Initiate Hearth Culture Study

By Trebomâros Auigani, 05-25-20

This course will prepare the student for their work as an Initiate by exploring the specifics of their primary hearth culture and options for practicing it as informed by both broad Indo-European research and current ADF practices. For this course, in all cases where you are to use your primary hearth culture, if you have not chosen one, please choose one that you would like to learn more about and use it for all the questions.

1. Describe at least 3 of the factors that define your primary hearth culture as Indo-European and how those defining factors are useful in understanding that culture for the purposes of practicing the religion of that culture.

The study and development of comparative linguistics regarding Indo-European languages has evolved, bringing revelations regarding the origins of Indo-European languages, patterns of social structures, mythic themes, and how they possibly viewed the world (Mallory, pp.113-114). For this question, I will look at three of these elements: language, social structures, and mythic themes with the Gaulish Celts.

Gaulish is part of the Continental Celtic linguistic branch of the Indo-European linguistic tree that was spoken in central and Western Europe from around 1000-500 BCE (earlier Proto-Celtic) until at least the 6th century CE in remote areas of France and the Alps (Matasović, p. 1; Mallory, p. 106). The language itself, despite its roots in Proto-Celtic, was influenced by Greek, Latin, and German languages (also, all Indo-European in origin), which can be seen in some vowel pronunciations, place names, and borrow words used from items (Matasović, pp. 2-3). Concerning religious practices, understanding the language can help get a deeper understanding of the role of the gods in religious ceremonies as well as deepening modern devotional practices.

Social Structures:
Most of our understanding of Gaulish social structures are from Classical writers from both Greece and the Roman Empire. These documents, while cross comparing them with archeology and social structures of other Indo-European cultures, provide a clear social structure. There were primarily three classes of people that existed with the Gauls (not including slaves); Druis, Equites, and Plebes (Mallory, p. 131).

Druis: This group was compared to the priest classes of the Indo-Iranian cultures by classical writers and what was clear is that they were not a unified group, but collations of various regional colleges with particular focuses and specializations (Brunaux, pp. 57-59; Puhvel, p. 22). These specializations included ritual performers; masters of sacrifice (gutuatri); poetic prophets and seers, (vates); lore keepers and storytellers (bards); and ritual specialists/judges/advisors to kings and nobles (druis) (Brunaux, pp. 63-65).

Equites: This group referenced noblemen, knights (cavalry warriors), kings, magistrates, and other tribal chiefs. By the time Caesar had started his campaigns north, the Gaulish Nations had been going through a period of culture shift regarding how their communities were organized. Many tribes were shifting to social and political structures used in the Greco-Roman world and the kings of old were in the process of being replaced with elected magistrates (Brunaux, pp. 49-51). Despite that, the nobility held their positions through hereditary family lines, maintained with a clientele system, and marriages with other noble families (Brunaux, p. 55).

Plebes: This group involved the common freeman of the Gaulish people. Some were wealthy merchants who owned goods, but many of them were tradesmen, farmers, etc. These people made up the body of infantry units in armies, except in the cases of the Plebe, which was a client to a nobleman who fought alongside the cavalry on horseback (Brunaux, p. 55). The only ones who were not allowed to fight were slaves.

Understanding how the social structures work within an Indo-European culture can give one further insight into how they viewed the relations of their deities with each other, insights into their concept of the afterlife, and what aspects of their lives they saw as sacred.

Mythic Themes:
Unfortunately, except for some sparing references from Classical sources, there are no surviving Gaulish myths. We can tease out some understanding of what we think they might have been through historical documentation, archeology, and linguistics. We can also compare these elements with documentation from the Insular Celts for similarities and differences in basic themes. Cattle raids and hunting symbolism seem to be a common theme in artwork and historical documents and the importance of cattle is quite evident in all Indo-European cultures. The Romans also noticed many similarities between their gods and the gods of the Gauls, stating that Mercury as worshiped above all others, followed by Jupiter, Mars, Minerva, Apollo, and Diana (Puhvel, p. 168). Given the amount of literature and information we have from the Classical World, this cross-comparison can lead to deeper insight as well as open up new ways to see how one can approach them in their ritual and devotional work.

2. What are at least 9 hearth cultures within ADF and what approximate date range were they each practiced historically?

Hearth Cultures within ADF include, but are not limited to, the following (ADF, web):

Vedic: The Vedic culture finds its roots in Indo-Iranian cultures and became a branch of the Indo-European language group between 1200 BCE and 300 BCE. The culture after that shifted into what is known as Hindu culture. (Puhvel, pp. 34, 41, 68)

Norse/Germanic: The earliest signs of proto-German cultures seem to be around 500 BCE and due to geographic isolation of some areas with this culture, it lasted well into the 10th-12th centuries (Mallory, pp. 84-87; Puhvel, pp. 189-190).

Greek: The earliest evidence of Greek or Proto-Greek writing and culture is from are around the 1300s, BCE with the assimilation of the indigenous Minoan culture by the Mycenaeans. Greek culture continued to grow until they were assimilated by the Roman empire in 146 BCE (Mallory, pp. 66-68; Puhvel, p. 127)

Roman: The earliest evidence of Latin Roman culture was in the 8th century BCE with the arrival of Greek settlers on the Italian peninsula (Mallory, pp. 87-88). By 500 BCE, the Romans began to expand their territory after being subjugated the Etruscans and by the 300 CE, their empire had expanded across the known world. The Empire started to decline around 300 CE and officially fell around 500 CE (Mallory, p. 94).

Slavic/Baltic: The earliest evidence of a Proto-Slavic language seems to be around 1500 BCE, but by 400-500 CE, this Proto-Slavic language split into the Slavic and Baltic languages (Mallory, pp. 76-78). As for their cultural and religious practices, they continued to practice their indigenous religious practices until 1387 CE, with the region converting to Christianity (Puhvel, p. 223).

Gaulish Celt: As I stated in question 1, the earliest evidence of any Celtic existence on the continent was around 1000-500 BCE with the Hallstatt culture located in modern Austria. Around 450 BCE, the Hallstatt culture gave way to the La Téne culture, which was the dominant Celtic culture when the Roman Empire expanded through the region. The last evidence of any Gallo-Roman culture seems to have been in the 6th century CE in remote areas of France and the Alps (Matasović, p. 1; Mallory, pp. 96, 106).

Celtiberian: The earliest historical evidence of their presence is between 800-500 BCE, showing influences of Hallstatt Celtic culture in various locations. Celtic culture and language continued in this area of Europe until the Roman Empire assimilated them in 19 BCE. Evidence of Iberian Celtic culture can be seen in place names and Galicia in the northwestern part of Spain (Mallory, pp. 94-96; 105-106).

