[river]

Ana

(pronounced AH-na)

Early in our research into the religion of our Celtic ancestors we realized that one of their most important deities was the mother goddess. This goddess was seen as embodied in the land but especially in the rivers and streams that drained it. Throughout Europe the rivers are named for great mother goddesses. The religious lives of each tribe that lived along those rivers centered upon their particular water mother as the foundation of their local cosmology.

In order to begin relating to this land as our home An Bruane resolved that we must contact and begin a relationship with our own mother goddess. Since our nemeton and our official home, Ann Arbor, lie within the Huron River watershed we decided to begin there. The Celts believed that the most powerful part of a sacred river is where it wells directly from the ground, at its sources. The primary source of the Huron River is a spring far to the northern edge of the watershed. Years ago the valley of this sacred spring was damned and a lake was created which we know today as Big Lake.

For several months, Big Lake became the destination of pilgrimages and the site of rituals to contact the goddess. We made offerings, meditated and sang songs of praise to the lake and the river. Right away we were rewarded with positive responses. The goddess has made herself know, in some way, to all that were a part of this effort. She visited us in visions, in our meditations and in our dreams. Since that time we have honored her as the single most important deity of our faith and she has reciprocated by teaching us her ways and touching the lives of a number of us in profound ways.

Over the years since that initial contact we have learned much from the lady. We know that her name is Ana, though a few other variations have been heard as well. While she is assuredly ancient by our standards, she appears to us as a young woman, probably in her early twenties. She has dark hair, complexion and eyes. She appears most often nude and waist-deep in the river. The source of her power is deep in the otherworld and she brings these powers of regeneration and life welling to the surface of our world. Her waters, fertilized by the light and power of the sky, ceaselessly flow forth bringing life and abundance to all of her children.

Ana can be honored directly by her folk in a number of ways. In ancient times the rivers and lakes gleamed with great treasures of silver and gold offerings. Today, out of respect for the delicate life within her flow we primarily offer objects that can express our love and gratitude without doing harm. Flowers, wooden carvings, crystals and precious stones all are very appropriate offerings. The duck, especially loved by the goddess, can be offered gifts of bread as well. As one of the newest among her folk you would do well to begin your spiritual journey with us by taking her a simple offering and meditating for a time along the river's shore.

Some local links:

Some appropriate Internet links:

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