His name is thought to mean “sacred, fire”. He has been likened to both Mars and Mercury. He is most well known for the depiction of Him pruning a tree with what may be either an axe or a billhook. Near Him is Tarvos Trigaranos (Bull and Three Cranes). The cranes perhaps a death omen. Theories as to what this means varies, but our suspicion is that Aisus is maintaining a sacred grove. Remember that such groves were carefully curated places.
By maintaining the grove, sacrifice, as bulls were commonly a sacrificial animal, was possible. So whether or not He kills Tarvos Trigaranos is irrelevant. He at least makes the sacrifice possible. He is also invoked in an invocation relating to the curing of a troubled throat. Suggesting that He may also be involved in magic.
He shares his skills with humanity. What Aisus is possibly doing is teaching us the knowledge of sacrifice and how to perform it. Equally important is that He is teaching us how to maintain sacred spaces. As again, such spaces were carefully cultivated and their locations deliberate.
His invocation on a tablet requesting a cure suggests that the Gaulish idea of magic was not one that separated the practicioner from the Dêuoi. Instead reinforcing that we are connected with Them and our actions are best when in line with what They teach.
Auetâ governs midwives, fertility and nursing. It can also be assumed that she governs freshwaters. There is also an association with dogs, which could, in piecing together with the rest, be a connotation of healing. As is noted by Miranda Green in Gods of the Celts. In the same book, there’s also the idea that she is also a protector of children. This seems in step with the other information we have.
There are a few contending interpretations for what his name means, but normally is thought to mean something like “Powerful”. He was likened by the Romans to Apollo. This can provide some insight into his nature. He is associated with sunlight (but not a Dêuos of the sun), lighit, horses (clay ones were offered to him), and war. It was once said that he was seen defending the city of Aquileia from a seige.
He is also associated with hot springs, tying him into healing. Altogether, He sounds like a very ancient Dêuos. And it’s possible that he could have been mythologically associated with pulling the sun across the sky in a horse drawn chariot, based on his traits and the clay horse offerings. His worship was widespread, apparently starting out in Eastern Gaul to Noricum, and spreading west and north, to Britain.
Carnonos is suspected to be His Gaulish name, Cernunnos being a later form used in the Gallo-Roman era. Either way, most will know who you are talking about. The etymology isn’t certain, but is commonly thought to mean “Horned One”.
He is often depicted with a ram horned serpent, and sometimes with animals like bulls, of course deer, and occasionally a rat. He is also depicted with a torc or torcs, the famous neck rings associated with the Gauls among other peoples. Also being depicted on the Pillar of the Boatmen, this leads to a linking of Him to commerce and trade. In Celtiberia, depictions of Him as being like Janus links Him to being a Dêuos of Bidirectionality.
As we can expect, this paints a very interesting picture of a Dêuos who was linked to many things, and as Dêuoi are, very complex. We see chthonic and liminal aspects. Riches of Dubnos (the Underworld), but also of a kind of intermediary, travel and perhaps a kind of psychopomp, one who guides souls of the dead.
Her name means “Battle Crow”, also Cathuboduâ. As there isn’t thought to be a “th” sound in Gaulish, the “h” is probably silent and so we generally don’t use it. Her name says a lot about that with which She is involved. War. There is a belief that crows were thought to choose who was to be slain on the field of battle. Presumably because they consume those who die.
However, as there are other cultures with beliefs that those who die were carried up to a to the afterlife by crows or ravens. It is in some ways, as those who fall in battle are celebrated in many cultures, not a completely bad thing to have been chosen. Since if one assumes they will die and provided they don’t flee are probably going to fight ferociously.
So, She is indeed not only a Dêuâ accustomed to death, She is involved in the process. Carrying the fallen on Her wings to a good afterlife.
Her name has to do with the word Ðirâ, (Ð = ts) meaning “star”. She is depicted with eggs, snakes, and associated with healing springs. She is also depicted wearing a star shaped diadem, and wearing a long gown. The snake and eggs bring to mind a connection to the Greek deity Hygeia.