Brittonic Celtic: The earliest evidence of Brittonic languages (Welsh, Cornish, and Brittonic) is rooted in the Gaulish Celtic language that was spoken around the first millennium BCE (Mallory, pp. 96, 106). By the time, the Romans arrived and conquered the lower 2/3 of the island, the language had developed differences with the Goidelic Celtic languages. The Indo-European rooted religions were superseded with Christianity in the areas ruled by the Romans in 300s CE and slowly faded out. The Brittonic languages are still spoken today on the Island in certain regions (Mallory, p 94).

Goidelic Celtic: The Goidelic Celtic languages (Irish, Scottish, and Manx) was rooted in Gaulish Celtic language that was spoken around the first millennium BCE (Mallory, pp. 96, 106). The language and cultures of these people lasted well into the 600s CE due to their exclusion from the Roman Empire and eventually fell to Christianity during the post-Roman period. Elements of the culture still exist in fragments in fringe areas and the language is still spoken today (Mallory, p. 94).

3. Why from the beginning of ADF has it defined itself in relation to the similarities between Indo-European pagan traditions instead of focusing on a single historical hearth culture?

According to the founder of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF), Isaac Bonewits, the purpose of ADF to be pan-European was to help facilitate the religion to resemble the original Paleopagan Druidism in a far more accurate way than any of the efforts that had been made over the last 100 years. (Bonewits, Beginning of ADF, web). In addition to this based on various conversations I have had among members of the Celtic Reconstructionist communities over the years, Bonewits also felt that there was not enough actual surviving information about the ancient Celtic Druids to recreate the religious traditions of the past that are truly “Celtic”, so he attempted to approximate in his way, with the resources he had, the closest thing he could come up with.

4. What is the value of recreating instead of reconstructing a historical Indo-European culture’s religion for modern practice?

One of the main reasons for the distinction between recreation and reconstruction is that in the early days of the Reconstructionist pagan movement, there were questions on whether all aspects of the ancient traditions should be brought back (with the exclusion of human sacrifice, forced sexual practices, etc) and how would that look since we do not live in an agricultural Iron Age society. Additionally, there were elements of nationalism that were and still are evident in some Reconstructionist groups, which has shown to be a slippery-slope towards racial identity politics and racism. Any pagan traditions that we practice today will be different and taking a hardline Reconstructionist approach is not seen as being practical. In some cases, it may even be destructive. When looking at modern Reconstructionist, many of them have come to the same conclusions and the two paths have come together in a way where there is little to no distinction between them, excluding those who have fallen to racial identity politics. Both approaches involve the use of verifiable information about the past that is balanced with personal intuition to gain a deeper insight into the pagan traditions of our ancestors and building a tradition around this understanding in a way that promotes positive growth of the community (Laurie, pp. 30-31).

5. Compile a list of resources that you could use to learn the language of your primary hearth culture, and describe how you would go about doing so.

One of the biggest issues with learning Gaulish is that it is technically a dead language. The last remnants of its use in a living culture died out in the 6th Century CE. There is today only trace elements existing in modern French (Asturias, p. 3). Despite this, there has been a serious effort from people over the last 20 years or so to take what we know of the ancient language and reconstruct it, in some cases out of a solid passion for the ancient Gaulish culture while in other cases, a sense of social and political nationalism (Hansen, p. 10).

The following list is a collection of resources that one can use to start to learn what is known as Classical Gaulish:

  • The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, Third Edition by Calvert Watkins
  • Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic by Ranko Matasović
  • Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise: Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental (French Edition) by Xavier Delamarre
  • Les noms des gaulois (French Edition) by Xavier Delamarre
  • La langue gauloise (nouvelle édition) by Pierre Yves Lambert
  • Toutâ Galation, a Gaulish Polytheism Community founded by Segomâros Widugeni which has various resources and lessons for learning Classical Gaulish.
6. What are at least three cognate or borrowed words common between your primary hearth culture and another Indo-European culture that are indicative of similarities Provide the Proto-Indo-European root for each pair if it is provided in the etymology of the word.

For this question, given the spiritual as well as the warrior nature of the Gaulish Celts, I have chosen the three following words (Matasović, pp. 72, 79, 107):

Boudi: Victory, treasure. This word is rooted in the proto-Celtic word *bowdi (victory or booty) and can trace its roots to the Indo-European word *bʰewd-. This word has connections with other Celtic rooted words such as the Welsh word budd (profit, advantage), Brittonic word bud (also means profit, advantage), and the Irish word búaid (victory, gain, profit). This word is also connected to the German word Beute, (booty, treasure) which is believed to have been originally borrowed from the Gaulish Celts.

Brixtia: Incantation, magical formula, spell. This word is rooted in the proto-Celtic word *brixtu and is rooted in the Proto Indo-European word *bʰregʰ (to enlighten). This word is connected to the Welsh word brith (magical charm) and the old Brittonic word *berxto (beautiful).

Druides: Priest, Strong sight, firm knowledge. This word is a composite word made up of two elements. The first part is rooted in the PIE word *deru- for “oak, strong, firm”. The second part is rooted in the PIE word *weyd- which means “to see or know”. The word is connected to the Irish word drui, Welsh word derwydd, and Brittonic word dorguid, all rooted in the Proto-Celtic word druwid.

7. Some of the original research into Indo-European studies was done by George Dumézil. Briefly explain what his original three social functions were and give an example of each function within one Indo-European culture. Explain whether or not you think Dumézil’s theory is an important definer of IE cultures and if it is relevant to our current practice in ADF.

George Dumézil was a French comparative philologist who was best known for his comparative work reconstructing Proto Indo-European ideologies through the use of comparing the mythic themes of various Indo-European cultures and the social structures within those cultures (Mallory, pp. 130-131). Through his work and the work of his team, he divided Indo-European social and religious structures into the following categories:

Priest: The first function embraces sovereignty and is associated with the religious class/function. This group maintains both magical and legal order. When looking at this function with the Gaulish Celts, we see the role of the Druis, ritual specialist/judges/advisors to kings and nobles. Additionally, we have the gutuatri (ritual performers and masters of sacrifice), the vates (poetic prophets and seers), and the bards (lore keepers and storytellers). (Mallory, p. 132; Brunaux, pp. 63-65)

Warrior: The second function is the military function and embraces both offensive and defensive forces. With the Gaulish Celts, these people were called equites. Caesar referred to the equites as the knights (cavalry warriors) of the Gaulish people. These were the kings, magistrates, and other tribal chiefs (Mallory, p. 132; Brunaux, pp. 49-51).

Cultivator: The third function is associated with fertility and substance of the land and is associated with industries that involve the cultivation of the land, trade, and the manufacturing of goods. Referred to as the plebes by the Romans, this group involved the common freeman of the Gaulish people who were wealthy merchants, tradesmen, farmers, etc. (Mallory, p. 132; Brunaux, p. 55).

The fourth group includes what is known as the “Outsider”. This would include people from different tribes and nations as well as slaves (Mallory, p. 133; Brunaux, p. 55).

