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Author Topic: Medeine/Medeina?  (Read 4229 times)

orbilia

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Medeine/Medeina?
« on: November 19, 2014, 02:54:01 pm »
Been doing some deep research into the forest goddess Medeina/Medeine. Anyone know anything about her?

Will be posting from English and Lithuanian sources soon.

Lana288

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2014, 09:29:25 pm »
Quote from: orbilia;165764
Been doing some deep research into the forest goddess Medeina/Medeine. Anyone know anything about her?

Will be posting from English and Lithuanian sources soon.

 
I don't know a whole lot about her (it's hard to find resources on Baltic gods in English) but I can probably give you a couple links to help you on your way. Do you mind if I ask what interests you about her?

orbilia

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2014, 10:08:09 pm »
Quote from: orbilia;165764
Been doing some deep research into the forest goddess Medeina/Medeine. Anyone know anything about her?

Will be posting from English and Lithuanian sources soon.


Here I am, returning as promised. My initial interest in Medeinė was because I've been feeling a couple of tugs from a goddess and, when I asked her for her symbols, the hare, the wolf, and the tree appeared to me. I know that Baltic deities are not very well known; so even if she doesn't really decide to work with me, or maybe it was just a figment of my imagination, I somehow feel very happy that I can share what I have learned with you all. I would like to think that she would be happy, too, that she is being read about.

So I looked across the tiny academic sources I've studied in English, Russian, and Lithuanian. I've also paid attention to UPG's found mostly on Tumblr, which has a surprising influx of people who are interesting in Baltic deities. I hear there's a strong pagan presence there, too (but I digress).

Medeinė/Medeina (from medis, meaning tree / medė, meaning forest) is a goddess in the Lithuanian pantheon. She is a goddess of trees and forests/woodlands, particularly untouched wilderness. "She is the goddess of the forest, of the power and natural resources therein. She is the protector of the primeval forces of nature. Her home is the depths of the forest untouched by human hands, full of life and order without people." She is one of THE deities in the Lithuanian pantheon; after the baptism of Lithuania and the crushing of the pagan faiths, she lost status and became known more of a forest spirit. However (and I think that I really can't stress this enough), she is actually a high-ranking goddess figure in the pantheon.

According to the tiny amount of research done on how pagan Lithuanians saw sacred space, groves were one of THE places for sacred space. Untouched wilderness was also seen as the strange/otherworldly locations where divinity where present (that which was 'not of this world') and thusly any altars or offerings were usually made outside in the woods or the natural world. These sacred spaces are called "aikai" - they exist in nature, and Lithuania itself is considered a sacred land. (More info in the links below). Because of this attention and care as to what constituted sacred space, it is definitely understandable why Medeinė enjoys such a high presence; and also, the nature of her behavior as the protector of the forest (more below).

Her symbols are the hare and the wolf. The hare is a well-known creature espousing the feminine; many goddesses have the hare as their symbol. It is said that the hare was used by Medeinė to lure hunters off of the hunting trail/path. She is said to also espouse the form of a "she-wolf" and she is never seen without her pack of wolves.

When it comes to physical features, there are documents written that she has a head of white hair (but I cannot be too sure). She is said to be a single, beautiful and voluptuous woman. There is, however, some confusion in academic sources regarding whether the grove god, Giraitis, was a twin brother and/or a lover, and if there is a twin brother called Meden. However, I haven't really found anything in academic texts nodding to or away from this (to be honest, I don't know if it's even touched upon at all).

She has been compared in medieval documents to Diana and Artemis, perhaps written as a way to reconcile the idea of Medeinė to Western readers. However, there is a key point where she is vastly different from these Greco-Roman figures. Medeinė is much more a protector of the forest and her creatures than a goddess of hunting. In other words, her priority is not the human/hunter, but the creatures within her domain. The tales of the har ebeing used to distract hunters and lead them astray would support this view.

