SOME PERIPHERAL FORMS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN AND ORIENTAL ZODIAC TRADITIONS IN HEATHEN LITHUANIA

Tags: folk calendar, St. George, European nations, Heliacal rising, constellations, scoop, pagan deity, renewal of the world, wooden scoop, baptismal font, The scoop, N. Laurinkiene, Dr Arnold Lebeuf, winter solstice, Persian Cross, seasonal calendar, Zodiacal signs, traditional folk calendar, oriental Zodiac, Lithuanian calendar, Lithuanian mythology
Content: Some Peripheral Forms of the Mediterranean and oriental Zodiac Traditions in Heathen Lithuania
SOME PERIPHERAL FORMS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN AND ORIENTAL ZODIAC T R A D I T I O N S I N H E AT H E N L I T H U A N I A
JONAS VAISKNAS
JONAS VAISKNAS
Abstract
I have previously presented some evidence concerning the possibility of a Baltic zodiac, documented by archaeological artefacts and supported by historical sources (Vaisknas 2000). It seems clear that such knowledge was imported into the Baltic region from Classical and medieval cultures to the south. If the Baltic zodiac was a simple copy of the Mediterranean one, it would be of minor interest for the iconography of Baltic constellations, but in the Baltic versions we observe very important differences from the Classical model. In this paper I analyse the relevant traditions in more detail and discuss these differences in the hope that it can offer us valuable information about sky mythology in northern traditions. Key words: ethnoastronomy, zodiac, constellations, mythology.
Introduction The analysis of the decorations on a large wooden scoop (Fig. 1) found in the basement of the church in Grodno has presented strong arguments for the hypothesis that a distinctive zodiac was widely used in Lithuania in the late Middle Ages (16th c.) (Vaisknas 2000). It is known that wooden scoops played an important role in pagan rituals in the Baltic and Slavic countries. In Lithuanian and Byelorussian museums there are several ancient drinking scoops, but the Grodno example is exceptionally large (half a metre in diameter). The reason for including a pagan ritual scoop among church furniture in the 16th and 17th centuries could very well have been the resistance of local people to its destruction or rejection. Using it to hold ancient objects of veneration could also have been a way of attracting people to the church. It is supposed that the Grodno scoop served as a baptismal font. When it was discovered, its surface was completely covered with polychromatic paintings typical of the 17th-century Christian tradition (Pan'shyna 1987, p.18). This later polychrome covered an earlier monochromatic linear decoration in which we recognize a pagan version of the zodiac. The scoop was taken to Moscow for restoration and it was there that the upper coat of polychrome was taken off and the older decoration uncovered.
Up until now there have been a lot of unanswered questions concerning the circumstances and details both of the discovery of the scoop and of its restoration. It is essential to know what scenes were depicted in the polychromatic painting. Only a small fragment of one of these paintings has been preserved near the handle on the outer surface of the scoop (Fig. 2). We see a bearded man wearing a big conical fur cap and looking as if he is holding a baby in his arms. It might represent a baptismal scene, in which case the complete decoration may have represented the whole ritual of baptism. This is very probable, taking in account that the scoop was used in the church for baptismal purposes. There are also polychromatic paintings preserved on the inner side of the scoop, but unfortunately these are not
Fig. 1. The ancient ritual scoop being held by the author (Raubichi Folk arts and crafts Museum, Byelorussia, 2007). Photograph by J.Vaisknas.
