Metiû (Thoughts)

Uepoi Aubessus (Words of Practice)

A list of words related to the Gaulish Polytheist practice of Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. These encompass practical ritual use, as well as religious concepts. Words with an asterisk proceeding them are reconstructions.

Dêwos, Dêwoi: God, Gods

Dêwa, Dêwas: Goddess, Goddesses

Diastus: The way of things. Set into motion by ritual.

Uîros: Truth. (Though also means “man”.)

Samos: Summer. Principle of light, and of the celestial.

Giamos: Winter. Principle of dark, and of the chthonic.

Adbertâ: Offering, sacrifice, libation.

Dugîon: Worship.

Delwâ: Image. Idol, visual focal point of worship.

Uedîu: To invoke (in prayer or ritual).

Noibos: Sacred, holy.

*Noibodius: Holiday.

Îuos: Feast, festival.

Uatu: Divination.

Mattis: Auspicious.

Anmattis: Inauspicious.

Aidus: Fire.

Ueranados: Celestial.

Andernados: Chthonic.

*Noiboclaros: Sacred table (indoor altar).

Liccâ: Flat stone (outdoor altar).

Casidanos: Priest.

Casidanâ: Priestess.

Senobessus: Old Custom. A popular name for Gaulish Polytheism.

Galatis: A Gaul. Today, a Gaulish Polytheist.

Galatîs: Plural of Galatis.

Bardos: Bard.

Uelitâ/os: Seer, diviner, taker of omens.

Druid: Druid. Educated in law, philosophy, religion, magic, astronomy, healing, etc.

Maniaces: Torc. An important piece of Gaulish (amongst other Iron Age Celtic peoples) jewelry.

Nemeton: Sanctuary, place of worship.

Brogilos: Grove. Literally “little forest”.

 

Continue reading “Uepoi Aubessus (Words of Practice)”

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Galatîs Sindiu

Those of us in the world today live in a world that is very different than that of the Iron Age in which the Gaulish peoples lived. Fifteen hundred years separate us from them. The loss of a language, a religion, and a culture. An identity. To speak of identity in times like these can be a tricky subject.

We’re living in an age where asserting one’s identity in the world has led to people who believe for whatever reason, that if theirs is not dominant, that it will cease to exist. That if they do not force people to think and act as they do, to believe as they believe, they themselves will be no more as they are. This is very dangerous thinking. It turns identity into a tool of oppression; a weapon. It turn into enemies many who may have otherwise been friends.

The first time that I was a Gaulish Polytheist, I truly did not understand identity. Though, I don’t completely understand it now either, I’ve come away with a better understanding of it now than I had a few years ago. Of something being so deeply ingrained into one’s being. I come from various peoples in recent history, that took that away from countless others, or at least tried. Thus, I was born into the Culture of the Self. Though, I’m not here to say that individualism is bad in all of its forms. Sometimes it is a very positive thing. It has also done great harm.

I didn’t directly, or knowingly, take part in the eradication, or attempts thereof, of other cultures. However, like many, though unintentional, I have benefitted from the actions of people who did. Having to work hard, study hard, and make changes to my own worldview is an infinitesimally small price to pay. Especially when compared to those that had to work under the yoke of oppressive institutions (all throughout the world) to either revive or preserve their customs. My privilege lies in the truth that only understanding stands in my way. Countless other people have had to contend with way more than that.

My Sîraxtâ (longing, though if like the Welsh ‘hiraeth’ means much more than just longing) isn’t comparable to many others, not even to any Gaulish ancestors I may have who, like many after them, had to contend with the loss of themselves at the hands of an oppressive power. Still, it exists, and perhaps with understanding of culture, not only could a gap that many in the Modern West feel be filled at least to some degree, but also instill or strengthen a sense of empathy for those who fight to keep their cultures alive. Not from imaginary fears put forth by fascists and their sympathizers, that fear those different from them themselves, and that the existence of other peoples and cultures amongst them somehow threatens current cultures (it doesn’t). No, instead from institutions that threaten other cultures simply for existing and asserting their rights.

Be it for a child to wear their hair the way it naturally is at school or an adult at work to do the same. Or the protection of sacred land from people who wish to destroy it for a quick profit. For one to wear whatever they choose around their head or anywhere else on their person, or any other cases in recent times. These things that don’t harm or threaten anyone, they are expressions of both who one is, and their culture, and their right to exist as they are.

I don’t know if there is a way to fully understand the struggles of the countless embroiled in that fight. Though the first recourse should always be to listen to their perspectives and concerns. Beyond that, to have a hope of understanding better, I believe it is important to also look at our own lives, and to try to remember that there is a part of us that is also yearning for a sense of who we are. A sense of yearning to reconnect with a deep, unshakeable identity. There are no easy answers to this.

It isn’t always as simple as genetics and ancestry, as some may lead us to believe. Having this or that blood quantity doesn’t instill language, custom, religious expression, song, dance, or much else other than a hair, eye, or skin color, secondary to medical history. Which is undoubtedly useful to know. Genes only really scratch the surface. As many deep relations were severed over centuries, it only makes sense that many people feel lost. It also puts up a barrier between the lost, and those who are not and often feel threatened by lost people looking to them, or oppressing them. It’s hard to give others answers when fighting for your own survival, and it is an unfair burden to place upon these peoples. So, for those of us with a sense of Sîraxtâ, it is on us to work together to find our answers.

So, what to do? That answer varies as well. Due to this, I can only offer up what I have done, and a few others who go a similar way. I looked back for that sense of connection. To the Pagan past. The primal, deep connection of remains that stirred in me the Sîraxtâ that I didn’t know that I had. For me, it led to the ancient Gauls. The many manifest Dêwoi that seemed to stretch a collective hand. Not because I’m anything special, but because they must have seen my hand reaching out as well. As I looked at the Cauldron of Gundestrup and saw its evocative images of a bearded figure holding a wheel. A figure in antlers, with a torc and serpent. A figure taking of men on foot into His cauldron, making them into mounted men anew.

I looked at another relief; a woman on horseback, sidesaddle, bearing the fruits of the earth. Another of the sacrificial bull, upon Him three cranes. I looked upon the great neck-rings in awe of the skill and dedication of their makers. Of those interconnected spirals, and saw a mystery within. I saw the words of a tongue I can barely grasp that reached out through the ages to my mind. Wondering how they sounded when that tongue of free peoples last came from the mouths of peasants and kings, seeresses and Druids. When I saw glimpses of timekeeping in a way I could barely recognize that sought to be understood again.

