Mahte

  (Redirected from Zemes mate)

In Latvian mythology, the term Māte stands for "mother", sometimes written in English as Mahte. It was an epithet applied to some sixty-seventy goddesses. They were clearly distinct goddesses in most or all cases, so the term definitely referred to the mother-goddess of specific phenomena. According to professor Lotte Motz, scholar Haralds Biezais mentioned there were at least 70 characters in Baltic religion identified with the title of Mate.[1]

List of MahteEdit

According to Miriam Robbins Dexter, these deities were called upon with the epithet "mate" 'mother' and were "goddesses or spirits responsible for the forests, for the fields, for milk, for the sea, for cattle".[2] Similarly, David Leeming remarked that these goddesses "represent[ed] various aspects of nature—fields, mushrooms, elks, and so forth".[3]

According to scholar Elza Kokare, the authenticity of some Mahte deities is dubious, but some are firmly established due to a great number of mentions in the dainas (Latvian folksongs).[4]

Following are some of the Mate characters:[5]

  1. Bangu māte - Mother of Waves
  2. Ceļa māte - Mother of Roads
  3. Dārza māte
  4. Dēkla māte
  5. Gausu māte
  6. Jūras māte - considered a goddess of the sea (from Jura 'sea')[6]
  7. Kapu māte - 'Mother of Graves'
  8. Kārta māte
  9. Krūmu māte
  10. Lapu māte - Mother of Leaves
  11. Lauka māte or Lauku māte - Mother of Fields
  12. Lazdu māte - Mother of the Hazelbush
  13. Lietus māte - Mother Rain
  14. Linu māte - Mother Flax
  15. Lopu māte - Mother of Livestock (Cattle)
  16. Mieža māte - Mother of Barley
  17. Meža māte - Mother of the Forest
  18. Miglas māte - Mother of Fog
  19. Pirts māte - Mother of the Bathhouse
  20. Rijas māte - Mother of the Threshing Place
  21. Sēņu māte
  22. Smilšu māte - Mother of Sands[a][b]
  23. Sniega māte - Mother of Snow
  24. Tirgus māte
  25. Ūdens māte - Mother of Waters
  26. Uguns mate - Mother of Fire
  27. Upes māte - Mother of Rivers
  28. Vēja māte - 'Mother of Winds'
  29. Veļu māte or Vélių motę - mother of the souls/spirits[9]
  30. Zemes māte - Earth Mother
  31. Ziedu māte

Role of the MothersEdit

Scholarship on Baltic and Latvian folklore remarks that some of the Mahte characters comprise a complex of deities related to that phenomenon.[10] It is also remarked that, out of this mother cult, "the main Latvian mother deities are those of the dead, the sea, the forest, and the wind".[11]

Death and the afterlifeEdit

For instance, goddess Zemes Mate ('earth mother') was associated with receiving the dead and acting as their ruler and guardian.[12] In Latvian dainas, Zemes Mate is associated with fellow Mahte ("Mothers") Velu Mate ('Mother of Dead Souls') and Kari Mate ('Mother of Graves'). According to researcher Elza Kokare, Zemes Mate and Kari Mate act as the resting places of the dead, guarding its body and holding the key to their graves.[13] As an individual character, Zemes mate is invoked as a person's final resting place.[c][d][e]

A second personage is named Veļu māte or Vélių motę (Mother of the souls/spirits of the deceased),[19] etymologically connected to Lithuanian veles 'shades of the dead', velionis 'dead person'[20] and Latvian Vels 'god of the underworld' (as mentioned by scholar Marija Gimbutas) and, by extension, with some relation to Slavic Veles, deity of the underworld.[21] She is considered to be a chthonic goddess and "queen of the dead", who welcomes them at the cemetery.[22][23]

Another figure named Nāves māte ("Mother Death")[24] was presumed by scholar Nikolai Mikhailov to be connected to Slovenian word navje, a etymon related to the Nav of Slavic folklore, a designation for the dead.[25] He also cited the possibility that Naves mate is another name for Latvian Velu mate and Lithuanian Veliona.[26] The word nāve also means 'death' in Latvian.[27]

Other deities connected with the worship of the dead were Kapu māte ('Mother of Graves', 'Mother of the Grave' or 'Graveyard-Mother')[28] and Smilšu māte ('Mother of Sand' or 'Mother of the Sand Hillock').[29]

The natural worldEdit

Another set of Mahte figures relate to the natural world, such as Veju Mate ("The Mother of Winds");[30] Meža mate ("Mother of the Forest"; counterpart to Lithuanian Medeina), protectress of wild life;[31] Miglas mate ("Mother of the Fog") and Lietus mate ("Mother of Rain").[32] Veju Mate (or Veja mate) is said to be the goddess of winds and ruler of the weather.[33]

