Cymeria: Beliefs & Traditions

Foreword

Celtic social traditions are shared with the Cymry and other races that dwell in Cymeria. They do not, however, replace the traditions of the land’s other races: Wyr, Ddraig, etc. In general, all residents of Cymeria share the following traditions and beliefs to some extent even if it is only lip service out of respect.

Social Traditions

Gatherings are how Cymerians exchange news, information, technological advances, meet one another, form alliances, arrange marriages, and in general socialize with one another. They are a primary basis for the internal politics and diplomacy of the country. Gatherings can be clan specific, composed of many clans, regional, or open for the entire country.

The tradition of Gathering goes back to the ancient Houses of the Cymry that originally settled the land in the time before the arrival of the races of Menfolk. As with most other things, the Celts have adopted, and in some cases adapted, the various traditions and beliefs of the Cymry.

Gathering of the Clans

Date: Various dates throughout the year.

Clan gatherings happen on small and large scale throughout the year. Due to the far-flung nature of the Cymerian Marches, many clans and Warders host Gatherings to bring the people together. Gatherings are fairs, festivals, feasts, and markets all rolled into one. It is a time to renew or make internal alliances (political), arrange marriages (as much as they are ever arranged), celebrate with sporting games such as hurling, caber toss, wrestling, swordplay, foot racing, etc. It is also a time to exchange news and information.

Gatherings are most often hosted by a large hold or by the elders of a sizable city or town.

Clan Gathering, Assembly

Date: Various

Most Clan Assemblies are local to a March, although far-flung family members may travel for it if time and season allow. These Gatherings are held on one of the major sabbats or during spring planting or harvest.

Céilidh

Date: Various

A céilidh or ceilidh /ˈkeɪli/ is a traditional Cymerian social gathering, which usually involves playing local folk music, dancing, feasting and consuming a fair amount of alcoholic beverages. Céilidhs are most often held in conjunction with one of the Gatherings, but some villages, towns, and cities hold a céilidh for strictly social purposes, and they are part of almost all wedding celebrations.

A local céilidh is like the Saturday night dances that were popular in the 1950s and even early 1960s in the United States (Earth). It is a popular way for members of the opposite sex to meet and socialize under the watchful eye of their elders.

Another form of céilidh is simply a gathering of bards and musicians for entertaining a crowd with stories, music, and songs. These are often held at the largest hold in the area (usually a Warder hold or that of a Chieftain). These events are free to the public. The bards are paid by the owner of the hold having the event.

Sabbats (Holidays)

Included in the Celtic social traditions are several recognized holidays or celebrations called sabbats. Sabbat is the Cymry Old Tongue word that means several things: celebration, festival or feast. Most Cymerian sabbats are linked to some aspect of nature or natural change. The origins of the sabbats are unclear, but it is likely from traditions started by the Cymry and adopted by the people that settled in Cymeria.

Yule

Other Name(s): Winter Solstice

Dates: 20th, 21st, 22nd, or 23rd of the 12th month. The specific date is determined by when the solstice occurs.

Yule is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. Some Wiccans consider Yule to be either the year’s beginning or the end. This is the time to celebrate the return of the light. Yule is the solar turning of the tides, and the newborn Sun offers a fresh start and, literally, a new day. It’s a time of renewal and hope.

Candlemas

Other Name(s): Imbolc

Dates: 1st or 2nd day of the 2nd month.

Imbolc is a preparation for spring. At Candlemas, the Cymerians clean and organize their living environments, as well as their minds and hearts, in preparation for the upcoming season of growth. It’s a time to shake off the doldrums of late winter and light the fires of creativity and inspiration.

Ostara

Other Name(s): Spring Equinox

Dates: 20th, 21st, 22nd, or 23rd day of the 3rd month; determined by the actual date of the spring equinox.

Winter is now over. Light is increasing. The day and night are equal in length at the equinox. Spring has arrived or is coming soon. Ostara is the time of fertility, birth, and renewal. The ice is thawing, and the growing season for plants and animals begins. Growth is the theme of the day.

Beltane

Date: 1st day of the 5th month.

Beltane is the time for the marriage and union of Gaia and Cernunnos. It is an ancient fertility festival marking the beginning of the planting cycle. The festival was to ensure a good growing season and a bountiful harvest. It is a light-hearted and joyful time often celebrated with feasts and picnics. The Festival of the Bards is often celebrated on the eve of Beltane. Poets, writers, and musicians gather to sing, make music, and recite verses.

Midsummer

Other Name(s): Summer Solstice

Date(s): 20th, 21st, 22nd or 23rd day of the 6th month.