There are both avid supporters of this theory and hard critics. One thing that seems to stand out is that this theory seems to have support among ancient writers and sources such as a statement regarding a treaty between Matiwaza, king of Mitanni and the Hittite king around 1380 BCE and a document by Herodotus about the inauguration ceremony of a Scythian King and three sacred heavenly objects that also meet this model (Mallory, pp. 131-132). So I think that it is a solid basis to get started on when understanding your Hearth Culture and trying to understand how our ancestors saw the world and their place in it, but I also think that each culture developed in their particular way, so even though it is a basis to get started, it is not something to stay with if your Hearth Culture seems to deviate from it. As for its relation with ADF, I think the focus on this type of model (or one similar) is necessary for any pagan community. Not everyone is going to be called to be a priest or mystic. Some will be called to be warriors while others will be called to be cultivators, artisans, etc. Acknowledging the sacred in every aspect of life and cultivating religious structures around these things is important to the sacred nature of the community as a whole, as well as allow a framework that will allow the members of the community to develop practices with the needs of their lives and the roles they have within the greater community.

8. Describe the historical ritual use of intoxicating substances within your primary hearth culture and, if relevant, how its use ties to historical initiatory practices?

Evidence regarding the importance of ritual meals and drinking among the Gaulish Celts appear to go back to the earliest burials from around 600 BCE and appears to have elements that were imported from both Greek and Etruscan cultures (Enright, p. 133, 136-137). At that time, military leadership came to power throughout central Europe and many of the warriors used their abilities to secure access to goods and wealth from the Mediterranean region, earning great wealth and prestige among the rest of the Celts. Among the influx of goods from the south, elements of the cultures came with them as a sign of prestige. In addition to the model of the warrior banquets from the Greeks, elements of women and prophecy were imported from the Etruscans. The blend of the two with the local Celtic systems created the ritual meals that the Celts were known for which around the first century BCE were being adopted by the German tribes (Enright, pp. 131-137)

Many of the elements regarding drinking and banquet rituals included a hierarchical seating arrangement where the person with most prestige would sit in the honored seat in the hall. Drink of choice was wine, beer, or mead, and cups were served to the right as when serving the gods. The primary server of the drink would be either a seer, known as a welitâ or the primary matron of the household who was believed to have prophetic abilities (Brunaux, p. 81; Enright, p. 240). All of this is connected to the traditions of the Dêwâs Matres who were seen as the keepers of family fate, luck, and divine blessings. The Matrons of the tribe would bless the kings and leaders and their blessings would manifest as prosperity to the community (Enright, p. 248). In addition to this, there were also the leaders of the warbands, who would also have with them a welitâ who would fill the role of the primary matron for the warband. These welitâ, who were similar to the Norse völva, would invoke the goddess Rosmertâ, who was a Gaulish goddess of fate and prosperity as well as we consort, Lugus, who was honored highest among the warbands. The serving of these sacred drinks from the welitâ or the Matron would help maintain the warrior group mentality and exalt its leadership (Enright, p. 287).

9. How were the physical remains of the dead disposed of in your primary hearth culture, and how did following or not following that method affect their afterlife?

Immurement and Inhumation Burials:
The earliest Celtic remains of inhumation burials date back to the 5th century BCE. These burials, as well as those from later periods, all had common elements. The grave, whether it was a mound tomb or a simple coffin made of wood were rectangular shaped, with the long ends facing north and south, while the sort ends faced east and west. The person within the grave was laid on their back and their head was to the west and their feet were to the east. Buried with them, they would have personal items including jewelry that they would be wearing, weapons at their side, and food placed at their feet. The level of the extravagance of the grave seemed to be connected to the wealth of the person who died, but whether it was a simple grave or an elaborately decorated tomb with feasting wear and cauldrons of mead/beer, what appears to be the case is that people of importance to the community had the luxury of immurement and inhumation burials (Brunaux, p. 83-84).

Cremation Burials:
Cremations made their first appearance with the Belgae people towards the end of the 4th century BCE and spread throughout Gaul from there. Evidence of this is found in various parts of the Gaulish Celtic regions, however, dating and identification can be difficult because it is hard to identify cremation graves. The graves we have found appear to have been holes in the ground just big enough to put an urn in. Most did not have any weapons or jewelry and it is thought that these people did not have the same status as earlier burials or burials of noblemen (Brunaux, p. 84-85). In addition, Caesar stated that up to just before he started his campaign north, the Celts would cremate the slaves and client of lords when they died and there is evidence of this in a collection of tombs in Luxembourg called the Nobleman’s Tombs which dated to the 1st century BCE (Green, p. 68, 79).

Other Ways Bodies were Disposed:
In addition to burials and cremation, we have evidence of bodies dumped in pits, caves, bogs, etc (Brunaux, p. 86). In many of these cases, the person in question would be bound hand and foot with nooses around their necks. Some would, in addition to this, have their throats cut or holes in their head from contact from a sharp object. Some historical documents refer to the practice of exposure burials where warriors were left on the battlefield to let the scavengers eat at the corpses. They believed that in doing so, the spirits of the dead warriors would go to the sky to join the gods (Brunaux, p. 87). The Celts were also known for headhunting and preserving the heads to be shown off to guest, prisoners of war were known to be cremated as well as being used for divination and the reading of entrails, as well as various other forms of ritual murder as part of offerings to gods (Green, pp. 76-78)

Burials and Views of the Afterlife:
From the historical records, there was agreement that the soul was distinct from the body and something happened to it after death, but there was some disagreement on what that looked like. Writers like Diodorus and Caesar stated that the Celts believed that the soul did not suffer death but passed from one body to another in a form of transmutation. On the other hand, writers like Lucan and Mela stated that the soul of the dead did not descend into Hades, but was reborn elsewhere to join their ancestors in some form of paradise and death is just a point of change in a perpetual existence (Brunaux, pp. 47-48; Green, p.51, 68). Based on this and the burial types and insights into other historical references, what we see is an evolving relationship between the people and the afterlife. We do see some distinctions between social class and where they go after death with the burial of equites being strikingly different from plebes, who were cremated. We also see this distinction between the deeds of people and where they go, reflected in where the Gaulish Celtic warriors, who insisted on dying in battle because they loathed dying sick or of old age (Brunaux, p. 104). This is a position similar to how the Greeks viewed how people would be admitted into Elysium before the 5th century BCE (reserved for demi-gods, heroes, and those who were ritually married to a god), as well as how the Norse viewed who goes to Valhalla (warriors and heroes) verses who would go to Niflheim (those who died of old age or sickness) (Lincoln, pp. 120-121).

The random disposal of bodies that appear to be slaves or prisoners of war also suggests that where they went after death was of little concern to the Gaulish Celts, possibly because they felt that there was a general standard afterlife that they felt everyone would go to and since they were either not part of the community or lowly social status, they had little concern on what happened to them after death. Headhunting was one thing that seemed to be connected to vitality and luck, but nothing conclusive on how headhunting relates to the Gaulish Celtic view of the afterlife. (Green, p. 76)

10. Describe the significance of Fire in your primary hearth culture and the significance in ADF as a whole.

The symbolism of fire is a central point with ADF and was an important element among the ancient Gaulish Celts. Among Indo-European cultures in general and with ADF, fire was seen as being associated with the gods and their blessings and so was a focus for many rituals and is considered part of the sacred center in ADF rituals. Fire was also seen as a force of transformation, which would change something from one thing to another so that it can be transmitted to the gods in rites of sacrifice and offerings (Our Own Druidry, p. 21; Serith, p. 39).

