Mon Dugion Taranes

As the Gaulish Polytheist revival continues on and grows, the names of the Dêuoi (Gods) become more known. No doubt as more find their way to Them, some will find themselves drawn particularly to a few. Some will find themselves drawn to a specific one, even. This is far from uncommon in Polytheist religions today. Nor was it uncommon in the past.

Greek and Roman sources mention priests of their Gods. This is also found in Norse sources, though less widely. Temples or sacred spaces — in whatever language they are called, are sometimes dedicated to one deity or another. Today, there are still, in places where Polytheism remains in unbroken traditions, dedicants, as well as priestesses or priests of certain Gods. This isn’t often to the exclusion of other Gods, but sometimes one is particularly important for whatever reason.

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A design on the infamous Gundestrup Cauldron that is thought to be Taranis. Someone is grabbing His wheel. Perhaps to tap into His power?

For myself, that is certainly the case. I certainly wouldn’t call myself a Cassidanus (Priest) as I haven’t earned the title. However, I am heavily involved in the worship of Taranis. Those familiar with some of my works will note that He often is the at the center of, or features in them. Any time He is mentioned, I can go on and on about Him. I give offerings to Him often, and often reflect and meditate on Him and what He represents.

Facts

So before I go into my own details of worship, the experiential end of things, I’d like to talk about what we either know, or is commonly accepted knowledge about Him. The name Taranis literally means “thunder”. The root “taran” is the word for thunder in Welsh, Breton, and Cornish. All three are daughter languages of Brythonic, which was closely related to Gaulish. Furthermore, Taranis was also worshipped in Britain.

Taranus and Tanaros (both provided by Garret Olmsted) are other versions of His name. Through His name, it’s clear that He is a god of thunder. The most ubiquitous symbol associated with Him is the Rotos (wheel). We see votive wheels often, and though the number of spokes vary, six and eight are the most common found. That said, it doesn’t mean that all wheel motifs found in the Gaulish world were associated with Taranis. The thunderbolt, as well as a club, likely to represent the thunderbolt, is the other more commonly known symbol associated with Him.

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A Gallo-Roman statue of Taranis with both of His enigmatic symbols.

Now that we have covered some of the bare facts about Him… What can we say about Him in practice? What does He do? As a god of thunder, we can certainly say that He rules over storms. Thunder, lightning obviously, rain would be a fair conclusion, and wind a likely one. All of these things relate to storms. Just off of these bare bones, we can think on what He may have been thought to do. Rain gives life to the soil, enabling crops to grow. This of course affects not only farmers, but the rest of us. After all, we all eat what they grow.

With lightning, we see the destructive power of Taranis. However, lightning also adds nitrates to the soil, again providing something needed for crops to grow. Though the ancient ones likely didn’t know about nitrates, they may have known that lightning was good for soil. No doubt they knew of lightning’s power. Here we see both destruction and creation. That ability to end or restore life.

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Probably Taranis. If not, this being certainlt has a lot in common with Him.

In thunder, we have a force that can shake the ground, and that can be heard from the sky. As if the sky bellows, making presence known. Some would say that Taranis might also be the Gaulish Sky Father. Another prominent point is the Jupiter columns found along the Rhine. This is at the edge of Gallo-Roman terrirory, and on them, Jupiter is slaying a giant or monster of some kind. In other Indo-European religions, the god of thunder does this. Thor and Indra come to mind, as gods related to thunder slaying an opponent that is monstrous and a threat to order.

He was also seen as a warrior, likely as a protector as well. Especially if looking at neighboring Thunaraz of the Germanic peoples at the time. The Berne Scholia calls Taranis a “master of war”. So we have a Dêuos in Taranis who knows battle. His struggles with forces of chaos allude to this, if not battle in the sense of warriors as we know them.

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Taranis depicted with His wheel, an eagle, and in armor.

Personal Gnosis

Now, onto the title of this article which is translated to “My worship of Taranis”. My understanding of Him is in line with the things I described earlier, for the most part. I too see Him as a god of thunder, rain, wind, and lightning. These are relatively easy.

