The sleeping chieftain under Gochfortzberg

16. Juni 2018

Right behind Uedem, on the way to Xanten, there is a hill named Gochfortsberg. Earlier the hill had an arrow shaped front that towered over the country, but that part had broken in ages ago. Some mysterious ravines go through the mountain slopes and in the bushes along the hillsides many birds are nesting. It is told that once upon a time a chieftain had his castle on the hill and that he had been buried up there with all his servants. But nothing can be seen.

Our story happens a century or two ago, I can’t get more precise. Life wasn’t too advanced and whoever wanted to visit the neighbor town had to go by horse or on his own feet.

So it did happen that the blacksmith of Kervenheim wanted to go home on this gray foggy day in September. He had had an important well-paid job in Uedem, but now it was late and he wanted to get home. Dawn had set in already, but he was a big and strong man, and the darkness couldn’t frighten him.

His way went across Gochfortzberg. His lantern’s lights were dancing in the ravines and threw weird shadows an the ground, because there was quite some wind and the tree branches were bowing to the wind. Far away he heard a hare’s cry. Probably an owl had caught her.

Suddenly he heard s a swoosh and a swarm of black birds rose and surrounded him,

Startled the blacksmith jumped into the bushes and ducked between the brambles. The birds circles around for a while and then rose higher an higher until they became invisible between the fog and early darkness.

Their croaking kept on ringing in the black smith’s ears. While he tried to get rid of the thorns he say something shiny between the brambles, something he had never seen there before. He held his lantern higher and -yes, he hadn’t misjudged. Under all these twines a door was hidden, and not just any door: It was decorated with heavy iron dress plates, very artfully done, even if they seemed corroded in many places.

The smith was impressed: Some colleague had done a great job with this door. But why, he asked himself. Curiously he shoved some more blackberry twines away and soon he found the door knob.

Carefully he pulled the knob. He was half afraid the rusty knob might come off. But the door opened without a sound and there was a dark tunnel behind her.

Our smith wasn’t Irish: He’d never heard those stories about dangerous fairy hills, so he just allowed his curiosity to lead on and walked along the tunnel. After a few passes he saw a light and soon the tunnel opened into into a chamber. The whole room was shimmering golden, with good reason: The floor was covered with the finest carpeting. Coins, jewels and golden cups were stacked in cupboards along the walls. But most impressive was the golden throne standing in the middle of the room.

The blacksmith was quite surprised when he saw that the room wasn’t lifeless. A man was sitting on the throne, a very old man sporting a long white beard. And next to the throne there was another man in a servant’s uniform that might have been modern ages ago. Both seemed to sleep, but when smith came closer, the man on the throne stirred and opened his eyes. His facial features became smoother and all of a sudden he seemed far younger than before. He straigthened upand now the smith saw that he wore a kind of tiara decorated with jewels. He stopped, but the man had already seen him and signaled him to come before the throne.

How long did I sleep?“ he asked with a booming voice. „I, I don’t know, sir.“ the smith stuttered. „How did you get here?“ „Through the door. There was a door under the brambles. I swear that door hasn’t been there before, but suddenly I saw something shimmer and – „

It’s alright.“, the man nodded. „The door can’t be seen by everyone. I take it that you know about iron magic?“ „I have no idea of magic!“, the smith replied, down to the earth man from the Lower Rhine that he was, „but I am a smith. I know a lot about iron.“

So be it.“, the other man agreed. „Tell me: Are there still birds circling the hill?“

The smith thought of the swarm that had surrounded him just then. „You might say that.“

His dialog partner sighed deeply and said: „So I have to sleep a bit longer. My time hasn’t come yet.“

The smith stopped short at this comment, and thousand questions rushed his head, but the old man already closed his eyes again.

My servant will show you the way out. Farewell, my good smith!“

The servant bowed slightly, took the smith’s lantern and hurried away. At the upper end of the tunnel he returned the lantern and presented him a golden coin with a strange embossment. „Take this as a sign of our gratitude.“

This whole thing had been a little too much even for our tough smith, and so he hurried home to his smithy in Kervenheim. By now it was pitch black outside and raining hard.

At home everybody was sleeping already. So he crawled under the blankets and slept as well. Tomorrow he would tell his wife everything.

But when the morning came and the smith reached for the golden coin in his pocket, it was gone. He searched all his pockets and even went back the whole way to Gochfortzberg, but the door was gone, too. Without any proof his story seemed to be far to adventurous and far-fetched, that years went by until he finally told somebody about it. The only thing he got from this adventure were some gray hairs.

The door stayed lost, and nobody has seen the sleeping chieftain and his servant ever since. And this is how it will remain until the birds stop circling the hill.

