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by Justin Denton
Because all life came from the Lithuanian earth-goddess Zemyna (Zemina, Semmes mate, Zemnyele, or Sieroji), she was honored at the birth of every child. Her image was tenderly kissed in the morning and the evening; food offerings were laid in front of stones, tied to tree boughs, or cast into flowing water to thank her for the new life. Her name means "earth", and the Baltic poems exalt her for productiveness by calling her "blossomer", "bud raiser", and "flower-giver". Her special area of concern was plant life--not only foodstuffs but weeds, trees, the algae of ponds, and the arctic lichen. Trees with three leaves or nine branches were especially connected with Zemnya; the oak, the linden, and the pruce were her favorite trees. Women lived on in lindens and spruce; men, in oaks, maples, and birches. Virginal young girls survived as lilies, and village ancestors reside in fruit trees. Zemnya is the daughter of moon god Menulis and the sun goddess Saule.

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