gaules

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16-year-old Emma Walker and 18-year-old William Riley Gaul from Tennessee had been dating for several months when she decided to call the relationship off. Unable to accept Emma’s decision, William stalked her incessantly for two months before his stalking reached calamitous heights. On the 20th of November, 2016, William took his grandfather’s gun and drove to Emma’s home. Once here, he stood outside her bedroom and watched her sleep. He then produced the stolen gun and shot Emma through her bedroom window.

The following morning, Emma’s parents were horrified to discover her deceased in her bed, saturated by her own blood. Several hours later, William professed his love for Emma on his social media accounts, completely unaware that police had already suspected him in her murder. 

He was released on $1 million bail on 31 January, 2017, and shall remain free until his trial.

Cernunnos by Milek Jakubiec.

Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the “horned god” of Celtic polytheism. Cernunnos was a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but he appears all over Gaul, and among the Celtiberians. Cernunnos is depicted with the antlers of a stag, sometimes carries a purse filled with coin, often seated cross-legged and often associated with animals and holding or wearing torcs, are known from over 50 examples in the Gallo-Roman period, mostly in north-eastern Gaul.

bbc.com
French dig unearths 'little Pompeii' near Lyon
An archaeologist says the Roman find by the River Rhone is the most significant in half a century.

There are a number of reports of this with further information (the Smithsonian’s article has extra information about a possible school of philosophy, for example). This is a wonderful find, extending to both banks of the River Rhone. Stunning mosaic, too.

The Ancient, Fierce Celtic Women & the Romans who fought them.

“Here the women met them holding swords and axes in their hands. With hideous shrieks of rage they tried to drive back the hunted and the hunters. The fugitives as deserters, the pursuers as foes. With bare hands the women tore away the shields of the Romans or grasped their swords, enduring mutilating wounds.”
-Plutarch

“A Celtic woman is often the equal of any Roman man in hand-to-hand combat. She is as beautiful as she is strong. Her body is comely but fierce. The physiques of our Roman women pale in comparison.”  
-Unidentified Roman Soldier

“The women of the Gauls are not only like men in their great stature, but they are a match for them in courage as well." 
-Diodorus Siculus

"The women of the Celtic tribes are bigger and stronger than our Roman women. This is most likely due to their natures as well as their peculiar fondness for all things martial and robust. The flaxen haired maidens of the north are trained in sports and war while our gentle ladies are content to do their womanly duties and thus are less powerful than most young girls from Gaul and the hinterlands.”
-Marcus Borealis

whole band of foreigners will be unable to cope with one [Gaul] in a fight, if he calls in his wife, stronger than he by far and with flashing eyes; least of all when she swells her neck and gnashes her teeth, and poising her huge white arms, begins to rain blows mingled with kicks, like shots discharged by the twisted cords of a catapult.”
-Ammianus Marcellinus

‘Celtic’ Witchcraft

I remember in my early days trying to find resources on historical Celtic witchcraft. I wanted to learn about the witchcraft from the places I descended from. So, I searched for answers. I read book after book on the supposed witch practices found in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland (Raymond Buckland never steered me so wrong, and that’s really saying something). However, I remember feeling…unsatisfied. It didn’t seem historical or based in any pre-Gardnerian lineage. It seemed like Wiccan influenced witchcraft based in Gaelic and Gallic mythology. However, the authors of the books were claiming that it was truly historical and traditional. Lo and behold, I was correct. So then came the question “What is historical ‘celtic’ witchcraft and where can I find it?” 

First of all, there is no one Celtic witchcraft. The word ‘Celtic’ applies to both Gaels and Gauls (though it’s said that Gauls aren’t included in that term at all, but for now, we’ll use it). There are six nations covered under ‘Celt’; Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, The Isle of Man, and Cornwall. Any witchcraft that originates from those lands can be considered ‘Celtic’, but the use of that term can create confusion and misinformation. Though they may look similar at times, and though they are all witchcraft, they are not the same. Methods changed from environment to environment. The witchery has always been based in the Land. 

I’ll briefly describe the practices and lore found in each land, but it is by no means exhaustive. 