As storms are more common in the summer, it is the first quarter moon closest to the summer solstice, a holiday I call Samolitus (Summer Feast) that is dedicated to Him. As He is a slayer of chaotic beings, it may also be that His Ueronados (celestial) aspect of which He is unrivaled signifies a victory of summer over a chaotic opponent representing winter. As it is far from uncommon for thunder gods to slay opponents from the deep, I do not feel it is a stretch to apply that to Taranis. So the time of greatest light is quite fitting.

There is, in Taranis, a thunder god with aspects of a Sky Father — when looking at the wheel, a sign of cosmic order. With the armored depiction of Taranis, it appears eagles may be associated with Him. Due to the strength and potential ferocity of thunder gods, bulls are another possible animal that may be assiciated with Him. This happens to be something of a shared gnosis that I and several other have. Another would be that He is associated with oak trees, as many other thunder gods are, it seems fair that He would be as well.

Much of the depictions of Taranis have Him shown with the thunderbolt and wheel. The thunderbolt has the destructive and restorative functions I discussed earlier. The wheel, is a different matter entirely. In the case of Taranis, it isn’t likely a solar symbol. If it were, it would be pretty odd to have a solar wheel depicted with a god whose name is Gaulish for “thunder”. Plus, with all Roman deities that *do* have solar attributes, Taranis isn’t equated with Them.

So, what does the wheel mean? There is the idea of “rolling thunder” and that is a fair statement. As we enter the field of conjecture, it seems appropriate to refer to my own, from my meditations on this symbol under personal gnosis. As far as I can tell, the Rotos (wheel) means many things.

Rolling thunder? Sure. When the wheel is associated with the sky and cosmos, it seems fitting that a thunder god may wield it. Along with that, there is motion, perpetual and constant. In that, we see order. The Samos principle made manifest. Taranis protects and maintains order, able to continue or end life. To preserve or to take.

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A really cool artistic depiction of Taranis.

So, what do we have? In Taranis, the force of destruction, yet able to preserve and continue the cycle of life. Perhaps even bringing life when we look at Him as a rain bringer. We have a warrior protector, but one who protects all. Not just the warrior or the ruler. We see in the wheel order, and what maintains order is truth. So that we can look at Him as one who rules over truth to the benefit of order.

Though we must remember that maintaining order isn’t the same as maintaining the “status quo”. As true order cannot exist without truth. When putting our worship of Him forth into real life, by following His example, we should look for truth in our own lives. Endeavoring to live in truth, to do what is right so that there can be real order, and not just the illusion of it.

For those willing to reflect and reach out, Taranis offers much to His worshippers. It is on us to look for that truth. Then to truly listen.


Need more info and perspective on Taranis?

Ceisiwr Serith has a video on YouTube.

Segomâros Widugeni has a good short article on Him.

Kevin Jones has a really good dissertation on the wheel.

*** I didn’t want to make this article unwieldy, so check out some of the other works I have that mention Taranis!***

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Îuoi (Holidays)

As with any other Polytheist tradition, a Gaulish Polytheist one needs holidays. Those special times of year where we come together to observe specific Dêuoi for specific reasons. As well as attuning ourselves to the cycle of the seasons, and what that means for us. In this case, different Gaulish Polytheists have different answers.

In a previous article, I talked about the Sequanni Calendar being a contentious point in Gaulish Polytheism. So it stands to reason that as we don’t agree on that, we also have different holidays. We call those holidays different things, and have different ways of observing them. They’re observed at different times as well. Since there are fine folks out there who talk about their holidays, mine might as well be added to the list.

As I lost the previous article talking about these days (somehow), it meant I had to do it again. However, that has given me an opportunity to revisit my own ideas on the matter of holidays. I feel that I have done better here. For reference sake, I use the Coligny Calendar App designed by Shane Krusen. I feel that he has put together the best working model of the calendar, and as it comes with a Metonic cycle option, I like it even more.

In the history of the calendar, the length of an age, or where the calendar completed its cycle, went from 30 to 25 years as time went by. As the Metonic cycle is probably the most accurate as far as lunisolar timekeeping goes, I feel that it is a good borrowing. Thus, by retaining the names of the months, and being able to keep up with the same methodology of a lunisolar calendar, we see a synthesis of retaining the old while being able to adapt and borrow as the Gauls themselves did. This synthesis is reflected in much of Polytheist movements today.

