Romano-Celtic Paganism's Journal|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 18 most recent journal entries recorded in
Romano-Celtic Paganism's LiveJournal:
|Friday, December 19th, 2008|
Since this is a Romano-Celtic list, I'm curious to hear how you all celebrate (if at all) this time of year. Do you tend to do some sort of winter solstice kind of thing, Saturnalia, or something else? In the past I've celebrated Saturnalia with gift giving, and offerings to the Gods. I tend to make offerings to Gods specifically associated with Saturnalia, but also leave my offerings open enough to be inviting for any other "spirits of the season" (since this is such a beautifully convergent time of year for so many faiths).
I'm curious to hear people's thoughts, and/or brainstorm on possible ways of celebrating this time of year from a Romano-Celtic perspective.
|Wednesday, February 20th, 2008|
|Monday, February 11th, 2008|
|Tuesday, July 31st, 2007|
UNRV Celtic / Germanic Culture Section
I didn't know this section existed until ursus_of_unrv
mentioned it to me, but it might be worth checking out. Also, it could potentially be a section that could use some 'beefing up' on the Celtic and Romano-Celtic content. I thought I'd point it out to you guys in case there was some interest. Click here for to access the section: UNRV Celtic & Germanic Culture
If you know of any other communities that you want to share with the group please do!
|Friday, July 27th, 2007|
Still here and August Festivals
I'm still here, but have been really busy - sorry. What are peoples thoughts on celebrating Lughnasadh from a Romano-Celtic perspective. Is it appropriate, inappropriate? What sorts of themes could carry over, are there are any strong Roman cross-overs at this time of year?
Here are the list of festivals I recorded earlier, and there are room for more! August –
Lughnasadh, Opalia, Vertumnalia, Nemoralia, Portunalia, Vinalia Rustica, Consualia, Vulcanalia, Opiconsivia, Volturnalia
Of those, I can see some thematic similarities, which probably have to do with the harvest and with the agricultural cycle in general in any case. I find it interesting that we seem to have protectors of cattle, fire festivals, and deities having to do with plants and agriculture, earth and fertility, overlapping. This is relatively stream of consciousness on my part here - and I'd be really pleased to have a discussion with others on these topics.
|Sunday, July 8th, 2007|
Potentially useful observation
A Google image search on the name of a Celtic deity will turn up lots of attractive Romano-Celtic images, such as the one in this icon I'm using. I did a search on several of my pantheon this morning and saved and printed a wealth of pictures, which will get neatly cut out and pinned up on my Corkboard of Sacred Images above my shrine.
|Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007|
I have taken a few small steps toward making Romano-Celtic syncretism part of my practice, and the gods do seem pleased. The main thing I did was to cover my head when I did a rite of offering on Sunday. I wear a plain white cotton robe with a cord belt, Revival-Druid style, and I happen to have a white cotton shawl trimmed with fringe which I wear very seldom. I used the shawl for a head covering, and it must have been a sign of divine favor that it stayed where I put it, because my hair is so fine and thin that it doesn't hold anything (for example, I've never been able to wear fancy hair ornaments because they just slide right off). It made me feel very serious about what I was doing; I felt I could actually take myself seriously as a ritualist, as a druid. Of course, it also really entertained my two cockatiels as well. *g*
I am curious about something: I feel very shy about naming my deities in public, telling other people who they are, especially my recently contacted patrons. I have noticed that a lot of people in online pagan fora do not feel this way. I am just getting to the point where I feel willing to say, "I have a pantheon, and they are Celtic deities attested by Roman writers and archeological remains, including X, Y, and Z." Talking about my patrons, however, is, well, rather more difficult than talking about my sex life. (Which I do only in carefully filtered posts!)
