Many Gods are recognized by Tegos Nemotarvi. The Gods of this tradition are some of those that were worshipped in Gaul during the Iron Age, and into the Roman period. If one wants a more scholarly basis of who these Gods are, I recommend looking at Nemeton Segomâros for more information. There isn’t much of a point for me to do again what someone else has already done an excellent job of covering.
For the sake of digestibility, and keeping this article to a reasonable length, this piece covers some of the “High Gods”, and rest assured, there are many more that were worshipped by the Ancient Gauls and by Galatîs today. (Again, this is not necessarily meant to be an academic piece.)
Without further ado, here is a list (that will likely be expanded upon in the future) of Gods that are in some way known in Tegos Nemotarvi:
Taranis – He is one of two main deities worshiped in Tegos Nemotarvi. His name means ‘Thunder’ and so, he is obviously a Thunder God. I’m not entirely sure of Him being the “Sky Father”, but He is, at the least, the preeminent Sky God worshipped at Tegos Nemotarvi. He is represented by a wheel. Most opt for a six spoked wheel, I opt for eight. However, it is uncertain if the number of spokes have any direct historical meaning. It is not likely, as some have been shown with four, six, eight, and more.
He is, as a Thunder God, a Bringer of Rain. I would suspect that this might have made him popular with farmers, who of course rely on rain to water their crops in most places. He is described in the 10th century ‘Berne Scholia’ as a “master of war”. This could be due to his representation of victory over serpents that are likely related to forces of chaos. These are depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron, as well as in Jupiter columns (Taranis was linked most often to Jupiter, possibly Mars in other cases) in places along the Rhine.
When looking at Him as the slayer of a serpent of chaos, one may be reminded of the Norse Thorr, or of Hercules, son of Zeus, who slays the Hydra. Perhaps of Vedic Indra who slays Vrtra, Slavic Perun and Veles, etc. The Serpent Slaying myth seems to be one of the most common among Indo-European cultures. An interesting thought as well, is that in His name meaning ‘Thunder’ is a commonality with Proto Germanic ‘Thunaraz’, which gives way to Anglo-Saxon Thunor, Norse Thorr, and other Germanic names for their Thunder God(s). Whether or not this is a borrowing from Gaulish Taranis, I don’t know. It is an interesting thought, nonetheless.
He is known by his symbol, the wheel, which I had mentioned earlier. Theories generally range from the idea of “rolling thunder” to the idea that the wheel is reminiscent of order and cosmic rule from celestial powers. This moves me to the next part, and that is how He may be perceived.
If we (my Tegos) have anything like a “patron God” it is He. Though I do not use such titles. As is generally agreed, He is the God of Thunder, and Rain Bringer, I also associate Him with wind, and the changing of seasons. At the least, with summer. I see Him as the upholder of order and truth. He is of course, an Upper World God, Ueronados (celestial) and represents the forces of Samos: summer, order, light, life. I see Him in a way, like some Heathens view their Thunder Gods, as a God of the common folk.
I also associate Taranis with bulls and clouds, seeing the smaller clouds as His cattle, and the larger ones as His residence, that I call Nellotegos (Cloud House). The cattle association stems from the PIE Perkwunos, for which I credit Ceisiwr Serith and his book ‘Deep Ancestors’ for my knowing.
Beyond all of that, He is seen here as the defender of humans. Not in the sense of offensive war, but that with the purpose of defense and protection. He will be afforded a special ritual around Samolitus (Summer Feast) in an event called the Îuos Taranes (Feast of Taranis). This seems appropriate to the roles He serves in the cosmos.
Eponâ – She is one of the two main deities worshipped in Tegos Nemotarvi. Her name, according to Alexei Kondratiev, translates to “Great Mare”, and this is my favorite of options. She is often, as one might imagine, depicted on horseback, though side saddled, as opposed to a more conventional riding position. Sometimes, she is shown sitting between two horses. She sometimes holds grains, and fruits, and has been depicted caring for foals. She may be like Brythonic ‘Rîgantonâ’ and thus possibly related to the Welsh ‘Rhiannon’. I personally, would hardly consider that a stretch, but there’s not really direct evidence of that.