There are quite a few stories about Gochfortzberg. One of them is this one, clearly a local variation of the Kyffhäuser myth. I heard about it during an presentation of archeological information and tried to shape those bits into a story. In some variations of this myth the sleeper under the mountain is a bringer of peace, in other he will return on doomsday. As a matter of fact traces of settmlements have been found on the hill that go back to the iron age. Some of them were of Roman origin as well and another interpretation of the origins of the ravines of Gochfortzberg says that the Romans tried to create a shortcut from Xanten to Uedem. Still the story about the sleeping chieftain is one of my favorites and it goes well along with all those other sleeper-stories. The importance of the birds related to the end of the world as we know it is know from the London Tower, too.

Why is this story so interesting for me? Because the hill is quite close to my home. Just a few kilometers away.

The competition between Sun, Frost and Thunder

16. Juni 2018

This story is based on an old Baltic fairy tale. I tried to re-paganize the whole story.

Once upon a time three gods met on a nice spring morning: The sun goddess was going for a ride in her chariot, the god of frost and ice was counting his snowflakes and the thunder god was happily herding a few little clouds. They started talking about this and that, and -because gods are like that- they began to boast who of them would be the mightiest and most powerful one.

The sun goddess shook her head, and her long golden hair flew: „It is quite obvious! People love me: I bring warmth and light to them. So I am surely the most powerful of us.“

But the ruler of the frost laughed: „You might be wrong. They love you, so much is true, but they fear me more. When the humans feel the chill in their bones, their fear grows and grows. That’s why I am definitely the mightiest of us all.“

Well!, the storm and thunder god, who hadn’t said much up to now, answered. „You must know that actually I am the most powerful god of us three.“

Sun and Frost laughed at him. „You? You think that you are the most powerful of us? You can’t truly believe that.“ And they laughed so hard that Sun became red cheeks and Frost lost some of his snowflakes. The storm god kept cool and simply smiled.

Why don’t we go and ask the people? Let’s go for a walk on earth and we’ll see who’s right.“

The other two lied the idea and so they went.

After a while they met a farmer returning home from his field. Upon seeing the three gods he bowed deeply to them.

Promptly the gods started discussing.

You see, he greeted me!“, Sun claimed. „His greeting was meant to me, so I am the winner.“

No, he greeted me.“, Frost was sure. „He bowed in my direction, so I must be the winner.“

You are both wrong, because he meant greeting me.“, Storm contradicted both.

Never!“, the others answered.

So the storm god went after the farmer and spoke to him: „You just bowed, but to whom did you bow?“

Of course to you, Mr. Thunder!“, the farmer replied immediately.

Whoa, Sun and Frost didn’t like that!

You’ll hear about that!“ the sun goddess promised, jumped on her chariot and away she went.

You’ll wait. When winter arrives, humankind will regret this deeply. Thunder, oh really!“ the frost god ranted and was gone as well.

The storm god waited until they were gone. Then he nodded to the farmer, who had gone pale with fear.

Don’t worry! If you need help, just call me!“ And with these words he left, too.

The farmer was working on his fields, and the first green grew like expected. Summer came, ans the fields began needing some water. Instead it became hotter and hotter, when Sun made her threat come true: The grain on the fields threatened to burn, the animals were suffering in thirst and the farmer became very, very worried. Suddenly he remembered the thunder god’s words, and he prayed:

Help me, god of storm and thunder!“

And the wind started blowing and became a real storm, that cooled down the heat and brought rain clouds to the sky. When the first thunderstorm poured down on the fields, the farmer knew: His harvest was saved!

Fall came and winter, too. And he came to stay. It seemed as if cold wouldn’t find an end. Slowly the storage and supplies were growing thin, and still there were mountains of snow around the farm. When the farmer brought his last stash of firewood into the house he remembered the thunder god again, and he prayed: „Dear Stormy One, if you can help me, please do so!“

In this night a strong wind came up and blew away the snow bearing clouds, and in the morning he had changed to a mild wind that melted down the frost. Soon the winter’s powers were broken.

The farmer and his family were very happy and they had a big party to honor the storm god.

From this day on the sun goddess and the frost god were much more friendly to the storm and thunder god and had to admit sheepishly that he truly was the mightiest god of them.

Odin gets to know something

16. Juni 2018

Odin had been very worried. He, who knew so much about what happened under the skies, who got told by his ravens everything they saw and heard, had pretty much no idea of what happened in the world below. Thor was fighting the giants happily, and brought back new from Jotunheim. Sometimes dwarfs came long, but they rather wanted to do business than talk. But the underworld was literally a black hole concerning knowledge.

But Odin had to know what happened down there, if he wanted to prevent Ragnarök, doomsday. He just HAD TO know, why things were as they were, and what was the reason for everything. And that kind of knowledge could knly be gained in the underworld, where the nine worlds had their origin.