Any thoughts on these issues are welcomed--except thoughts on my (putative) sex life!
|Tuesday, June 26th, 2007|
Rosmerta and research
Can anyone point me to Good Stuff about this goddess? Books, links, articles? Ceisiwr Serith, in his book A Book of Pagan Prayer
, asserts that she was syncretised with Fortuna; can anyone confirm or deny this? I can say from personal experience that praying to her about housework helps. *g*
And a wider question: What are good indexes, online or in print, for researching topics in pagan religion? I work in a library, the central library of the city's system; we're good but not great for this kind of research, I think, not as good as an academic library would be. But I know how to manage online databases and periodicals indices; I worked in the Periodicals Department for over ten years.
|Monday, June 25th, 2007|
I'm not a Recon, but I play one in this community
I'd like to toss out two book recommendations and a site link.
For general reading: Jaan Puhvel's Comparative Mythology
and Heaven, Heroes, and Happiness
by Shan M. M. Winn. Both have helped my thinking about Indo-European polytheisms, and I know I'm going to look again at the Roman chapter in Puhvel's book fairly soon. Could be useful as a start at looking at similarities between Roman and Celtic traditions.
For the website, the Temple of Brigantia's Classical Celtic Wicca
page. I know this sounds weird, but their Wiccan rituals are dedicated to Romano-Celtic deities, and I should probably credit their extensive list of deities for nudging me in this direction. Jane Raeburn has written a little book out of their tradition, Celtic Wicca
, which has rituals to Sucellos and Rosmerta among others. It's not bad--a big improvement over the standard Llewellyn fare, for certain.
's great idea to organize people into smaller working groups seems to be getting off to a good start. I made a post over on gaulish_recon
about these cults and have taken the liberty of also adding the two that have already been created to the profile for this community to help promote the concept. I have added the two cults that have already been formed, as well as some of the lists that more directly pertain to our group, to the group user profile.
I hope you all don't mind an introduction...
I didn't even know I was interested in Romano-Celtic syncretism until my buddy sannion
pointed to this community. Then the pinball machine in my head went "tilt", and I immediately signed up.
My name is Mam Adar, which is a fancy Welsh way of saying "mommybird", and I'm a First Degree member of the Ancient Order of Druids in America
. The Order's origins are in Revival/fraternal Druidry, but its membership encompasses Christians, pagans, polytheists, Wiccan/Druid hybrids, and all sorts and conditions of folk. In the two years since I've been a member, my personal practice has slowly mutated from Pagan-friendly Episcopalian Druid to committed polytheist who is attracted to and by, well, mostly gods and goddesses attested in Celtic areas under Roman influence, such as Sulis Minerva. I'm also an Adept of the New Hermetics
and very interested in Tibetan Buddhism, though I don't formally study with anyone. I just meditate, read a lot of books, and find myself trying to apply Tibetan Buddhist concepts to Western religions. I guess that makes me strange. Also, I have a number of weird chicken-themed icons, just so you know.
I've had a longtime interest in Roman religion, starting when I was a kid, as well as a longtime interest in Celtic mythology up to and including the Arthurian corpus, and as ursus_of_unrv
I can see putting some Celtic flesh on a Roman skeleton in my personal practice. So I'm here to explore and see if this is something the gods want me to do.
Pax et slainte! *g*
|Sunday, June 24th, 2007|
I see we have a few new members who joined up over the past week. I encourage you to read through what we've discussed and comment on anything you like. I don't think any of the discussions are closed in any way so they go on as long as we want them too.
I'm curious about what kinds of things the group would like to discuss. I've posted a few ideas on things that interest me and reflect some of the things I've been thinking about, or struggle with, as someone trying to live a viable Romano-Celtic path. Some other things I think it might be interesting to explore would be just what deities are already Romano-Celtic. There are a lot listed in the lists interests, and we've talked about a few more in discussions, but I think it might be interesting to see just how many we can come up with and talk about what is known about these deities. Something else that would be fruitful would be to discuss what we have been doing (or would like to do) in honour of these Gods.
I'll list a few to get things going:
Those are the ones I can think of immediately off the top of my head right now. I have a shrine set up for Sulis-Minerva that has shells and stones I gathered from the beach on PEI where I grew up, as welI as an owl candle, a talisman in the shape of the gorgon head found at her shrine and a prayer I wrote for her tacked to the wall behind her shrine. It also has other tokens that I have offered to her while I was still in school. We have another shrine dedicated to the Irish Lugh, which I sometimes associate with Lugus-Mercury - it has a ring that I used to wear in his honour; it does not' fit all that well so I usually only wear it on special occasions - like at Lughnasadh. We also have a shrine to Nuada, which I likewise associate with Nodens-Mars. I light candles on occasion burn incense at these shrines, but the bulk of my offerings are through prayer or more formalized offerings to the Gods of our household at my Lararium.
