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In the Celtic world it is not possible to talk about a “pantheon” as it is commonly understood, that is, with strict relations between Deities, specific functions and with clearly matching counterparts in other religions. Notwithstanding the fact that within the Celtic world different traditions present us with a certain amount of variety, the main Deities are always recognisably present, although sometimes their names or epithets may be somewhat different.
Our understanding of the Deities must be fluid and flexible. They cover a series of inter-complementary functions and though there is a hierarchy, there is no conflict nor confrontation of opposites as found in other religions, even in cases where their responsibilities are shared. Some of the Deities are multifaceted, appearing in three different forms. Apparent contradictions arising between these faces are just that, only apparent and they arise from an insufficient familiarity with the Celtic system of thought and cosmology.
The fact is that the majority of us grew up in a society where the divine was spoken of as merciful, loving and demanding: demanding that its believers subject themselves to its laws in exchange for concessions of help and support. In contrast, it is our belief that we must cross through a gate, a threshold, a process which requires great sacrifice, tearing down the old walls that hold us back from understanding what this world of ours is and what our place in it is. Although the Deities may reach out to us with good intentions, their tender touch brings those walls tumbling down and this can leave us feeling strange and disconcerted. Our understanding of the Deities and our understanding of ourselves takes time but eventually sense and meaning, in their fullest forms, fall into place.
In this spirit we present here an introduction, simplified and summarised, to the Gods and Goddesses of our Galizan tradition. This document is based on the compiled knowledge of academic studies and also, as the Pan-Galizan Druidic Fellowship (Irmandade Druídica Galaica, IDG) is a religious organisation, honed from its own interpretations.
Moreover, it is important to remember our belief in the individuality and specificity of each of Them, for They are not the creations nor reflections of a superior God. The Divinities are not subject to some other God or Goddess or conscious energy superior to Them. Likewise, all of Them are respected equally both for who They are and for what They represent.
The First Deities
From what we know these were present from that original, ineffable spark, the pre-intelligent, first cause, ground-spring of life. They are the oldest and most powerful and yet they appear to be the most reserved.
Larouco (Crouga) /|\
The Grandest God, The All-Father, The Good God, protector of the tribe, He of the High Plain, Lord of Knowledge, of the social order, agreements and bonds. Patron of the wise, the sage and the teacher. He possesses an immense strength and force and is associated with the abundance and generosity of the earth.
His great powers are represented by the enormous mace that He carries in His hand, while His masculinity is represented by a large sexual member. He is also the guardian of the pot of abundance, from which comes all good and all Magic. Everything with Him and around Him and of Him is gigantic.
In the Galizan tradition He is bound together with the metonymic sacred mountain where He resides, though His presence can be felt on other peaks; in these cases He is known by the name of Crouga (like the Crom Cruach of the Irish tradition). That is to say, Larouco is the name we give Him when we speak of the God as such, as a physical presence; Crouga, being His spirit, His immaterial presence far from His physical mountain, in any dolmen or height of power.
In pan-celticism He is considered the brother of Bandua-Cosso and consort of Anu. In Ireland He is known as An Dagda and in Gaul, Sucellus.
We celebrate Him principally in the time of the Winter Solstice and Mother Night (generally from the 21st to 25th of December).
(Listen here to a song dedicated to the God Larouco by the Southern Galizan band Sangre Cavallum)
The Great Mother, The Noble, The Good, origin of light and day. The Lady of literature and patron of the invisible creatures and of the ancient ancestors that made the dolmens and the hillforts, and also the patron of all the mystical and powerful creatures. She can also take the form of Coca, a creature who manifests as a great serpent or dragon.
Sometimes She is the consort of Larouco but only when She chooses, a fact made clear by Her place of residence: the mountain of Pena de Anamão, not that far from His mountain. They are near but separate, like old close friends and neighbours that converse together, share experiences and confide in each other.