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Fig. 2. A extant fragment of a polychromatic painting on the scoop. Photograph by J.Vaisknas. informative as they consist only of depictions of vegetables. Some hope remains of eventually discovering the contents of the former Christian painting, because the restoration took place in 1956 and 1968 when it was customary to keep a full photographic record. This documentation must have survived somewhere. Zodiacal signs on the scoop Even more questions arise when we come to the original circle of 12 signs, executed using an archaic monochromatic technique. The ancient pictures are laid out around the outer surface of the scoop in a band 10 cm in height. Each of the 12 pictures is framed by geometrical ornamentation. The presence of images of the sun on most of the signs suggests that they are closely related to the sun's pathway through the stars, i.e. the zodiac. Images 4, 8, 10 and 11 in the sequence counting clockwise from the handle of the basin can easily be associated with the traditional zodiacal signs of Gemini (4), Libra (8), Sagittarius (10) and Capricorn (11) (Fig. 3; Plate III: 4; Plate IV: 8, 10, 11). Furthermore, the position of these signs in the sequence shows that this is not just coincidence. We can conclude that the pictures on the scoop undoubtedly represent the signs of the zodiac. Starting clockwise from the handle of the scoop we then have these signs (Fig. 3; Plate III: 1-6; Plate IV: 7-12): 1. (An image difficult to interpret) ­ `Pisces'. 2. A figure in a fur coat ­ `Aries'. 3. A horse rider (riding from the right to the left) ­ `Taurus'. 4. Two fighting warriors with two Suns between them ­ `Gemini'.
5. A bird reminiscent of a peacock (orientated to the left) with the Sun above its back ­ `Cancer'. 6. A bird reminiscent of a peacock similar to the mentioned one in 5, but orientated to the right with the Sun above its back ­ `Leo'. 7. A bird reminiscent of a crane or a stork (orientated to the right) with the Sun above its back ­ `Virgo'. 8. Two Suns (one in the bottom-left corner of the frame with rays like a swastika and the other in the top-right corner with straight rays) ­ `Libra'. 9. A big and a small deer with two Suns (one in the topleft corner of the frame with rays like a swastika and the other in the bottom-right corner the straight rays) and Moon (?) between them ­ `Scorpio'. 10. A warrior with a pike in his right hand above his head and a disc of the Sun under his hand ­ `Sagittarius'. 11. A goat galloping (from the right to the left) and the Sun above its back ­ `Capricorn'. 12. A horse galloping (from the right to the left) and the Sun above its back ­ `Aquarius' (Vaisknas 2000, p. 321). A comparison of this Baltic scoop zodiac (BZ) and the traditional zodiac (TZ) permits us to distinguish 3 groups of zodiacal signs on the scoop. They are: I. The signs preserving the same image as the TZ signs, namely Gemini (4), Libra (8), Sagittarius (10) and Capricorn (11). II. Signs that differ from the TZ, but which can be understood as a variant: Aries (2) and perhaps Pisces (1). III. Six signs that are absolutely original and differ completely from their equivalents in the TZ: Taurus (3), Cancer (5), Leo (6), Virgo (7), Scorpio (9) and Aquarius (12). These three groups of signs seem to reflect the collision of two traditions ­ the Mediterranean and the Baltic (or perhaps even a wider, north-Eastern European pagan tradition). The drastic replacement of certain signs of the zodiac with others that were completely different could be the result of a strong attachment to local mythological traditions. This seems especially likely if the imported zodiac was used for practical purposes, i.e. if it served not only as a magical set of symbols but also as an observational star calendar corresponding to a distinctive local tradition ­ in other words, to well-rooted local constellations. An indication that this could be the case is that the first sign of the BZ is not that of Aries but that of Pisces. Thus, it seems, the local tradition took into account the real position of the vernal point and not the conven-
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Some Peripheral Forms of the Mediterranean and oriental Zodiac Traditions in Heathen Lithuania
JONAS VAISKNAS
Fig. 3. The signs of the Baltic scoop zodiac (BZ) alongside European zodiacal signs from 16th-century medieval woodcuts.
tional one fossilized at the end of the first millennium distinguishing symbols, motives for cosmological im-
BC. This implies that the classical Mediterranean zo- agery, and myths. She independently distinguished the
diac was not merely imported but adapted to local use following images in their order of principal occurrence:
within a distinctive calendrical tradition based on actu- water, a tree, a deer, a horse, a peacock, a building, a
al observation of the sky. Let us accept this as a starting bridge, swingers, fire, and Kalda (Laurinkiene 1990,
hypothesis in order to try and understand the six enig- p.83). We can see that the three zoomorphic signs in
matic signs. For this, we will need to investigate local this list also occur in our eccentric BZ list: a deer (9),
calendrical traditions. As the folk calendar traditions a horse (12), and a peacock (5-6). It is interesting to
that have reached modern times are mostly syncretic in note that these signs are 90 degrees apart from each
character, it will be useful to examine some elements other in the Baltic Zodiac and mark quarters of the zo-
of the Christian calendrical tradition and in particular diac circle. If we join the constellation of Taurus, which
Christian hagiography, which has absorbed a great deal corresponds to the rider, to these signs then we obtain
of pagan calendrical symbolism.
