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BIRDOMENCRAFT

.ON THE BIRD'S FLYING.


NEOPAGAN IBERIAN FOCUSED ATTEMPT OF AUGURY

Nemetios Ypuaranakos
Brazil, 2010 Autumn

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0.1 english version made for Ancient Iberian yahoo groups
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eR:evM:edRuM
.ETROCAEILACTA.
ERI.ETIAM.ETROM
BIRDOMENCRAFT
ON THE BIRD'S FLIGHT

B
neMevos:uRnQs
NEMIDIOS YPUARANAICOS

:senQfRevM:BRofltk:Tnk:
SENAECOCREDIMA.IBEROCELTICA.ATECNAECA

ZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZY
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We propose here offer a simple
and revisable system of bird
omen's reading for nowadays
users with focus in Iberian Celtic
ancient cultures. Our focus-folk
is the Druids and Neopagans in
general who adopt religiously the
Celtic Iberian cultures of before-
roman and roman times. This
system is free for modifications,
adaptations and reformulations in
other contexts and frameworks,
since recognized the origins and
author.
Nemetios Y. VI Aprilis MMX.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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T
he reading of omens by the bird's flight is one
of the attested technicals used by the Celts as
Diodorus Siculus (Bibliotheca Historiae, V. 31)
or Cicero (De Divinatione, I. 41) say us. The
iconographic sources appoint out too a very
deeply imagery linked to birds in Continental
Celtic world, in general, birds representing Gods itself or being
messengers and vehicles for the Gods (GREEN, Miranda A. An
Archaelogy of Images. Flights of the soul. London: Routledge,
2004. p. 144). For general information and justification see
GRENN, Miranda A. Animal in Celtic Life and Myth. The
Bird-Lovers. London: Routledge, 1992. p. 211; ROSS, Anne.
Pagan Celtic Britain. Sacred and Magic Birds. London:
Cardinal, 1974. p. 302; MONAGHAN, Patricia. The
Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Birds. New
York: Facts on File, 2004. p. 46).

Greek-Roman Ornithomancy/Augury.
The Greek and Roman world registered its uses, theory and
discussions about, all a valuable source for information of the
ancient ways of augury. A very good book on general Greek
divination is FLOWER, Michael A. The seer in Ancient Greece.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. For the roman
world there is many first-handed informations about, but I
suggest a contemporary information and system from Religio
Romana's site (http://www.religioromana.net/augury.htm). Here
is said that Cicero recognized similarities with the druidic
system of his friend Divitiacos. I did not find it in the Cicero's
texts I searched (De Natura Deorum and De Divinatione), if
someone find it, please post me the passage.

Insular Celtic.
There is many information from the mediaeval celtic insular

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literature. From the littles passages of the Cath Maige Tuired
or Tan to strict treaties on it. It's the case of the Mary Jones'
page (thanks to Endovlicon): (http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/
auguries2.html) it contains two treaties on augury the
Fiachairecht Andso Sis and Dreanacht Andso Sis. Do
not continue read this before read these two treaties.
In a interesting post of OBOD's forum "The Druid Grove"
(http://druidry.org/board/dhp/viewtopic.php?f=186&t=32786) is
told about a mediaeval irish text called Og Ohain, it contains the
instructions to the reading of wren's flight. I did not find this text
(but I did not find much too), but the post contains also very
good associations on birds in celtic point of view.

