Celtic Goddess: Rosmerta – the Great Provider
This year at the Goddess Conference I have the honour of celebrating Rosmerta. A Goddess that many might not have heard of, but that was an important Goddess worshiped and loved by both Celts and Gauls in southwestern Britain, Gaul, and along the Rhone and the Rhine rivers. In Britain she was particularly loved by the Dobunni tribe, whose territory now includes modern Gloucestershire and northern Somerset.
Her name Rosmerta is originally Gaulish, and is analyzed as ro-smert-a. Smert means “provider” or “carer”. Ro- means “very”, “great”, or “most”. The -a ending is the typical Gaulish feminine singular nominative. The meaning is thus “the Great Provider”. She was dearly loved as a Goddess of abundance, fertility, health and wealth – taking care of our spiritual, physical and material wellbeing needs, and experienced as Queen of the harvest, which energy in Glastonbury-Avalon is strongly related to the apple-orchards.
I love the word Provider. It gives that sense of security and takes away any fear of lack, of missing out, of not being enough, of being unlovable, which are so prevalent in these times…. As we buy more when we feel we are not enough, or we fear scarcity of resources (toilet rolls anyone?). Or we compete for scraps of love.
In working with her I am starting to experience her when I indulge in self-limiting beliefs… and there she is, reminding me of the endlessness of Her love and of possibilities and that sometimes our biggest limits are self-imposed, driven by fear of the unknown.
Rosmerta travelled around, connected to the flowing of rivers and often worshiped in fluvial towns and hot springs. No wonder tradespeople loved her, exchanging goods and mixing with other local populations. Her shrines were usually connected with therapeutic spring sanctuaries, as for instance at Wiesbaden, Gissey-le-Vieil, Le Creusot, Nettleton and Bath, and as a Goddess of Health, she is often depicted with the caduceus with the two intertwined snakes.
In being worshiped in different parts of Europe, she became part of several pantheons, sometimes linked with Fortuna, Felicitas or Maia. She is depicted both alone or with a consort, often Mercury, but also Mars, Esus, Wotan, and even Lough.
She is portrayed as prominently as her consort, with the same attributes of wings and caduceus, or in holding a purse of plenty, a cornucopia, a butter churn, a paetera (an offerings bowl), a ladle. Her attributes show equal importance, wealth and abundance.
She is a Powerful Goddess in her own right, keen on equal harmonious partnerships, perhaps not so much on marriage.
I experience her now that the weather is getting warmer, greener and plentiful with blooms: waking my body and my senses to the new, urging me to step outside basking in the sun, enjoying the beauty and vividness of her colours, moving and taking care of my body and health, calling for her help in healing relationships and exploring new ideas and possibilities fearlessly.
Rosmerta, Goddess of equal and harmonious relationships, fertility, abundance, health and wealth, is always here when we need her, providing for us.
Rosmerta, the Great Provider – a Celtic Goddess of Abundance by Judith Shaw