|This photo taken a couple of year back by the River Chelmer, so cold the trees are reflected in the river, is my version of the mirrored Celtic world.|
LS always knows when I am in one of nostalgic moods, this time it is Solva in Wales and wandering round with Moss on my own, I had been looking for the cottage I took once or twice a year in Llandinogg, the farmhouse is still offering holidays and with the same people in charge, so who knows!
Looking for another dog is somewhat difficult, there are things left up in the air, but I have been looking, there is a site with 'oldie' dogs, but the spaniel I like is somewhere in Sussex, and we all know that on taking in 'rescue' dogs one's home has to be inspected. Or perhaps it is because I have cold feet, in introducing into the household a lively creature.
|Reconstruction drawing of Pagans Hill|
Nehalennia The first goddess and dog is a continental one, she seems to have protected travellers who crossed the North sea, and her shrine (now under water) was to be found at Zeeland (Holland,) linking the river Rhine to Britain. Over 121 altars were found with depictions of her, the dog that sits at her feet is large and is seen as a benevolent creature guarding his mistress. The dog in celtic mythology has two functions, and can often be found at healing shrines, dog saliva is seen as antiseptic and the licking that dogs do would probably been seen as healing. The dog also represents death, he can lead you or at least your spirit to the underworld, this of course in celtic mythology is'nt a final end, but a new beginning in a world filled with all the pleasures of life. The dog can also be sacrificed, as seen at Caerwent where several dog skulls have been found in the wells there. At the Lydney temple, high above the Severn, a temple somewhat similar to Nehalennia's temple, in that it is dedicated to mythological sea creatures the god Noden was worshipped and offerings of little bronze figurines of dogs were found.
The Pagan Hill temple overlooking Chew Valley, though a slightly later roman temple had parts of a dog stature, he is a somewhat homely creature, a slightly plump mongrel short haired and sitting down, his head is missing. Now whether he was part of a larger stature perhaps of the resident god is not known. Apollo is often seen as accompanied by a dog, and at the Apollo Nettleton Shrub temple, there is Cunomaglos (the Hound Lord), so this pairing of gods and dogs is seen as perfectly natural. Of course the roman goddess Diana with a faithful hound sitting at her feet can also be found at Nettleton Shrub, and also at Aqua Sulis, the craftmanship in these two statues reflecting a high standard of workmanship.
Again what we find is that the Roman influence and its gods dominate the Celtic pantheon, but that the indigenous god of 'place' is recognised. There is, for want of a better word, a metamorphis of beliefs at these Roman temple sites, translated into the celtic mythology, the cult of water shrines and its healing process is blended with the wider cosmology of the natural world, in which the animals also take their part......