Rîganâ as another name for Her is suggested by Garett Olmsted, and that may lead to some creedence to that possiblility, as Rîganâ means ‘Queen’, and Rîgantonâ means ‘Great Queen’. Personally, I subscribe to the idea to the point that my worship of Her is syncretic of the two. Anyway, what we can see with Her are themes of the bounty of the land, of sovereignty, which leads to the possibility of Her being a Mead Goddess as well. Though, if that is so, most likely that of the Toutâ (tribe), as opposed to the Coryos (war band). I draw this from Ceisiwr Serith’s comparison of Her to Proto Indo European Hekwona, who is a Goddess of mares, mead, and sovereignty.
Though it would seem, with the presence of grains and fruits, She may have taken on traits like that of an “Earth Mother”. This is just a thought of my own by what I’ve seen on her depictions. Thus, in Tegos Nemotarvi, She is associated with the fertility of the land, and is the Wife of Taranis, which has been a conjecture that has been floating around some circles. I agree with it, presonally. I also subscribe to the idea that She is a psychopomp, who rides between worlds. It may be through Her that Taranis gets a horse, like on that of the Jupiter columns.
As the Gallo Roman ‘Eponalia’ is held not far from the winter solstice, and in Wales, the Mari Lywd is associated with Christmas and New Year festivites, an Îwos Eponâs (or maybe Eponin) will be held in conjunction with Giamolitus (Winter Feast) festivities.
Carnonos – More popularly ‘Cernunnos’. His name is generally thought to mean ‘The Horned One’ or something along those lines. Some associate Him with being something like a God of the Wilds, others in the past few years (to my knowledge) would say that He is a God of Bidirectionality, wealth (thus merchants), and a kind of Mediator Between Worlds (thus perhaps travelers) . The two are not, in my opinion mutually exclusive. However, my focus lies more with the latter, but I do not exclude the former. This is because the Gods are capable of being many different things, and so do not always line up with neat little functions and descriptions.
He is depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron with a ram horned serpent and a torc. This may symbolize His being between worlds, as that same serpent seems to be defeated by Taranis in another panel on the same Cauldron. He is also depicted with animals, and as a God of Mediation may well be between that of the wild and the tame.
Another intriguing idea is that He may be associated with major rivers. Which actually play well into the other above listed traits.
Brigantiâ – Her name means the “Exalted One”, or the “High One”. So, it stands to reason that She is associated with high places. In the pre Christian Celtic world, She was widely revered, among Gaulish, Brythonic, Goidelic, and Celtiberian peoples. Other than high places, She may have been the tribal Goddess of the Brigantes in Britain, and in Ireland, there is the goddess Brigid who is linguistically cognate. The river Brent, in England may be a reference to Her.
Some take the Irish views, lore, and customs related to Brigid and apply them to Brigantiâ. Though I don’t feel this is wrong, I disagree. Brigantiâ is depicted with weapons of war and is, if such classification were desired, a Warrior Goddess. If there were any deity I would liken Her to in aspects, it would be Greek Athena. At least insofar as being a protectress and warrior, and with Brigantiâ’s name refering to high places, it is not a far leap to assume She also plays a role in military strategy.
Her name is thought to mean “She Who Governs Well”. This could easily place Her in the realm of the household, and as such a Goddess of the Hearth. With the association with hearths comes fire, purification, and being one who provides warmth and nourishment (cooking of food), and governs the affairs of the home and family.
With these things in mind, I may diverge from some of my contemporaries by saying that it is to Her that the holiday often called Îuos Brigantiâs falling between winter and spring belongs. Which is why I call the day Îuos Suleuiâs.
Maponos – His name means “Divine Son”. We see, in Gaulish inscriptions, He is associated with magic. In Insular Celtic lore, we know of Mabon ap Modron, also Mabon fab Mellt, particularly interesting, as Mellt means “lightning”. This is even more interesting, as Oengus Mac Og, an Irish God of youth, music, poetry, among other things, is the son of Boann (a cow and river goddess) and An Dagda. Maponos, by His name alone, can be said to be a God of Youth.
