I have talked about the Lusitanians recently and one of the most famous gods of their pantheon, so you might want to check the posts of April 2013 for more information about it and about the Lusitanians and who they were, for in this post, the main theme is another deity of their pantheon so i will not waste time in resuming who the Lusitanians were or i would skip the subject.
I will talk about Ataegina, after Endovélico, this deity was also very famous not only among the Lusitanians and other Celtic tribes but also to the Iberians, Celtiberians and to the Romans, she may have been of a greater importance than what we know today, for the Lusitanians like all other Celtic tribes had a culture that wasn’t supposed to be written or leave any evidence about their culture, so most of we know about the Lusitanians is in the exact same way we know about the other Celtic tribes all over Europe, by what the Greeks and Romans have written about them by watching how their enemies behaved towards life, their rituals, gods, celebrations, religion etc. which leaves us with a knowledge about these people not very plausible or accurate, since they were enemies to the Romans and the religions and spiritual beliefs were so different but archeology helps a lot nowadays.
So Ataegina or Ataecina was a very Celtic-like goddess, probably her name among the Lusitanians wasn’t this one since they were Celts in nature, because the name Ataegina sounds a lot with a more latin language, and the romans actually adopted this goddess for their own, associating her with Proserpina or Persephone, so once again it is hard to know the true name of places, people, deities etc. in old Lusitania, we know about these through the Romans who started to write about these things in their own fashion with their own language, giving that latin touch, it’s not like the Lusitanians didn’t knew how to write, like all other Celtic tribes they had and alphabet they learned about it, they knew about numbers and other symbols as well, but in their culture the use of those wasn’t of primary importance. People say that her name might come from the Celtic words atte- and geno- which means “Reborn” or from ad-akī (in Irish – adaig) meaning “night”, i can’t tell you if this is true because i know only a few words of Celtic, my field is old Norse, but what we can be sure about, is that her name was something between those words for she was a Celtic goddess.
Ataegina is the goddess of Spring, of nature and she is associated with all things that die and are reborn, she isn’t closely associated with death itself although that i a natural part of the cycle of life, she is linked to life itself, the transformations of life, this is why she is associated with Spring, the season when nature is reborn after Winter when all natural things wane and die, the transformation of a dead carcass into rich minerals that will give life to some creatures and also to the earth, generating fertility soils that will give life to flowers, grass and trees which in turn will give life to other animals. She is also associated with the goat, the sacred animal. In these times the Celts like most other European cultures used to sacrifice animals, giving them as gifts to the gods, sharing with them the meat we mortals consume, also reading and interpreting the fate of the community or a certain person in the entrails of the animals, animals were also sacrificed in order to ask the gods the various gifts they can give depending on the field of expertise of each deity, so speaking of Ataegine the goddess of nature and transformation of death into life, the sacrifices were probably placed directly into the natural soil, giving it to the earth, this might be a reason why there isn’t any temple found in Portugal nor in Spain, for Ataegina’s temples were probably in the forests, in the wilds, made of some stones and wood, no fisicalstructure.
Ataegina is also associated with magic and with the night, which is the part of the day most mystical and filled with symbolism in the Celtic culture, which is interesting to know that people say that the Portuguese are night people, and the night is very important to them as it was to the Lusitanians the ancestors of most Portuguese, for these people made most structures, from religious ones to the social ones, at night and also some harvesting was made at night, again a close association with nature. Ataegina is the goddess that symbolizes the moon and the most mystical place in Portugal and thestage of thousands of mysteries and stories with spiritual and religious themes is Sintra or the so called “Monte da Lua” which means Mount of the Moon, a place filled with wondrous natural diversity, so this might have been the place where Ataegine was most venerated, worshiped, were her priests and priestesses dwelled, and she might have been of such importance that her very essence still lingers in the name of this place after a few thousand years.
Now… those of you who have read my blog and know about the themes i write in here, know the importance of shamanism and how i work with shamans, but all in the Northern-Tradition paganism, the Norse gods and wights and you might also know about my own spiritual journeys with the Norse gods, so i will share with you here my personal spiritual journey with Ataegina ( although being very brief and with no importante knowledge obtained whatsoever ) so far the only non-Norse deity i have ever had any contact with, so it is a very personal story.
I was shrouded by fog, a very soft mist gently and slowly passing through the land, i was walking on anunpaved road, no more than a dirt track, and i went off my course to the left into a vast field of grass, fresh and green, wet with dew drops so it might have been at dawn, yet the sky was grey but bright. As i went further, i saw one huge shape forming in the mist, as i got closer, i saw it was a green hill, so tall it was that another path was carved by foot steps in a serpentine manner all the way to the top, or at least it seemed, i couldn’t see the top, what was veiled by the mist, this aroused the curiosity in me and so i followed the trail that led to the top of the hill. Once i was on the top i saw two or three people in white tunics and leather belts with daggers made of bronze, one of these people had a torc, i couldn’t say if they were all male of female, but they were very busy doing something which i didn’t pay much attention to, actually these people were like shadows in the mist, blurry to my eyes because i was focused on a great stone, as large and tall as two big cars with other two on top of them and steps stairs were carved into the stone and they led up into a wooden house built on top of the stone and i entered the house. Inside i noticed the floor was the top of the great stone where a hole in a shape of a rectangle was carved and another larger in the shape of a square and deeper filled with water where a person might wash herself, and a wide and large stone with straws on top of it, it might have been the bed. There wasn’t any window and the door was on the ground where one might go down stairs to the outside where i came from, and there wasn’t a nywall on the west side of this house, one could see the entire landscape below and to the distant horizon. There was a figure in the middle of the house, a woman with a light brown hair ending in a pigtail, brown eyes and pink skin, she was wearing a white tunic fastened to leather belt and also a white skirt all the way to her ankles, she wasn’t wearing any kind of footwear, but she had beautifully bronze made jewelry, a necklace, a bracelet on her left arm, somebracelets on both wrists and some rings, one with a green emerald stone in the left hand. She was very beautiful and she looked at me but she didn’t talked, not with words ar least but in my mind i heard a gentle woman’s voice telling she was Ataegina, only this, she stretched her right arm towards me and gave me a woolen bag with something inside which i dare not to look, but it wasn’t heavy, but i knew i was to deliver that to someone and i went off down the hill and a light rain started. When i reached the bottom of the hill, the mist disappeared and the sun ripped the clouds, suddenly the sky was painted of a very light blue, cloudless, and i could see the surroundings so green and bright. I made my way into the only forest there into the north, where a tiny stream of a great river flowing to the south ended, children giggling and running behind me like butterflies, playing some sort of game, waking up from winter, embracing the happiness of that spring day and thus… i woke up…
Note: The artwork to illustrate this post is a drawing of Ataegina made by me. If you have any questions for me or if you want to see my artistic works, check out my Facebook page and make a Like if you can by following this link –> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger