I usually have a combination of thoughts and feelings with regards to statements such as this:
My apologies for the nearly duplicate posting, but just like the rumors I have heard about (the Slavic deity) Perun; I have likewise read (in “Of Gods & Holidays”) that Perkunas is associated with sacred fires and the oak. However this book also does not cite its sources. Does anyone know what source materials are used to make these claims??
This was in response to a post I made on a message board for Reconstructionists. My thoughts, when I read such comments are twofold; I am saddened and angered.
I keep running into this, and I’m sure my fellow Eastern Europeans feel the same way. I hate getting comments such as the above because it raises my hackles, to me it sounds like “please justify your faith”. Romuva, which is the modern expression of an ancient faith, a faith that has persisted for a very long time. Lithuania did not officially start being converted to the Catholic Faith until the marriage between Grand Duke Jogaila and Jadwiga, Queen of Poland…. conversion started in and around 1387, and it took about 200 years for conversion. Many of the beliefs, practices and customs continued until the 20thC. Our last sacred Oak Grove was chopped down in the 1790s.
Lithuanians are not reconstructing anything. It’s there, it has always been there. The problem with amateur pseudo-academics is that they are accustomed to studying dead cultures. The revival of the Roman Traditions, Hellenismos, etc … all the information is available in texts written a couple millenia ago, but there is no empirical proof that any of these beliefs, traditions have survived — they are myths now.
Lithuanians are referring to folksongs learnt at their grandmother’s knee, folktales taught as children in kindergarten, little proverbs uttered by our mothers when there is a thunderstorm. We never went through a witch-hunt/craze like Western Europe did. Our herbalists/faith healers were and still are revered.
Our source text? The “Liaudies Dainos“, good luck trying to read that if you aren’t fluent in the language. That’s the problem as well. Much of the “source text” that these pseudo-academics whitter on about are not reading their own source texts in the original languages. How many of them can read ancient greek? latin? ancient icelandic? Very few. They rely on translations, and much of the translating work was done decades ago. The expectation now is that us Eastern Europeans get on with it and translate as fast as possible so that they can analyse our source texts.
There is very little appreciation for the rich tapestry of customs and traditions which we have retained and nurtured – against oppression by the Russian Empire (Ems Ukaz anyone?) and then by the Soviet Authorities who tried to stamp out all vestigages of national pride, and even the languages. Very little understanding, or willingness to understand, that our faith is not something from dusty tomes — but a living and breathing and vital component of our lives.
I find it more than annoying that my faith structure in essence is being called into question. The whole – you believe that Perkunas drives a chariot pulled by 2 black goats, show me the source evidence for this. There is no handily packaged set of texts such as the Illiad or the Oddessy for these pseudo-academics to challenge and mull over. The fact that we say – our songs, our folktales, our prayers – means nothing.
I say bugger.