Tag Archive: gaul


Goddess Matrona

“Matrona’s themes are the harvest, providence, health, abundance, autumn and love. Her symbols are Swiss cheese and water.  This Teutonic Mother Goddess is the great provider of both food and refreshment, especially freshwater. A benevolent figure, She personifies the earth’s abundance during the fall and offers to share of that wealth freely. Judging from artistic depictions of Matrona in the company of a dog, or carrying palm fronds, She may have also had a connection with the healing arts.

People in the Swiss Alps gather today to enjoy the fruits of their labors, specifically cheese that has been stored in cellars since grazing season in the summer. In many ways this is a harvest rite, rejoicing in Matrona’s ongoing providence.

Consider enjoying a Swiss fondue today, complete with sliced harvest vegetables and breads from Matrona’s storehouse. The melted cheese inspires warm, harmonious love. Matrona makes that love healthy and abundant.For physical well-being and self-love, simply add some sautéed garlic to this blend, or add other herbs known to combat any sickness with which you’re currently coping.

Other ways to enjoy this Goddess and invite her into your day – Have an omelette with cheese and harvest vegetables for breakfast, or grilled cheese and ice water at brunch.  If you own a dog, share a bit of your healthful meal with it!”

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

“Goddess Gaia – Great Mother” by ~Umina

“In Celtic mythology, Dea Matrona (‘divine mother Goddess’) was the Goddess of the river Marne in Gaul.

Terracotta relief of the Matres, from Bibracte, city of the Aedui in Gaul

In many areas She was worshipped as a triple Goddess, and known as Deae Matres (or Deae Matronae), with a wider sphere of believed influence. This triadic deity is well attested throughout northern Europe (more generally as the Matres or Matrones), not just in Celtic areas, and was similar to the FatesFuriesNorns, and other such figures.

The Gaulish theonym Mātr-on-ā is interpreted to mean ‘great mother’. The name of Welsh mythological figure Modron, mother of Mabon is derived from the same etymon. By analogy, Dea Matrona may conceivably have been the mother of the Gaulish Maponos.” [1]

“Modron” by Shanina Conway

Conerning Modron: “In Welsh mythology, Modron (‘divine mother’) was a daughter of Afallach, derived from the Gaulish Goddess Matrona. She may have been the prototype of Morgan le Fay from Arthurian legend. She was the mother of Mabon, who bears Her name as ‘Mabon ap Modron’ (‘Mabon, Son of Modron’) and who was stolen away from Her when he was three days old and later rescued by King Arthur.

In the Welsh Triads, Modron becomes impregnated by Urien and gives birth to Owain and Morvydd.

Her Gaulish counterpart Matrona is a Celtic mother Goddess and tutelary Goddess of the River Marne. She is also a fertility and harvest deity often equated with Greece’s Demeter or Ireland’s Danu. In Britain, She appears as a washerwoman, and thus there would seem to be a connection with the Morrígan.” [2]

Relief of three Goddesses, or Matres, Corinium Museum, Cirencester

Pertaining to Deae Matres, Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Their names – bestowed by scholars – may be Latin, but the Deae Matres were Celtic, the primary divine image of the continental tribes.  No legends survived of this trinity of earth Goddesses, although hundreds of inscriptions and sculptures attest to the strength of Their worship.

Their religion was apparently destroyed early in the Roman occupation, but Their names and images survived into the days of the empire.  They were were then called sorceresses of the early days, thus holding the attention and reverence of their people in ancient Gaul and Germany.

The ‘mother Goddesses’ – for this is what their Latin name means – were always shown as three robed women bearing baskets of fruit and flowers; sometimes they also carried babies.  Seated under an archway, They were depicted wearing round halolike headdresses; the central Goddess was distinguished from the others by standing while They sat or by sitting while They stood.  They were probably ancestral Goddesses, rulers of fruitfulness of humanity as well as that of the earth” (p. 99).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Dea Matrona“.

Wikipedia, “Modron“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Celtnet.org.uk, “Modron: A Cymric, Brythonic and Gaulish Goddess, also known as Matrona: Divine Mother“.

Her Cyclopedia, “The Triple Goddess Deae-Mates“.

Joellessacredgrove.com, “Deae Matres“.

Journal of a Poet, “Morgan Le Fay“.

Spangenberg, Lisa L. Digitalmedievalist.com, “Who is the Celtic Mother Goddess?

Took, Thalia. Amusedgrace.blogspot.com, “Goddess of the Week: Morgana“.

Wikipedia, “Matres and Matrones“.

 

Bon Dammes

“lyinf around” by ~tytaniafairy

“The Bon Dammes’ themes are rest, pleasure, fairies, playfulness and youthfulness. Their symbols are any fairy plants (foxglove, primrose, oak, thorn, ash).  The Bon Dammes are devic Goddesses in Brittany that appear much like fairies and often act with much impishness. Having a kindly nature, the Bon Dammes inspire playful, youthful outlooks to take with us into early fall with childlike wonder in our hearts.

