The sacred groves of the Balts: lost history and modern research
The article deals with the sacred groves (alka, elks) of the Balts in Lithuania and presents the linguistic background, the historical documents from the 12th–18th century, the key folklore motifs of the topic, as well as selected examples of groves. The article also discusses possible relationships between pre-Christian religious traditions connected with the sacred groves and the ones which have survived into the 21st century. Despite the fact that the sacred groves of past ages have mostly disappeared on the landscape, this tradition has not significantly changed. Various religious activities which were carried out in sacred groves, at smaller groups of trees, and beneath separate trees, even if insignificantly, enable us to learn about the phenomenon. Interdisciplinary approach to sacred groves should be preferred in modern research.
Vaitkevičius, Vykintas. “The sacred groves of the Balts: lost history and modern research”.Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore. Vol. 42. (2009), p. 81-94.