Tag Archive: druids


Saint Triduana

“Beltane: Lady of the Sacred Well” by Angie Latham

“Triduana’s themes are banishing, health and protection. Her symbols are water and oak.  In Scotland, this Goddess rules over sacred water sources, from which She selflessly gives Her elixir to all who ask in humility. Many of Her wells are said to dwell beneath oak trees, ancient symbols of protection and well-being.

Since the 1800’s, people have been coming to Loch mo Naire around this time of year to heal their body, mind or spirit. People sip a bit of the water and bathe in it three times, giving an offering of silver coins to the generous water spirit there. For us this means drinking eight glasses of water today, as is often recommended by physicians for improved health. This helps flush our toxins and draws Triduana’s healing energy into our bodies.

Another custom easily followed is that of taking off one’s clothes and walking backward to banish sickness. Both of these actions symbolize a turning away or a change. If possible, choose clothing you don’t need anymore, take it off, throw it out, then walk backward to a place where you can put on fresh clothing and don Triduana’s blessings!

Interestingly enough oak leaves have long been considered excellent health charms. If you can catch one before it touches the earth, you ensure yourself of Triduana’s protection and a month without colds.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Brigid – Guiding back to the Light” by Wendy Andrew

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Triduana is “a Scottish name for Brigid from the Edinburgh area…Triduana’s sacred pace was a well beneath a Druidic oak” (p. 298).

“According to the 16th-century Aberdeen Breviary, Triduana was born in the Greek city of Colosse, and travelled from Constantinople with Saint Rule, who brought the bones of Saint Andrew to Scotland in the 4th century AD.  A pious woman, she settled at Rescobie near Forfar in Angus, but her beauty attracted the attentions of a King of the Picts named Nectan. To stall these unwanted attentions, Triduana tore out her own eyes and gave them to Nechtan. Afterwards, she was associated with curing eye disorders. She spent her later years in Restalrig, Lothian, and healed the blind who came to her. She was buried at Restalrig when she died.

The 17th-century Acta Sanctorum records a story of a blind English woman miraculously cured by Triduana. The saint appears to her in a dream, and instructs her to travel to Restalrig. She does so, and regains her sight at Triduana’s tomb. The woman’s daughter is later cured of blindness after praying to Triduana.

In the 12th century, the Norse Earl of Orkney Harald Maddadsson punished bishop John of Caithness by having him blinded. According to the 13th-century Orkneyinga Saga, John prayed to ‘Trøllhaena’, and later regained his sight when brought to her ‘resting place’, possibly referring to a local northern shrine rather than Restalrig.

The principal centre of devotion to Triduana was at Restalrig, now part of Edinburgh, where the parish church is dedicated to her. The 15th-century St Triduana’s Aisle often flooded in the past, and was though to be a holy well, known as St Triduana’s Well. The aisle was heavily restored by the architect Thomas Ross in 1907. Other dedications to Triduana include chapels at Ballachly (Caithness), Loth (Sutherland), and on Papa Westray in Orkney.” [1]

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Triduana”.

Wikipedia, “Triduana“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Catholic.org, “St. Triduana“.

Foster, John. “The Legend and Shrine of Saint Triduana“.

Saintwiki.com, “Barrett/Scottish Saints/St. Triduana“.

Scottish-places.info, “Overview of St Triduana’s Well“.

 

Goddess Nemetona

“Mother Nature” by Rozairo

“Nemetona’s themes are wishes, protection, joy, fairies, magic, luck and nature. Her symbols are Hawthorn trees (or trees in general).  In Romano-Celtic regions, Nemetona guards groves of trees with a special protective presence that marks the area as a sacred site. Within this space, the soul is hushed and calm, becoming one with nature and the Goddess. Nemetona’s name means ‘shrine’ giving new depth of meaning to William Cullen Bryant’s poetic phrase ‘the groves were God’s first temples.’

Bawming the Thorn‘ is a ritual that takes place around this time of year in Appleton, England. It is an occasion for the community to gather together and decorate a hawthorn tree in the center of town. Local people believe this was a spot of ancient Pagan worship, which is highly likely since hawthorns are sacred to both witches and fairy-kind. In magic traditions, carrying a hawthorn ensures happiness and promotes good luck (not to mention bearing a bit of Nemetona with you). Wherever the oak, ash and thorn grow together is a very magical spot filled with Nemetona’s power and one that will be visited regularly by fairies!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Queen of Forest” by maillevin

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Nemetona was “the British ‘Goddess of the sacred grove’ as one of the divinities worshiped at Bath, where Sul was honored as patron of the thermal springs.  Nemetona was depicted as a seated queen holding a scepter, surrounded by three hooded figures and a ram” (p. 228).

