An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.





from Encyclopedia Mythica (see below)


This is a paper from Folklore (a fine on-line journal also mentioned on my other Baltic pages) on Latvian folklore and ethnic identity.  The author, Latvian scholar Aldis Putelis, gives an insightful, thorough, historical overview.  He respects current neo-pagan trends while at the same time pointing out the difficulties in establishing their authenticity.
This site on Latvian myth comes from the on-line Encyclopedia Mythica.  The opening article, again by Aldis Putelis, is a brief but useful review of the literature as well as a consideration of the problems encountered in studying Latvian myth.  In a frame to the left, you'll find an alphabetical listing of nearly 40 Latvian deities.  When you click on one, you'll get anything from a brief sentence of 3 or 4 words to a lengthy, sophisticated essay. [Link & annotation updated 10/2/00]
This marvelous site from Kristaps (Chris) Johnson, "Ancient Latvian Religion researched in the manner of a Pursuit of Proto-European Pantheonism," looks at Latvian history and a wide array of earth-based (pagan) deities, festivals, beliefs.  Under "History" is great text plus a terrific map of Latvian tribes c. 1200 AD.  Under "Divinities" are many lovely ancient symbols (often in brightly embroidered variants) connected with individual deities.  I especially enjoy Kristaps' well-researched and enthusiastic essays as well as (under "Divinities") the long list of Mates, or "Mothers" (of forest, mushroom, fog, wind, flax, leaf-colors, mischief, flowers & buds, dreams, waters, rivers, waves, rain, and many more). [Note: this site is double listed under Europe >>  Earth-Based Ways.]
[Added 1 October 2000]: This is a Latvian folklore tale, "Pastaris and the Giant," in a delightful English translation by Andis Kaulins.  Ignore the shaky etymological and astrological speculations and just enjoy a great story.
[Added 10 October 2000]:   Although this pagan site is called the "Baltic Heritage Page," most of it is focused on Latvian history, seasonal and family celebrations, ancient ways of keeping time, and nature-based beliefs.  What I saw looked good and the illustrations and charts are appealing.  Your eyes will need to handle red text against a black background, however -- if that's a problem for you (as it is for me), you may need to override the site's colors or else print it out.


The Bear Slayer
(see directly below)
This illustrated site is an intriguing prose translation of an epic poem, "The Bear Slayer," set in pagan Latvia 800 years ago and written by Andrejs Pumpurs (1841-1902), a contemporary of many of the great early folklorists of Europe.  Pumpurs --
...based his story line on existing Latvian folklore. The epic conjures up images of black magic, and also takes its fair share of  shots at Germans....[The work] has had a huge impact on Latvia, influencing generations of writers, artists and politicians.
[Added 1 October 2000]: This is a page on the history of an international Baltica festival of song and dance.  Whenever it's held, the focus is on a larger mythic context -- e.g., Family, Sun, Sea.  If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll find "Sea (water)" in hypertext -- click on it and you'll go to an internal page (i.e., no URL so it can't be bookmarked) with a fine little essay on Latvian sea mythology.

"Fortune Telling" Tapestry
By Latvian artist, Inga Skujina
[See main page below]
[Added 1 October 2000]: This is a site listing the home pages of many contemporary Latvian artists.  I clicked at random and only had time to scan a handful but my three favorites were Larisa Shellar (I especially enjoy her Green Woman, a Willow Spirit playing the lute, and her dandelions); Inga Skujina (see her "Fortune Telling" tapestry above; I also love her "Gates of Light" and Northern Lights tapestries); and Roberts Diners, some of whose sculptures are on my Baltic Opening Page.
[Added 1 October 2000]: This is the home page for Soros Foundation Latvia, the sponsoring organization for the Latvian artists showcased in the link directly above.  This home page also offers a number of other art-oriented paths to explore.
[Added 1 October 2000]: This is Latvia's Latnet Art Gallery -- it too offers pages on artists, both contemporary and "classical," working in a variety of media.  I love exploring artists' pages (it's where I get so many treasures for my own pages <smile>), and look forward to having the hours it'll take to explore this site as well as the two above.  (Note: the site is available in Latvian, English, French, and Spanish.)
[Added 1 October 2000]: This is "Symbolism and Art Noveau in the Fine Arts of Latvia."  Text is minimal (you have to click on "Exhibition" at the bottom and it arrives in a pop-up frame that I was unable to center; thus, some of the text was cut off); there are only seven images, but Teodors Uders' 1914 "The Death" is eerie and definitely worth a look; so is Janis Rozentals' harpist playing an oddly shaped harp, "The Legend," from 1899.
[Added 1 October 2000]: From the Latvian Music Academy comes this page on musicians, groups, education, musicology, where to buy Latvian recordings, and much more.


