We have imprisoned the goddess, stripped her of her titles and, defiled her waters, land, and air, Vilified her to the point of an unrecognized idea. We have lost a piece of our identity as a result of this. This also manifests in how we treat ourselves and the earth. We must help her reclaim her place.Carnutus
Oh great Litauia, Oh beautiful Litauia, Oh Litauia Matir, we see you and hear you.
I came across five inscriptions to a goddess called Litaui (the vast one), which is Earth or where we get our word for Earth, so it seems we have an Earth Mother, Dêuos. This is truly special as this gives the Gaulish realm much as this fills in many areas for people. This gives our organization Galatîs Litauiâs deeper meaning as our name means, basically Gauls of the Earth. So finding Litauia makes it so much more as we now have a Dêuos of the Earth, a mother earth goddess. Litauia Matir.
CIL XIII 5599, 5600, 5603, 2887, 5598
- Marti Cicolluis et Litavi […], ‘To Mars Cicolluis and to Litavi
- Marti Cicollui] e[t] Li[t]a[vi] Cresce[ns ?] Sen(n)i(i) M[ar]tialis [fil(ius)] [v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito) ?],‘To Mars Cicolluis and to Litavi, Crescens (?), son of Sennius Martialis, paid his vow willingly and deservedly (?)
- Ma]rti Ci[co]llui et Litavi L. Mattius Aeternus Ex voto, ‘To Mars Cicolluis and to Litavi, L. Mattius Aeternus (offered this monument
- Mâlain: [Marti Cicolluis] et Litavi ex voto suscepto v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito), ‘To Mars Cicolluis and to Litavi, having made a vow, paid his vow willingly and deservedly’.
- Aug(ustis) sac(rum) deo Marti Cicolluis et Litavi P. Attius Paterc[l]u[s] [v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito)], ‘Sacred to the August deities, to the god Mars Cicolluis and to Litavi, P. Attius Paterculus paid his vow willingly and deservedly.
She can be found attested with the Lingones and the Mandubii.
Let us walk and explore a little.
A Swiss linguist Rudolf Thurneysen suggests that Litavi’s name is similar to that of the Sanskrit word for Earth (Prthvī), meaning the Vast One. Prthvī is also a Devi (goddess) in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Jackson (2002:80-81) suggests the name “Pltwī” (his actual form is *plth2wih2-), “broad one” as a title. This is found in India (Pṛthivī), Greece (Plataia, where she was worshiped (Burkert, 1985, 17)), and perhaps Gaul (Litavi) (West, 2007, 174, 175, 177). Pausanias (7.25.13) describes a sanctuary where the Earth is given the title “Broadbosomed.” An extended form, *dhéǵhōm pḷtu- “wide earth” is found in Sanskrit, Avestan, and Old Norse (Orel, 1995, 119).
She has a nurturing, supportive, and productive nature; she is complementary to Dyaus Pita, the god of the sky. They are interdependent as the sky fertilizes the Earth with rain. Together they work to nourish all things. They are very archaic and created the world for both Gods and humans. Prithvi is symbolized as a cow, and Dyaus is a bull.
A myth of here origins is During the rule of the king Prithu, there was a great famine. To attempt to end the famine, Prithu wanted to slay Earth to make her yield fruits. So he took off to the heavens, to Brahma, to make his request. But of course, the Earth did not like this idea, and she assumed the form of a cow and followed him to intervene. Once there, she made her case by questioning the sin of slaying a woman. Prithu responded by saying it would be an act of virtue to save his subjects from starving. But the Earth had a better solution. She said that at the king’s command, she would restore all of the old vegetation with her milk. Prithu agreed and had Swayambhuva Manu, the calf, milk the Earth. Vegetation proceeded to subsist, and life was given back to Earth.
We also have a few words such as the Welsh Llydaw, Old Breton Letau, Old Irish Letha, and the Latinized form Letavia; all come from a Celtic *Litavia, ‘the Earth par excellence,’ ‘the Country.’
Delamarre, 2003, p. 204; Lambert.
Afterlife and the river to the underworld
Ch.-J. Guyonvarc’h explains in d’étymologie et de lexicographie Gauloises et Celtiques XXVIII, 133 that the Irish Letha, the Welsh Llydaw, and the Gallic forms Litavis and Litana, all refer to the Celtic afterlife, reconstructed with the form *Letavia.
Le Bohec suggested in 2003, p. 44 refers to Guyonvarc’h, Christian-Jacques, in Ogam, XX, 1-2, 1968, pp. 490-494. that her name can mean the door towards the otherworld, but he does not state why he has that theory.
The river of Lethe, which by some persons is called Limaeas, but by others Belion; and this river, too, rises in the country of the Celtiberians and the Vaccaeans, as also does the river that comes after it, namely the Baenis (others say ‘Minius’), which is by far the greatest of the rivers in Lusitania – itself also being navigable inland for eight hundred stadia. Poseidonius, however, says that the Baenis rises in Cantabria…this river was the limit of Brutus’ campaign, though farther on there are several other rivers, parallel to those mentioned the Artabrians, who live in the neighbourhood of the cape called Nerium, which is the end of both the western and the northern side of Iberia. But the country round about the cape itself is inhabited by Celtic people, kinsmen of those on the Anas [= Guadiana]; for these people and the Turdulians made an expedition thither and then had a quarrel, it is said, after they crossed the Limaeas River; and when, in addition to the quarrel, the Celtic peoples also suffered the loss of their chieftain, they scattered and stayed there; and it was from this circumstance that the Limaeas was also called the River of Lethe…Now about Celtic Elements in Northwestern Spain 503 thirty different tribes occupy the country between the Tagus and the Artabrians.Strabo Geografía III, 3, 5; H.L. Jones translation
A little bit about Lethes
Lethes, in Greek mythology, is the daughter of Eris (Strife) and the personification of oblivion. Lethe is also the name of a river or plain in the infernal regions.