So feel free to share, comment, etc. UPG and personal practice is welcome for discussion. Ideally this will be a forum to discuss all aspects of Roman-Celtic religion. If it makes things more comfortable, we can easily start locking these posts.
|Tuesday, June 19th, 2007|
Festivals for a Syncretised Calender?
I managed to list quite a few Roman festivals and holidays, but I only know of four certain Celtic festivals (really Irish). I figured I'd put this out to the list so we could come up with as many as possible. Once we have decent list, it might be interesting to stack them up against each other and see if there is any overlap (in theme especially). Eventually I also think it would be really good to talk about what kinds of things people are doing, or would like to do, in so far as actual religious practise. If you would be more comfortable we can start locking posts for members only (let me know here if that is desirable). So, to get us started here are the four quarter days again (starting in November): November – Samhain
I'm focusing on the calendar because I think it provides a great segue for discussion of similarities and different; and also as a reference point for when we may wish to come up with some kind of dual cross cultural calendar.
February – Imbolc
May – Beltane
August – Lughnasadh Epona had a festival in December, which was noted as a Roman festival already – I include it here again as Celtic as well. I have in the past also participated in rituals for the solstices and equinoxes, we can discuss whether this seems appropriate here as well for our purposes.
I don't know a lot about the Coligny Calendar
, but I would assume this is definitely also worth looking in to as well.
So we have lots to discuss!
|Friday, June 8th, 2007|
Festivals, Ceremonies, and Rituals
Just to see how things lined up, I compiled this list of all the festivals both Roman and "Celtic" that I could find. I got the Roman ones from Wikipedia so I think time would have to be spent on double checking the reliability of the list; it could be missing some or things could be a little out of place/order. I also compiled a list of deities or 'spirits' that are associated with each month through these events. Some of them are tentative sort of guesses in which case I put a (?) to indicate that this is not necessarily established.
January – Agonalia (for Janus), Carmentalia, Paganalia
February – Imbolc, Parentalia, Lupercalia, Quirinalia,
March – Matronalia, Feriae Marti, “sacred fire for Vesta is renewed”, Equirria, Bacchanalia, Agonalia (for Mars), Quinquatria, Festival of Salus
April – Floralia, Veneralia, Megalesia, Ludi Cereales, Fordicia, Parilia, Robigalia
May – Beltaine, Festival for Bona Dea, Lemuria, Mercuralia, Agonalia (for Vediovis),
June – Festival for Bellona, Vestalia, Quinquatrus minusculae, Festival for Summanus,
July – Poplifugia, Ludi Apollinares, Nonae Caprotinae Juno, Sacerdotes Publici, Caprotinia, Neptunalia
August – Lughnasadh, Opalia, Vertumnalia, Nemoralia, Portunalia, Vinalia Rustica, Consualia, Vulcanalia, Opiconsivia, Volturnalia
September – Ludi Roman
October – Samhain, Fast of Ceres, Meditrinalia, Festival for Fontus, Equirria, Armilustrium
November – Pomonia, Epulum Jovis, Festival for Feronia, Brumalia (starts)
December – Saturnalia, Rites for Bona Dea (women only), Faunalia, Agonalia (for Sol Indiges), Consualia, Eponalia, Opalia, Divalia, Larentalia, Dies Natalis Invicti Solis
January – Janus, Carmenta
February – Brighid, Pan/Faunus/Lupercus , Ancestors (helpful dead), Quirinalia
March – Juno, Mars, Vesta, Bacchus, Minerva, Salus
April – Flora (goes in to May), Venus, Cybele, Ceres, Terra, Pales, Rogibus
May – Belenus(?), Aengus(?), Lemures (harmful dead), Bona Dea, Mercury, Veiovis
June – Bellona, Vesta, Minerva, Summanus
July – Jupiter, Apollo, Juno, Neptune, Consus
August – Lugh, Donn, Tailtu, Ops, Vertumnus, Diana, Portunes, Venus, Consus, Vulcan, Volturnus
September – Jupiter
October – Ancestors (both kinds), Aengus(?), Dagda(?), Boann(?), Mars, Ceres, Meditrina, Fontus,
November – Pomona, Jupiter, Feronia, Dionysus/Bacchus
December – Sol Invictus, Sol Indiges, Larenta, Ops, Faunus, Bacchus, Bona Dea, Epona, Saturn, Angerona, Consus
So this is a fairly large list.
