One Dêuos seems to be very important to the Senogalatis and mainly to the Neo Druids today more than the Gaulish Pagans.
I’m speaking of Belinos.
Strangely, his worship is not more widespread among us Galatis. Which I find odd, but I never gave him devotion until a few months back.
His name is attested as Belenus, Belenos, Belinos, and a few other forms. Most likely because of the widespread worship of him in many groups of people with different languages and even accents. We see the roots of his name carried around in many places and times around the Gaulish and Celtic lands. The true meaning of his name is up for debate, but most linguistics agree to some extent on something like Powerful.
Xavier Delamarre suggests ‘Master of Power’
Peter Schrijver suggests the name might come from an old IE word for Henbane. As the Gaulish Belenuntia, which means henbane. Henbane is a hallucinogenic plant with many medical aspects to it.
The interpretatio romana suggests Belinos as the Gaulish Apollo.
Apollo is the god of the Greeks and Romans. He is associated with Truth, Music, Archery, prophecy, Healing, light, and the sun. He is an Oracular god as he was the patron of Delphi.
The Hyperboreans were mythical peoples of the Greek world. But at the same time, we have Greek writers talking about them as if they genuinely existed. This is when Myth and fact collide. We are talking about a time long ago when myths were most certainly looked at differently than they are today. Now in the Greek myths, they were from the far north in the unknown worlds. It is believed they come from a fertile sunny blessed land. Apollo was their favorite, and some even suggest that The Hyperboreans are the founders of the Apollo shrines in Delphi and Delos. The location of the Hyperboreans is unknown and is not agreed on by scholars, but one thing that folks do agree on some level is that they may have brought the cult of Apollo with them.
Herodotus is the earliest mention of The Hyperborea in his works Histories (Book IV, Chapters 32–36) from around 450 BC.
Hecataeus of Abdera was a Greek Historian and Philosopher from around the 4th century BC. Diodorus preserved a piece of Hecataeus’s work mentioning The Hyperboreans.
In the regions beyond the land of the Celts, there lies in the ocean an island no smaller than Sicily. This island, the account continues, is situated in the north and is inhabited by the Hyperboreans, who are called by that name because their home is beyond the point whence the north wind (Boreas) blows; and the island is both fertile and productive of every crop, and has an unusually temperate climate.
The Hyperboreans had on their island “a magnificent sacred precinct of Apollo and a notable temple which is adorned with many votive offerings and is spherical in shape.
Ptolemy (Geographia, 2. 21) and Marcian of Heraclea (Periplus, 2. 42) both placed Hyperborea in the North Sea, which they called the “Hyperborean Ocean.”
There are countless thoughts on the Hyperboreans we will not be getting into all that.
Abaris The Druid?
Abrais was a Hyperborean that is said to have visited Athens in the 8th century BC or before. He was a priest and prophet of Apollo. He healed the sick and traveled the world on an Arrow. Usually, great people in history become mythical characters with many highly fantastical thoughts attached to them.
Now, this doesn’t sound much different from a Druið to me. Knowing the plants, being an arbiter of the gods, and spreading knowledge seems very much in the light of a Druið.
Hyperboreans are north of the Greeks, and that would be The Gauls, well technically not the Gauls, as the time frame would be around the late Bronze age, so towards the end of the Urnfield Culture (12th – 8th Century BC) and the beginning of the Hallstatt Culture (7th -6th Century BC). As for me, the Druides were very much part of those areas long before Gaul (I will get into all that in a later article, don’t worry).
A couple of references to Abaris
I have said this much of the Hyperboreans, and let it suffice; for I do not tell the story of that Abaris, alleged to be a Hyperborean, who carried the arrow over the whole world, fasting all the while. But if there are men beyond the north wind, then there are others beyond the south. And I laugh to see how many have before now drawn maps of the world, not one of them reasonably; for they draw the world as round as if fashioned by compasses, encircled by the Ocean river, and Asia and Europe of a like extent. For myself, I will in a few words indicate the extent of the two, and how each should be drawn.Herodotus, The Histories, Book 4, chapter 36
As regards your visible form, dear son of Glaucon, I consider that nowhere have you fallen behind any of your ancestors. But if your nature is really rich in temperance and those other things, as our friend here says, blessed is the son, dear Charmides, I exclaimed, that your mother has borne in you! However, the case stands thus: if you already possess temperance, as Critias here declares, and you are sufficiently temperate, then you never had any need of the charms of Zalmoxis or of Abaris the Hyperborean.Plato, Charmides
Belinos is found all around the lands of Gaul and beyond; we even have a few mentions of Belenos in some Greek and Roman text.