So he disguised himself once again and went to the dark regions. Deep below the world tree, Yggdrasil, was his destination, the well of Mimir, the Wise One.

Hugin and Munin, the two ravens didn’t like the whole thing a bit. „Don’t do it! You are digging up things that better should be left alone. There are some things that even you aren’t meant to know!“ But Odin, stubborn like his ancestors, the giants, ignored their croaking.

It became darker, and it became quieter. The corridor went deeper in long serpentines under the ash. Stalacmites and stalactites formed little pillars along the way. The journey took hours, and Odin almost regretted he had left Sleipnir, his super fast eight-legged horse behind. But it would have been impossible to take him along anyway: The corridor was too narrow and the ceiling too low for tall Sleipnir.

Finally he reached the cavern where Mimir’s well was placed.

While it had been quiet on the way down the stillness of the cavern seemed to suck up all the little noises. Odin felt the stillness tucking at his nerves. „Don’t be ridiculous!“, he thought by himself. „You are Odin, the greatest Aesir of all, and this is exactly the place where you wanted to go.“

He forced himself to think about the rustle of Yggdrasil’s leaves and the chatter of the birds in his branches, and felt how his heartbeat calmed down – or at least what counts as a heartbeat with gods.

The well actually was a little lake. Deep down there must be the spring that filled it, but no wave blurred the clear-as-glass surface. Odin stepped towards the waterline.

Then a voice was to be heard, and she sounded like an old man: „Who are you that you dare to disturb my peace? What brings you here, your hatred for the giants? Then leave! There is no place for hatred and animosity down here.“

No, no!“, Odin replied. „I come in peace. I am simply a tired wanderer, who is thirsty and would like a sip of water from your well.“

Now the old man’s voice sounded almost amused. „Nice try! But I know you. I know all beings alive! You are Odin, and you aren’t here by coincidence. Not your thirst for water brought you here, but you thirst for knowledge.“

Oh well, you are right!“, Odin admitted.

So listen to me, Odin, son of Bör and Bestla: What you aim to know, is not meant for you. For a god of light this knowledge has to remain in the dark.“

That’s exactly what we told you!“, Hugin croaked. Munin nodded heavily.

But I need to know that will happen, and why! I am Odin! It is my duty to protect my world wherever I can.“, the god disagreed with sparkling eyes.

It stayed quiet for a moment, then Mimir’s voice spoke again: „Now this is interesting. How far would you go to gain that knowledge, Odin? Because it won’t be given to you the easy way. You can get what you want but at a high cost.“

Odin squared his shoulders: „What do you want? I’ll pay every price.“

I haven’t seen the sun for ages. My realm is in darkness but I can’t forget those days that I wandered under a clear blue sky and the sun was shining down on me.“, Mimir answered quietly. „Give me one of your eyes, Odin. They have seen the sun. Throw it into the well, so it can show me the sunlight.“

An eye!“ Odin was shaken. With only one eye left it would be much harder for him to see everything. At the same time he started to plot how to compensate the loss. Perhaps there was a chance to use other people’s eyes or to get an artificial one from the dwarfs? He’d have to think that through. But first….

I accept you offer, wise Mimir!“, he said resolutely. „My eye for your knowledge!“ And stout-hearted he pulled out one of his eyes and threw it into the well.

Slowly it glided down to the ground. Suddenly the water was flashing as if the sun was rising down there. Waves formed and the spring started to splatter loudly.

Come closer, Odin! You offering has been accepted. Now you may receive your knowledge in return.“, Mimir spoke very formally. Odin knelt down and bowed over the water. The splashing got louder, but except for the sky god the words it contained remained inaudible. Only Odin could understand what Mimir told him, but it didn’t make him happier.

Finally the water’s surface calmed down again, and the water became dark. Stillness returned again.

Odin rose and sighed. Now he did know more about the beginning and the end of the world. But what he would do with that knowledge, well, that would take him some time and hard thinking. It was good luck that his journey back to the surface would take him some time as well. The drew down the brim of his hat to protect the empty eye socket, waved his ravens and went back.

The marriage of Rosmerta and Lugus

16. Juni 2018

One day Rosmerta, goddess of the land, found that the days of her youth were gone. No more playing around, when she just awoke from winter’s sleep and brought back the land to bloom. No time to dress yourself with blossoms! Something different had come forth out of the pink and white flowers: Beltane and Midsummer had come and gone, and the seeds were grown and slowly the time for the harvest was drawing near. Rosmerta looked around her and decided that she couldn’t do all the work alone – and didn’t want to. She needed a partner, somebody who would share all the work with her.