Follow the custom of all regions the United Kingdom (except Scotland) and take the day off. Enjoy family outings and a little leisure before the warm weather really starts to fade. Sleep in a bit, ask for a few hours off from work, get outside and play with the Bon Dammes. Leave them gifts of sparkling stones, honey, and sweet bread beneath any flower or tree that captures your eye and makes you smile. In return, the Bon Dammes will make sure your day is filled with pleasurable surprises.

Think about an activity you really enjoyed as a kid and recapture that moment sometime today. Jump down a hopscotch board, play tag with the wind, climb a tree (carefully please), pick buttercups, go berry picking, skinny-dip in a stream, or do whatever re-inspires the Bon Dammes’s youthfulness in your heart. You’ll find that this moment refreshes your entire outlook and provides extra energy for the days ahead.”

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

Man, striking out here!  I couldn’t find anything on Saki-yama-hime, Braciaca turned out to be a god, and I could not find anything on the Bon Dammes!  I did however run across two references to “Dames”: Dames Blanches (White Ladies) and Dames Vertes (Green Ladies).  Now, according to Sacred-texts.com, “the Fairy-lore of the North of France, at least of Normandy, is, as was to be expected, similar to that of the other portions of the Gotho-German race. We meet it in the fées or fairies, and the lutins or gobelins, which answer to the Kobolds, Nisses, and such like of those nations.

The Fees are small and handsome in person; they are fond of dancing in the night-time, and in their dances which are circular they form the Cercles des Fées, or fairy-rings. If any one approaches their dance, he is irresistibly impelled to take part in it. He is admitted with the greatest courtesy; but as the whirling movement increases, and goes faster and faster, his head becomes giddy, and he falls to the ground utterly exhausted. Sometimes the fées amuse themselves by flinging him up to a great height in the air, and, if not killed by the fall, he is found next morning full of bruises. These little beings, it is also said, haunt solitary springs, where they wash their linen, which they then dry by way of preference on the Druidic stones, if at hand, and lay up in the hollows of rocks or barrows, thence named Chambres or Grottes des Fées. But, further, it is said of them, like the Lutins, they select particular farms to which they resort at night, and there making use of horses, harness and utensils of all kinds, they employ themselves at various kinds of work, of which, however, no traces remain in the morning. They are fond of mounting and galloping the horses; their seat is on the neck, and they tie together locks of the mane to form stirrups. Their presence, however, always brings luck, the cattle thrive where they are, the utensils of which they have made use, if broken are mended and made as good as new. They are altogether most kind and obliging, and have been known to give cakes to those to whom they have taken a fancy.

The Fées of Normandy are, like others, guilty of child-changing. A countrywoman as she was one day carrying her child on her arm met a Fée similarly engaged, who proposed an exchange. But she would not consent, even though, she said, the Fée’s babe were nine times finer than her own. A few days after, having left her child in the house when she went to work in the fields, it appeared to her on her return that it had been changed. She immediately consulted a neighbour, who to put the matter to the proof, broke a dozen eggs and ranged the shells before the child, who instantly began to cry out, Oh! what a number of cream-pots! Oh! what a number of cream-pots! The matter was now beyond doubt, and the neighbour next advised to make it cry lustily in order to bring its real mother to it. This also succeeded; the Fee came imploring them to spare her child, and the real one should be restored.

“Shaylee of Faylinn” by *DragonDew

There is another kind of Fées known in Normandy by the name of Dames Blanches, or White Ladies, who are of a less benevolent character. These lurk in narrow places, such as ravines, fords and bridges, where passengers cannot well avoid them, and there seek to attract their attention. The Dame Blanche sometimes requires him whom she thus meets to join her in a dance, or to hand her over a plank. If he does so she makes him many courtesies, and then vanishes. One of these ladies named La Dame d’ Aprigny, used to appear in a winding narrow ravine which occupied the place of the present Rue Saint Quentin at Bayeux, where, by her involved dances, she prevented any one from passing. She meantime held out her hand, inviting him to join her, and if he did so she dismissed him after a round or two; but if he drew back, she seized him and flung him into one of the ditches which were full of briars and thorns. Another Dame Blanche took her station on a narrow wooden bridge over the Dive, in the district of Falaise, named the Pont d’ Angot. She sat on it and would not allow any one to pass unless he went on his knees to her; if he refused, the Fee gave him over to the lutins, the cats, owls, and other beings which, under her sway, haunt the place, by whom he was cruelly tormented.” [1]

“Be careful with the Fae” by ~Angueru-sama

Then, there are the Dames Vertes.  Patricia Monaghan writes, “The ‘Green Ladies’ of Celtic French folklore were seductive but cruel, luring travelers from the forest paths and holding them upside down over waterfalls, laughing all the while.  As wind spirits, they traveled speedily over their chosen countryside, invigorating all the plant life they touched.  When visible in human form, the Dames Vertes were said to be tall and seductive, dressed in long green robes, passing so lightly over the grass that it seemed only wind had disturbed it” (p. 96).

