Giltiné is a snake goddess of death. She roams cemeteries at night, licking coffins and corpses, collecting the poison of the dead, which she will then use on the living whenever their destined time comes. Unlike so many Angels of Death who only appear after someone has died to serve as escorts to the next realm, Giltiné actually pulls the plug: she terminates life.
Giltiné and Laima are sisters. Sometimes they work in tandem, as a pair of death goddesses. Laima distracts and comforts the dying person while Giltiné delivers the coup de grace. Giltiné has a venomous tongue like a serpent: she delivers the kiss of death. Alternatively she suffocates or strangles victims. Giltiné may be depicted with a sickle like the Grim Reaper, but allegedly she does not like shedding blood if only because it may mar her white dresses.
Giltiné can be delayed (a popular folklore theme), but ultimately she cannot be stopped. She magically opens all doors or locks. She cannot be prevented from entering or from performing her killing function, if it’s genuinely someone’s time to go. Giltiné usually takes her place at the head of the sickbed.
Manifestations: Giltiné manifests as a tall, cadaverously thin woman dressed in white. She may be wrapped in a shroud or in a romantic Gothic white dress. Giltiné can make herself so tiny she fits in a nutshell. Alternatively she manifests as a venomous snake or even just as a shadow. Giltiné may be invisible. She may manifest only as the sound of a whip cracking three times. The psychically gifted may sense Giltiné as a chill down the spine.
Colors: White, yellow
See also: Laima; Psychopomp; Sbekhina