Pantheon

The following is a summary of the Gods and spirits I worship here in South Central Appalachia. They can be loosely categorized into three interwoven cults:

  • domestic/hearth cult
  • local/nature cult
  • psychopomp/underworld cult

I describe these as interwoven because most of the Gods below can be worshipped in more than one of these cults. My religion is holistic and embodies every aspect of my life as a mother and hobbyist of domestic crafts, psychopomp and professional death worker, and lover of the mountainous region that I embrace as home.

Note: I was inspired by Craxantos’s Gods section on Buta Craxanti as well as Marc’s Gods section on Axe and Plough. You’ll see similarities here, especially since we worship some of the same Gods. Some of this information is attested, and others are derived from personal or shared gnosis.


Sulis

Name Meaning

Sulis has been interpreted two different ways, either from the Old Irish suil, meaning “eye” or “sight,” or the Proto-Celtic word *suli-, meaning “sun.” Personally, I don’t see these interpretations as either/or. The sun has, at times, been mythopoetically described as a celestial eye. It radiates light, by which our eyes perceive the world around us. The two are connected.

Associations

the sun, hot springs, healing and decay, wisdom, curses, vengeance (especially against theft), justice, sight, the underworld, the bathhouse (and, by extension, bathrooms)

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

solar images, eyes, hot springs

Cult Offerings and Devotional Work

incense, prayers, defixiones, healing work for oneself and others as devotional practice


Thunor

Name Meaning

Thunor literally means “thunder” in Old English.

Associations

thunder, storms, rain, lightning, protection (especially from disease and drought), fertility of the earth

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

lightning bolt, double axe, goats

Cult Offerings

beer or mead, cooked meat

Feast Day

Summer Solstice, June 20


Brigantia

Name Meaning

Brigantia — like related names Brighid, Brigidindo, and Brigidona — stems from the Proto-Celtic word *briganti. Her name means “the High One” or “the Exalted One.” Two different tribal groups — the Briganti of northern England, and the Brigantii of the Swiss Alps — share this etymology and, for the former at least, worshipped Her as their tribal guardian Goddess.

Associations

highlands and mountains, fire, the forge, blacksmithy, poetry and the arts, inspiration (the inner fire), rushing waters, courage, protection and defense, skills and trades that involve the transformation of raw materials, the hearth, cooking and the kitchen, brewing, victory and success, wisdom, strategy, justice

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

flames, weaponry (especially blades and shields), the forge, iron objects (especially those used in cooking, such as trivets and cast iron cookware), slag

Cult Offerings and Devotional Work

incense, weaponry, brewed drinks, devotional poetry, music, and art

Feast Day

Imbolc, February 1-2


The Matronae Berguiahenae

Name Meaning

The Matronae Berguiahenae were first worshiped in western Germany, in an area occupied by both Germanic and Celtic tribes. Matronae means “mothers,” sacred Goddesses worshiped as communal mothers of the tribe. Berguiahenae is a little ambiguous, as it seems to be a composite Celto-Germanic word, which is unsurprising given the region of Their worship. It can be interpreted to mean “of the mountains.”

Associations

mountains and hills, forests, caves, fiber arts, housework, wild animals, the wilderness, the domestic sphere

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

three women, mountains, spindles and spinning wheels, wild animals (especially wolves and birds of prey), dogs, gold

Cult Offerings and Devotional Work

fruits, grains and bread, porridge, milk, butter, a tidy home and good work ethic, respect and care for the wilderness and wild creatures

Feast Day

Mothers Night, January 5


Rosmerta, Our Lady of the Valley

Associations

marshes and swamps, wild animals (especially hoofed animals), floods, illness and death, liminality, transformations, hospitality, the Hotel Roanoke, hospitals, funeral homes, airports

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

antlers, deer, trains, the Hotel Roanoke

Cult Offerings and Devotional Work

salt, charcoal incense, apples, oats, helping others find their way, serving the dead and grieving through funeral rites and death care

Read more about Her


Corn Mother

Name Meaning

Pretty straightforward: the Mother of Corn, which can be any grain grown in an area. Corn Mothers are mentioned in folklore in Central and Eastern Europe, often as demons, witches, or otherwise dangerous spirits, but are also found in corn dollies and other feminine straw figures made at harvest time in Northern and Western Europe. The Corn Woman is also a Goddess worshipped in a number of American Native religions, including those of the Iroquois and Cherokee. In my region, we grow a lot of maize, wheat (mostly hard red winter wheat), and barley. My Corn Mother is the Mother of these and their industries.

Associations

grains and fields of grain, fertility, the harvest, sustenance

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

corn husk dolls and corn dollies, sheaves of grain, corn mazes and corn fields

Feast Days

Harvest, beginning of September through October
Spring Equinox, March 20

Cult Offerings

handmade corn husk dolls and corn dollies, bourbon and other whiskeys, bread (including cornbread), grains (including ground and cooked grains, like grits), fish buried in the earth to nourish crops

Read more about Her


Hearth Serpent God

Associations

fire, the kitchen, cooking, wealth, health, the domestic sphere, nonvenomous snakes that frequent households (i.e. corn, garter, and black snakes in my area)

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

fire, snakes, slate

Feast Day

Hearth Fire Night – the Winter Solstice, Dec. 20

Cult Offerings

incense, coffee, cooked foods, bread and milk


Mercurius

Name Meaning

“Mercurius” may originate in either the Latin word merx, meaning “merchandise,” or otherwise from the PIE root merg-, meaning “boundary, border.”

Associations

travel, roads, railroads, hiking, communication, eloquence, divination, messages, boundaries, liminality, dreams and psychopompic states, spirit journeys, commerce, trade, wealth and financial gain, cunning and trickery, mediation, thieves, hospitality, luck, death and the voyage to the underworld, racing and racetracks

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

the caduceus, winged hat, winged sandal, walking stick, turtle/tortoise, ram, rooster, crossroads, boundary markers (such as hermai or even stacked stones), feathers

Feast Day

Mercuralia, May 15


The Genii Cuculatti

Associations

fertility, protection and apotropaia, prosperity, plenty, guidance in travel, journeys (including spiritual journeys), liminality, shadows, mysteries hidden and revealed

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

hooded cloak or cowl (called the cucullus), eggs, phalli, shadows


The Geese Women

Associations

geese, fertility, seasons and seasonal changes, water, rain, mist, journeys to the Underworld (seasonally and as guides for the dead), magic and witchcraft, illness (both physical and mental) and the healing of it

Sacred Symbology and Imagery

geese, feathers, feathered cloaks, rushes and cattails

Cult Offerings

flowers (especially aromatic ones), sweet-scented herbs like mint, anise, and basil

(Note: In the vein of Slavic rusalki traditions, geese women can occasionally be malignant, especially at certain times of the year. In that case, wormwood, garlic, and parsley can ward them off.)

Feast Days

April 14-16, Hexennacht

First full weekend in September, the Departure