Saturday, October 16, 2010
Andraste, Warrior Goddess of Celtic Britain
Andraste also known as Andrasta, was a warrior Goddess of ancient Britain. It is said that she was the patron deity of the Iceni tribe, which was lead by Queen Boudicca. She was seen as a Goddess of victory, ravens and battles, and is very similar to the Irish warrior Goddess, Morrighan. Her name was thought to mean "The invincible one" or "She who has not fallen". She was called upon at the eve of battle, for her warrior strength and guidance. She was worshiped in woodland groves throughout Britain, and there is said to be a sacred grove dedicated to her somewhere in the Epping Forest. Her symbol was a hare, and in old Britain people were against hunting hares, for fear that killing one might afflict the hunter with cowardice.
Andraste was invoked by Queen Boudicca while fighting against the Roman invasion of Britain. According to Dio Cassius, these were her words:
"I thank thee, Andraste, and call upon thee as woman speaking to woman... those over whom I rule are Britons, men that know not how to till the soil or ply a trade, but are thoroughly versed in the art of war and hold all things in common, even children and wives, so that the latter possess the same valour as the men. As the queen, then, of such men and of such women, I supplicate and pray thee for victory, preservation of life, and liberty against men insolent, unjust, insatiable, impious."
Queen Boudicca and her army fought the Romans so well, that the Emperor Nero almost decided to withdraw Roman forces from Britain. It is said that Queen Boudicca released a hare to the Romans as an act of appeasement. In The White Goddess by Robert Graves, he speculates that Queen Boudicca may have released the hare in hopes that the Romans would kill it and loose their courage.
Many of the warrior queens people believed that she was a priestess of Andraste or the Goddess incarnate. Her strength and courage as a warrior queen is inspiring , honorable and very impressive, as she almost beat the Romans! To honor Andraste, call on her when you need the strength of the warrior Goddess in your life. When your fighting a battle of your own. On your altar to Andraste, have a red candle with red or black stones such as garnet or black tourmaline, representation of a hare, and incense made with dragon's blood.
Enjoy working with this fierce warrior Goddess! For more info on Andraste, check out TheWhiteGoddess.co.uk
Photo courtesy of AishasBookofShadows
Posted by Tara at 9:42 AM