Dêwoi (Gods) of Tegoslougous Nemotarvos

Many Gods are recognized by Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. At this point, only a couple of Gods are regularly worshipped, but that list is expected to grow in time. The Gods of this tradition are some of those that were worshipped in Gaul and Britain during the Iron Age, and into the Roman period. If one wants a more scholarly basis of who these Gods are, I recommend looking at Nemeton Segomâros for more information. There isn’t much of a point for me to do again what someone else has already done an excellent job of covering.

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

For the sake of digestibility, and keeping this article to a reasonable length, this piece covers the “High Gods”, and rest assured, there will be more to come. (Again, this is not necessarily meant to be an academic piece.)

Without further ado, here is a list (that will likely be expanded upon in the future) of Gods that are in some way known in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos:

 

Taranis – He is one of two main deities worshiped in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. His name means ‘Thunder’ and so, he is obviously a Thunder God. I’m not entirely sure of Him being the “Sky Father”, but He is, at the least, the preeminent Sky God worshipped at Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. He is represented by a wheel. Most opt for a six spoked wheel, I opt for eight. However, it is uncertain if the number of spokes have any direct historical meaning. It is not likely, as some have been shown with four, six, eight, and more.

He is, as a Thunder God, a Bringer of Rain. I would suspect that this might have made him popular with farmers, who of course rely on rain to water their crops in most places. He is described in the 9th century ‘Berne Scholia’ as a “master of war”. This could be due to his representation of victory over serpents that are likely related to forces of chaos. These are depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron, as well as in Jupiter columns (Taranis was linked most often to Jupiter, possibly Mars in other cases) in places along the Rhine.

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

He is known by his symbol, the wheel, which I had mentioned earlier. Theories generally range from the idea of “rolling thunder” to the idea that the wheel is reminiscent of order and cosmic rule from celestial powers. This moves me to the next part, and that is how He is perceived in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos.

If we have anything like a “patron God” it is He. Though I do not use such titles. As is generally agreed, He is the God of Thunder, and Rain Bringer, I also associate Him with wind, and the changing of seasons. At the least, with summer. I see Him as the upholder of order and truth. He is of course, an Upper World God, Ueronados (celestial) and represents the forces of Samos: summer, order, light, life. I see Him in a way, like some Heathens view their Thunder Gods, as a God of the common folk.

I also associate Taranis with bulls and clouds, seeing the smaller clouds as His cattle, and the larger ones as His residence, that I call Nellotegos (Cloud House). The cattle association stems from the PIE Perkwunos, for which I credit Ceisiwr Serith and his book ‘Deep Ancestors’ for my knowing.

Beyond all of that, He is seen here as the defender of humans. Not in the sense of offensive war, but that with the purpose of defense and protection. He will be afforded a special ritual around Mediosaminos (Midsummer) in an event called the Îwos Taranes (Feast of Taranis). This seems appropriate to the roles He serves in the cosmos.

Eponâ – She is one of the two main deities worshipped in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos. Her name, according to Alexei Kondratiev, translates to “Great Mare”, and this is my favorite of options. She is often, as one might imagine, depicted on horseback, though side saddled, as opposed to a more conventional riding position. Sometimes, she is shown sitting between two horses. She sometimes holds grains, and fruits, and has been depicted caring for foals. She may be like Brythonic ‘Rîgantonâ’ and thus possibly related to the Welsh ‘Rhiannon’. I personally, would hardly consider that a stretch, but there’s not really direct evidence of that.

Rîganâ as another name for Her is suggested by Garett Olmsted, and that may lead to some creedence to that possiblility, as Rîganâ means ‘Queen’, and Rîgantonâ means ‘Great Queen’. Personally, I subscribe to the idea to the point that my worship of Her is syncretic of the two. Anyway, what we can see with Her are themes of the bounty of the land, of sovereignty, which leads to the possibility of Her being a Mead Goddess as well. Though, if that is so, most likely that of the Toutâ (tribe), as opposed to the Coryos (war band). I draw this from Ceisiwr Serith’s comparison of Her to Proto Indo European Hekwona, who is a Goddess of mares, mead, and sovereignty.

Though it would seem, with the presence of grains and fruits, She may have taken on traits like that of an “Earth Mother”. This is just a thought of my own by what I’ve seen on her depictions. Thus, in Tegoslougos Nemotarvos, She is associated with the fertility of the land, and is the Wife of Taranis, which has been a conjecture that has been floating around some circles. I agree with it, presonally. I also subscribe to the idea that She is a psychopomp, who rides between worlds. It may be through Her that Taranis gets a horse, like on that of the Jupiter columns.

As the Gallo Roman ‘Eponalia’ is held not far from the winter solstice, and in Wales, the Mari Lywd is associated with Christmas and New Year festivites, an Îwos Eponâs (or maybe Eponin) will be held in conjunction with Mediogiamos (Midwinter) festivities.

