Under Saule

Juleigh Howard-Hobson

The Lithuanian term for ‘world’ is “pasaulis” which translates literally to ‘under Saule’ which is fitting, for the Great Lithuanian Sun Goddess Saule brings about nearly everything that happens here: she is the embodiment of warmth, light, human generation, and nature’s fertility.

As well, Saule is a Hearth Goddess; she is found in the center of the home, and all good things that constitute human experience revolve about her: birth, love, health…even death is good, for Saule accompanies and welcomes souls to live forever in her apple tree, which grows in the west.

Her name is pronounced Sow-ley which harkens both to the Northern goddess Sol who drives the sun’s chariot, as well as to Sowilo, the Norse Rune symbolizing the sun. Like Sol, Saule drives a chariot across the sky, pulled by two horses who do not feel the heat of the sun. (Unlike Sol, though, whose brother is Mani the moon, Saule was married to the moon, who is called Meness in Lithuanian.  Saule divorced Meness due to an affair with her daughter that enraged her so much that she slashed his face. They do not share the sky anymore and Meness still carries the scars of a mother’s wrath to this day).

As the Divine Mother, Saule is renowned for her tenderness and considerate help to all who are in need—in particular she is considered the guardian of orphans and other beleaguered folk who are without an earthly mother to turn to. As well as those in need of a mother, she avails herself to any in need of mothering—whether it be because of ill health or bad luck—although like a stern mother, she is more apt to give aid to those who are willing to put in a little hard work alongside her help.

Amber is said to be formed from tears which she sheds in anguish over misfortunes, which fits with amber’s reputed protective qualities—to wear amber is to gird oneself with part of Saule’s emotionally charged matronly power.

Saule is a particularly beloved and loving Deity. Although she has her own festival, celebrated as so many sun centered festivities are, at the Summer Solstice, Saule reigns over her world daily and altars dedicated to her and decorated in her honor (golds, ambers and yellows), as well as offerings such as golden grains, yellow cheeses and amber mead are as acceptable in the midst of winter as they are in the height of summer. She is a mother after all; her children live here: Pasaulis.

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