Wednesday, November 23, 2011


"Saule, my amber weeping Goddess
creating light like thread.
As "Saules Mat" my mother sun, daily blessing
your thankful world with light."

Saule ("the sun") is the most powerful of Latvian heavenly goddesses. She is the goddess of the sun and of fertility, the patroness of all unfortunate people, especially orphans (as the only one to substitute the mother, to warm the child; mother is compared to Saule speaking of kindness, and bride as speaking of beauty). She is the mother of Saules meitas or meita (plural or singular). She is said to live on the top of the heavenly mountain (some model of world), where she rides during the day in her chariot. At night she sails with her boat on the world sea. The motif of permanent motion is apparent in this image, as well as the idea of the sun shining somewhere else during the night. Of course, the diachronic aspect is to be taken into account. In several cases she appears as the ruler in heaven, especially in relations with Meness.

Article "Saule" created on 03 March 1997; last modified on 08 April 2002 (Revision 2). 153 words.
© MCMXCV - MMVI Encyclopedia Mythica™. All rights reserved.

The sun goddess Saule and her star-daughter, Saules Meita, are central to the mythology of Lithuania and Latvia, east of Poland on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Tender folk songs, called dainas, attest to the love the Baltic peoples had for their goddesses; a million dainas have been recorded and can be found in the folkloric archives in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. The last European regions to become Christianized, the Baltic states held to their goddess traditions into the late middle ages. Even then, everyday life was filled with small rituals - like greeting the sun as she rose each morning - that connected the Baltic people to their ancient ways.

The story of Saule and her daughter is one of sorrow and pain, as well as fierce love and deep connection. It began at the dawn of time, when Saule married the moon-man Meness. At first the marriage was happy, as they rose together and traveled the skies each day in their chariots. Their first child was the earth; after that, countless children became the stars of heaven. Among these, Saule's favorite was her daughter, Saules Meita, sometimes called Valkyrine or Austrine, the star of morning.

For eons and eons, life was happy for the sun goddess and her family. But slowly, things grew strained. The moon became moody and withdrawn. He often refused to mount the sky in his chariot in the morning, claiming he was not feeling well. But Saule, a responsible mother to her world, never missed a day of work. Each morning, she bade a tender farewell to her family, kissed her husband sweetly, and took her brown horses into the air. She had many tasks to do as she traveled: nipping tall trees with her silver shears, so the forests would not block the sun; blowing clouds away from Lithuania so that they darkened other skies; finding lost items for her human children.

When the day ended, Saule bathed her weary steeds in the Nemunas River, then hitched them to the apple tree at the end of the earth. She sat there for awhile drawing to herself the souls of people who had died that day. Then she went to her sky-palace and checked on her family. Always the happiest moment of her day was seeing the smiling face of her lovely daughter

But one day, Saule found the, palace ominously quiet. Meness was nowhere to be found, and neither was Saules Meita. The sun goddess, growing ever more anxious, searched and searched. Finally, she found the girl, sitting dejectedly by a steam at the end of heaven. Saules Meita dangled one hand listlessly in the cold water of a fountain, and tears streamed from her beloved eyes. At first she refused to tell her mother what was bothering her, claiming only that she had lost a ring in the water. But finally Saule learned the whole bitter truth: that in her absence, the moon-man had raped her daughter.

Furious beyond words, Saule left her daughter and went to seek her husband. Without listening to his excuses, the sun goddess took a sword and slashed the moon's face leaving marks we can still see today. Then she banished him forever from her presence. Although they once traveled side by side through the daytime sky, they have never been seen that way since. When he must be near the sun, Meness hides his face in shame, causing the moon's dark phase. Only when he is across the sky from his former wife does he dare show his entire visage.

After that tragedy, Saule lived as a single mother, raising her star-children by herself. She remained as reliable as she had always been, lighting the sky for her earthly children.

FOR MORE: The Sun, the Moon, and the Morning Star

Saule - Latvia & Lithuania
(Saul - a)

Saule wears silken garments,with a silver crown, with a silver crown, made of gilded leaves.
Saule crosses the lake, brilliant as tinsel, and polished slippers on her feet.
Goddess Mother Saule reached her hand above the river.
Her shawl, her gilt shawl, slipped from her shoulders.
I open the window to Saule,
I look out at Saule.
Ah! It’s too short this life that I live in her light.
The sun mother weaves shawls in the middle of the sky.
Two are solid gold the third is solid silver.
Saule, my amber weeping Goddess creating light like thread.
As "Saules Mat" my mother sun, daily blessing your thankful world with light.

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