This theme can also be seen among the Gaulish Celts. Fire is connected with the gods, heavenly power, transformation, and protection (Our Own Druidry, p. 26; Brunaux, p. 79). Fire pits were used at both the center of homes and temples and used for sacrificial meals and festivals. Fire was also a central medium for religious practices. Both reports of animal and human sacrifice seem to use fire (Green, p. 75, 78, 85). Additionally, there are questionable accounts from philosophers like Posidonius claiming that the Gaulish Druids thought that the world would periodically be consumed by fire and water (Green, p. 50).

11. What do you consider to be the benefits and drawbacks of using phrases in a hearth culture language other than Modern English (or your own native language) in ADF ritual?

Language use within religious communities and ritual serve two functions from what I have seen: cohesion of the community in regards to specific things that the community is involved with and mental states regarding the relationship between the sacred and the mundane. Using non-mundane or everyday language during ritual sends a clear message to the subconscious that the person is in a special environment and that you are not in what is considered regular space or time. When you are performing rituals, you are in a space that has its own sets of rules and laws. Using specific language within that space that is specifically set up for that space reinforces to the mind that you belong there and there is a purpose as to why you are there. Also, the use of non-mundane language mentally aligns your thoughts with the events occurring and works to get you into the right mental state for the ritual events (Bonewits, p.111).

Despite the benefits of using specific languages during ritual and within specific religious communities in general, some of the drawbacks of doing so comes up when you don’t have people who understand the language. If the people you invite cannot speak ancient Gaulish, it might be hard for them to mentally get into “the space” and you might as well be speaking gibberish. Finding a balance is key here. Also if you run into a situation where you are using a language that is still spoken, like Irish, you have the possibility of running into issues like cultural appropriation. The relationship between language, culture, and identity is complex and when performing rituals, you need to be sensitive to these interconnections as well as the history of these things.

12. Discuss the ritual calendar of your primary historical hearth culture and describe how it fits with the modern neo-pagan wheel of the year as practiced in an ADF context.

The primary source for the ritual year for the Gaulish Celts would be the Coligny Calendar that was found in Coligny, France in 1897 (Green, p. 89). This calendar was a large fragmented bronze ritual calendar whose format seemed to incorporate elements from various sources including a ritual calendar found in the Roman town of Antium dated to around the same time, the Attic (Athenian Greek) calendars in regards to some of the names of months and how it was divided into semesters, and some basic assumptions of how the Norse looked at the passing of time based on Snorri Sturluson’s work (Green, p. 37; Brunaux, p. 46; Crawford, web). At its core, it is a lunar-based calendar that was divided into 5 year periods, each year divided into 12-13 months and according to ancient sources, it was also divided into “ages” that lasted 30 years (Brunaux, p. 46; Green, p. 50). What we see regarding the calendar is that each year had a total of 9 festivals marked with IVOS. Five of them form clusters 2-4 days before and after the beginning of the month, 3-4 day cluster before and after the mid-point of the month of Riuros, the 9th day of Simiuisonnios, the first 3 days of Edrinios, and the 25th of Edrinios (Widugeni, p. 99). In addition to this, the 5th year in the calendar was a year of great sacrifices (Brunaux, p. 46).

When cross comparing the ritual year with the Coligny Calendar and the modern Neopagan calendar, several problems come up. For starters, we have no direct anchor point on what month was what with other calendars of the time. Despite the linguistic similarities with Gaulish and Greek month names, you end up with a few variations. Additionally, many people in the past have equated the Ivos of Samonios with Samhain in the Irish tradition and insisted that Samonios must be November because of the linguistic similarities. However, Samonios translates to summer or summer-month, so many feel that it falls during the warmer time of the year. Our best line up with the months from what I can see is with the Athenian calendar. This would place the Gaulish month Elembiuos with the Greek month Elaphebolion (March/April). This would place the Ivos of Samonios and Giamonios around the summer and winter solstices, the Ivos of Simiuisonnios around the beginning of February (Imbolc), the Ivos of Elembiuos around the spring equinox, possibly the Ivos of Edrinios around Bealtaine, the Ivos of Riuros around the beginning of September, and the Ivos of Anagantios towards the middle/end of September, or the fall equinox. There were no indications of any festivals around the time of November 1st (Samhain) or for August 1st (Lughnassa), however, given the importance of these holidays among the modern Pagan community, many modern Gaulish Polytheist adopted them into the ritual year. We also have indications of other Romanized holidays from Roman sources that fall on other dates not indicated on the calendar.

13. Describe your how your local climate could affect your practice of the historical ritual calendar of your primary hearth culture.

Where you live can have a major effect on how you layout your ritual year, especially in regards to festivals that revolve around the fertility of the land and the harvest. With the Gaulish Celts, the Roman and Greek writers record little to no information regarding seasonal festivals or festivals connected to the land. We know that the Gaulish Celts did celebrate festivals associated with the fertility of the land because historical writers made mention that they did, but did not go any further in their descriptions. With that being said, we do know from the Goidelic Celtic people that the Celts did have seasonal festivals connected with the times of the years and the harvest. We also see that the dates of these festivals in the local traditions varied due to local weather conditions. The harvest happened when the crops were ready, not when the calendar said they were supposed to be ready. Also, and we see this within ADF, if you happen to live in the southern hemisphere, the seasonal holidays will be flipped in dates because of the seasonal times of the year being where they are. Local environments, especially with festival years that associate with the seasonal rotations of the land, will be in alignment with the local seasons.

14. How could you adapt the Core Order of Ritual to better fit the specific details of your primary hearth culture, including its myths, ritual structure, and specific spirits?

The process of specializing your rituals to fit into your primary Hearth Culture includes 3 primary elements:

Role Filling: Look at the standard roles within the COoR and see who fills these roles in your Hearth Culture: Within the COoR, roles such as the Earth Mother, the Gatekeeper, the Spirit of Inspiration, etc. are standard and every culture has gods and spirits that fill those roles, so the first thing you want to do is fill these basic roles. So for a Gaulish Polytheist, you would have the following:

Earth Mother: Many people use Danu for this position since it is traditional among Celtic Polytheist. However, many in the Gaulish community feel that due to the lack of hard evidence for the existence of Danu as a Gaulish Goddess, having her in that role doesn’t make sense. For those people, they honor Litauiâ/Litáví (the embodiment of the earth herself) for a local sovereignty goddess.

Gatekeeper: The go-to for this role is Cernunnos/Carnonos. His association with Mercury and his natural liminal nature makes him a prime candidate for this. Other gods with similar associations such as Lugus would also work for this position.