Midsummer is the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Light triumphs, but will now begin to fade into darkness as autumn approaches. The crops are planted and growing. The woods and forests have reached their peak fullness. This is the time of abundance for wildlife, including people! The holiday is joyous.

Lammas

Date: 1st day of the 8th month.

For the ancient Celts and Cymry, Lammas was a time of both hope and fear. They hoped for a bountiful harvest and abundant food, but they feared that the harvest wouldn’t be large enough and that the cold months would be filled with struggle and deprivation. At Lammas, modern Cymerians also face their fears, concentrate on developing their own abilities, and take steps to protect themselves and their homes.

Ceremony of Oaths

Date(s): Celebrated during the week of the 13th day of the 9th month.

This is both a memorial celebration and a time of renewal when a majority of Cymerians gather on the Plains of D’hassa at the site of the Battle of D’hassa. It is not a typical clan gathering as vending is not allowed except for food stalls although it is an opportunity to share news, information, renew alliances, make arrangements for weddings, etc. The height of the festival is the actual Ceremony of Oaths when the Cymerian Guard, recite their oath to the land, personified by the High Lord with his great sword embedded in a small stone plinth (it has a slot for the tip of his sword).

Mabon

Other Name(s): Fall Equinox, or Harvest Home

Date(s): 20th, 21st, 22nd, or 23rd day of the 9th month

At Mabon, the day and the night are equal in length, in sublime balance. For many locations, Mabon coincides with the final harvest of grain, fruits, and vegetables. Mabon, also called Harvest Home, is the time of thanksgiving. The beauty and bounty of summer give way to the desolation of winter, and the darkness overtakes the light.

Samhain

Other Name(s): Hallowmas

Date(s): 31st day of the 10th month; sometimes carried over to the 1st day of the 11th month.

For many Cymerians, Samhain marks the New Year and is the most important sabbat. It’s the time to remember the ancestors, and the time to celebrate the harvest and all that has been accomplished over the year.

Spirituality in Cymeria

There are very few differences between Celtic superstitions and beliefs and those of the Cymry. The majority of the Celts (Cymeri) have adopted and follow the system of beliefs and superstitions of the Cymry. Since the Cymry settled the country of Cymeria thousands of years before the rise and subsequent arrival of the first Celts, it was logical for them to adopt the Cymerian beliefs.

The biggest difference between Cymry and Celtic spirituality is how they deal with death. The Celts follow a ritual of cremation and holding a wake for their departed as well as observing a brief period of mourning. The Cymry see the actual death of their bodies like the true oblivion of their spirit, condemning them to wander in y Affwys (the Abyss). A Cymry’s passing is known as Crossing and is covered in depth here.

Spiritual Views

The Celts and the Cymry have a spiritual aspect to their natures, but they are not religious in the sense that they worship divine omnipotent guys with long gray beards. Like most sentient beings, they have creation myths that dictate some of their life’s philosophies. Much of their spirituality revolves around the duality of nature, male and female and a belief that everything has a guardian spirit known as their chalon. To the Cymry, chalon also means soul or spirit.

Due to their belief in the duality of nature, most of the physical representations of their deities (for lack of a better word) exhibit either a masculine or feminine persona. In the Celtic and Cymry cultures, men and women are considered equals. Clans and Houses are either patriarchal or matriarchal based on tradition rather than gender restrictions. The feminine aspect of the deities tends to be viewed as equal to the masculine but more benevolent, gentle and giving while the male aspects usually represent the darker or harsher side of life.

They do not view Cernunnos (Great Maker/Sun) and Gaia, (Earth, The Mother) as living all-powerful supernatural beings. They do consider them as a form of sentience and deserving of respect as they are vital to the continuance of life. The Cymry do not see the celestial beings as either good or evil. While they do acknowledge the existence of evil and of a being of pure evil, the Shadowed One, they do not see things of nature as necessarily one or the other. In other words, the Great Maker is not evil or punishing the world when it sends a drought, it is simply one aspect of nature.

Celestial Beings

Cernunnos

Other Name(s): The Great Maker

The sun is the visual representation of the male aspect of nature, virility, fertility, life, animals, and forests. The Horned or Antlered One is born at the winter solstice, marries the Mother (Gaia) at Beltane, 1st day of the 5th month, and dies at the summer solstice. He alternates with Gaia in presiding over life and death and the continuance of the cycle of death, rebirth, and reincarnation. He is represented in human form as an extremely handsome, virile man with antlers growing from his head (or curving horns).

Symbolizes elements of earth, love, fertility, death the virile male aspect and the dark half of the year. Cernunnos leads the wild hunt at Samhain.

Associated with Cernunnos: bull, ram, stag, horned serpents, oak, and thorn.