Ancient Iberia.
The existence of hieroskopoi (etym. the ones who inspect the
victim at time of Strabo, according to LIDDELL, Henry G.;
SCOTT, Robert; JONES, Henry S. A greek-english lexicon.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. p. 822, a greek term equivalent
to latin haruspex) among the Lusitanians is attested by Strabo
(Geog. III, 3; vi) and in general, to all other celtic-like folks of
Iberia. But those refer just to specialists in foretelling by
sacrificed victims' inspection (vd. SOPEA, Gabriel.
Celtiberian ideologies and religion. In E-Keltoi n. 6: The Celts
in Iberian Peninsula. 2005. p. 361 and SIMN, Francisco M.
Religion and religious practice of the Ancient Celts of the
Iberian Peninsula. In E-Keltoi n. 6: The Celts in Iberian
Peninsula. 2005. p. 322-324 or LORRIO, Alberto J. Los
Celtberos. Madrid: Universidad de Alicante/Universidad
Complutense de Madrid, 1997. p. 52-56). And for those who
read the bird's flying? We don't have any firm literally wit,
textually speaking, according to accessible specific sources I
had. But epigraphy offers a wide evidence for it, and to detail it
is extensively long in general, the great presence of birds on
ceramic with religious scenes and symbols alludes that. Another

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valid work, but now inviable for me, is search evidences for
Birdomen reading at non-direct-related literature, as poems of
Martial, war relates, etc. So we assume the hispano-celtic
birdomencraft by analogy with the insular (Irish, Welsh, etc.)
and other continental (with Gaul, specially) celtic world, an
allusion to this in ibero-celtic folks epigraphy, and general
conceptions of rounding graeco-roman world.

General Theory.
In general and free speculative form we assume this.
1. Preparing
2. The sign itself
3. The reading of the sign

1. is the important to prepare all the background information


related to perform the reading and to restrict the error grade of
the process, as in all oracular systems. Here functional and
familiar technicals are the focus. This are the goal of the Roman
(or better, Etruscan) construction of the templum: a visual field
delimitation on the sky, which each part has strict traditional
associations, restricting the error grade and turning the reading
more focused. The victim's sacrifice, historically, was required
by three reasons, in minimo, as exemplified by Greco-Roman
world: a) the summoning reason, i.e. the sacrifice as way to call
god's attention, b) the organic reason, i.e the sacrificial victim as
the necessary instrument to read the omen and c) the primicialis
reason, the sacrifice as a way to propitiate, initially, the god by
the favor. The combination among that is free and sometimes
confused, and it's not our aim here make a treatise on sacrifice
before the omen. 2. is the sign itself, the natural and random
movement of the bird. The randomness of the movement is
essential: it is the core of any oracular system, that attributes the
random movement to gods' will or supernatural/natural invisible
forces. See the movement itself require some interpretation yet,

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occult in language and the mental process based on symbolic
framework. But, for our purpose, we consider the sign itself as a
neuter thing: a true manifestation of the power who guide the
movement. 3. is the 'beholding' by a cultural framework, by a
symbolic system of interpretation different in each culture. It
makes see 2, the sign itself, by a glasses' lens. The lensmaker
was Indo-European, the lens itself, Celtic, and the adjusts made
by bio-regional circumstances.
I believe the ADF system is adequate to this, regarding the
standard liturgy, with few metaphysics adaptations after the
kindred offerings and before waters of life.

System's meta-values.
) Language
In general, the Romans believed the right-came omens are
disfavorables and the left-came omens are favorables, the
Greeks the opposite. And the Celts? According to Proto-Celtic
*dexso-/*dexsiwo- is "south" and also "right". This echoes
*deiwo-/*desos-, "god" and *dewyo- "strong". At other side,
*tow(s)to- is "north" and also "left" (Old Irish, the adjective
tath means "bad, perverse"; in Old Breton 'tuthe' is "kind of
demon", but 'tut' means "favorable"), and echoes *towt, "tribe,
people, folk". It does not implies, necessary, a dualistic moral
disposition of opposites thing really strange to Celtic mind. It
just implies an orientation based on sunrising. So we assume the
right signs as favorables and the sunrising as direction guide.

