Perkunas

Perkunas

ALSO KNOWN AS:

Perkons

ORIGIN:

Baltic

Perkunas, Lord of Fire, is the Baltic thunder spirit. Thunder is his voice. Perkunas eventually became the chief Lithuanian deity, protector of the state. (Despite his power, Perkunas is subordinate to Laima and must defer to her.) During the last officially Pagan centuries in Lithuania, Perkunas was the most famous and widely venerated deity. In 1583, Jesuits visiting Lithuania were dismayed to witness active veneration of Perkunas and his oaks.

Perkunas revives Earth’s fertility. The first clap of thunder in spring shakes sleeping Earth awake and purifies the waters. People waited for that first thunder of spring, eagerly anticipating Perkunas’ blessings. Traditionally soil wasn’t tilled in spring until after Perkunas had given the go-ahead, via the first thunder. Perkunas controls rain and thus agricultural fertility and abundance.

Perkunas travels through the sky in a fiery, noisy, two-wheeled chariot drawn by goats. He lives in a huge castle on a mountain in the sky.

Perkunas protects social order. He is a righteous spirit of justice but is impatient, restless and ruthless. Perkunas is the sworn enemy of wicked people and malicious spirits. He banishes evil spirits and protects people from them. Perkunas transmits healing power via lightning-struck trees and stones. He protects from fever, toothaches, and illnesses caused by fright (what in Latin America would be called susto). The thunderstones he drops from the sky radiate fertility power.

Perkunas communicates via thunder. Starting from the vernal equinox, if there is no thunder in spring, this is a bad sign indicating hard times ahead, possibly epidemics, natural disasters, or famine. If the season’s first thunder occurs on Saint George’s Day (April 23), this is an excellent, auspicious sign.

Perkunas and his priesthood were once major landholders: he marks his territory with lightning. Lightning-struck trees, hills, and forests are sacred to Perkunas and were once dedicated to him. Territory claimed by Perkunas was surrounded by oak groves, fenced, protected by moats, and reserved for sacred use. Sacred fires dedicated to Perkunas were maintained by women described by observers as Vestals.

FAVOURED PEOPLE:

Soldiers, warriors, farmers. Those who survive being struck by lightning are consecrated to him.

Unfavoured people: Perkunas hates liars, thieves, and selfish ungrateful sons.

MANIFESTATION:

In Lithuania, he is envisioned as a vigorous man with a copper-colored beard. In Prussia, he is an angry middle-aged man with a long, twisted black beard.

ATTRIBUTES:

Double axe, lightning bolt

BIRDS:

Cuckoo, pigeon

ELEMENT

Fire

Sacred site:

His temple in Vilnius was considered the most important pre-Christian Lithuanian shrine.

Day: Thursday (honor him by burning a candle or otherwise kindling a flame)

Dates: Perkunas is honored throughout the year, especially on the following dates:

• 2 February, Candlemas

• Easter Sunday

• 24 June, Perkunas’ Fire

• 29 June, Perkunas’ Day

• 1 October, Perkunas Day

Trees: Ash, oak

Plant: Rue

SEE ALSO:

Amberella; Ausriné; Gabija; Laima; Meness; Shango; Thor; Vesta

SOURCE:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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