by Aldis Pūtelis
Laima is the deity of fate and its personification, whether as luck or as bad luck. The name is similar to laime — "luck, fortune" with both grammatical variants traceable in folklore material, but the name of this deity varies in different sources. She assists in childbirth and is honored by both maidens and married women. Laima controls the most important events of a person's life, such as birth, marriage, and death.
As a person may mention or even condemn the respective laime, it may be understood that the concept 1) was in stage of turning into a synonym for liktenis, "fate," 2) this deity is understood as opposing, although the judgment cannot be affected in any way. One of the first appearances of Laima in a document is in Paul Einhorn's Historia Lettica (1649).
Laima is also the protector of pregnant women and can ensure a good pregnancy as long as she is in the house. She is frequently mentioned in the song texts together with Dievs. In some cases the god's horses are tethered in front of her house (meaning suitors arriving at a maiden's house), but it is a very weak motif among those of the heavenly wedding. She is the central figure of an alleged trinity of Laimas or deities of destiny, together with her sisters Kārta and Dēkla. There are texts which mention "three Laimas," although they do not give their particular names.
- Gimbutas, Marija. (1963). The Balts. New York: Praeger, p. 197.
- Jonval, Michel. (1929). Les Chansons Mythologiques Lettones. Paris: Librairie Picart, pp. 18-21.