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Matronae

By Morgan

Many aspects of my own practices, Irish pagan and Heathen, are separate ones but there are points of cross-over. My honoring of the daoine sidhe/land vaettir is one, and my honoring of Artio is another. A third is my worship of the Matronae, a triad of Germano-Celtic goddesses.

The Matronae, whose name simply means “Mothers” in Latin, are found in Celtic (specifically Gaulish), Roman, and Germanic sources (Lendering, 2013). These goddesses are known from over 80 inscriptions on images found from France to Germany and through northern Italy, and can be found on hundreds of votive altars (Evans, 2005). The Matronae are usually depicted as three seated women holding symbols of abundance, including fruit, animals, infants, and cornucopias, as well as items like small pieces of cloth, basins, and spindles; the women wear long skirts and have one breast bare, possibly symbolizing a nursing mother (Evans, 2005; Green, 1992). Often the figures on the sides are shown wearing wide hats and sitting next to trees while the central figure has loose hair; in one case the inscription was accompanied by an image of a tree, a snake, and a goat (Lendering, 2013; Green, 1992). Images also depict the Matronae being worshiped by women and by soldiers and being offered fruit and bread (Green, 1992). Although its difficult to know with certainty what the Matronae were worshiped for, most scholars surmise that they were related to fertility, abundance, healing, and protection.

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