be kind to yourself emotionally, it all counts.

In symbolism wherever you see aggression and wings in ancient art, this is where the new clans of the War Kingdoms began to take over and the Soul was beginning to be raped. Baghdad in ancient Iraq was one and there are many more. Wings are the soul and aggression was the destruction of the old souls and power stolen.


Fire is the last, it is what true Spirit is – an element. It has nothing to do with anything human, but pure elements of nature in which humans of the grandmother cave cultures still retained, and represented symbolically unification or reunification with mother earth (nature itself in an elemental form), in human terms spirit would be considered the pure light which is golden illumination. It cannot be attained until both the complete unity of the karmic purified two mental bodies and its karma, the pure purity of the physical body and all past life physical karma like war etc, and the 8 souls that are dharma and animist dharma… in fact its almost impossible to attain in any temple, mosque or church or even spiritual temples or other people because its not human its pure nature. The second half of the second level of the healing journey of the 6 souls is to be alone. and it is death and mastering death.

One must remember all teaching on earth are from written languages and all are taught by grandfather, which is only our masculine side. The feminine side is extremely painful and dangerous in the healing journey because it has been repressed for four thousand years. The karmic cleansing is deadly. But never give up, keep going as long as you are pure, grounded and able to take the next step. Never skip one step if your fate demands of you suffering in your spiritual journey.

Images: First photo wasn’t listing an artist. Scythian golden pectoral from the royal grave at Tolstaja Mogila kurgan, 4th C BCE. It shows the three tiers of Scythian mythology of the Inner Earth, the Astral, and innermost the inhabited world which were taken over by war clans and the military (religious). Museum of Historic Treasures of Ukraine, Kiev.