A Daily Devotional Offering

In the beginning of my Heathenry path, it was wondered if I should be devotional, as an individual, often. When reading various forums, books and sources, many had said to not go to the numinous often. The reasoning was that to do so would consider them a sort of spiritual vending machine rather than beings of worship.

As I grew into Heathenry however, I learned that though we come to the numinous in order for them to help and guide us, that is not the sole reason we go to them. Many other polytheists also go to the divine in order to give respect and worship, as many of those beings are incredibly worthy of worship.

And now, as a Galatis (and still Heathen), I’ve warmed to the idea of regular devotion in individual practice. I have a few reasons for this. One big one is that we are all descended from numerous tribes from over centuries. Every single tribe had you and me in mind, their descendants. Some went into extinction, but they tried to survive in order to pass their ways and ideas to you and me. On both the winning and losing sides of these tribes, this is a loving act towards us and deserves both respect and acknowledgement.

Now, does this mean we should do this for every single tribe of ancestors we have? That would be taxing and I would not recommend it. And what if you have no lineage to these ancestors of whichever culture you acknowledge or want to revive? Are you forbidden to participate or give thanks to the ones you have no blood ties to? I would argue that you do have that right if you choose. The ancestors that you acknowledge, even with no relation to you, tried to stay alive and pass on their ways. By making them come to life again, you give them thanks in a way.

What about the Galatîs? Though we can revive parts of the Gaulish culture and language, the Gallic religion is harder to reconstruct. Yet, revival is not reconstruction necessarily. Reconstruction is somewhat possible through guesswork, but perhaps revival would be the better frame of mind to work in. We can revive the beliefs in the continental gods of Gaul. We can revive devotion to them. And we can practice our ways the best we can. Whatever we can reconstruct or discover can better our paths.

So, for a daily devotional, I offer incense to the ancestors. To the ancestors outside of the Gaulish culture, I use English (my native language) or Swedish (If I found some stuff in Old Norse, I may try in that as well) for liturgical language.

For the ancestors in the Gaulish scope, I use words that an acquaintance/friend gave to me in the Gaulish Polytheist Facebook group. I’ll now give you the reader the step by step on how I do this offering to the ancestors. This is an offering of one stick of incense, so it can be daily (if you wish).

  1. Purification. Why I do a purification of sorts is to stop a potential pollution of the space or the self, and it might offend the numinous or even prevent contact with them. Dirt is considered pollution to me in this regard, so my hands will always be washed before working the material ready to be offered. As of now I don’t use any words while performing a purification, but that doesn’t mean it’s not warranted. For my purification, I shower and clean myself with a non-scented soap. Afterwards I wear clean clothes (I try to be a little dressier if I’m not working that day), and rinse my hands in a salt and water mixture. Simply that for now, but in the future this could change.
  2. Kneel. I like to show deference by kneeling on both knees and nodding once before the offering (or bowing if you prefer) to the shrine I set up for my ancestors (after the offering and words are done, I’ll bow my head one more time)
  3. Words and materials. While taking the incense in one hand and lighting it with the other, I’ll say “Koryûmi sotun senistrobo, are baton cârinc”, and place it on the shrine, letting it expend for the ancestors. This is where the second bow mentioned in step 2 comes in.

And there it is. My personal daily offering to the ancestors. It will probably evolve later on, but so far it works very well.  This small ritual offering was inspired by Ceisiwr Serith’s books Deep Ancestors and A Book of Pagan Prayer. The words used in said ritual were given by Segomâros Widugeni (leader of the Gaulish Polytheism Community group on Facebook and also the author of Nemeton Segomâros on Polytheist.com)

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and hope further that this helped you in some way.

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How I got here

Many of us are drawn to paganism and polytheism from the religion that is Christianity (and other Abrahamic faiths to be fair). I am no exception. In truth, the order of religious exploration on my part would go Lutheranism>Wicca>Atheism>Buddhism>Atheism>Heathenry>Heathenry/Gallic Polytheism.

How did I get here? Well, it starts on a starry night. Yours truly was walking down a newly paved road that had been traveled very little. The walk was instigated by some family turmoil. As like people do on gorgeous nights supplemented with family troubles, I looked to the sky. No light pollution. Just black with pinholes in the night (thank you, Sean Connery). The air was crisp and cool. All thinking lead back to a fairly common question, why was this happening? Solipsism had kicked into it’s most powerful gear here, and I wanted to weep. I probably would have, since I was alone.

