Assus and Uertos

The aim of this entry will be to construct a cohesive view of reality and ‘fate’ for Senobessus Bolgon (or an equivalent) through understandings of reconstructed systems, specifically the Xártus from Ceisiwr Serith’s version of Proto-Indo European polytheism, concepts from neighboring regions  (from during and a little further in time), and the Celtic Isles, from which there may be hints of Pan-Celtic core concepts (if there ever was such a thing).

Xártus

“Xártus we have already been introduced to. It is the living structure of the universe. In the cosmology, it is the pattern created by the branches and roots of the world tree, and is contained in a potential form in the water that feeds the tree. The tree brings into manifestation that which the water holds only in implication. I bring it up again because it is the basis of all the other subjects of this chapter. Dhétis, yéwesā, swā́rtus, and swédhos are all are ways of manifesting the Xártus. The tendency of the Xártus is towards order. Since the Xártus is a living, growing thing, so is the order toward which it tends. But order is by nature static. It is the element of Chaos that is fed into the Xártus both at its source (the water and the serpents that live in it) and its manifestation (the ability of its products, especially people, to work against the Xártus, the results of which are fed back into it), that keeps Cosmos from being so static that it would be oppressive and would shatter at the slightest touch. The Xártus does not shatter. That is because it is pliant; it is alive.”

“The Xártus impels, but it does not compel. It is not inexorable Fate, but rather more like momentum. It is the way things are and the way they will be if things continue along the same path, not the way they must be. One may perceive the Xártus, or at least conform to it, in a number of ways. All are worth practicing, since by them the approach to the Xártus becomes clearer and easier. Divination can tell us about the Xártus. It relies on the assumption that all seemingly random incidents are in fact occurring as part of the Xártus. By mastering and practicing forms of divination, the Xártus becomes clearer.” 

Within this chapter, Serith then goes on to describe *dhétis (laws made by humans to regulate society, which is also considered constantly evolving), *yéwesā (rules by which rituals are conducted, as ritual properly performed puts one in contact with the gods and ‘thus indirectly with the Xártus’), *swārtus  (the Xártus of a particular individual or twig of the great tree, existing only if the individual is observed in isolation in relation to the whole) and *swédhos (ethics and/or virtues, for which he gives three virtuous acts; 1) Those that put us in accord with the Xártus 2) Those acts that are already in accord with the Xártus and 3) Those that do both, such as ritual ) [2]

From this we can see a possible idea of order/destiny/fate of the Proto-Indo Europeans; it is a pattern of a world tree that lives in and is fed chaos (represented by water and serpents) to keep it alive. Each twig being an individual’s fate determined by their actions, performance of rituals, ethics, and societal laws. Each society’s Xártus would then be a branch determined by their *dhétis (laws) and intermingled with their overall *swédhos (ethics). 

With this in mind, it should be noted that Serith believes that the Xártus is changeable and gives us this statement, “It is important to point out that by viewing the Xártus, one is viewing what will be if the flow of the Xártus remains unchanged. Thus divination is not truly “fortune-telling”; what is learned is not fated to be. Indeed, why bother if nothing could be done?”

Heimarmenē

The word above is correlated to fate, however we will be talking about order as well as fate/destiny for Hellenic religion as a comparative study. For this, we will take a look from the blog of Klaytonus Silvanus, Hellenic Faith:

“This chaos was a formless void. It had no order, the laws of nature weren’t fixed, and any proportion between things was purely accidental. The word chaos (χάος) itself could indicate two things. It could relate to χέειν, to “pour,” which conveys a sense of watery chaos. Alternatively, it could relate to χαῦνος, meaning “spongy” or “porous,” which gives the sense of alternating fullness and void distributed throughout a substance. It is from this formless potential that the Celestial Demiurge, ZeusHelios, rose from, and whenceforth the ordering act of creation began.

