Jūras māte

by Aldis Pūtelis

"Mother Ocean." The goddess of the sea in Latvian mythology. She is said to be worshiped by fishermen and sailors, and plays an important role in healing by magic, especially to stop bleeding. Jūras māte is an obscure goddess and is rarely mentioned in song texts. Still she is among the māte, "mothers," mentioned in seventeenth-century texts, among which Paul Einhorn's Historia Lettica.

Whether the ritual demand of keeping the details in secret has led to these details being gradually lost along with the rituals of worship is just a speculation, but might be a reasonable one, particularly among the Livs (a Finnish people living in the coastal areas). According to some, the "mothers" are more characteristic for the Livs than Latvians, so it could be a matter of borrowing.



  • Gimbutas, Marija. (1963). The Balts. New York: Praeger, p. 197.
  • Grimmel, P., ed. (1973). Larousse World Mythology. London: Hamlyn, p. 422.
  • Leach, Maria, ed. (1949-1950). Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. 2 vols. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, p. 2:608.