Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Senobessus: Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionism

Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionism, or "Senobessus," is a branch of Celtic Polytheistic Reconstructionism. It focuses on specifically pre-Christian Gaulish paganism. I suppose a simpler way to put it is simply "Gaulish neopaganism." This movement, much of it very recent, has forced me to look hard at the Cernic Rite concept.

It has occurred to me that part of the mild friction between the simple naming of Germanic neopaganism is at work in its Gaulish neopaganist parallel as well. Should it be called "Odinism," or "Asatru?" Odin, while basically the chief god, is still just one of the gods and goddesses. Perhaps a non god-specific name for the pantheon would be more appropriate. The name "Asatru" is of Icelandic origin, making it regionally-specific, which has it's drawbacks as well. Naturally you want a name which includes everyone whom you wish to include. The Odinist/Wotanist story extended far from Iceland. A place like Russia is historically very much part of the "historical Wotanist narrative." Needless to say, the choosing of a name is very important.

Before I go any further, a brief description of the movement from PaganSpace.net (actually from the facebook page):

Senobessus: Gaulish Polytheistic Tribalism


Welcome to The Gaulish Polytheism Community!

This group is dedicated to Senobessus

Senobessus, or Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionism, is a Celtic Reconstructionist faith that focuses on Pre-Roman Gaulish Religion, and its revival into the modern age. Our faith emphasizes orthopraxy or "right actions" over orthodoxy or "right belief", and cultural relevance or influence over "racial purity" or elitism. We are open to all genders and sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and national affiliations.

Also, this description from nertho.eu:

Senobessus "The Old Custom"

I would like to formally introduce the philosophy and tradition of Senobessus, as a modern reconstruction of "The Old Custom" of Gaulish Religion, as it applies not only to modern spirituality, but the continued research and dedication of those who have been and are getting involved in Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstruction.

The following statements are in dedication of the hard work of the noble few in our tradition who continue to honor the Gods of Gaul...

Mission Statement of Senobessus

Senobessus is a Gaulish word that translates into English as “old custom”, and is the name we have given to our humble religion. It represents how our members honor the Gaulish customs within our communities, and the bonds we share not only with our gods, but the unspoken bond we share with each other.

Our religion is less of an organization and more of a tradition we share with each other. Though many have contributed in the past to the dissemination of Senobessus, no one person is responsible for founding it, as it has always been there in some form or another. More importantly, all members within Senobessus are, despite their different roles, essentially equal.

That being said, The Gaulish Polytheism Community group on Facebook was created on August 30, 2011 as a networking platform for Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionists, to focus on the continued development of religion and spirituality within Senobessus, and to study and share the language, history, and culture of Ancient Gaul.

The purpose of Senobessus is the revival of the pre-Christian worldview and spiritual practices of the Gaulish peoples – the ancient Celtic peoples who inhabited and greatly influenced what would become the cultures and nations within central Europe. Senobessus aims to reconstruct Gaulish Polytheism within a modern context, while still respecting what we know about the worldview of the ancient Gaulish people.

Senobessus, or Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionism, is a Celtic Reconstructionist faith that focuses on Pre-Roman Gaulish Religion, and its revival into the modern age. Our faith emphasizes orthopraxy or "right actions" over orthodoxy or "right belief", and cultural relevance or influence over "racial purity" or elitism. We are open to all genders and sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and national affiliations.

Before I go any further, I need to address the fifty-ton pink elephant in the living room. I don't see how a bunch of people of a particular culture, celebrating their heritage, is "elitism." I would like to see one of these "cultural apologists" knock on the door of one of the Sikh Temples and ask to join. The ultra-folkish, ancestral-worshiping Sikhs would get quite a kick out've that. I think it's pretty safe to say that they "may not join." It seems to be a phenomena, in the English-speaking world, for individuals to believe that "they can be anything!" Well, you can't be anything. ALL of us face rejection in our lives, and sometimes it's because we do not fit in. That's a basic FACT of life, and there's nothing wrong with it. You cannot be anything you want to be at any time you want to be it, based on your "whim of the moment," "current fad," or "fast value" of the day.

As far as the gay thing; given the types of problems and road blocks that we will face, "gays" would comparatively be a non-issue. The Gaulish spirituality/culture, as with other forms of European spirituality, was based primarily on the "family unit." Women, I believe, had extremely important leadership roles; probably more than in the Teutonic culture. Chiefly in the family, and in the realm of their tribal spirituality. In the area of spirituality, however, it would have been the more special women. In other words, I don't think just any woman can be an "Earth Mother" in the Wiccan sense. Then there's the Druidic element, which may have been predominantly males.

Getting back to choosing a name. Although I don't like this GPR-movement in it's present form; I still like the basic idea of it. Maybe we should run with it. Work within it. We live in a world where many people literally feel guilty for breathing, and are quite eager to give trillionaire international banking concerns a "world tax" to help ease their burden of guilt, so I don't have any problem purging them from any folk-movement that will eventually need to be splintered off. Incessant "guilt" is a Christian concept, not a pagan one, so I think that the universal Christian church is a good place for them. As far as a "Cernic Rite" or "Temple of Cern" name based on the chief Gaulish god; I suppose one could argue that we could just as well name it the "Sironic Rite" or the "Temple of Sirona," based on possibly the chief goddess of the Gauls (as least of the Cisalpine Gauls).

In conclusion, perhaps a landscape with a loose intellectual name "Gaulish Polytheist Reconstructionim," with the almost gratuitous "folkish" and "universalist" subsections, with name like "Temple of Cern" being given to its various local covens? As to whether it should lean more towards the Witches Sabbath or Druidism, I don't know. Since various spiritual traditions overlapped, this becomes a central issue. Personally, I tend to lean more towards the Witches Sabbath. That is the area, more than any other, which needs to be exorcised from the grip of political influence, any political influence. The Gaulish culture was strong in France (Gaul), the northern Italian peninsula, and much of the Iberian peninsula; but since Celtic peoples were present in every part of Europe, it leaves the door open. I just believe that, for example, a Cuban-American--who's also a European-American and a folkish-minded person--ought to feel at home in Gaulish neopaganism. Lastly, I would suggest an eight-pointed star as the chief symbol of this movement. It's perfect, with each point representative of each sabbat in the wheel of the year.



  1. Hello, this is Kevin Seguin - I help run the Gaulish Polytheism Community group on Facebook, as well as The Senobessus Forum, and I would like to invite you all to join in discussion with us, wherever you feel more comfortable doing so :)

    The Senobessus Forum:

    The Gaulish Polytheism Community on Facebook:

    Hope to see you there!

  2. You might be interested to hear that the Gaulish language is currently undergoing a revival as a modern language. All relevant information can be found at: www.moderngaulish.com. Please feel free to use it as you wish. Enjoy.

  3. Thank you for that link. That's good news. I recall seeing a YouTube video where a guy from France I recall, was speaking in Gaulish. It sounded like a powerful but easy flowing language.