) Literature
To go, point by point, at all the insular celtic mediaeval literature
searching evidences is very great job, beyond my possibilities
now (and not just 'now', maybe to every single human life). So is
more interesting to our purposes see some key-texts. The texts of
Mary Jones' page is very good example. About directions,
there's a very interesting text of druid Bellovesos Isarnos on it,

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called Direes e Atribuies (Directions and Attributions
in portuguese) http://bellovesos.multiply.com/journal/item/29,
he puts together some Irish texts and exposes the attributions
related to directions. So we assume the possibility, read it well
please POSSIBILITY, of construct a nemetom by analogy with
Estruscan/Roman templum, but following the celtic directions
and attributions, as a nowadays practice we don't have
evidences for think the Continental Celts that of Iberia mainly
did this. I don't do that, lacks me knowledge to.

) UPG
Here is my personal experiencing. In general, I see as interesting
the Roman behavior of maintain a kind of 'Birdomen's book'.
As omen's diary and recording for eventual checking, in
nowadays it can be done electronically. The more relevant
experiences I had with birdomens occur at a sunrising facing
hill, were recently the god Endovellicos allows (by a dream) us
build a votive altar to him, with significances intuitively closer.
So I assume that the system is a functional tool that can be
improved, adapted and corrected too by experiencing, awenfull
insights or oracular suggestions.

Method.
i. first things.
General preparations: materials, altar, victim, metaphysical
cleaning of the augur, etc. If the omen is a major ceremony part,
there's no need of this. But anyway, the kailiakos must be
concentrated and at the proper mind-state to performs the rite.
The rite is best performed at the light of day, on open natural
place (in a traditional nemetom/sanctuary/temple regular used by
participants).

ii. the offering.


Bringing of the victim (grains, bread, food, drink, etc.),

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consecrating it by the presents ones, performing the sacrifice.
The kailiakos or priest must know the correct ways to do it.
After the 'immolatio' (ritual slaying/destroying/putting of the
offering) the kailiakos ask the question to the gods or to a
specific god, closing his/her eyes and facing the sunrise. A ritual
sound sign (horn, silver-branch) can be sounded after or before
it.

iii. the reading.


At opening of the kailiakos eyes, the omen is seen. Any bird (or
animal...!) at the sky is beheld, and the kailiakos performs the
omen's reading gathering the elements of the system below
(dosing that with his own intuition or moment inspiration). The
reading of the kailiakos is sung by him to the presents, in a form
of poem (traditionally eight-syllables metrically > a britu/brictu,
or any familiar poetic composition to the kailiakos).

System.
*Directions
Approaching very good omen, immediate success, auspicious
coming
Going away bad omen, immediate hardness
Upwards good omen, rising, cure, conquest
Downwards bad omen, problem, trouble
No variation neuter moment passive to be turned by act,
constance
Clockwise facility, favorable with the natural forces and cycles
Anti-clockwise trouble, no conformity with the natural cycles
Left to Right good omen, favorable
Right to Left bad omen, unfavorable

*Modi
Continuity constance, previsibility, unalteration, firmness
Turning to oppose direction quick change, turning,

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imprevisibility, inconstancy, hard doubts by some involved
ones, changing situation

*Ways
Right flying good omen, little work, immediate
pleasure/happiness/result
Curved flying hard work, mediate action, wait, indirect result
Circle flying cycle, natural transformation, changing
Spiral flying spiral transformation, journey related to (or with
the imminent presence of) otherworld
Stay over the kailiakos beware with the hidden things, actions,
speeches, intentions of/or closer persons

*Height
High proximity with celestial Gods, need intelligence, wisdom
and creative solutions
High and Low imprevisibility, no definition yet, hard work,
many forces involved
Low proximity with the underworld Gods, need work, strength
and traditional customs

*Sound
Sound going up go bravery and without fear
Sound going down beware, go with caution and alert
Sound on the air be open to new messages, beware
Continuum Sound imminent risk, alert, caution

Modificators.
*Birds
-vulture > otherworld, messages, gods, heroes, glorious death
and prophecy
-eagle/bird-of-prey > braveness, nobility ruling, leadership and
kingship
-wren > knowledge, wisdom, trades and magic