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

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

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

Brigantiâ – Her name means the “Exalted One”, or the “High One”. So, it stands to reason that She is associated with high places. In the pre Christian Celtic world, She was widely revered, among Gaulish, Brythonic, Goidelic, and Celtiberian peoples. Other than high places, She may have been the tribal Goddess of the Brigantes in Britain, and in Ireland, she is known as Brighid. The river Brent, in England may be a reference to Her.

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

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

Maponos – His name means “Divine Son”. We see, in Gaulish inscriptions, He is associated with magic. In Insular Celtic lore, we know of Mabon ap Modron, also Mabon fab Mellt, particularly interesting, as Mellt means “lightning”. This is even more interesting, as Oengus Mac Og, an Irish God of youth, music, poetry, among other things, is the son of Boann (a cow and river goddess) and An Dagda. Maponos, by His name alone, can be said to be a God of Youth.

When looking at Mabon,  He is possibly also, or at least like Pryderi, who is the son of Rhiannon (Proto Brythonic Rîgantonâ), is possibly connected to Eponâ, and a warrior king Pwyll. Making for even more room regarding possible conjectures, as Pryderi was taken away from His mother, and found in the Underworld, later to be returned to Her. Maponos is likened to Apollo, which could imply that there is a healing, as well as solar aspect to Him. Furthermore, some say He was born on the Winter Solstice, Oengus was said to be born on Samhain, which is said to have marked the new year in Ireland. At Newgrange, the mound associated with Oengus mac Og, tracks the sunrise at the Winter Solstice.

So, perhaps Maponos was born around this time as well. Maponus was also depicted as Apollo playing the cithera, which is a type of lyre. So, when looking at Oengus mac Og’s association with music, along with the Apollo association, Maponos had been a God associated with music as well. In practice, two times of year come to mind in which he may be specifically revered. One being Mediogiamos (Midwinter) signifying His birth, and the other may well be, given His association with youth, music, vitality, and magic, the time between the Vernal Equinox and Summer Solstice. A time I refer to as Centusaminos (Start of Summer). In Ireland, this time is called Beltaine, or Cetsamhain, and Calan Haf or Calan Mai in Wales.

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

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

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

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

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

Rosmertâ – She is the wife of Lugus, and She has some very powerful traits of Her own. She knows and weaves fate. She is the Lady with the Mead Cup, who initiates members into the warband. In the way that Eponâ does with the Toutâ (tribe). Her name means “Great Provider”. One who knows fate and its works surely is a seeress as well. She is also, as many Goddesses are, associated with fertility and plenty. She too, is to be honored on Îwos Luguos in our Tegoslougos.

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

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

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

Sironâ – Quite an interesting Goddess, as I don’t know of any like Her. Her name is thought to mean “star” if you ask Miranda Green, but Garett Olmsted argues for “heifer”. If so, this associates her with cows, which to Tegoslougos Nemotarvos, and to many other people and groups, are extremely important creatures. I can’t help but think of the name of our galaxy, the Milky Way, which holds both star and cattle connotations. That aside, She is associated also with serpents, eggs, and wells. Furthermore, with healing. Green and Olmsted paint different pictures with regards to Her.

However, I don’t see the two interpretations as mutually exclusive. Gods often have many functions, and do not fit neat little “boxes” that so easily simplify what are often very diverse pictures of who these beings are. Sironâ is clearly a case proving this very thing. To carry things further, it has become more popular to conclude that She may well also be a Moon Goddess. I’m not 100% sure of this, myself. However, if the reference to Druids referring to the Moon as the “all healing” are true, and any synthesis of Green and Olmsted’s interpretations bear out, it is certainly not a far stretch to conclude that she may have lunar aspects as well.

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

Sucellos – Another God of many possible functions is Sucellos. The Romans have equated Him with Silvanus. Today, some think he may be the enigmatic Gaulish Dis from which they claimed descent. Others would say that He is a God of wine making. He has also been compared, like Taranis, to the Irish Dagda. As he is depicted with a cauldron, and a mallet or hammer, which has been compared to An Dagda’s club and cauldron. Others still equate Him to Vulcan and see Him as a God of Smithing. Or, bringing it back to Ireland, Dagda in Donn.

What all of these have in common, are chthonic properties. Save for perhaps Silvanus, which brings to mind woodlands. Whether smith, wine maker, or divine ancestor and father of riches, it is clear that there are many possibilites. I find that sometimes, though certainly not always, synthesis of such theories can help in the Reconstructionist mission of “fleshing out” deities for whom there isn’t much known about. When dealing with peoples who didn’t leave behind whole bodies of mythological works especially, this can be very important.

What we have in many of these theories allows for the possibility of a many faceted God with diverse, but in several cases, relatable functions. At Tegoslougos Nemotarvos, there isn’t much of a reason to be seen as to why He can’t be a God of the Underworld, as well as something of a divine ancestor, who bestows the riches and powers of Dumnos to those who have His blessing. As the riches of the Earth, especially things like minerals and gems could easily be seen as gifts from the Underworld. A seed grows from under the Earth. Metals can be found under the Earth, and the Earth’s mantle contains heat, which sometimes comes out of volcanoes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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