I walked away for a time, no doubt. It all seemed like too much, and sometimes it still feels that way. I sought comfort in a lineage I knew better and assumed I belonged. However, those mysteries beckoned me time and time again. You can only ignore a calling for so long. Though I say it again, I’m not special. There’s little remarkable about me. I’m just another factory drudge in a place coined the “Rust Belt”. I’ve even been reminded by a few that I’m “nothing but a peasant”. Well, what can I say? They’re right.

Be that as it may, it doesn’t stop me from reaching out. It doesn’t bring me a sense of shame. It didn’t stop hands from reaching back and pulling me closer to them. Nothing about any real or perceived shortcomings on my part stopped any of this. If you reach your hand out, maybe you will find that something grabs it. Maybe you’ll also be pulled closer to something that both is beyond the self, but also gives you a better sense of self.

I’ve been blessed with good friends, a great family, and the love of my life. That’s a big part of wholeness, something we all seek. Another part of that is that reaching out, and feeling a hand reach back. I don’t know what form that will take for you. I wouldn’t have guessed what form it would take for me. Perhaps my Sîraxtâ has a little further to go. After all, I still have much of that old tongue to learn. However, with all of these factors combined, I’m closer to that wholeness than ever. That Slanos. That Îaccos. Which may bring me closer to Noibos. (Wholeness and health, to be brought closer to the sacred.)

So, best of luck to you all in finding that. If it is the way of Galatîs, the Senobessus (Old Custom), let me know and I’ll try to help. Until then:

Immi Leitonellos Tarvogenos. Immi Galatis. Immi uiros rios toutîas rias.

Translation: I am Leitonellos Tarvogenos. I am (a) Gaul(ish Polytheist). I am a free man of a free people.

Taranis Eti Widucawarix

In those days when Man was young
Crude was their world, lives were short
Of hunger sated by raw flesh of beast
And great was their fear of the night
As darkness did hold sway unhindered
Life was very hard for those before us
Yet they were still gifted by the Gods
For they still had many gifts from Them
Grateful they were for them all indeed

The woods around them, vast and deep
Man lived much in fear of these places
Within them, the feared one thing most
Widucawaroi, massive and powerful
Unyielding and made of wood and leaf
They came to the lands of Men often
Demanding sacrifice to not kill them all
So they did this, for the Widucawaroi
But they could not do this forever

In their great dread, and in great fear
Did Man wonder at a possible solution
So they did gather those who could fight
They went into those deep dark woods
In this place unknown to them, to war
Those Widucawaroi would not be felled
That Tribe of Man did make fast retreat
But sounds of the battle woke their king
The Widucawarix came to take his toll

He marched through the forest and out
Where he had found the Tribe of Man
A toll of half the Tribe was to be given
Lest the Widucarawoi kill them all
Fear and hopelessness filled the people
But three of their warriors had a plan
They would move silent in the wood
Finding the Widucarawix in his sleep
And then exact their planned revenge

The three set off under cover of night
They did find the Widucawarix sleeping
With a spear did the first one go boldly
He fought and Widucawarix had awoke
The next went with her sword in hand
They were ripped apart limb from limb
Next went the third, but they had an axe
But Widucawarix was not just a tree, no
They too, eaten to be woven into flesh

When dawn came, Sulis walked about
She brought ill news of what came to be
For all, the warriors seemed not enough
She spoke of a path that went outward
Out of the town and toward the heights
At the foot of great hills they were to go
To speak to He who Walks the Worlds
As Sulis walked West to herald the day
She led the King of the Tribe to the place

The King brought apples to give as a gift
For He Who is Between the Worlds
Antlers upon His head, and torc on neck
“Carnonos, I come to you in need for all”
Did speak the King with a heavy heart
Offering apples for which the Gods ate
Carnonos knew of what the King asked
When the Widucawarix would come
Carnonos bore this plea at the hilltop

High above in Albios did Carnonos go
Where He called upon His kin above
This was a deed that Carnonos could do
But one was hungry to prove Himself
And He insisted that it be He to do it
Taranis wished to show all His might
And do a good deed for the Tribe of Men
Carnonos then did take Him to the Tribe
Dêiwos proudly gave His club to His son

The two went down the hill to Bitus
In guise of a bull did Taranis go forth
Carnonos led Him to the lands of Men
The Men were unsure of what occured
For they did not ask for food or beast
The people were told to trust Carnonos
He had them take the bull to the wood
A sacrifice that may appease their foes
To the forest, this bull was led and kept

With a rope tied to the club for a stake
Widucawarix was told off the offering
A problem, though, the club was heavy
None of the Widucawaroi could lift it
They sent for their king to come for it
He was strong enough to lift the club
But great was the burden, moving slow
To his house he took the bull and club
He would eat the bull, and keep the club

It was then, Taranis took His true form
And wrestled the club from his great foe
Blow for blow, the two did fight in fury
Club hit wooden limb, and limb hit club
When club passed limb, a scent arose
The smell we know as that of smoke
The fight went on, that smell grew fast
Taranis was tossed in the air by His foe
Readied His club, struck His foe down

Widucawarix was alight, he fell to ashes
Taranis was the victor and He readied
But the Widucawaroi knelt before Him
He would spare them if they kept away
Taking no more from the Tribe of Men
He went back to the people of the Tribe
Upon His return did the people gift Him
With grains, bulls and mead they gave
To them He they gave the gift of fire

With fires lit, they feasted in the night
They sang the tale of His deed so bold
Home He went the following morning
His Father gifted the club to keep as His
To Carnonos, a shining torc of gold
And the Tribe of Men learned to use fire
From His home, the Nellodunum high
Taranis watches over the lands of Bitus
That in great need, He may help again

Mî Spâtlon (My Story)

I’ve done a few posts talking about my practices that I have started forming. Now some of you may feel that now that I’ve changed your life, and so you want to know about the revolutionary new Tegoslougos making waves in the Gaulish Polytheist world. Its mastermind: a trailblazer, a genius, a maverick. Okay… So no one has ever said anything like that about me. However, this being a blog, and I, the author, I would think that it’s pertinent to give some background on myself.

For starters, I came from a secular family in Ohio. Like many Americans, somewhat disconnected from their heritage, and given into the culture of individualism that was instilled in us from birth. To speak of the vices or virtues of that is beyond the scope of my interest here. (Though there are certainly both.) My foray into Paganism, like many others started with digestible Llewellyn books leading me into thinking I was Wiccan. I wasn’t. By anyone’s definition, no matter how encompassing.

Then came my finding of Polytheism. Trying to find my way was, and is still at times, rather difficult. After all, it is much more than religion that is involved. It is also the embrace of a culture, in some form or another. That both are involved has, since I’ve become committed to Polytheism, given me a heavy weight. A great fear of getting things wrong. This has followed me in every decision I have made in regards to it.

