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Gods of Lithuania: Exploring Ancient Baltic Deities

Lithuanian mythology is rich with a variety of gods and mythological figures. In the past, these deities played a significant role in the daily lives and beliefs of the Lithuanian people. Although Lithuania converted to Christianity in 1387, elements of its mythology continued to survive into the 19th century.

The pantheon includes gods like Dievas, the primordial supreme god, and Perkūnas, the mighty god of thunder. Other important deities in Lithuanian mythology include Žvorūna, the goddess of the hunt, and Teliavelis, the god of smithing. These gods were deeply embedded in the cultural fabric, guiding the people in various aspects of their lives.

With scarce written sources and late folklore, the list of Lithuanian gods remains open to interpretation. Nevertheless, this fascinating mythology provides a captivating glimpse into the worldview of the ancient Baltic people and their beliefs surrounding the divine and the natural world.

Historical Pantheon

Major Deities

In Lithuanian mythology, the pantheon consists of various gods and goddesses with unique attributes and functions. Dievas, the supreme god, played a significant role alongside other important deities like Perkūnas, the thunder god, and Saulė, the sun goddess. Other gods honored in Lithuania include Žvorūna, the goddess of hunting, and Teliavelis, a revered smith-god.

Nature Spirits

Lithuanians regarded their natural environment with great respect, holding nature spirits in high regard. Some examples of these spirits include Laumės, mischievous woodland spirits; Aitvaras, a dragon-like creature bringing prosperity; and Kaukas, stone spirits believed to protect their surroundings. The presence of these beings in their natural landscape served as symbols to honor and appreciate the beauty and diversity of Lithuania’s ecosystems.

Ancestral Figures

Ancestral figures like patriarchs and matriarchs held a pivotal place in Lithuanian folklore, often linked with tales of heroism, wisdom, and family values. Linking families to their ancestors, these figures were commemorated through oral storytelling and rituals. These stories provided communities with valuable moral lessons and a sense of unity, conveying the importance of upholding societal bonds and ideals.

Mythology and Legends

Creation Myths

In Lithuanian mythology, there are various gods and deities that played significant roles in shaping the world. One prominent figure is Dievas, the supreme god who created the world and everything in it. Additionally, the goddess Žemyna is associated with the earth and fertility, playing a crucial role in the birth and growth of various lifeforms.

Heroic Tales

Many tales recount the adventures of Lithuanian heroes who fought against evil forces or embarked on dangerous quests. Velnias, the god of the underworld, often appears in these stories as the antagonist. Another common theme in these narratives involves the goddess Milda, a major figure representing love and freedom.

Moral Fables

Lithuanian folktales and fables frequently convey moral lessons or guidance for life. For instance, Laima, the goddess of fate, appears as a trinity of characters, providing good, mediocre, and bad fortune. Through these stories, people learn the importance of accepting their fate and maintaining a balance between the forces that govern their lives.

Cult Practices

Rituals and Ceremonies

The Romuva religion, rooted in ancient Lithuanian paganism, is built upon rich traditions of rituals and ceremonies. One of their most important rituals involves worshipping the god Perkūnas, the deity of thunder, through offerings and prayers. Additionally, the practice of singing traditional dainos (songs) allows adherents to connect with their heritage and spirituality.

Sacred Sites

Lithuania is home to a variety of sacred sites that hold significance for Romuva practitioners. These sites include ancient forests and groves, where rituals and ceremonies often take place. Environmental stewardship is intrinsic to the Romuva faith, and adherents actively work to preserve and protect these sacred landscapes.

Festivals and Celebrations

Romuva followers celebrate traditional holidays as a means to honor their gods and heritage. Key festivities in the calendar include Užgavėnės (a winter festival) and Joninės (a summer solstice celebration). These occasions involve customs such as bonfires, feasting, and dancing, reconnecting practitioners with their environment and community.

Shamanic Traditions

Although shamanic practices are not central to Romuva, certain aspects of their spirituality share similarities with shamanic traditions. The role of the Krivė, or high priestess, in presiding over rituals and ceremonies is akin to shamanic practices. Additionally, some adherents engage in trance-like states or make use of sacred plant medicines for spiritual growth and healing.

