Gaulish Ritual

The whole nation of the Gauls is greatly devoted to ritual observances.

Cæsar, C. J., “De Bello Gallico”, vi, 16

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Below are a few Rites one can do but remember in the Gaulish Realm we don’t have one way that is Gaulish. As we have nothing from Gaul to truly go on (as in all the fine details, and Narrative). We do have the neighboring cultures one can look at to try and reconstruct a Rite. There are many ways. Anyone claiming there is only one is truly wrong and misguided.

Gaulish Polytheism, Gaulish Polytheist

Elements from the Past

We do have some elements left from the Senodruides and the Senogalatis.

Mistletoe Rite (There are many elements within this short amount of words, we see some asspects of Ritual, but also myth).

Here we must mention the awe felt for this plant by the Gauls. The Druids – for so their magicians are called – held nothing more sacred than the mistletoes and the tree that bears it, always supposing that tree to be the oak. But they choose groves formed of oaks for the sake of the tree alone, and they never perform any of their rites except in the presence of a branch of it; so that it seems probable that the priests themselves may derive their name from the Greek word for that tree. In fact, they think that everything that grows on it has been sent from heaven and is proof that the tree was chosen by the god himself. The mistletoe is found but rarely upon the oak; and when found, is gathered with due religious ceremony, if possible on the sixth day of the moon, (for it is by the moon that they measure their months and years, and also their ages of thirty years). They choose this day because the moon, though not yet in the middle of her course, has already considerable influence. They call the mistletoe by a name meaning, in their language, the all-healing. Having made preparation for sacrifice and a banquet beneath the trees, they bring thither two white bulls, whose horns are bound then for the first time. Clad in a white robe, the priest ascends the tree and cuts the mistletoe with a golden sickle, and it is received by others in a white cloak. Then they kill the victims, praying that god will render this gift of his propitious to those to whom he has granted it. They believe that the mistletoe, taken in drink, imparts fecundity to barren animals, and that it is an antidote for all poisons. Such are the religious feelings that are entertained toward trifling things by many peoples.

Pliny , “Nat. Hist.”, xvi, 249

Collecting Herbs (Here we get a few more themes, That being the moon, non iron tool, these seem to speak of a myhical narative as well.)

Similar to savin is the plant called selago. It is gathered without using iron and by passing the right hand through the left sleeve of the tunic, as though in the act of committing a theft. The clothing must be white, the feet washed and bare, and an offering of wine and bread made before the gathering. The Druids of Gaul say that the plant should be carried as a charm against every kind of evil, and that the smoke of it is good for diseases of the eyes. The Druids, also, use a certain marsh-plant that they call samolus, this must be gathered with the left hand, when fasting, and is a charm against the diseases of cattle. But the gatherer must not look behind him, nor lay the plant anywhere except in the drinking-troughs.

Pliny, “Nat. Hist.”, xxiv, 103 – 104

Some recent discoveries in The lands of the Carnutes capital Autricum modern day Chartes in France have given us a look into a Gallo-Roman Rite of some kind. These findings are from around the early second century AD.

Branos Carnutodrûidon is slowly working on reconstructing this rite and a research paper regurding this finding.

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Useful Words

Adaððus – Rite, Ritual
Uentâ – place one makes sacred and gives offerings.
This is a place we make sacred to give offerings, it can also be a place associated with a sacred person or relic, marked by a building or other construction.
Cletra – Portable Altar.
Addatus – Offering, Sacrificial Gift
Molanton – Praise, Offering
Uediâs – Invocations
Nemetilon – Centre of Worship in a living space
Nemeton – Sanctuary, Temple
Nemetos – Sacred, Holy, Venerable

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Offerings

Common offerings to the Dêuoi would be Incense, Colored/decorated or Scented Candles, Wine, Beer, Bread, Grain, Coins, Art, Music, Fruits, Cooked Foods.
Natural Things – feathers, bones, stones, flowers, leaves
Intangible offerings.
These are items that can help you when just starting. As you develop more of a connection with the Dêuoi, you will learn other items to offer. Don’t over think it at first.

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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.

Purification/Cleansing
This is done before we start our ritual. You can take a shower or wash your hands, face, and, arms maybe say some words to purify your thoughts.
Opening
This is declaring what’s about to happen. Say some words
Make a Sacred Space/Sanctifying the space
Mark out your space that will be sacred. Do this by either lighting a flame ringing a bell walking in a circle around the space, and declaring the directions. One can do all the above or just one of the things or even what makes you feel comfortable.
(Opening the doorway)
This is optional or you might do it every time you create a sacred space, This is for the Gatekeepers (Deuoi of Thresholds that one would invoke.
A prayer of the recipient.
Invocation – This is the naming of the God/desses or spirits you are calling on. So descriptive words about them.
Argument – This is the reason you are calling the deities or spirits.
Petition – Asking the deities or spirits to aid you.
An offering to the recipient.
Items are given to the deities or spirits for helping you. This is part of the gifting cycle as they give we give.
Closing
Closing prayer thanking the deities and spirits, putting out the flame, ringing a bell, or any other acts such as thanking the directions.