Based on this description, the Dames Vertes almost sound similar to the Rousalii or Rusalki of Russian folklore who were also reported to have worn green robes…curious, very curious indeed…

In conclusion, it would seem to me that Bon Dammes would translate to “Good Ladies” and either be related to the Dames Blanches or actually be the Dames Blanches as they clearly don’t fit the description of the Dames Vertes.

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddess and Heroines, “Dames Vertes”.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Fairy Mythology: Celts and Cymry: France“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cymru, Gordd. Celtic-twilight.com, “The Fairy Mythology – Great Britain“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Christine’s Faery List: Dames Vertes“.

Phillips, Valerie. Dnaalchemy.com, “Devas, Elementals and Fairies“.

Wikipedia, “Fée“.

So, I’m very thankful – it’s been a very successful week, both spiritually and mundanely…well, except for this morning when I had to be up at 4:30AM to drive my husband to the airport (Army stuff).  But, then again, I’m thankful for that now that I think about it because this school he is going to and the orders we will receive when he completes it has stopped him from being deployed to Afghanistan…so yes, I can say that I’m thankful for that.

Anyways, spiritually – I’ve made a very long-awaited connection with Epona.  As I’ve stated in comments under my Epona entry, I’ve always loved and had a strong connection with horses.  Equine Science was my first college major until I’d gotten into a car accident on my way to college one early icy morning on my way to the horse barn to groom and take care of the horse that I was responsible for, Briar.  Despite having to be up at 5AM every morning to get to the horse barn, it was well worth it to me as I loved EVERYTHING about it.  I loved the smells, the sounds of the horses whinnying and snorting, and most especially grooming her.  That was when I was at peace in my “happy place” – spending that one on one time with her rubbing, brushing and picking hooves.  I also loved riding – the freedom from all my cares that came with it was amazing…

“Rhiannon” by Amanda Walsh

In my younger days, when confronted, being “cut down” or if someone tried to discourage me from doing something I had set my mind to, I remember “feeling” like a wild horse saying, “I will not be broken!”  Stubborn…very stubborn (if truth be told, I still am).  I’ve felt a faint connection with Epona for several years now; with Her name popping into my head for no apparent reason and calling out to Her when feeling weak, hurt and vulnerable.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling Her energy grow stronger and stronger as She made Her way into my life and really made Her presence known.  Perhaps that began when during our last Druid study group several weeks ago, I pulled the Horse card from the Druid Animal Oracle deck after focusing on the question, “What do I need to focus on today?”  I’ve also felt a spark with Rigantona and Rhiannon, even Macha; but more so with Epona.  Maybe because Her energy just feels so much “older” and primal to me than Rhiannon, Rigantona and Macha.

“Epona the Horse Goddess” by Gene Avery North

It’s been extremely healing, opening up a whole new sense of deeper love, understanding, forgiveness and acceptance that I was afraid that I’d never come to know.  I had a friend a long time ago that said, “Pony medicine is good medicine – healing medicine,” and as far as I’m concerned, he was right on the money!  I’m not sure what finally sealed the deal completed this connection – perhaps when it was when I was riding one of the horses with my daughter at the Renaissance Festival last Sunday – I have no idea.  All I know is that She’s here and I’m so thankful for Her warm, loving and peaceful presence I feel when my anger or feelings of discontent and frustration flare up.  I can “see” Her: a milk-white mare with big soft brown eyes just staring at me and feel Her comforting warmth.

I’ve also decided to try to work with Her as a Gatekeeper, which I understand is usually a male deity.  However, I feel She would make a perfect Gatekeeper as She is associated with protection, keys, the Otherworld and Underworld, being a psychopomptravel, shape-shifting, dreams, the Feminine and magic – just to name a few of Her associations.  As I have more of a Dianic nature, it just feels right.

