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Irena Saprovska

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Irena Saprovska

Ethnic religion - spiritual base of Peoples

Dear guests of the conference and everybody, who has found time and possibility to take part in Ethnic Religion Congress Anniversary Conference.

Today, speaking about ethnic religion of the Latvian people, first and foremost we should speak about Ernests Brastiņš, but exactly those same words and thoughts that he devoted to his people should be attributed to any of the nations of the world and their spiritual cultures, namely: „the world Outlook cannot be the same for the whole world. Each nation may have its own independent Outlook, which has formed in between the understanding of the world and feel of the world (...)”.

For the purpose of insight, I would like to say a couple of words about this outstanding Latvian national worker of culture. Ernests Brastiņš was born in 1892 in blacksmith’s family, and seemed to have inherited from his father a real man’s power. The activity of Brastiņš was very versatile: he has written about 20 books, carried out scientific research, taught the young generation, painted (created about 60 paintings on mythological themes); he was also a publicist and managed newspapers as the technical editor; he also conducted "The Society of Ancientry Research", “The Society of Independent Artists”, he studied the Latvian ornaments, renovated the Latvian folk costumes, restored the songs and dances, but what is the most important – established the Latvian God Keepers Association (Dievturi) and renovated the performance of the Latvian rite. His work was interrupted by the power of occupation. E. Brastiņš was one of the first Latvians, who was arrested on 6 July 1940 and on 28 January 1942 was executed in Gulag death camp. Same destiny befell under-age son Austrums. The works of Brastiņš were mentioned as the first in the lists of literature to be destroyed. Obviously THEY, better than local people, understood the great role of Brastiņš in the spiritual awakening of people. But we should admit that his work was not done in vain, because today the grain, which had been sown in the beginning of winter, will sprout. Winter crops are resistant and when the daylight shines brighter, they start to sprout. The harvest will be there – such is the God's idea - the spiritual awakening of people must take place and Brastiņš is the main initiator of this awakening, - he will remain as such in the memory of his people. Now we turn to the main theme and look at two concepts: Mythical time and LINEar or historical time. In the mythical understanding of time, for about 6 000 years we have been living in the Iron Age, during which the world was turned around – the material values were set in the forefront, while the spiritual values were left unattended. The representative of our nation Eduards Liedskalniņš in Floridā, when moving tons of heavy stones without any help of machines, just saying our folk songs or the “magic words” perfectly proved the role of the spiritual force in the life of a person and the whole mankind. In his sanctuary there was the Latvian God sign – the roof or the god’s  triangle and that is the evidence to all the „unbelieving Thomasses” – where the God’s power and advice is incorporated.

Today mankind has fallen into a trance – people live like blind, like deaf, like dazed, but it should be acknowledged that it has its reasons, because their own Gods are put aside and the alien Gods are prayed to recklessly. Loss of memory is the heaviest disease that erodes the flesh and the spirit, which makes one asleep even during the daytime. Let us start thinking individually and all together – what do "world religions" mean and how have they got their name. We have to state with regret – only through wars and violence, which cannot be binding for people of ancient great culture – those who praise the Sun and light. The entire so called „world religions” are "the night religions" created by the people of the dusk, because in all such religions the woman’s role is lowered – attributed to the Moon. In the Latvian folk songs the Moon is the protector of men or the warriors, while the Sun is the symbol of woman – the creator.

It is of common knowledge that originally people had the „mythical time”, and the „linear time" set in only when they had the Christian religion imposed on them – a different world outlook – strange to people morals and ethics. Today we will look at the carriers of “linear or historical time” and “the mythical time” as the opposites in the space of the world.

The mythical time is saturated with positive emotions. A human is the child of nature and tries to live according to the processes of nature or in harmony with nature. The man of the Mythical thinking knows that the God launches the world and the man should only maintain this world and live according to the laws of the God observing the order established by the God in the life on earth – man should keep the harmony in all the world launched by the God and in the meaning of the eternal time. There is no understanding of the sin; there is only understanding of the GOOD and the EVIL.

It is quite opposite for the man of the linear or historical time. He does not admit that the world has existed before him. His God CREATES the world and holds its order of the world with the help of law and wars. This CREATOR makes the agreement with a particular person and people, which provides for unconditional submission until the moment when the clause of the agreement is fulfilled. The agreement provides for extermination of nations, first and foremost, by eradicating their deities. And so, in order to destroy the order of the world, as launched by the God, and introduce THEIR ORDER, peoples were deprived of the memory on their past and the linear time was introduced attributing the notion of the historical time to it. It is a common knowledge that history is written and rewritten by each conqueror in the biased interpretation and so we may say – by that time the darkness started to reign over the minds of the humankind. On the bases of the world outlook of man of the linear time there is the DICHOTOMY or the Divine disbalance, this is the opposite to the HARMONY of the Divine balance. All the time period, which we call the “historical time”, is oversaturated with wars and revolutions. The conclusion is: the linear time leads to NOWHERE. People, if they want to exist, have to return to the paths traced by the ancestors – to the mythical understanding of time, - i.e., to their Ethnic religions.

Again we may turn to Ernests Brastiņš and his saying: “The Latvian people are still using the alien paths. We walk those alien paths in culture, politics, domestic life and economy. They are swinging and shaking, those alien paths. We are stumbling and erring, when walking them. What is strange about it is that we are well aware of our course and understand it (..) No, we are all awake, but still for unknown reasons, we walk strange, dangerous roads (..) supposedly, this is a transitional moment of confusion. (End of citation.)

I would like to believe that this is only a transitional moment of confusion – dismay.  Main thing is that every Latvian knows that Dainas - the folk songs are our Holy Writ and that the God, and the deities – Laima and Mara – are mentioned in Dainas, but what makes one thinking strange thoughts, which have been brought about by force and compulsion to our country, leaving our own ideas unattended? Latvia is oversaturated with everything ALIEN, but at the same time the possibility is not given to consolidate the spiritual cultural heritage of our own people – the ethnic religion by legislation in our own country. Such TOLERANCE is very questionable, when we are tolerant towards those, who enter our living space, because they, by their turn, do not wish to be tolerant towards us and our spiritual cultural heritage. On top of that, - PLURALISM sounds good only when in your home your spirit is ruling, while  everyone else has possibility to express opinion and discuss the whole spectrum of views. Today the truth and sense of life have drowned in the flood of pluralism and can always be found in the holy writ of every nation, and in our case these are Dainas.

What is our – the European nations’ pride then, if it is not the spiritual cultural heritage, left by our ancestors? It is time for the spiritual awakening for us – Latvians, and for all the European nations and for the nations throughout the world. Ethnic religion is the central part of the spiritual or intangible cultural heritage of every nation. All the life is focused on it. The Latvians called for God when they started and when they ended the day, same as when they started their work, they called for God and when they finished their work they expressed gratitude. The life wisdom cannot be separated from the acceptance of the God, they go hand in hand and have no beginning and no end, but to be more aware of eternity, then every nation itself should take care of preservation of its cultural heritage for the next generations. Here we have arrived at the idea that ethnic religions are the spiritual bases of peoples, but those religions, which call themselves “the world religions”, are barren flowers, whose impact will come to the end, when peoples themselves, on their free will, return to the path treaded by their ancestors, and that I wish to everybody with all my heart.       

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