The Demiurge received from Aion, the primordial source of Being, the creative power to craft and set in order the cosmos. The Demiurge established the elements, such as fire, water, and so forth, and out of them, He created the World Soul. He established about the law of nature through the direction of His spoken word, the Logoi, which are His thoughts that are lower manifestations of the higher principles (such as the Forms). It is important to point out that the word cosmos holds a meaning of arrangement, and thus suggests that the universe has a particular orderly arrangement to it.”[3]

As with the Xártus, the order of the cosmos in Hellenic religion came from chaos, though not necessarily the same representation of a well and tree. We do however see that this order is influenced by Zeus’ spoken word. Another element to Hellenic order and fate are the famous Moirae, the goddesses of fate. Their name means ‘allotted portions’ while their individual personifications are Klotho (spinner), Lakhesis (apportioner of lots), and Atropos (she who cannot be turned). 

As one is born, the Moirae spun out the thread of their future life, would follow their steps and throughout would direct the outcome of their actions according to the gods[4]. One’s lot was not inflexible or absolute, but conditional. One would be able to exercise their some influence on them in life. One version of this system allows for a god by the name of Zeus Moiragetes to be their leader who guides how fate is to be spun, where as another one demonstrates that even Zeus was subject to their judgement[5]. This is similar to Roman religion in which Jupiter was reputed to be either an arbiter of the Parcae’s (the Roman equivalent to the Moirai) design or even submissive to them[6].

So, from chaos comes order still. Fate however is decidedly different in representation from Xártus. Where Serith mentions that words and actions weave people together in the Xártus, it is still not in the PIE reconstruction formula of a tree with millions of twigs and branches being fed watery chaos/actions. Instead we have three goddesses of fate; One who spins the thread, one who measured the thread, and one who cut it. 
There are however Jupiter columns which depict the titular god triumphing over chaos (in the form of a serpent), and further arguments can be made that they themselves represent an older imagery of the tree and well. These columns are located in Gaul, Britain and various Germanic provinces. 

Wyrd/Orlæg

Orlæg is a word that means original law via components or- (original) and læg (that which is laid/law). This Germanic concept is tied to figures called the Norns who, like the Moirae, are the arbiters of fate. The three important tasks that they have are 1) to speak and thus make the laws 2) choose the life for men and 3) set/mark their fate. As it spoken, Orlæg becomes reality, giving sustenance to the world tree creating a cyclic nurturing system[7] similar to the Xártus. 

The word Wyrd ties into weorþan, which has connotations of ‘what becomes’ and ‘what has became’. 

To quote the Lārhūs Fyrnsida: 

“Speaking orlæg, the Norns draw the actions of all of reality back into the Well of Wyrd. The actions of all beings are laid down as they are completed, forming an ever-expanding continuum of reality. Past actions never truly fade, but exist in stratified layers within the well. Orlæg is called the “original law” because the earliest layers of strata are results of actions from this primal, spoken law.”[8]

Wyrd is the cosmic, universe-wide, incarnation of a metaphysical butterfly effect. The confluence of one’s will meeting sheer fluid chance. Taking a left when one could just as easily have taken a right, a misstep or misspoken word, magnified a hundred, hundred times over. Our world is formed by those choices, the foundation as we understand it laid by the choices of our ancestors. Their choices continue to function to this day, continue to impact the Wyrd of their descendants, just as ours will do so in the future.”[9]

This gives us the idea the well of Wyrd contains every action, word, and movement from that which and has become. These actions become Orlæg, continuously spoken which gives nourishment to the world tree in which our world dwells. Orlæg is thus analogous to in a way to Xártus; a pattern which is continuously growing and evolving. 

Toncnamon/Cailos/Natias/

These are all possible words in Gaulish for fate and destiny. Delamarre gives us Cailo for fate, destiny or lot but also gives us duscelinatia meaning bad fate or ill fate (should we dispense with the root dus, the word natia could be another possible option for generalized fate)[10]. Toncnaman toncsiiontio is used on the Chamaliéres Tablet, which is thought to mean ‘I swear/destine to the oath/destiny god’ by Koch [11]. Segomâros agrees with this and adds ‘The essence of it is that Fate was “that which is sworn”, while to swear was to destine”[12]. The idea that spoken words could become fate reflects Orlæg being spoken by the Norns, and Zeus Moiragetes speaking/dictating the Moirae. 

