Source: Latvian Symbols – Latviesu Simboli – Elder Mountain Dreaming
Symbols of the four 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.
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 herds a new solar year on the Winter Solstice, a sign of the sun and the world.
Zalktis (Serpent Goddess) 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 (Serpent Goddess) – 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.
Saule (Sun Goddess) the Supreme Goddess and one of the oldest Goddesses of the Slavs and Balkan, a time when the sun meant feminine and life giving. Now we associate the Goddess with the moon, but in prehistory she was the sun. 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. Sun 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 (Sun Goddess). 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.
Moon 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.
The Midnight Sun, the Dark Goddess (now called the Star) – This is third most important ancient symbol is the Night Sun (star). It has huge dark and underworld connections and the protection from evil of the underworld. The drawings of stars have a magical meaning in Latvian folklore and it means you understand the secrets of magic. If your bed sheets are covered with star symbols then bed sheet protects the dreamer from evil wandering souls. The star symbol is also associated with the medicine wheel, the straight or turned cross style.
Simplest form of star is simple cross which symbolizes fire and the light. Pagan Latvians believes that magical rituals can be performed with this symbol and it often has a great meaning to those who use it in a sacred way. The 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 Midnight Sun (star) when caroling and singing folk songs going form house to house or village to village.
Auseklis (The Morning Star, Guardian Star) is the symbol of the morning star, the usher of the new day. Auseklis is thought to protect people from the forces of evil which roam at night. He is represented by the complex eight-sided star, which must be drawn in one continuous line without lifting your hand to receive the benefit of his blessings.
Māra (Goddess) is the supreme goddess 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 – 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.
The 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.
Māras krusts (Cross and Cross of Crosses) the oldest ornamentation in all cultures. It 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.
Laima – (Bird Goddess) The similarities of sign of the Goddess Laima with feathers of a Sacred Bird that it is present from the times when animals were one of our souls (and for some they still are – animism). This bird symbol is 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.
Earlier bird symbolism means “the Soul” and the Goddess Laima is protector of Souls and Old Souls. Laima always had a broom as the symbol by her side or close to her making her patroness of the Witch. Laima also protected the newborn child who was often birthed in the bathhouse. Mythology of Laima is from the ancient cult of souls, where its own symbolic meaning included feathers and birds.
Laima – (Goddess of Destiny) 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.
Dievs (God) is the supreme god. In ancient Latvian mythology, Dievs was not just the father of the Gods, he was the essence of them all. This symbol represents the sky, as a roof over the earth.
Jumis (God of Fertility) – fertility and well-being are personified through Jumis as he is associated with double-plants, such as two corn stalks or trees which have grown together and share a trunk or stem. The basic symbol appears from the Iron Age.
Ūsiņš – is the 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.
Cross of the Thunder, Cross of the Fire (Swastika) &
Ugunskrusts – (Sign of Fire or Thunder Cross) Thunder 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.
This symbol means: happiness, energy, fire, thunder and wind. Fire cross is related to the Sun Goddess Saule and the Goddess Laima and Thunder, so 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.
Mārtiņa symbol – 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.
Perkuns (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.
Mēness (Moon) guards and helps warriors, protects orphans. 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. Mēness krusts left symbol and Mēness zīme, symbol on the right.
Ragana (Witch) – the Seeing. 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).
Shrovetide symbol – 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.
Art of Goddesses, Mara; and The Healer both by Dysharmonnia on DeviantArt