Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Rent in the Force - the Passing of Krivis Jonas Trinkunas - Part 1

JONAS TRINKUNAS - February 28, 1939 – January 20, 2014 He is survived by his wife, Inija, five daughters, and two grandchildren. The Trinkunas family asks that all those who would like to honor the deceased donate to the construction of Romuva's temple. Also, the family asks that his spirit be honored by lighting a candle or writing a few memorial words. 

There are 42 photos of the funeral at The temperature was minus 14 degrees Celsius.

 Here are more than a few words and photos about him:
 Our temple in Dvarciskes – It is on my property which I donated to Romuva. The carving in the center is of Saule – the Goddess of the Sun.

 From the ECER web page: We are building a Lithuanian Temple – Romuva 2012 saw the 20-year anniversary of the legitimization of the Romuva religious community. Over the past years a great community has been formed, capable of ensuring the ongoing existence of Romuva. The recent population census in Lithuania showed that over the past decade followers of the old Baltic religion have increased nearly five-fold. Today there are 5.2 thousand such followers. The Romuva community, because of its varied patriotic and cultural activities, has received the acclaim and approval of society. Our goal is to found another Romuva Jonas seated in the temple after a “Heathening” or Ausa Vatni (heathen baptism) Note the carved pillar in the left corner. building (temple of sorts) where religious ceremonies would be regularly performed and the community could gather. Weddings and christenings in the old traditions are increasing rapidly. More funerals are performed through ancient rituals. The building will act not only as a place for performing rituals, but folklore ensembles and sutartines (sacred songs) groups will be invited as well. We ask you, those who support us, to please donate at least some money for the creation of the Romuva temple. All funds should be sent to Vilnius Bank SEB, code 1720 21238 LT 05 7044 0600 0786 5932, "Senovìs baltù religinì bendrija", id. code 192096473 

Not everyone will understand the Lithuanian text, but there is a video of a portion of the funerary rites. A very moving tribute. 
 Iki, Marija (Moderator of 

 Jonas seated (on left), Inija standing before our outdoor alkas (altar) in the village, August, 2012.


Jonas took this photo of me at the Harvest/Bread ceremony where he appointed me an Ambassador of Romuva, August, 2012.

 I first started corresponding with Jonas in the early 90’s after reading his outline of the Rasa (Summer Solstice) celebration in Sacred Serpent which exchanged subscriptions with my publication, Yggdrasil (both are now sadly defunct). In 1997 after my consort died, Harry McBride and I toured the Baltic States. Because of the tour, I was only able to telephone him, but the following year, I was there for Rasa at Kernave and the founding of the World Congress of Ethnic Religions (WCER) which is now the European CER. The Trinkunas family welcomed me every time I visited the Baltics, and I often stayed with them and went with them to many events and sventes (festivals). I was in the center of Vilnius with them when they recorded “The Rite of Fire”, and at the National Museum of Lithuania when they premiered “Hymns to Saule” (the Sun Goddess). In between those CDs and before Lithuania joined the EU, they used to hold a heathen summer camp in various sites near Vilnius. They owned six pieces of property about 70 miles northeast of Vilnius and less than a mile from the Belarus border. Jonas called them belts; they were very narrow strips of land. One summer visit, the drunken Russian who owned a “belt” between theirs wanted to sell and move to his Father’s place. It was complicated, but I bought the place, and now Romuva had seven contiguous properties and became a village. It was named Dvarciskes. I believe it was the same year Jonas won the Basanavicius prize for preserving the folklore and traditions of Lithuania in the face of communism. He has won many honors and degrees over the years and he and his entire family have been a dynamic force in preserving and practicing the indigenous religion of the Baltics. He attended the Parliament of World Religions in Australia with his son-in-law, Arturas. His health began to decline around 2010 when he was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. I had been looking forward to seeing him when Rachael Watcher and I travelled to India together for the 2010 Indian World Congress of Ethnic Religions in Haridwar. Jonas’ foot had turned black and he and Inija returned to Lithuania before the Congress, and Jonas lost some toes. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in absentia. 

A Rent in the Force - The Passing of Jonas Trinkunas, Part 2


In 2011, I was with the family for Inija’s Birthday party. Here is a photo of the necklace Jonas gave her. 

 And here we are at home with the family. His youngest daughter, Vetra (storm), is to the left. All of his children have very heathen names. 

That trip I attended a wedding ceremony they were officiating in a park named after the man who divined Gediminas’ (the last pagan emperor of Europe’s) dreams.

 We also visited Dvarciskes and went mushroom hunting.

The following summer I attended Romuva Summer Camp (which is held every August) in our village. Besides the photos above, here is one of the altar to Perkunas (Thor), followed by a detail of his face. The bare branches above the roof are lightning-struck wood.

Detail of Perkunas

 Jonas was a true rock hound. Many stones were brought to the village. The one below, Jonas brought himself from his birthplace. It has a naturally-worn depression which collects holy water (rain & dew).

 The year WCER was changed to ECER, the Congress was held in Bologna, Italy. This shows, Inija, Jonas, and his eldest daughter, Zemyna (Earth) singing at the opening of the event.

 This year, ECER will be held in Vilnius July 8-11. I shall be attending and anyone who is interested can contact me or the numbers listed above. The last time I saw Jonas was last summer at an American Kulgrinda concert in Connecticut with my goddesschild, Della. It is so hard to believe that this wonderful, kind, man, priest, writer, fellow philologist, and friend is no longer with us, but his legacy is intact and Romuva will continue. Prudence Priest, Romuva Ambassadress, prudence