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-swan > transformation, poesy, awenfullness
-owl > disasters, death, plague
-crow and raven > otherworld, death in war, messages,
forecoming events and ancestors
-geese > protection, warfare, otherworld
-crane > wealth, richness, fortune
-blackbird > transformation, journey, apprenticeship
*Colors and traditional associations
The meaning and association of colors change to each culture
background. The Irish and Welsh mediaeval literature (as a
paradigm) and some view on celtic languages show us some
interesting associations. The folklore of the celtic regions is a
very deep source of information too; and in our case, the
traditional associations present in Portugal and Spain's folklore
is a valiant tool. In America or Oceania, a little more job is
required, including a view in native folklore about. The main
point here is study the Bio-region birds, its traditional
associations and, if the case, repaganize it in celtic world-vision.
*Flocks: behold the head, the first to move or flying.
*Wing-beat: If the wing-beat can be reckoned, some interesting
thing can be done involving ogham. For each wing-beat is an
oghaim fid, observing the natural pauses on the bird's flying,
i.e. put the wing-beats on an ogham reading system. E.g. the bird
flying low in clockwise circles, beat 4 times the wings and after
a short pause another 5 times. It can be read: low underworld
aspects, clockwise conforming the natural forces, circles
natural changing, transformation, 4 and 5 - <4> the aicme
ailme, <5> the fifth fid, i.e. >i. Depending on question,
those elements are gathered forming the interpretation, it can
offer a very precise reading.

Lexicon.
DELAMARRE, Xavier. Dictionnaire de la langue gaulloise. 2nd
Ed. Paris: ditions Errance, 2003.

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MATASOVI, Ranko. An etymological lexicon of Proto-Celtic.
Leiden: Brill, 2009.
University of Wales' Proto-Celtic/English Wordlist:
http://www.wales.ac.uk/Resources/Documents/Research/CelticL
anguages/ProtoCelticEnglishWordlist.pdf

Proto-Celtic
*britu- magical formula, incantation
*dexso-/dexsiwo- "south, right"
*kayl-/kaylo- "good omen, signal"
*kaylyko- "augur"
*klyo- "left, inauspicious"
*atar- "bird"
*ari-tero- "east"
*etno-/etro- "bird"
*etro-kaila-at- art of read auguries from the birds flight
*skublo- "bird-of-prey"
*tow(s)to- "north, left"
*uo-kliy- "north"
*uo-nes-eyo- "sunsetting [west]"
*wri- "sunrising [east]"

Keltiberika
areterom, o: "east"
atar, ros: "bird"
britu, os: magical formula, eightsyllabic incantation of the seer
desiuom, o: "south", desiuos -a -om: "right"
etrokailata, as: art of read auguries from the birds flight
etros, o: "bird"
kailiakos, o: "augur"
kailos, o: "omen"
kleios -a -om: "left"
skublos, o: "bird-of-prey"
toutom, o: "north", toustos -a -om: "left"

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uaris, is: "sunrising"
uokleia, as: "north"
uoneseios, o: "sunsetting"

Western-iberian-celtic and Lusitanic(?)


arterom, i: "east"
atar, ros: "bird"
brictu, os: magical formula, eightsyllabic incantation of the
seer
caeilos, i: "omen"
caeliaecos, i: "augur"
cleos -a -om: "left"
dexom, i: "south", dexivos -a -om: "right"
etrocaeilacta, as: art of read auguries from the birds flight
etros, i (petros, i?): "bird"
scublos, i: "bird-of-prey"
toudom, i: "north", toussos -a -om: "left"
varis, es: "sunrising"
vocliia, as: "north"
vonesios, i: "sunsetting"

ANY CRITIC, SUGGESTION OR OBSERVATIONS, PLEASE


SEND US EMAIL.
SENAKOKREDIMA IBEROKELTAKA:
recons-iberoceltica@yahoogrupos.com.br

ADF ANCIENT IBERIAN:


adf-ancient_iberia@yahoogroups.com

NEMETIOS YPUARANAKOS:
nemetios@gmail.com

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