ursus_of_unrv mentioned in reply to comments in his earlier post that some of these Roman festivals would have been optional, in that you would choose to honour an event specifically, if it happened to be a deity to which you were particularly attached. I’ve done my best to cut out generic non-deity/religion specific holidays, because we have our own modern civic holidays. It looks like every month is particularly rich with choices except for September. Perhaps it would be a good idea to go through them and try to parse out what they were intended for one by one (this could be cross posted to the religioromana list too).
The Ford article suggests moving some Roman festivals to coincide with Celtic festivals (or vice versa). I don’t really do that personally, because I don’t see a strong need for it. I find that, at least the holidays I’ve celebrated, line up broadly in theme in some smaller ways at least (i.e. Imbolc in February in honour of Brighid, and the ritual relighting of the Vestal flame in March both have fire/hearth focus) with the holidays around them. Ford moves Parentalia and Lemuria to Samhain, but I find that the Lemuria actually fits better in around Beltane; so I suppose one could move the Parentalia to Samhaim if you wanted some kind of counterpoint to Lemuria being held in around Beltane…
From the huge list above, these are the ones I have been part of or led in the past (some on my own, others as part of an open or closed gathering): Celtic – Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh; Roman – Saturnalia (and the festivals in and around it), Parentalia, Lupercalia, Matronalia, Floralia, and Lemuria. I also honour the Lares and Penates, Genius and Juno of our household three times a month on the Kalends, Nones, and Ides. This includes offerings of incense, wine, and food (usually spelt cookies, which contain ginger, honey, milk, and spelt flower – all organic). I honour Brighid and either Janus, Juno, or Jupiter respectively on these occasions; the Kalends for Janus, the Nones for Juno, and the Ides for Jupiter. Obviously I'm still working things out here; it is hard to be sure what festivals and ceremonies are most 'important' to celebrate and what exactly to include in personal rites. What kinds of festivals/ceremonies have you participated in or led? If you honour familial deities, how do you choose to do it? I’m curious because what I have chosen to do is relatively ‘new’, but based on my understanding of how things probably would have been done in the Ancient world. I don’t do a ritual like that daily, but I think there was precedent in Antiquity for doing such a thing on the Kalends, Nones, and Ides at any rate.
|Monday, June 4th, 2007|
On the Intepretatio Romana
Now that we have taken a look at Ford’s article about his approach to Romano-British paganism, which could just as easily apply to one with a primarily Celtic focus, and have the beginnings of a good reading list on the go, I suggest we take a look at the whole notion of the Intepretatio Romana (the Roman interpretation). This is a pretty controversial topic in some circles, mostly because it definitely has some imperialistic overtones; it could quite easily be defined as an imperialist power imposing its religious views on to a foreign nation, usually one it has either conquered or is in the process of conquering. The prime example is Julius Caesar, in his memoirs of the Gaulish war, describing Gaulish deities in Roman fashion and likening them to Roman deities. However, there is another way of looking at this material. That is as an insight into the roles and identities of Celtic deities who would otherwise have been obscured or lost; this is how such material is often used by modern scholars.
I believe the Interpretatio Romana (henceforth IR) was far more than a one way propaganda tool for the Roman invader. Instead, I think it may genuinely have been a sincere attempt at understanding, and in turn revering, a local indigenous deity albeit in a Romanized form. It was a testament to the cultural exchange and syncretism between the two cultures. Where some would see a Roman imposing his world view on the local populace, I see the Roman trying to understand and live in a new place or understand something new. What we have is a new way of looking a deity, which was the result of a fusion of two cultures (however imperfect).