So she sent out messengers in all directions to announce that the queen of the land was looking for a husband who should share her reign. And they came in masses: Men, ghosts and gods, who wanted to be that husband. Rosmerta called them in front of her throne:

You want to be my husband? You want to walk with me and share the work of ruling the country?“

Yes!“, they cried.

So,“ Rosmerta spoke, „you know what I have to offer. But I hardly know about you, and you are many! It is difficult to choose the best of you. So I challenge you: Bring me the best you have to offer! Each of you shall present himself. Then I will choose.“

Some days went by, and many presentations were done: Singers, who offered a song or poem, warriors, who lay down their prey at Rosmerta’s feet, craftsmen who presented their best pieces of work, magicians who showed her their greatest tricks, and many more.

Rosmerta saw them all, but didn’t say a thing.

Finally only one young man was left. When she waved at him, he came before her throne. „Ad far as I can see, you haven’t brought me anything.“, Rosmerta spoke. „What will you show me?“

The young man smiled. „I brought myself, with all my abilities, dear goddess. You already have all I will need for my presentation.“ „Well,“ the goddess was skeptical, „I am curious to see.“

And the young man took the fertility of the earth and created from her abundance a delicious meal that stilled the hunger of all people who attended the feast and even longer than that.

You are a good cook!“, Rosmerta said. „But there were quite a few good cooks.“

And the young man took the ore from deep within the earth and created a sword and a shield which couldn’t have been more formidable.

I say, you are a talented smith!“, Rosmerta praised him. „But we already saw a few good smiths.“

And the young man took sword and shield, and suddenly there was a huge army of dangerous enemies, but the shield protected everybody, and the young man defied one adversary after the other, until finally the last one flew his mighty strength.

It is true that you are a formidable fighter!“, Rosmerta admitted. „Like so many of your competitors.“

And the young man took the beauty of the earth and he shaped her into verses, so wonderful, that his listeners had tears in their eyes. „What an awesome poem!“, Roberta cried out. „It is on par with the most beautiful poems that I heard today.

And the young man picked a few of his hairs and took the tears of his audience and from all this he created a harp. And then he played the harp and sang his verses along, and the harp sounded so clear, that joy grew in all hearts.

How beautiful!“, Rosmerta said. „But a good musician isn’t necessarily a good husband.“

And the young man took the whole history of the earth and told her.

How well you know me!“, Rosmerta was surprised. „But it is the future I care for rather than the past.“

And the young man took the waters of the earth, enchanted them and looked into the watery mirror, and he saw what the future might bring. And his words were wise.

Finally Rosmerta was satisfied. „You are a good worker. You know how to feed the people and how to protect them. You filled my heart with joy trough your poetry and song. And you are wise and have the knowledge of magic. Many came before my throne who were masters in one of their arts, and I admire their abilities. But only one was a master in all of those. What is your name, my husband-to-be?“

I am Lugus.“, he answered her, and when he threw back his hair, it shone like the sun. „And I am yours with all that I have.“

So Rosmerta took Lugus as her husband, and their relation was fruitful and for the well-being of all the people.

How Veles stole Perún’s cattle

16. Juni 2018

One day Perún, the thunder god, detected that all of his cattle had been stolen. Soon he detected the guilty one, too: It had to be his old adversary Veles.

He was the god of the underworld, but of cattle as well, so he thought that all farm animals belonged to him.

We can’t have that behavior!“ Perún grumbled. He stretched a bit on his high seat on the World Mountain and searched for the thief. „Wait until I catch you…“

It didn’t take long for him to see Veles along with his herd on a lovely meadow. As soon as he saw him he cast a lightning to punish the thief.

But Veles wasn’t stupid. He knew all to well that Perún wouldn’t simply let him go. When he realized he had been detected he shape-shifted into another cow. The lightning shot past him into the ground.

Perún was angry. Missed! He took aim again.

Meanwhile Veles had hidden behind a high stone standing in the middle of the meadow. Perún’s lightning made the stone explode and change into a heap of pebbles. The flock of cows ran away.

Perún sighed. Not only had he missed Veles, he would have to search his cows again!

Veles had escaped into a nearby forest. It was dark and full of shadows down there under those high trees. The thunder god would have difficulties to see him there, he hoped.

Perún only saw some movement between the tree trunks. He aimed – but Veles had already shape-shifted into a big bear with black fur, and his lightning missed by far and frightened a few squirrels.

Just to be sure the god of the underworld decided to search for another hideout. Just behind the forest was a little farm. Surely Perún wouldn’t shoot on a farm! Think of the poor people living there!

Quickly he went under way.

Meanwhile Perún had apologized to the squirrels and searched for his adversary again. Finally he saw him, when Veles just showed up behind the farmhouse.