Now the above can also be very simple to very complex. One could dress up everything and make it a massive Ritual that lasts hours. Alternatively, one can keep things minimal and have a ritual that lasts only minutes. What matters most is one intentions.

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Rite 1 (Simple)

Mediolânon to center the mind beforehand.
Purification/Cleansing
Saying
Clean Hands” wash hands
“Clean Mind” wipe face
“Clean Soul
” wipe the body
Make a Sacred Space/Sanctifying the space (this does not need to be done every time if you do not wish. Truly when one is making a sacred space is the only time this needs to be done, unless you are having a gatekeeper or opener.
Lady of the borders, Separator of the sacred from the profane.
I ask you Nemetona to help to define this space as sacred/May I enter your Nemeton
.”
Give Offering
Light the sacred fire, this can be a candle or a fire of any kind.
Saying, “I light this sacred flame of Aidonâ, may you brighten and provide.”
Opening
“I invoke Litaui matir”

A prayer of the recipient.
Earth Mother
Silent Nurthuror
Holder and provider of all that sustains
Your flowing waters, deep valleys, high peaks, and low lands support the whole of all life.

Offering
“I give offerings and thanks to you.”
“I ask for grounding/ Ask for whatever you would like/You don’t always have to ask for something.”

Closing
“Cheer to you”
“Thanks to you”
“I praise you Litaui matir”
“I go in peace”
“I thank you, Aidonâ”
“I thank you, Nemetona”

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Rite 2 (Involved)

Mediolânon to center the mind beforehand.
Purification – Wash/Breathe deeply, and clear the mind. Say
“Clean Hands”
“Clean Mind”
“Clean Soul”
Initiating the Rite – Ring bell, Light candle
Enter from the west (facing to the east (Sunrise), Ring the bell stating you are going to open a sacred space/or a Rite is about to take place.
“A great rite is about to take place at this time”
Light your sacred fire (Which should be on your Altar)
“Aidonâ may you brighten and provide like you have since the beginning of time.”
Take a candle and light it from the Sacred Fire.
“I light this candle in the presence of the ( Gods, Spirits, or Ancestors).”
Take the candle walk clockwise stopping in each direction to light each flame in each direction,
“Now walk to the Are (East). “I light the path of the East the direction of direction of Samos
“Now walk to the Dexsiuos (South). “I light the path of the South the direction between Samos and Giamos”
“Now walk to the Eri (West). “I light the path of the West the direction of Giamos
“Now walk to the Tutos (North). “I light the path of the North the direction between Giamos and Samos”
“Now walk to Medios ( the middle). “I return to the center to the place all points come together as one”. Place the candle on the Altar.
(Opening the doorway) Calling Aisus
Aisus keeper of Drus, The First Druits
Great teacher of the ways to cultivate our great tree that connects all,
I call to you to help my words be known
May you help to connect them to the Deuoi I call to. (Optional I personal dont do this all the time)

Prayer, Inviting the Gods, Ancestors, Or Spirits
Honoring Litaui matir (Mother Earth)
Litaui matir, I call to you”
“Mother of Plenty”
“Queen of all”
“Life Giver”
“I praise you, Litaui matir, for you give us ground to stand on. As we come from you, so shall we return.”
“I praise you, Litaui matir, for you give us the flowing waters that nourish and keep us.
“I praise you, Litaui matir, for you provide the seeds of plenty that your sons and daughters have helped us to cultivate.
“I call to you as many have before”
“Within your embrace, I have the gift of life.”
“Because of you I am”
“I ask you, you Litaui matir, Highest Mother”
“To keep me grounded”
“So that my roots will feel all that is around”
Offerings
“In my greatest thanks for all that you are and all that you do for all that you give and all that you will give, I give to you this—- Litaui matir.”
Give what you feel is appropriate.
Closing the Rite
Closing Prayer
Thanking the Gods, Ancestors, Or Spirits
Thanking the Directions (as you put out the flames)
“Now walk to the Are (East). “I put out the flame of the East the direction of direction of Samos
“Now walk to the Dexsiuos (South). I put out the flame of the South the direction between Samos and Giamos”
“Now walk to the Eri (West). I put out the flame of the West the direction of Giamos
“Now walk to the Tutos (North). “I put out the flame of the North the direction between Giamos and Samos”
“Now walk to Medios ( the middle). “ “I leave the center the place all points come together as one”.
Ring bell

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