The IR is particularly useful in our context because we have an interest in broadly speaking Romano-Celtic paganism and especially in how to revive this syncretistic process for the modern world. I think at the very least it provides us with evidence for where syncretism did actually occur. And it helps us to get a sense of the character of the deities we hope to honour and respect. Let’s take for example Sulis-Minerva; her shrine at Bath was extremely popular in the Ancient world. Her cult was older than the Roman temple built in her honour, but it was under Roman patronage that her cult grew and evolved to the point where she become internationally recognized. Sulis acquired many new traits by being syncretised with Minerva, and likewise Minerva’s character was changed through her association with this indigenous deity. So what we have is something new.
So, what role does the IR have today? It is an historical record for syncretism in the Ancient world (a roadmap), which is the ‘glue’ that holds a Romano-Celtic worldview together. What process did they use (most likely) in making these kinds of interpretations? This is something we will have to determine (as best we can). Can we do likewise today? This too is something that needs to given careful consideration.
The Nova Roma site states the following: “Eclecticism (as opposed to historical syncreticism; combining classical Roman religion with other cultural traditions that weren't combined historically; Romano-Celtic worship is certainly appropriate, sacrifice to Mercurius-Quetzalcoatl probably isn’t).” I agree that the half-hazard combining of cultures, deities, and the like is undesirable at best, but I don’t know whether or not the Roman mind would have combined Mercury with Quetzalcoatl. I don’t know enough about this Aztec god to know who would be his ‘best match,’ but I bet a Roman trying to better understand Quetzalcoatl would probably have used his own source culture to determine just that. In other words, using an IR would help him in relating to this new deity. So should we do likewise, especially where there is evidence for contact between these nations, or should we instead intentionally limit ourselves only to what examples we have in the historical record? Even where it doesn’t seem to be a good match-up? How much is too much and where do we draw the line?
That’s some of my thoughts on the topic. I look forward to hearing what people think.
|Sunday, June 3rd, 2007|
What sort of books would you think are essential to include on a reading list for a Roman Celtic Pagan?
I'd include such books as:
- Roman Britain, by Guy de la Bedoyere
- Pagan Religions of the British Isles, by Ronald Hutton
- Pagan Celtic Britain, by Anne Ross
- The Gods of the Celts, by Miranda Greene
- Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend, by Miranda Greene
- Tacitus - Agricola and Annals of Imperial Rome (there might be other texts wich contact between Romans and Celts take place in other works of Tacitus)
- Julius Caesar, The Conquest of Gaul (this I have not read, but I'm sure there's lots of information - obviously from biased in favour of Rome)
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita (The Founding of Rome). I haven't read this in its entirity, but it talks about contact between Celts and Romans, including a really neat "battle crow" scene between a Gaulish warrior and a Roman centurian.
Books dealing with Roman religion that I particularly like (or think I will like):
- Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity, by A. D. Lee (a good sourcebook)
- Paganism in the Roman Empire, by Ramsay McMullen
- Roman Religion, by Valerie M. Warrior (this is a nice little source book)
- La religion des romains, by John Scheid
- Religion et piete a Rome, by John Scheid (I haven't finished this but the intro is great - it talks about the falacy of considering religions as "dead" and suggests that instead they evolve organically over time).
I'm sure we can come up with a lot more...
ADDITIONAL: I must have this book, and it seems an ideal candidate for the list, "A Companion to Roman Britain", by Malcolm Todd (ed).
Note: If you post some book suggestions outside this post, and please feel free, make sure to tag it "books" so we can have an ongoing reading list. We should make a point of tagging threads as consistently as we can.
Why I am interested
I’ve always been interested in the classical cultures, particularly Rome. Plus, it was a sign from Jupiter that brought me into paganism
Why then add something Celtic to the Mix?
1) It’s part of my ancestral heritage. I’m an ethnic mutt like many Americans, but I feel most drawn to my Celtic roots.