a cardinally oriented cross dividing the zodiacal circle
As shown in one of my previous studies, some of the BZ images are linked with winter solstice and Shrove Tuesday carnivals masks from the Baltic, Slavonic and other European nations. The most characteristic carnival characters are a goat, a horse, a horse rider, a crane and a deer, all of which are also found among
into four parts. This subdivision coincides with the so called PersIan Cross comprising the four Royal Stars of Persia (Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares, Fomalhaut). These Guardians of the Sky were noticed by Persian astrologers around 3000 BC and used as a rudimentary seasonal calendar.
the BZ signs. This permits us to suggest that the car- All four of these stars are among the brightest 25 stars
nival figures had a solar-cosmological meaning and in the sky, having an apparent magnitude of less than
to explain them as a procession of mythic-astral crea- +1.5. However, this particular set of stars was chosen
tures bringing back the imprisoned Sun to the world because they are distributed around the sky at approxi-
(Vaisknas 2000).
mately six-hour intervals in right ascension. The rea-
son why they are called "royal" is that they appear to
Zodiacal signs and seasonal calendar
stand aside from the other stars in the sky. Throughout a year, each star is "dominant" for several months in
N. Laurinkiene has studied the semantics of archaic the night sky and one can guess the season simply by Lithuanian calendar songs and revealed their main noticing which star is dominant. 88
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Lithuanian ethnoastronomical data provide evidence that an analogous four stars, corresponding to the four parts of the world, might have been familiar in the traditional folk calendar (Vaisknas 1993, p.334). However, there is no documentary evidence to suggest which particular stars were used. On the other hand, it is widely known that the heliacal rise of the Pleiades and Sickle asterisms, within the constellations of Taurus and Leo respectively, are associated with the beginning of spring and summer seasonal labours. Thus we have direct proof that in the traditional folk calendar these constellations were familiar as seasonal markers. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the seasonal star calendar might have been based on the observation of the heliacal rise and set of the constellations that marked seasonal periods of labour.
We have distinguished the synodic positions of the BZ signs that might have been linked with the following significant calendar dates in the 16th century:
Leo ­ Peacock
Heliacal rising ~ IX.23 Autumn equinox
Heliacal setting ~ VII.23 Beginning of rye harvest
Morning culmination
~ I.25 Midwinter, holy day "a Colt baptizing"
Evening culmination
~ IV.23 St. George, beginning of spring labours
Scorpio ­ Deer
Heliacal rising ~ XII.23 Winter solstice
Heliacal setting ~ IX.23 Autumn equinox
Evening culmination
~ VI.23 Summer solstice
Aquarius ­ Horse
Heliacal rising ~ III.23 Spring equinox
Heliacal setting ~ I.25 Midwinter, holy day "a Colt baptizing"
Morning culmination
~ VII.23 Beginning of rye harvest
Evening culmination
~ XII.25 Kaldos Christmas
Taurus ­ Rider
Heliacal rising ~ VII.10 "Seven sleeping brothers": the beginning of the rainy days of summer (Vaisknas 1999)
Heliacal setting ~ IV.23 St. George, beginning of spring labours
Morning culmination
~ IX.10 Autumn sowing time
Evening culmination
~ II.25 St. Matthew, day when the lark returns