Although you have preceded in this life those of whom I have just spoken, however, Patera, as your famous saying was still flourishing in recent times, and as when I was young I saw you an old man, I will not deprive you of the honors of the plaintive nenia, master of our powerful rhetoricians. You were Baïocasse, and descended from the race of the Druids, if the fame is not deceptive: your family drew its sacred origin from the temple of Belenus; beyond your names: yours, Patera, which, in the language of initiates, designates the ministers of Apollo; that of your brother and your father, which they owe to Phébus; and that of your son, who came to him from Delphi. No one in this century had so much light, and no one knew how to vary the course and turns of speech like you. Endowed with a happy memory, an easy, clear speech.Decimius Magnus Ausonius Commemoratio, IV and X, Translation by: M. Jasinski, 1934, Paris, Garnier
Crispinus, it is said, persevered so strongly in pursuing the war which had begun only because there were in the city a great number of aruspices, of men able to read the entrails of the victims, and they gave the more favorable omens. Italians have the greatest confidence in these mysterious consultations. In addition, some oracles were published announcing that the God of the Fatherland promised victory. They call this god Belenos, honor it with an almost fanatic worship, and claim that this divinity is none other than Apollo. Some of Maximin’s soldiers claimed that the image of this god appeared to them in the air, fighting in the defense of the city. I cannot say if they had really seen this apparition, or if they supposed it, so that such a large army did not have to be ashamed of not having been able to resist a troop of citizens much smaller in number, and that it appeared to have been conquered by the gods and not by men.Herodian : Roman history from the death of Marcus Aurelius to the advent of Gordian , III, Translation by: L. Havely, 1871, Paris, Firmin-Didot
So as the siege of Aquileia continued without result, Maximin sent ambassadors to the city. The people would have almost accepted their proposals if Menophilus and his colleague had not opposed them, alleging that even the god Bellenus had affirmed through the intermediary of the haruspices that Maximin had to be defeated. This is why Maximin’s soldiers then claimed, it is said, that Apollo had fought against them and that the victory was in fact due not to Maximus and the Senate, but to the gods. According to some, however, they would have imagined this fable because they were ashamed, they who were armed, to have been defeated by people who were almost unarmed.Julius Capitolinus : Vie des deux Maximin , XXII, 1-3 in Histoire Auguste , Translation by: André Chastagnol, 1994, Paris, Laffont
Each province, each city also has its own god; thus Syria has its Astargatis, […], Norique its Belenos […]Tertullian : Apologétique , XXIV, 8, Translation by: J.-P. Waltzing, Paris, Les Belles Lettres
We have around 70 inscriptions to Belinos. Most are found in Aquileia, as it is thought that around that area was the center of his worship. He has been found across the Celtic lands, from the British Islands to the Noricum, Illyria, and Gaul.
A few inscriptions
- CIL V, 754 ,CIL V, 755, CIL V, 1829, CIL I, 3413, CIL III, 4774, CIL VI, 32544, CIL XII, 401, CIL XIII,1461, CIL XII, 5958
- ILLPRON 137, ILLPRON 685, LLPRON 683
- EDCS -09900001
- AE 1900, 108
- RIG IV: 134–35, RIG IV: 132–33
Drunemeton and Belinos
I mention all the stuff above to point to a narrative, and that narrative is a group of people brought with them the cult of Belinos. This gives us a general idea of Belinos as it seems he is a much older Deuos that predates Gaul. When the Greeks are talking about Abaris and his worship of Apollo, I think it was Belinos that he worshiped, and the Greeks just did what the Greeks did at the time, applying their cultural understanding to something. Heck, a lot of Apollo’s functions and ideas of him might have come from Belinos. In my mind, the Druið venerated him greatly, showing them the many secrets of this realm.
- Belinos is shining brilliance.
- The wheel would be a symbol for him.
- A protector from evil. That being magical or physical, disease, and famine.
- Belinos is our Oracular Deuoi associated with birds as his divine messengers. He is also associated with hallucinogenic substances, as one can gain insight when one takes them (As he is linked to Hebane). Note not all forms of Divination. A Deuoi of Prophecy and the Prophetic traditions.
- He is a great teacher of healing, and someone that studies plants and knows how to heal the Spiritual and Physical with them has a divine connection with his Magical cures.
- Connected to curative springs, as we have found inscriptions of him around these locations. Many eyes have been found at these shrines, along with depictions of body parts suggesting a remedy for these broken parts of the body. The waters are very important as they hold some of the greatest mysteries of the cosmos. Staring into the still waters on the bank as the warm reflection of the sun enters your being is a great way to meditate and enter into a trance.
- He is connected to the sun but not the sun itself, more so the light and warmth from it, the guiding brilliance of illumination—illuminating one’s way in the dark times.