2) While I have respect for the achievements of Hellas, I learned that culture is not quite who I am. At least, I can’t quite warm up to the mystical pantheism of the philosophers whose views seem to dominate in discourse. That fact has made my attempts at Greco-Roman syncretism a bit difficult, and I have found I simply don't fit in with existing Hellenic and Roman pagan groups.
Classical studied have heretofore focused on Greco-Roman civilization. Recent studies suggest the Empire was far from a monolithic Greco-Roman entity. Local cultures retained something of their identity, finding a new expression for it under a broad banner of Romanatis. In the Western provinces of the Empire, some mix of Celt and Roman seems to have been the norm. Along the Mediterranean areas the fusion was far more Roman than Celt, while in parts of Britain the opposite was true. Whatever ratio one wants to claim, the point is many of us with roots in Western Europe can see this as our heritage. How I intend to pursue this
No doubt there will be as many different approaches as there are members. Diversity is a good thing and will lead to learning experiences. But let me tell you what my intentions are right now. Let’s look at various levels:
– The available literature suggests the Celts had an involved and mystical view of the universe. As a generalization, they seemed to view the universe in three realms represented by land, sea and sky, with constant interaction between the manifest world and the other world. The Romans, by contrast, were practical and legalistic, and not overly interested in metaphysical speculation. Nonetheless they did perceive the world as inhabited by numerous divinities who must be propitiated for the Peace of the Gods. Reconciling Celtic mysticism and Roman legalism should not be too difficult – they are different approaches to the universe, but they both have at their core a respect for a world full of divinity. Ethics and Values
. The aristocracies of the two civilizations were more alike than not, both valuing honor and glory as they understood it. There was an emphasis on one’s standing in the community, perceived in relation to the services and relationships one had to the community. It has been said that a major difference is that the Celts were more individualistic, passionate and provincial while the Romans were more bureaucratic, sober and cosmopolitan. If this generalization holds truth, it is still more a difference of style than of substance. Gods, Spirits and Ancestors
. Both cultures revered their deified ancestors. Both honored the spirits of home and the local natural areas. As far as major gods, attempts were made in the classical era to equate deities from the two civilizations. Cults of Jupiter Taranis and Sulis-Minerva, among many others, were born. Every pagan has their own favorite deity or three, and I intend to focus on mine and how historically they were honored by both cultures. I also think reconciling ancestor and local spirit worship should not present a major problem.Seasons and Liturgy
. The Romans had many, many holidays, while throughout the Celtic world 2-4 major festivals predominated. Attempts can be made to reconcile the Celtic festivals with Roman equivalents. For instance, Nick Ford has suggested the Roman festivals for the dead, held in February and May, should be moved to November eve to coincide with the Celtic Samhain. This would also coincide with the modern Halloween. This is a brilliant idea.
So much for theory. How about practice?
In so many words, I would start out with a Roman skeleton. We have much more information on the Romans than anyone else, and their mark on our culture is evident. It makes sense to use them for a foundation. But on that Roman skeleton, I would like to see how we can add some Celtic flesh.
And perhaps what we get is something that is akin in spirit to what one might have found in the Romano-Celtic provinces of the Western Empire. But anything we do has to take into account that:
1) there are a lot of gaps in this area, particularly from the Celtic side of things, so we have to make certain allowances and adaptations
2) We live in the modern world, not back in the Iron Age, and while we pay homage to history we can’t be constrained by it.
|Saturday, June 2nd, 2007|
I've been thinking about this topic for a long time now (as some of you will know). I consider myself a Romano-Celtic syncretist. What this means in reality is that I honour and worship both Roman and Celtic deities. I tend to focus in on a select number of deities, and I participate in rituals in both contexts. In the future I'd like to find ways to bring these two aspects of my faith closer together.
I don't think introducing yourself should be a requirement, but if you are so moved... please do!
In order to get the ball rolling, what are peoples thoughts on this article from the Association of Polytheistic Traditions: On being a Roman Pagan in the Twenty-Ninth Century.
I really like it personally and in some ways I've used it as a means of explaining to people what it is I "do".