Regarding goddesses, she has been confused with Žvorūna, who is an earth goddess as well, but a goddess of the hunt. She is also depicted as the protector of wild animals, but there is academic debate over whether Žvorūna and Medeinė are simply different names for the same goddess (Lithuanians/Baltics in general are big on many names for one deity) or if there are distinctive deities.

Because of the Christian occupation by the King of Poland, paired with the oral nature of the stories/myths/folktales, most of the Baltic mythology was forgotten. However, Medeinė seems to have held a very powerful position in the Lithuanian pantheon (which the Romuva, for some reason, don't seem to fully recognize). The scholarship on the gods and goddesses suggest that she enjoyed a high place as one of the top dievas. She is important enough to have been regarded highly by King Mindaugas, the 13th century ruler of Lithuania (interestingly, the only king of Lithuania and also a Christian who still worshipped pagan deities). If he went out hunting and saw a hare cross his path, he would not hunt that day out of fear/respect of Medeinė's wishes that he not hunt. The sight of a hare in the forest created fear. This reinforces the idea of Medeinė as protector of the forest and its creatures, which was aforementioned; and her particularly high position in the pantheon.

So there's the academic sources. As for UPG, which is something that I felt compelled me to write this and share this beautiful goddess with you, she seems to me a no-nonsense, straightforward, no BS person. Highly loyal, highly protective, and she is extremely efficient. Otherwise than that, I hope that those on the Baltic path take a little time to venerate Medeinė. A lot of the Baltic mythology has been lost, destroyed, and muddled over the years. I'm sure that the Lithuanian gods want a little love too - although the Baltic peoples have been stunningly resilient in keeping their roots and resisting all sorts of changes. If the people are resilient, then surely their deities are, too.



Link for PDF of Baltic Religion (Romuva). Includes information of the different gods.

Vilnius University - Article of Baltic Pantheon

 Tumblr Link (Not Scholarly Source, per se...)

The Living Goddesses - Resource on Lithuanian Goddesses

orbilia

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2014, 10:12:31 pm »
Quote from: Balticdragon;165819
I don't know a whole lot about her (it's hard to find resources on Baltic gods in English) but I can probably give you a couple links to help you on your way. Do you mind if I ask what interests you about her?

 
Whoops, sorry! Just saw your post, Balticdragon, so sorry!

Well, recently I've been getting a couple of tugs from a goddess figure. I did a tarot spread and received specific symbols when I asked for them: a hare and a wolf (I posted this in another forum).

I worship Cernunnos from the Celtic pantheon and I have a very, very strong love for forest/woodlands/wood-wilderness, mountains, meadows, and forest creatures (I mean, come on, Cernunnos!). Medeinė is strikingly similar and, as I have discovered, pretty powerful. I researched her initially when I got into paganism, but she gave me no response/cold shoulder.

Anyways. Basically I was asking because these symbols could have applied to many goddesses who have the hare as their symbol, so I was trying to see if I could hone it down and see who exactly was trying to contact me. But she's been tricky with me not giving me her name, so I went first with her because she has a strong wolf presence, too.

By the way, I would LOVE some links!! Thank you!

orbilia

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2014, 10:47:54 pm »
Quote from: orbilia;165764
Been doing some deep research into the forest goddess Medeina/Medeine.


Also totally forgot to add that her name/feast day in Lithuania is August 21st.

Lana288

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2014, 09:57:12 pm »
Quick disclaimer- most of what you've said here is news to me. I possibly have two or three links on the goddess, but you seem to have gone farther than I have. (In my defense, my research tends towards Saule and those connected with her.) I'll make commentary as I read this, though. :) I'd love to have a proper discussion on her.

Quote from: orbilia;165821
So I looked across the tiny academic sources I've studied in English, Russian, and Lithuanian. I've also paid attention to UPG's found mostly on Tumblr, which has a surprising influx of people who are interesting in Baltic deities. I hear there's a strong pagan presence there, too (but I digress).

