See the Pole, how it’s rooted in soil… See how it stretches high
See the Wheel rotating upon it… See how it turns the sky
See the Eagle with wings outspread… See the Earth sheltering beneath it
See the Court of divinities… See the star-gods dancing around it
See! Saule… how high she is on her midsummer feast-day.
58 words, written for What Pegman Saw: Riga, Latvia
For Ligo, Saule’s midsummer festival, a bonfire was lit atop a pole, on a hilltop. The pole represents the World Tree, the axis around which the Earth and the Heavens rotate. Wreaths of flowers decorated the site, the day celebrated with dances, hymns and a meal of cheese and mead. I’d like to think it continues through to this day.
Latvia and Lithuania were the last European countries to relinquish their traditional beliefs and accept Christianity.