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  • Writer's pictureEva

Springtime in the Baltics: Rebirth, Renewal, and Ceremony

Hey everyone - welcome back to Into the Forests I Go!


Last we checked in, I was sharing about my recent trip to Greece, but today I wanted to focus a bit more on Lithuania and what it's been like for me living here.


I was interviewed yesterday evening, so you could say I'm reflecting on my time here - especially the changing seasons and discovering my Lithuanian ancestry.


As some of you know, for all of its modernism, startups, life well-lived, Lithuania still - at its core - is, to me, a country filled with naturalism and Spirit. There's something magic about this place - and hey, maybe I'm bringing that magic along with me. Where do I end and it begins? People in my home country are often spiritually thirsty, in a diaspora of mish-mashed cultures and beliefs. That's part of what makes it beautiful. They hone in on something because of tradition or create something of their own, but they're not at the Source.


But here, I feel closer to the Earth, and when you add in my discovered ancestry, connected in whole new ways.


And that's why I made a point to attend a Pavasaris lygiadienis (Spring Equinox) celebration this year. I was in Portugal last year during this ceremony, wishing I could be in two places simultaneously, so it was high up on my agenda for 2024.


Thanks to Romuva, I found an intimate celebration at Pūčkorių piliakalnis, a mound known around here since ancient times, dating back to the first millennium. (Perfect spot for an equinox ceremony!)


The Scientist and I walked up the steps to the top of the hill and - having arrived fashionably late - heard people singing sutartinės (Lithuanian polyrhythmic chanting) and beating drums down below.


Bingo.


We waited for them to come up the hill, along with a few other stragglers, and it was easy to observe and intimate the joy and reverence coming out of everyone - many I recognize after almost three years of seeing them in ceremony.


They sang songs and spoke words (that I'm slowly understanding) to mark day and night being equal, a moment of balance to pass through as we get closer to Joninės  (or Rasos), the summer solstice. I recognized a few goddess names, a few new words, but what really spoke to me about this experience was how grounded it felt.





We were all so ready for the Spring. Just as I got out of the car to head up the hill, I saw my first dark blue forest flower - a welcoming if I ever saw one. We're also enjoying sakuras here in Vilnius - earlier than usual! - so even though the weather fluctuates, the moments of sun and Spring are satiating and were well worth the wait - camping, motorcycle rides, and the like.


The point of this post: I'm still so grateful to live here, in the richness of this culture and community, one that marks not just the passage of time or rites of passage (both important!), but invites you to celebrate the changing seasons in real ways.


I don't take it for granted, I'll say that much.


Did you do anything to celebrate the Spring, or Autumn if you're in the Southern hemisphere? Do you have any rich cultural traditions that mark rebirth and renewal? Let me know!


Until next time, viso gero, my friends, and be kind to one another. Viso!

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