“Green Goddess of Beltane” by ArwensGrace

I’ve thought a lot about the Goddesses that I feel connected to and noticed a pattern.  First off, Brighid – Celtic, who goes by many names depending on the region or tribe you’re looking at (i.e. Brìde in Scotland, Brigindū in GaulBrigantia in Great Britain, etc.).  Nemetona – Celtic, worshiped in eastern Gaul.  Sulis – Celtic, another Gaulish Goddess worshiped at the thermal spring of Bath (with associations with Brighid).  And now Epona – another Gaulish Goddess worshiped throughout the Celtic and even Roman world.  I also have an interest in Artio a Celtic/Gaulish bear Goddess, worshiped notably at Bern (Switzerland) and Abnoba, another Gaulish Goddess who was worshipped in the Black Forest and surrounding areas with connections to Diana (another favorite Goddess of mine).  Do you see a pattern?  They’re all Celtic Goddesses, yes, but more specifically, they’re all Gaulish.  I think I’ve found my pantheon 🙂

This kind of surprised me as I had expected it to be more of an Irish pantheon, but the feeling of connectedness just isn’t as strong as it is with the Gaulish pantheon.  Perhaps because of my Ancestors?  I will freely admit that yes, I am a mutt – Sicilian, Polish and Czechoslovakian on my father’s side and Irish, German, Polish, English, French and Dutch on my mother’s side.  Now, I know that there are people who say that ancestry doesn’t have too much of an influence on what deities call to you, and I agree with that; however, I feel that sometimes, it does.

Onto a different topic now…

I’ve just now discovered a very yummy and acceptable offering to the Shining Ones – Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey.  It caught my eye one day as I was walking through the PX looking for a bottle of whiskey to use for my offerings, especially after our very successful garage sale we’ve been running all this past week.  I felt a collective acceptance from the Shining Ones as we gave offerings of thanks for our blessings we had received.

That then inspired my husband…mead making.  Eventually, when he retires from the military, we would really like to live a self-sustainable life.  My aunt and uncle are beekeepers and sell their own honey.  I one day want to learn this skill and sell honey and make soaps and skincare products.  My husband sees an opportunity to make and sell mead as well.  Perhaps some Divine Inspiration?  🙂  Who knows…we’ll see where this dream takes us…

Goddess Damona

“Coventina” by `cosmosue

“Damona’s themes are animals and health. Her symbols are sheep and hot water.  A Gaulish Goddess who cares for all domestic animals, especially sheep and cows, Damona is sometimes portrayed as a hot spring, alluding to a healthful, warm quality. As fall nears, we can call on Damona to protect our pets, or to maintain the health of animals who provide us with food.

As one might expect, the historic Shepherd’s Fair in Luxembourg brought together sheep merchants to show their goods to interested parties, including a special parade of the animals bedecked in ribbons. The parade probably goes back to much earlier times when animals were taken into magic rituals that maintained health. One way to continue this tradition is by sprinkling a little warm water on your pet to invite Damona’s protection (or brush it into the creature’s fur – this works better with cats).

Wear wool clothing (or wool blends) to don Damona’s healthy aspect for your day. Or, simply enjoy a cup of tea before the day gets busy; Damona abides in warm water.

To ensure a healthful night’s sleep and pleasant dreams, count sheep as you go to bed. Visualize each one jumping over Damona’s waters and walking toward you. This brings Damona into your sleep cycle, where Her energy can flow more easily to renew well-being.”

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

“Tauro” by palomi

Damona is a “Goddess of fertility and healing; Her name means ‘divine cow’. Cow Goddesses were linked to fertility and abundance. Little information exists about Her now.” [1]

According to Mary Jones, “‘Divine Cow’ would make Her similar to the Irish Goddess Boann, whose name also means ‘Divine Cow’. Damona was usually the consort of the god Borvo, usually identified with Apollo. However, at the temple at Alesia, Her consort is Apollo Moritsages, and they are associated with a healing spring nearby. As ‘Borvo’ means ‘to boil’, they are likely the same god under different apellations. At any rate, She was associated not only with the cow, but, like Boann, with springs and water.

If She is identified with Boann, Apollo Moritsages may not be Her consort but Her son, as Oengus mac ind-Og was the son of Boann, and is often identified with Apollo. This would also make Damona similar to Matrona, Goddess of the Marne River, and mother of the god Apollo Maponos.

“The Goddess Boan ‘Dance of Delight'” by Helen O’Sullivan

She was mainly worshipped in Burgundy, France, and inscriptions attribute to Her the ability of prophecy in dreams.” [2]

Based on Her description, to me, this Goddess bears a striking similarity to the Norse primeval cow Audhumla and the Welsh Goddess Fuwch-Gyfeilioru,”a pure white Cosmic Elfin Cow; She Who produces endless streams of milk; She Who has the power to heal, to make fools wise and everyone in the world happy.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Her Cyclopedia, “Fuwch-Gyfeilioru“.

Joellessacredgrove.com, Celtic Gods and Goddesses: D,E,F“.

Jones, Mary.  Maryjones.us, “Damona“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Billington, S. The Concept of the Goddess, “Ancamna and Damona” (p. 30 – 33).

Celtnet.org.uk, “The Gaulish Goddess, Damona: The Divine Cow“.