a peacock is considered to be a solar symbol (MNM II 273). The image of a magic bird with glowing feathers, which occurs in the folklore of various nations of the world, is also linked with a peacock. The most familiar images are those of the Russian "zhar-ptica" and Slovak "fire bird". The peacock is characteristically represented as a cosmological and astral symbol in the Folk Songs of Baltic, Slavic and other European nations (Laurinkien 1990, p.81-83; Tokarev 1988, p.273-274). In Lithuanian and Russian tales we come across its analogue ­ a magic bird with glowing golden feathers. This bird is mentioned in fairy tales along with a glowing horse and a very beautiful girl Ausrin ­ Venus. The hero of the tales brings back the girl, the horse and the bird from the prison of some chthonic creature that had seized them (Vlius 1994, p.116-129). In the astronomical code this liberation might correspond to the first appearance of a celestial body, representing the hero of the myth, after its temporary invisibility, i.e. to the heliacal rise of a celestial body. If so, it could be linked to the emergence of Venus after a period of invisibility as well as the heliacal rise of Aquarius (the horse) at the spring equinox and Leo or Cancer (the Peacock) at the autumn equinox1. A motif occurs in East Slavonic songs where an image of a peacock is linked with the rising Sun and early morning: "Early in the morning the sun was dancing, la, la, lio, even earlier a peacock had been flying" (Laurinkien 1990, p.82). As we have already mentioned, the heliacal setting of Leo at the end of July is linked with the beginning of the rye harvest. Herein lies the origin of the name of the asterism in Leo known as the Sickle. The stars of Leo and Cancer culminate before dawn about the beginning of November. Virgo, which corresponds to the Crane in the BZ, rises to the east of them. This triplet of BZ stars stretches from the east to the south covering half of the sky. November 11th is linked with birds in the folk calendar. This day is ascribed to St. Martin, the patron of birds. Lithuanians, Latvians and other European nations considered that St. Martin's day marked the beginning of winter (Lideks 1991, 518, 227; Tokarev 1983, p.97). On this day, Samogitians used to take a goose to church to offer it up. Goose was
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Leo ­ a Peacock
1 It is worth mentioning that in various world traditions Venus and Regulus are frequently confused. For example,
In the mythologies of various nations of the world, the image of a peacock is widely associated with as-
Mesopotamian iconography shows Ishtar standing on a lion. In any case, the sign of the lion marks the Caniculus and is initiated on July 22nd by Saint Maria Magdalena, a
tral symbolism ­ starting with the allegorical image of Christian continuation of Venus. It is possible that paral-
the peacock tail to represent the Starry Sky. In the an- lel traditions were present in pagan North Eastern Europe,
cient mythologies of Egypt, India and SouthEast Asia with Maria Magdalena being the Morning Star (A. Lebeuf,
personal communication, 2007).
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Some Peripheral Forms of the Mediterranean and oriental Zodiac Traditions in Heathen Lithuania
eaten on this day as a seasonal dish and it was called Martin's goose (Poska, 360-361; Lebeuf 1996, p.150151). On Martin's day the Latvians used to offer up chickens and eat them (Lideks 1991, p.218-222).
the period of invisibility of that constellation, while the northern zodiac proposed here marks the first or last apparition of a constellation over the horizon.
JONAS VAISKNAS
Aquarius ­ a Horse Replacing the sign of Aquarius with the Horse does not seem accidental bearing in mind that it is usual to depict horses next to Aquarius, examples being the Greek Pegasus and the Little Horse (Equuleus) and the Babylonian Horse (Rogers 1998, p.22-24). A constellation known as the Horse is familiar in Baltic and Slavic traditions. However, it is not reliably identified with particular stars. A mythical horse is depicted in the Lithuanian calendar and in Latvian mythological songs. In Latvian song, a cosmic horse is directly linked with the dome of the sky and the ecliptic. It is said that the Sun rises at the saddle of the horse and the Moon rises at its bridle; and at the end of the reins Auseklytis (Venus) is rolling (Laurinkiene 1990, p.77-78).
