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)”

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

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 watch over Bitus
All would then take their places within

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. There isn’t much point in lying about this for old Pliny. 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.

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.

The use of the Sequanni (Coligny) Calendar is a messy subject, and how to use it is hotly debated. I hope that I have at least showed some kind of perspective. Thanks for reading.

Continue reading “A Reckoning of Time”

Dêuoi (Gods) of Tegoslougous Nemotarvos

Many Gods are recognized by Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. 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 Dêuoi 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 10th century ‘Berne Scholia’ as a “master of war”. This could be due to his representation of victory over serpents that are likely related to forces of chaos. These are depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron, as well as in Jupiter columns (Taranis was linked most often to Jupiter, possibly Mars in other cases) in places along the Rhine.

When looking at Him as the slayer of a serpent of chaos, one may be reminded of the Norse Thorr, or of Hercules, son of Zeus, who slays the Hydra. Perhaps of Vedic Indra who slays Vrtra, Slavic Perun and Veles, etc. The Serpent Slaying myth seems to be one of the most common among Indo-European cultures. An interesting thought as well, is that in His name meaning ‘Thunder’ is a commonality with Proto Germanic ‘Thunaraz’, which gives way to Anglo-Saxon Thunor, Norse Thorr, and other Germanic names for their Thunder God(s). Whether or not this is a borrowing from Gaulish Taranis, I don’t know. It is an interesting thought, nonetheless.

He is known by his symbol, the wheel, which I had mentioned earlier. Theories generally range from the idea of “rolling thunder” to the idea that the wheel is reminiscent of order and cosmic rule from celestial powers. This moves me to the next part, and that is how He 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 Samolitus (Summer Feast) in an event called the Îuos Taranes (Feast of Taranis). This seems appropriate to the roles He serves in the cosmos.

Eponâ – She is one of the two main deities worshipped in 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 Giamolitus (Winter Feast) festivities.

Carnonos – More popularly ‘Cernunnos’. His name is generally thought to mean ‘The Horned One’ or something along those lines. Some associate Him with being something like a God of the Wilds, others in the past few years (to my knowledge) would say that He is a God of Bidirectionality, wealth (thus merchants), and a kind of Mediator Between Worlds (thus perhaps travelers) . The two are not, in my opinion mutually exclusive. However, my focus lies more with the latter, but I do not exclude the former. This is because the Gods are capable of being many different things, and so do not always line up with neat little functions and descriptions.

He is depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron with a ram horned serpent and a torc. This may symbolize His being between worlds, as that same serpent seems to be defeated by Taranis in another panel on the same Cauldron. He is also depicted with animals, and as a God of Mediation may well be between that of the wild and the tame.

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  Samolitus and Giamolitus. At the end of summer, is Samantos (End of Summer) which I generally reserve for ancestors, so the  Harvest Moon 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, Îuos 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 Giamolitus ( Winter Feast) signifying His birth, and the other may well be, given His association with youth, music, vitality, and magic, the time between the Vernal Equinox and Summer Solstice. A time I refer to as Cintusamî (Start of Summer). In Ireland, this time is called Beltaine, or Cetsamhain, and Calan Haf or Calan Mai in Wales.

This particular time is a gut feeling of mine. Dun Brython, who are Brythonic Polytheists, and very bright minds, associate Him with the Summer Solstice. A very feasible route, but we are but a small household, so, I’m keeping the number of Gods to focus upon a holiday low. In most cases, one. Though He may figure in Giamolitus observances, I feel that Cintusamî, that is, the beginning of summer, will be the premier holiday associated with Him in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. In time, that may well change.

It is here that I should also mention that I am taking the leap of equating Maponos with Grannus. If They are not literally the same being, they seem to fulfill many of the same functions. Both are associated with springs, both are likened to Apollo, both have solar connotations, and both seem to have been involved in healing. Again, this doesn’t mean they are literally one and the same, but both go into consideration for me when fleshing out worship.

