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Nemetona alias Blodeuwedd
Celtic Goddess of the Sacred Grove

For the most part, the Celts did not built temples but worshipped their gods in Sacred Groves or 'Nemeton' amongst the trees of the natural landscape. Tacitus, for example, speaks of the Sacred Groves of Anglesey used by the druids to perform human sacrifices!

It should not be surprising, therefore, to hear that Nemetona was a Celtic Goddess particularly associated with these open air places of worship. She was a guardian of the Sacred Grove worshipped as far apart as Lein-Winternheim near Maintz, Altripp near Speyer and Bath in the British West Country. More often than not, she was depicted with her divine consort, the Roman Mars, who was given various Celtic names depending on location. Amongst the Corieltauvi of Lincolnshire, he was Mars Rigonemetis ('King of the Sacred Grove'), but elsewhere he was Mars Loucetius ('the Shining One').

This latter husband probably identifies Nemetona with another floral goddess, Blodeuwedd, the flower-maiden, wife of the Welsh God of Light, Lleu Llaw Gyffes. In Irish legend, however, she appears to have survived as Nemhain, a Goddess of Battle-Frenzy. This indicates that she originally had a military aspect now almost forgotten.

 

    Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.