And Perún knew something Veles didn’t know: The farm had stood empty for quite some time by now! No need to hold back, Perún thought.

Bang!

The lightning hit the farmhouse and tore down the roof. It landed a few hundred meters away in a tree.

But Veles got away again. Perún had shot a second too early.

The god of the underworld shape-shifted into a borzoi, and he left the farm as fast as his dog legs would carry him.

Perún shook his head. This was becoming ridiculous! He wouldn’t make a fool of himself anymore. It was time to use some tricks.

By now Veles had reached a lake. He went a few steps into the water and drank thirsty from all this running. Occasionally he looked around: No Perún near and far! Was it really possible he got away?

To be on the safe side he would stay in his dog shape for a while. Veles searches for a nice warm spot on the sandy beach and made himself comfortable, but even so kept an eye on possible intruders.

Perún had taken his chariot in the meantime and had driven down to the earth. After his arrival he took the form of a young wanderer. Equipped with a backpack and a staff he followed Veles’ s traces down to the lake.

Soon he detected the shape-shifting god, but he didn’t reveal his own person. Instead he sat down at the beach, took a picnic out of his backpack and started a hearty dinner.

Veles had seen the unknown guest, of course – and smelled! That one over there had sausages, delicious sausages! Veles might have been a god, but right now he was a dog as well. And in his dog shape he was thinking mainly with his stomach and nose. Carefully he rose and leered at the wanderer.

Perún had seemed to take no notice of the dog the whole time. But now he talked to him:

Now there’s a fine dog! Look what I might have for you! Do you like a piece of sausage?“

Veles was still skeptical. But – sausage!!! Slowly he neared, the delicious smell in his nose.

The wanderer presented him with half a salami. Finally Veles couldn’t restrain himself any longer. He snapped for the sausage and started chewing.

At the same moment Perún let down his camouflage.

He grabbed the distracted dog, held him above his head and threw him as far as possible into the lake. And he could throw far!

Were he really a dog, Veles might have drowned, but -what a luck- he could shape-shift into a water snake. In that form he dived down to the lake’s ground. From here he could change into his own realm, the underworld. An Perún wouldn’t be able to follow him there!

Perún stood on the beach and grinned triumphantly for his success.

Now stay where you are! And keep away from my cattle, Veles!“, he yelled after the underworld’s ruler, and finally went to search his cows again.

How the rainbow came to shine at the sky

16. Juni 2018

Once upon a time the gods wandered upon upon the earth and lived among the people. Taranis, the thunderer, the god who made the earth fertile with his rain and spring thunderstorms, was riding around in his chariot and checked if everything was in order. On his tour he rested in a wide valley. The air was sweet, the fields were green – Taranis was pleased.

Suddenly thunder was to be heard – and it wasn’t him! Surprised and a little bit irritated he looked around.

Far away, where the mountains stood against the sky, a huge brownish wave rose from the river’s bed. She roared downwards and took everything along the river with her. When she was gone she left a muddy swamp behind that reached far into the land. At the same time a hurricane started and the sky went black.

Taranis frowned. Where did that come from? And who dared to bring such chaos to his peacefully ordered world? He jumped into his chariot and headed through the hurricane towards the sky. From up there he would have a better view, and, what with being a storm god himself, the bad weather couldn’t really hurt him.

The flood had been wandered on and had destroyed other parts of land. Taranis saw that she originated up in the mountains, where snow and glaciers were melting too fast and filled rivers and lakes. And he saw, who had to be responsible for that, too. Up, where the humans didn’t have any fields, where not even small mountain huts stood, there was his old friend Cernunnos, and drummed with his feet on the ground so hard that the ground shook.

Taranis shook his head. Was it that time again? Cernunnos was the lord of the untamed nature, he always had been slightly chaotic and erratic. He ruled the underworld and her realms of death as well. And at the same time he was the one people prayed to for fruitfulness and wealth. This was true for the better part of the time, but sometimes Cernunnos showed his other side. Like many of the animals that surrounded him, he had times where he went through a transformation and renewed. And until the change was done the threatening parts of his person became stronger and he became a danger, being restless, unrestrained and destructive in his doings.

The thunder god nodded to himself. It was his job to help Cernunnos through his phase and keep his forces in check. He grabbed his thunderbolt and got on the way.

Cernunnos heard the thunder, when Taranis’s chariot came closer. He shape-shifted into a stag and escaped into the forest. Between the high pine trees it was difficult for Taranis to navigate his chariot. So he freed his horse, jumped on its back and pursued Cernunnos. He threw his thunderbolt, but Cernunnos already was too far away, and the thunderbolt missed his target.