Medeinė/Medeina (from medis, meaning tree / medė, meaning forest) is a goddess in the Lithuanian pantheon. She is a goddess of trees and forests/woodlands, particularly untouched wilderness. "She is the goddess of the forest, of the power and natural resources therein. She is the protector of the primeval forces of nature. Her home is the depths of the forest untouched by human hands, full of life and order without people."

If you don't mind me asking, could you tell me where the quote came from? I hope I don't come across as rude, but I try to fact check everything that I read about the Baltic gods. Just in case.

Quote from: orbilia;165821
She is one of THE deities in the Lithuanian pantheon; after the baptism of Lithuania and the crushing of the pagan faiths, she lost status and became known more of a forest spirit. However (and I think that I really can't stress this enough), she is actually a high-ranking goddess figure in the pantheon.

That would make sense. To my untrained eyes, rulers tended to worship the most popular/powerful gods. King Mindaugas worshipped her (as you mention below), which suggests that she'd be highly important.

Quote from: orbilia;165821
According to the tiny amount of research done on how pagan Lithuanians saw sacred space, groves were one of THE places for sacred space. Untouched wilderness was also seen as the strange/otherworldly locations where divinity where present (that which was 'not of this world') and thusly any altars or offerings were usually made outside in the woods or the natural world. These sacred spaces are called "aikai" - they exist in nature, and Lithuania itself is considered a sacred land. (More info in the links below). Because of this attention and care as to what constituted sacred space, it is definitely understandable why Medeinė enjoys such a high presence; and also, the nature of her behavior as the protector of the forest (more below).

This also makes sense. On a related note, I remember reading how many of the Lithuanians would practice their religion outside in 'open air' temples (walls but no roof) but I can't give you the source (or fact check for myself!) because I am very far away from my notes. Seriously.

Quote from: orbilia;165821
Her symbols are the hare and the wolf. The hare is a well-known creature espousing the feminine; many goddesses have the hare as their symbol. It is said that the hare was used by Medeinė to lure hunters off of the hunting trail/path. She is said to also espouse the form of a "she-wolf" and she is never seen without her pack of wolves.

When it comes to physical features, there are documents written that she has a head of white hair (but I cannot be too sure). She is said to be a single, beautiful and voluptuous woman. There is, however, some confusion in academic sources regarding whether the grove god, Giraitis, was a twin brother and/or a lover, and if there is a twin brother called Meden. However, I haven't really found anything in academic texts nodding to or away from this (to be honest, I don't know if it's even touched upon at all).

I think I read somewhere that Giraitis might not actually have existed in Lithuania as a deity and that he showed up as a mistranslation of some sort. Unfortunately, I can't check on this, as again, all my notes are *very* far away from me. (I'm so sorry about this!)

Quote from: orbilia;165821
She has been compared in medieval documents to Diana and Artemis, perhaps written as a way to reconcile the idea of Medeinė to Western readers. However, there is a key point where she is vastly different from these Greco-Roman figures. Medeinė is much more a protector of the forest and her creatures than a goddess of hunting. In other words, her priority is not the human/hunter, but the creatures within her domain. The tales of the har ebeing used to distract hunters and lead them astray would support this view.

If the hare's connected to her. If I remember right, it could also have been just a folk superstition. (But again, my notes aren't here, so I could be completely wrong about this)

Quote from: orbilia;165821
Regarding goddesses, she has been confused with Žvorūna, who is an earth goddess as well, but a goddess of the hunt. She is also depicted as the protector of wild animals, but there is academic debate over whether Žvorūna and Medeinė are simply different names for the same goddess (Lithuanians/Baltics in general are big on many names for one deity) or if there are distinctive deities.