From Brythonic Polytheism, to Gaulish Polytheism, Anglo-Saxon Heathenship, to feeling utterly lost, and to find my way back. However, the struggle of individualism and collectivism is a part of that, along with the heavy weights of of trying to understand culture with no real bearing. In these cases, it made sense to listen to better, more capable minds on these matters. I am fully aware that there are much better and brighter minds than my own. Tempered with years more in both experience in Polytheism, and life.

However, when I looked at many of them, they too went through similar things. I had been charged with needlessly “reinventing myself”, or in other cases “flying by night”. I had received advice to “stay in my lane”, and basically what I should practice, and they all came from people smarter than me. So, I figured that they must be right. Sometimes I still wonder if they are.

If all of this sounds heavier than I usually get, it is because these stories aren’t always pretty. It isn’t to be a “downer” or to be self deprecating. It is to convey the point that sometimes these transformations come out of things other than great inspiration. Sometimes they come from a place of fear, anxiety, insecurity, and vulnerability. To be honest, that had always been the case for me.

It was those things that had made decisions for me. Especially in regards to practice. Those changes often came at times I felt the most vulnerable, least secure. Never have such changes been comfortable or easy for me. My online presence took a more organized form once I had adopted Heathenship, I do not regret my time spent in it because I met some really good people. So, doubtlessly some reading this remember that I was Heathen.

The fear and vulnerability with which I went into it is not a reflection of Heathendom itself in any way. After a stressful marriage, and the realization that divorce was the only option left me searching for structure that I hadn’t found before. It wasn’t that Gaulish Polytheism didn’t have it, or that great works weren’t being done, but that I wasn’t capable of looking for it. I went from a very experiential approach to a far stricter one. People who told me that the Gods didn’t have interest in people. Save for large groups of them. Their groups, of course. Always.

I remembered going into trances and feeling in some way the presence of Taranis to trying to fit the ball into a square peg of a smaller size. Foolishly I thought that as I was better off in a religion that prized English, that the Gods should have Old English names. It wasn’t meant to be an act of hubris, but of a transition that I was told that I basically should make. That maybe Taranis was Thunor, and that it wasn’t up to me anyway. That I was wrong to see this God of Thunder as Gaulish, because at that time, I’d never be able to afford the materials to learn the Gaulish language. So, I’d never be a “good” Gaulish Polytheist.

Not that it mattered, I figured, if the Gods don’t care, then they don’t care what I call them. They weren’t listening anyway, and my experiences were just my imagination. So, I learned how to be Heathen, and I learned much that I still carry with me. However, I seemed to have lost touch with how to commune with the Gods. Learning better ritual formats helped a lot, and there is much truth in proper worship methodology being of utmost importance. Again, it isn’t that both communities didn’t already have that, just what I was able to find. Or what appeared when I was receptive to that lesson. I already knew how to do rituals, but I hadn’t yet understood why proper ritual was important.

Of course, things changed, and influences in Heathendom changed. Better voices asserted themselves, and I underwent the process of unlearning. That the Gods were and are, in fact, reachable even to one lowly person. That experiences are okay, and that proper ritual helped build a rapport and guide one closer to the Gods and to piety.

However, with that knowledge, and the unlearning of other knowledge, I had begun to question whether or not I made the right choice after all. I had been involved im some small projects, yet folks didn’t seem to think that I fit in with those projects. At first, it saddened me, but I thought that maybe there was a reason I didn’t quite seem to belong. Though no one ever tried to make me feel unwelcome (in fact, they were awesome), I still felt like I didn’t fit in. I thought that by embracing obvious ties in my own culture and ancestry (a standard that I never held anyone but myself to, as you do not have to have ancestral ties to practice properly), as well as the language thereof, that I’d feel at home.

Yet time and time again, I wondered at my choices. I fell out completely. I slumped into a depression, my practice went into a stasis. I wondered if I was really a Polytheist, or could ever be a good Pagan. So many voices told people what they needed to do, who was worthy, and who was right and wrong.

At this nadir, I looked back to my days as a Gaulish Polytheist. Though I wasn’t that good at it, I felt more complete then. I had started to learn much of how to be a Polytheist, and I wondered if perhaps I gave up too soon. After all, the community was and is, like many other Pagan stripes, uplifting and supportive when one is earnest. That it had not failed me, but I failed it.

In my search for answers, a friend taught me fire scrying. I had long given up divination, and outside of structured rites had no communion with the Gods. A part of life that I had so dearly missed. I thought at that point that I had nothing to lose, so I tried it. That familiar presence was felt again, the first time in so long. I couldn’t hide any longer, was the implication. The presence was disappointed in me, but not unwilling to give me a chance. That presence was the same that spoke His name so very clearly. Taranis.

Around that time, I happened across the Toutâ Galation, I also looked at Dun Brython, because Brythonic influence always rounded out my Gaulish practice, and both were present for a long time. Though Gaulish practice dominated in the end both last time, and this time. I went through the Toutâ Galation program. Everything came back like it never left me. I earned the Cobrûnos rank, and I took a new name. I came home. I ripped up my old blog, and this is the result.

My household took a new name as well. The old and new merged, and I have emerged more complete. With both the love of my life, and a slowly re-emerging relationship with the Dêwoi as They truly are to me, I can only hope that this is a story that continues to unfold for a long long time to come.

 

 

 

 

Mannus Etî Iemonos

Many ages back, when the world was new
Did Gods and Giants alone live here
In time, other creatures came into being
Born first in the seas, and into streams
Like the salmon that swim the waters
Then came the frogs and toads to land
The seprents to follow came forth next
Then came eagle, crow, and many birds
After that came the beasts of the land

All living with the children of Talamâ
From Her fertile womb came more young
Some much like Man, who stalk woods
Then two were born unlike those before
They were the first of all Humanity
The first two of many yet born of Talamâ
Mannus and Iemonos were they called
Twins, and the first born of all to come
The Gods did marvel upon the newborns

Many gifts did the Gods give to these two
Sucellos gave them the gifts of the land
Taranis taught them how to use the land
Carnonos taught how to reach the Gods
With all that they now knew, they went off
They gave gifts to the Gods in thanks
Mannus and Iemonos did both sacrifice
Great Bulls and Cows as were first to be
Both went off and had many children

Though the Gods welcomed this gladly
Their children became many too quickly
Too much of those gifts did they use
Suffering soon came to be, and strife
The problem was that Man lived as Gods
As it was, it could not stay this way
There would be nothing left for the young
So Iemonos did approach his brother
That they must find a way to fix this

Iemonos said that Men are not Gods
Thus Men should not live as long as They
So Iemonos said that he should die first
That those whose time came will follow
To do this, he asked Mannus to kill him
Mannus would not but Iemonos persisted
Iemonos would be sacrificed to the Gods
To thank Them for the life given to his kin
So Iemonos agreed, and it would be done