Cernunnos thought he was safe. His antlers were itching badly, so he scraped on a big tree trunk. But Taranis was very persistent. He had followed the tracks and indeed found his prey.

Cernunnos shape-shifted again, now into a snake. This way, he thought, he might be able to fight better.

Taranis’s horse rose when the huge snake surrounded it. A few times the thunder god tried to hit his opponent, but every time Cernunnos was able to evade. Finally Taranis threw a thunderbolt again, but this time he went into the opposite direction immediately – and Cernunnos had done the same. Several times Taranis rode over his old friend’s mighty snake body with all his force. Cernunnos bended, but the horse’s hoofs had found their target and he was almost stunned.

With his last power reserves he peeled off his snakeskin and glided into a hole in the ground.

The hurricane faded and changed into a light rain. At the same time the sun showed himself behind a few clouds and sent some shy sunbeams down to earth.

Taranis took the snakeskin Cernunnos had left behind and held her triumphantly over his head. The scales were glittering in all colors, red, blue, green and golden. The thunder god threw the skin into the air, where she stayed and formed a big arch. Taranis watched his work and he liked what he saw.

Stay where you are until you have gathered your senses again!“, he called at Cernunnos. „There is no place for your chaos in this world.“

The rivers returned to their beds at last, and in many places they left unexpected treasures: In some places the ground was much more enriched with nutrients, in other places shipping wrecks with all their freight were all of a sudden accessible and a other places gold veins could be found where only stone had been before. So Cernunnos had proven to be the wealth-bringing god at last.

The snakeskin remained a the sky as a rainbow and a sign that order had been restored.

Taranis returned to the sky and he was as happy and pleased with the situation as can be.

This story is just that – a story and free creation on my part. Many cultures have this myth abouth the storm god fighting a snake or dragon or something similar. Thor against the Midgard snake, Perún against Veles – and with the Gauls probably Taranis against somebody unknown. To make Cernunnos his counterpart is my own version, and it works for me only because I wanted to show them as friends caring for each other basically rather than a fight for life or death, like a man taking home his drunken friend and making sure he finds his bed.

It’s true that there are pillars that show a god who could be identified as Taranis/Jupiter, who is riding down a gigantic snake. True as well is that Cernunnos can bee seen as an ambivalent god. Ceisiwr Serith has written a good analysis of this theme. There are stories that connect Cernunnos via the antlers with a stag shape. But there is nothing about Cernunnos being able to shape-shift into a snake. He only holds a snake in his hand. I used elements of the slavic version for this part.

It was important for me that Cernunnos didn’t result in the ultimate bad boy. Instead chaos simply is a part of his personality from time to time. So one can still worship and respect him, and he can still be a friend of Taranis.

Regarding the rainbow – well, the Norse have their Bifröst, and I imagined that such a symbol must have been of some importance to the Gauls as well.

Midsummer ritual 2018: Gaulish hearthculture

16. Juni 2018
Beginning and purpose

This is the longest day,

and I am bathing in your light, sun,

getting caressed by your warm rays.

With each pore I take in your energy

and store it for the time

when your light and warmth have lost their strength.

Now you are at the height of your power,

but the wheel turns eternally and so

in the climax we anticipate the end,

and in life we anticipate death.

Song: Song for Summer Solstice – Libby Roderick (or something similar)

Purification

(William Ashton, SDF, March Equinox 2014)

[Warm hands over the flame, then touch the waters of the well, saying:]

May I be pure that I may pass through the Sacred…

[Again, warm hands over the flame, then touch the waters of the well, saying:]

May I pass through the Sacred that I may attain the Holy…

[For a final time, warm hands over the flame, then touch the waters of the well, saying:]

May I attain the Holy that I may be blessed in ALL things.

[After speaking aloud these words, take several moments to experience the feeling of purification. Breathe deep.]

By the power of the waters, by the power of the fire:

This grove may be pure and sacred ground!

Mother Earth

On the field in front of my house the grain is swaying slightly in the wind,

just as if you were shaking your golden and brown hair for me.

In this time, when the sun’s power reaches its peak,

you offer us a steady place.

Mother Earth,

a moment to breathe between sowing and harvesting.

In this ritual please offer me the certainty

to find my footing,

just like you do all the time.

This is my gift for you, Earth Mother: …. (offering)

Recreating the cosmos

Who are we? From whence do we come? What is the story of our people?

Not hard…

A great misty cloud had gathered together in the void

Swirling and spiraling; spiraling and swirling Drawing ever-in upon itself.

At its center radiance shone forth

And drove outward the surrounding cloud

Gathering the waters together here below.

And so it was that the stuff of creation drew apart

To form the Fire Above And the Waters Below.

The Solar Fire warmed the Cauldron of Creation

And stroked upon its waters with thunderbolts And begat upon it Life.

