Let’s Talk Witch – The Gods

wiccan in the woods

The Gods

 

Witchy practices often focus on the goddess, especially during lunar rituals such as full moon and new moon. But let us not forget her consort, the god, the masculine half of the deity. Like the goddess, the god comes in many different forms, with many different names, and he changes shape throughout the course of the year.

We draw on the same mythological pantheons for the names we call the gods as we do for our goddesses. Greek and Roman gods are often well known (Neptune, Saturn, Pluto, Mars, and Mercury… now where have I heard those before?), as are some Celtic, Norse, and Egyptian gods (among others). Even the names of the days of the week come from the names of Norse gods, such as Thor (Thor’s day became Thursday) and Woden (Wednesday).

Zeus was the father of the Greek gods and ruled from high atop Mount Olympus. (And when they say he was the father of the gods, they aren’t kidding-the guy seriously got around.) The modern-day Olympics are based on a Greek festival that was held in his honor.

Jupiter was Zeus’s Roman counterpart, and like Zeus, he was known for throwing thunderbolts bolts at those who pissed him off. This was true of Thor as well, who was a god of justice. I guess you can figure out what happened to those who didn’t play nice … (ouch, sizzle).

Many Witches like to call on gods from the Celtic pantheon, especially Cernunnos and Herne, both of whom were usually depicted as the figure of a man with stag’s antlers. It is likely that these gods were the origin, at least in part, of the Green Man and Horned God that play such an important part in Pagan worship. We also call on the sun god Lugh, especially on Lugh- nasadh, the holiday we celebrate in his honor.

Apollo was the Greek sun god who was also a god of healing. Traditionally, the sun tended to be the domain of the gods, while the moon fell under the influence of the goddess. This may explain why the god dies during the darkest time of the year and then is reborn at Yule, when the light is beginning to return.

As with the goddess, some Witches call the god by one particular name, or many, or simply use “the god.” It is worth taking the time to explore the many myths and stories surrounding the Pagan gods. Not only are the stories interesting in their own right, but you never know when some god will pop out and call your name, informing you that from that time on, you may call him-and he will answer.

 

–Deborah Blake, Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft

 

The Wicca Book of Days for June 19 – The Celtic Pantheon

The Wicca Book of Days for June 19

The Celtic Pantheon

The Gods and Goddesses venerated by the European Celtic people were local divinities identified with features of the landscape, the creatures and trees that inhabited it, and the tribes that lived there (Brigantia being the Goddess whom the Brigantes worshiped in Britain, for instance). Because the Celtic tradition was oral, the nature of these deities remain imprecise but something of their individual characters survived if they were subsequently fused with Roman divinities or Christian saints. Perhaps the best know Celtic God is Cernunnos, or the Horned God.

Circles and Spirals

Circles and spirals were important mystical symbols to the Celts, representing as they did the Sun and Fire, eternity, fertility and life itself. Wear jewelry bearing one or other of these dynamic symbols next to your skin today and become infused by the energy that it emits.

Ancient Celtic Culture

Ancient Celtic Culture

by John Patrick Parle

 

The Celts on the main continent were largely ruled by the chieftain of their individual tribe–some chieftains were elected by the free men of the tribe for a limited term of office.

Here are some of the names of ancient Celtic chieftains, to get an idea of what the old Celtic names sounded like: Orgetorix, Sinorix, Dunmorix, Cartismandua (a woman), Prasutagus, Amborix, Clondicus, Luernios, Ariamnes, Adiatorix. (The “rix” ending to the Celtic name signified that the person was a supreme chieftain, perhaps over more than one tribe or over a large land area). Because there was no written Celtic language there, these types of personal names and the names of the tribes themselves are our best idea of what old Celtic words on the mainland of Europe sounded like. The great names of the Gaulish chieftain Vercingetorix and of Boadicea, the female chieftain of Celtic Briton, will come up later in our story.

Classical writers said that the Celts were taller than the Romans, more muscular, had fair skin, and blonde hair was common. The Celts were known for their hospitality, but could be boastful and irritable. They were fond of feasting, were high-spirited, and in general liked excitement. Yet, in Rome, culturally sophisticated Cicero was able to become friends with a Celtic druid from Gaul named Diviciacus, and Cicero said that a Celtic leader from Galatia named Dejotarus was “gentle and honest.” The ancients said that the Celts liked to speak in riddles, and loved to exaggerate. Some Celtic tribes had a sense of wanderlust and were nomadic (often in response to threats from the outside), while others stayed put in farming communities.

The ancient Celts lived in scattered villages without fortified walls. In wartime, they would build hill forts for protection. Their homes were circular and made of wood with thatched domelike roofs. They had little furniture, and ate and drank out of earthen dishes and goblets. They slept on beds of straw.

Agriculture was a major activity of the Celts of old, with many of them owning private farmlands. They produced mostly wheat for bread. In fact, the ancient writers said that this was the main difference between the Celts and the Germanic tribes of the day, the latter of whom did little farming and consumed mostly meat and milk. Whereas the Celts grew crops, the Germanic barbarians then did little of this. The Celts were also large swinehearders (most of the meat they ate was ham and pork), and cattle was common for dairy products. They brewed beer, which they called “cervesia,” and added honey and cumin to beer, which they called “corma.” The Celts also appreciated wine and mead.

In terms of clothing, the Celtic women wore a simple long garment with a cloak. The men wore trousers (sometimes knee length), a sleeved tunic reaching the thigh, a cloak, and sandals or boots. A metal piece of jewelry for around the neck called a torc (torques) was quite popular. Clothing dyed in bright colors was common. Men wore droopy moustaches, sometimes beards, and often long hair, all of this in contrast to the contemporary Romans. Women enjoyed painting their bodies, and some tribes of Celtic warriors went into battle stark naked and painted all over in bright blue.

The basic social structure was threefold: the chieftain, the warrior aristocracy, and the freeman farmers. Woman had a lower place, but some women were able to attain the position of chieftain, which was unknown in other cultures of the period. Slavery was accepted, largely conquered peoples. Three other roles in Celtic society were quite important: the druid, the bard, and the artisan.

The bard was the chief poet of a clan or extended family. He was the keeper of the family or tribal oral history and entertained gatherings with epic tales of Celtic gods and heroes. He was a storyteller and a man of rhymes–a wordsmith. The Celtic bard, as did the Bard of Elizabethan times, tried the best he could to portray his benefactors as well as possible in laudable terms. Bards often sang their verse while playing a lyre (which in Ireland was eventually replaced by the harp). The artisan, who is often overlooked in books about the Celts, made all the wonderful metalwork, carvings, and tools for the tribe. The works of the ancient Celtic artisans exist today in museums all over Europe.