But, I wasn’t alone. As I viewed the stars, I felt a numinous presence. Was it a spirit of place? Was it a god? Was it an ancestor? No one can be sure at first glance when it happens. Just that they were there. All I was certain of, was that it was not the god of Abraham, or Jesus, or any of the Abrahamic faiths.

I couldn’t cry then. It felt like I was calling out to them by being in the dark, treading down the pavement. After I came home, something had changed. I “knew” something was there in the woodlands where I was living. I “knew” that the air occupied forces beyond understanding. I “knew” the Earth held more than I could know.

It was a few years later that I had started down my path to Heathenry. Heathenry at first was wonderful. Due to being heavily Swedish on the paternal side of the family (both culturally and ethnically), I felt at home. Ready to do offerings and devotions, I set out to learn as much as I can. However, in Minnesota, for as many Swedes there are, there aren’t many heathen groups. So, I started to practice in solitary.

Fast forward a few years, I started listening to a certain band. This band is a gateway into Gallic polytheism apparently. Finding that they spoke Gaulish, a dead language, in their music fascinated me. I had become interested in the Gauls, their history, their religion, and their culture.

Despite being Heathen, I kept looking towards this path. It was so interesting to hear about this ancient type of Celt. I felt connected some how. Then before I left for basic training in Fort Benning, I had a dream, perhaps a nightmare. Without going into too many details, it was something that I could not ignore. I was having some difficulty running in Fort Benning during the PT test, and this prompted me to ask my gods for help. However, it was the god who visited me in my nightmare that called to me during this time. I asked of them a boon, and because of this, I was their’s.

I passed the test, and went on to graduate infantry school because of it. At first, I thought they were going to be the only god from Gallia that would have me. It would turn out that was not the case.

Joining the Gaulish Polytheism group on Facebook opened me up to the idea of going even further than just being claimed by, and worshiping one Gallic god. I had no choice in being taken by this god, but I did have a choice to see others.

After all, most anyone with European ancestry would have a sliver of Gallic ancestry at the least. Why would I be barred from worshiping these beings just because I was Heathen? Haven’t some tribes assumed pieces of cultures from others? Even today I treat all gods as different beings, despite the possibility that some could have been imported from other cultures. As far as I was concerned, as long as I treated each way respectfully, I could have them, albeit separately.

Soon enough, I was enamoured with the concept of liminality, the betwixt. In a way, that’s how I see this dual tradition path that I am walking currently. Between two tribes, loyal to both, on the threshold of territories.

When all is said and done, I still yearn for a tribe on both sides. It is my hope that one day, a single tribe of Galatîs can be established, even if it was to start online only to progress to physical meetings. Until then, I remain a solitary practitioner of Gallic polytheism, waiting for interest and opportunity of a tribe to emerge.

At the behest of a friend, I created this blog in the interest of giving more of a chance for Gallic Polytheism a chance to grow and survive. Possibly even to help the chance of a tribe coming to birth. I want to do my part in this and create a place in history for us Galatîs, so an attempt at contributing regularly will be made.

That’s what I am and how I came to be here. I would leave you with some of the overused words in the Gallic Polytheist community, but I’m afraid that would be cheesy.

Ah heck with it: Immi uiros rios toutias rias. I am a free man, from a free tribe. Well, in this case between two free tribes.

The gods of Gaul

I call them the Dêwoi, the Gallic word for gods. There are so many of them that I wouldn’t be able to list them all. Some are tutelary gods, others were more universal.  In any case, here are a few:

  • Eponâ
  • Taranis
  • Rosmertâ
  • Lugus
  • Cathuboduâ
  • Toutatis
  • Nantosueltâ
  • Sucellus
  • Brigantiâ
  • Cernunnos
  • Sironâ
  • Grannus
  • Ogmios
  • Maponus
  • Sulis
  • Nodens

Now in terms of having interacting with the Dêwoi listed, I’ve only interacted with two or rather so I thought. Obviously this Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG from here on out).

As for my own beliefs and UPG, it seems that the Dêwoi interact more with us, humans, than most other pantheons (if the gods of Gaul are indeed in one cohesive pantheon). Why this is, I couldn’t say. Perhaps it’s UPG on my part, or SPG (there are many who claim to have experienced Cernunnos regulalry for example).

That said, while one can possibly interact with the Dêwoi regularly, caution should be advised on calling the numinous and presuming/assuming relationships. Great powers are to be respected and feared (being aware that these great powers have control over more than we do).