Christian Influence


The Christianization of Lithuania in 1387 brought significant changes to the local religious landscape. One of these changes was syncretism, where elements of pagan beliefs merged with Christian practices. In fact, Orthodox Christianity influenced pagan Lithuanian culture so much that around one-third of present-day Lithuanian surnames, which come from baptismal names, have Old Church Slavonic origins.

Survival of Deities as Saints

Despite the adoption of Christianity, certain aspects of Lithuania’s pre-Christian religion remained. Many Lithuanian deities transformed into Christian saints, enabling their continued worship. As a result, elements of Lithuanian mythology persisted in folklore, customs, and festive rituals, even after the nation’s conversion. Today, these remnants can still be observed in neo-pagan movements such as Romuva, which strives to reconstruct and preserve the religious practices predating Lithuania’s Christianization.

Contemporary Reverence

Modern Paganism

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the appreciation of Lithuanian gods and mythology. One example of this is the Romuva religion, a neo-pagan movement that seeks to reconstruct the religious rituals of pre-Christian Lithuanians. Rooted in folklore, customs, and superstitions, Romuva practitioners claim to continue the Baltic pagan traditions that have endured through time.

Cultural Identity

The reverence for Lithuanian gods and mythological figures is not limited to religious practices. They also play a significant role in shaping the cultural identity of the country. Time-honored traditions and symbols demonstrate the influence of Lithuanian gods, showcasing the nation’s reliance on these mythological figures for guidance and wisdom.

  • Perkūnas – the Thunder, the main god, is related to Parjanya/Indra in Vedic Hinduism
  • Gabija – the foster of Holy Fire, a goddess and daughter of Dievas, symbolizes protection and warmth
  • Laima – the goddess of Fate and pregnant women, associated with fortune and life events
  • Mėnuo – the Moon, a son of Dievas, represents the celestial body’s influence on daily life
  • Dievas – a supreme god figure, proficient in magic and medicine, embodies the concept of divine guidance

These gods and mythological figures have become a cornerstone of Lithuanian culture, creating a unique identity that connects the nation with its historical roots. Whether engaging in modern pagan practices or simply respecting their influence on the country’s history, Lithuanians continue to cherish and embrace their rich mythology.

Art and Symbolism

Lithuanian mythology has been a rich source of inspiration for artists, especially during the 19th-century national romantic movement. One notable example is M. K. Čiurlionis, who depicted the god Perkūnas in 1909. Typically, Lithuanian gods are portrayed as bearded old men.

In Lithuanian folk art, ancient symbols play an important role in representing the culture and myths. For example, the Columns of Gediminas and Cross of Vytis serve as patriotic symbols and are frequently used in various contexts to add a touch of Lithuanian identity, such as architectural details and national awards.

To summarize, the influence of Lithuanian mythology and ancient symbolism is evident in various forms of visual art. Some key features include the depiction of gods as elderly men, and the use of patriotic symbols reminiscent of the nation’s mythological and historical roots.

Archaeological Findings

One of the significant archaeological discoveries in Lithuania is related to the Chapel of the Annunciation in Šiluva and the Hill of Crosses in Jurgaičiai village1. These sites provide valuable insights into the region’s religious history and beliefs. Among the many gods and mythological beings mentioned in written sources, a few notable ones include Perkūnas, lt:Žvorūna, and lt:Teliavelis2.

Research conducted by the renowned Lithuanian archaeologist Marija Gimbutas3 has shed light on the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of the region, encompassing the pantheon of ancient Lithuanian gods. Her work has helped unravel the mysteries of the past, offering a fascinating view of the religious and cultural heritage.

It is important to note, though, that Lithuania’s conversion to Christianity in 1387 led to a decline in the prominence of these traditional beliefs4. Nonetheless, archaeological findings help preserve and study this intriguing aspect of Lithuania’s history, ensuring its mythology continues to captivate future generations.


  1. [“Snippet from PDF A Hundred Years of Archaeological Discoveries in Lithuania”]

  2. [“Snippet from Lithuanian mythology – Wikipedia”]

  3. [“Snippet from Marija Gimbutas – Wikipedia”]

  4. [“Snippet from List of Lithuanian gods and mythological figures – Wikipedia”]