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Author Topic: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions  (Read 2309 times)

Flemish_Seeker

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Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« on: May 24, 2019, 01:46:37 pm »
Hey,

anyone that has experience with these pantheons/religions/(old) practices/ modern interpretations?

It would be nice to hear from you/learn from you/talk with you about it.

Greetings

F_S

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2019, 12:42:34 pm »
anyone that has experience with these pantheons/religions/(old) practices/ modern interpretations?

It would be nice to hear from you/learn from you/talk with you about it.

I sometimes work with Epona, very much in a bootstrap-modern-witchcraft context; I don't know that there's much I can say about it, but I've found the EPONA.net website useful as a guide to what's known about her veneration in the ancient world, which in turn informs my interactions with her. (F'ex, Apuleius indicates - as a plot device, not a statement of fact, but for it to work as a plot device, it'd have to have been a reasonably widely known thing at the time - that her shrines were often decorated with fresh flowers, specifically roses; my own experience confirms strongly that roses, or a rose, are suitable for offering to her.)

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Flemish_Seeker

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2019, 01:36:36 pm »
I sometimes work with Epona, very much in a bootstrap-modern-witchcraft context; I don't know that there's much I can say about it, but I've found the EPONA.net website useful as a guide to what's known about her veneration in the ancient world, which in turn informs my interactions with her. (F'ex, Apuleius indicates - as a plot device, not a statement of fact, but for it to work as a plot device, it'd have to have been a reasonably widely known thing at the time - that her shrines were often decorated with fresh flowers, specifically roses; my own experience confirms strongly that roses, or a rose, are suitable for offering to her.)

Sunflower

Thanks for sharing - I’ll certainly look into this. 😊

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2019, 02:03:36 pm »
I sometimes work with Epona, very much in a bootstrap-modern-witchcraft context; I don't know that there's much I can say about it, but I've found the EPONA.net website useful as a guide to what's known about her veneration in the ancient world, which in turn informs my interactions with her.

I don't know about the Roman connection to Epona, but my experience with her has displayed a wonderful freeing energy; empowering, and courageous, a pleasure to experience. No matter the context, there seems to be a underlining core of joy.

Zlote Jablko

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2019, 11:21:04 pm »
Hey,

anyone that has experience with these pantheons/religions/(old) practices/ modern interpretations?

It would be nice to hear from you/learn from you/talk with you about it.

Greetings

F_S

I wish we knew more about these traditions from mainland Europe during the Iron Age. We have records on Irish and Norse mythology, but these sometimes yield limited insight to the mainland Germanic and Celtic tribes. I’m personally interested in Nehalenia, because I have an interest in Goddesses associated with the sea.

I know only a bit about Epona. She was apparently adopted by the Roman cavalry auxiliaries. Her name is a good example of the sound shift that distinguishes the so called “P and Q” Celtic languages. In some Celtic languages the archaic Proto-Indo-European  “Q” sound became a “P.” So the word for horse became “Epos” whereas previously it would have been extremely close to Latin “Equus.” So the “Epo” in her name is distantly related to our word “equestrian.”   Something similar happened with Greek “Hippos.”

Some of the really detailed analysis out there links her to sovereignty Goddesses in celtic mythology, although there’s probably some speculation there.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 11:24:05 pm by Zlote Jablko »

Failivrin

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2019, 01:42:57 am »
anyone that has experience with these pantheons/religions/(old) practices/ modern interpretations?

I am sort of racking my brains on this. Like Zlote said, so much of the Celtic traditions have been obscured. Perhaps a good method of study is to look for Pagan survivals within the Christian centers of Europe. For example, we can assume the Celts used labyrinths for meditation or ritual because there is a labyrinth in the cathedral at Chartres.

Flemish_Seeker

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2019, 02:59:02 am »
I am sort of racking my brains on this. Like Zlote said, so much of the Celtic traditions have been obscured. Perhaps a good method of study is to look for Pagan survivals within the Christian centers of Europe. For example, we can assume the Celts used labyrinths for meditation or ritual because there is a labyrinth in the cathedral at Chartres.