Upon a high stone did Iemonos lie still
He made peace with the end of his life
Mannus took a stone to numb his brother
Wrapped his hands around his neck
He then took a knife and cut upward
With heavy hearts the Gods accepted this
Sucellos bade the soul of Iemonos
That Iemonos may enter that realm
So it was, the first born, and first to die

Though Gods and Men wept at the loss
Iemonos did what had to be done in truth
With this, all of the children of Mannus
And all of the children of Iemonos
Live in the world an apportioned time
But one day, they must follow Iemonos
Taking that journey from life to death
In doing so, there is room for everyone
For those who live, and those yet to live

Alpetânon

There was Nothingness before the world
No Light or Darkness was known
Until in one moment, did Light burst forth
Light and Fire, but with Darkness and Ice
They came into being together as one
But Darkness was greedy and took all
That Light did not touch, Ice in Fire’s wake
Where they met, and touched, was Mist
From that Mist did First Life come

A Bull, Tarvomâros, white and great horns
Bouindâ, dun, came with Him from there
In the Mists, did they know each other
The Cow fed on Mists, the Bull of Her Milk
In time, She became heavy with child
Then from Her breath came First Child
From Her womb came the Second
They did feed on Her milk, the Bull envied

He was so big and strong, he had to feed
Mist would not sustain Him, He did plot
He would try to kill the Cow’s young
And so they fought one another, furiously
When He saw into the Childrens’ eyes
He knew that He loved them, he stopped
In that moment, the Cow’s horn thrust
The throat of the Bull pierced, he fell
“Take me apart and live upon me.”

Upon His last words, did the Cow abide
Pulling out His eyes, both glowing
Upward they went, bringing light to Mists
His spine was stood up, a great tree
Bilios, the barren tree was named
Upon flesh was this tree, blood in roots
Seeds did fall, and from them life grew
Giants, great and tall fought each other
The Great Mother Cow was in fear

But Her children grew strong and fast
Talamâ Her daughter, Dêiwos Her son
She was broad, and He was tall
They would go to live among the Giants
But they were not welcome among them
Dêiwos would often have to fight and did
In His victories, they had a chance to live
It would be however, that his luck ran out
He went and His Mother went to Bilios

It was He that was the last of the Old Bull
He would give His last, a branch of He
This help came with the price, however
That She would share the Bull’s fate
She agreed, and carried the branch away
Given to Talamâ, who made a club of it
With it, Dêiwos brought woe to Giants
He became lord to many of them
The rest were cast away, he was King

Dêiwos and Talamâ did lay together
They had many children great in number
Of their offspring, three great sons born
The oldest stayed close to His Mother
The next was much like His Father
The youngest, close to their grandmother
Bilios would tell them how he came to be
And the toll paid that let them be born
For these three yet had a role to play

As time went on, the brothers grew
When they did, the Bouindâ grew weak
She was old, but without her passing
There would be no future for her offspring
For Giants were many, and They were few
So She gathered the three brothers
And told them to take Her life away
They protested and wept at the notion
But pleas fell silent upon Bouindâ

The First Brother struck with a stone
A mercy blow that numbed and stunned
The Second Brother severed Her head
His brute strength pulling it asunder
As the Third Brother cut and she bled out
There was a great flood over all that was
Many drowned in the wash of blood
So were the seas and Her flesh the land
Giants and Gods took their places therein

Dêiwos and Talamâ wept for dear Mother’s end
But they could not kill their young cor this
Through Talamâ did that old spirit speak
Echoes of that old tale that She now knew
With Bouindâ’s hide, Dêiwos covered His wife
The Three Brothers, Great Gods of the worlds
Took forth the pieces of Bouindâ did each
The Great Gods set out, each on their own
Together they would make the world we know

From Bouindâ’s hide was the land gifted
From Her blood, kept off, was the seas
From Her bones, came the mountains high
From Her flesh came the fertile valleys low
From her milk came the rivers and lakes
Heated under warm flesh, the bubbling springs
Her eyes, torn apart, far flung stars of night
Her spirit, joined with old Tarvomâros, the sky
Dêiwos arose to take His place watching all

The many children of Talamâ, and Giants all
Did marvel upon this new world alike
For that moment, a respite in their wars
But the many clans split off and went their ways
The lines then drawn were clear forevermore
The Eldest Brother took for a home Dumnos
The Second Brother took for a home Albios
The Third Brother, He would lord over Bitus
All would then take their places within

Noibodiusi (Holidays)

What tradition calls itself such without holidays? When done properly, holidays and ritual not only bring us more into piety and closeness with the Gods, but reaffirm for ourselves who we are, and our own cultures. Holidays are the “prime time” of this. With that, I wondered how to go about these holiday observances. We don’t have much from the Gaulish of the past by way of what their holidays were called. It is also likely that different tribes had different names for, and different numbers of holidays.

For those with a Gallo-Roman focus, this is a bit easier, as more is known. For those of us who do not, looking at common patterns in other Celtic cultures helps shed light on some possibilities. It is common to look at say, Gaelic or Brythonic traditions for inspiration. Some will go further on to look also at Roman, Germanic, and Greek observances. This practice of “filling in gaps” is quite common amongst Pagan religions. Even without looking too deep, one can see that seasonal cycles and agricultural events tend to be the focus of many peoples’ celebrations the world over. Indo-European related or not.

The word “IVOS” appears over a few dates in a row, dispersed throughout the Sequanni Calendar. This is taken to mean “feast, festival”. Most notably, around the 17th of Samonios is “Trinoxtion Samonii”. Whether you think that refers to the full moon near the Summer Solstice, or the end of Summer is on you.  Regardless, it’s three nights, hence the “Trinoxtion” part. Other times are marked in different months. One is in Giamonios on or near the 17th if I recall.

From Irish culture comes what some call the four “fire festivals”. These appear to be roughly between solstices and equinoxes. Those holidays are Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasadh, and Samhain. These are often roughly equated in other Celtic Polytheisms as well. Though “IVOS” appears around the beginning and end of most months, I don’t know if that means that there was a festival every month or so, or why there were that many. I suspect that the length of time on the festivals may have to do with the timespan in which one could be held. Say, because of inclement weather, or some other problem.

Therefore, it is pertinent to take what we know. Indo-European cultures often observed celebrations related to the solstices. Stonehenge was used by, though not built by Iron Age Britons, and the henge marks solstices. By roughly employing the four fire festivals, and the solstices, that puts one to six holidays a year, which isn’t bad at all. There isn’t any proof of the celebration of equinoxes in any Celtic culture. it doesn’t mean that they didn’t, but if they did, we don’t know anything about it.