So, with that reference noted, I should also say that even without the Metonic addition, the holidays are still in the same time range. Though the purpose of this article is not to discuss the calendar, I wanted to give some background into the frame of reference I use for the holidays. What we see whwn looking at the calendar is that there are several points in the year where the notation ‘IVOS’ is attached to several days in a row.

As Iuos notations cluster around certain times of the year, it can be assumed that they are likely holidays. Though it cannot be said for sure how long a given holiday was observed. As the clusters may point to a range of time in which it was acceptable to observe a given holiday. The pain with the Iuos clusters is that though they are consistent, they still show up in different months on the calendar throughout the years.

Though intercalations are involved with that slight distortion, the timing of the holidays themselves are actually completely consistent. So, on the calendar, the clusters will show up on one month or one other, two at the most. However, it is still consistent because these clusters are marked by one specific moon. In other words, an Iuos cluster may show up around 1 Simiuisonna one year, and near 1 Equos the next, but it will be the same moon in the lunar cycle.

The months start at the first quarter moon, in line with Pliny the Elder’s statement that the Gauls started their months six days after the new moon. This assumes a first quarter start, and a first quarter moon is easily visible. If this sounds confusing, and it did to me at first, it will be made clear now in this list of holidays. Remember that the moon is your friend. Without further ado, the holidays of Tegoslougos Nemotarvos

Cintusami “Start of Summer” – Cintus (first, start) and the genitive (possesive) form of Samos, which means “Summer”. Cintusami falls *two first quarter moons before the summer solstice*. This puts it around 1 Samonios, 1 Cantlos, or 1 Quimonios depending on the year. It will always fall on whichever month will start two moons before the solstice.

Cintusami is of course the start of the summer. In this sense, a parallel can be drawn with Calan Haf (Wales), Beltaine (Ireland), and May Day generally. The frost is gone, the weather is pleasant, and the land is alive.

Associated Deity: Maponos. As a God of youthfulness and pleasures, He is a fitting recipient for ritual this time of year.

Samolitus “Summer Festival” – Samos (Summer), Litus (feast, festival), comparable to Midsummer celebrations. Samolitus is observed on the first quarter moon before the summer solstice. This falls around 1 Dumannios normally, otherwise 1 Samonios. Always the quarter moon before the summer solstice.

Samolitus is the Midsummer celebration. The highest point of Samos, the time of victory over Giamos. This is the brightest time of the year. I consider this the time when Taranis slays His great foe. My favorite of the holidays!

Associated Deity: Taranis! Wielder of lightning and thunder, bearer of truth and the principle of Samos. Was there even another guess?

Îuos Luguos “Feast of Lugus” – There are occasionally Iuos notations at the beginning of Riuros, sometimes during the second half of Dumannios. However, as there is a solid date, 13 Riuros. This may well have been the date of the Datlâ (assembly of the tribe, or tribes), and still can be. But why not have a holiday then as well? That is my rationale, and in a household of two people doesn’t need a ton of holidays.

This is of course a time to celebrate Lugus and the grain harvest. His wife, Rosmertâ is also given offering this time of year.

Methâlitus “Harvest Feast” – This is a holiday of my own making. My reasoning is twofold. First, most harvests locally are done around the autumnal equinox. The Harvest Moon is an often mentioned in relation to the harvest season. The harvest moon falls around 9 Ogronios. Therefore, this was an easy innovation to make.

This time of year is lively in my area, but that winter isn’t too far off. This is, in effect, a time of transition.

Associated Deity: Carnonos. He is called upon to guide us during this time of change.

Samantos “Summer’s End” – Sam(os) meaning “summer”, Antos (boundary, limit). I picked this at the suggestion of Tom Schultze, as it has a smooth sound to it and conveys the needed point. This falls around 1 Giamonios normally, otherwise 1 Cutios or 1 Rantaranos. Regardless, this is two fist quarter moons before the winter solstice.

This is the end of summer, the beginning of winter. Time and the days are going dark, like a descent into Dubnos. So we turn to the Underworld for guidance.

Associated Deities: Sucellos, Nantosueltâ, and the Ancestors. The deities and dead are honored at this time.