When looking at Mabon, He is possibly also, or at least like Pryderi, who is the son of Rhiannon (Proto Brythonic Rîgantonâ), is possibly connected to Eponâ, and a warrior king Pwyll. Making for even more room regarding possible conjectures, as Pryderi was taken away from His mother, and found in the Underworld, later to be returned to Her. Maponos is likened to Apollo, which could imply that there is a healing, as well as solar aspect to Him. Furthermore, some say He was born on the Winter Solstice, Oengus was said to be born on Samhain, which is said to have marked the new year in Ireland. At Newgrange, the mound associated with Oengus mac Og, tracks the sunrise at the Winter Solstice.
So, perhaps Maponos was born around this time as well. Maponus was also depicted as Apollo playing the cithera, which is a type of lyre. So, when looking at Oengus mac Og’s association with music, along with the Apollo association, Maponos had been a God associated with music as well. In practice, two times of year come to mind in which he may be specifically revered. One being Giamolitus ( Winter Feast) signifying His birth, and the other may well be, given His association with youth, music, vitality, and magic, the time between the Vernal Equinox and Summer Solstice. A time I refer to as Centusamos (Start of Summer). In Ireland, this time is called Beltaine, or Cetsamhain, and Calan Haf or Calan Mai in Wales.
This particular time is a gut feeling of mine. Dun Brython, who are Brythonic Polytheists, and very bright minds, associate Him with the Summer Solstice. A very feasible route, but we are but a small household, so, I’m keeping the number of Gods to focus upon a holiday low. In most cases, one. Though He may figure in Giamolitus observances, I feel that Cintusamî, that is, the beginning of summer, will be the premier holiday associated with Him in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. In time, that may well change.
It is here that I should also mention that I am taking the leap of equating Maponos with Grannus. If They are not literally the same being, they seem to fulfill many of the same functions. Both are associated with springs, both are likened to Apollo, both have solar connotations, and both seem to have been involved in healing. Again, this doesn’t mean they are literally one and the same, but both go into consideration for me when fleshing out worship.
Lugus – Many names are associated with Him. So, I’m not going to list them all, I like the interpretations offered by Garett Olmsted, referring to His name meaning either “God of Oaths” or “Bright”. Being a God of Oaths is very much a prominent matter in cultures where holding to oaths was among the most important things one could do. In Insular Celtic cultures, He holds a very high place as well. In Wales as Lleu Llaw Gyffes, and as Lugh in Ireland. He is a heroic God in both, known for wielding a spear. He is known, rightfully, among many Celtic Polytheists as the God of Many Skills.
What in particular is quite interesting is His parallels to Germanic Wodanaz, in regards the significance of ravens, of course His spear, and leadership of a warband. He is also associated with Kings, like Anglo-Saxon Woden and Norse Odin. In Gallo-Roman depictons, He is associated with Mercury. This adds associations of wealth and being a patron of travelers. Every trait listed so far would be important to a king. There are many instances of Lugus, or beings like him in Insular lore, and this article would be even more unwieldy than it is likely to be if I listed them all.
In Ireland, the feast day of Lughnasadh is named for Him. The idea of a festival Îuos Luguos comes from this, and I cannot think of a good reason why it ought not be a part of Tegoslougos Nemotarvos as well. This is the time of the grain harvest, between the Samolitus and Mêthalitus.
Rosmertâ – She is the wife of Lugus, and She has some very powerful traits of Her own. She knows and weaves fate. She is the Lady with the Mead Cup, who initiates members into the warband. In the way that Eponâ does with the Toutâ (tribe). Her name means “Great Provider”. One who knows fate and its works surely is a seeress as well. She is also, as many Goddesses are, associated with fertility and plenty. She too, is to be honored on Îuos Luguos in our Tegos.
Sironâ – Quite an interesting Goddess, as I don’t know of any like Her. Her name is thought to mean “star” if you ask Miranda Green, but Garett Olmsted argues for “heifer”. If so, this associates her with cows, which to Tegos Nemotarvi, and to many other people and groups, are extremely important creatures. I can’t help but think of the name of our galaxy, the Milky Way, which holds both star and cattle connotations. That aside, She is associated also with serpents, eggs, and wells. Furthermore, with healing. Green and Olmsted paint different pictures with regards to Her.
