Pagan Deities and Their Signs
We hope you find this brief introduction useful! While all signs have a primary meaning, many overlap in various aspects of their significance. As you explore Latvian signs, you will find considerable variations even in basic representation, let alone ornamentation. We also recommend our An ABC of Latvian Ornaments to see how basic signs transform into more ornate representations.
AkaAlso called a double cross. Symbol of the sun and earth. Experience and knowledge. Unity and world order. Start of the agricultural year.
AuseklisWhile Auseklis is a male god, his Lithuanian counterpart, Aušrinė, is female. Auseklis is subordinate to Mēness (moon) while also his rival for Saule's (the sun's) daughter. Victory of light over dark. Protector of men. (This is how Peters learned to draw it, growing up.)
Austra's treeWorld order, linking past, present, and future. Guardian of the beautiful and valuable. Luck, blessings, success.
DievsChristian missionaries co-opted the Latvian word for their primary pagan divinity, "Dievs," to denote the Judeo-Christian "God." The spiritual, non-material, world. Light and goodness. Masculinity. Sanctuary. Divinity. Creativity. See also Dievs' partner, Māra, below.
DzīvībaLight. New beginnings. Strength. Safe journey, protection. Strength to the weak.
JumisFertility. Well-being, abundance.
KrupītisThe subcoscious, intuition. Strength. Knowledge and wisdom. Linked to "Auzsaule", mythical habitation of ghosts.
KrustsThe cross of Dievs. World order. Unity. Joie de vivre, luck, energy. Permanence, rooted energy. Against sickness and envy.
|The cross of Dievs. World order. Dynamism, productivity, movement, development. The ideal balance between the old and new, the past and present.|
LaimaLaima, and Laima's mother are the Fates in Latvian and Lithuanian (Laimė) mythology. Each individual has their own Laima, while thereafter multiple gods can influence one's fate. By the 16th century, missionaries had subsumed cults of Laima and Māra into Christianity's reverence of the Virgin Mary, changing her representation in Livonia to more closely resemble Laima. The needle, or herringbone, pattern of Laima's sign mimics the needle pattern of pine tree branches. Fate, life. The rhythm of life and the seasons. Divine fortune.
MāraMāra is the highest divinity of motherhood. Resolution, completeness. The active, dynamic world. Protector against misfortune, bringer of godliness.
|Peace. Boundary, threshold. Stability. The material life.|
|An alternate earth symbol for Māra. This particular shape is the mirror of the Dievs sign if placed above it. Combining the signs of Dievs and Māra achives balance and harmony. The material world. The land. The dark and unknown. Femininity and security.|
|The changeable, unsettled. Fleeting time. Ascendancy. Protector of life.|
MēnessCycle of life, creation or destruction, living or dying.
SauleHarmony, health, corpulence. Unity, safety, light. The eternal. Returning, repeating. All-knowing, protecting.
UgunskrustsVariations include the cross of Pērkons (Thunder) and Dievs (God). Holiness, health, well-being. Eternal flame. The accumulation and expending of energy. Meditation. Protector against evil.
Facing "left", counter-clockwise—material realization of divine thought. Facing "right", clockwise—spiritual life, strengthens awareness and the soul. More on the swastika and what is being said about it in the context of current events in Latvia on our Signs and Rhetoric page..
ZalktisAlso Māra's sign. Wisdom and knowledge. The changeable. Energy of life and renewal. The waxing and waning of the moon.
ZvaigzneEternity, the world in motion. The harmony of life and death. Bulwark against the dark and underworld, protector against evil.
If you skip ahead, there's more about signs on our 2006 NATO Summit Latvian mittens' history page. Note the differences even in basic representation.