Giamolitus “Winter Feast” – Giamos (winter), litus (feast). This is a one day holiday. Always falling on either 9 Giamonios or 9 Simiuisonna. This is around the full moon closest to the winter solstice. This is of course, the darkest time of the year, but with the full moon perhaps it shows that light was still sought and could shine through it.

In mainstream culture, there are many holidays this time of year. So regardless of how big it was in regards to the Gaulish world of the past, it may hold more meaning today. Warmth, feasting, and gift giving are good motifs for this time of year. This is also the time of the Wild Hunt, led by Eponâ.

Associated Deity: Eponâ. As leader of the Wild Hunt, and in my own lore mother of Maponos.

Îuos Brigantiâs “Feast of Brigantiâ” – This holiday falls two first quarter moons after the winter solstice. Around 1 Equos or 1 Elembiuos. As winter starts to loosen grip, we might see signs of spring. The days are starting to get longer again.

This is a time of cleansing, renewal, and bringing back warmth. Brigantiâ fits these things and this holiday is dedicated to Her.

Uisonnalitus “Spring Feast” – A peculiar day when noting that there’s no reasontto think that the Gauls observed anything related to the vernal equinox. However, there is an Iuos day a few days after the new moon, likely the first sliver, closest to the vernal equinox. This falls on 25 Aedrinios or 25 Elembiuos on some years.

Though there isn’t much precedent in the Celtic world, there is a modern holiday named after an Anglo-Saxon goddess. It may be that as one might notice day getting closer to overtaking night that this time was noted, or that it was seen as a dawning in that regard. I don’t know, but this eighth holiday balances the calendar out, and does seem to have been a holiday. What it meant, we can only speculate.

Associated Deities: Sulis and/or local river deities in general.

These are the holidays, or as has been jested about “Gaulidays” of Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. At a later date, we will look at each holiday in depth. Until then, thanks for reading!

Taranis Etî Andenamatos

The bounty of the harvest was gathered
And the beasts were counted to be culled
In those times long ago done as is today
The fires burning bright like Suns at night
Songs sung by fires and music was heard
Unbridled the joy from the kin of Mannus
They reveled in the gifts the Dêuoi gave
Who taught them how to live and feast
As they too did this at their long tables

For the wine and mead and beer flowed
The beef and mutton and pork roasting
Departed souls of the dead even joined
All sat at tables to partake in the bounty
Not a seat unfilled and none turned away
As was and is the way of Dêuoi is it ours
And it was for those of the past as well
The Dagouello intact and kept in place
Keeping with old customs of hospitality

The Dêuoi looked upon with satisfaction
With rites remembered, they were pleased
In Albios as in Bitus as in Dumnos it was
But those depths of Dumnos held much
Not even those who dwelled it knew of all
And none could foresee what did follow
From the darkest of depths one dwelled
He did from those deep roots of Bilios
Where He fed and took of the deep water

He did not care for Bilios nor the world
The Carnonatrix this creature was named
First of those mighty foes of the Dêuoi
Who sought to tear down the old Bilios
That the heavens may fall to the earth
For which all feared above anything else
But he did seek to bring Albios downward
That it may be he alone to rule the worlds
He bade his time and now arose to Bitus

All became tired after their great feast
It was then that everyone sought rest
As did life giving Litauiâ from Her work
The price of such bounties being given
But something seemed different this time
For the air around them was quite cold
The sky seemed to stay dark for longer
None knew why this was and they worried
They took arms and looked for the cause

In the darkness, none could dare search
To grasp about rather blindly in the night
How long those dark nights indeed were
That Carnonatrix under that deep cover
Knew old magics of a kind not spoken
He would take from the unsuspecting
Devour them when they were unprepared
For he was an enemy to all the world
And hated they who made life from it

Those old magics with a great price came
In the flesh and blood of those consumed
For new form and shape the Carnonatrix
A mighty strong body and limbs formed
He would be known as the Andenamatos
The foe from darkest depths of Dumnos
With arms and legs of serpents was he
All of the world he would make barren
For he consumed all that was around him

The trees would offer their leaves to him
A sacrifice to save their own barks it was
Only evergreen spines kept him at bay
For they surely wouldn’t go down too well
Holly and ivy just enough out of the way
That they could hide from that predator
His soulless touch made the water freeze
Those Ladies of the Waters his captives
Birds had to hide or to flee for their lives