Both of Them form a peculiar pair, though this should never be confused with ideas that rose later, foreign to our tradition, such as the strict separation of the sexes, a masculine-feminine binary dichotomy or similar such things. Anu and Larouco can complement each other but they are free and autonomous in each and every moment, and it is Anu that initiates the principle of independence and Sovereignty of which Her descendent, Brigantia, becomes Overlady. In another example of their complementary relationship, Larouco can be Lord of Magic but Anu is the Lady of all who use and practice that Magic. One without the other would be meaningless and yet still they are different, and though each commands what they command, it is She that decides who and how.
She receives the names of Dôn in Welsh (where her presence has important astronomical connotations in relation to the constellations Cassiopeia, Corona Borealis and even the Milky Way) and Danu or Dana in Ireland, where She is the Mother Goddess of all the Tuatha Dé Dannan.
We celebrate Her principally in the time of the Winter Solstice and Mother Night (generally from the 21st to 25th of December).
Deities of Power
The following are atavastic figures of incommensurable authority who attempt to forge order and demonstrate virtues for whoever truly wants to see and hear. Masters for whoever truly wants to learn.
The High, The Elevated, Lady of Sovereignty, The Triple Flame. Porter of the light and Goddess of fire and victory. She burns in three forms: as the light of inspiration (patron of poetry, the arts, philosophy and prophecy), the light of the hearth (patron of medicine and fertility, of shepherds and farmers, protector of the home) and as the light of the forge (patron of metallurgy, ironworks and martial arts, She is a great warrior).
She is patron of all of aspects that pertain to heights be they mountains, hillforts of the highlands or even high cogitation. Patron of Druids and Druidesses, livestock and domestic animals as well as of wells and sacred founts.
All power should be regulated by Brigantia. She does not exercise that Sovereignty directly but orders who shall receive it or not, who is worthy of being called “monarch”. She marks the sacred pact between human beings and the earth. Whoever does not respect this pact will never be a good leader and under them humanity will be ill governed. Clearly this is one of the reasons that so many places in our land were named in Her honour.
Brigantia assures the transition between winter and spring and guarantees the promise of rebirth that was made on the Winter Solstice. It is She who wakes the Gods Bel (her sometimes consort) and Lugus when the moment arrives, even breastfeeding the latter to Spring strength if necessary.
In pan-celticism She is considered the daughter of Larouco and Anu. In Ireland she is known as Brigid, Brìde in Scotland and Brigindũ in Wales.
We celebrate Her in the time of the Winter Solstice and Mother Night (generally from the 21st to 25th of December) but principally Her grand holiday is the Entroido (Imbolc), usually around the 1st of February.
(Listen here to a song dedicated to the Goddess Brigantia by the Northern Galizan band Mileth)
The Luminous, The Splendid, The Radiant, The One of the Long Arm. He is young, attractive, athletic and an extremely able warrior who carries a magic lance and other fantastic weaponry. He too appears to us with a triple nature associated with the Sun, the Sky and the Storms, in which He commands the thunder and lightning.
He is patron, like Brigantia, of art and of artisans, but also of sport, physical activity, creators and inventors and of all of those that can make something out of nothing. Patron of the law, of truth and of oaths, of those that make order out of chaos and defend their pacts and keep their promises.
Lugus emanates a sensation of power, of eloquent knowledge and of warming calm; he is a comforter. He presides over and guards the grand Oinakos (assembly or gathering) of summer, enjoying at the same time the sporting competitions and encouraging conviviality and weddings. Truly, He enjoys any Oinakos organised and carried out honestly.
In Ireland He receives the name of Lugh, Lley Llaw Gyffes in Wales and Lugus in Gaul.
We honour Him principally during His grand holiday of the harvest, Seitura (Lughnasadh), around the 1st of August.
Bandua – Cosso /|\
The One Who Ties Together, The Unifier, because with magic links and bonds the Deity Bandua seals promises and unites clans and people. Through these ties pacts are made formal and, furthermore, intercommunication itself is established: the very fabric that makes relationships become stable, fundamental to the prosperity of any group. Bandua sounds the call of the common cause, convening all beneath the same banner.
