By: Cunobelinus Betullicnos
Transparency is a key ingredient for a fledgling religious movement such as our own, seeking to separate ourselves from cultic misunderstandings and affirm we are not any sort of predatory group. In light of this, I’d like to offer a deeper dive into my background and how Gaulish Polytheism fits well with it, how it continues to shape me today, and how that influences my leadership style.
I came to Gaulish Polytheism seven or eight years ago, drawn in by the Deuoi Belinos. Through my experiences even in this limited time frame, I’ve witnessed it transform from a handful of disparate polytheists struggling to place the foundations of the most basic Gaulish practice, to an enriched diversification of personal, shared, and regional customs in a large and active community. I could not be more proud of my fellow Gaulish Polytheists and what has been created, and what continues to be created.
My mentor, and perhaps the mentor of the majority of Gaulish Polytheists in a way, is a man we should all know; Segomâros Widugeni. His work through his articles and published book, single-handedly brought Gaulish Polytheism to a point where it could finally be practiced by the lay-person where previously the sphere was almost entirely dominated by strict academics. In years after, there’s been an explosion of Gaulish Polytheists all around the world. While offline meet-ups are still a rarity, interests have grown as we’re approaching a post-Covid world. Online you’ll find Gaulish Polytheists have popped up all over the place; on Instagram, Discord, Facebook, Tumblr, and even TikTok.
I’ve always felt that Gaulish Polytheism clicked with me because it isn’t too dissimilar with how I was brought up, as a bilingual and Catholic French Canadian on the island of Montreal. I learned the virtues of Oigetocariâ and Inrextus (hospitality and integrity) from my mother and father respectively. My elder sister, wholeheartedly a feminist and now a lawyer representing indigenous communities, has always been my inspiration when it comes to standing up for the oppressed. I learned the virtue of Galâ from her.
Montreal in many ways represents the massive multicultural society of Gaul and her boundaries. Historically, Gaul was never a unified entity; religiously, politically or otherwise. There is no strict pantheon, instead you’ll find that depending on the specific tribe or nation, you’ll have a different set of customs and worshipped Deuoi. But you’ll also see similar traditions practiced in the same region as well as unifying beliefs that were present throughout Gaul.
Gauls interacted with each other in an open and receptive way, their shared belief in the virtues, or “rextoues”,defining them over any particular Deuoi. It is extremely evident through their interactions with neighboring people and the resulting syncretism that they thrived on multiculturalism. This represents Montreal as well, with the huge variation of cultures and languages present in the city, as well as the syncretism of culture that also appears throughout. Punjabi poutine wouldn’t exist without the willingness to learn and share across cultural lines, and neither would have Gaulish customs been so rich without it either.
In my personal experience, and in the experience of other ex-Catholic Galatis I’ve spoken to, the Catholic church leaves us with uncertainty on how to label our experience. On one hand, there is a soreness and sourness from the necessary deprogramming and relearning the fundamentals of religious belief & expression, as well what it means to be a good person. On the other hand, the time spent as an altar boy, Sunday School teacher, and Church camp counselor allowed me to develop a deep appreciation for community which has always been a large part of the life of the Senogalatis,and Gaulish Polytheists today.
Growing as a Gaulish Polytheist, has been tumultuous in such a way that it’s a source of great excitement in my life, as well as deeply humbling. It feels as if every couple months I shed my old self and wake up as a better Galatis and leader. I never sought out these roles of leadership in the community, but somehow I’ve been consistently finding myself in them, first with the old Gaulchat Skype group, the Gaulchat discord server, and now with Toutâ Galation. There’s a euphoria I get from talking and being around members of this community; it’s an energy that just keeps me going to reach further and further beyond. The stories of each individual Galatis, of their motivations, their practices, have always been something that pushes me to keep fighting for the community every day. There are times when that energy has depleted or withered away from poor interactions with seemingly mal-intended people, but spending time talking to friends of our shared insight and goals has continually reignited that spark of passion.
Above all, I feel uniquely empowered through my upbringing and lessons learned along the way to truly appreciate and value this beautiful living community that grows and surges over weeks and days like breath and heartbeat. Having been around from nearly day one, I’ve seen this tribe of Galatis stir from beneath the cold earth and hatch like Triops in the first rain. It has been the honour of my life to serve, and I will continue to do so. Dâmî duci dâs—I give so that you may give.
Uercobretos “Chief Magistrate”