Bodies of waterEdit

Another group is composed of several water divinities: Juras Mate ("Mother Ocean",[34] "Mother of the Seas"[35] or "Sea-Mother"), a goddess of waters;[36] Udens Mate ("Mother of Waters"); Upes Mahte ("Mother of Rivers"), Bangu Mate ("Mother of Waves"; counterpart to Lithuanian Bangputys).[37] Juras Mate is said to rule the seas as a goddess.[38][39]

Deity Bangu mate is considered to be a recent and more poetical appelation of the Mother of the Water and Mother of the Sea.[40]

Household and homeEdit

Lithuanian scholar Marija Gimbutas pointed out that Latvian traditions contain a Uguns mate ('Mother of the Fire') as a counterpart to Lithuanian Gabija, a deity of the hearth and protectress of house and family.[41] Other deities associated with the household and domestic affairs are Mãjas gars ("Spirits of the House") and Pirts mate ("Mother of the Bathhouse").[42]

AgricultureEdit

Mahte deities related to fields and agriculture include Lauka mate ("Mother of the Plough-Land"),[43] a deity said to be worshippped at ploughing time.[44]

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ In Latvian folksongs there are references of a "hill of white sand" (Latv Balta smilksu kalnina) or to "a sandhill" (Latv smiltaja) as the destination of the deceased in this world before they depart to "The Other Sun" (the afterlife).[7]
  2. ^ In another daina, the deceased asks to be brought to the sand ("Vediet mani smiltainē") and that he will remain in his grave, by the white sand ("Es palikšu kapsētāi,/ Baltas smiltis rušināt").[8]
  3. ^ Best exemplified by mythologist Lotte Motz: "The chthonic goddess zemes mate (Mother Earth) receives the dead within her realm. In dainas addressed to her, she provides the eternal resting place: "Rock me mother, hold me mother! / Short is the time spent at your breast. / Mother Earth will hold me longer, / beneath her turf, a welcome guest." (J1209)".[14] She also stated that "In Latvian society ... Mother Earth - zemes mate - is chiefly the resting place of the departed, ..."[15]
  4. ^ "In the next quatrain folksong it concerns about death, the sleeping (slumbering) in the grave. The Mother Earth is the goddess, from whom are coming all living beings and to whom after death they go back: (25) Ar Dieviņu, mâmulïte, / Labvakar, zemes mate!/ Labvakar, zemes mate, / Vai büs laba dusesanal [Good bye, Mother, / Good evening, Mother Earth! / Good evening, Mother Earth, / Shall I slumber well?]".[16]
  5. ^ "Ar Dieviņu, tēvs, māmiņa,/ Labvakaru, Zemes māte (x2)/ Glabā manu augumiņu". [Farewell, father and mother, / Good evening, Earth mother (x2) / Take my body in your keeping].[17][18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Mottz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997. pp. 221-222 (footnote nr. 27). ISBN 0-19-508967-7
  2. ^ Dexter, Miriam Robbins. Whence the goddesses: a source book. The Athene Series. New York and London: Teachers College Press, Teachers College, Columbia University. 1990. p. 54. ISBN 0-8077-6234-2.
  3. ^ Leeming, David.From Olympus to Camelot: The World of European Mythology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2003. p. 127.
  4. ^ Kokare, Elza. "A survey of the basic structures in Latvian mythology. In: Journal of the Baltic Institute of Folklore (Tallinn), 1996, Nr.1, pp. 65-91.
  5. ^ Mottz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997. pp. 221-222 (footnote nr. 27). ISBN 0-19-508967-7
  6. ^ Lurker, Manfred. The Routledge Dictionary Of Gods Goddesses Devils And Demons. Routledge. 2004. p. 96. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2
  7. ^ Vaira Vīķis-Freibergs (1980). "A structural analysis of lexical and contextual semantics-Latvian Balts ‘white’ in sun-songs". In: Journal of Baltic Studies, 11:3, pp. 226. DOI: 10.1080/01629778000000241
  8. ^ Vija: Dziesmu Krajums. Sakopojis Ed. Alainis. Trešais izdevāms. Riga: "Laikmets" Izdevums. 1935. p. 175.
  9. ^ Laurinkienė, Nijolė. "Požemio ir mirusiųjų karalystės deivė" [Goddesses of the Kingdom of the Dead and the Underworld]. In: Metai n. 1 2010. p. 121.
  10. ^ Mottz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997. p. 78. ISBN 0-19-508967-7
  11. ^ Antanaitis, Indre R. “Interpreting the Meaning of East Baltic Neolithic Symbols”. In: Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8, no. 1 (1998): 64. doi:10.1017/S095977430000130X.
  12. ^ Laurinkienė, Nijolė. "Požemio ir mirusiųjų karalystės deivė" [Goddesses of the Kingdom of the Dead and the Underworld]. In: Metai n. 1 2010. pp. 116-127.
  13. ^ Kokare, Elza. "A survey of the basic structures in Latvian mythology. In: Journal of the Baltic Institute of Folklore (Tallinn), 1996, Nr.1, pp. 65-91.
