Territorial Goddesses: The classification of Toutodêwâs is modern, and my own coinage, taken from Gaulish “Toutâ”, meaning “tribe, chiefdom, small state”, and “dêwâ”, meaning “Goddess.” It refers to the local Goddesses extremely common in Celtic religion, personifications of places and regions, often associated with particular tribes, and even more often associated with the river running through a particular territory. I am also including in this category certain minor Goddesses of particular types of animals and similar things. While not worshipped in only one place, neither was their worship widespread. The list that follows is by no means exhaustive. It is merely a few examples for purposes of illustration.

A. Sequanâ: The local Goddess of the River Seine in modern France. She had a healing shrine at the source of the river. The duck was sacred to her.1

B. Souconnâ: The local Goddess of the River Saóne, in France.2

C. Sabrinâ: The local Goddess of the River Severn, in Britain.3

D. Adsallutâ: The local Goddess of the River Saan, in modern Austria.4

E. Brîctiâ: The local Goddess of the River Breachin, in modern France. The name also means “magic”.5

F. Abnobâ: The local Goddess of the Black Forest. Identified with Diana.6

G. Arduinnâ: The local Goddess of the Ardennes forest, in modern Belgium. Depicted riding a boar, and also identified with Diana.7

H. Artio: The Goddess of bears. Worshipped near Bern, Switzerland, and near Trier, Germany. I suspect that she may also have influence in the forests of Central Florida, given the number of bears that live here.8

I. Bibractis: Goddess of Bibracte, capital of the Aedui tribe, now Mont Beuvray, in France.9

J. Genava: Local Goddess of Geneva, Switzerland.10

K. Nemetonâ: Tribal Goddess of the Nemetes, a Celto-Germanic tribe inhabiting today’s Black Forest region. She was also the protector of the Nemeton, the Gaulish temple space. She may be the origin of the Irish Goddess Nemhain.11

  1.  Green, Dictionary, pp. 188-189; Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 366
  2.  Green, Dictionary, p. 196; Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 367
  3. Green, Dictionary, p. 178
  4.  Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 365
  5. Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 365
  6. Green, Dictionary, p. 26
  7. Green, Dictionary, pp. 33-34
  8. Green, Dictionary, pp. 34—35
  9. Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, pp. 420-421
  10. Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 421
  11. Green, Dictionary, p. 160

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  1. How very interesting. This dovetails well with some recent personal experiences. Having always been attached to a female deity but not knowing whom, I had the pleasure of finding out a bit more. For 30 years she remained nameless. For the last 8 years or so, I had pretty much paid nothing but lip service. Recently, She began nudging at me, harder and harder. Perhaps as I reach into my mid-50’s I am more mature and more open to contact. In an effort to know more about her, I worked with a Berkeley based spiritual worker who was able to scry and discern that she was ancient and a Deity that was attached directly to “my Clan or Tribe”. Perhaps she morphed into another form over the millennia though I fear not. In response to direct questioning, I was informed that her name is not recorded and is “lost” to history. So, here we have a very personal Goddess, attached to me through blood with no name (that she had revealed, or may never). A personal experience and one that resonates with your article. We know of so many different Deities and we have a basis of knowledge on many… However, there seems to be many, many lost and forgotten Gods and Goddesses. There is much more than meets the eye and it behooves us to maintain an open mind and to whom may be speaking to us. My greatest joy is in knowing that she wants active agency in my life. My deepest sorrow is the ten thousand years she has waited and that I may never know much more about her lore (save for what I can inuit over the next few years). Who knows what tantalizing hints lie in dusty scrolls and manuscripts. Thank you for taking the time to illustrate these local Deities.

    B. Rizzo
    San Leandro, CA

  2. I suspect that in some places, many of these were the level of deity who turned into obscure saints. I found a whole spate of Welsh saints who were each associated with one particular spring or well that had its own particular set of powers. (The children of Brychan, although there are other Celtic saints who fit the same pattern.)

  3. One further observation (beyond apologizing for my typos, proofreading is an area of opportunity for me)…

    This path that has chosen me and that I have chosen to accept is a lonely one. While I can share in the greater Polytheistic community, I am the sole devotee to this Goddess. It’s a bit disheartening. My two family members with whom I thought might share this pull or even be supportive are not. My wife struggles to understand this for my sake. Much kudos to her for being as supportive as she is though she is as secular a person as can be.

    If you find yourself pulled to one of these Deities, keep in mind that you may be the ONLY devotee. Food for thought and something to ruminate on during this holiday season.

  4. Would you put Condatis and Senua in this category as well?

    Senua is an interesting one, given that she is one of the “newest” Goddesses who has been rediscovered in Roman Britain. I’m now trying to remember which river she was associated with…

    And I suppose Belisama and the River Ribble would also qualify, perhaps?