I found what Sora Nalani wrote to be very informative and inspiring: “A Continental Deity revered during Roman times; Her name may be cognate with the Irish Valkyrie Nemain, and in fact the Romans seem to have regarded Her as having some connection with Mars.” [1]

“Nemetona is a very ancient Goddess of the Celts, specifically those in Gaul (what is now France). As well, She is thought to have been the eponymous deity of the Nemetes, a group of Germano-Celtic people living by the Rhine in an area now called Trier in Germany. The Celts, in general, did not build temples, but rather practiced their spirituality in sacred groves and Nemetona personifies this belief in the sacred land. Her name literally means ‘sacred space’, from the Celtic root ‘nemeto’ which means ‘sacred area’. She is related to the druidic concept of nemeton, the designation of sacred spiritual space.

Nemetona was worshipped primarily in what is now France and Germany, but Her worship extended into England, where there is an altar dedicated to Her in Bath. Her name survives through many place names including Augustonemeton (France), Nemetacum/Nemetocerna Atrebatum (Northern France), Nemetobriga, Nemetodurum (modern Vernantes), Nemetatae (A tribe in Northern Spain), Nemetostatio (England), Vernenetum and Medionemeton (both in England).

Loucetios Celtic God of light

Inscriptions found have shown that the Romans afflicated Nemetona with Mars. In Trier and Altrip, in Germany, inscriptions have been found pairing Her with Mars specifically and in Bath with Loucetios Mars. It is well know that as the Romans spread through the Celtic world that they paired their deities with the local deities, finding commonalities. Loucetios was a storm god, the divine mate of Nemetona, whose name means ‘bright’ or ‘shining one’. It is thought that he may be the original form of Lleu/Lugh, the Welsh god of light. With Lugh figuring as a ‘divine warrior’ in many myths, it makes a certain sense that the Romans would equate Loucetios with their god of war, Mars. Still, the fit is awkward and does little to retain the original power and meaning of both Nemetona and Her consort. As is often the case with the Roman deity overlays, it seems as if there was some breakdown of communication as the Romans tried to fit their war hungry gods over the more shamanistic gods of the Celts.”

Sora Nalani goes on to say: “At first I had found the fit of Nemetona and that of Mars to be almost ridiculous, it just didn’t seem as if it could be. But when I found a pairing of her with the Brythonic God, Mars Rigonemetis ‘King of the sacred grove’, a new picture began to form in my mind, one of a year King associated with the sacred Goddess whose tendrils of energy were inseparable from the land. It is very possible that Rigonemetis was the guardian of the sacred grove, the guardian of the sacred mother and wellspring of life; Nemetona. I then read that the Celtic ‘Mars’ was a god of protection and healing, along with agriculture in addition to the war-like aspects. Even Loucetios, a lightening god, is associated with sacred groves, as the druids associated lightening with sacred trees, in particular oaks. It is very possible the Loucetios would have been associated with ‘drunemeton‘: the sacred oak grove.

It seems a cruel twist of fate that some think She survives on as Nemhain, the Irish Goddess of battle frenzy . While the path from Goddess of the groves to the Goddess of the battlefield is not so farfetched through Her association with Her divine consort who inevitable was linked with Mars, the god of war, the pairing of Nemetona and Nemhain seems little more than a construct of similarity in names rather than an real evolution of Goddess worship.

I could not find many images of Nemetona but in the surviving iconography, She is pictured seated, holding a scepter surrounded by 3 hooded figures and a ram. This portrayal feels more Roman than it does Celtic, it seems more likely to me that her presence would have been found in the spiraling knotwork and the labyrinth iconology of the Celts.

“Nemetona” by Selina Fenech

Nemetona is a difficult Goddess to wrap my mind around. She is somewhat nebulous in my mind, partially because She seems inextricably linked with the land. She is the sacred grove and it is Her. She is sacred space, whether that is found within the majestic trees of a grove or if it is held simply within one’s heart. She is holy breath, the sanctuaries we create, not out of stone and mortar, but out of love and reverence. She is a sacred link between ourselves and the living planet. But in my mind, not in an all-consuming way, such as a deity like Gaia, but in a very personal , intimate way, our link to the land our feet walk on, to the trees our ears hear singing in the wind and the leaves that season with us. She is the animation of the living space around us, a reminder to create that which is sacred within and carry it through all our trials and journeys. She is the circle unto herself and we are within Her circle, found within our relationship with our most intimate and immediate environments. She is the wholeness within each single leaf on the plant that sits beside you, or the moving cells of your body, and the embodiment of all personal spiritual cycles. Simply put, she is sacred space.” [2]

Other names: Nemetonia, Nemetialis

 

 

Sources:

Joelle’s Sacred Grove, “Celtic Gods and Goddesses“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Nemetona”.

Nalani, Sora. Spira, “Nemetona: Goddess of the Sacred Grove“.

Suggested Links:

Druidnetwork.org, “Nemetona“.

Eagle Feather, Lavender. The Simplified Witch, “Goddess Guidance…Nemetona

Nemeton – the Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Nemetona: A Gaulish and Brythonic Goddess (She of the Sacred Grove)“.

The Order of the Sacred Nemeton.

Wikipedia, “Nemetona“.