In terms of a word for a pattern or order like Xártus, Wyrd or Orlæg, it’s less clear. 

Tynged/Geis

Tynged is a word that implies doom, fate or destiny, but as pointed out by Koch in his paper in relation to Toncnaman, is related to the spoken word[13]. The most famous example is in the Mabinogi in the Fourth Branch. Lleu Llaw Gaffes is given three tyngedhau by his mother, Arianhod; 1) He would not have a name unless she gives it to him 2) He would never take arms until she armed him 3) He would never have a wife from any race that is on this earth now. With help from his uncle Math fab Mathonwy, Lleu Llaw Gaffes overcomes the tyngedhau and his mother Arianhod accepts him finally as her own. [14]This demonstrates that the spoken word as fate idea is possibly pan-Celtic, and that it is not inexorhable. It should be noted as well that Arianhod’s name is thought mean ‘Silver wheel’[15], which could imply mystical weaving properties in regards to tyngedhau. 

Geasa in literature however demonstrate a gloomy nature to the spoken fate. Often it is a goddess which places a geis on the hero, giving them at times special attributes but also implying their downfall. Cúchulainn’s geis to never eat dog meat and to eat any food offered by a woman leads to his doom when a hag offers him dog meat with no other option[16]. 

Now while there aren’t clear examples of an order or pattern system of fate/time/reality on the Celtic Isles, Paul C. Bauschatz says this:

 “…the well-tree configuration is shared by both the Celtic and Germanic peoples. Mackenzie (1922: 176-94) has found throughout the British Isles combinations of trees, wells, and animals (most frequently serpents) that seem to be symbols of cosmic energy and power. his earliest citations are unfortunately from the six century after Christ, after the Germanic invasion. The instances are most frequent in Celtic areas, however. Wells are found for example, in association with trees and megaliths (probably symbolic trees) in Wales. Some 62 examples occur…where there is a well-megalith association, and a further 14 cases of wells near tumuli…Many stones that once stood near wells have disappeared…Wells associated with trees are not numerous in Wales, but some 30 examples have been note, and there are probably more (Jones 1954: 15-18). The associated trees are usually yew, hazel, oak or hawthorn. It seems unlikely that the widespread distribution of wells and trees in purely Celtic parts of the British Isles would result from influence either from the invading Angles and Saxons or from the Norsemen, with whom the Welsh had little intercourse. The Celts and Germans seem separately to have brought the figure to the British Isles from the European continent, where the figure of a world tree was to be found not only among the northern Indo-Europeans but among Finno-Urgic peoples as well”[17]. 

Therefore the commonalities which should be noted from Tynghedau and Geasa are that the spoken word is tied to destiny/fate/reality, often by divine female figures with associations to weaving, and that there is in fact evidence of the well of chaos/energy/actions and world tree figures in the Celtic Isles. 

Now that we have explored briefly the systems of fate and reality from various religions, we can look at common elements to extrapolate a Belgic system.

Common Elements

1. Order (represented by a tree or pattern of the world tree’s branches or twigs), is fed by chaos (represented by water in a well where the tree resides). Inside the water is a great serpent and/or multiple serpents (outsiders, agents of chaos) which threaten to pull order back into chaos. 

2. The actions, words, and movements taken and made by mortals are followed and spoken by a divine female figure(s),  which are then manifested in reality. 

3. This reality that is manifested becomes the past. 

4. A divine female figure(s) weaves this past into a pattern.

5. The pattern, which are the actions, words and movements of all beings, is recited or fed into the well as controlled chaos to help nourish and maintain the tree (order). 