Inspiration: Any deity that is associated with inspiration and eloquence of words works here. Brigid/Brigandu are commonly used here, however, when you look at her worship, she was honored mainly in the islands and along the northwest coast of Gaul so some question the appropriateness of her role here in Gaulish Polytheism. Other deities would include Ogmios given his connection to speech or deities associated with divine inspiration, possibly Rosmertâ.

Kindreds: These are just general titles used for various categories of spiritual beings. The Gaulish word for the Shining Ones is Dêwoi (the gods), Ancestors is Senisteroi/Senistres, and Nature Spirits is Ancenetlâ (spirits of the wild collectively). Any of these can be further broken down into subgroups and associations (Our Own Druidry, p. 63; Nellos, web).

Key Offerings: For the Key Offerings, look to the purpose of the occasion and traditional festivals around that time of year within your Hearth Culture: With the ADF ritual year, you can look at what the standard seasonal festivals are and look to see what your Hearth Culture has around that time that is equivalent. You also want to look into the local lore and folklore regarding that time of year and see if there is any specific cultural festival happening and adjust accordingly. A good example of this within Gaulish Polytheism is Îwos Taranis (Festival of Taranis) celebrated on May 13th. One of the Ides festivals within the Roman Empire, this date is dedicated to the worship of Jupiter and Taranis. Images of this festival are shown on mosaics with rituals dedicated to invoking the positive powers of the storms after the fields have been planted before the rainstorms of the summer season starts. Given the closeness of the holiday to Belotenes/Bealtaine in date and theme, some people chose to celebrate them together.

Additional Details: Flush out the details in regards to specific offerings, language use, imagery, etc.: This is where things get specialized in your ritual. Take a look at each section and see if there is anything within your Hearth Culture that applies to that stage of the ritual and fine-tune it towards your Hearth. This includes changing the imagery of the Fire, Well, and Tree to fit your culture, using culture-specific omens for your ritual, use traditional greetings and farewells within your Hearth Culture as well as specific prayers that come from your Hearth Culture that apply to your ritual. Unlike the Irish and Scottish Celts were we have sources like the Carmina Gadelica, Gaulish polytheism has to try to piece together what they can from the bits of historical information from the Greeks and Romans, not to mention cross comparative analysis of Indo-European religious symbolism.

15. Briefly trace the transition from your primary historical Indo-European to modern religion in your primary hearth culture.

The following is a brief outline of the change of events from what I have been able to gather that leads from the ancient Gaulish pagans into the modern period:

As I stated in question 2, the earliest evidence of any Celtic existence on the continent was around 1000-500 BCE with the Hallstatt culture located in modern Austria. Around 450 BCE, the Hallstatt culture gave way to the La Téne culture, which was the dominant culture when the Roman Empire expanded through the region. The last evidence of any Gallo-Roman culture seems to have been in the 6th century CE in remote areas of France and the Alps (Matasović, p. 1; Mallory, pp. 96, 106).

There doesn’t seem to be any recorded evidence regarding anything Gaulish or pagan until the beginning of the Renaissance Period, where Europe was coming out of the Dark Ages and many of the new nations were looking to solidify their new identities within the new and changing political environments. It was around this time that we see a rise of interest in ancient Celtic culture, and more specifically the Druids, in Germany and France. This was mainly as a push back to the nations developing in the Mediterranean regions who connected their identities to the ancient Greek and Roman cultures (Hutton, pp. 49-53).

As we move out of the Renaissance Period and move into the Imperial Era (17th-19th centuries), I have not found much on interest in Gaulish Celtic interest or even that of the Druids. Much of the information I have seen comes more from the British Isles and anything that seems to have been happening on the continent seems to have been an expansion on the work done by the British Druid Orders. From conversations I have had with people in the Gaulish Polytheism community, in the 1700s and 1800s, there was an interest in French and European Folklore and there were efforts from the French government and academic institutions to record such folklore. We also see a rise in interest in Indo-European Language studies and research at this time (Hutton, pp. 63-85; Mallory, pp. 9-20).

In the first half of the 20th century, Europe was ravaged with World Wars 1 and 2, and with everything that happened from what I have seen, there had not been any specific interest in anything Gaulish or Celtic coming from Europe at that time. There does seem to be a continued interest in Indo-European language studies in this time though and some solid attempts to reconstruct the Gaulish language. We also see in the 1960s from the US that there was a rise in interest in ancient paganism again, mainly with the increased interest in anthropology and archeology, as well as a being out of a desire to connect to some sense of cultural heritage. Much of this work however revolved around Scandinavian Norse culture, Roman culture, Greek culture, and the Celtic Cultures of the British Isles. Given that there is no surviving Gaulish Celtic mythology, many people of the time, as well as many people still today, did/do not see Gaulish Paganism as being something accessible and is limited to the inquiries of academia. In the last 20 years, however, we have seen an explosion of involvement with what is now known as the Gaulish Polytheism community, mainly from the efforts of the academics who dove in and worked on taking the academic information and making it accessible to a wider audience (Asturias, pp. 3-4).

16. Although ADF practices in an Indo-European context, why do you think we exclude from our practice “living religions” that fall within the Indo-European umbrella?

When looking at living religions that fall under the Indo-European umbrella, two elements come up as to why ADF excludes practices from these religions. The first one is that over time, these traditions that have continued to evolve into the modern era and in doing so, they have adopted many concepts, themes, and philosophies that are in direct contradiction to older Indo-European religious theology.  Religions such as Hinduism and Zoroastrianism have become entities with their own rich culture and traditions. They are rooted in Indo-European theologies, but also have many elements that are not. As a community, we strive for the best scholarly research we can that is rooted in Indo-European theology/history to honor the Kindreds in the most authentic way people can.  However, adopting these non-IE elements would contradict that goal. The second element as to why we exclude these religions from our practices involves the practice of cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is a practice where one culture chooses to adopt elements of another culture (usually one that has been taken over or colonized, but not always the case) and uses those elements to promote their social, economic, and/or political ideologies in a way that usually trivializes or completely misrepresents the element being adopted.  As a community, if the work we are doing is meant to honor the gods and Kindreds with the best scholarly material and the most appropriate practices with where we are at, we have to make sure that we are not taking from these groups and misrepresenting the rich culture they bring to the table. Doing so is disrespectful to theirs and our relationships with the gods as well as the cultural heritage that all parties have inherited from their ancestors.

17. Choose 3 liturgical phrases in your primary hearth culture’s language that may be useful to your practice and provide your reasoning for choosing them, how you would deciding whether or not to use them in a certain ritual, and how you would go about acquiring them (including what resources you would use).

I decided with this question to go with some of the standard ADF liturgy phrases that we see in the COoR, translated into Gaulish. The reason for this is similar to how I broke down how to adjust the COoR to your Hearth of choice in question #14.  The three phrases come from the invocation of the gates and the source for the translation is from Toutâ Galation, the Gaulish Polytheistic community founded by Segomâros Widugeni (Toutâ Galation Dictionary, web).

