In polytheistic practices, there are instances where the newcomer can be unsure or uncomfortable in their religious setting. Sometimes it can come from a feeling of being an outsider to foreign practices. Name taking in the liturgical language can assuage that feeling, but even then it might not have the effect the practitioner desires and can leave them feeling like they are merely playing pretend.
It is with that the author proposes a general format of ritual introduction; a meeting between the gods, land beings, ancestors and practitioner in which the later gives them their name (whether it be birth/legal name or a newly taken religious/tribal name). We are not constructing a full initiation as there is no need for one in the hearth setting.
With that, let’s get to the innovation that will hopefully help Bolgoi and Galatís: Anuanodîmâ – Name gifting (A compound word that Segomâros created).
Mircea Eliade says this about initiation:
“The term initiation in the most general sense denotes a body of rites and oral teachings whose purpose is to produce a decisive alteration in the religious and social status of the person to be initiated. In philosophical terms, initiation is equivalent to a basic change in existential condition; the novice emerges from his ordeal endowed with a totally different being from that which he possessed before his initiation; he has become another. Among the various categories of initiation, the puberty initiation is particularly important for an understanding of premodern man. These “transition rites ” are obligatory for all the youth of the tribe. To gain the right to be admitted among adults, the adolescent has to pass through a series of initiatory ordeals: it is by virtue of these rites, and of the revelations that they entail, that he will be recognized as a responsible member of the society. Initiation introduces the candidate into the human community and into the world of spiritual and cultural values. He learns not only the behavior patterns, the techniques, and the institutions of adults but also the sacred myths and traditions of the tribe, the names of the gods and the history of their works; above all, he learns the mystical relations between the tribe and the Supernatural Beings as those relations were established at the beginning of Time.”
As the reader can see, initiation can be used as an introduction into the tribe, to the gods, and to the mystic. This means that introduction can indeed be integral to polytheistic practice. For this, a more formal format may be appropriate.
Ceisiwr Serith agrees, stating “Indo-European naming rituals share certain elements. Carrying the child around the fire, introduction to important deities, and naming are the most basic of these.”
We can then draw that for hearth introduction an obvious conclusion; Fire and circumambulation must be involved. Serith gives a ritual for naming in his book, but it is more suitable for a newborn than a practitioner of age. For this we may want to look at religious naming rituals. In various sects of Buddhism, Dharma names are takien in initiation of the religion. In Hinduism, the namkaram involves prayers to the gods (Agni the fire god especially), and the spirit of the ancestors. Often, this involves an offering to the gods and ancestors. We can see how a gift can bond the practitioner to the gods in writings such as Havamal, stanzas 41, 42, and 44:
(41) With weapons and clothes
Friends must give pleasure to one another; Everyone knows that for himself [through his Own experience].
Those who exchange presents with one another Remain friends the longest
If things turn out successfully.
(42) One must be a friend To one’s friend,
And give present for present; One must have
Laughter for laughter
And sorrow for lies
(44) You know, if you have a friend
In whom you have confidence
And if you wish to get good results, Your soul must blend in with his, And you must exchange presents, And frequently pay him visits.
Marcel Mauss theorizes these stanzas outline an ancient form of law in the notes of his book the Gift.
We now have 3 components for an introduction: Fire, Circumambulation and a present/gift (Note: Marcel Mauss talks about a possible differentiation between gifts and presents, in which the later has no expectation of reciprocation). There are no surviving ideas of initiations or naming rituals from the Bolgoi recorded (devil’s advocate: If there ever were). For all intents and purposes then, this can be considered a general introduction for Bolgoi or Galatís.
1. Glanosagon/Purification – A bath or shower whilst preparing mentally with the intention of making a good impression to the gods and ancestors.
2. Urextos noibotenetos/Making of Sacred Fire – In Gaulish Polytheism, Brigantiâ or Rosmertâ are often choices as patrons of the hearth. Rosmertâ is found in Gallia Belgica and can be called on for this portion of the ritual, should the practitioner wish. Another suggestion is a tribal goddess, such as Ancamna of the Treveri, Nemetona of the Nemetes, or even various Matres/Matronae.
3. Urextus Cagi/ Making the Rampart/ Circumambulation – In the basic format that Segomâros outlines, he states that this is an innovation and is optional. The author is making this a mandatory part of the introduction ritual as it contains circumambulation, which is a component that is found in various Indo-European customs. The direction will be clockwise/sunwise as per Indo-European tradition. This will represent the birth of the cosmos and therefore the birth/introduction of the practitioner to the gods and ancestor (Akin to passing an infant around a fire).
4. Name giving/Anuanodîmâ – This is where we formally introduce ourselves with our Gaulish rooted name (or birth/legal name, should a liturgical name not be chosen at this time).
5. Adbertâ/Offering – As stated, this is the offering portion. This is where we give a present (or gift, depending on how you wish to go forward) to the gods and ancestors after our introduction.
6. Braton Dewoi eti Senisteroi/Thanks to gods and ancestors – This is where we thank Them for Their visitation and blessing.
7. Clitâ Noibotenetos/Covering the Sacred Fire – Respectfully cover the flame/candle.
Step by Step instruction:
1. Glanosagon/Purification – A bath or shower will do. I recommend against just washing of the hands. This is a formal occasion and should be treated as such. Have it in your mind that important beings will be in your home and that you wish to make a very good impression. Be calm, but be prepared.
2. Urextos noibotenetos/Making of Sacred Fire – This may take place on the stove, kitchen table where food/offerings/gifts/presents can be set, or on one’s shrine. A candle will do nicely considering not all homes have an actual ‘hearth’ where a large enough fire can exist (Note: This can be done outside in a fire pit with the same invocations, despite this being primarily for hearth practice). You can light a candle from the stove to combine elements as well. What follows is what you will say as you light and looking at the fire/candle.
English: You are the center of creation, the first fire, at the beginning of time. You are the fire of every hearth. All fires are lit from you. (NOTE: If you choose to invoke a certain hearth god/ddess, you may do so now. If you have reservations on which god to invoke for this part, just use the first two lines. What follows is an example) I make you, fire, in the way of Rosmertâ.
Gaulish: Esîtu medyos alpetânon, aidus cintus in tanî cintî. Esîtu aidus papas aidletâs, papon aidun âwotor es te. Te âwûmi, aide, in cinge Rosmertâs.
3. Urextus Cagi/ Making the Rampart/ Circumambulation – Take the candle/flame and walk sunwise/clockwise around the space. What follows is what you will say whilst walking the space:
English: From the first fire, creation is born. From creation, the ancestors are born. From my ancestors, I am born.
Gaulish: Au tenê cintê, bitûs gnatântor. Au bitobi. Sinestrûs gnatântor. Au mon Sinestrobi, gnatâmor.
4. Name gifting/Anuanodîmâ – Say:
English: Under the eyes of the gods and the ancestors, I give my name, _______ (<Where you say your name), so that I may be known.
Gaulish: Au suliûs Dêwon eti Sinestron sepûmi mon anwan ________, wissemorio.
5. Adbertâ/Offering – A libation and food would be appropriate. Sharing food with the gods is recommendable while eating food for the ancestors is not as they are dead. If you choose to give different presents/gifts to the gods and ancestors, be aware of this. One should also not partake in the sharing until after the ritual is closed.
English: I give you this gift with love and dedication, so that you will recognize me.
Gaulish: Coriûmiumê soadberton care eti dilestê, duci wisseietissuisme.
6. Braton Dewoi eti Senisteroi/Thanks to gods and ancestors –
English: Thank you gods for your visit. May you leave in peace and prosperity. Thank you ancestors for your visit. May you leave in peace and prosperity.
Gaulish: Braton Dêwobo are sueson encîmî inter nos. Pettiemos iteietisios in tancê eti ulanê. Braton Sinestrobo are sueson encîmî inter nos. Pettiemos iteietisios in tancê eti ulanê.
7. Clitâ Noibotenetos/Covering the Sacred Fire – This is where you cover the fire respectfully. Pinching the candle flame works. Or using drops of water on the flame.
English: You are the center of creation, the first fire, at the beginning of time. You are the fire of every hearth. All fires are lit from you. I cover you, fire (optional: in the way of _____<god/dess).
Gaulish: Esîtu medyos alpetânon, aidus cintus in tanî cintî. Esîtu aidus papas aidletâs, papon aidun âwotor es te. Te celûmi, aide (in cinge ______<God/dess).
After this is completed, it is recommended that you eat a meal in celebration. This is where you can share the food you’ve offered to the gods.
1. Rites and Symbols of Initiation: The Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth by Mircea Eliade, Introduction
2. Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans by Ceisiwr Serith p. 235-236
3. Khandro.Net, http://www.khandro.net/buddhist_names.htm
4. Namkaran Is the Hindu Naming Ceremony: Traditional Ritual of Giving Your Baby a Name by Subhamoy Das, https://www.thoughtco.com/namkaran-the-hindu-naming-ceremony-1770021
5. The Gift by Marcel Mauss, Notes – Introduction P.108-109
6. The Basic Ritual Outline, Nemeton Segomâros, by Segomâros Widugeni http://polytheist.com/segomaros/2016/03/30/the-basic-ritual-outline/
Special thanks to Segomâros for translating the English to Gaulish for this ritual.