Where I live, the seasons are very pronounced, so I don’t find it amiss to observe the equinoxes, or at least, note the changes in the environment at those times. That puts me, at least, to eight holidays. I’m not going to bother dating them here, since the dates aren’t going to be the same every year. That, and the truth is, it is hard to observe a holiday on a work day. As many of you likely know. Nothing quite dampens the holiday spirit like being sore after a day at the factory. However, I’ll note the approximates based on the closest solar or lunar event.

Holidays of Tegoslougous Nemotarvos

Centusaminos – “First of Summer” The beginning of Summer. The full moon before the full moon of the Summer Solstice. The name is a Gaulish adaptation of Welsh “Calan Haf” and Gaelic “Cetsamhain”. Beltaine, May Day, etc. are analogous to Centusaminos. Bonfires are good for it (if I didn’t live in an apartment in a city), we adapt with an open grill fire. Also a good time for going outside and enjoying the weather. If more social that I, it could be done with lots of people. I’m not, so…

Associated Deity: Maponos. Why? He’s a God of youth and youthfulness! Also, if like me, you believe that the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, (a common belief in Celtic cultures) along with the start of Winter, then Maponos having a magic aspect to Him makes Him even more suitable for this time of year to receive offering.

Mediosaminos – “Midsummer” The Summer Solstice. The epitome of the light half of the year, where the celestial forces are in full display. The world is green and all is well. Everything is so alive! Warm days, active storms, everything is busy. This is, for me, one of the two largest feasts of the year.

Associated Deity: Taranis. Why? It is He that is the embodiment of celestial might. It is at this time of year that he can truly claim victory over the forces of Giamos. He gets a helping of the feast for sure. As He is what some would call a “patron deity” to this Tegoslougous, this is my favorite holiday, and it is an honor to be able to celebrate with Him in mind.

Îwos Luguos – “The Feast Of Lugus” Two full moons after that closest to Mediosaminos, normally. Lugus, as winner of the grain harvest is honored on this day. Fresh baked bread is one of the ways to observe this day. Anything else from this time of harvest is good. Grain is of course a very important staple in diets the world over. So, its importance cannot be emphasized enough. At this time in particular, I try to remember that though many like myself live modern, convenient city lives, it is because of successful harvests that we have food at all. It is easy to feel disconnected from that, but without Lugus winning the harvest back, no grain.

Associated Deity: Lugus (clearly). Winner of the grain harvest. Lord of all skills!

Methâ – Full moon nearest the Autumn Equinox, the Harvest Moon, as it is called around here. Ohio has four pronounced seasons, and you know it at this time. The leaves changing colors remind us that Winter isn’t far away. This is when most harvests are done in more temperate climes. In this area, apples are one of the more well known fruits of the harvest. This is, as witnessed by the changing of leaves a time of transition.

Part of my observance of this is from what I picked up in my time as a Heathen, and I see no reason to stop observing this holiday (Just as I never stopped observing Celtic holidays in those two years) It’s just done a little differently. The focus for me is on both the wealth that the harvest brings, and the transition to winter upcoming. Wealth and transition, what deity is associated with those? Oh, yeah..

Associated Deity: Carnonos. He is the focus of ritual on this day. Transition and wealth, as I said before. It is He we will ask to guide us through this time of year.

Samantos/Dîwedon Samonî – “Summer’s End” Basically the full moon closest to the midpoint of the Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice. One last go before Summer ends. Winter has arrived, and the air is crisp and cool. Samhain, Halloween, Calan Gaeaf come to mind, and Dîwedon Samonî is related to those. The veil between the world thins out again, and this is a time if magic, and a time of honoring the dead. As spirits are known to be active this time of year. Divination, and anything to do with ancestors is appropriate at this time.

Associated Deity: Senisterî (Ancestors). This is a particularly good time to honor the dead as Summer is also passing.

Medigiamos – “Midwinter” The Winter Solstice. This is the darkest time of the year, and it is cold in this area, so most like to stay inside. Like our ancestors, we make the best of it. This is a time for feasting, gift giving, and togetherness. Even I am less of a hermit at this time. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I certainly do feel a sense of holiday spirit at this time of year. Medigiamos, Midwinter, is the other particularly large feast day here.

The rebirth of the Sun, or His return may be particularly relevant to all of the lights, but it also serves the purpose of keeping up spirits. It’s a good time to be merry and reflect. This time also carries another significance, at least by Gallo-Roman standards, and that is the feast of Eponalia. It is Epona who rides into Dumnos at this time. I also think that it is kind of cool that Her husband’s holiday is at the opposite end of the year.

Associated Deity: Epona. She is Rider Between Worlds, as she rides into and out of Dumnos, it is She that is honored. In a way, a reverse influence of Eponalia.

Îwos Brigantiâs – “Feast of Brigantiâ” Usually two full moons after the Moon nearest Medigiamos. One of Brigantiâ’s aspects is that of a Hearth Goddess. Hearth (though I don’t technically have one) and home are the main aspects, to me, of this holiday. As the snow will one day be gone, and Summer will return, getting the house in order is important. This is a time of purification, and getting things in order. As fire purifies, we must purify that which is around us.

Many possible connotations could be made here, but a simple one is that of “spring cleaning”. I know, not the most fun idea of holiday observance for most, but important nonetheless. Another feast at the end makes it worthwhile, and to honor She who tends the home, and Her many gifts and skills which make life better and more whole.

Associated Deity: Brigantiâ, of course! Goddess of Fire, purification, healing and poetry, amongst many other things.

Iegibougnis – “Ice Breaking” Full moon nearest the Vernal Equinox. The second Equinox holiday, and of my creation. This too, is a time of transition, a dawning of sorts. As dawn is not quite day, spring is not quite Summer. However, Winter is starting to break, and around here, ice is finally starting to thaw. This is in a way to cover the disparities of climate in this region. Maybe in milder climes, signs of Winter waning show sooner, but not so much in Ohio.

So, one holiday is split into two, and that which reminds us that Summer is on the way, and that it won’t be freezing forever (a common sense of dread in this region). Leaves start to bud around this time, and small signs of life show. Springs start moving again, and all seems to be starting to come back to order. We like to celebrate with a breakfast feast at this time.

Associated Deity: Sulis. Why? She is the Dawn Maiden here. Associated with the Sun and springs. So, why not springtime? So, we welcome the Dawn Maiden to shine Her gentle light and warmth on our world. By this time of year, we certainly need it.

 

So it is, the are the holidays of Tegoslougous Nemotarvos. Take from them what you wish. A special thanks to Segomâros Widugeni for critiquing my choice of names for the holidays. Another to Tom Schultze for offering up Samantos as a name.