Patron of eloquence and a master of Magic with ways of making us stick to our good word, appealing to the fundamental principle of the Celtic ethics (Honour, Responsibility and Commitment) either with convincing words or, more forcefully, with bond-making magic. Or, if necessary, with both at the same time.
But be careful not to get confused, for when talk turns to conflict Bandua takes the name of Cosso, the Deity who is patron of all warriors and fighters, incessantly walking the beat, vigilant at night, prepared for for battle, should the need arise. In any case, there is no more formidable and feared warrior and in battle enemies are immobilised with that invisible cord that, in more peaceful moments, bonds us and brings us together.
Bandua-Cosso has a dual fluid nature, sometimes presenting as a woman and sometimes as a man.
In Pan-celticism, Bandua-Cosso is considered the sibling of Larouco and receives the name of Ogma in Ireland and Ogmios in Gaul.
There is no fixed holiday in which we honour Them.
The Brilliant, The Shining, The Handsome, The Beautiful. The God of Light and patron of music is one of the oldest of the Gods. Like Lugus, Bel commands the Sun and also the stars, but with an even greater intensity. He commands the cycles of the days, of the moons and of the years, turning the great Wheel of the Year and with it the advance of human time (the wheel and the carriage in which He crosses the sky are some of His symbols).
Sometimes He appears accompanied by Brigantia, as They are occasional consorts, with whom He shares, amongst other things, an appreciation for founts and sacred wells, curative waters and medicine in general, as well as the purifying flame (The Fires of Bel).
He protects nature and the earth, guarantees their splendour and cyclical fertility, carrying on the work of Brigantia. The God Bel favours sexuality and sexual unions, the joy of abundance and the happiness of feasts and celebrations. His work is hard and his responsibility inmense, but so is His happiness at the fruit of His labour, where He combines and balances this inter-related pair of joy and labour, play and duty.
He receives the name of Belenus in Gaul, Beil in Ireland, Bile in Scotland and Balor or Beli Mawr in Wales.
We honour Him principally in His grand Holiday of Maios (Beltaine), around the 1st of May.
He of the High House, The Hospitable, The Provider, Lord of the Sea, of the Beyond and of Death. Patron of hospitality, Berobreo will take you in and look after you well with open arms and a big smile. If you are Honourable you have nothing to fear.
From the peak of Facho de Donom, His grand sanctuary, or from any peninsula, beach, watchtower or significant cape like Lançada or Teixido, He watches over the islands of our coast, the stopping points for those souls that, after their long journey towards the setting sun, pause to rest a little. That is where they, by His hand, start the final stage into the other life. He holds the keys to the labyrinths etched in stone that open the two-way gates between the worlds. He eventually carries us all the way to His residence in the deeps of the ocean.
The God Berobreo knows these and other less travelled paths, but this should not worry or concern anyone for He is an exceptional host, giving in exuberant abundance, just as He demands of all good Celts. For there are few things that cause more dishonour than to be mean to your guests and visitors, or be a displeasing guest.
He receives the name of Donn in Ireland (“The Dark” a direct ancestor of the Gaelic people of the isle).
We honour him principally on his grand holiday of Magusto (Samhain), around the 31st of October and the 1st of November.
She Who Excels, The Adorned, Lady of the Waters, of the lakes, ponds, lagoons, waterfalls, rivers and streams, fountain sources and wells, as well as of the vallies and the low places nestled in the mountains.
The melancholic Goddess Nábia is a navigator and sailor and Her boat accompanies any soul on their way to Berobreo’s High House, riding fluvial courseways from the interior to the coast and, should one ask, all the way to the place beyond.
Water is life and yet it welcomes the dead into its never-ending cycle. The water flows from the mountain peaks to the ocean deeps, and from there into the sky from whence it rains as it returns to the beginning again and with it originates all life. Throughout this process Nábia is present, doing Her part in aid of fertility when necessary. But the Goddess Nábia also collects these waters and into the earth She weaves nets and networks, the symbols of Brigantia’s pact: into Her calm waters She accepts the offerings of humans, a testimony to the encounters and agreements between us and the Deities. Nábia attends to all of that and, together with Berobreo, is hostess and protector of our local places.
