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Entschtanning 9: Matronae

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The Matronae (Deitsch: Midder or Hausmitter) are deities who were honored Northwestern Europe. Numerous (over 1,100 throughout Europe) votives dating from the 1st to the 5th century are found in that region. Their depictions almost always show three Matronae together, usually within a context of bounty. There is significant crossover among Gallic, Germanic, and Roman cultures when it comes to the shrines. The names of the Matronae show influence from all three cultures, and sometimes the names appear to be partly Germanic, partly Gallic.

Some scholars connect the Matronae to the Idise (Disir), Valkyries, and Wurthexe (Norns). This is certainly possible. Some of the shrines also reflect that they may be goddesses associated with a particular place. I can see a link to the Idise fairly readily in many cases.

Rendition of Matronae Aufaniae

Triple goddesses appear as a motif in many European cultures, so it is possible that the placement of three Matrone together is a reflection of that motif.

Many of the votives indicate that they were erected in exchange for gifts provided by the Matronae.

Modern Pagans have started to actively use the shrines in their worship. Unfortunately, some worshipers have been irresponsible in their treatment of these sacred shrines. There are reports of charcoal being burned on the shrines (I mean, really?) and items left behind that others needed to clean up.

The idea of these shrines resonates strongly with me. I would like to see more such shrines erected. Time, talent, and money are always issues, but I have pondered placing such a shrine to some of the deities or entities associated with the land by my cemetery. Future consideration.

I am not as well versed in the archaeology and lore of the Matronae as I would like to be. We incorporate Them into the Entschtanning ritual partially because of that association with the Idise and other feminine energies. We honor Them and hope to expand our understanding of Their role in our lives today.

For more information on the Matronae, I would recommend GardenStone’s “Gods of the Germanic Peoples,” both volumes. Also, River Devora has expended a lot of time and energy on the study of the Matronae. River has contributed a chapter in the slowly-forthcoming Urglaawe 101 book, and there’s a lot of great information there.

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GardenStone. Gods of the Germanic Peoples (2 volumes). Norderstedt, Germany: BoD – Books on Demand, 2014.Mat

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