Her Cyclopedia, “Damona, Divine Cow“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Damona“.

Wikipedia, “Damona“.

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“.

Goddess Rigantona

“Rhiannon” by Hrana Janto

“Rigantona’s themes are sports, excellence, magic, fertility, movement and travel. Her symbols are horses, the moon, white items and birds.  A Roman/Italic form of Rhiannon, this Goddess travels the earth on a swift white horse, a lunar symbol, sweeping us up to travel along and get everything in our lives moving! Stories portray Rigantona in the company of powerful magical birds and She also represents fertility.

In Italy, people attend the Palio Festival, a horse race that started in the 13th century and has continued ever since as a time to show physical skill and cunning. It’s a perfect place for Rigantona to shine. Any type of physical activity that you excel in will please Rigantona today and encourage Her motivational energy in your efforts. Get out and take a brisk walk, swim, rollerblade. As you move, visualize yourself atop a white horse, the Goddess’s symbol, approaching an image of a specific goal. All the energy you expend during this activity generates magic for attainment.

If birds fly into your life today, pay attention to the type of bird and its movements, because birds are Rigantona’s messengers. Birds flying to the right are good omens, those moving to the left act as a warning of danger and those flying overhead indicate productivity in whatever you try today. If any of these birds drops a feather, keep it as a gift from the Goddess.”

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

Rhiannon (from the Mabinogion) by Alan Lee

Rigatona (pronounced REE at-on-a) meaning “Great Queen” is thought to be from where the Welsh Goddess Rhiannon’s original name derived.  “Continuation of the name would indicate the existence of a Brythnoic Goddess known as Rīgantona, though no trace of Her (save for the name of Rhiannon) has been left to us. Whether this Rīgantona was an independent deity or represented an aspect of Epona (who is occasionally referred to in the plural and may be a triple-Goddess) may not be known for certain though the surviving tales of Rhiannon would suggest the later interpretation. Thus there may once have been an insular Brythonic deity known as Rīgantona Epona.

Rhiannon’s name is directly cognate with the Irish goddess Mórrígan (which also menans ‘Great Queen’). In terms of attributes, however, Rhiannon is most closely similar to an sapect of the triple-Goddes, Mórrígan known as Macha; a Goddess of war, horses and kingship.” [1]

Rhiannon is a potent symbol of fertility, yet She is also an Otherworld and death Goddess, a bringer of dreams, and a moon deity who is symbolized by a white horse. Her father was Heveydd the Old, and She was married to both Pwyll and Manan. The story of Her marriage to Pwyll, and the subsequent accusation of the murder of Her child, is well documented and most people are familiar with Rhiannon from this tale. [Click here to read Her tale].

“Rhiannon” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Patricia Monaghan comments: “What can one expect of a Goddess of death? Her son disappeared, and the queen was found with blood on Her mouth and cheeks. Accused of murder, She was sentenced to serve as Pwyll’s gatekeeper, bearing visitors to the door on Her back; thus She was symbolically transformed into a horse. All ended happily when Her son was found; Rhiannon had been falsely accused by maids who, terrified at finding the babe absent, had smeared puppy blood on the queen’s face.

Behind this legend is doubtless another, more primitive one in which the death queen actually was guilty of infanticide. This beautiful queen of the night would then, it seems, be identical to the Germanic Mora, the nightmare, the horse-shaped Goddess of terror. But night brings good dreams as well as bad, so Rhiannon was said to be the beautiful Goddess of joy and oblivion, a Goddess of Elysium as well as the queen of hell” (p. 266 – 267).

“Rhiannon” by Jan Hess

“In Her guise as a death Goddess, Rhiannon could sing sweetly enough to lure all those in hearing to their deaths, and therefore She may be related to Germanic stories of lake and river faeries who sing seductively to lure sailors and fishermen to their doom. Her white horse images also link Her to Epona, and many scholars feel they are one and the same, or at least are derived from the same archetypal roots.

In today’s magick and ritual, Rhiannon can be called upon to aid you in overcoming enemies, exercising patience, working magick, moon rituals, and enhancing dream work.” [2]

“Call upon Rhiannon to bless rites of fertility, sex magick, prosperity and dream work. Work with Her to enhance divination skills, overcome enemies, develop patience, and to gain self confidence. She is most definitely a Fae that every woman can relate to on some level. Her perserverance and will is an example of what we as women are, have been, and will continue to be for millennia to come. Solid, unwavering beauty and strength, like Mother Earth below our feet.” [3]

 

ASSOCIATIONS (Rhiannon):

General: Moon, horses, horseshoe, songbirds, gates, the wind, and the number 7.

Animals: Horse, badger, frog, dogs (especially puppies), canaries and other songbirds, hummingbirds, and dragons.