Lugus – Many names are associated with Him. So, I’m not going to list them all, I like the interpretations offered by Garett Olmsted, referring to His name meaning either “God of Oaths” or “Bright”. Being a God of Oaths is very much a prominent matter in cultures where holding to oaths was among the most important things one could do. In Insular Celtic cultures, He holds a very high place as well. In Wales as Lleu Llaw Gyffes, and as Lugh in Ireland. He is a heroic God in both, known for wielding a spear. He is known, rightfully, among many Celtic Polytheists as the God of Many Skills.

What in particular is quite interesting is His parallels to Germanic Wodanaz, in regards the significance of ravens, of course His spear, and leadership of a warband. He is also associated with Kings, like Anglo-Saxon Woden and Norse Odin. In Gallo-Roman depictons, He is associated with Mercury. This adds associations of wealth and being a patron of travelers. Every trait listed so far would be important to a king. There are many instances of Lugus, or beings like him in Insular lore, and this article would be even more unwieldy than it is likely to be if I listed them all.

In Ireland, the feast day of Lughnasadh is named for Him. The idea of a festival Îuos Luguos comes from this, and I cannot think of a good reason why it ought not be a part of Tegoslougos Nemotarvos as well. This is the time of the grain harvest, between the Samolitus and Mêthalitus.

Rosmertâ – She is the wife of Lugus, and She has some very powerful traits of Her own. She knows and weaves fate. She is the Lady with the Mead Cup, who initiates members into the warband. In the way that Eponâ does with the Toutâ (tribe). Her name means “Great Provider”. One who knows fate and its works surely is a seeress as well. She is also, as many Goddesses are, associated with fertility and plenty. She too, is to be honored on Îuos Luguos in our 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 Dubnos to those who have His blessing. As the riches of the Earth, especially things like minerals and gems could easily be seen as gifts from the Underworld. A seed grows from under the Earth. Metals can be found under the Earth, and the Earth’s mantle contains heat, which sometimes comes out of volcanoes.

Regardless, there is much potential for understanding and possibilities as to who Sucellos is. As many were buried in the Earth when they died, it may be He who hosts them in their next life. It could be that the darkness of Dubnos, through Gods like Sucellos play an important part in the interplay with Albios in the turn of the seasons of Bitus. Perhaps just as an underground dwelling can shelter from the heat of summer, and keep harvests out of the heat, the warmth of summer may have to be returned. Thus Sucellos may play a part in that great cycles of seasons.

Nantosueltâ – Her name means either “meandering brook” if you ask Miranda Green, or “sun warmed valley”, if you ask Garret Olmsted. She is paired with Sucellos on an inscription from Saarebourg, in northeastern France. She is associated with fertility, crows, holds a house on a pole (interesting, no?) bees, or the collection of honey, mead and wine making.

Her pairing with Sucellos may then, if He too is a God of the Underworld, that She is then a Goddess of the Underworld. If this is so, then it may be that She represents the pleasures that await those who pass on. Of course, it is said that the Afterlife contains many possibilities, so that may be but one. There are many depictions of strange beings that imply that the Otherworld is not always a pleasant place.

Ogmios – There isn’t much by way of consensus as to what His name means. He is depicted with a lion’s skin, and a club, like Herakles. He is older, however, his skin is darker, and He is depicted with chains from His tongue that attach to the ears of His followers. Lucan, a Roman writer, well known for his satires and criticisms (though probably unfounded) of the Gauls, spoke of Ogmios and of His followers being glad to be chained to Him. That a Celt in the story mentions His eloquence being a greater asset than physical strength (roughly paraphrasing). He is comparable to the Irish God Ogma, who is said to have invented Ogham writing, and was also known for His prowess of speech. Back to the continent, where there are curse tablets attributed to Him.

It may be that He is falls under the category of Andernados, or Underworld, chthonic Gods. This is likely truth, and with traits of strength as well as eloquence, and of course, knowledge of the verbal and written word, it is fair to say that He must be a very powerful God. I feel as though He may well be a God involved in the creation of the world, mythologically speaking. In some way. Perhaps not the enigmatic Gaulish Dis Pater, but an important player in the matter, as Gods aren’t often depicted as old. Middle aged, perhaps, but not old. I doubt He was depicted as old for no reason.

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.