Here we have a Dêuâ of healing, of stars, of springs and wells. She is also depicted once holding grains and fruits. Temples to Her were also built around springs and wells. So, we have her associated with snakes, eggs, wells, springs, stars, and fertility.
Our gnosis is that the star connection coupled with snakes, eggs, and wells have to do with the liminal period of spring. Wells fill, and springs are more active this time of year. Snakes emerge from their burrows, and eggs are hatching at this time. As this is the time of that emergence, we suspect if a star were related to her, it wouldn’t actually be a star, but the planet Venus. Of course, other planets look like stars to the naked eye in the sky.
Though not directly in the shape of a star, Venus does move through five points in the sky, and is visible mainly in the evening and morning, a liminal time of day, and spring is a liminal time of year. We also realize that’s a fairly generous gnosis, so take from it what you will.
Galatos (the Toutatis)
The name means “Of the People, Tribe, or Nation”. The Toutatis is the protector and guardian of a given group of people. As such, BNG has a Toutatis. They are a kind of Dêuos, but sometimes we see a Toutatis has a name of their own such as perhaps Caturix, Camulos, or Lenus. Sometimes, however, all we know is the name Toutatis.
They are usually likened to Roman Mars, associated with protection, war, and fighting disease. As was said, sometimes a Toutatis has an otherwise known name, sometimes not. In BNG, our Touatais is called Galatos. Whether this is the Galatos mentioned in Greek accounts as the ancestor of the Galatians or not, we do not know (BNG is not specifically focused on the historic region Galatia). However, it is worth noting that Galatian comes from the word Galatis (Greek Galates) which is a word relating to Gauls.
There are a few potential meanings for His name. Lugus is thought to be the mysterious “Gaulish Mercury”. This is for the reason that Caesar states that Mercury was the most revered being, of course not literally Mercury but a Dêuos likened to Him. He said that this being was a patron of trade, protector of travelers and the inventor of arts.
This lead scholars to liken Lugus to Irish Lugh, who is said to be skilled in all arts. Lugus is not Lugh, but They both seem to share this trait and linguistic relation. There are also other Dêuoi likened to Mercury, so Lugus is not the only one, but it seems fair to assume Him among Them.
His symbology includes spears, ravens, roosters, bags of coin, and being depicted with three faces. Here we can interpret that He is proud and skilled in war, familiar with death, looking in multiple directions, probably in guard, and a patron of wealth and prosperity.
Their names meaning “Mothers”, based on an early Gallo-Greek inscription. Related, a Matronâ worshipped as the Dêuâ of the Marne River in France. It is unknown if She is a singular form of these Mother Dêuâs or a different Dêuâ entirely, but to be safe, we will assume She is distinct. As all of these Mother Dêuâs are distinct from one another. Often tied into very specific tribes, but also one or many nations. So we have a very broad spectrum when it comes to these Dêuâs.
Materês were worshipped from Spain to Germany, and from the Netherlands to Northern Italy, also in Britain. The first inscriptions we see are from Northern Italy in the 1st century CE. Does this mean this is when this worship started or where? Though this was a Romanised part of Gaul, worship of Them seems spread along the lines of Gaul, Britain, and along the Rhine. As opposed to being common in Rome.
Romans in these places worshipped Them too, of course, but it’s not really known if they had anything to do with Their worship at its foundation. We just know it was spread all over Gaul. They governed many things, often fertility, rivers, and families. However, so much more. They were involved in war, and many other things. They were depicted with fruits, grains, children, dogs, with hair covered and uncovered. As well as with pigs. Perhaps receiving sacrifice.
Of note, They were in some theories thought to govern fate. Which, for those looking, it could shed some light on a Gaulish version of the women of fates and destinies. Like the Scandinavian Norns, Roman Parcæ, and Greek Fates. In Bessus Nouiogalation, this is an important function of our Materês.
Their cultus was widespread and for all manner of purpose. They governed all manner of things.