“Sacred Fire, burn within me”: Caddon Tanios, Deuiet Emimei
“Sacred Waters, flow within me”: Caddâ Andounnâ, Dilitt Enimei
“Sacred Tree, grow within me”: Caddos Bilios, Tumon Enimei

As for when to use this translation, I would use it primarily in Gaulish rituals where members of the ritual either are knowledgeable of the language or in cases where I am working to have the group slip into the proper ritual mindset to open themselves up to the sacred powers and the gods of the Gaulish Celts.

18. Create a possible ritual calendar based on two different natural cycles (such as the daily cycles of sunrise and sunset, seasonal cycles, the cycles of the moon during the month, or the cycles of the sun throughout the year; calendrical weeks and months do not count) and explain how you might apply this calendar to your own religious life.

When it comes to natural cycles, many of the elements that come with the passing of the year are interconnected, so for this question, I am going to talk about the annual weather cycle of the Upper Midwest and the cycles that I am going to use will involve the seasonal storms, the coming of the tornado season (which is directly connected to the storms), and the budding and shedding of leaves on local trees.

In the Upper Midwest, the spring storms usually start in March. These storms come through the area brought in on the south wind and speed up the melting of the local snow. With the excess water, the local rivers swell and flood through April, giving extra nutrients to the local plant life and it is in April when we start to see the first leaves on the local trees bud. As we move into May, we have officially entered tornado season in the Upper Midwest, which reaches their height during the summer storms in June and July. These storms start to tail off in August and September, marking the end of the tornado season. In September and October, the leaves change colors and we start to see the first snows of the winter season. By mid-November, the snows start to outweigh the rains and by December we are fully into winter.

So when looking at a possible ritual calendar based on these natural cycles, there would be four major seasonal festivals that are associated with seasonal storms. The first one, happening in March can be about the coming of the spring storms on the south wind and how they bring the spring floods of the local rivers. The second one in June marks the summer storms, where a storm god can be partitioned to bring the blessings of the storms for a good crop and hold back the destructive power of the tornados. When we come to the fall season, the first snows can mark the release of the winter wind from the north which changes the color of the leaves and marks the harvesting of the land for the coming winter. The last festival can marks that winter has come and focuses on things in the home and the importance of community and family, as well as honoring the spirit of winter while praying for an early spring. As for the application of this in my practice, these dates fall on roughly the solstices and equinoxes. One can make these seasonal changes the primary themes for the festivals as well as using them as an opportunity to incorporate the Gaulish gods into the local landscape.

19. Create a ritual within your primary hearth culture for a High Day festival.

Using the topic of question 18, the following High Day Ritual is based on a seasonal story that I wrote that incorporates the idea of local seasonal changes with the use of the Gaulish gods as the main characters in the story and the ritual. Since this is a High Day Ritual, this was written with a large group in mind and is intended to have different parts to be played by different people.

Upper Midwest Gaulish Spring Equinox Ritual

I. Start Ritual: Establish the Altar
In situations where you are not having ceremonies at home, make sure the altar is laid out, ready to go, and that the area has been smudged. Give offerings to local spiritual residence if needed.

II. Purification of Place and People
Stand at the center of the ritual space:

We come here this day to honor the Dêwoi and the Mighty Kindred. To all who dwell here, we come in brotherhood and fellowship. As we prepare the space for our celebration, we ask that you observe the customs of hospitality owed to the gods.

Smudge the area in a clockwise rotation, starting at the center and working your way out to the edge:

May all that hinders this place be released,
May all that binds this place be released,
May all that enslaves this place be released,
So that this place may be pure and true for this days’ work.

Once you are at the edge of the ritual space, give an offering of seeds:

As this place is consecrated, may all those who wish to partake in our celebrations be welcome and may all those who do not, may you leave in peace and return when our time is done.

-Note: You may need to do both a smudging and blessing with blessed water. It will depend on the ritual and the ritual location. Make sure to use appropriate herbs that do not promote allergies and have cultural significance for the sanctification of a holy place within your hearth culture.

After the area has been prepped, either before people head to the ritual location or just before they come into the area, perform the personal purification with either blessed water or smudge stick:

May all that hinders you be released,
May all that binds you be released,
May all that enslaves you be released,
So that you may be pure and true.

III & IV. Statement of Purpose and Honoring Earth Mother and Spirit of Inspiration
Ring one of the bowls 3 times:

Bues Suancitos (Welcome)! It is a pleasure to see everybody today and we hope that you all find enjoyment and resonance with our festivities. For we have come to honor the Dêwoi and Mighty Kindreds in celebration!

Offer oats, or some other prepared grain to the ground, saying:

Before we begin, let us honor and give thanks to blessed Earth Mother, Litauiâ, for we are born from the Earth and when we pass beyond from this life to the next, what is left of us shall return to her. Litauiâ, accept our offering!

Offer some beverage, preferably flammable alcohol, to the fire saying:

We would also like to give thanks to the spirit of the Sacred Fire, Brigandu. You who brought the sacred fire down from on high, you who brought the ways of civilization to mankind. May our prayers rise up on your sacred flames and may we be guided by your wisdom, both in words and actions this day!

V. Recreating the Cosmos
As we begin, let us close our eyes and join hands.

Everyone joins hands and participates in the Tree Meditation. After the meditation is done, say:

We stand with the strength of an Oak.
We move with the grace of the Willow.
We reach deep into the earth,
And high towards the sun,
And within our being,
We are………

Ring one of the bowls 3 times:

In the beginning there was fire, and water
The fire and the water came together, and between them, a mist formed.
The mist consolidated and from it, all life was born forth.
You, me, the birds, the trees, and all that live in the land, sea, the sky and beyond.

And from this mist, the World Tree was born forth,
Which bridges and connects all life.
The Fire, the Well, and the Sacred Tree make up all things,
Connects all things.
And as we gather in this sacred space, we honor the sacred cosmos

Give an offering to the fire:

To the Sacred Fire, Deuiet Emimei
Everyone: Burn within us

Give an offering to the well:

To the Sacred Waters, Dilitt Enimei
Everyone: Flow within us

Give an offering to the Tree:

To the Sacred Tree, Tumon Enimei
Everyone: Grow within us

VI. Opening the Gates

We call on the Mist-walker, Lord of the Deep Wood, Keeper of Ways.
Carnonos, you who knows all paths, you who knows all mysteries.
As we give these gifts of fellowship, we ask for your assistance and protection.
We ask that you open the gates Mighty One and welcome those who wish to celebrate, honoring the sovereignty of this place

Give an offering of whiskey:

Carnonos, Let the gates be open!
Everyone: Carnonos, Let the Gates be open!

VII. Inviting the Kindreds

And with the gates open, we welcome the honored Kindreds!

Give offering of incense:

Dêwoi, mighty gods of old!
You whose powers guide us and protect us
We stand before the Sacred Fire,
To honor your brothers and sisters.
Be welcome Shining Ones!
Everyone: Dêwoi, we welcome you!