Plants: Narcissus and daffodils, leeks, pansies, forsythia, cedar and pine trees [evergreens], bayberry, sage and rosemary,[jasmine, any white flower]

Perfumes/Scents: Sandalwood, neroli, bergamot, lavender, narcissus, and geranium.

Gems and Metals: Gold, silver, cat’s eye, moonstone, crystal, quartz, ruby, red garnet, bloodstone, turquoise, and amethyst.

Colors: Dark green, maroon, gold, silver, rich brown, white, black, charcoal grey, and ruby red.   [4]

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Animals and fertility

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Suitable Offerings: Music

Associated Planet: Moon    [5]

Moon Phase: Waning

Aspects: Leadership, movement, change, death, fertility, crisis, magic for women, protection, strength and truth in adversity, dreams

Wheel of the Year: Willow Moon (Saille): April 15 – May 12

Ivy Moon (Gort): September 30 – October 27   [6]

 

 

 

Great Goddess, help me remember that times of sorrow are opportunities for the greatest growth.  Rhiannon, I affirm that I have the courage to overcome my doubts and fears.

And here’s a great 13 minute video on Goddess Rhiannon, The Great Queen

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Rhiannon“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow. Within the Sacred Mists, “The Celtic Tradition of Witches and Wiccans“.

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

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Rhiannon, A Cymric and Brythonic Goddess, also known as Rigatona: Great Queen“.

PaganNews.com, “Rhiannon“.

Rhiannon – Divine Queen

Saille, Rowen. Order of the White Moon, “Rhiannon: Great Queen of the Celts“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Barkemeijer de Wit, R. Celestial Journey Therapy, “Who is Goddess Rhiannon?

Epona.net, “Later Influences of Epona“.

Goddessgift.com, “Activities to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Meditations to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Rhiannon, Celtic Goddess“.

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Rhiannon“.

The Mabinogion, “Rhiannon“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, “Mórrígan” (p. 339 – 340)

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Rhiannon“.

Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Goddesses“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Rhiannon“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Rhiannon“.

Goddess Epona

“Epona” by Joanna Barnum

“Epona’s themes are protection of animals; especially those who serve humankind. Her symbol is the horse.  Epona protects the creatures who faithfully keep humans company. This pre-Roman Gaulish Goddess is nearly always shown riding or lovingly feeding a horse and accompanied by a dog – these are Her two sacred animals.  Also, sometimes depicted with corn in Her lap and carrying a goblet, Epona inspires love, fertility and providence in your life. In some myths, Epona appeared to acknowledge a king’s sovereignty, giving Her leadership qualities that can help you when you need more authority in a situation.

To generate a little more providence in your life, eat corn today. Say a silent prayer to Epona, asking Her to saturate your food with power, then consume it to internalize the energy.

If you have a pet, consider blessing it today. To do this, find a small silver charm or a horse or a dog (like those from charm bracelets). This image invokes Epona’s protection. Alternatively, use a little bell and draw the image of a horse or dog on it.

Hold the token cupped in your hands. Visualize it filled with glittery white light and say,

‘Epona, watch over_____________ [fill in with the of the animal]. Keep them safe and healthy no matter where they may be.’

Put the charm on the animal’s collar or cage or in it’s bedding.”

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

“Epona (pronounced Ey-PONE-ah) was the ancient Horse Goddess of the pre-Christian Pagan people, known as the Gauls, or Celtic French. She was worshipped for many hundreds of years as a Horse Goddess, who not only protected horses, but also their owners. Epona is also one of the most well known of all the Goddesses within the Celtic Pantheon, and She was granted such titles as ‘The Great Mare,’ the ‘Divine Mare,’ and the ‘Mare Goddess.’

Epona was worshipped throughout the entire Celtic world in a variety of other, different aspects. In Ireland she was known as Macha, the Goddess of War, while in Wales She became Rhiannon, the Goddess of the Underworld. It was in the aspect of Rhiannon that Epona appears in the Welsh collection of tales known as The Mabinogion. She has also been identified with the Celtic Goddess Edain, or Etain, whose full name, when translated, is Etain Echraidhe, which means ‘Etain, the horse rider,’ or ‘Etain, the rider of horses.’

Epona was worshipped widely throughout the entire Celtic and Roman worlds, and Her worship was exceptionally strong in both Rhineland and Gaul. In fact, Epona’s worship became so strong that it spread as far away as the Danube River, Yugoslavia, North Africa and Rome. The Roman army was so impressed by Her that it eventually adopted Her cult, and the Roman soldiers introduced Epona’s worship to the many people that they encountered in their travels.

The British worshipped Epona in the form of a cult, and they gave Her the title ‘Rigantona‘ or ‘Rig Antonia,’ which means ‘Great Queen.’ The Goddess Rhiannon, whose worship occurred at a much later point in time, was strongly associated with Epona, and She was known by that title as well.

