This calendar of religious dates and holidays is not academically sound. This is the religious calendar from my personal practice and reflects a number of things, including…
- The Coligny calendar, and also not the Coligny. Though the Coligny is the current popular method for determining Gaulish religious dates, it’s also outdated and incapable of being easily translated to a Roman calendar system, which is what we use now. For practicality reasons, my religious dates could only be said to be Coligny-inspired, not loyal by any means.
- Roman festivals. For example, Epona, who was brought into Roman cultus under her own name, and whose respective festival is called “Eponalia,” already has a dated festival and I see no reason to change that. Other festivals, such as the listed Samonios festivals, are based purely on interpretatio Romana, and would make any notable scholar gag; however, I find myself in need of a date to celebrate certain deities and thus, here we are.
- PIE reconstructionism. Serith’s work in Deep Ancestors, for one thing, had an effect on my work in that it helped me to fill in the blank spaces where documented Gaulish myth fails.
- Modern practice. For example, ADF’s format introduces a practical system of eight “Wheel of the Year”-esque seasonal holidays. Some of these I celebrate more than others, and all, though perhaps not attested, are brought within a Gaulish paradigm.
- Fluctuating understanding and introspection. My views on when and how the gods and spirits should be properly honored changes with my new discoveries, from archaeological evidence to introspection. As such, these dates are truly always a work in progress, even if they don’t see any technical change.
This disclaimers given, let’s begin. The “big ones” are bolded:
- February 1: Ambiuolcia, the celebration of the hearth and of fire, and in anticipation of the return of light/samos to the earth. Honored gods include Brigantia/Brigandu, as flame-keeper, Sulis as the goddess of dawn, and the hearthfire goddess (under whichever name–Brigantia works functionally, as well as Vesta, among others), and household and local land spirits.
- March 22: Litu Uesonnae, the festival of spring, and primordial birth of water into the world through both the physical thaw and the metaphysical induction of chaos and samos. In short, a celebration of life. Associated gods: Sirona and Grannus (both water deities and associated with healing; Sirona’s serpent cult and affiliation with stars is relevant, alongside Grannus’ affiliation with wells); also Nantosuelta, whose domain is the fertile earth and material wealth.
- April 30: Walpurgis, the effective beginning of Belotenia. Despite its not being traditional whatsoever, I celebrate it as the archetypical dark before the fire, and keep it as an honorific festival of yet another archetypical myth, the conflict between Taranis as Dragonslayer and Cernunnos as Primordial Serpent. It’s also traditionally a witchcraft-associated holiday, and so I associate it with those types of things: spirit work, astral work, traditional witchcraft, and so forth.
- May 1: Belotenia, in keeping with the Samos/Giamos duality worldview, is a cosmological landmark indicating the period wherein the samos principle is at its strongest. It is thus a welcoming of the samos-associated deities, the Bright or Shining Ones, and a celebration of life and living, including culture, the “tribe.” Associated gods: Belenos (obviously cognate with Belotenia, a Lord of the samos principle, and Bright God; Belotenia is also Litu Belenos), Taranis (as the Sky-Father, Thunderer, and King of the Heavens), Rosmerta (whose domain is the wheel of fate and chance), Lugus (tribal lord). Practices: Celebration of family; the lighting and use of fire, especially bonfires and hearthfires; inviting the Bright Ones and benevolent spirits to visit; tending to the land spirits and hearth spirits.
- May-June: Samonios, “the month belonging to summer.” This is the period of samos’ strength, and therefore a time to honor samos-oriented/ouranic deities. Within this month, we find (clumsily constructed):
- May 13: Litu Taranis, the “festival of Taranis,” on the Ides of June wherein Jove is typically celebrated. Proper offerings: pure water, mead/beer, burning wood fires?
- June 3: Litu Bodua, the “festival of Cathubodua,” on the date of the celebration of Roman Bellona. Proper offerings: meat/blood, mead, burning fires, spears/blades?
- June 21: Medisamos, the moment where the samos principle is strongest. From this moment, the world begins to descend back down to Dumnos. Theoretically this is also when Epona begins her archetypical descent to the Otherworld/Dumnos. Associated gods: Epona as guide and caretaker of the dead; Belenos as Bright One; Taranis as Sky-Father; and other ouranic deities, such as Lugus and Brigantia, and potentially Cathubodua and Maponus in his aspect as having returned from Dumnos.