Yes indeed - wasn’t this cathedral build on the ruins of a gallo-roman temple which was build on a celtic place of worship which was build on a megalithic construction? (a flemish scholar wrote a book on these and other historical pagan subjects/places - most related to paleo-paganism in the low countries, I want to read it but it’s hard to find because it’s out of print)

Chartres is situated in what was a sacred forest to the tribe of the Carnuten (meeting place for the druids of Gaul according to Caesar). This and similar sites are very interesting.

I’m still ‘ploughing’ through masses of (religious) history to define a framework for my path and learning a lot! This forum is amazing by the way.  :)

SunflowerP

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2019, 05:57:02 pm »
For example, we can assume the Celts used labyrinths for meditation or ritual because there is a labyrinth in the cathedral at Chartres.

We can assume that (we can make all sorts of assumptions; our ability to assume is not necessarily constrained by the soundness of those assumptions), but it wouldn't be a well-founded assumption, since on one hand, there are few if any other things that can be construed to connect (pre-Christian) Gauls* with labyrinths, and on the other hand, labyrinths were an extremely common feature in Gothic cathedrals all over Europe.

Since Chartres is a very early example of Gothic architecture, the labyrinths in other Gothic cathedrals might well have been in imitation of Chartres, which raises the question of where the designers/architects of Chartres got the idea, but it doesn't strike me as very likely to have been from pre-Christian Gaulish practices (see below in my response to Flemish Seeker for more on why).

(*Or any other sort of pre-Christian Celts, for that matter)

Yes indeed - wasn’t this cathedral build on the ruins of a gallo-roman temple which was build on a celtic place of worship which was build on a megalithic construction?

Yes and no. The Gothic cathedral we know was built on the ruins of a series of previous churches/cathedrals (at least five of them), the earliest of which was built no later than the 4th century CE; the Roman and Celtic temples predated that.

The earlier cathedrals were also pilgrimage sites, but the focus of pilgrimage was a well (which apparently is still there), and later, the presence of reputed relics of the Virgin Mary, not a labyrinth or anything like it. (I find the well interesting, because we do have evidence of wells being significant for various sorts of pre-Christian Celts, and 'just add saints!' is a fairly common way in which paleo-pagan stuff carried over into Christian practice.)

Between the building of the first church on the site (at latest, 399 CE) and when construction began on the Gothic cathedral in 1205, there's a gap of eight centuries or longer. It strikes me as very unlikely that a pre-Roman Gaulish tradition, or even a pre-Christian Gallo-Roman tradition, would have survived with no evidence whatsoever of either ongoing practice or surviving physical structure through eight centuries before re-emerging. Not impossible, but highly speculative, and not very probable.

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Flemish_Seeker

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2019, 11:49:44 pm »
Yes and no. The Gothic cathedral we know was built on the ruins of a series of previous churches/cathedrals (at least five of them), the earliest of which was built no later than the 4th century CE; the Roman and Celtic temples predated that.

The earlier cathedrals were also pilgrimage sites, but the focus of pilgrimage was a well (which apparently is still there), and later, the presence of reputed relics of the Virgin Mary, not a labyrinth or anything like it. (I find the well interesting, because we do have evidence of wells being significant for various sorts of pre-Christian Celts, and 'just add saints!' is a fairly common way in which paleo-pagan stuff carried over into Christian practice.)

Between the building of the first church on the site (at latest, 399 CE) and when construction began on the Gothic cathedral in 1205, there's a gap of eight centuries or longer. It strikes me as very unlikely that a pre-Roman Gaulish tradition, or even a pre-Christian Gallo-Roman tradition, would have survived with no evidence whatsoever of either ongoing practice or surviving physical structure through eight centuries before re-emerging. Not impossible, but highly speculative, and not very probable.


Thanks for adding some details to this. I agree that it is indeed not very probable that there was no time gap (esp concerning the meaning/use of labyrinths) - it’s still a fascinating place though 😊
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 09:12:31 pm by SunflowerP »

Failivrin

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2019, 11:00:42 pm »

The earlier cathedrals were also pilgrimage sites, but the focus of pilgrimage was a well (which apparently is still there), and later, the presence of reputed relics of the Virgin Mary, not a labyrinth or anything like it. (I find the well interesting, because we do have evidence of wells being significant for various sorts of pre-Christian Celts, and 'just add saints!' is a fairly common way in which paleo-pagan stuff carried over into Christian practice.)