- A very therapeutic Deoui that aids with psychological, physiological, and spiritual healing.
- He is connected to the horse, as we have found many with miniature horses at his shrines. Possibly a connection to his solar aspect has mythological he could pull the sun around the sky in his chariot. This, again, is connecting the wheel to him.
- Belinos is the cosmic protector and guardian within the cosmos.
Associated with the Sun and therapeutic waters comes from his role as the Guardian of Aidus in Dubron (Fire and Water). Once Aidus in Dubron created the Cosmos, they receded and stood in a constant state of flux, threatening to destroy the world. Belinos maintains this harmony of primordial Order (Aidus) and Chaos (Dubron). In this sense, he is ‘Everlasting’ because it emphasizes the primal nature of the God and the primordial powers he watches over.
Fire in Water concept is a teaching from the Senodruides mentioned by Strabo, Geograohy, 4.4. This is a cosmic teaching within Drunemeton which will lead into a Gaulish worldview of the stoic understanding of ekpyrosis and kataklysmos.
Sacrapos Belinī (Eye of Belinos)
Within Drumeneton, we have an Anextilon “little thing that protects,” basically a magical amulet for Belinos to protect one from evil magic, disease, war, or anything of hostile, oppressive forces.
Making this Anextilon is easy. Pick your choice of material to make it from; one could use wood, metal, stone, clay, or whatever. Now the Eye image above is of the Inscrîbatus of the Anextilon. When making the Anextilon, one should not stray from the design as that is an essential part of all this. We are trying to build stuff with a cultural narrative, so please do not modify this Inscrîbatus in any way. One can easily print it out and copy it to a piece of wood with tracing paper if needed.
Cleanse the Anextilon with smoke by passing it through the smoke and then sprinkling water on it.
Charge the Anextilon with the incantation as you pass it through the smoke and sprinkle water over it.
Brixtu (Incantation) Bardic octosyllabic
Your eye is bright and true
Protect and guide me through
with the light that is hidden unto you
Release it upon those things not true.
Belinos eye ward away
that which harms my way
mighty great you are
Forever your brightness shines through
Bless the Amulet by invoking Belinos
(Invocation for Belinos)
(We/I invoke Belinos)
(Bearer of light)
(Warrior in the sky)
(Vanquisher of diseases)
Dêuos berxtos, latis eporedios, esi londos urittoclamoi ollâ
(Shining Dêuos, horse riding hero, you are fierce against all illnesses)
Rodâmos/Rodâmî addatus etic bratûn te
(We/I give offering and thanks to you)
I give you this offering and ask that may you bless this sacred Amulet as a representation of your protection against all that is harmful.
You can use this to wear around your person, put on the front door of your house, hang it on the mirror in your car, and many other things.
Etnouidiiâ “bird visionship“
We also take omens by the birds Belinos brings us within Drunemeton, specifically in Druidobessus. Etnouidiiâ is one of the big projects I have been working on. This article will lead to that article.
This article came to be from a few repetitive dreams I have had. It focused on the sun and its warmth with birds flying by, each dream bringing different birds from different directions, with the final dream bringing a Raven and a Heron with a voice from all around that said Belinos. As I have been studying Etnouidiiâ for a while now, I was caught in the Runoi Iagis and Locos concepts. So I embraced them and came out with much knowledge to move forward with Etnouidiiâ with the help of Belinos.
Belinos is very important within Drunemeton and the greater Gaulish Community. He is one of our great teachers within Uatibessus as the giver of Samolouissus (Plant Knowledge) and in Druidobessus as the giver of Etnouidiiâ (Bird Visionship) under the trees in Drunemeton.
Everything here is of my own understanding and my fellow Drunemeton members. It does not reflect the greater Gaulish or Druid Communities. These are the ways under Drunemeton.
Anextilon will have an article at some point that will get into the magical act of crafting.
- The Hyperboreans Again, Abaris, and Helixoia
Grace H. Macurdy
- Dictionary of Celtic Myths and Legends
- The irreducible Gauls used to swear by Belenos.
Blanca María Prósper
That’s informative. Thanks. Belenos’s importance came to my eye, when I found out that several mountains that are in line of sight and not very far from here are possibly named after him or whose names are in connection to the root of the word. The Belchen mountains can be used to mark the seasons.
That’s awesome, How do you use the Belchen mountains to mark the season?
When viewed from the French Alsatien Belchen, the sun rises over the German Belchen at the equinoxes, over the Little Belchen at summer solstice and the Swiss Belchen at winter solstice.
That is real awesome. Did you find this out or is it just known in your area?
Tbh, when I researched Belenos, it somehow popped up in Wikipedia. I’ve never been on one of these mountains but plan to do it sometime.
Reblogged this on Druid Reborn.