“Epona the Horse Goddess” by Gene Avery North

Epona was also known by a variety of other names, which changed according to the various languages and myths that were indigenous to each particular region. It actually matters little whether She was known as Rhiannon, Macha or Epona, because no matter which aspect She happened to appear in, Her image always remained the same. She appeared as a woman with very long hair who was riding side saddle upon a white mare. When She appeared in the aspect of Epona, however, She was depicted as a woman with very long hair, lying half-naked on a white mare.

Stories about Epona [are] lost to the world forever, although one story regarding Her origin remains. During the decline of the Roman Empire, a Greek writer named Agesilaos wrote a story in which he claimed that Epona was the product of a man named Phoulonios Stellos, who had no interest whatsoever in women. Instead of mating with a woman he preferred to mate with a mare, and when that mare gave birth, it was to a beautiful human-looking daughter. Interestingly, it was actually the mare, herself, who named her daughter Epona, and by her doing so, she deified Epona as the Goddess of Horses.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Epona could take the tangible forms of both parents.  Sometimes, too, She appeared as a rushing river, which suggests that Epona was a fertility Goddess, often seen in Celtic culture as a water spirit.  Similarly, the connection among Celtic peoples of the horse and the sun suggests a solar nature to Epona, supported as well by the patera or round sunlike plate that She carries in many sculptures.

The sacred mare Epona appeared as the bestower of sovereignty in the ancient Celtic rituals of kingship, which may have included a rite of marriage with the mare Goddess.  Among Indo-European peoples in India, a rite of mare-marriage, which solidified a man’s claim on the rulership of a geographical area, is attested and has been connected by scholars to the figure of Epona.

Aerial view of the Uffington White Horse

Recent excavations of the magnificent British monument, the White Horse of Uffington, strongly suggests that the 360-foot-long horse represents Epona.  Using a new technique, archaeologists have been studying the rate at which the hillside, upon which the White Horse is carved into the chalky soil, has descended towards the deep valley (the Vale of the White Horse) beneath.  The White Horse has puzzled researchers for many years, some maintaining that it was a late medieval creation, others that it derived from the post-Celtic era.  Even before the recent attempt to date the monument itself, it has been noted that the horse’s design echoed that of coins issued by the Celtic warrior Queen Boudicca.  The identification of the White Horse with the Celts is now virtually certain – and as the Celts had only one horse-divinity, the likelihood is that the horse on the hill was Epona.  Vestiges of Her are also found in the figure of Lady Godiva and the mysterious white-horse-riding woman of Banbury Cross” (p. 114).

  

On an Etsy.com page selling a replica of an Epona statue found in Alesia, France, I found a piece of information especially inspiring:

Epona in our everyday lives

“Although Epona was and still is traditionally seen as a horse Goddess, She can fit into so many aspects of our lives. She is the Goddess of dreams not only of the sleeping kind but the dreams of hope and ambition. She can be helpful in manifesting dreams and is a good protector to have when venturing on a new path in life. A prayer or invocation can be offered to Her if one is having trouble sleeping or wishes to have insightful or peaceful dreams. She is a nurturing caregiver and can be called upon as a protector of families, children and women who are about to give birth.

Epona is also good to turn to when seeking positive blessings and prosperity. She is good to call upon during dark, difficult times in life such as grief and loss and can offer guidance that is gentle and loving in nature. Roses are a wonderful offering to leave on your altar for the Goddess Epona as are rose petals or rose incense. Sandalwood incense can also be used as an offering. When burning a candle for Epona, the most common color associated with Her is white.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Horse and Motherhood

Preferred Colors: Brown, black and white

Associated Symbol: Horse, cornucopia, keys

Animals Associated with: Horse, mares and foals, dog, birds.

Suitable Offerings: Fruits, mare’s milk, apples, hay, sweet grass, oats, fresh water, a thick stout that you can practically chew on.  Roses, rosebuds, rose garlands.

Scents/Incense: Rose, sandalwood.

Gemstones: Cat’s eye, ruby, azurite, obsidian, and moonstone

Astrology: Aries

Tarot: Queen of Wands

Chakra: The sexual and heart chakras

Feast Days: The Autumn Equinox, when night and day are of equal length, occurs during the month of the Vine Moon; December 18 (based on the Roman calendar).

[34, 56]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Etsy.com/shop/Harmonycraft, Epona – Celtic Horse Goddess“.

A Journal of a Poet – The Goddess As My Muse, “Epona, The Gaulish Horse Goddess“.

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

PaganNews.com, “Epona“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Epona“.

Tribeofthesun.com, Epona“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

EPONA.net (An in-depth Epona site with historical facts about Epona)

Firewolf, Dawn. Realmagick.com, “Epona“.