Her name means “Little Girl”. In life she was Margaret Hughes, however she passed before she became an adult and her body was interred in a mixed-faith graveyard that floods every spring, removing most of the bones from the previous year into the river, Boduâbonâ. She gives the community of Boduotrebâ a feeling of wonder and awe, tending to the forest across the river, drawing people to the cliffs and the clearings, even appearing to some, leading those who are willing to follow to a small freshwater spring in the side of the cliffs that is hidden to most.
Her name has a few possible meanings. Xavier Delamarre gives “sun warmed valley”. She has been depicted holding a house on a pole, with beehives, and with a crow or raven, under a depiction of the sun. Which show suggestions of a few things within which She may be involved. Such as prosperity granted to us by Her, who holds the gifts of the earth.
The house gives a couple of possibilities to us. It could either be some kind bird house, or meant to be an actual house showing perhaps Her supporting the home, perhaps from below, giving Her a chthonic quality. The carrion bird, a raven or crow perhaps relating to death. This gives the impression of a Dêuâ involved with both prosperity in life, and machinations of death.
Her name has to do with nemetons, which are of course places of worship, and famously the sacred groves in which the Ancient Gauls worshipped. In BNG she is invoked at the setup of a uentâ, or space in which rites are performed. She was named for Victoria, in Eisenberg, in what is now Germany. Popular with the Treveri people, one of whom even put up an altar to her while in Britain.
The meaning of His name is uncertain. Xavier Delamarre gives “guide, path”, and somewhere else (memory fails) “conductor” was suggested. These have to do with the belief that He is one who leads souls to the afterlife. Allegedly by binding them with His speech. It is said that those who went with Him did so gladly. It is also said that Ogmios was likened to Hercules. However, that it is the strength of His words that held the greatest power.
He is also, according to Jean-Louis Brunaux in ‘Les Gaulois: vérités et légendes’ speaks of Ogmios, being likened to Hercules as being an ancestor of the Gauls as a whole. This happens around the time of interaction with the Greeks which led to a rapid increase in infrastructure. A time when the Gauls begin to see themselves as Gauls. Though regional identities were usually stronger. (A factor in their tragic downfall.)
He was depicted as an older man, with sun darkened skin. Jean-Loius Brunaux adds that He was said to have had in His retinue people of many nations. This has led to that being gnosis, if not what literally was the case, fleshing out an otherwise not as well known Dêuos. Along with this, from Ralph Hausseler in ‘From Tomb to Temple: the Role of Hero Cults in Local Religion in Gaul and Britain During the Iron Age and Roman Period’, he mentions Ogmios as ancestor of the Gauls. This gives Ogmios a preeminent position among Dêuoi in BNG.
Other ways to honour our ancestors would be visiting their graves. Much as folks still do, where they still leave offerings to their ancestors to this day. This is a practice that has survived for thousands of years. On the Aidû “sacred fire, altar” pictures of your dearly departed are another way to do this. And there are many others. Be creative!
Now comes the common question of ancestry and if one’s ancestry “matters” in regard to custom. On this, BNG has two things to say about this:
All who wish are welcome to practice BNG, and/or any Gaulish custom regardless of their ancestry.
Anyone in any Gaulish custom can count the Gauls as among their ancestors as we are inspired by them. Blood or not, doesn’t matter. And historically this is confirmed, as well as morally understood today by all Galatîs.
Another thing to remember about Ancestors is that this includes adopted ancestors. If one is adopted, then the ancestors of those who adopted you are your ancestors as well. As well as those who have gone who had a significant impact on your life in pretty much any way. Anyone, related or not who helped shape you into to the person you are, or family, group you are in, that has passed on can be considered an ancestor.
His name is thought to mean either “kind” or “good striker”. He is depicted with a big mallet and sometimes a cup. He is thought to be associated at the least with wine growing and agriculture. He has also been depicted wearing a wolf pelt.
He was compared to Silvanus, who is associated with woods and forests. Sucellos is sometimes depicted like Etruscan Charon, and is also seen accompanied by a dog. If we take a look at the comparison with Charon, we see chthonic associations. As Charon ferried souls to the world of the dead.
