Sunday, 11 December 2016

Star Of The Sea II

Floris had wanted to learn what became of Veleda (here) but it turns out that Floris herself supervised Veleda's later career. Based on what she had known even before she joined the Patrol, Floris:

suggested a program to the Patrol;
had it approved;
continued to play the goddess role that had been thrust upon her;
heartened Veleda;
foretold what she would do;
made the necessary arrangements;
watched over Veleda;
appeared to her occasionally between 70 and 95 AD;
got her to proclaim the goddess as peaceful, move to Walcheren and revitalize the local cult of Neha.

Nehalennia was still worshiped centuries later.

Here is where everything comes together:

Neha had retained an association with hunting;
on the alter stones, she is represented with a ship or a dog and thanked for safe voyages to Britain;
she is called Neha Lenis, Neha the Gentle;
this name becomes Nehalennia;
in the mythical story, a hunter meets Nehalennia and her hound;
thanks to the goddess, he becomes wealthy;
because she is goddess of ships and trade, he buys a ship and trades with Britain;
he raises an altar and makes offerings after each voyage;
he bows to the morning and evening stars because they are Nehalennia's;
Floris hopes "'...that something of Nehalennia lingered on.'" (p. 635);
"Star of the Sea" ends with a prayer to "Mary, mother of God...";
Mary is asked for a safe voyage, praised for her gentleness and addressed as Stella Maris, Star of the Sea. (pp. 639-640)


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I wonder, however, how REAL is this association of Nehalennia with the BVM, the Star of the Sea. After all, the Christians who revered and still revere the BVM, don't think of her as any kind of goddess. Our Lady was a human woman highly favored and set apart by God for a special and unique role.

    Merry Christmas! Sean

    1. Sean,
      I think that there was an impulse to revere a female figure and that this had to be synthesized with masculine monotheism by replacing a Mother Goddess with a Mother of God.
      Mary was proclaimed "Mother of God" in Ephesus where St Paul had sparked a riot by preaching against Diana.
      Paul (named after the Saint).

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      But I don't there would have been any such "impulse" in Christianity if Our Lord had not been born of a woman whom God asked to be His Mother. I know that seems strangely put, but that is the Catholic view.

      Yes, the Council of Ephesus met to discuss the theories of Ephesus, which were condemned as heretical. The teaching of Ephesus was that the BVM could rightly be called the Mother of God because Our Lord, by assuming a human nature and body, took from her all that human children take from their mothers.

      Btw, I get occasional intimations that modern day Nestorians are coming ever so cautiously and carefully to accepting the Council of Ephesus. That the disputes between Catholics and Nestorians were based on a misunderstanding of what Ephesus taught.

      Well, the riot at Ephesus in St. Paul's time was caused at least partly by pagan silversmiths afraid that converts to Christianity would mean less custom for them, from fewer persons buying silver amulets of Diana.

      Merry Christmas! Sean

    3. Sean,
      And, of course, a couple of centuries later, silversmiths could make Christian amulets.
      Since I do not accept Catholic doctrine, I am bound to think differently and to think that there is more in common between worship of the goddess and devotion to Mary.

    4. Kaor, Paul!

      First, let me correct an annoying error: I meant to say "...the Council of Ephesus met to discuss the theories of NESTORIUS."

      Hmmmm, I never considered, believed, or thought of silver or gold crosses, medals, symbols like stylized fishes, etc., to be amulets. They are reminders of the Person or saints they point towards.

      But Catholics and Orthodox don't believe the BVM is a goddess, so I see no real connection in venerating a saint with a worshiping a goddess.

      Merry Christmas! Sean

    5. Sean,
      Not amulets but a source of income for silversmiths nevertheless.
      Mary is not a goddess but devotion to a saint and devotion to a god are both devotion.

    6. Kaor, Paul!

      Re silversmiths, I agree. In fact, I wear a gold cross my mother gave me many years ago. In St. Paul's time a pagan gold or silversmith might have fretted about that being a loss of business for him!

      Yes, devotion to a saint or a god is devotion. I can agree with that.