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Morning Star
Greek equivalentEos
Roman equivalentAurora
Latvian equivalentAuseklis
Vedic equivalentUshas

Aušrinė (not to be confused with Aušra – dawn) is a feminine deity of the Morning Star (Venus) in the Lithuanian mythology. She is the antipode to Vakarinė, the Evening Star.

Her cult possibly stems from that of the Indo-European dawn goddess Hausos and is related to Latvian Auseklis, Greek Eos, Roman Aurora, and Vedic Ushas.[1] Aušrinė is the goddess of beauty and youth. After the Christianization of Lithuania, the cult merged with Christian images and the symbolism of the Virgin Mary.[2]

Aušrinė was first mentioned by Jan Łasicki as Ausca and described as goddess of the rays of the sun that descend and rise above the horizon.[3] According to folklore, each morning Aušrinė and her servant Tarnaitis (possibly Mercury)[4] prepare the way for Saulė (the Sun). In the evening, Vakarinė prepares the bed for Saulė.[2] The relationship between Saulė and Aušrinė is complex. Sometimes Saulė is described as mother of Aušrinė, Vakarinė and other planets – Indraja (Jupiter), Sėlija (Saturn), Žiezdrė (Mars), Vaivora (Mercury), and even Žemyna (Earth).[5] A popular myth describes how Mėnulis (Moon) fell in love with beautiful Aušrinė, cheated on his wife Saulė, and received punishment from Perkūnas (thunder god).[3] Different myths also depict rivalry between Saulė and Aušrinė as Saulė is jealous of Aušrinė's beauty and brightness (Venus is the third-brightest object in the sky after Sun and Moon).[3][5] Despite the adultery or rivalry, Aušrinė remains loyal and continues to serve Saulė in the mornings.[5]

Another myth, analyzed by Algirdas Julien Greimas in detail, tells a story of Joseph, who becomes fascinated with Aušrinė appearing in the sky and goes on a quest to find the "second sun."[6] After much adventure, he learns that it was not the second sun, but a maiden, who lives on an island in the sea and has the same hair as the Sun. With advice from the Northern Wind, Joseph reaches the island, avoids a guardian bull, and becomes the maiden's servant caring for her cattle.[6] In the tale, Aušrinė appeared in three forms: as a star in the sky, as a maiden on land, and as a mare in the sea. After a few years, Joseph puts a single hair of the maiden into an empty nutshell and throws it into the sea. A ray from the sea becomes reflected into the sky as the biggest star. Greimas concludes that this tale is a double origin myth: the story describes the origin of Tarnaitis and the ascent of Aušrinė herself into the sky.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mallory, J. P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 148. ISBN 1-884964-98-2.
  2. ^ a b Zinkus, Jonas; et al., eds. (1985–1988). "Aušrinė". Tarybų Lietuvos enciklopedija (in Lithuanian). I. Vilnius: Vyriausioji enciklopedijų redakcija. p. 143. LCC 86232954.
  3. ^ a b c Greimas, Algirdas Julien (1992). Of Gods and Men. Studies in Lithuanian Mythology. Indiana University Press. p. 77. ISBN 0-253-32652-4.
  4. ^ Vaiškūnas, Jonas. "3. Star Names in the Folklore and Ethnographic Compendiums". Lithuanian Ethnoastronomy (in Lithuanian). Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
  5. ^ a b c Andrews, Tamra (2004). Wonders of the Sky. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 71–73. ISBN 1-59158-104-4.
  6. ^ a b c Greimas, Algirdas Julien (1992). Of Gods and Men. Studies in Lithuanian Mythology. Indiana University Press. pp. 64–84. ISBN 0-253-32652-4.