Gaulish Ritual Primer: Gods, Spirits, and Festivals

posted on July 11, 2021
Related: Gaulish Culture

The following information is a basic primer to get people started with Gaulish Polytheism within ADF.  As time goes on, we will modify and add to this information as our Hearths grow and develop.

Déví Nemetoni: The Gods of the Grove

The Earth Mother: Danu, the primal goddess, associated with Europe’s principle river, the Danube.  Local river goddesses; where no Celtic name is retrievable, she could simply be addressed as Dévá, Goddess.  In addition, there is the personification of Gaul herself, Litáví.

The Gatekeeper: Cernunnos, the liminal psychopomp god, who represents the connection between the lands of the tribe and the wild.

The Hearth Goddess: Brigantí, also known as Brigindú.  In Irish lore, she is better known as Brigid, goddess of poetry and craft, but her earliest patronage is the domestic hearth.

The Outsiders: Ancenetlí.  Not gods, but significant – these represent forces and powers which have no relationship with the Tribe, sometimes hostile but mainly just indifferent.

Trícenetlos: The Three Kindreds

The Gods: Déví.  The first children of the goddess Danu.  The Shining Ones, the undying, the givers of goods.

The Ancestors: Senistres. The spirits of the blessed dead. While for most of the year they dwell in Andumnos, the otherworld, they can still be called upon to render assistance to their descendants.

The Spirits: There are many other miscellaneous spirits, including spirits of a location (genii loci in Latin, brogidéví in Gaulish) and other natural features.  Most familiar to humans, however, are the Cucullátí, represented as small hooded figures with predominate phalluses: these are the spirits of the household, to be propriated with milk or ale.

Ivostoves: The High Days

November Feast: Samonis, the beginning of the winter half of the year. A feast celebrating the end of the year and the cycle of death and rebirth. On this day the ancestors are released from Amdumnos to feast with the living. A feast dedicated to Sucellos and Nantosuelta, deities of the Otherworld.

February Feast: Usmolgos, also known as Ambivolcos.  A feast celebrating Brigantí’s rekindling of the world’s hearth-fire, the promise of spring, the return of the light and the purification of the home. An appropriate time to do the spring cleaning!

May Feast: Belotenes, the feast of the shining fire. Marking the beginning of the summer half of the year, it is at this feast that the flocks and those who tend them would be purified before being taken to their summer pastures. A time to celebrate fertility and reproduction.

August Feast: Oinacos Lugous, the Gatherings of Lugus. The harvest begins, the late summer thunderstorms arrive and the Tribe gathers together, to buy, sell and show off. A feast of martial and physical prowess.

With regard to the quarter days, the calendar of Coligny does not seem to mark the equinoxes, although the summer and winter solstices are clearly marked.

Winter Solstice: Dévoriuros, the feast of midwinter plenty.  The harvest is in, the livestock have been slaughtered and it is time to snuggle in and celebrate the bounty of the gods and the promise of renewal against the darkness.  Dedicated to the goddess Matroná and her son Maponos, born on this day.

Vernal Equinox: Dius Aratri, the Day of the Plough, a day under the tutelage of Ambaxtonos, god of farmers, and Taranis, god of thunder. Agricultural tools are blessed on this day, and in Northern Europe the equinoctal gales are very much present!

Summer Solstice: Mediosamos, the midpoint of summer. A day of wildfire- not the safe hearth fire but the dangerous wildfire. Celebrated by an all-night vigil by a hilltop bonfire throughout Europe.

Autumnal Equinox: Diocomrextios, the day for settling all disputes. Contracts would be renewed on this day. A day to celebrate community and the maintenance of good relationships which bind it together



Page Information:
“Gaulish Ritual Primer: Gods, Spirits, and Festivals.” submitted by Trevor on 19 January, 2020

posted on July 11, 2021 | Related: Gaulish Culture
Citation: "Gaulish Ritual Primer: Gods, Spirits, and Festivals", Ár nDraíocht Féin, July 11, 2021,