The poor creatures that hide to this day
When they retreat to dens and tree holes
Artio, She did guide them there safely
Protecting them from this predator of all
Among the bears, all followed their lead
The cold, the dark, the chill inescapable
At home the women and men would hide
It looked to be that all the world was lost
Only the howls of wind and wolves heard

Two quarter moons passed from the dark
And Brigantiâ would wake from slumber
Upon a hill She went to a spring at dawn
There She freed the Dawn Maiden Sulis
Who traveled to Taranis who slept deep
As Eponâ held Her son, He let out a cry
One that was so loud that all had heard
Even Taranis could not sleep through it
And His rage was felt upon all the world

He then called out, and all did hear Him
But with no proper weapon to be found
For He did not fancy the spear or sword
But He needed something to use in battle
There was one that He would seek out
Down to the land He went for His charge
He could see His way to a path in woods
A familiar face in the distance He saw
Almost mistaking His charge for a stag

Carnonos was not pleased to see Taranis
And saw that which unfolded His fault
That He failed in His duty to the world
Only to help Taranis if He left His torc
And gave Him one of His finest bulls
With anger Taranis agreed and awaited
Carnonos then led Taranis to Dumnos
Reminding Him that He did not rule there
For this was indeed the realm of Sucellos

After Taranis arrived He was approached
For not long ago had His son been here
And He who approached had seen Him
It was Ogmios and He spoke at length
Telling much of the good son of Taranis
That the boy learned of songs and dance
And did both very well that it impressed
But Taranis needed much to see Sucellos
Ogmios agreed to help Him but for a price

When Maponos was one day old enough
He would become apprentice to Ogmios
That He’d learn to wander, hunt, and sing
He would also learn of His many magics
Taranis agreed to this but did remind Him
That Maponos was to first be fostered
So Belenos would have the final word
It was good enough for Ogmios right now
He had agreed to lead Taranis to Sucellos

On they went, passing by the barren fields
Peopled by those who had left the world
In a place that was supposed to be green
With no comfort to the footsore Taranis
Who hardly stood out among the people
Though still they knew Him and gave gifts
As He had done well for them in the past
Feeling little better but continuing on
In that procession of poems and songs

It reminded Taranis the time was Cantlos
But in this place time mattered very little
Wondering if the world still sang of Him
They arrived at the dunum of Sucellos
Where they were greeted by those within
But at the court of Sucellos all was quiet
And Sucellos had not greeted with joy
For His beloved Nantosueltâ was missing
He only gave the minimum hospitality

Sucellos spoke to Taranis of His plight
That Nantosueltâ was also imprisoned
Which was why the fields were so barren
For it was She who gave life unto them
The one who made this place so lively
But no matter where Sucellos would look
Nantosueltâ was nowhere to be found
Taranis offered His aid for a small price
That Sucellos would make Him a weapon

With His apprentice Gobannos He worked
For three days they worked at their table
With iron upon sacred oak they tended
Taranis would rest from His long journey
But He knew well that it was still not done
Nor did any know how much He could eat
A full bull and ram and boar were eaten
Three barrels full to brim with mead gone
Nor did bread wine and cheese fare better

The next morning His club was presented
And all at the court did marvel upon it
With that His court bade Taranis farewell
Sending Him off to free their dear Queen
Now He felt bold and mighty once more
Moving with haste and purpose again
Leaving Dumnos, and seizing His torc
Carnonos had renewed His sense of trust
And would not miss that heavy trinket

Andenamatos knew the return of Taranis
As Brigantiâ and Sulis had declared it
He saw a glowing mare awaiting Him
Upon Her He rode and blinding the speed
He came to the frozen rivers and valleys
And He struck with His club to free them
Nantosueltâ was among those within
She thanked Him and made Her way back
Carnonos did guide Her back to Dumnos

Taranis knew that His debt had been paid
And this club, Lucetios was His to keep
But His mind was set to finding His foe
Upon His beloved mount, He met Him
Andenamatos was as tall as Them both
He had balked at what he saw as a fool
But Taranis moved to strike in great fury
Andenamatos had finally met his match
They battled enraged and trading strikes

