This week I decided to my Shaman on some interesting fairy lore. In the Baltic regions the Laumes are described as beautiful fairy women who rule over wealth, abundance, and fertility which they hand out based on their moods Like most fairies they can be friendly and benevolent to mortals, but can be hostile and hot tempered when provoked Usually they are friendly to people ad notably children. They are commonly kind to children, especially to orphans. They are sometimes suspected to abduct children, but in this case they are totally kind and good those children they take. The Laumes remind me somewhat to the proverbial fairy godmothers who look after lost or abandoned children. And like fairy grandmothers they have a clear association with spinning, cooking, and laundry.
They are said to rush in during times of need. The Laumes are considered connected to the forest and are often described as forest spirits. When there is little forest area they have to make do with whatever places they can find. The Laumes are exceptionally beautiful with long hair and often travel about in the nude When the mood strikes them they will wear clothes. As a rule they tend to be kind in nature. Another spirit out of Baltic fairy folklore by the Ragana (Ray-gay) , The root of the name means either “horn” or “crescent”. Another possible interpretation is “to see:. She is likely a spirit from the ancient Indo-European age who was a prophetess who fore-told the future.
She possibly dates all the way back from the ancient Neolithic era, the final stone age. Ragana rules over winter, night, birth, re-birth, regeneration, and destruction. She has the dual nature of being a goddess of fertility and regeneration. She is a goddess of death but can also be called upon to cure all manner of illness or ailments. She controls fertility, as well as the cow’s milk supply. As with many of these spirits she has a dual nature of creating fertility and later bring about menopause. She is the spirit of balance with being a creator and a destroyer. Her connection to winter and death are obvious examples of her darker nature.
Ragana is believed to have a troop of handmaids, which are lesser spirits, but still formidable. In Latvia and Lithuania her name means “witch”. In this darker incarnation she holds a Sabbath on a hilltop during the winter solstice. On this long night she attended to by witches who are flying about making their winter time mischief. Ragana will cut holes in frozen lakes so she can bath in the frosty waters. She usually flies as opposed to walking. She transforms into a bird but occasionally will ride on a stick or tree branch.
She does not like to be seen by mortals, but caught bathing, dancing, or celebrating in some type of ritual. She can sometimes be seen hanging out with her handmaids. During the Christian era she became vilified as a more devilish kind of folk character. Ragana was not considered wife material since she refused to marry of many boyfriends’. During the Christian era she became Baba Yaga style witch who was a cannibal who especially loves to devour children. In this sense she was likely a bogy man style figure used to warn misbehaving children to mind their manners. She can manifest as a beautiful woman, bird, fish, hedgehog, goat, poison toad, sow, female dog, and notably a monster out of a nightmare One of the birds most associated with Ravana is the owl, as well as the magpie, and crow.
Her most important times are the winter and summer solstice. It was considered a good idea to offer her the first eg of spring, the hunter’s first catch in the spring, as well as butter, cheese, and sheep’s wool. Her sacred tree is birch. She carries a red magic-wand. And so it goes.