Tag Archive: hawthorn


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“.

Hawthorn Moon is a time to concentrate on your lover and on renewing the intimacy and understanding between you.

The Celtic Moon month of Hawthorn is the time for lovers to attend to matters of the heart, as the Celtic fire festival of Beltane heralds the start of summer.  Celebrated on the first full Moon after the May tree (hawthorn) has bloomed, cattle were driven between two fires to purify them before moving to the summer pastures.  Young people were adorned with blossom, and lovers lay in fields to empower their relationship and the crops with fertility and prosperity.

The Month of Fertility

Maypoles are an enduring symbol of the union of male and female energies; binding the ribbons signifies marriage and this is an auspicious time for a wedding.  Spells cast during this time aid intimacy and passion in an existing relationship.  Partnerships formed now will be lasting, and if your lover gives you May flowers it is said that he will always be true.

 

THREE FACES OF THE GODDESS

“Triple Goddess” by Briar

Adorned with flowers in spring, berries in fall and bare thorns in winter, the appearance of appearance of hawthorn has led to its association with the three faces of the Great Goddess: Maiden, (virginal white flowers of spring); Mother (rich, fertile red berries of autumn); and Crone (the cruel thorns of winter).

Bewitching

The hawthorn is closely linked to witches due to an ancient belief that it was created from witches who had been transformed into trees.  Magic performed beside the hawthorn during its month is though to be twice as powerful.  Hawthorn wood was traditionally used in amulets and charms.  The wood grows into many twisted patterns, thought to be the origin of the love knot charm.  As an amulet, the flowers were thought to ward off depression.  The Romans placed such amulets in cradles to protect babies from curses.

“Hawthorn” by Margaret Walty

HAWTHORN MOON MAGIC

Harness the power of hawthorn to find your soulmate or repair a relationship, or to spice up your life and reenergize your Heart Chakra.

Soul Mate Spell

Finding the right person to form a relationship with is not an easy task.  Fortunately, you can harness the magical forces of the Hawthorn Moon to help you find that special someone.

  • Beside a hawthorn tree place a red candle in the earth and light it saying, “Trust by flowers white, passion by berries red and protection of thorn.  May we grow together.”  Next, describe your ideal partner on a red piece of paper. Bury it, leaving the candle to burn (DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED!).  Decorate your door with May blossom and you will find true love in the next summer.

Healing Fire Spell

A time for lovers, Hawthorn Moon is a perfect time to heal a wounded relationship.  To mend quarrels, follow this ritual with your partner.

1. Both of you should have a paper bag into which you should blow.

2. Close your bags and face each other.

3. Kiss three times, then burn the bags, along with anything else you can find that symbolizes the rift between you, in a fireproof dish on the floor.

4. Hold hands and jump over the flames.  As you enter your new life together, know that there will be no looking back.

5. Feast together on red foods, for example fresh strawberries, in order to seal your pact.

Spice Up Your Life

Take advantage of the fertile, prosperous energies of the month of the Hawthorn Moon to help you spice up your life.

  • Wear fiery red underwear and place a sprig of May blossom in your hair to help you impress on that special date.
  • Young hawthorn leaves are tasty in salads and have detoxifying qualities to help you get into shape for the bikini season.
  • Wash in the morning dew after the new Moon to enhance your powers of attraction.
  • Decorate the dinner table with hawthorn flowers and bright red candles to create the setting for a magical meal for two.

 

Heart Meditation

This meditation will energize your Heart Chakra and help you open up to receive love during the auspicious month of Hawthorn.

1. Place a pink candle within a circle of May blossom and make sure that you are feeling totally comfortable.  To create the right atmosphere for your magic, you could dim the lights or play some soothing, ambient music.

2. Light the pink candle; focus your attention on the flame.

3. As you breathe in, imagine your heart being filled with soft pink light – one of the colors linked with the Heart Chakra.

4. Keep breathing in the pink light until it begins to fade, then slowly come back into the your awareness of the room.

 

 

Focus on keeping a barrier between yourself and things you don’t want.  Aim to push away old problems or lingering irritations.

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  10.

 

Suggested Links:

The Goddess Tree, “Hawthorn“.

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