Street in Riga
(See the Latvian Culture site directly below)
[Added 1 October 2000]: From the Latvian Ministry of Culture comes this attractive site on Latvian Culture.  Many colorful clickable photos will be found among these pages on national costumes, castles, gardens, monuments, churches, civic buildings, streets, and more.  There's even a photo of a building in the Old City of Riga decorated with two black cats.
[Added 1 October 2000]: This is a page of over a dozen aerial photos of Latvia by Juris Kalnins.  Each image is clickable -- the ones I checked were stunning.
This site gives an excellent history of Latvia excerpted from Latvia, a Guide Book by Aigars Dabolins and Scott Shipman. It offers a lengthy and sobering look at Latvia's little-known and often tragic past.
[Added 2 October 2000]: For quick reference, this is "Latvia through the Ages" from the In Your Pocket travel guide people.  It begins with 2500 BCE:
In 2,500 BC Indo-European tribes arrive on the Baltic Sea. In Latvia the inhabitants split into several tribes: Zemgali, Seli, Latgali and Kursi. Among surviving tongues, Latvian and Lithuanian are the closest to the original tribal languages. The Livonians, a Finno-Ugric group, are equally ancient settlers....
It then jumps to the 12th century AD and gives a brief overview of the following historical periods; well over half the page covers crucial events of the 20th century.
[Added 2 October 2000]: This site has good charts explaining how each letter is pronounced in the Latvian language.
[Added 10 October 2000]: From LATNET comes "Welcome to Latvia," a well-designed page covering links to all aspects of Latvian life -- art, business, environment, sports, maps, travel, government, education, science, news, weather, media, entertainment, and much more.
[Added 10 October 2000]:  This is another page of Latvian links from CIESIN Baltics Regional Node WWW.  There is a wide range of subcategories but the page hasn't been updated since 1996 so expect some broken links.
[Added 2 October 2000]: If you just want dry facts and statistics (in addition to a good map), this site from the CIA, The World Factbook, will provide these.

Up to Europe's Opening Page
Eastern Europe Menu:
Pan-Slavic Traditions & Beliefs:


Fairy Tales & Folklore: ||| Sacred Ikons: ||| Music:
The Balkans:
(Note: here you'll find links to individual Balkan countries/states/kingdoms: Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia, once these have been activated.
*** For Greece, see under "Western Europe"; for Hungary, see under "Eastern Europe: Finno-Ugric Peoples.")

Kosovo/Serbian Peace Invocation:

Other Slavic Lands

Baltic States:

Estonia: ||| Latvia: ||| Lithuania
Finno-Ugric Peoples:
Finland: || Hungary:

(Note: for Estonia, see "Baltic Sates";   for Sami and western Siberian peoples, see "INDIGENOUS: Circumpolar.")

Eurasia: The Caucasus & Beyond:

Down to Western Europe


Note: I cannot help with homework, but if you have comments or suggestions, please email me at
This page created with Netscape Gold 3.01.
Technical assistance: William Weeks
Text and Design: copyright 1998-2000 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Background courtesy of  Mermaid's Rest Graphics

(following the 11/13/98 launch):
27 December 1998; 4 January 1999;
2 & 3 February 1999 (for the 5th anniversary of Marija Gimbutas' death on 2 February 1994);
27 March 1999 (but not posted until 21 April 1999);
28 September 2000 (added more Estonian links);
29 September 2000: split Estonia off onto a separate page.
30 September gave separate pages to Latvia and Lituania;
1 & 2 October 2000 (checked all Latvian links & added new ones);
5 & 6 October 2000 (inc. Nedstating); 10 October 2000 (finished & reorganized page).