Between the building of the first church on the site (at latest, 399 CE) and when construction began on the Gothic cathedral in 1205, there's a gap of eight centuries or longer. It strikes me as very unlikely that a pre-Roman Gaulish tradition, or even a pre-Christian Gallo-Roman tradition, would have survived with no evidence whatsoever of either ongoing practice or surviving physical structure through eight centuries before re-emerging. Not impossible, but highly speculative, and not very probable.

Wells are considered sacred in many cultures, but (correct me if you know of one) I am not aware of other cultures in which labyrinths appeared earlier--not as sacred spaces anyway. And since the labyrinth has no foundation in Christian culture, I do assume it is a pagan survival. The records are too spotty to talk about solid evidence, but the establishment of a Christian church eight centuries earlier does not mean the population was converted at that time, or that once converted they shed their culture entirely.

Failivrin

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2019, 11:09:54 pm »
Wells are considered sacred in many cultures, but (correct me if you know of one) I am not aware of other cultures in which labyrinths appeared earlier--not as sacred spaces anyway.
OK, scratch that. I am seeing some information on Google that labyrinths were used by quite a few cultures. But I am also seeing a number of Christian scholars who flatly claim they are pagan and have nothing to do with Christian history or religion.

Flemish_Seeker

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2019, 11:40:27 pm »
OK, scratch that. I am seeing some information on Google that labyrinths were used by quite a few cultures. But I am also seeing a number of Christian scholars who flatly claim they are pagan and have nothing to do with Christian history or religion.

Wasn’t there a Minoan (Greek?) myth about a labyrinth (Ariadne-Minothaurus)? I know, this is way off my original topic ... and it’s ages ago I read the Greek myths (I have the Stephen Fry book on my ‘to read’-pile 😊 )

Zlote Jablko

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2019, 09:56:53 am »
I am sort of racking my brains on this. Like Zlote said, so much of the Celtic traditions have been obscured. Perhaps a good method of study is to look for Pagan survivals within the Christian centers of Europe. For example, we can assume the Celts used labyrinths for meditation or ritual because there is a labyrinth in the cathedral at Chartres.

I know nothing about that. I do know some pagan iconography did survive in early medieval artwork. Things like green men, bird maidens, swastika/wheel symbols, etc. That’s one good example of a late pagan remnant that can be used to piece together a fragmentary tradition. As a Slavic pagan, I’d also recommend not dismissing folklore. It might not be recorded until the 19th century, but it *can* be remarkably conservative. The French tale of Melusine always struck me as a potentially very ancient story. Especially the part where the Lusignan royal house claimed descent from her- it sounds like a story out of Herodotus.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melusine

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2019, 09:06:37 pm »

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Re: Celto-germanic gallo-roman religions
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2019, 02:05:00 am »
Wells are considered sacred in many cultures, but (correct me if you know of one) I am not aware of other cultures in which labyrinths appeared earlier--not as sacred spaces anyway.

The word labyrinth comes from the Greek and is attested in its most ancient form as far back as 1400 BCE in the form of a dedication of honey to "the mistress of the labyrinth." The word was later associated with a maze-like or spiral design.

Based on the attested presence of dances in Greek religion (particularly funerary rites) from ancient through modern times, along with descriptions in the Iliad and archaeological discoveries indicating the presence of outdoor stages at the entrances to tombs in prepalatial Minoan Crete--I believe we may draw the conclusion that the original "labyrinth" of Minoan Crete was a dancing ground upon which ritual performances, usually for funerals but sometimes for other rites, were made. These performances usually involved dances done in a spiral pattern.

Quote
And since the labyrinth has no foundation in Christian culture, I do assume it is a pagan survival.

Possibly. The story of Theseus, the Minotaur, and Ariadne's thread, told long after the Minoan culture had been merged into the Mycenaean one which itself became the later Hellenic one--that transformed the labyrinth in the popular mind into a maze, and we know that medieval Christians frequently borrowed from ancient Greek sources.
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