Cornwall

In the circles of traditional witchcraft, Cornish witchery has been made very clear and accessible with much thanks to the wonderful Gemma Gary. Cornwall has perhaps one of the strongest histories of magical practice out of the Celtic Fringe. Not only witches, but Pellars (cunning folk), were a large part of the culture. Folk magic, the basis of both witch and pellar magic alike, ran rampant through Cornwall. The Pellars of Cornwall held a very strong likeness to witches, so much so that some folklorists consider them the same. The Pellars made it a point to have a wide range of services available to their customer. That meant that they would both curse and cure. The magic of Cornwall often came in the form of small spell bags filled with either powders, folded written charms, or other magical ingredient. These bags did a number of things, from love conjuring, curse breaking, and spirit banishing to healing, luck magic, and finding lost possessions. According to Cornish witch lore, a witch’s power fluctuates with the seasons, and it was in the spring that a witch’s power was renewed. The different pellars and witches of Cornwall would also clash through reputation of power. Though they clashed, the witches of Cornwall would also gather for their sabbats, which were a strange thing to behold to outsiders. Witches, both young and old, would dance with the Devil around fires, faster and closer to the flames with each pass, and never be singed. The ability to spontaneously disappear is spoken of (which may suggest flying). Black animals, especially black cats, are often spoke of in Cornish witch lore. The association with witch and toad is especially strong here, and it can be seen as a familiar, a shapeshifting witch, a charm, or an indicator of a witch. 

Wales

Witchcraft that comes from Wales can be particularly tricky to find. The term ‘Welsh Witch’ has been popular since the early days of Stevie Nicks. This makes it notoriously difficult to find any historical references on actual Welsh witches. In actuality, there were two kinds of magical practitioner in Wales. The first was a wizard (known as a cunning man in England) and the second was a witch. Wizards were very popular and plenty in number in Wales. Their practice was based mainly in healing the ill and livestock. They also did favors, like giving love potions and undoing witch spells. One Welsh tale, however, tells about a conjuror who is unable to undo a witch’s spell on a butter churn, so the farmer must turn to another witch to reverse it. Welsh witches were thought to have great power. They were able to raise the dead, curse their enemies, and according to older legends, shape shift and fly. Observing the myth of a sorceress named Cerridwen and the legends of Morgan le Fey and Nimue, there comes a general idea of what a witch was in Wales and Welsh legend. The idea of someone brewing potions and poisons was most definitely associated with witches, but more broadly, elements of water and weather seem to have importance. Interaction with the fairies also holds a very strong importance in Welsh craft. Walking between worlds, particularly this world and the world of the Fairy (Avalon, anyone?), was a skill that many wizards, witches, and heroes of Welsh myth acquired. All in all, the witchcraft in Wales is quite similar to the witchcraft found in England, as is the interaction between Wizard (cunning folk or Wise Men and Women) and Witch. 

Brittany 

In Brittany, a very strong fear and dislike for witches is found that is unlike Wales. Witches in Brittany were thought to be many in number. The legends suggest that they targeted farmers especially, making sure always to turn milk sour and spoil butter. They were also accounted to be particularly dangerous and vicious. Any man who watched their Sabbat would either not be found, found dead, or found scared witless and unable to speak. The witches of Brittany, however, were also sought out by the townsfolk. Indeed, there were witch doctors to fix their issues, but the witches were sought out for love spells and favors. Witch-cats are also mentioned, which could be either a reference to familiars or shapeshifting. Most strangely, Breton witches are said to very rarely cast spells on their targets and instead cast spells on the animals and possessions of the target. Every village is said to have a local witch. Some villages are said to be completely filled with witches. Many of them carry cane-like sticks with which they cast their spells. They were also said to be skilled in spells to find things, like lost objects and buried treasure. The line between village conjuror/wizard and witch is difficult to draw here. They may choose to help or harm, depending on their inclinations. For that reason, they still hold a strong reputation in Brittany, despite it being a place noted for its skepticism. 

The Isle of Man

On the Isle of Man, both witches and magicians were an important part of the environment. The first thing you’ll find on the witches from the Isle is that they practiced much magic involving the weather and the sea. Magic was used to help the fishermen catch more fish, make sure the winds were good for travel, and settle storms at sea. A charm was made by a witch and given to a sailor that stored the winds inside. When he was at sea and in need of a gust, he would use the charm. Interestingly, the line between witch and cunning person seemed to blur here. Cunning folk were known as Charmers and Witch Doctors. Witches, however, were employed when needed. There was a perceived difference between the magic of different kinds of practitioners. Do not be mistaken, though. The fear and dislike of witches still existed. Many farmers feared the wrath of witches, especially when their crops failed and their cattle died. To reveal the witch responsible, they would burn whatever died. The person in pain the next day was thought responsible. As throughout all of Europe, witches were thought to have gained their power either through birth or through the Devil’s grace. However, witches were looked upon differently in the Isle than other places. Because of its long associations with magic, it had many kinds of magical practitioners and witches were not always considered to be the most powerful of them. Magicians, who practiced an art to compel and work with spirits and powers beyond other kinds of practitioners, were revered. They were usually compared to the image of Manannán Mac Lir, considered both a sea god and a powerful magician. The ability to fly and walk between worlds was also attributed to the witches and magicians of the Isle of Man, most likely due to the latter. 