The foul being went to strike the mount
A mistake that he now paid for dearly
Taranis knew indeed who His mount was
And He would not allow a strike upon Her
He took His club and with all of His might
Struck a blow that made the world shake
It was seen as a brilliant flash of light
Andenamatos this time met his better
His body now smashed into many pieces

It was now that the days went on longer
That the nights seemed kept long at bay
Fires were blazing so bright in His glory
The people sang and danced and feasted
His great battle would be know to all
And all would celebrate His great victory
That old fiend it is said, slithered away
With that last piece of himself he still had
And Taranis hurled Him into the depths

None knew if the they’d see the foe again
At that moment few gave it any thought
The people were proud of their champion
Giving many gifts and thanks to Taranis
And some swear they saw His mount
Turn into the fairest being they had seen
Not fully sure if they had seen Eponâ
Taranis and She returned to Their home
Upon that Uxellotegos high once more

Spatlon Carnoni (by Selgowiros Caranticnos)

When the world was young, man had no home.
Man had walked the wild, trying to find rest.
Each day the sun would burn man, and the night sky would cool him but make him cold.

Taranis would give storms to man. Man thanked Taranis but asked for the rain to not make them wet and cold. Taranis replied “I will not do this. The waters in the land will dry and everything will die”.

Man relented and walked the wild again. One day, Carnonos came to them and asked “Why do you walk these wilds?” Man replied “We do not have home or shelter. The sun burns and the night cools, Taranis gives rain but will not dry us.” Carnonos then showed them the forest and how trees, rocks and reeds house spirits. Carnonos tells man “If you make a home, it separates you from the wild”.

Man then made a home from trees and rocks and reeds. It was for this they thanked Carnonos. But the spirits were angry at man for taking their homes. For this offense they attacked man, outside and inside his home. Carnonos saw this and was displeased.

Carnonos asked the spirits “Why do you attack man Inside their home?” The spirits replied “Man had stolen our homes to make his own.” Carnonos then gathered man and spirit to talk. Carnonos said to spirit “Man should ask for what he took and give thanks afterwards”. He then said to man “Spirit should not come uninvited into your home and attack you if you follow this pact”. Both spirit and man agreed to the terms. The spirits went back to the wild and man went back to their home.

However, some spirits broke the pact and attacked man in their home. Carnonos saw this and scratched the trees, kicked the rocks and broke the reeds. The spirits came from their home to attack Carnonos but before they could lunge he let out a terrible yell which caused them to scatter in confusion and fear.

The spirits ran to the homes of man to escape Carnonos. Some spirits had asked to live then with man in homes made from tree, rock and reeds. But others attacked again and broke the pact once again. Carnonos in his fury walked to the homes of man and merely let out his terrible and awful yell, and the spirits ran back to the wild in fear and confusion once more.

The spirits who had broke the pact and had their homes taken went to the otherworld/underworld and dwelled in the dark.

Mapats Leuci

Long were those nights in shadow
When frost touched, making land firm
Left behind from the months of reaping
From the prize that Lugus won first
From the fruits Litauiâ bore thereafter
Then the lost souls of the world roamed
But promise came to the world soon
A month from that Samantos feast
Had there been a child born of Holy Ones

When mighty Taranis and bright Eponâ
Did give a child to the world all did see
Fine and fair locks with a glowing spirit
Around Him all seemed bright and well
Taranis called all He knew to celebrate
A great feast and gathering He made
He ate and drank so much in His joy
Having His fill of meat, wine, and bread
His hunger and thirst without equal

His eyes weighed in stones, that He slept
Nothing and no one could wake Him
He slept as fully as He feasted and drank
Eponâ tended Her dear son as He rested
All was well at the Uxellotegos that night
Safe from touch of frost and lost soul
A home filled with content and happy kin
He was left in the care of Eponâ’s maids

Their son was not a normal child at all
As any born of the Dêuoi ever could be
He could walk near as He had been born
Clad in garb of green, He went outside
He marveled at the frost kissed grasses
In awe of the trees that were still green
While others were bare or close to it
With those many colored leaves about
Harvest of the leaves kept the trees alive