Give offering of Dragon’s Blood Oil:

To those who came before us
Ancestors of the land, ancestors of our kin, ancestors of our blood.
We stand before the Sacred Waters,
To honor the gods of old.
Be welcome Mighty Ancestors!
Everyone: Senisteroi, we welcome you!

Give offering of fruits and grains:

To those who walk with us, oh Children of Earth.
You of feather, fur, and scale.
You who live along side with us.
We stand before the Sacred Tree,
Be welcome Mighty spirits of Nature!
Everyone: Ancenetlâ, we welcome you!

Mighty Kindreds! Be welcome as we gather in celebration this day!

VIII. Key Offerings
Ring one of the bowls 3 times:

As we gather today, we have come to honor the sovereignty of the land, Blessed Benârincâ, Lady of Grain, Mother of the Cottonwood, for the springtime marks her awakening from her deep slumber. We also honor the return of the river god Abonâtîr, Father of Waters, Old Man of the Mississippi, and Lord of Storms, Rider of the South Wind, Mighty Taranis!

“As in the ancient times, Grandmother Winter, Senomâtîr Giamos, walked the land. With every step, her presence kept the abundance of the land subdued under the cold of winter snow. The people of the land, who had been huddled inside, hiding from the beast and the cold cry out. They lit their fires, calling to the gods and their ancestors for the end of their hardship. On the smoke of their fires, the fire bringer Brigandu lifted their prayers to the heavens to be heard by the thunder god, Taranis. Taranis, hearing their prayers, consulted the Horse Maiden Eponâ and Brigandu, who have been among the people during this dark time. Eponâ told Taranis how she had ridden across the land driving the Dusios away from the settlements of man. Brigandu, who gave the gifts of homesteading and civilization to the tribes of man, told Taranis how their homes had grown colder in the long winter, their food stores running low. Taranis grabbed the reigns of his horse, Dexosgaiton, and with the power of the storms, he rode forth from his blessed halls.

The Thunderer rode across the land with the power of the spring storms on the hooves of Dexosgaiton. The Dusios were driven under hoof as lightning cracked across the sky. Senomâtîr Giamos, honoring the ancient contract, understood that her time on the land had ended and it was time for the Goddess of the Land, Benârincâ, to awaken from her slumber. The Winter Hag with her spindle staff turned towards her home in the north, while the Dusios were driven back to their caves. Under the hooves of Dexosgaiton, the earth warmed and the goddess Benârincâ awoke. Seeing the last of the snow recede and feeling the warming of the summer breeze that rode in with Taranis, she called to Abonâtîr, the River God, who had been banished to the dark realms of Andumnos by the winter hag, Senomâtîr Giamos.

*A Bard who is located away from ritual space and is out of sight uses a traditional herding call from Northern/central Europe to mimic Benârincâ’s call to Abonâtîr at this time.*

Abonâtîr, who had been wandering in the darkness of Andumnos, heard the calling of Benârincâ and knew that his banishment had ended. Through her calling, he found his way out of the dark realms and back to the light. When Abonâtîr arrived at the land, the waters that had been trapped in the earth were released with him. The rivers swelled and the death of winter was finally washed away back to Andumnos. From the flooding waters, new growth sprung forth from the land and the abundance of the Earth returned to the people.”

This cycle plays out year after year, as by the ancient contract. Out of the chaos, order comes forth. That order then crates fruit that falls back to the chaos to be born again from the chaos. At this time of year, as we begin to emerge from the winter season, may we give honor and praise to the Mighty Ones!

Give offerings to the fire of whiskey:

To you mighty Taranis, rider of Dexosgaiton.
Guardian of Cosmic Law
You who enforces the Sacred Pacts of Old
We call on you, we honor you.
May your storms ride swiftly to drive away the winter cold!
Everyone: Hail Taranis!

Give offerings of grain to the fire:

Blessed Benârincâ, Lady of Grain, Mother of the Cottonwood
You who has emerged from your deep slumber
As the winds blow through the Bluffs,
As the birds sing your songs
May the voice of your calling be heard by all of your people.
Today we honor you and your rebirth into the world.
Everyone: Hail Benârincâ!

Give offerings of coins to the waters:

Abonâtîr, Father of Waters, Father of Cranes
You and your waters have been released from Andumnos.
As your waters flow, the abundance of the Earth returns to the people.
Conductor of the waters that flow from this world to the Otherworld
May your blessing and protection flow like a bubbling spring
To those who lives depend upon you.
Everyone: Hail Abonâtîr!

At this time, I invite and welcome others to come and give offerings and praise in honor of the land, the river, and the storms that have freed them from their winter slumber.

Individual Offerings are given at this time as well as songs, dancing, or any other forms of veneration:

IX. The Prayer of Sacrifice
Ring one of the bowls 3 times:

As we gather back around, we would like to thank our Guest of honor, Benârincâ, Abonâtîr, and Taranis
and to the Mighty Kindred who have gathered here tonight
for the blessings they have and continue to bestow on our community.

-Note: At this point, you may want to review the importance the guest of honor has with the community and reaffirm the value that the god or goddess has with the community.

Through our seer, we now ask Blessed Benârincâ, Abonâtîr, and mighty Taranis for their wisdom and blessings as we move forward from this day.

X. Seeking the Omen of Wisdom.
[Take omen.]

XI. Calling the Blessings

Blessed Benârincâ, Abonâtîr, and mighty Taranis, we thank you for your wisdom and the gifts of blessings you bestow upon the community. We desire to continue the relationship that brings blessings to all in fellowship and brotherhood.

XII & XIII. Hallowing and Affirmation of the Blessing
Raise a drinking cup:

Through this drink, we drink to the community and to the relationship we celebrate, in fellowship, brotherhood, and the strength of our diversity brought together. And as we drink, we affirm our dedication to the gods and to receiving the blessings in which they bestow upon us.

Pass the drinking cup around, have multiple cups for larger groups:

XIV. Working (if applicable)

XV. Thanking the Beings

[Beings of Occasion/ Ancenetlâ/ Senisteroi/ Dêwoi],
Thank you for this evening.
For your support and your fellowship.
And as our evening comes to an end, you are free to stay
And continue your presence in brotherhood.
For we are truly blessed in our relationship.
Everyone: We thank you

XVI. Closing the Gates

Carnonos, we give thanks to you
for aiding us this day.
As our watcher and protector,
We now we ask that you undo what you
have done.
Everyone: Carnonos, LET THE GATES BE CLOSED!

XVII. Thanking the Earth Mother and Spirit of Inspiration

Finally, we just want to take a moment to thank Brigandu, Keeper of the Sacred Fires and the Earth Mother, Litauiâ
Without you, we could not have gathered here this night.
May we keep you in our minds and our hearts.
In our actions and our words
As you continue in your support of us with blessings of fellowship
And prosperity.