Scotland

Witchcraft flourished in Scotland perhaps as much, if not more than, in Wales. Scotland’s witch trials are famous, and perhaps the most famous among them was Isobel Gowdie. In her free confession, she detailed a story that most labeled imaginary. She spoke of fairies, elf bolts, curses, shapeshifting, flying, and lewd activities with the Devil. When comparing it with the confession of Alison Pearson, another Scottish witch she had never met, a Scottish fairy tradition begins to appear. Alison also details stories of going under the hills to meet the fairies, as well as them making elf bolts. More trials begot more folklore and legends. Stories of witches working the weather to destroy crops, sink ships, and cause havoc spread. More tales of a Man in Black appearing to future-witches and witches alike began to run rampant. John Fian, a male witch, was famed for his botched love spell, teaching witchcraft, harshly bewitching people whom he didn’t like, and attempting to sink the fleet of King James VI with a storm. Much of Scotland’s witchcraft was influenced by Gaelic legend and myth. Scotland’s witchery was not Gaelic alone, however. Norse invaders came and brought their magic with them. In Orkney, a Scottish Isle filled with witch history, the Vikings came often. Their language and culture mingled with the Scots’. Soon, cunning women were referred to as Spae Wives. The word Spae comes from the Old Norse spá,which means ‘prophesize’These spae wives told fortunes, created charms, and protected against foul magical play. The witches of Scotland, however, proved a match for them. They killed cattle, cursed babies, and brought general havoc with them. 

Ireland

Historical Irish witchcraft is perhaps the most difficult to find out of all the Celtic regions, and this is for a few different reasons. The first being that many lineages of Wicca have taken Irish mythology and applied it to the Gardnerian influenced witchcraft that they have. Many times when the word ‘Celtic Witchcraft’ or “Celtic Wicca’ comes up, this is what is being referred to. The second reason that it’s difficult to find is because the witch trials in Ireland are few and far between. The trials barely touched Ireland, amounting to a whopping 4 trials. The generally accepted reason for this is that Ireland was extraordinarily lax with its witchcraft laws. Most times, using witchcraft against another person’s possessions or livestock resulted in prison time. Only by harming another magically would a witch be executed. Interestingly, many people took this as a sign that Irish witches were generally less severe than their other Celtic counterparts. Florence Newton, the famed witch of Youghal, put the assumption to rest. When a woman refused to give her any food, she kissed her on the street. The woman became extremely ill and began to see visions of Florence pricking her with pins and needles. Florence also kissed the hand of a man in jail. He became very ill, cried out her name, and died. In a Northern Ireland trial, eight women were accused of causing horrific visions and poltergeists in the home of a woman. The ability to create illusions is a trait attributed to fairies in Gaelic myth. Those fairies are said to have taught the witches their skills in both Ireland and Scotland. Irish witches were said to turn themselves into animals, especially hares and crows, to spy on their neighbors. They would also place spells on those whom they wish in their animal form. They were also said to have used bundles of yarrow and branches of elder to fly. These sticks they flew upon, before brooms, were known as ‘horses’. They were said to fly up out of the chimney of their own homes. A tale of witches using red caps to fly also appears in Irish lore. This is another example of their strong ties to the fairies. The similarity between Irish and Scottish witchery has been noted, as they both have strong ties to Gaelic lore.

Witchcraft from the Celtic lands is a complex and unique thing, changing between each of the six nations. To lump them under a single title would be to lose the subtleties and differences between each. Saying that Irish witchcraft and Welsh witchcraft are the same is a fool’s lie. Saying that they are similar is true. Shapeshifting, flying, fairies, storms, and charms are found in each. But they are different.
It isn’t a bad thing when the myths of these lands are paired with Wicca or Wiccan influenced witchcraft. However, the historical practices from those places mustn’t be overwritten. 