 

Continue reading “Noibodiusi (Holidays)”

A Reckoning of Time

When talking of reckoning time in Gaulish practice, there is but one source on the matter: the Sequanni (or Coligny) Calendar. Simply put, done and done, right? Wrong. In the Gaulish Polytheist world, the placing of the months is contentious and open for debate. However, I think this is good. We must remember that there were many Gaulish tribes. These tribes had different customs, varying levels of technology, and different Gods, or at least different names for Them.

It is for these facts that I can honestly say that I welcome differing approaches to the matter of timekeeping. If we ever all agree on a universal Gaulish Calendar, I’m okay with that, too. Not that I see that happening any time soon. We simply don’t know how many calendars the Gauls had because we have only found one that can be reconstructed with any amount of comfort. There are small fragments of another thing suspected of being a calendar, but it is impossible to reconstruct it at this time. At the least, until more fragments are found.

Nights Become Days

With that said, let’s explore a little on the matters of timekeeping that we know. Caesar mentions that the Gaulish peoples considered the day to start at sundown. This isn’t really unusual, the Jewish people reckon the same with their own calendar. Thus the reason their sabbaths start on Friday night. Considering that where they lived at the time of the Gauls was some distance away from the Gauls, starting the day at sundown was not at all uncommon in the ancient world.

Caesar didn’t likely gain anything from making mention of this, and so it is likely a truthful observation. The history of issues (to put it lightly) between Gauls and Romans were certainly not because of their differing approaches to calendars. With that said, we can safely wager that the day begins at sunset. If one wanted to have a more consistent measure of days (or lives in a far Northern place, or for whatever reason is in Antarctica), I suggest 6:00pm, or 18:00 as a good reference. With that settled, let us look at the divisions of the month.

There wasn’t a concept of a seven day week for the Gauls. The Romans introduced the idea to Europe. They got the idea from the Hebrew people. Of course, the Germanic peoples thought this was a good idea, and inserted the names of their own Gods (save for Saturn, I guess) for a seven day week. There’s no reason that the modern Gaulish Polytheist couldn’t do the same. In modern Celtic cultures, they use the names of the Roman Gods, and this would technically be more accurate than days based off of the Gaulish Gods. However, there is absolutely no reason why one couldn’t use Gaulish Gods’ names. I certainly would.

In case someone is interested in doing so, here is a recommendation:

  • Sunday (Sun/Sâwelos) Dius Sâweli
  • Monday (Moon/Lugrâ) Dius Lugriâs
  • Tuesday (Mars/Camulos, for example) Dius Camuli
  • Wednesday (Mercury/Lugus or Carnonos) Dius Luguos
  • Thursday (Jupiter/Taranis) Dius Taranuos
  • Friday (Venus/Brigantiâ) Dius Brigantiâs
  • Saturday (Saturn/maybe Sucellos) Dius Sucelli

However way in which one does that, the Gauls did not. That’s because they divided the month in half. The closest example of this is the fortnight, which is of course two weeks. Though the months in the Sequanni Calendar, save for one exception, are either 29 or 30 days long. So, that’s two 15 day periods, or one that is 15 days, and the other is 14. The 15 day halves are called “Matis” which means auspicious, lucky. The ones that are 14 days are “Anmatis”, which is the opposite of “Matis”, of course.

Over The Moons

The 30 and 29 day months are also given this treatment, matis and anmatis respectively. In this respect, I cannot help but notice that the Attic Calendar, used by ancient Athenians, marks months as “full and “hollow”. It is worth noting that Greek culture was prestigious to the Gauls, especially before their fall to the Romans. Sequanni territory was not very far from the Greek colony of Massalia, and if I were a betting man, I’d say that the Greeks had a major influence on the Sequanni Calendar. This isn’t to say that I believe that the ancient Celts weren’t already using a lunisolar calendar as it were. Which the Sequanni Calendar certainly is.

A lunisolar calendar attempts to reconcile the lunar months with the solar year. This is a relatively old style of timekeeping. Though purely lunar calendars like the Islamic Calendar do exist. Then, of course, the modern calendar, which gets its start in Rome, who weren’t about lunar months, apparently. They were more interested in the solar year. Now, back to Gaul, where the Sun and Moon must agree, at least somewhat. Most of the time, the Sequanni Calendar has twelve months. Did I mention that modern Galatis don’t agree on the matter? Well, they don’t. However, there is little to no disagreement on what those months are, just on how they are placed. The first month is Samonios.

Does Samonios mean “end of Summer” similar to Irish “Samhain”? Or does it mean “great (or divine) Summer”? There is some contention here, and a few good arguments. Instead of repeating myself what other folks, smarter than I, have already said, I’m just going to give you all a couple of links on the matter:

A perspective that offers a Winter start to the year, here.

A perspective that offers a Summer start to the year, here. Scroll down to the section titled “Samon and the Celtic New Year”, unless you want to read the whole article. For what it’s worth, Wikipedia agrees with the latter. I have to say that I also believe that Samonios falls in the summer. You will see when the months are listed that many months end in -ios. So, either the Gauls were more concerned with the end of things, or that suffix is a type of proper noun. I believe the latter.

Remember that the Gauls recognized primarily two seasons, as opposed to four. So, depending on what you think of Samonios and Giamonios, whether they refer to the seasons literally, or the end of said seasons, will make the time of year that your calendar starts different than someone who disagrees. Though, this can still run somewhat smoothly, if you swap months in discussions. Segomâros Widugeni offers “Blêdani Galation”, or Year of the Galatîs” as a term to date years. So, BG as opposed to BCE and CE or BC and AD.

The Months

At the most basic, and we’ll get to intercalary months in a minute, the months are as such:

  • Samonios
  • Dumannios
  • Riuros
  • Anagantios
  • Ogronios
  • Cutios
  • Giamonios
  • Simiuisonnios
  • Equos
  • Elembiuos
  • Edrinios
  • Rantanaros

 

These are your basic twelve months in order. So, what about those intercalary months? There is less surety in regards to them. Some say Ciallos is an intercalary month. Another thought says that Quimonios and Rantanaros are the two intercalary months inserted to even out a five year cycle. Before Samonios and Giamonios respectively. Even if one just uses Ciallos, the first time used, it falls before Samonios, and the second time before Giamonios in a five year cycle. Personally, I don’t think it matters much either way, but if you want to build a calendar, you have to make a decision.

Some also debate whether or not a month starts at a new or full moon. Furthermore, an emerging camp agrees with Pliny the Elder who states that the Gauls started their months on the first quarter. This centers the full and new moon in the middle of each half. This is what I think, personally. However, the word “Atenoux” meaning renewal is right in the calendar, dividing the month in half. So, whatever you might think, that is worth remembering.