His large mallet also suggests He is associated with boundaries, as the mallet looks like something that drives in fenceposts. Also giving a strong sense of agriculture and maintenance of the fields and farms. Thus also a shaper of the gifts of the earth. He is also depicted alongside Nantosueltâ.
She is spoken of in either triplicates or singularly. Her name is thought to mean “good guide”. Compared to the Roman Junones (feminine guardian spirits), and sometimes the Matronæ, or Materês — of Gaulish, Germanic, and Roman fame. Though sometimes, the Matres and Suleuiâs were invoked together. So we can see that the boundary between the two kinds of Dêuâs or spirits was not always clear.
Suleuiâ or Suleuiâs are Dêuâs of people, but in an important functional context — places, especially homes. Now it may have in the past been tribal or regional Suleuiâs that were more relevant. In a modern context, one is likely the only Galatis in the area. As such, the Suleuiâ is a protector, of one’s home and of one’s person.
Something to think about when we light our uandalâs (candles) to the guardians of our homes or selves. As They are a very special kind of spirit. Also, as groups have Suleuiâs, Bessus Nouiogalation does as well.
Here, with Taranis (in dedication of all the work here that Suturcos does) there is more known. Or at least ideas of Him are a bit easier to flesh out in comparison to other Dêuoi. His name means “Thunder” or “Thunderer”. Which is agreed upon by every expert that at least we are aware. His name underlines with what He is most associated: thunder, storms, lightning, rain.
He is often outright depicted wielding either a literal thunderbolt, especially in Gallo-Roman times, or a club or staff. Both of which are striking weapons. This aligns well with lightning. In Britain, a Dêuos holding a crooked club with a wheel beside Him is depicted. Bringing us to His most enigmatic symbol: the wheel. Wheels are depicted in His place more than any image of Him. Wheels are found with or alongside inscriptions bearing His name, so we can safely attribute wheels as a symbol of Him.
The club, staff, weapon is a more clearly understood symbol. The wheel is more mysterious. There are many theories. Some are as simple as an analogy of “rolling thunder”. Others as deep as the rotation of the skies, which puts Him up to be a Dêuos of the sky, and not just storms. With that association, He can be assumed to also be associated with the general upholding of truth and order. On Jupiter columns (He is most associated with Jupiter, surprise) an uncommon depiction of Jupiter on horseback, which Jupiter is not depicted with, are often found along the Rhine. Which ran through Gaulish lands. Under these Jupiters is a serpent or monster being trodden upon.
It is quite common for thunder deities to be slayers of serpents and monsters. Taranis appears to be no exception. So, we have a great sky and thunder Dêuos who upholds truth and slays cosmic enemies. However, He isn’t all about death and destruction. After all, He is slaying things that are a threat. Storms also bring rain, which gives life and feeds the land. Lightning is beneficial to soil as well. And so it is fair to see Him as just as much a Dêuos who gives life. With winds that come with storms, breath.
We offer the interwoven facts and gnosis here. It also warrants mentioning that wheels have been seen on urns. This means He probably has a function in death. Also, wielding lightning comes with fire, which both purifies and sanctifies. As with other Dêuoi, we see a great and complex Dêuos.
Her name is thought to mean “She who is good/worthy”. She’s shown with a cornucopia, and is named for the Roman Dea Tutela, on an inscription found in Périgueux. With the cornucopia, we associate her with grace and a good toncnaman (destiny, fate, that which is sworn). In BNG we sometimes say “Uesunnâ cantitê!”, which approximates “Good luck!”.
All of these descriptions, save the one for Mattâ, are from the Bessus Nouiogalation Dêuoi page. My intent in sharing them here is not to plagiarize other people’s work for more content (as I must admit, I have been neglecting my blog for roughly the past month), but merely to document the list of Dêuoi that I have been engaging in Cantos Ratî with since the beginning of my path in the Galatîs community. The more blogs we all have, the more information we put out into the world, will be the way we make our traditions accessible to those who come after us.Caromâros