Meet the Gods: Belenus
Belenus is one of the most ancient, beloved and widely worshiped Celtic deities. It is believed that the Latin name evolved from Bel or Belen, a Celtic word interpreted as “brilliant,” “shining,” or “luminous.” Orally, little is known about Belenus. The most archaeological remains dedicated to him were found in France, thought to be the center of his worship, but artifacts and references to him have been found in Northern Italy, Southern Gaul, the Alps, Austria, Rome, Scotland, Spain, and Britain. His shrines were often dedicated to healing and included therapeutic springs.
“Votive offerings found at his shrine at Sainte-Sabine include terra-cotta horses and stone carvings of swaddled infants,” according to a page on the Occult World website written by Judika Illes.
Typically referred to as a sun god, he may be more correctly associated with pastoralism. It is said his cult was probably connected with Beltane, the great fire festival May 1, which is his feast day. That was when cattle were driven between two fires to purify and protect them before being turned out to the pastures for the summer. It is also thought that healing plants harvested on Beltane have extra power.
“An erotic spirit, he may be a spirit of reproductive fertility for people and livestock. He is sometimes called the Lord of Flocks,” Illes wrote.
In addition Belenus is also thought of as a god of healing, crops, fertility, protection, and good luck. He is associated with the elements of fire and water; his planet is the sun; his animal is a horse. Yellow, green, and white are his colors, and he is associated with wildflowers and healing plants.
To include him in you workings, I would light a fire at Beltane in his honor. I’d also present him with wildflowers and a tea made from healing herbs. Figures of horses would also be appropriate to put on the altar along with such traditional Beltane staples as the Maypole. Because the veil is again thin, you might be able to meet with him while meditating to request his protection, healing, and good luck.
About the Author:
All my life I have known magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the black-candles-and-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions, tarot, herbs, candle magic, gems, and, as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have returned to an eclectic solitary practice. When accepting the mantle of crone, I pledged to serve and teach. This is what I do from my skoolie – a 30-year-old school bus converted into a tiny house on wheels that I am driving around the country, following 72-degree weather, emerging myself into nature, and sharing magic with those I meet. Find me at thewitchonwheels.com, Facebook and Instagram.