In the links, you saw two ways to start a year. Some folks just use the modern calendar, and I guess one could. Personally, I think that lunisolar timekeeping is a good way to be in touch with the worldview of the Gauls of the past. However, a few intrepid souls created a calendar in Modern Gaulish (Helen McKay, Bellouesus Isarnos, and Steve Hansen aka Gwiríu Mórghnath): Amanar Ghaláthach (Modern Gaulish Calendar)

The calendar uses Modern Gaulish names and corresponds them with the modern calendar. So, there’s still an option for those that prefer the modern calendar, but still want a touch of Gaulish. Of course, one could use Ancient Gaulish names and correspond them to the months in the modern calendar as well. There are many ways to do these things.

An alternative calendar based on my local environment has been something I have thought of doing. However, I’m working on steeping myself in available material. One based on my local environment would look like this:

  • Samonios – “Great Summer” (roughly in June)
  • Sâweliotennos “Sun Fire” (roughly in July)
  • Arnicos “Grain” (roughly in August)
  • Bongîmos “Reaping” (roughly in September)
  • Ateogronios “Returning Cold” (roughly in October)
  • Donnios “Darkness” (roughly in November)
  • Giamonios “Great Winter” (roughly in December)
  • Iegionos “Great Ice” (roughly in January)
  • Bivocolânos “Coming Alive, Quickening” (roughly in February)
  • Allatios “Wild, Fierce” (roughly in March)
  • Lovonios “Great Rain” (roughly in April)
  • Bitubivâcos “World Alive” (roughly in May)
  • Ciallos (Intercalary month. Falls either before Samonios, or before Giamonios when applicable.)

That said, the aforementioned is merely a creative exercise. What I use personally is a take on the Sequanni Calendar developed by Shane Krusen, based on the works of Helen McKay. A link to that form of the calendar can be found here.

As a member of Toutâ Galation, I use the Coligny calendar as interpreted by them when applicable. However, my interpretation does (respectfully) differ. Plus, there is the possibility of the usage of a more local calendar. Feel free to use it if you feel inclined. I hope you all enjoyed reading.

Continue reading “A Reckoning of Time”

Dêwoi (Gods) of Tegoslougous Nemotarvos

Many Gods are recognized by Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. At this point, only a couple of Gods are regularly worshipped, but that list is expected to grow in time. The Gods of this tradition are some of those that were worshipped in Gaul and Britain 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.

With that said, the scope of this page is to discuss the Dêwoi as They apply to Tegoslougos Nemotarvos specifically.  For the most part, this will likely be in agreement with current scholarship. However, I intend to expand on that to explain a little bit about how the Gods are perceived in this Tegoslougos. So, this is intended only to cover the scope of this Tegoslougos, and no further. I only speak for myself, and I celebrate the diversity of practices within Gaulish Polytheism today. I have been helped by many along the way, from other Gaulish Polytheists, Brythonic Polytheists, other Celtic Reconstructionists, Heathens, Proto Indo European practicioners, Neopagans, and others I probably do not even realize.

For the sake of digestibility, and keeping this article to a reasonable length, this piece covers the “High Gods”, and rest assured, there will be more to come. (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 Tegoslougos Nemotarvos:

 

Taranis – He is one of two main deities worshiped in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. 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 Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. 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 9th 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 is perceived in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos.

If we 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 Mediosaminos (Midsummer) in an event called the Îwos 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 Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. 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 Tegoslougos Nemotarvos, 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 Mediogiamos (Midwinter) 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.

My own associations with Him differ little, if at all with what is described. I associate Him with the Autumnal Equinox, not for historical precedence, because there isn’t one. However, we live in a place with very pronounced seasons. That is a time around here when leaves start to change color, letting us know that winter is on the way. A transition of its own. Still technically summer, when looking at the ancient idea of seasons (with basically only summer and winter) but winter is clearly on the way, and that small transition is a reminder. That, and it is literally the halfway point between Mediosaminos and Mediogiamos. At the end of summer, is Diwedon Samoni (End of Summer) which I generally reserve for ancestors, so the Autumn Equinox gives us a day to very specifically honor Him. Since I feel that He deserves His own day.

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, she is known as Brighid. The river Brent, in England may be a reference to Her.

From Ireland, we learn that She is associated with smithing, healing, childbirth, poetry, and that An Dagda is Her father. She is of course also associated with the keeping of a Sacred Flame, for which many have interpreted as meaning that She is a Hearth Goddess. A fair line of reasoning. As some see Taranis as having something like An Dagda’s role among Gaulish gods, some see at least a possibility that He may be Brigantiâ’s father. I think this is a reasonable conjecture.

How the Gods relate to one another, if nothing else, can often be an important when people establish lore. Just as it was in the past. Her feast day is said to be around the beginning of February, which brings to mind the Irish holiday of Imbolc. This is between the Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox, roughly. Thus, Îwos Brigantiâs may fall as well, around this time.

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 Mediogiamos (Midwinter) 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 Centusaminos (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 Mediogiaminos observances, I feel that Centusaminos, 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 Îwos 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 Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox.

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 Îwos Luguos in our Tegoslougos.

Sulis – Sulis is a Brythonic Goddess, not conclusively linked to Gaul. Her name means “eye” or possibly “sun”. She may be linked to a finding related to one Solimarâ in central France. Though it seems that the Gaulish word for Sun is “Sâwelios” and “Sonno” is used in the Coligny Calendar, both of which have masculine connotations. Proto Indo-Europeans interpreted the Sun to be feminine, however. So, it is possible that She represents an older strain of thought that later changed, or that in Britain, solar deities remained feminine and in Gaul, deities like Grannus, masculine representations of solar deities come to the fore.

Regardless of that, the sex of the Sun, or Moon, for that matter doesn’t necessarily mean that deities of other sexes cannot have traits associated with the Sun or Moon either way. Personally, I see Sulis as something like the PIE Dawn Maiden. Thus, she could be a daughter of the Sun, regardless of the Sun’s sex. As a Goddess of Springs, and with possible solar quailties, as well as my interpretation of Her as the Dawn Maiden, I see her as a Goddess of Springtime. Heralding the dawn of the celestial “day” that is summer.

In this way, a similarity with Anglo-Saxon Éostre can be seen, as the month given to Her name is near the Vernal Equinox. Thus, I find that dedicating that particular event to Sulis to be a reasonable conclusion, though others of course, are free to disagree. As will likely be mentioned a thousand times, Ohio has very pronounced seasons. So, observing that time of year with a holiday of its own is something that I feel is appropriate. Though, to my knowledge, does not happen in ancient or living Celtic Polytheisms from a historical perspective.