Her name is found everywhere, whether it be in the form of Návia, Návea, Ávia, Coventina, Avon, Devon, Deva, etc.
Of all of the Deities, Nábia might be the most familiar and most friendly with certain beings particularly associated with water. It is said She loves beer and flowers too.
Nábia does not have a particular date fixed as a holiday.
(Listen here to a song dedicated to Goddess Nábia by the Southern Galizan band Sangre Cavallum)
He of the Heaths, Of The Uttermost, Of The Great Plains, The Flats and the Beyond, the meeting place between high and low, the interstices between worlds, this is where He commands. He is the Lord of Hierarchy and of Justice which, in His hands, is always brutally impartial and objective. He administers all fortune and wealth equitably.
At first glance Reve appears to be the most elusive Deity, cold and distant, perhaps more focused on the internal affairs of the Gods and Goddesses than those of human and mundane worlds.
Nonetheless, He is a point of encounter, bringing together characteristics of Berobreo and Cosso as He too has dominion over the Beyond and war. He may even match attributes of Larouco, with whom He can be so close as to be occasionally confused, one with the other. He receives from Brigantia the capacity to preside over Sovereignty when She is not present, as it is in the cases of judgements and important decisions that require a final and unappealable resolution.
In the event of battle, the God Reve sees over the comings and goings of the common people, implacably deciding who deserves to be called a Hero and who does not.
In ancient days He was one of the Deities that received the most honours and offerings, especially in the interior of Callaecia, perhaps for the fear that some felt under His dispassionate, though calm and sincere gaze.
He receives the name of Morrígan in Ireland and the alternate names Reva and Reua in Galiza.
Reve does not have a fixed holiday.
The Veiled, The Ancient, The Witch. The Lady of Callaecia and the incarnation Herself of this granite land on which we tread. Sage Lady of Stone and patron of stonemasons, plants and trees, wild animals and invisible creatures. She is a friend of Anu.
She has power over climate and over the forests, the mountains and the beasts of our land. She speaks with our ancestors and passes messages along as the need arises. Cale is as old as the planet and before She was a Goddess She was a moura and the greatest of the witches and healers; perhaps it is for this that She is the Deity that best knows and associates with all of the little people that live beyond our perception.
She usually presents Herself as a woman of advanced age dressed in a skirt and with a shawl over Her head (O Velo), but this is because She is generally only seen at the end of the Celtic year, when She has already passed through Her youthful stages and maturation out of our eyesight. It is precisely in this moment after the night of Magusto when the Goddess Cale works the land with Her mattock, unceasingly until the passing of the Solstice. She works the land so much that we might be led to believe She will destroy it, but in reality the work She does is necessary preparation for when it turns to us to do our job of sowing. And then in that moment She, a true protector, extends Her warming skirt out over the land.
Cale collaborates with Brigantia in many different matters and it is said that the latter watches over the light half of the year (Samos) while the former does the same for the dark half (Giamos).
She receives the name of Cailleach in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
We honour Her principally in the grand holiday of Magusto (Samhain), around the 31st of October and the 1st of November, and She is also remembered on the Day of our Land (Dia da Terra), the 25th of July, the civil holiday of the Galizan Nation.
The following are the Deities probably closest to us, in our day to day lives, both as we put into play our grandest plans and also our smaller, daily goals and intents. They can even be a link of communication between ourselves and the other Deities.
She of the Land, Of The White Mare, The Great Mare. The Lady of Horses and all of their extended family. Ruler and protector over all pathways, routes, journeys, courses and communications. She is patron of all who speak, who share, spread information and communicate with honesty just as She is of all who journey, who make pilgrimages and transport things.
Wherever Nábia does not reach with Her waterways, Íccona is there by land to guide souls, on horseback, to their next way station. She also symbolically embodies some of Brigantia’s Sovereignty and exemplifies the responsibility it takes to achieve it, since Sovereignty requires labour and sacrifice, an exertion returned to over and again until one is worthy of it. The Goddess Íccona is always on the go, always attentive and ready to report, always riding.