And the Life begat the Creatures

And the Creatures begat the Ancestors

And the Ancestors begat Us– the Living People.

Upright like you, Great Tree

We bear upon us the mark of Creation

Then, now, and for all time.

Rooted in the ancestral waters of the World Below,

Spanning this Middle-World of form

And reaching ever-upward to embrace the

Fire Above.

Earrach of Pittsburgh

Sacred well, flow in me (offering)

Sacred fire, burn in me (offering)

Sacred tree, grow in me (offering)

Hüter der Tore anrufen und Tore öffnen

I call out to Cernunnos, the one in between,

the one who keeps apart what needs to be kept apart

and the one who brings together what need to come together.

Wild One, I bring this offering before you

and ask you to help me:

Be at my side and support my magic when I am opening the gates now!

Let the candle be the sacred fire, gate to the heavens, gate to the gods and goddesses!

Let the cauldron be the sacred well, gate to the underworld, gate to the ancestors!

And let the tree be the world tree, gate to the world around me, gate to the spirits!

Through and with your magic: May these gates now open!

Kindreds anrufen

I call out to the Kindreds now.

I stand at the sacred center, before the Well, and honor my Ancestors!

You who have lived here before me. You whose blood runs through my veins. You who are my inspiration. You who are close to my heart and mind: Be welcome at my fire! I invite you to be part of this ritual. Teach me your knowledge and take my gifts for you in return.

[Make your offerings to your Ancestors]

Ancestors, accept my offering! *

I stand at the sacred center, before the Tree, and honor the Nature Kin!

Nature Spirits, kin of fur, feather, shell, and scales. Kin of growing things, spirits of the household and dwellers in hidden shadows: Be welcome at my fire! I invite you to be part of this ritual. Teach me your knowledge and take my gifts for you in return.

[Make your offerings to your Nature Kin]

Nature Kin, accept my offering! *

I stand at the sacred center, before the Fire, and honor my Gods!

Shining ones, you who shaped the cosmos! You who still keep it together: Be welcome at my fire! I invite you to be part of this ritual. Teach me your knowledge and take my gifts for you in return.

[Make your offerings to your Gods]

Shining Gods, accept my offering!

Main sacrifice

Song: See me (link: )http://werkelwald.de/song-see-me-sehet-mich/

Deity of the occasion

I call to Taranis, the Shining One!

And the thunder rolls.

I call to Taranis, who rules the sky!

And the thunder rolls.

I call to Taranis, who brings the rain!

And the thunder rolls.

I call to you:

Bringer of the cosmic order,

keeper of continuity!

Without you the sky would literally fall down on our heads!

You keep the chaos away,

and you push the wheel of the year,

the process of death and renewal,

of living and dying,

von spring, summer, autumn and winter!

Your lightenting may be my fire, Taranis,

and I invite you:

Share my fire with me,

and share your knowledge with me!

Teach me what you have to give

and take in return what I have to give!

Offering: Story of How the rainbow…., incense

Omen

I have spoken of you, so that your names live on. Now it’s time for me to be quiet and listen to your words and messages. Please. Kindreds, what do you want to tell me?

(draw omen)

Asking for the blessings

Kindreds, I ask you for your blessings: Look at this chalice before me. I have filled it with (…), but you, Kindreds, may fill it from your cornucopia of abundance, from your well of wisdom, from your cauldrom of inspiration. Fill it with your blessings so that I am blessed with prosperity, wisdom and health.

Blessing of the waters

(hold chalice up high)

The blessings of the gods! AWEN

(hold chalice up at breasts high)

The blessings of the spirits! AWEN

(hold chalice down to the earth)

The blessings of the ancestors! AWEN

(hold chalice up high again)

See the waters of life!

Accepting the blessings

I received your blessings, Kindreds! May they overflow in me to nourish those that cross my path. May their spark jump over to those I meet so that I will become a blessing for others.

Thanking and good bye

Kindreds,

I thank you for coming and participating in my ritual.

I invite you to stay if you want and leave if you must. My respect and love will be with you as your blessings are with me!

Taranis, I thank you, too. Roll your wheel and take good care of the rains in the next weeks!

Closing the gates

Cernunnos, my gate keeper,

thank you for your good work as a mediator and facilitator. I ask you one more time to assist me in the closing of the gates:

Let tha sacred fire become a candle flame again!

Let the sacred well become a cauldron again!

Let the world tree become a simple tree again!

Let everything be as it was before, except for the magic that happened today!

Through and with your magic: May the gates close now!

Thanking the Earth Mother

A deep breath,

Mother Earth,

and all senses are filled with your gifts.

You are my steady ground in a time when everything is off balance,

in ritual and every time.

