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Silver Wind
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Silver Wind

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Join date : 2007-07-18
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PostSubject: Mothers   Mothers Icon_minitimeThu Sep 27, 2007 11:54 am

In the work called De Temporum Ratione, written by the Venerable Bede, we read that the Anglo-Saxons celebrated a festival which he called modranect or modraniht, which when translated into modern English means mothers night or night of the mothers. The celebration of mothers night was held during the season of Yule and approximately around the same time that the Heathen Anglo-Saxons celebrated their new year. And already we can see how sacred and important this particular time of the year was to the Heathens of ancient England. For within this short space of time we have three festivals or celebrations that fall very close to one another, those being Yule, the new year and of course mothers night. But who were the mothers that shared this sacred time of the year?. It is very likely that the Anglo-Saxon mothers are one and the same, or at least very similar, to the Germanic matronae (matrons, mothers), goddesses that we find venerated within the borders of the Roman Empire. We find evidence of this matronae worship in the form of votive stones, and also votive alters, that contain Latin inscriptions showing dedication from certain tribes or from Germanic soldiers that were serving within the ranks of the Roman army. These stones are said to be unique to areas under Roman rule, which doesn't mean that this worship of matrons did not take place outside the lands of the Roman Empire, but it is much more likely that the European tribes that were touched by Roman influence were capable of creating such stones as they would have had knowledge of writing in the Latin script, which tribes untouched by the Romans did not have and therefore couldn't create such visual tributes to their matrons or mothers. Many votive stones that have been found bearing these Latin inscriptions are of both Germanic and Celtic origin, an example of one such votive inscription being simply Matribus Suebi, mothers or matrons that the Suebi tribe venerated. Many of these votive stones, like the example given, contain the name of a single tribe, which could suggest that each and every tribe had their own matrons, goddesses that were unique to them, goddesses that offered the tribe or an individual protection.

In England we know that the Anglo-Saxons were said to worship two goddesses that were found nowhere else in ancient Europe, the goddesses being Hretha and Eostre. Some people have put forward the theory that maybe Eostre and Hretha were the names of two Anglo-Saxon matrons, and if individual tribes did have matrons that were unique to them, then this could be the reason Eostre and Hretha are found nowhere else. But the evidence that goes against this theory is that the night of the mother's celebration took place sometime close to the Heathen Anglo-Saxon new year, approximately the 25th December, whereas Hretha and Eostre were celebrated in March and April respectively. But a link could be possible.

The matrons have also been linked to the Germanic cult of the disir, and also associated with female warriors such as the Norse Valkyries or the Anglo-Saxon Waelcyrges. And this association with Valkyries or Waelcyrges is interesting as the name of the goddess Hretha is said to translate as fame, honour or fierce, names that certainly point to a fierce warrior type goddess, or possibly mother.

http://www.homestead.com/englishheathenism/mothers.html

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