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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Dobunni

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Name (Tribe)

There's a conventional usage in the First Nations press which I think, for various reasons, would be a good fit for the pagan community as well.

There it's customary to identify someone both by name and by tribal affiliation:

Winona la Duke (Anishinabe)

Arvol Looking Horse (Dakota)

This makes perfect sense. In traditional societies, you don't just need to know who someone is; you need to know who her people are as well. In traditional Dine (Navajo) culture, when introducing yourself to a fellow Dine, you mention not just your own name, but your maternal and paternal clans as well. This gives you not just an identity, but a context.

Since pagans come in different kinds, it seems to me that this makes sense for us, too:

Isaac Bonewits (Druid)

Alison Harlow (Feri)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Happy Summersend

We don't know whether or not the Anglo-Saxon Hwicce—the original Tribe of Witches—celebrated Samhain.

If they did, we don't know what they called it.

It's generally acknowledged by historians that, both demographically and culturally, the Hwicce emerged from a Keltic-Germanic meld. If so, and if they kept Samhain, they may well have called it something like Samonios.

Among their latter-day descendants, the November quarter-day generally goes by one of two names: Keltic Samhain and Germanic Hallows.

Samhain (however you choose to pronounce it) is an Irish name for an Irish festival. The word's original meaning is not entirely clear; likely it derives from samh, “summer.” Folk etymology would read it as “summer ends” or “summers' end.”

It's a good name, an ancient name, but it is and will always be an import.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Nicely put, Courtney; I thoroughly agree. Our work, it seems to me, is not just to know and to transmit the Lore faithfully, but a
  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    I've always been okay with the name Samhain b/c half of the modern Wheel came from the big Celtic festivals. But I'm also not look

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Boy Who Never Complained

A Lost-Found Dobunni Folk-tale

 

There was once a man who, feeling the approach of death, summoned his sons that he might divide his wealth among them.

When all that he owned had been distributed, it was found that he had overlooked his youngest son.

Father, is there nothing for me? asked the boy.

Alas, my son, said the man, There is nothing left but this old copper kettle. But I give it to you with my blessing.

The boy took the kettle without complaint.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witchbury

In the tribal territories of the Hwicce, the old Anglo-Saxon Tribe of Witches, stands a hill called Wychbury Hill. The name means “Hill-fort of the Witches.”

It was once our tribal capital.

The old Northern ancestors didn't live in cities. Most people lived dispersed on their own holdings, but in every clan territory there would be a burg or hill-fort (= Keltic dún): a hilltop fort surrounded by high earthen walls topped with a wooden palisade. At the foot of the hill stood the village, the thatched houses of the yeomanry.

In the burg itself stood the main hall of the drighten, the chieftain, and the homes of the dright, his war-band. The dright prided themselves on having been born within the walls; it meant that you were nobility. But during times of war, the entire village would take shelter behind those walls.

As, whenever we cast a circle, we still do.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Alas, Haley, the answer to your question is lost to the ages. Really, though, one has to imagine a certain amount of ribbing on th
  • Haley
    Haley says #
    So, then, would those born behind the wall in wartime be noble as well?
De Tribu Huicciorum: Concerning the Tribe of Witches

With all due respect, Uncle Gerald got it wrong.

Witches aren't a religion.

We're a tribe.

A tribe: what in the old Witch language would be called a thede.

Some of us are lineal descendants of the old English tribe of Witches, some not. But that's the way of tribes: you don't need to be born in to belong. You can marry in, you can adopt in, you can 'enculturate' in. Tribes have porous boundaries.

That's not to say that we're not all related. Of course we are.

Old Hornie sows his seed wherever he will, far and wide.

So you'll find us all over the world, on every continent (yes, even Antarctica!). Naturally (as one would expect) we come in different clans.

But wherever we go (and we go everywhere), we do share a certain family resemblance.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We're tribal animals, we humans. We've lived this way since the beginning, and chances are we'll be doing so again in the future.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Steven. I hear ya!
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    So mote it be.
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I really enjoyed this reminder. Tribe is a focus for me--intentional tribe calling. Thank you.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Reinventing the Wheel

If the orientation of the monuments that they left behind is anything to go by, the peoples of megalithic Britain observed both quarters (sunsteads and evendays) and cross-quarters (Samhain, Imbolc, etc.).

Just like we do.

Different peoples, different ways. As they've come down to us, the cross-quarters are largely a phenomenon of Keltic cultures, the quarters Germanic; hence the names by which they're generally called.

For this reason, some purists have decided to restrict themselves to observance only of quarters or cross-quarters. Well, everyone gets to make his or her own call. My own position is that purism is its own punishment.

According to maverick historian Stephen J. Yeates, the Anglo-Saxon tribe known as the Hwicce—the original Tribe of Witches—settled in the territory of the Keltic people known as the Dobunni, and both archaeology and genetics suggest that there's strong continuity between the two peoples, both demographically and culturally.

In other words, we would expect the tribe of Witches to be (culturally) a Kelto-Germanic amalgam.

Which, of course, is exactly what we are.

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Was the Keltic "Tribe of Witches" Originally the "Two Tribes"?

According to archaeologist Stephen J. Yeates, the original Tribe of Witches was the Anglo-Saxon people called the Hwicce, who inhabited the Cotswolds and Severn Valley of what is now southwestern England.

These were previously the tribal territories of an early Iron Age Keltic people known as the Dobunni. Both genetics and archeology suggest strong demographic and cultural continuity from the Keltic to the Anglo-Saxon periods.

The name Dobunni, known from inscriptions and Roman historians (Yeates 2-3), is of uncertain etymology. Yeates himself does not discuss a derivation.

It may be, though, that this ethnonym preserves a memory of the origins of the tribe itself.

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