I thank you

and return to your what I didn’t need.

Take it a a sign of my love and gratefulness.

Ritual beenden

My ritual comes to an end.

I recreated the cosmos and stood in its center.

I have celebrated the sun at the height of his (?) power, the bounty of life, the warmth and the light.

I have honored Taranis, the keeper of this bounty.

My relationship with the kindreds has been reaffirmed and strengthened.

Now I will leave, not alone, but as a part of the big picture.

The sacred well dried out, but it is still flowing in me.

The sacred fire has burned down, but it in me the spark is still alive.

The world tree might tremble, but I am deeply rooted in this world.

This ritual is over. Amen/Esti*!

* Esti: Gaulish for Amen

For once I first have an English version of my work ready. You’ll get the German version of this soon.

 

Gottheit der Woche 35: Poseidon

31. Mai 2018

Aud den Tiefen des Meeres steigst du empor,

Poseidon,

unbeständig wie deine Heimat,

mal stürmisch und gefährlich,

dann wieder Nahrung und Arbeit spendend!

Vom Land kamst du einst,

als Herr der Pferde,

doch mit der räumlichen Veränderung

kam auch neue Verantwortung.

Unbezähmbarer,

unberechenbarer,

nicht zu bändigender Poseidon!

Bruder von Zeus und Hades, Teil der großen Drei,

machtvoller Gott des Meeres,

das das Land umgibt!

Tritt an meinem Feuer, aus freiem Willen,

lass die Flammen sich in deinem Dreizack spiegeln

und lass mich an deinem Wissen teilhaben.

Nimm dafür meine Gaben und meinen Respekt entgegen!

 

In English:

You rise from the depths of the ocean,

Poseidon,

inconsistent like your home,

once stormy and dangerous,

then again spending nourishment and work!

Once you came from the land, as the lord of horses,

but with territorial changes your responisbilities changed, too.

Dautnless,

capricious,

untamable Poseidon!

Brother of Zeus and Hades, one of the great Three,

mighty god of the sea that surrounds the land!

Come to my fire, by your own free will,

let the flames mirror themselves in your trident

and share your knowledge with me

as I share my offerings and respect with you.

Gottheit der Woche 37: Goibniu

31. Mai 2018

Drei seid ihr,

Götter des Handwerks,

doch du stichst besonders hervor,

Goibniu,

Waffenschmied auf der einen Seite,

der seine Leute mit Speeren versorgt, die den Sieg herbeiführen sollen!

Lebensspender auf der anderen Seite,

als Brauer und Bewahrer des Tranks, der Alter und Tod fernhält!

Als Ruadan dich listenreich erstechen will,

kehrst du nach deinem Bad im Kessel der Heilung erstarkt zurück.

Goibniu,

Leuchtender,

vom Feuer deiner Schmiede zum Feuer in meinem Nemeton:

Sei mir willkommen!

Ich bitte dich:

Teile dein Wissen mit mir und nimm im Gegenzug meine Gaben an!

 

In English:

You are three, divine masters of their trades,

but it is you that shines most,

Goibniu,

armourer on on hand.

who delivers spears to his people to bring victory!

Provider of life on the other hand,

as the brewer and keeper of the sacred drink that holds off age and death!

When Ruadan wanted to kill you

you returned with renewed strength from you bath in in cauldron of healing.

Goibniu,

Shining One,

from the fire in your forge to the fire in my nemeton:

Be welcome here!

I ask you:

Share your knowledge with me and take my offerings in return.

Gottheit der Woche 40: Arianrhod

31. Mai 2018

Zwischen den Wolken am Himmel

leuchtet der Mond, hell und klar,

und hüllt das Land in seinen silbernen Schimmer.

Was sein Licht bedeckt,

dessen Schicksal webst du in das Netz des Lebens.

Zwischen Tag und Nacht treibst du in der Dämmerung

das Rad des Lebens voran.

Wir bewegen uns in deiner Spirale.

Wir tanzen auf deinen Wegen,

und nehmen dabei unser Schicksal selbst in die Hand.

Lass dein Licht auf mich leuchten, Arianrhod,

und erfülle mich mit deinem Wissen.

Spinne einen Faden von dir zu mir

und nimm dafür meine Geschenke an.

 

In English:

Between the clouds up at the sky

the moon is shining, bright and clear,

cloaking the land into a silvery shimmer.

What his/her light covers,

whose fate you are weaving into the web of life.

Between day and night,

in dusk you are rolling life’s wheel along.

We are moving in your spiral,

we are dancing on your ways,

and while doing so

we are taking our fate into our own hands.

Let you light shine upon me, Arianrhod,

and fill me with your knowledge.

Spin a thread from you to me,

and take my presents in return.