Because of the Christian occupation by the King of Poland, paired with the oral nature of the stories/myths/folktales, most of the Baltic mythology was forgotten. However, Medeinė seems to have held a very powerful position in the Lithuanian pantheon (which the Romuva, for some reason, don't seem to fully recognize).

Well, it's their religion.

Quote from: orbilia;165821
The scholarship on the gods and goddesses suggest that she enjoyed a high place as one of the top dievas. She is important enough to have been regarded highly by King Mindaugas, the 13th century ruler of Lithuania (interestingly, the only king of Lithuania and also a Christian who still worshipped pagan deities). If he went out hunting and saw a hare cross his path, he would not hunt that day out of fear/respect of Medeinė's wishes that he not hunt. The sight of a hare in the forest created fear. This reinforces the idea of Medeinė as protector of the forest and its creatures, which was aforementioned; and her particularly high position in the pantheon.

I don't think it was the sight of the hare, but specifically if it crossed a person's path. Like black cats. (And I completely realize how picky I'm being. :ashamed: )

Quote from: orbilia;165821
So there's the academic sources. As for UPG, which is something that I felt compelled me to write this and share this beautiful goddess with you, she seems to me a no-nonsense, straightforward, no BS person. Highly loyal, highly protective, and she is extremely efficient. Otherwise than that, I hope that those on the Baltic path take a little time to venerate Medeinė. A lot of the Baltic mythology has been lost, destroyed, and muddled over the years. I'm sure that the Lithuanian gods want a little love too - although the Baltic peoples have been stunningly resilient in keeping their roots and resisting all sorts of changes. If the people are resilient, then surely their deities are, too.

Perhaps that's what you're there to do. ;) You never know, right?

My links:

This is one on Meza Mate, worshipped in Latvia. The religions of Lithuania and Latvia overlap a lot (as you might imagine) so I though you *might* appreciate this. The article's only two sentences long, though. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/m/meza_mate.html

http://www.goddessaday.com/eastern-european/meza-mate


Oh! And I strongly recommend looking at 'Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons' by Manfred Lurker. I forget if it has any information on Mediene, but it certainly did about Meza Mate.

I realize how little information I've actually pointed you to. I can try to post more once I get to my notes, but that won't be for a while. I apologize profusely about that- it's been a long day. *sighs*

And thank you for all the information and links! I'll check it all out sometime when I'm less tired and more myself. :)
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 09:57:57 pm by Lana288 »

Lana288

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2014, 09:59:14 pm »
Quote from: orbilia;165824
Also totally forgot to add that her name/feast day in Lithuania is August 21st.

 
Is that Romuvan or pre- Romuvan?

orbilia

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2014, 12:21:26 am »
Quote from: Balticdragon;166069


If you don't mind me asking, could you tell me where the quote came from? I hope I don't come across as rude, but I try to fact check everything that I read about the Baltic gods. Just in case.


Wow, I love all of these comments and notes!! Firstly, thank you for taking the time to reply to me. I appreciate your comments and your criticism! If you find anything that contradicts, strengthens, or can add too, please don't be afraid. I would love for Medeinė to be discovered and loved and I would love to be corrected if anything I wrote was a mistake. These are all sources from English, Lithuanian, and two in Russian.

That quote comes from the one of my links (I think the very first one, the PDF on the Romuva. Which reminds me, I have to upload a Powerpoint presentation I found. It's in Lithuanian so I will have to see to it that a translation is made).

Quote from: Balticdragon;166069


That would make sense. To my untrained eyes, rulers tended to worship the most popular/powerful gods. King Mindaugas worshipped her (as you mention below), which suggests that she'd be highly important.

This also makes sense. On a related note, I remember reading how many of the Lithuanians would practice their religion outside in 'open air' temples (walls but no roof) but I can't give you the source (or fact check for myself!) because I am very far away from my notes. Seriously.


That first link I gave (PDF on the Romuva) has two small pages worth of info about the worship outside with the open-air temples! If you can remember/find that source, I would love to read it!