Pour the last of the drink onto the ground or into the fire:

Ring the singing bowl 3 times:

XVIII. Closing the Rite

To all who have come tonight, thank you for joining us. As we move beyond this place, may the blessings we have received tonight eco throughout all of our lives!

Itâte Deuobi! (Go with the Gods)

Everyone: ITÂTE DEUOBI!!!!!

-End of Ritual-

20. Create a ritual within your primary hearth culture for a non-High Day celebration based on a natural cycle.

For this ritual, I will be sharing a morning devotional ritual for the Goddess Brigandu. With the Gaulish Celts, she is a tutelary goddess associated with highlands/hills, domestic/purifying fire, and sacred springs. Given that this is a morning ritual, it was written with a small group or solitary involvement in mind.

ADF Brigandu Morning Ritual

Before starting the ritual, make sure to properly wash and clean yourself. Put on clean clothing of bright and neutral colors (whites, tans, etc). As you come to the edge of the altar, place your fingers in the bowl of blessed water. Sprinkle the water over yourself saying:

May all that is not be washed away.
So I may be pure and true this morning.

Repeat two more times. When done, approach the altar.

Honoring the Earth Mother:
As you approach the altar, sit before it and breathe. Offer steel-cut oats, or some other prepared grain, saying:

First, let us honor Litauiâ, Earth Mother, She whom all things are born.
We thank you for the continued blessing of life that you give to us all.
Without you, life would not be possible.

Litauiâ, accept our offering.

Attunement: Tree Meditation:
Perform the Tree Meditation, connecting to the earth below and the heavens above. As you connect, listen to the sound of your heartbeat. Once you feel centered and grounded, bow to the altar.

Recreate the Cosmos and Statement of Purpose:
Once you and the group feel connected, face the altar and raise your hands:

Brigandu. Lady of the Hearth, Lady of Wisdom.
You who rises in your fiery light.
We have come here this morning in your blessed celebration
May our words eco out across the land and may it sound in the depths of the well

By this fire (light the candle)
By this well (hallow the well)
And by the Sacred Tree (hallow the tree)

Open the Gates:
Give libations to Gatekeeper, saying:

Carnonos, Lord of the Deep Wood, Master of Ways.
As we gather on the threshold of the morning light,
May your protection and guidance lead us true,
Open the ways to those who honor the sovereignty of this place
Carnonos, Let the Gates be open!

Invite the Kindreds:
Raise your hands, saying:

The paths are open, may our voices sound true. To the Kindreds, I call on you at the dawning of the day in honor of she who brought the crafts of civilization to the people, Brigandu.

Light the Ancestor’s candle as you speak:

To the Senisteroi, Spirits of the Mighty Dead
Those who have gone before, we call on you to join us here this morning.

Senisteroi, accept our offering!

Light the Nature Spirits’ candle as you speak

Ancenetlâ, spirits of fur and feather, fin and scale
We call to you to come to us now! Spirits who hold the sacred knowledge of the world around us, hear us!

Ancenetlâ, accept our offering!

Light the Shining Ones’ candle as you speak

Dêwoi, You who are beyond time and space, you who have the ability to see all and advise in all things. we praise you for your knowledge and wisdom. Join us this morning in honor of your Blessed Sister.

Dêwoi, accept our offering!

To all who have gathered this morning in celebration, welcome!

Key Offerings:
At the altar, light the central candle and say:

Brigandu, as we gather this morning, we call you.
You who brought the spark of light to drive away the darkness
You who’s healing waters wash away that which is sick and impure
You who brought the gifts of crafts and skills to the tribes of man
You who brought forth the cattle and the thatch
You who protects our children and guides them to their blessed homes
You who’s genital hands lift those who cannot lift themselves
You who’s blessed voice holds the sacred laws in your Hall upon the height
of the sacred hill
You who keeps the boundaries of the homestead and the world

You, oh Mighty Brigandu, voice of those who have no voice, support to those who seek your fires, teacher to those seeking your truth. We stand in the darkness this morning, honoring the coming of your light. As you give your love to us, we share our love with you.

Give flowers to the altar:

These flowers we give to you, oh Mighty Lady. May your compassion blossom like the blossoming of flowers in the hearts of your people.

Give a piece of rye bread:

This bread we give to you, oh Mighty Lady. May your generosity go out to those in need.

Give a cup of whole milk:

This milk we give to you, oh Mighty Lady. May your love be felt by all people like mothers milk on the lips of her child.

At this time, if there are any other offerings that you wish to give, those can be done here.

The Prayer of Sacrifice
Once Adorations have been given, take a moment, close your eyes, and breathe. Be open to her presence and the gifts that might come from that interaction:

Brigandu, we stand here this morning in the rising sun
Grateful for the health and well-being of our families
Grateful for the protection of your mantle
Grateful for the guidance and prosperity you have brought to us.

As we move forward this day, may we be an example of the light you have given us Mighty Lady. May our actions lift others up and out of the darkness and may our words be a vessel for your wisdom and truth. As we draw the omen, we ask that you share with us your wisdom.

Seeking the Omen of Wisdom and Blessings.
[Take omen.]

Final Affirmation
After the Omen is taken:

Blessed Brigandu, your words have risen to the heavens, your words have sounded in the wells. Thank you for your wisdom and the gifts of blessings you bestow upon us this morning.

Raise a drinking cup:

Through this drink, we drink to the community and to the blessings you give. As we drink, we affirm our dedication to you, the gods, and to receive the blessings in which they bestow upon us.

Pass the drinking cup around, once everyone has drunk from the cup:

And with the last of our drink, we reaffirm the blessings we receive from the Kindreds and the Earth herself.

Pour the last of the drink into the offering bowl

Ending the Rite:
Everyone takes a moment to ground and center:

Brigandu, as we end this morning
May your light continue to be a light to the people
May your wisdom continue to be a guide to the people
May your protection continue to be a support to the people
May your generosity continue to be a blessing to the people

And may your light never go out.

To the Kindreds who have joined us tonight,
Senisteroi, thank you for your wisdom and knowledge.
Ancenetlâ, Thank you for your continued fellowship in this realm.
Dêwoi, Thank you for your blessings and Wisdom.

Closing the Gates:

Carnonos, Lord of the Deep Wood, Master of Ways,
Thank you for your protection this morning.
May your protection and guidance continues as we pass the threshold into the day
And we ask that you undo what you have done,
Let the Gates be closed!

Thanking the Earth Mother:

Blessed Litauiâ, Sustainer of Life.
All that remains unused, we give to you
And we thank you.

Ending the ritual:
As everyone stands at the altar, close your eyes and breathe. Connect with the earth below and the heavens above. As you connect, listen to the sound of your heartbeat. Once you feel your connection to the cosmos, take three deep breaths and one by one, walk away from the altar to where you performed the purification. Bow to the altar.

-End of Rite-

Works Cited
  • ADF. “Kins”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, ADF,
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  • Bonewits, Isaac. Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Work Minneapolis: Llewellyn Publications, 2007
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