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Rare Celtic “Rainbow Cup” Gold Stater, 2nd-1st Century BC

What appears to be a cup on the reverse of this coin is actually an upside down torc, often worn by wealthy Celts. Inside the torc are 6 pellets whose meaning is not well known. Additionally, the symbolism of the obverse side can only be guessed at due to its abstract nature. Other designs on similar coins include stars, crosses, birds’ heads, wreaths and coiled serpents or dragons.

These types of coins got the name “Rainbow Cups” from Medieval monks who believed they appeared on the ground at the spot where the end of a rainbow touched the earth, as they were often found after a heavy rainfall had washed away the topsoil. They have been found in Western Europe from France to Germany.

Type: Audio Log

Description: Ghost Shell Recording

Location: Hunter Vanguard Ghost

//Audio Avaliable//

//Recording As Follows//

[Zavala]: Cayde, it is absolutely out of the question. And that is the end of it.

[Cayde-6]: You know, you seem pretty tense, blue. Luckily, I know what would fix that! But YOU won’t let me install it!

[Zavala]: First, It is of no necessity to our responsibilities within the tower. Additionally, it would just be a distraction. And finally, you and I both know you have an almost supernatural ability to spill things. You do remember the juice incident, don’t you?

[Cayde-6]: Okay, let’s make something clear here. First, it wasn’t juice, it was soda. Second, that guy’s ghost was fine afterwards! We got it dried off! AND I’ve been using lids ever since. Beyond that-

-There is a pause as the tower doors hiss open, and someone steps into the room-

[Cayde-6]: Ikora! Just the warlock I wanted to see. Try and help me talk some sense into the big blue brick wall here. He’s got a bad case of the no-funsies.

-Ikora sighs-

[Ikora]: What is it this time? Zavala, what’s he on about?

[Zavala]: Cayde wishes to install an unnecessary piece of equipment in the tower’s main room. He’s INSISTING that it will boost productivity and improve morale, but he’s mistaken.

[Cayde-6]: You’re not thinking big picture, Zavala! Let’s put it as a math equation. Ikora, you like those, right? This new installation will equal happy staff. Happy staff means better morale. Better morale means more boring paperwork gets done! Seriously, how am I the crazy one here? If anything I should get an award for my genius.

[Ikora]: …Alright, Cayde. As much as I hate to admit it, you do have a point. More productivity would be beneficial around here.

[Cayde-6]: Hold the phone…did you just agree with me?! HEY! HEY YOU, OVER THERE ON THE TERMINAL! You heard that, right? RIGHT? WAS ANYONE’S GHOST RECORDING THAT?!

[Ikora]: Now just hold on, Cayde. What is it you wanted to install?

[Zavala]: A-

[Cayde-6]: Oh man, you’re gonna wanna sit down. ‘Cause this’ll blow you away, Ikora. You’re gonna love it. 100% increase in staff productivity, guaranteed.

[Ikora]: What is it?

[Zavala]: In the name of the Traveler, an ICE CREAM MACHINE. He want’s to install a damned ICE CREAM MACHINE in the tower’s main room.

[Cayde-6]: Think about it, Ikora! Fresh, cold soft-serve. WHENEVER you WANT.

[Zavala]: Cayde, I already told you it’s out of the-

[Ikora]: That…actually sounds rather pleasant.

[Zavala]: IKORA!

Communication with Nature Spirits

    When working on communication with Nature Spirits there are a few thing that are needed to communicate:

1- You need to be outdoors, I cannot stress that enough. Nature Spirits are not found in your kitchen or livingroom, unless you live outdoors yourself.

2- Have good intent. Do not ask the Spirits for material things like money or man made objects. The Spirit World has no need for these things nor do they see our need for such things.

3- Do not expect a crisp clear voice speaking in English. Communication with Nature Spirits happens through emotions. Nature Spirits are made of flowing energy, not something you might see in a fantasy sci-fi movie or book.

4- Respect is a must. Do not think that you could control or demand the Spirits to do things for you. They could feel your intentions and if questionable they will not make contact.

5- They are not Gods nor are you. When connection is made, view and communicate as if your all equal, because you are.

6- To make a connection start by relaxing and clearing your mind of modern day stresses. Meditation is a good start.

7- Then when clear, hum or sing. Not only does this practice add a ripple effect through the energy field around you, but have you ever heard the many songs upon the Wind? Communication through song is universal, so get creative and make a song that is soothing and comforting as a gentle breeze.