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 Tegoslougos Nemotarvos, 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. To carry things further, it has become more popular to conclude that She may well also be a Moon Goddess. I’m not 100% sure of this, myself. However, if the reference to Druids referring to the Moon as the “all healing” are true, and any synthesis of Green and Olmsted’s interpretations bear out, it is certainly not a far stretch to conclude that she may have lunar aspects as well.

If this is so, it further enumerates Her functions as likely being a Goddess related to renewal, time, and even aquatic tides. Quite the resumé indeed.

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 Tegoslougos Nemotarvos, 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 Dumnos 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 Dumnos, 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.

However, all of that is simply a matter of interpretation to Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. I can’t help but feel that there is more to Him that I do not yet know. What is known, speaks of a powerful God with great knowledge and power, who likely holds the key to many mysteries.

 


 

Ritual Format

Ritual is how we connect to the numinous, the Other, that which is Noibos (sacred). As such, it is the “bread and butter” of communing with Gods, Spirits, and Ancestors. There may well be other ways, but a methodical ritual with the right elements is time tested. Rituals, at least not those of holidays, at Tegoslougos Nemotarvos, are relatively simple. With, at the most, two members at any given time, things that require a decent number of people to pull off are pretty much out of the question. What’s more, we live in a rather small apartment. So, there really isn’t much room for either a large Liccâ (Altar).

So, with a small number of people, and in a small space, regular rituals were devised. to be honest, these rites aren’t that different from many others. As a member of Toutâ Galation, I’d be remiss not to post what is basically the official ritual format of the Toutâ. This is the kind of ritual that I like for holidays, and as I (slowly) start improving my Gaulish, I’ll be able to memorize the words to the rituals. It was created by Segomâros Widugeni (his name pops up a lot in Gaulish Polytheist discourse, and for good reason), who in turn was influenced by Ceisiwr Serith, and his book ‘Deep Ancestors’.

I’ll start by saying the official ritual format is the best that I have found, in my opinion. At home, I like smaller, quicker, and simpler rituals, though. Mainly because it leaves less room for error. Also, because I’m honestly not very good at managing time. Other than the use of Gaulish language, this basic format may work well with other Polytheisms. Regardless, here is the rundown of how I conduct basic, everyday (okay, weekly) ritual observances at Tegoslougos Nemotarvos.

Glanosagos (Purification)

To start, I wash my hands. I haven’t got to the point of making holy water, but I make a point of making my hands clean in a mundane fashion as well. What may differ from others is that I use a special soap (handmade and local, to boot) for rituals. As the Gaulish were using soap relatively early on  (in contrast to the Romans, for example, who used olive oil) I feel like having ritual soap is my own take on the matter. After washing my hands, while they are still wet, I take a small swipe at my forehead, then another down the sides of my face.

I do this to remind myself of a few basic points of Gaulish worldview. One of those is doing things in threes. Which is common among Indo-European cultures in general, admittedly. The second is the high value that the Gauls are said to have placed on the head, believing it to be the seat of the soul. I normally perform rituals after a shower anyway, but the hand washing, along with the touches on the head have a special significance to me.

When doing the hand and head thing (catchy name, I know) I say these words:

Upon washing my hands: Glanolâmiâs (Clean Hands)
Upon swiping my forehead: Glanobritus (Clean Mind)
Upon swiping down my face: Glanoanation (Clean Soul)

If I got the idea from someone, I don’t know who, and I don’t remember seeing it anywhere. As far as I know, I came up with it myself. This helps get me in the right mindset for ritual, which I find very important. I believe one should be free of mental clutter before engaging with the Dêwoi, or any other being in ritual.

Tauselos (Silence)

Generally, I consider silence one of the sweetest and holiest of things. Seriously though, a moment of holy silence has both the sacred connotation of respect for the beings who are the focus of the ritual, and the practical application of getting your thoughts straight before preforming the rite. Also, a moment to find the writings of invocations I have.

Louceton (Light)

This is where I light the candles on the Liccâ (altar), this might be done in Brigantiâ’s name in a larger or holiday rite, but not for the regular ones. I don’t say anything special here, but just light the candles. I normally light the right one, then the left. However, in rites to Taranis, I go left to right. Not for historical reasons, but because west to east is the normal direction of traveling storms. Otherwise, right to left, like the course of the sun. Just my take, not an attested thing to my knowledge.

Uediâ (Prayer)

Self explanatory, I guess. Segomâros kindly provides invocations to some Gods on his own blog. I find them sufficient for regular rites. After which, I occasionally spend some time attempting to commune with the recipient.

Adbertâ (Offering)

I generally do this during the Uediâ. Wine is a good “go to”. I normally use cider, most alcohols work with most Dêwoi. With a few exceptions. Don’t give mead to Eponâ, she provides mead, so, it’s kind of pointless. Same with Rosmertâ. Wine is probably not the best for Sucellus or Nantosuelta, and I don’t believe in giving beer to Lugus because it is he who wins the grain harvest, but as far as I know, I’m the only one with that opinion. I generally don’t offer beer anyway, as I’ve never got any complaints about cider.

However, beer is fine, but if you can afford it, get a decent beer. Unless you’re broke (in that case, totally understandable), you can do better than cheap beer. If you’re not of the age to get alcohol where you live, whole milk is fine. Offering skim milk unless it’s all you’ve got should be blasphemy if it isn’t already. I’m of the mind that apple, pear, or grape juice is okay, but some may disagree with that. I’ve had no issues when offering apple juice when I didn’t have alcohol. Your mileage may vary.

Bread is generally a good choice. I hear of many folks in different traditions shaping loaves out of sacrificial animals. That’s a great idea. Though I’m sure that the Gods can tell the difference between an animal and your skillfully crafted loaf, They may well appreciate the effort. So far, plain old bread hasn’t hurt me any. Get some decent bread if you can, though. Better yet, make it from scratch if you can.

Meat is a good choice, mind what animal you get it from, however. Unless it’s all you’ve got, I’m not of the mind to think something like a hot dog is a good choice, but I don’t know, and perhaps one of you brave souls might try it. In this case, I like to match up the meat with the God, but some do it other ways. I’ve never been in a position to sacrifice a live animal, but if done as quick and humanely as possible, by someone who knows what they’re doing, I don’t oppose it. If you garden or farm, fresh produce probably works fine as well.

Clawiyâ (Closing)

This is when I say my thanks to the recipient of the ritual, and blow out the candles. I may share a bit of drink as well, but that depends on how much time I have or do not.


Well, there you have it. That is how normal rituals are done at Tegoslougos Nemotarvos, along with my own thoughts on various aspects of ritual, because I simply couldn’t resist. I hope you enjoyed the read.

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