- July 18: Cathu Alliae, the anniversary of the Gauls’ victory over Rome, the Battle of Alesia, and thus arguably the high point of the ancestors’ history. Honored: ancestors, Cathubodua, Camulos (as the bringer of victory). Primarily serves as a counterpoint to the October holiday Cathu Alesiae.
- August 1: Litu Lugus/Lugunassatis, celebration of the tribe and of civilization, crafts, and law. Honors the god Lugus as tribal father and craftsman. A time of family. Associated deities and spirits are the hearth and home spirits; the ancestors; Lugus, obviously; Cernunnos, as the First Ancestor; Ogmios, as the god of spoken and written word and thus of oaths. Good time to take oaths.
- September 22: Litu Uogiami, the festival of autumn. If there is any festival on this list which has the role of a harvest festival, this is it. Nantosuelta is honored as the provider of material and natural wealth, and perhaps Grannus and Sirona as deities of water. Similarly, the land spirits are honored for their bounty, and offerings should be left to garden or farm spirits in thanks. Rosmerta may be celebrated as a goddess of mead, and Sulis as the goddess of dusk. Typical offerings include fruits and vegetables, breads/wheats, and mead.
- October 3: Cathu Alesiae*, the anniversary of the Battle of Alesia, which is arguably the moment of the downfall of Celtic European dominance in favor of Rome. A day to honor the ancestors for their sacrifices and to mourn a lost culture. The ancestors and Cathubodua should be honored, as well as Epona for her role as reaper/guide/caretaker of souls.
- * November 1: Samonia, in keeping with the Samos/Giamos duality worldview, is a cosmological landmark indicating the period wherein the giamos principle is at its strongest. It is also a celebration of the ancestors and the dead, an ideal moment for the “parting of the veil,” so to speak. Associated gods: Cernunnos (as King of the Otherworld), Epona (as psychopomp and Queen of the Otherworld). Practices: Observing and making offerings to the ancestors; honoring and making offerings to chthonic deities including Cernunnos; visiting or tending graveyards; ancestor vigils/dumb suppers/etc.
- November-December: Giamonios, “the month belonging to winter.” This is the period of giamos’ strength, and thus a celebration of giamos-oriented/chthonic deities. Within this month:
- December 18: Eponalia, the Roman festival of Epona, is a day of observance for her. Appropriate offerings: horse effigies, dog effigies, items associated with cavalry (bridles, brushes), garlands, roses. See Saturnalia below.
- December 23: Saturnalia, in keeping with my views that interpretatio Romana held that Cernunnos was Saturn, is a day of observance for Cernunnos. Appropriate offerings include Interestingly, Saturnalia was historically celebrated from Dec. 17 through the 23, and a different Saturnian deity celebrated each day; Epona has one of these days, the 18th. I have given Cernunnos a place in Saturnalia on the 23rd, which, incidentally, is also the Roman Larentalia, a day of the dead.
- December 21: Medigiamos, or Midwinter, is the moment where the giamos principle is strongest. From this moment, the world begins to move back up toward Albios; Epona begins her return journey from the Otherworld. A feast day for giamos/Otherworld gods: Cernunnos, Sucellos, potentially Nantosuelta, Maponus in his aspect as a dweller of Dumnos, and the spirits of the Anderoi. Also, the spirits of the dead, who are in power at this time.
Additionally, not on the religious calendar:
- Saturnian Rite: Every Saturday. Inspired in part by Western occultism and in part by my studies in necromancy, this is the day of the week when the ancestors are honored. It is appropriate to offer them grains, whiskey and other alcohols, copper coins, and personalized offerings.
- Sanctifying Rite: Whenever needed, potentially on the first of each month? An act of honoring and invitation toward Nemetona, goddess of sacred space and altars.
- January 1, New Year’s Day: A time to offer blessings to others and seek out the blessings of both other people and the gods, especially Rosmerta, who not only turns the wheel of fate and fortune, but also controls it to an extent. Mead is an acceptable tribute/offering, alternatively to be replaced with the iconic champagne.
I may write more on the individual holidays in the future. For now, here’s a tentative layout.