Arawn (Grand Chieftain)

Druids of Gaul Order of Canada

@canadiandruid

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Roman Imperatorial Silver Denarius of L. Hostilius Saserna, Possibly Depicting Vercingetorix on the Obverse

This silver denarius was struck at the Rome mint in 48 BC by the moneyer L. Hostilius Saserna under the rule of Julius Caesar. It displays the head of a Gallic captive (Vercingetorix?) with a chain around his neck. He has flowing, long hair and a long, pointed beard. There is a Gallic shield behind him. The reverse shows two warriors in a galloping biga, one is driving while holding a whip in his right hand and the reins in his left. The other is facing backwards, holding a shield in his left hand and brandishing a spear in his right. The name L • HOSTILIVS is written above and SASERN is written below.

Caesar’s Gallic War Coins:

A series of coins celebrating Caesar’s victories in Gaul appear in 48 BC. It was in this year that Caesar began hostilities against Pompey. In the previous year Pompey had released coins proclaiming his naval power. Caesar’s coins might be seen as a response. These coins were not minted by Caesar himself, but by two of his supporters who became moneyers in this year. One of these was L. Hostilius Saserna who released the coin above. The bearded male on the obverse of is often identified as Vercingetorix, the chieftain of the Arverni tribe, who united the Gauls in a revolt against Rome. Putting his face on a Roman coin is a strong symbol of the victory over and subjugation of the Gauls.

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Very Rare Celtic Gold Coin with a Chariot and Carnyx

This ¼ stater was struck by an uncertain tribe in Northwest Gaul during the third to second centuries BC. The obverse is a beardless male with curly hair facing to the right, however, the reverse is what’s special about this coin. It shows a Celticized version of a biga (chariot), a horse standing to the right with a male figure on its back. He is blowing an ancient musical instrument, a carnyx. There is a long-fingered figure below the horse with both hands raised. An arrow is behind the rider and a sickle shaped razor is in front of the horse. This is a very rare coin with a remarkably attractive and curious reverse. The obverse is struck from a worn die, otherwise, the coin is extremely fine.

Known as the ‘Trumpet Type,’ its obverse is clearly an early member of the long series that ended up with the extraordinary heads from the Channel Islands and the coast nearby. However, the reverse is simply astounding with its remarkable horse, and the ‘rider’ blowing his horn. As for the rather orans-like figure with his arms raised in praise or prayer below the horse, there are virtually no parallels.

The carnyx was a bronze wind instrument used by Iron Age Celts to rally troops and strike fear into the heart of their enemies from around 200 BC to 200 AD. It took the form of a very elongated ’S’ shaped tube. The horn’s bell was usually shaped like an animal’s head with its mouth wide open. Seven carnyces were discovered at Tintignac, France; six of them have boar-shaped heads and the seventh takes the shape of a a serpent-like beast.  

You can hear the awesome sounds of a carnyx here in a video of John Kenny playing a modern carnyx reproduction.

Terms You Didn’t Learn at Conservatory

*APPOLOGGIATURA*: A composition that you regret playing

*APPROXIMENTO*: A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct pitch

*DILL PICCOLINI*: An exceedingly small wind instrument that plays only sour notes

*ALLREGRETTO*: When you’re well into the piece and realize you took too fast a tempo

*ANGUS DEI*: To play with a divinely beefy tone

*APPROXIMATURA*: Notes not intended by the composer, yet played with an “I mean that”

attitude

*CACOPHANY*:A composition incorporating many people with chest colds

*CORAL SYMPHONY*: A large, multi-movement work from Beethoven’s Caribbean Period

*FERMANTRA*: A note held over and over and over and over and …

*FERMOOTA*: A note of dubious value held for indefinite length

*FIDDLER CRABS*: Grumpy string players

*FLUTE FLIES*: Those tiny mosquitoes that bother musicians on outdoor gigs

*FRUGALHORN*: A sensible and inexpensive brass instrument

*GAUL BLATIER*: A French horn player

*GREGORIAN CHAMP*: Title bestowed upon the monk who can hold a note the longest

*GROUND HOG*: One who takes control of the bass line and won’t let anyone else play it

*PLACEBO DOMINGO*: A faux tenor

*SCHMALZANDO*: Music from the Guy Lombardo band

*RIGHT OF STRINGS*: Manifesto for Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Violists

*SPRITZICATO*: An indication to string instruments to produce a bright and bubbly sound

*TEMPO TANTRUM*: What a school orchestra has when it’s not following the conductor

*TROUBLE CLEF*: Any clef one can’t read: e.g., alto clef for pianists