Scorpio ­ a big and a small deer Many researchers have studied the cosmological image of a mythical deer. T. Gamkrelidze and V. Ivanov (Gamkrelidze 1984, 519) maintained that a mythological deer might embody a constellation. V. Tumnas supported this view using Lithuanian data (Tumnas 1992, p.64). In Bulgarian and Russian folk songs a heavenly deer is directly linked with the ecliptic and celestial bodies travelling in it: "­ God turned himself to the deer / with a bright sun on his forehead, / with a moon on his chest, / with lots of stars over his body" (Bulgarian song); "I was on the bank of the Danube.../ a deer was drinking water... / a new moon was on his right thigh, / and a bright sun on his left thigh, / oh, in front there was a morning dawn / oh, lots of stars under the deer" (Russian song) (Bernshtam 1990, p.32).
Bearing in mind that the Horse serves as the Aquarius In Lithuanian folklore a mythical deer is linked with
sign of the zodiac, it is interesting to note a visible link Christmas celebrations. Folk songs sing of a deer with
between a magic horse and water in Lithuanian and nine antlers, where a fire is burning and smiths are forg-
Russian fairy tales (NRS 133). Sometimes we notice ing metal. The smiths make a golden cup, a golden ring
that water seems to be the horses's living place. Such or a crown of pearls, which symbolizes the Sun (Grei-
a horse or horses appear from the seas and are able mas 1990, 468). According to Lithuanian and Latvi-
to rise into the sky. A similar image of a horse can be an mythology, a heavenly smith forged the Sun and
traced in Celtic traditions. A ruler of the afterworld is- hung it in the sky. Ipatij's manuscript (around 1252)
land Riangabair "the horse of the seas" was familiar to and an insertion (1261) in the Russian translation of
the Celts (MNM I p.636). Considering the Babylonian the Chronicle by John Malala mentions this heavenly
tradition linking the area of the constellation Aquarius smith and calls him Teliaveli (BRMS I p.260, 266).
with the cosmic ocean, replacing this sign with the symbol of the "Horse of the Seas" does not seem accidental. A reconstructed Lithuanian calendar festival called Kumeliuko krikstynos `Baptism of the Colt' or Krikstai `Baptisms' might also be linked with the image of the sky horse. It was celebrated all night long at the end of January or at the beginning of February. A. J. Greimas considered this festival to be lunar in character and maintained that it was the Lithuanian New Year (Greimas 1990, p.320-322). The position of the Horse in the BZ does not contradict A. J. Greimas' hypothesis. Aquarius is the last (12th) sign of the zo-
It is not only the appearance of the Sun but also its further destiny that is linked with a smith and with forging. E. S. Picolomini (Pope Pius II), in his 1477 book, mentioned a Baltic tribe that worshipped a huge iron hammer, with the help of which the Sun was released from "the strongest tower", into which it had been locked by some powerful king. It is maintained by the tribe that the signs of the Zodiac or some Giant with a powerful hammer broke into the tower where the Sun was imprisoned (BRMS I p.589, 591, 595; Vaisknas 2000, p.319).
diac and its heliacal setting exactly coincides with the The Sun, then, is linked with the Heavenly smith and
all-night celebration of the Colt baptism at the end of he is linked in turn with a deer of nine antlers and with
January and beginning of February. It is significant that Christmas. Stories about a white deer, which appears
the heliacal rise of the Horse constellation coincides at Christmas, are still remembered now. As recently as
with the spring equinox.
1984 a story was recorded in Southern Lithuania: "...