Last week or so, I got my Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) Membership package containing an introduction to the Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path and ADF Membership Guide in which are requirements for starting the Dedicant Program.  “Awesome!” I thought.  With the end of these college classes upon me in less than a week and the Moon of Dedication coming up in a few weeks, this is the perfect time to start my Dedicant Path.

This morning, I had a most interesting dream.  I dreamt that I was talking to a woman in the middle of the woods.  We were on a stone/gravel type path with large mossy rocks scattered all around.  It was kind of grey and misty and I could not make out her face.  The message she conveyed to me was that in order to really belong to the ADF, I must accept the wolf.  I must accept and believe that the wolf truly is an endangered species.  Kind of weird – kind of cryptic, especially since I’ve always felt a bond or kinship with the wolf.  So, I went to one of my favorite animal totem websites, Whats-your-sign.com, and did a little research on the wolf.

“Wolf Medicine” by Rev. Mary

Avia Venefica writes, “To understand totem wolf symbols, one must first understand the heart of the Wolf. This takes time because the Wolf has had to endure many false stereotypes, misconceptions and misunderstandings.

Not at all the picture of ferocity or terror, the Wolf is a creature with a high sense of loyalty and strength. Another misconception is that of the ‘lone wolf.’ To the contrary, the Wolf is actually a social creature, friendly, and gregarious with its counterparts.

The Wolf is an incredible communicator. By using touch, body movements, eye contact as well as many complex vocal expressions – the wolf makes his point understood. Those with totem wolf symbols are of the same inclination – they are expressive both vocally and physically. Those who have the wolf as their totem animal are naturally eloquent in speech, and also have knack for creative writing.

A quick-list of totem wolf symbolic attributes include:

  • Intelligence
  • Cunning
  • Communication
  • Friendliness
  • Loyalty
  • Generosity
  • Compassionate

Totem wolf symbols belong to those who truly understand the depth of passion that belong to this noble creature. The Wolf is a representative of deep faith, and profound understanding.

Further, the Wolf possess a high intellect, and have been observed using strategies about hunting, habitat and migration.

When this gracious creature appears to us, and serves as a totem in our lives, the Wolf beckons us to ask these questions:

  • Are you thinking about a different form of education?
  • Are you being a true friend, and are your friends being true to you?
  • Are you communicating yourself clearly to others?
  • Are you being loyal to yourself?
  • Are you incorporating strategies and planning to achieve your goals?
  • Are you spending enough quality time with yourself, friends and family?

Click here to find more about other animal totems as well as totem wolf symbols and discover if the Wolf is your Native American zodiac sign. [Which mine is not – it’s a Bear.]

Take some time to know more about the Wolf, you will be amazed at the knowledge these regal creatures can share with you.” [1]

So, after reading this, I made some interesting connections.  For one, Pagans in general endure many false stereotypes, misconceptions and misunderstandings.  It is believed by those who don’t understand us that we are evil devil/Satan worshippers who sacrifice animals, etc. when that could not be any further from the truth (well except for the animal sacrifice part – I can’t speak for all forms of Paganism such as the African Traditional Religions (ATRs) and Vodou).  The ADF Druids I have met have a great sense of loyalty – to themselves, to their faith and to the Earth Mother.  Speaking personally, I do tend to enjoy my “lone wolf” time, but also crave community, getting together with like-minded people for coffee, for study group activities and chats and celebrating Moons and Sabbats or High Days.

It seems to me that Druidry highly values communication, the arts (especially within the The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) tradition), wisdom, knowledge, learning and education.  All of the attributes that Venefica lists for the Wolf are attributes that I’ve seen for myself in my ADF friends in AK and are attributes that I personally appreciate and value in myself and other people.

“Are you thinking about a different form of education?”  Why yes, yes I am; I’m thinking about starting my Dedicant’s Path 😉

As for the “endangered species” part of my dream – You know, I try.  I really try to see the good in people – all people.  But that’s gotten me hurt a few more times than I care to remember.  There comes a time when learn – you learn that you have to be cautious and have to have your guard up, sitting back and observing before making a decision or a move.  You learn that not all people are “nice” and may not have the most honorable of intentions.  It truly seems as though people with the above attributes ARE an endangered species these days.  There are so many deceptive and uncaring people out there who are only out for themselves without thinking twice about who or what they use, injure or destroy in order to achieve their own means and goals.  Oh sure, they may be there to listen to your problems, but as quick as ever, they turn around and have a new subject to talk and gossip about with their friends.  You may find a knife in your back, never really seeing it coming.  These types of people don’t really care about you or your problems; they’re incapable or are unwilling to be compassionate and take the time to actually commit and help you, saying, “Oh well, sucks to be you,” as they abandon you to the curb and leaving you to your own demise.  When you do find a person or group with the Wolf attributes, you really want to hold onto, join their “pack” and stick together.  And you mourn…you mourn them when you have to move on.

So, now I have to ask – is the Wolf to be my new companion?  Is the Wolf to guide and protect me as I venture down this new Druid Path?

Sources:

Venefica, Avia. Whats-your-sign.com, “Totem Wolf Symbols“.

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