(For an audio reading in English — read by Caromâros Caitogabros — click here.)
It can be a challenge at times to explain the overarching components of bessus (custom). Better said, to explain it in our own way. Consistent with the way in which a bessus articulates itself. Defining things on its own terms instead of those decided by others. The good news is that we are indeed able to do this. In the time that Bessus Nouiogalation has developed, we’ve had an opportunity to find the right words and concepts to piece this perspective together.
The goal of bessus — if it has one at all (or needs one) — is a totally different topic that will be discussed another time. In this treatise, we’ll talk about a concept that helps illuminate specific and essential components of bessus. That which we have termed Tricaddontoi. Perhaps too fittingly, the word has three parts within it. The first is simply tri, meaning “three” (p. 301 Dictionnaire de la Langue Gauloise, by Xavier Delamarre). The second caddos, meaning “holy, sacred” (p. 96, same book as previous). Lastly, ontos, but in plural ontoi, meaning “way, path, road” (p. 173 Les Noms des Gaulois by Xavier Delamarre).
All three parts are words attested in Gaulish. They’re also a part of the developing language Nouiogalaticos, which is a combination of attested Gaulish, reconstructions from various sources, and partially from BNG developed reconstructions. We have a term Tricaddontoi meaning “Three Sacred Ways”. They are as follows:
- Dêuontos – “Way of the Dêuoi”
- Anationtos – “Way of Souls”
- Biuontos – “Way of Living”
Each one describes a specific aspect of bessus, though the names only really scratch the surface. We’ll go over a synopsis of each, for which we intend to explain with a little more depth at a later time. We will discuss them now:
Dêuontos “Way of the Dêuoi” comprises a few specific traits. Things related to it often are what draw people to this community. Likely due to the fact that hearing about and being interested in one of the Dêuoi we worship is often the way people find out about us. So what are the components of Dêuontos? The methodologies that allow us to fulfill this way?
- Adaððus “toward that which is ordained” = “ritual”
- Addatus “toward giving” = “offering”
- Uediâs “invocations, prayers”
These things are hardly unheard of. They are acts specifically related to worship of the Dêuoi. The part that Westerners often (incorrectly) assume to be the whole of “religion”. This is why a common addage in Bessus Nouiogalation is that “Much more goes on here than religion, but one can find religion here.” Dêuontos is but one part of bessus (custom). While it is certainly possible to just follow the Dêuontos, a Nouiogalatis it doesn’t alone make.
Regardless, the part of Bessus Nouiogalation that is religious is called Dêuontos. A follower of it who is not a Nouiogalatis could then be called a Dêuontios (masc.), Dêuontiâ (fem.), or a Dêuontion (neut.). All Nouiogalatîs are already this, and so this term is redundant for them. This Caddontos also falls under the governance of the first of the Trirextoues Bessous (Three Laws of Custom), which is “Dugiê Dêuoi” or “Honour the Dêuoi.”
A few examples of the practice of Dêuontos can be found in the recital of the Uediâs (as previously mentioned), which of course, center our Dêuoi with particular emphasis on our Toutadêuoi. These are, of course, just a few examples. The matter of Tegobessus, of course, straddles this, Dêuontos, and equally well into the next Caddontos.
The second of the Tricaddontoi is Anationtos, “the way of souls/spirits.” Anation means “soul, life force, breath.” Anationtos teaches us that all things possess anation. They have this life force or soul. Anation.
Anationtos also often entails interaction with one’s more immediate environment, for which one should take great care in how one relates to it. In essence, one of the significant aspects of Anationtos is how one relates to Bituatîs (spirits/beings of the land). This has to do with both these Bituatîs and the literal care for the land, water, and air itself. This, in part, entails forming a relationship with the beings of one’s local environs, but great care must be taken.
Especially in places, one is not indigenous. Be aware of this and engage respectfully, and do not violate or disrespect the wishes of a land’s indigenous peoples, especially if this is in a settler context. (More common for people in the United States, Canada, and Australia. But not limited to those places.) Do not appropriate practices from people who do not consent to it.
Anationtos includes practices centering the tegos (home). It also includes customs surrounding the reverence of one’s ancestors. Without a doubt, including outdoor rites. None of this is to say there isn’t an intersection between this Caddontos and the other two. One will find that they all cross one another at different times. They are not three parallel tracks, so to speak, but complex paths that cross and diverge in a myriad of ways.
Through Anationtos, we also explore the nature of the “indestructible soul” that it is said the Druides of the past taught to the Senogalatîs (“Ancient Gauls”). Explained in this quote from Strabo’s Geography (4.4.4)
“Both the Druids and others assert that both the soul and the world are indestructible, but that sometimes fire and sometimes water have overwhelmed them.”
As such, we can attribute to Anationtos both that which is of our immediate surroundings and that which delves into the very nature of the mysteries of life. Some parts of life are not mysteries, however. Those are covered below.
The third and last of these Tricaddontoi is that of Biuontos. That is the “life path.” This Caddontos entails the nature of living, of the conduct of the community and the persons in it. It is most importantly described as a methodology of relation. Where the first two Caddontoi speak more to immaterial relation, Biuontos is more about the preservation of custom and the explanation of moral code. Something of a guide to help us in life.
An obvious example of this is found in the Îanoi (virtues). These cover some of the basic moral and ethical precepts of bessus. Between the Trirextoues Bessous (Three Laws of Custom), and the 12 Îanoi — virtues — they outline a basic code of conduct we strive to fulfill. Through them, we hope to serve both the Nouiogalatis community, as well as society. These also help improve our own lives.
Another facet of Biuontos is, again, the preservation of custom. That is, keeping to them as reasonably as possible and where material circumstances and conditions allow. Examples of that would be things like observing the Îuoi (holidays). Both in celebration, and in community action, including related to the Îuoi, and in general. Biuontos also helps us develop methodologies in order to fulfill duties related to the other two Caddontoi such as using the Coligny Calendar as a guide to rites and prayers.
With Biuontos, as with the other two Caddontoi, there are certainly points where they meet and converge. Each helping the other.
The Tricaddontoi offers us a valuable example of the critical points in our bessus. Hopefully explained in a digestible manner. There is, of course much more that goes into each of the three. Through Dêuontos, Anationtos, and Biuontos we develop our bessus further as we go. This is why we chose the specific triple spiral that we did to represent them.
Three starting points, but each meets somewhere in the intersections. In the middle of them, the place where we all meet. The Medios, the center. Perhaps within it is where that possible, mysterious “goal” of bessus may lie.