A Level 1 Final Project for the Sisters of the Rising Moon School
Level 1 Initiate and Member of the Order of the White Moon
(© 2013. All original material in this site is under copyright protection and is the intellectual property of the author.)
Nemetona, whose name means 'shrine' or 'sacred area', is an ancient Romano-Celtic goddess, who was primarily worshipped in France, Germany, and England. The Celts did not build temples, but rather practiced their spirituality in groves of trees. Nemetona is said to guard over these groves of trees with a special protective presence that marks the area as a sacred site. Within this place, the soul becomes hushed and calm, becoming one with nature and the goddess.
During Roman times, a shrine was erected in Bath, England depicting Nemetona as a seated queen holding a scepter surrounded by three hooded figures (the triple goddess) and a ram (a male fertility symbol). The Romans paired her with Leocetios Mars, a storm god of war whose names means 'light' or 'shining one', making her his mate. These types of pairings of Roman gods with local deities were common during that time, and at first glance the pairing seems awkward and degrading of Nemetona's power. Research has shown, however, that she may have originally been associated with the local god Rigonemetis, known as the 'king of the sacred grove', who is also associated with Mars. Since the Celtic god of Mars was associated with protection, healing, and agriculture, it was likely that the Celts saw Rigonemetis as having similar qualities, especially as a protector of the sacred grove, the sacred mother, and the wellspring of life. The lightning aspect of Leocitios, may have also been associated with the druids belief in lightning as sacred to trees, especially oaks.
Although not directly linked to Nemetona, there is a festival in Appleton, England called "Bawming the Thorn" that may have some association with her due to its focus on the Hawthorn tree (which is highly sacred to Nemetona). During the festival, the community gathers to decorate a Hawthorn tree in the center of town at a location they believe was a spot of ancient pagan worship.
Nemetona is associated with the goddess Nemain, who is the Irish goddess of battle and frenzy. Although some think Nemain may just be a deviation of Nemetona's original meaning associated with her pairing with the Roman God Leocitios of war, others think that the sharing of names is a coincidence.
Colors: Green, Brown
Elements: Earth, Water
Trees: All Trees, but especially Hawthorn. A spot where Oak, Ash, and Hawthorn grow together is said to be especially sacred to her.
Herbs/Flowers: Hawthorn Flowers, Cedarwood
Goddess Aspect: The Mother
Sacred Sites: All sacred places in nature, especially groves of trees, but also stone circles, deep lakes, mountaintops, and caves
Offerings: Plant trees
This ritual is inspired by the ancient redwood groves where I live that remind me so much of Nemetona. On more than one occasion I have felt my soul become hushed in certain areas amongst these gigantic trees, as if entering a sacred, natural temple. In these places, I have felt what I imagine Nemetona's presence to embody as a sacred, loving energy reverberating throughout the forest.
PURPOSE: The intent of this ritual is to seek oneness with nature and the goddess at a deep level. It is especially good for soul healing or clarifying one's path.
NEED: cedarwood essential oil, leaf or fern from ritual site (be respectful when taking), solar-infused hawthorn tea
PREP: Wear earthy tones and adorn hair with hawthorn flowers (if desired); choose a ritual spot near an ancient tree. Make hawthorn tea to bring with you.
Fenech, Selena. Nemetona. Selena Fenech Fairies and Fantasy. 2009. Website. http://selinafenech.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-art-nemetona.html
Sequoia Sempervirens in Redwood National Park. National Park Service. 2006. Website. http://www.nps.gov/redw/ (image pulled from Wikipedia Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Redwood_slope.jpg)
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