|Surf's Up, our favourite surfing movie.|
On the 3rd of May, my fiancé's birthday, we also went to the beach, to visit the Sea Life zoo they have there. We also had the idea to make an offering to the Dutch Sea Goddess Nehalennia, to ask for good weather and beautiful waves when we went surfing. We drew a bindrune in the sand and placed a charged stone in the center. Then we waited and watched as the waves took our offering to sea. The weather yesterday was splendid, warm, with the sun shining on our faces. There was no wind, but still beautiful waves rolled to shore. Perfect weather for surfing!
So today, I wanted to tell you all a bit more about our Goddess of the Sea!
Nehalennia. She is probably the best known Goddess of the 'Low Countries'. She is also the Goddess we know most about. (which still isn't much) She was most probably a Goddess of safe sea travel, a Mothergoddess and sometimes seen as a Goddess of death and rebirth.
|A drawing of a votive stone.|
The texts clearly visible.
In 1970 a fisherman at Colijnsplaat in Zeeland noticed four large stones in his fishing net. He decided to take them to shore and showed them to a lot of people. They recognized the name Nehalennia, which was still readable on one of the stones. In the years after this discovery they excivated more of these votive stones, together with pieces of building materials. Suggesting that here too, once a Temple dedicated to the Sea Goddess stood.
To this day they have found over 200 of these votive stones. A large amount of them are exhibited in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden. They have an entire floor dedicated to these beautiful statues. In Colijnsplaat they rebuild the Temple. It opened in 2005 and is a place of education, but you can also make an offering to the Goddess.
There are a few symbols that are common on the votive stones for Nehalennia. Most of them depict a woman clad in robes, either sitting on a throne or standing on a ship. In her lap she has a basket filled with either apples or loaves of bread. Next to her we often find a dog, looking up at the Goddess.
On most of the votive stones found, there are texts. Usually we find a name. Sometimes we also see the place where the person who has offered the stone came from. Sometimes it states that person's job and the reason for his journey. Followed by an expression of his gratitude towards Nehalennia for a safe journey. The shortref V.S.L.M. is often found. It's Latin; V(otum) S(olvit) L(ibens) M(erito), which means something like 'his promise repaid, pleased and with reason'. People from all over the region came to the Temples to pay their respects to Nehelennia and ask for a safe sea voyage. Upon their safe return they would sacrifice the votive stones to her. They would have been painted once, but the paint has been eroded by the waters. Sometimes they find scraps of paint on the surfice of the stones. In the Archeon in the Netherlands they have a painted replica of one of the stones.
|Reconstruction of a votive stone.|
the Archeon, the Netherlands.
I've only had the pleasure of working with Nehalennia once, since it was the Matron Goddess of one of our ex-coven members. I do, however, plan on learning more on this truly Dutch Goddess and hope to visit the new Temple one day.
I hope I've awakened your interest into the myth and magic of the Low Counties. May Nehalennia bless your travels and your land.
Love and Leaves,