The zodiac considered here differs from the classical Mediterranean one in that the latter takes note of the situation of the Sun in each constellation and thus of
children, wait and look through the windows ­ a deer will come. ...he will be very nice /.../ white, white /.../ with a wonderful wreath /.../ his feet will be white,
90
so you can distinguish him... He fell, they say, from the sky, so the clouds washed his tail and coloured his hoofs. And when deer appears from the forest then Christmas will come'' (Ragevicien 1996, p.9). The appearance of the deer before Christmas might be linked with the heliacal rise of the stars of Scorpio. This constellation is released from the rays of the Sun and some of its stars appear over the south-east horizon just before Christmas. In various European nations there is a very close link between the deer that brings back the Sun and the Christmas patron (Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Papa Noel, Father Christmas, etc.) who comes riding with deer. Santa Claus resembles the image of the returning Sun itself when he comes sitting in a sleigh with his deer in harness, wearing red clothes and delivering gifts. In Lithuanian folklore the image of the rising or riding cart and the Sun delivering gifts is well known. It is supposed that Lithuanian Christmas songs about Kalda, who comes riding in cart and delivering gifts, are precisely about the Sun. It is so called owing to the name of the festival itself: Christmas is the festival for the Lithuanian Kaldos (here Kalda is the singular form of the word Kaldos). In folklore Kalda is audibly associated with the act of forging: Lith. Kal-da "Xmas, Christmas" // kal-ti `to forge', kal-vis `forger'. This serves to confirm the association between Christmas (Kaldos) and the story of the cosmological forging of the Sun. Alongside Santa Claus, another character is worth researching and that is Saint Hubert. He is linked with November 3rd, hunting, Christmas, and an unusual deer, and is patron of metalworking (!). According to the legend, on Christmas Evening Hubert went hunting and saw a deer with huge antlers with ten branches. He got ready to throw a spear, but stumbled and fell down. At that moment the deer became lit up and Hubert saw a shining golden cross among his antlers. Here we have a reference not to the Sun, but to the spiritual light of faith, and accordingly, Jesus is traditionally represented as the new Sun2. Other research also proves the link between the returning Sun and the rebirth of the world for a better life. T. A. Bernstam researched the semantics of the Russian youth games "jashcher" (pangolin) and "olen'" (deer) by analysing the widespread image of a deer in various nations. She came to the conclusion that this image could be perceived as an embodied idea of spring, as a symbol of the Sun sending its warmth and awakening plants, animals and people (Bernshtam 1990, p.33). V. V. Ivanov and V. N. Toporov consider the deer a zoomorphic symbol of spring and virility (Ivanov, 2 A. Lebeuf, personal communication, 2007.
Toporov 1965, p.130-131). For N. Laurinkiene the image of the deer relates to the rebirth of the world. A deer is a symbol of rebirth and renewal for Evenks, Georgians, and some other nations. During the ritual of the inkonipka spring festival, Evenks staged the hunting of a cosmic deer. The cosmic deer was killed, but later, miraculously revived together with nature. In the Georgian traditions a deer was also related to the spring festival. Georgians believed that on St. George's day a deity would send a deer for the participants of the festival (Laurinkiene 2000, p.31). We can see that a deer symbolizes light and the renewal of the world. But it is also linked to the shortest days and the lowest rise of the Sun in the dome of the sky. For instance, an Irish poem of the 9th century tells of a deer that announces the coming winter: "I have a message for you: / a deer was roaring, / the winter is snowing / and summer left. / The winds are cold / the sun is close to the earth -/ its way is short. / The sea is rough. /.../ The frost has frozen the wings of the birds. / This time is severe. / I have a message for you" (Slet 1984). After the autumn equinox, when the path of the Sun becomes shorter and the night becomes longer, the cosmic deer disappears in the evening rays of the Sun, announcing winter. During the winter solstice it emerges in the morning dawn after about two and half months of invisibility. The coincidence of the heliacal rise of Scorpio with the winter solstice is perhaps the reason for linking the stars of Scorpio with the mythical Deer that played such an important role in the myth of the returning Sun or recovery of the Sun (see also: Rappenglьck 2008). Taurus ­ a rider It is known that the heliacal setting of the Pleiades, a swarm of stars that belongs to the constellation of Taurus, is linked to St. George's day. This day is very significant in the folk calendar, because it marks the beginning of the summer season and agricultural work. The rider that is depicted in Taurus is linked to iconography of St. George. St. George is considered to be a patron of horses and he is depicted as a rider on a white horse. The rider in the BZ might represent a pagan deity who was later replaced by the image of St. George. sis might have been such a deity in Latvian mythology, Avsen' or Jarilo ­ in Slavic mythology and Perknas ­ in Lithuanian mythology. All of them are represented as horse riders. In the reconstructed Lithuanian mythological images, which interpret the disappearance of the Pleiades after their heliacal setting, Perknas emerges as a hero who goes down to
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Some Peripheral Forms of the Mediterranean and oriental Zodiac Traditions in Heathen Lithuania
hell and retrieves Mary's Sieve (the Pleiades) from commerce and contacts had already been established
the chthonic creature (Vaisknas 1999, p.231­233). between the Batltic and Mediterranean regions by this
Considering the aforementioned folk stories about the date. Amber trade routes stretched from the Baltic Sea
hero who releases a glowing bird, a horse and an ex- to Greece, Italy and Asia Minor. Later, the trade was
ceptionally beautiful girl (Venus), we can guess that more intensive with the Roman Empire, and in the 5th
in the constellation of Taurus could be found the third -7th centuries with the Goths. Very close trade relations
hero of this plot ­ a liberator. That would correspond are documented between the Balts and the Arabian Pe-
to the story where St. George releases the girl from the ninsula (Gimbutiene p.127, 131). However, there is no
dragon. Saint George, celebrated on April 23rd, can be doubt that in the case of the system of zodiacal signs
considered the patron of the zodiacal sign Taurus 22 found on the Grondo scoop we are not encountering a
JONAS VAISKNAS
IV ­ 21 V.
