Within this site, you will find the basics of Gaulish Polytheism. You will also find Gaulish Polytheists working on many things within the Gaulish Community. Such as Myths, Language, Holidays, Rituals, Tribal Recon, Arts and Crafts, Folk Magic, and many great Cultus are being formed. So come and be involved with the Customs and Traditions that are being forged.
In order to become a Gaulish Polytheist, one must have these basic understandings.
- One must have Gaulish Gods (Dewôi)
- A structure for basic ritual
- A calendar with holidays
- An altar
- The Virtues
- Understanding of the culture
What is Gaulish Polytheism?
Gaulish Polytheism is the worship of Gaulish deities within a framework that is either based in Reconstructionist methodology to varying degrees, in some other way inspired by Gaulish culture, or both. Either as it was historically, or its contemporary revival. Thus what separates the Gaulish Polytheist from someone who worships a or some Gaulish deities is that historic Gaulish culture or contemporary Gaulish revival informs their practices.
This, of course, is a collection of Polytheistic (belief in many distinct deities) traditions. It is also Animistic, meaning everything is believed to have some spirit; people, places, animals, plants, stones, water bodies, and even objects. There are many forms and variations within. Meaning that there is not a singular way to practice. Though there are various traditions, there is no “one way.” Some are more structured than others, but this does not assign greater validity to them.
Some names for Gaulish Polytheism are as follows:
- Senobessus, coined by Segomâros Widugeni. Translated as “Ancient Custom.”
- Galatîbessus, meaning “Galatîs Custom.” Galatîs is the plural of Galatis, which means “a Gaul.”
- Gaulish Paganism
Who can practice Gaulish Polytheism?
Gaulish Polytheism is open to anyone who seeks to practice it. If one decides to fit the description above, they are Gaulish Polytheists or can be if they choose to do so. A Gaulish Polytheist is judged by axtâs (deeds, actions).
What are some fundamentals of Gaulish Polytheism?
One of the most important fundamentals related to interactions with Dêuoi (Gods and Spirits), or Senoatîs (Ancestors) is the Gifting Circle or Cantos Râti. In popular discourse, the “gifting cycle.” This means giving offerings in ritual to a recipient that they may also give. However, this is not merely transactional. This is done in a way that is meant to bring the one who offers and the one who receives closer together.
We see it in our everyday lives as well. Be it intangible (literal gifts) or intangible (acts), doing these things properly can bring about strong bonds. Of course, it must be done judiciously, as over-gifting can create an unwanted burden on the recipient. As can gifting less than what one reasonably can, which also can have negative consequences with one party feeling “cheated.” Again, it is not merely transactional, as, in our own lives, we do not expect a measured return for literally everything we do.
The last would be, of course, learning of Gaulish history, customs, and culture. Focusing on learning what is right to bring forward and make it applicable to our own time and what is best left in the Iron Age. Through this, we can aspire to a vibrant and positive set of customs that are helpful to us in the modern-day, as opposed to reactionary or romanticist thinking as tradition is not unmoving or unchanging. This can be seen in many cultures today that remember their cultural roots while also partaking in contemporary societies.
Some examples are things like the revival of material culture, using forms of Gaulish language, and working on newer projects such as myths and constructing practices for different aspects of life.
Who were the Gauls?
The Gauls were a people who are defined as such by both their Gaulish language (in the Celtic family of languages) and material culture. They were bearers of the LaTenê culture of the Iron Age in Western and Central Europe. Never a people with a singular leadership, they consisted of dozens of tribes. Though a Gaulish identity had begun to develop, due to a greater connection by trade and infrastructure, particularly with the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans, they were never fully unified.
Their lands spanned much of Western and Central Europe. From Northeastern Spain to Turkey, and from Southern Britain (though later), down to Northern Italy. Notably, what is now France, Southern and Western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. Independent from around the 5th Century BCE, until their defeat and conquest by the Romans in 52 BCE.
They had vast and various customs with complex practices and many Gods. They were very skilled in metalworks and crafts. Inventors of chainmail, barrels, and one of the few to use soap made from animal fats. They were known for sacking Rome around 390 BCE, which would not be done by anyone again for around 800 years. Fierce in battle, but also innovative and eager to learn from the world around them, developing philosophy and adapting technology from neighboring peoples.
With varying tribes came varying social structures. Often a king (Rix) was the executive, with elders who advised the king. The Aedui had a Vergobret (“v” as a “w” sound), who was elected and checked by elders. Sacral kingship was on the decline, and kings could not pass down power in the way Medieval kings were. Kings were chosen based on having a loyal following, and their powers were not absolute. Civic affairs could have been cared for by elders.
As to tribes, there was often a larger tribe with “satellite” tribes under their influence and who paid tribute to the larger one. Though (sadly) patriarchal in many ways, women had more rights than their Classical counterparts. The rulers also had to gain favor with the rules and hold large banquets and feasts to curry favor.
Then there are the Druids, the enigmatic class of experts in religion, philosophy, and sciences. They were exempt from military service and taxation. Often spoken of, but not always accurately. There were also Vates (“v” makes a “w”), who were seers, experts in divination, as well as in sacrifice. Bards were also an integral part of Gaulish society. They told tales, often in songs or poems, about Gods and the people. They were the keepers of mythology and folklore.
Most people, the common folk were farmers (Gauls were mostly agricultural peoples), traders, and crafters. Some people knew and did magic and other things like herbalists (they were known for this), and most other trades that one finds in Iron Age societies.
How is a ritual done?
Rituals vary greatly, but the basis of a simple ritual follows a formula like this:
- Purification (Glanosagion), cleaning the self before a ritual.
- Marking out of sacred space.
- The lighting of candles or fire.
- An invocation of the recipient.
- An offering to the recipient.
- Closing of the ritual.
- Disposal of the offering.
Rituals can be far more complex, involving offering to the fire, a deity to bear the offering to the recipient, and often repetitive. Meditations and prayers are other ways to connect with deities and spirits.
These are the basics of Gaulish Polytheism. There are many diverse customs and traditions within. From this basic foundation, or with alterations, the practice of Gaulish Polytheism is possible, and a fulfilling custom can be made.
We in the Gaulish Community do not DEAL with any forms of hate. We stand with and for the helpless, the sick, and the weak. We are the voice for the ones with none. We value all the colors of the rainbow that includes the colors of all spiritualities and religions, races, and sexualities.
The Dêuoi (The Gods) call to all.