Quote from: Balticdragon;166069


I think I read somewhere that Giraitis might not actually have existed in Lithuania as a deity and that he showed up as a mistranslation of some sort. Unfortunately, I can't check on this, as again, all my notes are *very* far away from me. (I'm so sorry about this!



It's totally fine. my friend :) And that is fascinating! Mistranslations abound in many texts, so imagine those in attempts to recover Baltic religions and mythology. It's also difficult to find information when there's a text written by early Christians conquerers about Lithuanian gods and goddesses with, of course, intent to make it sound ridiculous/lessen its power with unfavorable representation.


Quote from: Balticdragon;166069


If the hare's connected to her. If I remember right, it could also have been just a folk superstition. (But again, my notes aren't here, so I could be completely wrong about this)


True! But I would not be surprised if the hare was a powerful symbol, either. Hares tend to be very particular symbols of goddesses, especially hunter/forest deities. Very interesting, too, that the hare was said to be used as a form of communication ("you are not allowed into my forest") or as distraction in order to lead hunters from their prey. Which would be different from, say, the hare as a symbol for a goddess who is okay with hunting.

Quote from: Balticdragon;166069


Well, it's their religion.


Excellent point. But I did find it unusual that a big part of their religion is reconstructionism/a recovery of the traditional Baltic ways. If Medeinė was as highly considered then, wouldn't it be indicative of an equally high position in the Romuva belief? But it's just something I was wondering about. It occurs to me too that different Romuva may believe different things. Some may hold her highly, others may not. But it seemed interesting to me that Medeinė holds such power and she is relegated to a different position. (Maybe there's a bit of UPG here speaking onto the computer... She REALLY doesn't like it one bit...)


Quote from: Balticdragon;166069


I don't think it was the sight of the hare, but specifically if it crossed a person's path. Like black cats. (And I completely realize how picky I'm being. :ashamed: )


Please be picky! I love when people get picky. It shows their interest and the fact that they actually read and are processing (and, like you said you're facilitating discussion!) Yes, it was the hare crossing the path, seen as Medeinė ordering the hunter to not hunt that day or that time.


Quote from: Balticdragon;166069

Perhaps that's what you're there to do. ;) You never know, right?

. . .

I realize how little information I've actually pointed you to. I can try to post more once I get to my notes, but that won't be for a while. I apologize profusely about that- it's been a long day. *sighs*

And thank you for all the information and links! I'll check it all out sometime when I'm less tired and more myself. :)

 
No, thank you for reading! Checking out the links in a little bit. You got me all excited! And I'm happy that most of what you read is news - that's a great thing! Take your time with posting. I wonder what lies in your notes...

orbilia

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2014, 12:22:13 am »
Quote from: Balticdragon;166070
Is that Romuvan or pre- Romuvan?

 
I am actually not sure. However her feast day seems to have been in place WAY before the Romuva movements came up. I'll have to dig in a little bit more.

Lana288

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2014, 01:54:37 pm »
Quote from: orbilia;166074
Wow, I love all of these comments and notes!! Firstly, thank you for taking the time to reply to me. I appreciate your comments and your criticism! If you find anything that contradicts, strengthens, or can add too, please don't be afraid. I would love for Medeinė to be discovered and loved and I would love to be corrected if anything I wrote was a mistake. These are all sources from English, Lithuanian, and two in Russian.


Thank you too! I enjoy talking about the Baltic Gods, and I'm very glad to see that you're doing your research on them. It sometimes seems to me that many of the few people that look into them do only a brief- and sometimes inaccurate- scan of the deities before recording what they've learned as TRUTH, so it's always nice to see someone trying hard to understand them.

Quote from: orbilia;166074
That quote comes from the one of my links (I think the very first one, the PDF on the Romuva. Which reminds me, I have to upload a Powerpoint presentation I found. It's in Lithuanian so I will have to see to it that a translation is made).


I'll go look at it, then. :) Perhaps I'll learn something.

Quote from: orbilia;166074
That first link I gave (PDF on the Romuva) has two small pages worth of info about the worship outside with the open-air temples! If you can remember/find that source, I would love to read it!


I think I may have posted it in the Links section of the Baltic/Slavic SIG. I'll see if I can't repost it here in just a moment. :)


Quote from: orbilia;166074
It's totally fine. my friend :) And that is fascinating! Mistranslations abound in many texts, so imagine those in attempts to recover Baltic religions and mythology. It's also difficult to find information when there's a text written by early Christians conquerers about Lithuanian gods and goddesses with, of course, intent to make it sound ridiculous/lessen its power with unfavorable representation.


Lol! Information really is hard to find. I'm still trying to find out where Saule came from. Was she created by Dievas or smelted into being by Teliavelis- or did she come about some other way? Apparently, no one knows.

Quote from: orbilia;166074
True! But I would not be surprised if the hare was a powerful symbol, either. Hares tend to be very particular symbols of goddesses, especially hunter/forest deities. Very interesting, too, that the hare was said to be used as a form of communication ("you are not allowed into my forest") or as distraction in order to lead hunters from their prey. Which would be different from, say, the hare as a symbol for a goddess who is okay with hunting.  


Well, the evidence seems to point that way. I find it interesting how Wikipedia (oh, most untrustworthy source) suggests that her status suggests military interests. Do you think there's any truth to that? They also say Zemyna's later status was due to peasants interests, but I'm not entirely convinced of that as Zemyna seems to have always been a very important deity.

Quote from: orbilia;166074
Excellent point. But I did find it unusual that a big part of their religion is reconstructionism/a recovery of the traditional Baltic ways. If Medeinė was as highly considered then, wouldn't it be indicative of an equally high position in the Romuva belief? But it's just something I was wondering about. It occurs to me too that different Romuva may believe different things. Some may hold her highly, others may not. But it seemed interesting to me that Medeinė holds such power and she is relegated to a different position. (Maybe there's a bit of UPG here speaking onto the computer... She REALLY doesn't like it one bit...)


I honestly try not to worry about the Romuvans. I agree, though, that some of their methods of reconstruction don't rub well with me either- hence why I'm a Baltic polytheist, not a Romuvan. ;) Different strokes for different folks, right?

Quote from: orbilia;166074
Please be picky! I love when people get picky. It shows their interest and the fact that they actually read and are processing (and, like you said you're facilitating discussion!) Yes, it was the hare crossing the path, seen as Medeinė ordering the hunter to not hunt that day or that time.


Gotcha. :) Just checking, partly in case I had something wrong myself. I like being accurate.

Quote from: orbilia;166074
No, thank you for reading! Checking out the links in a little bit. You got me all excited! And I'm happy that most of what you read is news - that's a great thing! Take your time with posting. I wonder what lies in your notes...

 
I won't be able to get to my notes until sometime in December, but when I get them, I'll try and post my sources here. A lot of my information comes from books- would you be interested in those, by any chance? Some of them are hard to find, but they're well worth the effort, IMHO.

Lana288

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2014, 01:56:20 pm »
Quote from: orbilia;166075
I am actually not sure. However her feast day seems to have been in place WAY before the Romuva movements came up. I'll have to dig in a little bit more.

 
Thanks! I'll try and remember the date then. :) Perhaps next year, I'll do something for her (though that depends on my circumstances, of course).

Lana288

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Re: Medeine/Medeina?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2014, 01:59:31 pm »
Quote from: Balticdragon;166288
I think I may have posted it in the Links section of the Baltic/Slavic SIG. I'll see if I can't repost it here in just a moment. :)

 
http://www.crvp.org/book/series04/iva-17/chapter_iv.htm

I just checked- this is exactly what I was thinking of. It discusses shrines in the section labeled Cults. :)

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