A Practical Solution for Gaulish Devotional Practice

In the Gaulish tradition, we have a few ritual formats. We have one that is from Segomâros, a few from ADF groups wandering about and possibly others. In Toutâ Galation, the official ritual format is the one from Segomâros, however I keep finding it a little impractical for daily or weekly use. Seeing your religion as impractical is something that I find disheartening. Sometimes you can’t find the time to actually do a 10-20 minute rite daily or even weekly. Holidays are a different story. By the time you know the holiday or any special time for your ancestors or even gods, you’re already making the time to figure everything out, whether it’s what to offer or what prayer you’re going to say.

But what about the Galatîs who are strapped for time and want to connect with their ancestors or even gods on a daily to weekly basis? If you’re amazing at time management, the standard format is wonderful. It opens the gate to the dêwoi to ensure that the words and offerings go straight to them, while keeping your hearth or space safe by the fire of Brigantiâ. Again, not all of us have the time and could cause a disconnect from our religion.

Let’s look at the first ritual formula:

  1. Making of holy water or Urextus Noibodubri. (Unless you have pre-made some)
  2.  Purification or Glanosagon, in which one would sprinkle the water on participants while saying a purification blessing.
  3. Kentus or the Beginning, this would establish a holy silence and then make a sacred fire which is the holiest part of the sacred space. An optional part would be a making of the rampart, which can be done with a candle.
  4. Pre-Offering or Areadbertâ, this strengthens the sacred fire by lighting incense from a candle or putting powdered incense in an outdoor fire. Then, an offering to Cernunnos is made to open the way to the gods and the divine realms by pouring whatever you have into the offering bowl.
  5. Offering or Adbertâ, this is where the gifts to the gods are given.
  6. Chant or Natus.
  7. Braton or thanks to the Dêwos that is being offered to.
  8. Braton to Carnonos (Cernunnos) or Braton Carnonû for opening the way to the gods,  and ask him to allow space to return to normal.
  9. Covering the sacred fire or Clitâ Noibotenetos.
  10. Ulidos or feast (this is omitted if calling Dêwoi Andernadoi.

So nine or ten steps depending if you have holy water prepared already. This doesn’t count preparing your space by producing a certain ambience that helps you perform, i.e. music, lighting etc.

How do we make this a practical ritual formula for daily to weekly offerings? If we look at the gatekeeper deity portion, perhaps we can omit that. It’s not to say this isn’t an important part in ritual, but maybe we can argue it away by thinking of it as formal step for more formal rituals such as in Holiday rites.

We might also be able to look at omitting the strengthening of the sacred flame by giving an offering of incense to it. If we are offering inside on a shrine or altar, do we need to strengthen the flame? I think that since the house is already sacred, just having the flame without strengthening it is enough for a daily/weekly devotion.

So, if we take out the gatekeeper dêwoi, and the strengthening/offering to the flame, we omit two steps and we’re down to 8-9. We could also argue taking out the feasting portion out or amending it for daily ritual. Perhaps it doesn’t need to be a full meal and could be a quick snack if you’re on your way to school or work after your worship. That leaves us with 7-8 steps.

We can actually combine a few steps too. If we count the offering, the prayer and the thanks as one step, we’re coming to about 4-5 easy steps. What really makes this part work however is the pre-planning of what you’re offering as a daily or weekly ritual, plus having a pre-written prayer that is multi purpose (that is gives gratitude and has room for requests) that you use ‘ritually’. All that’s really left is the covering of the flame.

So looking at the rationally condensed list, we have:

  1. Purification or Glanosagon, in which one would sprinkle the water on participants while saying a purification blessing. (Or bathing or washing one’s hands before the ritual)
  2. Kentus or the Beginning, this would establish a holy silence and then make a sacred fire which is the holiest part of the sacred space. An optional part would be a making of the rampart, which can be done with a candle. (I’ll circle the candle, usually a tea light, around the shrine/altar three times in a clockwise motion, once for each world; Albios/Nemos, Bitus, Mori/Dumnos. The reason for this is because it’s still a recreation of the cosmos and the shrine/altar functions as the axis mundi/world tree.)
  3. Offering/Adbertâ, Chant-Prayer/Natus, and Thanks/Braton. (For daily offerings, I give incense sticks/cones, lit by the candle previously mentioned, alongside the prayers. I feel that’s the bare minimum. )
  4. Covering the sacred fire or Clitâ Noibotenetos, or leaving it to burn out. (Most people I imagine feel safer not having an open flame burn out in their home when not around.)
  5. Feast/Ulidos – OPTIONAL

We just cut half our formal ritual in half for practical reasons using practical reasoning. This format works for both ancestor and the dêwoi devotionals.

 

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