Gaia

Other Name(s): The Mother

This is the name for the world (planet). The cradle of life, the one that gives birth to life, the feminine aspect of fertility. Without y Fam, there would be no existence. She works in concert with the Great Maker to nourish and bring forth life. Again, while referred to as she, Gaia is not seen as a separate spiritual or incorporeal being. She is the Mother, the earth, the giver of life. In that sense, the Cymry see her as a living being just as they see all of the natural world as intertwined and living.

Her human aspect is shown as a radiantly beautiful mature woman with hair that flows to the ground. The hair usually is portrayed as having living creatures dwelling within it as well as leafy twigs, etc. It is said that if Gaia appears in her human form to mankind, she is constantly changing (hair color, eye color, complexion, even clothing).

Associated with Gaia: doe, doves, elder, and ash.

The Moons

Gaia is orbited by two moons. They revolve around the world in complementary orbits, rarely lining up perfectly.

Sealgair

Other Name(s): The Hunter

The primary moon or the one in the nearest orbit is known as the Sealgair, which literally translates to the hunter. Sealgair is given governance over the wild animals of the world. This most likely arises from the fact that when in full phase, the outline of the image of a great bear appears. As the short-faced bear is one of the mightiest hunters on Gaia, it is not surprising that Sealgair became known as the Hunter.

Physically, it is likely she has the biggest influence on Gaia regarding tides, climate, etc. While the Cymry name this moon the Hunter and consider her a feminine influence, they do not view her as a god or goddess. Like the Great Maker and Gaia herself, Hunter influences aspects of the natural world with her phases and presence. On some level, the Cymry understand there is a relationship between the moons, their phases, and the world they reside on.

Sealgair is tidally locked (does not rotate on its axis) so only one face is presented to the planet.

Marnwr

Other Name(s): the Judge, Holder of the Scales

This moon is called Marnwr, the Judge, because it is always visible, always watching. Marnwr is gaseous, considerably larger than Sealgair and is in a more distant orbit. Unlike Sealgair, the second moon is always faintly visible, even in daylight. Marnwr is surrounded by three distinct rings made up of rocks, ice, asteroids, and meteors of stone, iron, and diamond, and other space debris.

The first ring, the one closest to the moon, is always visible, even if only faintly. The rings wax and wane in 1,000-year cycles. It takes 1,000 years for all three rings to become totally bright and visible to the naked eye and another 1,000 years for them to fade so that only the innermost ring is faintly visible. In each thousand year cycle, the rings are in flux for five-hundred years and then stable (either totally dark to the naked eye or totally bright and visible) for five-hundred years.

It is believed that when all three rings are visible, the Cymry’s arcane powers are heightened and, indeed, it does seem that this is the period of greatest changes and upheavals in Cymry history.

Marnwr is considered the Holder of the Scales and is the force that is the eternal judge of souls, mostly in the use of the arcane. The Judge sees that the balance between the Shadow and Light is maintained, that the Rule of Three is judged fairly, and retribution delivered if required.

The Judge appears to dim and brighten in roughly thirty-one-day cycles because it rotates on its axis. The belief is that the Judge has turned his face away while rendering a judgment.

The Anemoi

Other Name(s): The Four Winds

The Four Winds are the closest things to gods and goddesses that both the Celtic and Cymry cultures recognize. In the Cymry belief system hierarchy, the Four Winds parallel the Four Quarters (or four major Archangels in our real world reference). In any major arcane working, the circle (or cylch) is warded in the names of the Four Winds (this is also referred to as calling the quarters). Also, blessings are sought in the names of the Four Winds. There are the Lesser Winds, those that come from directions such as the northeast, southwest, etc.

Each of the Anemoi is associated with an element: north/earth, east/air, south/fire, west/water. The names of the (Anemoi) Four Winds are not based on the Old Tongue and are believed to be derived from an even more ancient origin.

In the arcane parlance of the Cymry, the Calling of the Quarters is the Calling of the Four Winds to guard them in their workings; to let in only the Light and to keep the Shadowed One away from the Circle.

North Wind

Other Name(s): Boreas

This is the wind that prevails during the winter months and is associated with death (similar to the Archangel Uriel). The Cymry believe the North Wind, though cold, is the one that escorts their essence through the veil and sets their feet on the White Road. When warding a circle for arcane workings, the element associated with Boreas is earth.

It has also been suggested that Boreas was the consort of The Morrighan (warrior deities).

South Wind

Other Name(s): Notus

Associated with heat and warmth, the bringer of the late summer and early fall storms. The element associated with Notus is fire. The South Wind is often perceived in a feminine aspect.