In Orphism, a Greek mystical religious movement, it was believed that the newly dead who drank from the River Lethe would lose all memory of their past existence. The initiated were taught to seek the river of memory, Mnemosyne, instead, thus securing the end of the transmigration of the soul. At the oracle of Trophonius near Lebadeia (modern Levadhia, Greece), which was thought to be an entrance to the underworld, there were two springs called Lethe and Mnemosyne.
There seems to be a theme on a few items in Gaul and the Celtic realm of reincarnation with water or Cauldrons, as seen on the Gundstrup Cauldron and the Gold Diadem from Mones(Asturias). These, to me, seem to depict having to drink or go into a river/water of some kind to be born again.
The forest called Litana
A reference to a forest in Gaul called Litana by Titus Livius.
While these matters were engrossing attention, a fresh disaster was announced, for Fortune was heaping one disaster upon another this year. It was reported that L. Postumius, the consul elect, and his army had been annihilated in Gaul. There was a wild forest called by the Gauls Litana, and through this, the consul was to conduct his army. The Gauls cut through the trees on both sides of the road in such a way that they remained standing as long as they were undisturbed, but a slight pressure would make them fall. Postumius had two Roman legions, and he had also levied a force from the country bordering on the Upper Sea, sufficiently large to bring the force with which he entered the hostile territory up to 2s,000 men. The Gauls had posted themselves round the outskirts of the forest, and as soon as the Roman army entered they pushed the sawn trees on the outside, these fell upon those next to them, which were tottering and hardly able to stand upright, until the whole mass fell in on both sides and buried in one common ruin arms and men and horses. Hardly ten men escaped, for when most of them hail been crushed to death by the trunks or broken branches of the trees, the remainder, panic-struck at the unexpected disaster, were killed by the Gauls who surrounded the forest. Out of the whole number only very few were made prisoners, and these, whilst trying to reach a bridge over the river, were intercepted by the Gauls who had already seized it. It was there that Postumius fell whilst fighting most desperately to avoid capture. The Boii stripped the body of its spoils and cut off the head, and bore them in triumph to the most sacred of their temples. According to their custom they cleaned out the skull and covered the scalp with beaten gold; it was then used as a vessel for libations and also as a drinking cup for the priest and ministers of the temple. The plunder, too, which the Gauls secured was as great as their victory, for although most of the animals had been buried beneath the fallen trees, the rest of the booty, not having been scattered in flight, was found strewn along the whole line where the army lay.Titus Livius, XXIII, 24, 7
I mention this as it is a great story and speaks of the Gauls connection to the land around them, plus the name of the forest has roots in Litauia. Showing us her broadness.
We don’t know how the Senogalatis viewed her, and I will not pretend to know. That said, we have much info to give the devotion to reconnect.
Litauia name means the broad one, Earth.
She is the personification of the Earth as she is the Earth, our Earth Mother. She is maternal and supportive, upholding and supporting all that is. She encompasses all things in her motionless dance, freely flowing still. She is strong and patient with us mortals, providing us with riches, wealth, and power. She gives us the nectar of life, the cosmic milk giving us water, food, and most importantly, a home. Her many waterways bring one to the deeps of the Earth for you to enter into Dubnos guided by Nanthoselta to be greeted by Sucellos. She is primordial and one of the first Dêuos. Her symbolism is the cow, milk, Cauldrons, and vegetation.
I believe she is the mother to countless of our Dêuoi. All the rivers, streams, and different bodies of water are her. All the forests, Mountains, Deserts, and the land itself are her. Each one of those is also a different Dêuoi. That might be confusing with our Mono way of thinking. Let me try to explain a complex thought. To start, this is heavily Animistic, So obviously, we have many Dêuoi of places, actions, and so on. Let us look at a River; for example, we have a Dêuos associated with that river as it has a specific energy and feeling that it gives off. Now that river is part of Litaui but also a Deuos.
So imagine you are a bird flying towards Litauia (The Earth). You see Litauia is growing closer, and you see the different valleys, mountains, and bodies of water. You decide to land in a river, and you grow closer to that river which shows herself as Acionna (Carnutian River Deuos). You land in that river. You can see all the different rocks and plants and all the little things that make up the area. So all the different Bituatîs (Earth Spirits).
Litauia is all things, but her children are her many parts. So the waters of Litauia have many names and characteristics. That being Acionna (Dêuos the Orleanais region and the Essonne), Segeta (Dêuos of the Loire and hot springs), Sequana (Dêuos of the River Seine), Souconna (Dêuos of the Saône), Sirona (Dêuos of healing springs) and countless other Dêuoi of different bodies of water. This doesn’t just apply to bodies of water; it is just an example as we can use Mountains and the land or even different aspects of Agriculture and such. Not all the Dêuoi are her children, but those of Chothinc nature and some with Agriculture aspects are.
We come from her, so we all shall return to her.
The Devotional side is a little different as I would suggest one not ask anything from her as she is always giving and supporting. If one needs to ask from her, Ask something like, “Help me to see you and live in tune with you” Give her praises instead. I go out and help tend to her by picking up trash and doing different activities. So within Galatîs Litauiâs, that is why Galatis for a Clean Earth is being Developed.
Invocation for Litauia
I invoke Litauia
Holder and provider of all that sustains
Your flowing waters, deep valleys, high peaks, and low lands support the whole of all life.
May we always remember that you always provide.
These are my views and do not reflect the whole Gaulish Community.