You may remember, if you read my post on Taranis, how the Roman writer Lucan compared his cult to that of the “cruel” Diana of the Scythians. I wondered at the time who Diana of the Scythians was, and what was cruel about her cult.
Time has obliterated many of the pagan elements of Scandinavian culture, and much of the pre-Christian belief system has vanished from hman memory. But while the cults of Thor and Odin no doubt included lore and practices now lost to us, the cults of the Vanir deities are even more obscure, perhaps because certain features offended Christian sensibilities.
Since people learned to use amber, which happened at least 5–6 thousand years ago, attempts have been made many times to unravel the mystery of its origin.
Both scientific works and folklore have come up with versions that have not yielded to each other in the degree of their irreality.
At present no one doubts that amber is a mineral of organic origin belonging to the category of typical resins. However, it took quite a long time for scientists to reach a consensus on this matter.
Go to the Amber Museum website to read more.
(For the image at the top, click here.)
There are two known gods of smithing in Gaul: Gobannos and Ucuetis. Now, it’s very possible that the two are the same god with different epithets… Gobannos literally means “smith” (though it can be derived further into other proto-Celtic roots), and Ucuetis may mean “great breath”—a reference to bellows—and was worshiped by the smiths of Alesia. Gobannos is also known as Cobannos, of the rich Cobannos Hoard now displayed at the Getty Villa in California, thanks to the rule where C and G became at one time interchangeable in Gaulish. Now please stay with me as I propose a third potential god of smithing: Sucellos. This is not a theory that I’ve seen widely upheld, but I think it likely for reasons put forth below.
Go to the Nemeton Deuognaton site to read more.
(For the image at the top, click here.)
Sucellos was a god of Eastern Gaul and the Rhineland. Images of him from the Roman period show a mature man dressed in a tunic, with a pot (olla) in one hand and a large hammer in the other. He sometimes has a barrel at his feet, and occasionally a dog accompanies him. The goddess Nantosuelta occasionally appears beside him. His name means “The Good Striker”.
In a world where the average woman was not expected to live beyond her 20’s, and death in childbirth was common, it is little wonder that one of the most widespread cults in the Celtic (and Romano-Celtic) world was that of the Nutrices – the protectors of maternity and motherhood.
Read more at balkancelts.wordpress.com
(Image from the Balkan Celts article)
Aeracura seems to have been a a goddess of the underworld and of prosperity, whose cult centered on southern Germany and the north-west of the Balkans. The Roman god Dis Pater sometimes accomapanies her, in inscriptions, a statue, and magic spells. She shares her fruitful attributes with the Mothers, and may be a patron of miners.
Serket (also known as Serqet, Selkis, and Selket) is an Egyptian goddess of protection associated with the scorpion. She was worshipped widely in Lower Egypt as a great Mother Goddess in the Predynastic Period (c. 6000- c. 3150 BCE) and so is among the older deities of Egypt. She is associated with healing, magic, and protection, and her name means “She Who Causes the Throat to Breathe”. Her symbols are the scorpion, the Ankh, and the Was Sceptre, all of which convey her benevolent aspects.
Read more at the Ancient History Encylopedia
(Image originally from Flickr, by Merce.)
This post had its genesis in a question on reddit/mythology, encouraging other redditors to share their favourite myths from their home countries. I’ve always loved the fact that Wolverine made my world, especially if you look at it from an airplane, where the scars left by the retreating glaciers at the end of the Ice Age do make you think of claw marks.