Celtic Goddess of the Sacred Grove

A Level 1 Final Project for the Sisters of the Rising Moon School



Level 1 Initiate and Member of the Order of the White Moon

(© 2013. All original material in this site is under copyright protection and is the intellectual property of the author.)

Nemetona by Selina Fenech

Background Information

Nemetona, whose name means 'shrine' or 'sacred area', is an ancient Romano-Celtic goddess, who was primarily worshipped in France, Germany, and England. The Celts did not build temples, but rather practiced their spirituality in groves of trees. Nemetona is said to guard over these groves of trees with a special protective presence that marks the area as a sacred site. Within this place, the soul becomes hushed and calm, becoming one with nature and the goddess.

During Roman times, a shrine was erected in Bath, England depicting Nemetona as a seated queen holding a scepter surrounded by three hooded figures (the triple goddess) and a ram (a male fertility symbol). The Romans paired her with Leocetios Mars, a storm god of war whose names means 'light' or 'shining one', making her his mate. These types of pairings of Roman gods with local deities were common during that time, and at first glance the pairing seems awkward and degrading of Nemetona's power. Research has shown, however, that she may have originally been associated with the local god Rigonemetis, known as the 'king of the sacred grove', who is also associated with Mars. Since the Celtic god of Mars was associated with protection, healing, and agriculture, it was likely that the Celts saw Rigonemetis as having similar qualities, especially as a protector of the sacred grove, the sacred mother, and the wellspring of life. The lightning aspect of Leocitios, may have also been associated with the druids belief in lightning as sacred to trees, especially oaks.

Although not directly linked to Nemetona, there is a festival in Appleton, England called "Bawming the Thorn" that may have some association with her due to its focus on the Hawthorn tree (which is highly sacred to Nemetona). During the festival, the community gathers to decorate a Hawthorn tree in the center of town at a location they believe was a spot of ancient pagan worship.

Nemetona is associated with the goddess Nemain, who is the Irish goddess of battle and frenzy. Although some think Nemain may just be a deviation of Nemetona's original meaning associated with her pairing with the Roman God Leocitios of war, others think that the sharing of names is a coincidence.

Sacred to Her

Colors: Green, Brown
Elements: Earth, Water
Trees: All Trees, but especially Hawthorn. A spot where Oak, Ash, and Hawthorn grow together is said to be especially sacred to her.
Herbs/Flowers: Hawthorn Flowers, Cedarwood
Goddess Aspect: The Mother
Sacred Sites: All sacred places in nature, especially groves of trees, but also stone circles, deep lakes, mountaintops, and caves
Offerings: Plant trees photo of redwood trees

Ritual Dedicated to Nemetona

This ritual is inspired by the ancient redwood groves where I live that remind me so much of Nemetona. On more than one occasion I have felt my soul become hushed in certain areas amongst these gigantic trees, as if entering a sacred, natural temple. In these places, I have felt what I imagine Nemetona's presence to embody as a sacred, loving energy reverberating throughout the forest.

PURPOSE: The intent of this ritual is to seek oneness with nature and the goddess at a deep level. It is especially good for soul healing or clarifying one's path.

NEED: cedarwood essential oil, leaf or fern from ritual site (be respectful when taking), solar-infused hawthorn tea

PREP: Wear earthy tones and adorn hair with hawthorn flowers (if desired); choose a ritual spot near an ancient tree. Make hawthorn tea to bring with you.


  1. This ritual is best performed amongst an ancient grove of trees that has never been logged. The natural setting is important in this ritual, as Nemetona's presence is said to be especially strong in these areas.
  2. Calm your mind for a moment and meditate on your intent in this ritual
  3. Purify with leaf or fern (or another piece of vegetation from ritual site)
  4. Cast circle / invoke elements and Nemetona
  5. Sit or stand leaning your back against the ancient tree. Do a tree meditation, first imagining yourself growing roots, then rising up into the sky, and then coming back to your center. Feel the life essence and ancient, healing energy of the tree.
  6. Open yourself to the forest around you. What does it have to tell you? Does Nemetona have a message for you? What do you feel? Take as long as you need for this.
  7. Hum to raise energy and when you are ready, feel the forest's energy cascade gently upon you, infusing your body and soul with healing, wisdom-filled energy.
  8. Ground by drinking Hawthorn tea.
  9. Perform a self-blessing with Cedarwood essential oil
  10. Give thanks / open circle


Fenech, Selena. Nemetona. Selena Fenech Fairies and Fantasy. 2009. Website.
Sequoia Sempervirens in Redwood National Park. National Park Service. 2006. Website. (image pulled from Wikipedia Commons:

Return to the Goddess Gallery