piece of folk art or a composition of mythical images,
but two distinctive cosmological images and calendar
Conclusions
systems, based on astronomical practice. Research concerning the adaptation of the classical zodiac into
From the analysis of the Grondo zodiac we can main- the pagan cultures of other European nations might re-
tain:
veal further valuable information in this field of pagan
star lore.
1. That the distinctive signs of the BZ zodiac derived
from local mythologies; 2. That the position of the signs corresponding to A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s
constellations related to local calendrical tradi- I am grateful to Prof. Dr Arnold Lebeuf for his kind in-
tions;
terest in my work, and for his valuable and very useful
3. That the signs of the BZ generally correspond to comments and feedback on this paper. We would like
the colure points in the interval between the 12th to thank the staff and management of the National Art
and 17th centuries.
Museum of the Republic of Belarus and their branch
However, it is not clear how the original signs of the zodiac emerged. Had the original names of the constellations been familiar before colliding with the classical
of Raubichi Folk Arts and Crafts Museum for the cooperation and for kindly providing access to the ritual scoop.
zodiac? Or were they simply created on the basis of
the classical zodiac according to the local mythologi- R e f e r e n c e s cal calendrical images? additional research is needed
to answer this question. It is very probable that the signs, which replaced the signs of the classical zodiac, were familiar and of great importance in the local pagan tradition as constellations that played a significant role in the local seasonal calendar. We can even argue
BERNSHTAM, T.A., 1990. Sledy arkhaicheskikh ritualov i kul`tov v russkikh molodezhnykh igrakh ,,iashcher" i ,,olen`" (opyt rekonstrukcini). In: Fol`klor i etnografiia. Problemy rekonstrukcii faktov tradicionnoi kul`tury. Leningrad: Nauka. BRMS ­ VLIUS, N., compil., 1996. Balt religijos ir mi-
that these constellations played a very prominent role in the local tradition; otherwise they would not have replaced the original ones. We know that the northern pagan barbarians were fascinated by the Roman culture and dreamed of becoming Romans themselves. In
tologijos saltiniai. I: Nuo seniausi laik iki XV amzius pabaigos. Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedij leidykla. GAMKRELIDZE, T.V., IVANOV, V.V., 1984. Indoevropeiskii iazyk i indoevropeicy 2. Tbilisi: Izd-vo Tbilisskogo un-ta. GIMBUTIEN, M., 1985. Baltai priesistoriniais laikais.
the historical sources we can even trace legends about Vilnius: Mokslas.
the origin of the Lithuanians from the Romans.
GREIMAS, A.J., 1990. Tautos atminties beieskant: apie dievus ir zmone. Vilnius-Chicago: Mokslas & A.Mackaus
The substitution must have been motivated by strong needs. We can assume that the four most peculiar symbols in Lithuanian calendrical folklore ­ the Peacock, the Horse, the Deer and the Rider ­ can be interpreted as four cardinal seasonal star calendar points.
knyg leidimo fondas. IVANOV, V., TOPOROV, V.N., 1965. Slavianskie iazykvye modeliruiushchie semioticheskije sistemy: Drevini period. Maskva: Nauka. LAURINKIEN, N., 1990. Mito atsvaitai lietuvi kalendorinse dainose. Vilnius: Vaga.