  14. ^ Mottz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997. pp. 72-73. ISBN 0-19-508967-7
  15. ^ Mottz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997. p. 83. ISBN 0-19-508967-7
  16. ^ Eckert, Rainer. "A Tendency of Nominalization in the Language of Latvian Folksong". In: Zeitschrift für Slawistik 45, no. 3 (2000): 324 https://doi.org/10.1524/slaw.2000.45.3.318
  17. ^ VĪĶE-FREIBERGA, Vaira (1980). "Dzejiskā iztēle latvju dainās" [The poetic imagination of the Latvian dainas]. In: Jaunā Gaita (Hamilton, Ont), 25, Nr. 127, 7-11; Nr. 128 (continued), 15-18.
  18. ^ Vikis-Freibergs, Vaira. "The Poetic Imagination of the Latvian "dainas"". In: Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 6, no. 4 (1973): 209-21. Accessed May 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24776924.
  19. ^ Laurinkienė, Nijolė. "Požemio ir mirusiųjų karalystės deivė" [Goddesses of the Kingdom of the Dead and the Underworld]. In: Metai n. 1 2010. p. 121.
  20. ^ Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons. Routledge. p. 197. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2.
  21. ^ Gimbutas, Marija. "ANCIENT SLAVIC RELIGION: A SYNOPSIS". In: To honor Roman Jakobson: essays on the occasion of his 70. birthday, 11. October 1966. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2018. p. 746. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783111604763-064
  22. ^ Jordan, Michael. Dictionary of gods and godesses. 2nd Edition. New York: Facts On File. 2004. pp. 339. ISBN 0-8160-5923-3.
  23. ^ Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons. Routledge. p. 197. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2.
  24. ^ Mottz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997. pp. 221-222 (footnote nr. 27). ISBN 0-19-508967-7
  25. ^ Konickaja, Jelena. "Николай Михайлов: славист, словенист, балтист (11.06.1967–25.05.2010)". In: SLAVISTICA VILNENSIS 2010 Kalbotyra 55 (2). p. 174.
  26. ^ Mikhailov N. "Baltico-slovenica. Alcuni paralleli mitologici". In: Res Balticae Nr. 02, 1996. pp. 166-167.
  27. ^ Valentsova, Marina. "К ИССЛЕДОВАНИЮ БАЛТО-СЛАВЯНСКОЙ ДЕМОНОЛОГИИ". In: RES HUMANITARIAE XX, 2016. p. 71. ISSN 1822-7708
  28. ^ Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons. Routledge. p. 197. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2.
  29. ^ Gimbutas, Marija. "The Earth Fertility of old Europe". In: Dialogues d'histoire ancienne, vol. 13, 1987. pp. 22. [DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/dha.1987.1750]; www.persee.fr/doc/dha_0755-7256_1987_num_13_1_1750
  30. ^ Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons. Routledge. p. 197. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2.
  31. ^ Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons. Routledge. p. 124. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2.
  32. ^ Doniger, Wendy. Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 1999. p. 109. ISBN 0-87779-044-2
  33. ^ Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons. Routledge. p. 197. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2.
  34. ^ Mottz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997. p. 78. ISBN 0-19-508967-7
  35. ^ Dixon-Kennedy, Mike (1998). Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 141. ISBN 9781576070635.
  36. ^ Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons. Routledge. p. 96. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2.
  37. ^ Doniger, Wendy. Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 1999. p. 109. ISBN 0-87779-044-2
  38. ^ Jones, Prudence; Pennick, Nigel (1995). A History of Pagan Europe. Routledge. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-136-14172-0.
  39. ^ Dixon-Kennedy, Mike (1998). Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 141. ISBN 9781576070635.
  40. ^ Běťáková, Marta Eva; Blažek, Václav. Encyklopedie baltské mytologie. Praha: Libri. 2012. p. 39. ISBN 978-80-7277-505-7.
  41. ^ Gimbutas, Marija; Miriam Robbins Dexter (1999). The Living Goddesses. University of California Press. p. 203. ISBN 0-520-22915-0.
  42. ^ Doniger, Wendy. Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 1999. pp. 108-109. ISBN 0-87779-044-2
  43. ^ Lurker, Manfred (2004). The Routledge dictionary of gods and goddesses, devils and demons. Routledge. p. 110. ISBN 978-04-15340-18-2.
  44. ^ Jordan, Michael. Dictionary of gods and godesses. 2nd Edition. New York: Facts On File. 2004. p. 172. ISBN 0-8160-5923-3.

Further readingEdit

  • Beldavs, Aija Veldre. "GODDESSES IN A MAN'S WORLD: LATVIAN MATRICENTRICITY IN CULTURE AND SPHERES OF INFLUENCE IN SOCIETY". In: Journal of Baltic Studies 8, no. 2 (1977): 105-29. Accessed April 21, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43210827.