Senobessus Bolgon Interpretation: 

The Toncnamoberus (well spring of fate/destiny) contains the Anassudubron (waters of chaos), which nourishes Drus[18], the world tree. Drus contains/is Assus (Order, law). Each twig, branch and trunk represents a mortal life, their people, their land, their world and the universe. They are all each called a Toncnamon, a destiny that was sworn, recited and destined by the Matres. 

The Toncnamoberus is replenished/filled by each deed, word, and happening done by each being in existence, through the intercession of Matres. 

As each mortal family has many Matres to watch them closely, their society also has Matres above them, and their land above them, and their world above them. The Matres follow the mortal from birth, reciting and recording every deed and every word spoken, spinning them and all possible outcomes, waiting for the consequences to occur in order to continue the process of reciting, recording and spinning. The progress is followed by the Matres above them, determining the possible outcomes of each mortal life and what the consequences for the society is. This process is called Uertos[19][20] (worth, price, turning) and can be referred to in regards to an individual or the overall cosmos. 

The process continues in a ripple or butterfly effect; each action and deed taken by a mortal effecting their world and universe around them, creating a pattern which a Mother, a set of Matres, or even a goddess will feed into the Toncnamonberus. The Anassudubron inside the Toncnamonberus nourishes Drus, and the deed, word, and happenings manifest themselves as a twig on a branch on a trunk, which in turn creates a pattern, which is Assus. Drus constantly grows and evolves with each mortal life and their deeds.

At the bottom of the Toncnamoberus, there is a Dubronatrîx/Morodrîx (sea/water serpent/dragon) which tries to eat at Drus, and plunge it back into the Anassudubron (waters of chaos) and therefore Anassus. By Drus’ growth, Anassus is staved off and life continues. One can only add to Drus, and therefore Assus through Uertos but never subtract. 

Note* Uertos was chosen for the word to describe the process due to the idea of the Belgae being a confederation of both Gaulish and Germanic tribes, giving a conjectural link between praxis and culture (Uert- and Norse Urd/OE Wyrd/PG Wurdiz respectively). According to Ranko Matasovic, the idea of ‘turning’ was also conceived as destiny in part by the Welsh (from the PC word *swelo which he theorized became Middle Welsh ‘Chwyl’  ‘turn, course, destiny’.[21]

drus_white

Resources:

1. Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans by Ceisiwr Serith  P. 35

2. Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans by Ceisiwr Serith  P. 35 -40

3. Creation by Klayton Silvanus https://hellenicfaith.com/creation/

4. Moirae by http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Moirai.html

5. Moirae by http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Moirai.html

6. A Classical Dictionary: Containing a Copious Account of All the Proper Names Mentioned in Ancient Authors; with the Value of Coins, Weights and Measures, Used Among the Greeks and Romans; and a Chronological Table by John Lemprière P. 580

7. The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture by Paul C. Bauschatz P. 20-21

8. Orlæg https://larhusfyrnsida.com/fundamentals/orlaeg/

9.Wyrd  https://larhusfyrnsida.com/fundamentals/wyrd/

10. Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise (2nd ed.) by Xavier Delamarre (2003)

11. Further to tongue do dia tongues mo thuaith [Mi a dyngaf dinged it] & c by John Koch

12. Destiny and Fate, Ancient Fire by Segomâros Widugeni P. 32

13. Further to tongue do dia tongues mo thuaith [Mi a dyngaf dinged it] & c by John Koch

14. Fourth Branch of Mabinogi 

15. Celtic Myth and Religion: A Study of Traditional Belief, with Newly Translated Prayers, Poems and Songs by Sharon Paice MacLeod Kindle Edition P. 2525

16. A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology by James MacKillop P. 249

17. The Well and the Tree: World and Time in Early Germanic Culture by Paul C. Bauschatz P.26-27

18. “Cosmologie Indo Europeienne ‘Roi do Monde’ Celtiques It Le Nom Des Druid’, in Les Noms des Gaulois  by Xavier Delamarre P. 59-60

19. Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic by Ranko Matasovic P. 415

20. Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise (2nd ed.) by Xavier Delamarre (2003)

21. Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic by Ranko Matasovic P. 362

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