LEBEUF, A., 1996. The Milky Way, a path of the souls. In: Another thing we cannot know is when this zodiac was V. KOLEVA AND D. KOLEV eds. Astronomical traditaken over and modified. Knowledge of the zodiac from tions in past cultures. Proceedings of the first annual gen-
the Mediterranean and Eastern countries could have reached the shores of the Baltic Sea at any time from the 2nd millennium B.C. onwards, since, as we know, 92
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senesni degintine technika atlikti kontriniai piesiniai. Ornamentiniais rmais vienas nuo kito atskirti 12 zenkl vaizduoja gyvnus, paukscius ir zmones. Piesini semantikos ir isdstymo struktros analiz parod, jog sie atvaizdai atitinka 12-os tradicini Zodiako zenkl sistem. Kauso Zodiako zenkl atvaizdus lyginant su dabartinio tradicinio (TZ) zodiako zenklais galima suskirstyti tris grupes (3 pav.; Plate III: 1-6; Plate IV: 7-12): 1. Zenklai, issaugoj t pat vaizd kaip ir tradicinio Zodiako zenklai, btent: Dvyniai (4), Svarstykls (8), Saulys (10) ir Oziaragis (11). 2. Zenklai, besiskiriantys nuo TZ, taciau galintys bti pripazinti TZ zenkl variantais: Avinas (2) ir galbt Zuvys (1). 3. Originals, visiskai neatitinkantys TZ ekvivalent zenklai: Jautis (3), Vzys (5), Litas (6), Mergel (7), Skorpionas (9) ir Vandenis (12). Sesi originals Zodiako zenklai yra: Raitelis ­ Jautis (3); Povas I ­ Vzys (5); Povas II ­ Litas (6); Gerv ­ Mergel (7); Elnias su elniuku ­ Skorpionas (9); Zirgas ­ Vandenis (12). Si zenkl svarb vietinei mitologinei ir kalendorinei tradicijai liudija j populiarumas tautosakoje. Elnias, arklys ir povas laikomi populiariausiais su kosmologiniais motyvais siejamais zoomorfiniais kalendorini dain personazais (Laurinkien, 1990, p. 83). Kita vertus, Elnio (9), Pov (5­6) ir Zirgo (12) atvaizd issidstymas Zodiako rate vienas kito atzvilgiu 90 laipsni intervalu leidzia spti siuos zenklus galjus bti svarbi kalendorini sezon orientyru. Prie sios trijuls pridjus Jaucio zvaigzdyn atitinkant Raitelio zenkl, gauname Zodiako rat 4 ketvircius dalijancius 2 kolirus. Nustatyta, kad siuos 4 Zodiako zenklus atitinkanci zvaigzdyn sinodins pozicijos XII­XVII a. galjo bti svarbios sezoninio zvaigzdzi kalendoriaus gairs. Astronominiais duomenimis paremtas prielaidas bandoma tikrinti ieskant ssaj tarp originalius Zodiako zenklus atitinkanci zvaigzdyn sinodini pozicij ir kai kuri kalendorini paproci bei kosmologini folkloro vaizdini. Prieinama isvada, kad apeiginio kauso piesini visuma sudaro savit vietins tradicijos transformuot tradicin Vidurzemio kultros Zodiak. Perimto Zodiako dalies zenkl pakeitimas vietin tradicij atitinkanciais zenklais gali rodyti egzistavus reiksmingas vietines pagoniskas astronomines-kalendorines praktikas ir tradicijas. Pakeitim pobdis, originali zodiako zenkl padtis ir j semantinis kontekstas liudija vlyvaisiais viduramziais Lietuvoje dar buvus astronomine praktika pagrist ir savita kosmologija motyvuot sezonin zvaigzdzi kalendori.
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