Íccona often finds Herself with Bandua-Cosso, not only on the paths and lanes that they traverse but also in their promises, pacts and unions and entangled in endless conversation.
The Irmandade Druídica Galaica is consecrated, from its very birth, to the Goddess Íccona Loimina, whom we have taken to consider as our Patron.
She receives the name of Epona in Gaul, Étaín or Édaín in Ireland and Rhiannon in Wales.
Íccona does not have a fixed holiday, though we always remember and honour Her on the 11th of November, the anniversary of our Fellowship.
She of the House, Of The Tribe, Of The Secret. Lady of the Home, of the most intimate. Protector of the private, of families and of children, of true friendships, of heritage both personal and collective, of the hearth, of thoughts themselves.
She moves in the shadows and the corners of houses and of cities, prudent and wise, like a comforting and calming presence when our just aspirations and hard work run into unforeseen problems and obstacles. The Goddess Trebaruna might be the Deity closest to humanity, or at least the one who most likes to be in our houses and help with our daily lives.
However, lest anyone be deceived, we should remember that although generally affectionate, She can be a ferocious and implacable warrior against any who would raise arms against the tribe or clan, against any who reveal secrets without justification and betray confidences, against any who attack or dishonour friendships, the home or loved ones.
The Goddess Trebaruna recognises the value of discretion without letting it slip into dishonesty and lies, something unthinkable for a Celt. It is exactly for this reason that She disdains whoever breaks or breaches a promise, as does Bandua.
Trebaruna does not have a fixed date in which She is honoured.
(Listen here to a song dedicated to the Goddess Trebaruna by the Lusitanian band Moonspell)
The Protector, The Outstanding. Lord of Medicine, Research, Security and Divination. Local protector of cities, towns and villages where His sanctuary is present. Patron, as is Brigantia, of doctors and healers, of researchers and scientists as well as who, with honesty and justice in their hearts, foster peace and dedicate themselves to saving, caring for and attending to other beings.
The grand, wise Endovélico enjoys staying at home, looking after those who require His skills. There, just as would Bel, the God Endovélico uses light and heat and all classes of remedy to heal, to calm, to tend to humans and animals alike, with whom He has an affectionate connection.
If it were necessary, He would climb the highest peaks and descend to the lowest depths in order to continue studying, searching out formulas, finding solutions. He is full of light, but His home could be in the deepest shadows, hidden away between the rocks, where He can work in peace, learning about the things that lurk in the dark, the things that not everyone sees.
Once He is visited, Endovélico can choose to speak through dreams and intuitions, indicating what should be done and giving council about which path one should follow.
Endovélico does not have a fixed date in which He is honoured.
The Boiler, The Bubbler. Lord of thermal springs, spas and curative waters as well as fermentation, minerals and the subsoil. Protector and patron of hollows and passageways and all who traverse them.
The God Bormánico shares with Nábia dominion over all waters, namely hot waters and those that well up rich with special qualities. Those that are innavegable or not suitable for passing through but, instead, are appropriate for other uses like healing and relaxing. Subsequently, He shares with Endovélico healing powers and He frequently departs with Him on His explorations of the deepest parts of the Land, amongst the rocks, minerals and metals. It is said that Bormánico’s transmutative powers favour the production of the many different drinks, types of food and remedies that are fermented by liquid or heat.
He receives the name Barmanus, Moguns or Mogunus in Gaul, Grannus in different Celtic lands, and in Galiza and Lusitania He is also called Borvo or Bormo.
Bormánico does not have a fixed date in which He is honoured.
Final Note: There exists a bundle of subtle forces, legendary creatures and beings often called “supernatural” (in spite of the fact that this is impossible in our religion, as everything forms a part of the same cosmos and is always, therefore, natural), that though they do have a certain power, influence and autonomy, do not enter into the category of the Deities for they cannot have dominion over anything if the Deities expressly forbid it.
Honour to the Land and Nature.
Honour to Whom wishes to show us and teach us.
Honour to Whom was here before and to Whom is still to come.
And us, in the middle, walking.
Translation: Paris Xácia Ceive, whom we thank.