I have a deep passion for Cemeteries, and I love to go and read the names on the markers (Gravestone). I love to pick up trash and just the general vibe I get being in them. It helps me to gather energy there. It is the most sacred space on earth. I always wanted to be a gravedigger or a caretaker, but life went another way for me. So as a Druid, I want to be of service to and for people. However, indeed the service I seek to do is with the Dead. So I have been devoting time to Funerary studies for some time now. So I have found more in-depth ways for my being to provide that service. I like to think of myself as a Druið Bedoratêos (Cemetery Druid) or instead on that path. I wanted to find a way that my Druid and Galatis customs could be part of it.
To start, this is not an article on funerary customs.
First, a Cemetery or Graveyard is a place of many Customs and traditions, which should all be respected. The attempts here are not to overpower the other faiths with a Gaulish view but rather to have a Gaulish understanding in one’s approach. With tradition and Customs, one needs to have respect for that which is outside one’s own.
To whom does this apply? Well, simply those that enjoy being of service to the dead in our Gaulish Community.
Let us try to make the approach a little more Gaulish: Words, Offerings, and Prayer.
An excellent poetic way I call a Cemetery is Garden of Stones. That is Gortiâ Artuânon in Gaulish. Gortiâ – Garden Artuâ – Stone
Taphophile describes an individual who has a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries and gravestones.
So in Gaulish, that would be.
Bedorâtion – Lover/enthusiast of the cemeteries or Bedocaranđ – grave-friend.
Bedorâti – Cemetery/Graveyard
Sîdos – would be a burial mound
Logâ – tombstone or grave
Anatia – Soul
Antumnos – Land of the dead
Maruos – Death
Uernos – Guard, Watch, Sentinel.
(This refers to the Gatekeeper/Guardian of the cemetery.)
Sumatreiâ – Good Friendship/Relationship
(This refers to the relationship with the Spirits and Deities.)
Cemeteries are an important place that often gets forgotten or neglected in time. It is sad, but it shows how we as a society feel and treat our burial grounds and the dead. We have lost touch with the old ways and the realms of the dead. So showing good Sumatreiâ is a very crucial thing.
- How to act within the gates of Gortiâ Artuânon
- Do not take items from within unless permission from The Uernos is given; we will get into that later.
- Do not litter; if one sees trash, pick it up.
- If one sees a plot that needs a little help, please help.
- (This being flowers knocked over, or anything in that nature)
- Please do not sit on the graves or lean on them.
- Do not yell.
- Stay on the paths (stay in the crossroads)
- Be mindful of the place one walks; some cemeteries have loose soil from the digging.
- Try not to walk on plots, and when stepping over, pay respects.
- Do not spit or urinate within the cemetery.
- Be respectful of the families mourning, walk the other directions and be friendly.
- Mind the rules posted.
- In all, be respectful.
What are they
Each Bedorâti has its unique energies and feelings within its gates. And that is in part because of the Uernos, the one who watches over the Bedorâti and spirits that lay there. They have many tasks from setting the tone of the place. They help the caretakers and the visitors to maintain in a physical sense. They control what comes and goes. They are the spiritual caretakers of the souls buried within. They do not trap the souls within but nurture the spirits and their grounds.
Who are they
Well, some say they are the first to be buried within the Bedorâti. Alternatively, they are the ones that tend to people in the physical world, and when they passed, they do the same thing.
Where are they
They usually are at the entrance of the Bedorâti or in the center but most of the time at the entrance. Nevertheless, the spirit of the Uernos can be within a tree, grave, statue, and animal. It is easy to find the Uernos; tune in, and one will find the Uernos.
The gatekeeper will most of the time appreciate one’s offerings; if they do not, they will let one know, and one must listen to them. When we give an offering to the gatekeeper, it is essential to state our intentions, whatever those are. Once they trust in you, they will guide you within their gates.
Also, one can place offerings on the Logâ (tombstone/grave), read their name and place coins or other offerings, say Rest well, or Peace upon you.
- What to offer
- Traditional Foods (I would recommend to not do that as that could bring in unwarted guest.)
- Libations (I would recommend to not do that as that could bring in unwarted guest.)
A prayer to the Uernos
Great keeper of these sacred grounds.
Watcher of the souls that lay abound.
Tender of that which is here and now.
I ask that I may enter your Gates that shroud.
I will walk with Sumatreiâ in each step upon your Gortiâ Artuânon
Uernos, I thank you.
Now, this is not a rite but a simple offering of acknowledgment before one enters; the offerings are added after one says the Prayer. If one does not have an offering, that is fine; make sure Sumatreiâ is with you.
A Rite to Uernos
- Facing Are (East) say
Uernos Keeper of the Grounds
- Facing Dexsiuos (South) say
Uernos Watcher of the Souls
- Facing Eri (West) say
Uernos Speaker with no sound
- Facing Tutos (North) say
Uernos Teacher of the old
- Facing Eri (west) Again say
I ask for Protection so that no souls may latch around.
Burn Mistletoe to clean the self and to protect one from unwanted spirits coming home with you.
(This is meant to help leave behind life’s stresses and troubles for the moment and enter the Bedorâti with a clean mind, clean soul, and a peaceful spirit to pay tribute to those that rest.) Why Mistletoe? It was Sacred to the Druids, so we are using it cause it is sacred to us and gives some modern meaning to it in folk tradition’s it is used for many thing on being protection (this is one aspect of its uses).
Why do we face Eri again? Eri is connected to Giamos which is associated with the setting sun ,winter, the dark ,the Lower World, the dead, chaos, the wild, chthonic, primal, and the magical.
This Rite is only meant for those who have gotten to know the Uernos and plan to do work beyond its gates.
A Bedorâti is like a big shrine. One should walk in a Bedorâti with a profound understanding of Sacredness. As we know, the Senogalatis truly respected their dead, and we should carry with us the same view.
Carnonos also has a role here as the Uernos at times. One could say that Uernos is a title for him. I will get into that at a later time.
This is one of the most serious of things be mindful and cautious.
The image above is from a coin from the Carnutes tribe that’s has been updated and meaning added to it, I will talk about that in the next article.
Thanks to Nelos with the Gaulish Language.