Anita Stasulane, Gatis Ozoliņš
May 11, 2017
Neopaganism (Dievturība) in Latvia has undergone phenomenal transformations which have been driven by socio-political conditions. The history of the Dievturi movement makes it possible to outline the historical change in the movement due to differing political circumstances. In the first period of its development (1925-1940), Neopaganism displayed itself as a form of politicised phenomenon; it became part of prevailing policies of nationalism by offering a Latvian national religion. With Latvia’s occupation by the Soviet forces (1940) Latvian Neopagans, Dievturi, became a disadvantaged group. Persecution and repression faced by Dievturi (1940-1953) were due to the imposition of Communist ideology and restrictions on freedom. Later during the Soviet regime (1953-1986), the Dievturi were not part of an organised religious movement, their teaching and ritual practice were not further developed during this time period. However, it was while in exile that the Dievturi had the opportunity to develop and expand the movement, but they had to address an urgent problem of preservation of ethnic identity. In the 1980s the Dievturi movement gradually resumed its activity, and it was officially registered as a religious organisation (1990). Today the Dievturi movement in Latvia includes controversial aspects: opposition to globalisation trends and its New Age trajectory.