"balta saulite" "darling little white sun"
"Saules mat" "mother sun"
"Saulite mat" "little sun-mother"
"Saulite sudrabota" "small silver sun"
These are the names by which She is known near the Baltic Sea. These affectionate names show loving delight in a goddess who daily blessed her thankful world with light.
Her celebration took place at "kaleda," winter solstice, the day on which the heavenly smith Kalvis remade the sun. Using a magic hammer, he forged a golden cup to be filled with the sun's liquid light. Then She returned, the reborn Saule, urging on Her horses with silken whips as She rode an iron-wheeled chariot over the hilltops of dawn.
On Her opposite celebration, "ligo," it is said that the Sun Goddess rose crowned with a braid of red blossoms to dance on the silver hills wearing silver shoes. On this day She changed colors and hopped and jumped like a lamb.
"Saule leads the dance
beside the vast forest.
Give me, Mother, a golden belt
Because I want to run and watch."
From the festival of ligo, through the harvest season, Saule reigned as a queenly mother and was reborn once more at the winter solstice.
Among the Balts, the connection between the sun and spinning is very old, and the sun-stone, amber, forms the link. Spindles of amber have been found in the most ancient burial mounds. Sometimes amber discs were also placed in the grave, perhaps as prayers to the Sun Goddess to spin forth the lost life in another body. No doubt some of these spindles were used before being buried, for amber was considered a magical substance for a spinner; as the light never tangles in the sky, so an amber spindle protected the new thread from snarls caused by unhappy or malicious spirits. Eventually the amber took the form of beads and necklaces, not worn for adornment but as simple conveniences, for when spinning women stopped for another task, to change a baby or to knead the bread, they would twist their work, amber drop-spindles and all, around their necks.
"Saule, my amber weeping Goddess
creating light like thread.
As "Saules Mat" my mother sun, daily blessing
your thankful world with light."
For this and so much more information on Sun Goddess see "O Mother Sun" by Patricia Monaghan, Crossing Press