Tag Archive: nemetona


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 Diana

“Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt” by violscraper

“Diana’s themes are fertility, children, providence, abundance and harvest. Her symbols are the moon, water, forest items and the sun.  This Roman Goddess embodies the moon’s fertility and watery aspects along with the sun’s protective and nurtuirng power over the forests and its creatures. On this day she was celebrated in Rome and She will be remembered in our hearts as the huntress who helps us capture the spiritual ‘food’ we need.

Starting on August 13, the Romans had a weeklong festival for Diana, praying to Her for the harvest’s bounty and to turn damaging storms away. The traditional place to leave an offering of fruit or vines for Her is in the forest, or at a crossroads. As you do, if any stone or leaf catches your eye, pick it up and carry it as a charm that will keep Diana’s power with you that entire day. Come night, release the gift to flowing water or back to the earth with a prayer of thanks and a wish for one of Diana’s atttributes that you wish to develop in your life.

It is also customary to light some fire source to honor Her on August 15 or anytime during the festivities. Afterward, to generate this Goddess’s physical or figurative fertility within you, follow Roman convention and wash your hair with specially prepared water (water to which a little milk is added so that it looks white, like the moon). If you have children, doing this for them incurs Diana’s protection over their lives.”

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

“Artemis” by Howard David Johnson

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “today we confuse Diana with the Greek Artemis, seeing both in the familiar picture of the lightly clad, bow-bearing Goddess who rides the moon or strides through the forest with Her nymphs.  And in later Roman times, Diana was indeed so pictured, but only after the original Italian Goddess was assimilated into the powerful figure of Artemis, the Goddess of the conquered Greeks.

“Moon Goddess” by Josephine Wall

Diana was originally queen of the open sky, worshiped only outdoors, where Her domain stretched overhead.  Possibly She was ruler of the sun as well as the moon, for the early Italians had no sun god and had to adopt Apollo for that role.  Diana’s name comes from the word for ‘light’; probably She was the original Italian ruler of the sun.

She ruled on earth as well, as bestower of sovereignty and granter of conception; thus She was sometimes called the threefold Diana Trivia.  With two other deities She made up another trinity: Egeria the water nymph [one of the Camenae], Her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the mysterious woodland god.  The three lived together in the famous Wood of Nemi near Aricia, where runaway slaves competed for mistletoe – the Golden Bough that would give them a fighting chance for the position of Diana’s priest.  Not a job a modern man would covet, the priesthood meant continual vigilance against the next contender for the post, and ultimately death at a successful rival’s hand.

“Diana” by Lotta-Lotos

This fatal kingship was one of the few roles men could play in worship of Diana.  Otherwise, the sky queen was entirely a woman’s Goddess.  On Her feast day, August 15 – today the Catholic feast day of Mary’s assumption into heaven – processions of women would journey to Aricia to offer thanks in Diana’s grove for Her help that year and to implore Her continuing aid.  The hunting dogs who accompanied them were crowned but kept leased so as not to disturb the wild creatures who lived under Diana’s sky.  Eventually Diana worship moved closer to the population center, to the Aventine Hill in Rome itself, where women continued to flock to Her shrine for ritual hair-washing and invocations for aid in childbed” (p. 103 – 104).

Thalia Took tells us that “the Romans recognized three aspects of Her–as the Moon-Goddess, they called Her Luna; as an underworld deity of magic, Hekate; and as the huntress-Goddess, Diana.”

“Mother Nature” by Rozairo

Interestingly enough, Thalia Took also tells us that “in Gaul, She was identified with Nemetona, ‘Goddess of the Sacred Grove’, and considered the consort of Mars“.  This makes sense, as Diana Nemorensis (“of the Grove”) had Her temple in a forest on the Lake Nemi‘s shores and was the Goddess of wild places who loved forests. [1]

“Diana” by Maltshakes

 

ASSOCIATIONS: (Goddess symbols of Artemis, but I would think would be appropriate for Diana as well)

General: Crescent moon (new moon), bow and arrow, sandals, clouds, three pillars, and blue sky.

Animals: Dogs, guinea fowl, elephant, horses, bear, dove, deer, and bee.

Plants: Anemones, flowering almond, hazel, ranunculus, honeysuckle, thistle, laurel, and fir tree.

Perfumes/Scents: Jasmine, aloe, ginseng, lemon verbena, and camphor.

Gems and Minerals: Moonstone, pearl, quartz, crystal, silver, turquoise, iron, aluminum, and diamonds.

Colors: Silver, white, red, green, and turquoise.              [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Symbols of Artemis”.

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Diana“.

Encyclopedia.com, “Diana“.

Fischer-Hansen & Birte Poulsen. From Artemis to Diana: The Goddess of Man and Beast (Acta Hyperborea).

Goddess-guide.com, “The Roman Goddess Diana“.

GrayWolf, Danu. Order of the White Moon, “Diana“.

Greek-gods-and-goddesses.com, “The Roman Goddess Diana“.

Grimassi, Raven. Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft, “Lady of the Lake” & “Lake Nemi

Journal of a Poet, “Artemis/Diana, Goddess of the Moon“.

Leland, Charles Godfrey. Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches.

Monaghan, Patricia. Matrifocus.com, “Trivia: Goddess of the Crossroads“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Artemis: out with the old – peaceful warrior“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Diana: go wild!“.

Roman-colosseum.info, “Myths about the Roman Goddess Diana“.

Richardson, Adele & Laurel Bowman. Diana.

Tate, Karen. Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations.

Thewhitegoddess.co.uk, Diana – Goddess of the Hunt“.

Wikipedia, “Diana (mythology)“.

Wikipedia, “Diana Nemorensis“.

Wikipedia, “Rex Nemorensis“.

V. Goddessschool.com, “Diana ‘Queen of Heaven’“.

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“.

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