- A God or Goddess
- Anything natural or supernatural that is considered divine or sacred
- A person or thing revered as a God or Goddess
- Entitled to veneration or religious respect
- Pertaining to or connected with religion
- Regarded with reverence
As the Old Ways are animistic (seeing the numinous life-force within everything - for a fuller description see 'World View') everything is seen as sacred and entitled to veneration. Everything is regarded with reverence; plants, animals, trees, rocks, the Earth Herself and all her places.
Where a particular facet (Mountain, River, Spring etc.) of the natural world displays a special or unique energy this energy may then be viewed as a God or Goddess. These facets have an inherent nature or essence that makes them distinctive - they have quiddity.
Within the Old Ways attributing Deity status isn't limited to just geographical features of the landscape. When the whole world is sacred, anything within that world that demands a particular attention; that causes a feeling of awe and wonder and thereby engenders an attitude of reverence toward it, is worthy of the status of having a Deity ascribed to it. This does not necessarily mean that the thing itself is an ACTUAL Deity, it means that that quality is regarded as BELONGING to it. So the mountain itself is not a God/Goddess but the quality of God/Goddess BELONGS to the mountain - there is a subtle difference.
Natural Phenomena as Deity
Probably one of the best examples to illustrate is that of the thunderstorm. Not just the odd rumble but a full-blown raging, tumultuous, cacophony. The energy behind this force of nature is immense; it can easily kill and it certainly demands our respect and reverence. It is unsurprising then that all indigenous cultures have a Deity associated with thunder.
Abstracts as Deity
Personification of Deity
Personifying, attributing a personal nature and human characteristics to Deities makes it far easier for us to understand and relate to them. Or is it 'Personification Incarnate'? as even energies have qualities & characteristics that give them personality.
Polytheism (Poly - many, theism - belief in Deity)
The Old Ways are Polytheistic, how can they not be? When everything is seen as sacred and many facets are seen as having special or unique energies that deem them worthy of reverence, there has to be many deities.
Some Deities appear to have been 'universal'; recognised over very large areas of what are now referred to as 'Celtic' lands. These spread, not only through the length and breadth of the British Isles but in addition onto the continent, into Gaul and Germanic regions. Others appear to have been far more localised, such as Brigantia who was the protective Goddess of the Brigantes tribe located in Yorkshire and northern Britain.
For a large listing of the Gods and Goddesses of mainland Britain see Brythonic Deities