Held, Catherine Anne. Dreamhorsewomen.wordpress.com, “Women and Horses in Mythology: Epona“.

Lady Zephyr. Order of the White Moon, “Epona“.

Myst, Willow. Order of the White Moon, “Epona“.

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Epona: A Gaulish and Brythonic Goddess: Divine Horse“.

Readtiger.com, “Epona“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

Goddess Sequana

Artwork by John Shannon

“Sequana’s themes are wishes, youthfulness, luck, health, and movement.  Her symbols are ducks and boats.  A Celtic river Goddess, Sequana flows in with April showers, raining good health and improved fortunes upon us. Statuary of Her shows Sequana standing in a duck-shaped boat (the duck is Her sacred animal) with open arms ready to receive our prayers.

Children in France run merrily to the Rhine River around this date to launch miniature boats with candles inside. Each boat represents life’s voyage being filled with joy. Anyone finding a boat later may make a wish as they bring it to shore. This is a charming custom that you can re-create if you have a stream, river, pond or lake nearby. Or, fill a children’s pool with water. Make a wish to Sequana  as you launch your boat. Putting the boat on the water invokes Sequana’s happiness and motivational energy for achieving a personal goal. Coax the boat toward a friend or partner on the other side so they can make a wish!

If neither of these options works out, float a rubber ducky in your bathtub and soak in Sequana’s revitalizing waters. Add to the bath pantry herbs that match your goals. For wishes add sage, for youthful energy add rosemary, for luck, allspice, for health, fennel, and for movement, ginger. No time for a bath? Make these five herbs into a tea and quaff them to internalize Sequana’s powers for the day.”

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

In Gallo-Roman religion, Sequana  (pronounced sek-oo-ANN-a) was the Goddess of the river Seine, particularly the springs at the source of the Seine, and the Gaulish tribe the Sequani. Her name means “the fast-flowing one” and is also seen as Sequanna, Siquanna, and Secuana.

The springs, called the Fontes Sequanae (“The Springs of Sequana”) are located in a valley in the Châtillon Plateau, to the north-west of Dijon in Burgundy, and it was here, in the 2nd or 1st century BCE, that a healing shrine was established. Her waters were believed to heal physical infirmities, especially diseases of the eye.  “As in many other cases to be river-Goddess meant that you were strongly connected to a role as healer (see also for example Sulis)” [1].

This bronze figure of the Goddess Sequana was discovered in 1937.  The statue is some eighteen inches high. Photographer: DAVID ARNOLD/National Geographic Stock

The sanctuary was later taken over the by Romans, who built two temples, a colonnaded precinct and other related structures centered on the spring and pool and continued Her worship.  Many dedications were made to Sequana at Her temple, including a large pot inscribed with Her name and filled with bronze and silver models of parts of human bodies to be cured by Her. Wooden and stone images of limbs, internal organs, heads, and complete bodies were offered to Her in the hope of a cure, as well as numerous coins and items of jewellery. Respiratory illnesses and eye diseases were common. Pilgrims were frequently depicted as carrying offerings to the Goddess, including money, fruit, or a favorite pet dog or bird.  [2] [3]

“The only surviving image of Sequana is a large bronze statue of a woman draped in a Romanesque gown and with a diadem on Her head who stands on a boat, the prow of which was shaped like the head of a duck. This statue can now be seen in the Museé Archeologique de Dijon. Though duck lore is scarce in later Celtic writing it may be, by association with Sequana as a healing water Goddess that the duck was also associated with healing cults. Indeed, inscriptions at the site thanking Sequana for Her gift of healing conclusively prove that Fontes Sequanae was a healing center and Sequana Herself was a healing Goddess.

From other surviving inscriptions it would seem that Sequana’s sanctuary was usurped by Christianity and re-dedicated to a supposed male saint, St. Sequanus so that the healing cult of the Goddess continued, only in a different guise. The Goddess is also invoked as Siquanna at Saint-Germain-la-Feuille, Côte d’Or, France.” [4]

Sources:

DameBoudicca. Pride & Sensibility, “Goddess of the week – Sequana“.

Nemeton: The Sacred Grove, Home of the Celtic gods, “Sequana: A Gaulish Goddess, also known as Secuana, Siquanna: The Fast-flowing One“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sequana“.

Wikipedia, “Sequana“.

Suggested Links:

Dashu, Max. The Suppressed Histories Archives: real women, global vision, “Gaels and Gauls“.

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess.

An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Sequana“.

Floyde, Marilyn. Burgundytoday.com,History of Burgundy – The Celts“.

Jackson, James Warren. James Warren Jackson’s Notes from Penhook, “Sequana, Celtic River Goddess“.

Luke, Coral.  This French Life, “The Mystery of the Goddess Sequana“.

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