Well, the final program for Many Gods West is out, and it’s a humdinger! Permit me to point out once again the high profile that Gaulish and Gallo-Roman polytheism will have for this event, which just makes my heart sing. Even if you don’t want to attend the Gallo-Roman–inspired ritual for Dea Roma and Diuus Augustus at 4:00 on Saturday, August 1 (and let’s be honest, you know you do!), then there is what promises to be an even more fantastic ritual in honour of the Gaulish goddess Cathubodua at the same time. Those of you equipped with Time-Turners will want to bring them and, on the conclusion of one of these rituals, give it two turns to attend the other.
Speaking of which, permit me to make a final pitch: If you are willing, able, and fit to act as priest of Rome and August, you can win honour for your whole tribe and run for the position! Follow in the footsteps of C. Julius C. Juli Otuaneuni f. Gedomonis nepos Epotsouiridi pronepos Rufus of the Santones and many other eminent personages from back in the day! Please keep ritual purity in mind: avoid contact with the dead, etc., in the lead-up to the ritual. On the other hand, your work should be relatively easy (I’ll have a script handy and everything). Then again, who knows—the assembled throng may vote to make you petition the legislature daily until roses are offered to Epona on all public school buses (even though this would be wrong).
Even if you miss the Gaulishness at 4:00 Saturday, 4:00 Sunday will see River Devora and Rynn Fox’s “Reweaving the Fabric of Connection” in honour of the Matronæ, which I am eager to attend. And of course, there’s also Morpheus’ keynote speech on Friday.
Is it something in the air in Washington state? After all, in normal years, that part of the world would have an oceanic climate (like the Three Gauls) … as well as a dense mix of mountains, woods, large rivers, ocean, and wine country (just like Gaul) … and relatively close proximity to both a Mediterranean climate to the south and a large rain-soaked island to the north. Just sayin’.
In other news, it’s Nelson Mandela Day! I won’t attempt to summarize the epic story of this great man; suffice it to say that for me, and many others of my generation, Madiba represents the extraordinary potential of transformative politics: of bold struggle, of inclusiveness, of inexhaustible fortitude, of kindness, of forgiveness. It’s people like him who remind me why concepts like apotheosis and heroization exist in our spiritual lexicon.
The Ides of July has come and gone (July is one of those months when the Nones and Ides come late, so it fell on the 15th this month). Two days have a particularly large number of dated religious dedications from the Gaulish provinces: the Ides of January and the Ides of July. In both cases, it might be coincidence that so many inscriptions cluster there. However, it’s also a convenient occasion to do cultus to certain deities who don’t otherwise have regular holidays, such as Silvanus and the Aufaniæ (deities closely related to the Matronæ, by the way). Personally, my Ides ritual was in honour of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Diana, Silvanus, and the genius loci, following the precedent of two rather handsome altars dedicated at Mogontiacum in 208 CE (AE 1976: 502–503).