However, I don’t see the two interpretations as mutually exclusive. Gods often have many functions, and do not fit neat little “boxes” that so easily simplify what are often very diverse pictures of who these beings are. Sironâ is clearly a case proving this very thing.
I have a strong suspicion that She is related to the morning star. As well as spring. This is the time that wells refill, and serpents are more active, emerging from the ground. This is also when eggs often start hatching. Alongs with these emerging, the morning star (Venus, the planet) is the first and last star, marking this liminal time.
Sucellos – Another God of many possible functions is Sucellos. The Romans have equated Him with Silvanus. Today, some think he may be the enigmatic Gaulish Dis from which they claimed descent. Others would say that He is a God of wine making. He has also been compared, like Taranis, to the Irish Dagda. As he is depicted with a cauldron, and a mallet or hammer, which has been compared to An Dagda’s club and cauldron. Others still equate Him to Vulcan and see Him as a God of Smithing. Or, bringing it back to Ireland, Dagda in Donn.
What all of these have in common, are chthonic properties. Save for perhaps Silvanus, which brings to mind woodlands. Whether smith, wine maker, or divine ancestor and father of riches, it is clear that there are many possibilites. I find that sometimes, though certainly not always, synthesis of such theories can help in the Reconstructionist mission of “fleshing out” deities for whom there isn’t much known about. When dealing with peoples who didn’t leave behind whole bodies of mythological works especially, this can be very important.
What we have in many of these theories allows for the possibility of a many faceted God with diverse, but in several cases, relatable functions. At Tegos Nemotarvi, there isn’t much of a reason to be seen as to why He can’t be a God of the Underworld, as well as something of a divine ancestor, who bestows the riches and powers of Dubnos to those who have His blessing. As the riches of the Earth, especially things like minerals and gems could easily be seen as gifts from the Underworld. A seed grows from under the Earth. Metals can be found under the Earth, and the Earth’s mantle contains heat, which sometimes comes out of volcanoes.
Regardless, there is much potential for understanding and possibilities as to who Sucellos is. As many were buried in the Earth when they died, it may be He who hosts them in their next life. It could be that the darkness of Dubnos, through Gods like Sucellos play an important part in the interplay with Albios in the turn of the seasons of Bitus. Perhaps just as an underground dwelling can shelter from the heat of summer, and keep harvests out of the heat, the warmth of summer may have to be returned. Thus Sucellos may play a part in that great cycles of seasons.
Nantosueltâ – Her name means either “meandering brook” if you ask Miranda Green, or “sun warmed valley”, if you ask Garret Olmsted. She is paired with Sucellos on an inscription from Saarebourg, in northeastern France. She is associated with fertility, crows, holds a house on a pole (interesting, no?) bees, or the collection of honey, mead and wine making.
Her pairing with Sucellos may then, if He too is a God of the Underworld, that She is then a Goddess of the Underworld. If this is so, then it may be that She represents the pleasures that await those who pass on. Of course, it is said that the Afterlife contains many possibilities, so that may be but one. There are many depictions of strange beings that imply that the Otherworld is not always a pleasant place.
Ogmios – There isn’t much by way of consensus as to what His name means. He is depicted with a lion’s skin, and a club, like Herakles. He is older, however, his skin is darker, and He is depicted with chains from His tongue that attach to the ears of His followers. Lucan, a Roman writer, well known for his satires and criticisms (though probably unfounded) of the Gauls, spoke of Ogmios and of His followers being glad to be chained to Him. That a Celt in the story mentions His eloquence being a greater asset than physical strength (roughly paraphrasing). He is comparable to the Irish God Ogma, who is said to have invented Ogham writing, and was also known for His prowess of speech. Back to the continent, where there are curse tablets attributed to Him.
It may be that He is falls under the category of Andernados, or Underworld, chthonic Gods. This is likely truth, and with traits of strength as well as eloquence, and of course, knowledge of the verbal and written word, it is fair to say that He must be a very powerful God. I feel as though He may well be a God involved in the creation of the world, mythologically speaking. In some way. Perhaps not the enigmatic Gaulish Dis Pater, but an important player in the matter, as Gods aren’t often depicted as old. Middle aged, perhaps, but not old. I doubt He was depicted as old for no reason.
There are of course many more Dêuoi out there. This is meant to be something of a “primer”.