This being the month of Samonios, and as I mentioned a couple of articles back, I’m going to offer my take on the Îanoi of Bessus Nouiogalation. Dêuocariâ (piety) is the one for this month. Of course, being one of the founders of BNG there was intention in developing and deciding which Îanoi (virtues) would “make the cut”. This one was obvious as the Senogalatîs (Ancient Gauls) were known to be very invested in matters of worship.
It is also a self explanatory Îanos, virtue, based on the first of the three instructions of the Senodruides (ancient Druids) That is that the Dêuoi must be worshipped. As is noted in Diogenes Laertius’ Vitæ Philosophorum. This act of worship being key to Dêuocariâ. But as it is with all of the Îanoi, it is not through doing something once that we fulfill them. It is to do it consistently. Therefore the most salient point of Dêuocariâ is regular worship of the Dêuoi. Through this, Dêuocariâ becomes “second nature”. Integrated into the motions and flow of life.
It is without a doubt difficult work to get started. As knowledge of the Îanoi and the incorporation of them into ones daily life requires considerable effort. It’s changing habits, which is never an easy thing to do. This however, is what makes it worth doing. I’ve said before that I don’t believe people typically come to something like Bessus Nouiogalation, or any other custom that deviates from the norm of ones society of their birth because they were satisfied with the “status quo” that society “offered” to them. The important thing to remember here is that being discontented with the way our surrounding social climate, or even the way one’s life is going is not the same thing as being dissatisfied with oneself as a person. Pursuing change in oneself isn’t saying that one currently is “defective” or “inferior”.
I don’t think I was a bad or defective person before I pursued being a Nouiogalatis and striving to uphold the Îanoi. I in turn don’t believe that one has to be a Nouiogalatis to be a decent person. These things may seem obvious, but if there is anything I have learned it is that in the world of discourse, every single statement can be construed in any way a respondent wants to. So I want to get ahead of it by saying that now. One can both accept and even be happy with themselves and still seek change. While I’m not as generous with assumptions as Mr. Rodgers (of the old children’s show ‘Mister Rogers Neighborhood’), I do believe everyone is special, and I do believe most people are decent people. If you’re not a decent person, you probably already know and should already be working on improving. Whether a Nouiogalatis or not.
Dêuocariâ is in îanê (the Nouiogalaticos term for what lies in the confines of a virtuous act) because through it we’re reminded of our relationships to great bings and powers greater than ourselves. Through the acts and functions of the Dêuoi, we’re able to do the things that we do. Through performing adaððus (toward that which is in place according to sacred laws/ritual) to the Dêuoi, we are reminded that they gave first. They’re already out there doing as they’ve done for the whole of their existence. We give not out of demand for repayment or out of obligation. No. We give in joy and gratitude for what has already been given to us. It is of course not at all uncommon that we may request something from them, but through regular adaððus and interaction, we build the rapport that makes those requests less of a big ask.
Furthermore, we give in acknowledgement of the aforementioned and in turn of our part in the world. That we are connected to them. The word Dêuocariâ in the Nouiogalaticos language means literally to love or befriend the Dêuoi (from dêuo- ‘divine being’ carâ ‘like, love, care for’ from attested caratos ‘beloved’). Inimical to that is the Cantos Ratî or the cycle of grace. Quite similar to what others call the gifting cycle, but in Bessus Nouiogalation, it is not only gifts that are exchanged in this way but blessing, understanding, good will, and kindnesses. Cantos Ratî doesn’t end at the uentâ (places where adaððus is done), it may start there, but exchange of gifts doesn’t cover it. That’s one thing that is done among many.
Dêuocariâ then, is a totality of these things that we do to affirm, strengthen, and develop our connection to the Dêuoi. As a group, this is done during our gatherings at the Îuoi — our festivals, it is also done during our Comretâ (assemblies). This is part of how as a group, we Nouiogalatîs establish this connection. As our gatherings happen at regular intervals. The intent being to build that habitual basis of stable and sure connection. Key to this is also connection with the community as much as it is with the Dêuoi.
Individually (and slowly explorations are being made into having group functions related to these as well) there are the daily Uediâs. These provide a kind of structure to aid in the pursuit of Dêuocariâ. It is important for a group who stresses the importance of their Îanoi to attempt to provide tools to meet them when possible. The combination of group and solo effort is how we attempt to meet the demands of this îanos.
A lasting bessus (custom) keeps one rooted, providing a sense of centring or grounding. Thus it becomes a sort of refuge of stability in a dynamic and ever changing world. It isn’t that the bessus never changes, far from it, but that it remains stable. We have this in common with peoples who lived in earlier times. For centuries, in some cases millennia, inscriptions bear the names of the sacred Dêuoi who were ever present during times of great change. These Dêuoi are those to whom our ancestors turned in times of precariousness to end famines. They turned to the Dêuoi to seek their favour in times of war, and for benefit in trade. It is with the Dêuoi that they shared times of togetherness and joy in great festivals. It is the Dêuoi that they prayed to in times of tragedy and loss. Ever present to their ears and in some cases in the hopes of soliciting their hands to aid.
That is how our ancestors related to the myriad of sacred beings we call the Dêuoi. Through adaððus and addatus (giving, offering) we not only connect to the Dêuoi, but to our ancestors, the Senogalatîs, by following in their footsteps. Doing this multiplies our community and sense of it, making us aware of presences that may have previously been unknown to us. It makes us aware of those who have given and through those gifts, we’re now here. And since we’re here, we give back. Fulfilling the same function our ancestors once did. I’ve always felt that there is significant weight and meaning to that.
To honour those who gave to us, and those who gave before us is in my mind the biggest reason to pursue Dêuocariâ. There are other reasons for sure, but I cannot think of any more profound than that. Its primary importance is, though I shouldn’t be surprised upon reflection, a good reason that it is first on our list. Fair again that it be the first we have discussed. I hope this article finds you and yours well. This is all the time I have for this month.