is a Neopagan religious
movement; a modern revival of the ethnic religion
of the Latvians
in the 13th century. Adherents call themselves Dievturis
), literally "Dievs keepers", "people who live in harmony with Dievs".
The Dievturi movement was founded in 1925 by Ernests Brastiņš. Today, it is one of the main religious minorities in Latvia.
Dievturība started in 1925 and (as a reconstructionistic
movement) is primarily based on Latvian folklore
, old folk songs (dainas
) and mythology
. By necessity, modern Dievturība differs from the historical Latvian religion. For example, there is no evidence that the Latvian pagans recognized a trinity of deities; in Dievturība, Dievs
are a triune godhead.
Ernests Brastiņš (1892-1942) was the primary force in the early development of Dievturība. He was an artist, an amateur historian, a folklorist and an archaeologist. He documented many ancient Latvian temples and castles, writing the Index of Mythological Notions of Latvian Dainas. Dievturi Catechism is the main inspirational text of Dievturība.
Dievturība is essentially a pantheistic
religion. Other deities are either aspects of the Dievs
(the universe itself, the ultimate reality), or other types of non-deified spirits. In Dievturi theology, several triumvirates of deities and concepts are recognized.
- Gods of fate, the primary triumvirate
- Dievs – the primary god who emanates the others gods as aspects of himself
- Goddesses of water
- Human form
- velis – astral body
- miesa – physical form
- dvēsele – soul
The difference between the dvēsele (soul) and velis (the astral body) is a fine one. The dvēsele is eternal. It comes from Dievs (god) and will return to him after the death of the miesa. The velis stays near the body, gradually melting and disappearing over time similar to the concept of a ghost or the Greek shade. The end of autumn and the start of winter is accepted as the time of remembrance of dead ancestors. In the dark time of autumn people gave food for their dead relatives due to the "dying of nature" or as a thanks gesture for a good harvest during the summer.