Down from that high hill were woods
Those still green trees that He loved
Cold that kept most inside their homes
But not the Dusioi that dwelled the woods
They too loved the evergreen trees much
And did not take well this strange child
Who was alight with wonder and joy
But cunning and quick they were at once
The child taken away as His head turned

With great haste the Dusioi ran forth now
Amused at his doings, reveled in scheme
Wondering where to go with his quarry
Until he came upon a cave in the woods
Deep within he went with the scared boy
Then the came upon what looked a river
Starting small, but growing as they went
At a shallow point, they waded across
But only the boy was able to cross over

The Dusioi was angry, but pleased as well
If he could not cross, perhaps none could
The child left alone went on in His dread
Finding a way out of the strange cavern
To new land with dark shades of green
It was here He met a strange old fellow
Who never spoke without a following
His words bound listeners as if one saw
Great chains hanging from His tongue

The child was among those spellbound
Tales were told as this merry band went
Of this place called Dumnos they were
Where a great king held a great house
The Uotegos where Sucellos does live
When the wandering folks arrived there
Sucellos awaited their tales and songs
As He and dear Nantosueltâ listened
Their eyes caught the site of the child

When the songs were over, They spoke
“Who among you mothers this child?”
“Why does he walk but is so young?”
But the troupe did not know He was there
They did not see the child singing along
Nor did they know from whence He came
Sucellos had them leave the boy with Him
In the night, the child learned of songs
Of tales and the mysteries within them

In the morning they left Him with Sucellos
As the wine giving one bade them to do
Gentle Nantosueltâ took the boy in arms
And the two raised the boy as their own
Wondering who would come claim Him
His faithful hound, Sucellos sent away
Out of the cave he went following a scent
Through woods and meadows he hurried
But his eyes caught a salmon in a stream

He dared not catch the fish, and could not
For it swam to deep, and he lost it soon
Then saw a stag drinking of the stream
He gave chase, but the stag was too fast
The dog was then lost, and went in circles
Soon chasing his tail, as dogs often do
From the woods, the stag had emerged
With form abandoned, and torc glowing
He knew of the hound who chased Him

Not long after this, He was approached
On a mare of grey moving in great haste
He stopped the rider before the woods
It was Eponâ in great worry and sorrow
She told Carnonos of Her missing son
He led Her into the woods to its depths
It was there the Cunosucellos had been
He barked and bade Them give chase
Eponâ took up reins to follow the hound

Only She was fast enough to keep up
And it was not long until She saw a cave
She followed the hound and to the stream
Unlike most, She could cross unhindered
When She did, She was met by a troupe
The same Her son saw, they led Her away
He who led them, the eloquent Ogmios
Dark from the Sun, club on His back
But sharp of mind and sharper tongue

He told Eponâ the tale of Her lost son
And led Her to Uotegos, to await Sucellos
In His great house, He greeted Eponâ
He presented Her with Her dear lost son
With joy, She asked how to repay Them
Nantosueltâ told Eponâ of Their task
That there were lost souls in the world
Many, and that They needed to be guided
Eponâ would do this to thank Them

She gathered souls of heroes in Dumnos
And with the child kept, She departed
She let out a cry, Her company cheered
Onward they went into the frosty night
With the chill of the wind behind them
Eponâ visited every house that night
Looking for lost souls within them
In each house was a gift given to Her
As is custom for one to do for guests

After this hunt, she returned to Dumnos
Sucellos returned the young one to Her
The young son back to His Mother’s arms
Upon Their return, there was a great feast
With much joy had and gifts given to all
In the darkest time of year, was promise
One day, that light would indeed return
Seen in the eyes of the bright young son
Taranis and Eponâ named Him Maponos

Uepoi Bessous (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 Bessous (Words of Practice)”

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 Iemurios

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 Iemurios 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 Iemurios 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 Iemurios did approach his brother
That they must find a way to fix this

Iemurios said that Men are not Gods
Thus Men should not live as long as They
So Iemurios 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 Iemurios persisted
Iemurios would be sacrificed to the Gods
To thank Them for the life given to his kin
So Iemurios agreed, and it would be done

Upon a high stone did  Iemurios 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  Iemurios
That Iemurios may enter that realm
So it was, the first born, and first to die

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