West Wind

Other Name(s): Zephyrus

Zephyrus is the west wind and bringer of light, spring, and early summer breezes; heralds the return of fair weather. Zephyrus is also allied with the element of water and perceived with a male persona. He hails from over the seas to the west.

East Wind

Other Name(s): Eurus

Eurus is considered the neutral wind and given a feminine persona. The winds of the east can be cold if they slant from the north or may be warm or cool when coming from the cardinal direction, and warm when blown up from the south. Eurus’ element is air as the air can be in turns warm, cold, or hot.

Spiritual Beings

Chalon

These are the spirits that dwell in all living things including humans. It is the Cymry and Celtic term for soul or spirit. They are also the lesser gods or guardians of a thing or place. When a Cymry spills water for the spirits of the hollow hills, he or she is honoring and asking the blessing of the spirits of the deep places of the earth, such as caves and other underground ways.

Morrighan

The Morrighan is a figure from ancient Cymry mythology who appears to have been considered a deity figure revered by Cymry warriors, although she is not explicitly referred to as such in tales or texts.

The Morrighan is most often depicted as a gender-neutral warrior figure and is a guardian of battle, strife, and sovereignty. Morrighan sometimes appears in the form of a crow or raven flying above warriors. It also appears as eels, wolves, and cows. Morrighan is often linked to the Valkyrie, the Vanir war deities, although nowhere near as benevolent as the Vanir version.

The name Morrighan was also given to Mikhael Stormdanovich’s elite strike force that he led while serving as First Marshal of Cymeria. The Morrighan now serve as the Harkania High Guard under the command of Ryndar Hawke Windwalker.

The Light

Other Name(s): The Lighted One

Most often simply referred to as The Light. This is not seen as a physical or incorporeal being as is the Shadowed One, but more a philosophy or way of life for those that walk an arcane path.

yr Un Cysgodi

Other Name(s): The Shadowed One

Yr Un Cysgodi (The Shadowed One) is something of an exception to the routine beliefs of the Celts and Cymry. They believe there is literally a being that is the very incarnation of pure evil and darkness, the antithesis of the Light. The Lord of Ys, that which abides in the Abyss (y Affwys).

Mythical Places

There is no concept of heaven and hell in the beliefs of the Celts and Cymry of Cymeria. But, they do believe in certain mythical places such as Oblivion (limbo) and a place where the Shadowed One resides. For the Cymry, there is a continuance of existence in another world, reached by choosing to take the White Road or there is true death and Oblivion, the loss of all that they were or might be. Celtic spiritual beliefs consider death as merely an end to this existence and do not really speculate on what might take place afterward.

Yr Affwys

Other Name(s): the Abyss

Yr Affwys, the Abyss, is a literal location to the Cymerians. It is the deepest ocean trench in the world, located in the far-off Westering Seas. This abyss also contains the realm of Oblivion (or Limbo) where the spirits and essence of the Cymry unable to make the Crossing reside. It is where the souls of fallen Celts go when not claimed or recognized by comrades and loved ones (i.e. if their bodies are not returned for a proper funeral pyre and their belongings given to family and friends for remembrance).

May yr Affwys take you is a common curse one might hear and is as close to condemning a person’s soul to hell as exists in Cymeria (or in Aereth and Xia). Another version is May your chalon rot in Oblivion. This is more common amongst Cymry as they consider the chalon the spirit and essence of a person (their soul and all that they have ever been, their knowledge, experience, etc.).

Ys

Other Name(s): Kêr-Is

This is the island realm of yr Un Cysgodi, the Shadowed One, that lies in the Abyss which is both a mythical realm and a real one that exists in the deepest trench of the Westering Seas (which are almost a myth themselves). Like Atlantis, it is equal parts truth and legend.

While they believe in Kêr-Is (Ys) as an actual realm or place and believe it to be residing in yr Affwys (the Abyss), souls are not sent to the Abyss for evil deeds. If one goes to Ys or dwells in Affwys, it is done by choice, as retribution for the misuse of arcane powers or because they chose to follow yr Un Cysgodi (the Dark or the Shadowed One).

The White Road

While listed as a mythical place as it is not a land that can be reached on Gaia, the White Road is very real to the Cymry, especially those that have witnessed a Crossing.

The belief in the existence of The White Road is stronger amongst the Cymry than the Celts. For the Cymry, the continuance of existence in another realm is very real, and that is where their chalon (spirit, soul) journeys to after Crossing.

The Celts and Cymry both consider “May your chalon walk the White Road” as a blessing and a wish peace and well-being.

A common benevolent blessing amongst the Cymry, and from other races to the Cymry is “May you continue your journey on the White Road someday.”