The Wheel is a powerful symbol with a long history that spans many cultures. Its versatility and simplicity allow it to take on many roles – one of the most recognizable in Gaulish Polytheism being the spoked wheel found among many grave goods, with depictions of Taranos, and on coins across the Gaulish world. Sepânioi Rotî are, by name, Followers of the Wheel, dedicated to its many forms and lessons.
The Motion of the Cosmos
The prominence of the Wheel in Gaulish iconography was once labeled as a straightforward solar motif, a disk that represented the sun as a religious symbol. This is reminiscent of Caesar’s claim that the Germanic people only worshipped things they could see, like the sun and moon, and is an equal oversimplification. In this interpretation, Taranos would be a sun god; however, we know that his name means thunderer and that his club is an Indo-European symbol for lightning. This lends credence to the idea that the Wheel represents the rolling sound of thunder in the sky, like a great chariot crossing the heavens, which is more in keeping with our interpretation.
The Cosmic Cycle
To reduce the Wheel to a solar disk also ignores the spinning of the Wheel, a key part of Sepânioi Rotî’s gnosis. The Wheel certainly includes the sun, but also the moon, the stars, and all the heavens. The turning of the Wheel is the rhythmic passage of time, the constant cycle of the stars, of life and death, and of our intertwined paths. Above all, it is constant motion. This is best shown in the cosmic principles of Samos and Giamos – summer and winter, day and night, light and dark, living and dead, tame and wild, mundane and magical. As with the seasons, one leads into the other, each with its unique properties, benefits, and struggles. In Sepânioi Rotî it is by nurturing the balance between these forces and accepting the cycle of the Wheel that we honour the Deuoi.
Life and Death
Though we strive to mimic the balance of the cosmic cycle, we are also innately entwined in the motion of the Wheel. As we discuss in our page on Taranos, the Wheel is not only Ouranic, it also has chthonic ties. We know that the Senogalatis (ancient Gauls) believed in reincarnation, taught by the druids. We also know that many were buried with Wheel amulets – likely worn in life as in death – and powerful chieftains buried with wagons or chariots. The Wheel is tied to the continuous cycle of birth, life, death, rest, and rebirth. We use the Wheel in our worship of the ancestors, and as a reminder of our inevitable fate to go around the Wheel once more. We also engage in Water Cultus, the source of all life and the home of the dead – a topic which we’ll cover at length in the coming months.
Personal Practice and Community
The ancients knew of the cycle of the heavens through the year, and knew that above all else the cycle would continue with our without us; however, we believe they also feared that the Wheel might stop, and the cycle end. This could be on a global scale – humanity unable to reincarnate due to an inhospitable homeland – on a smaller scale – such as our community falling out of balance – or on a personal level. By going around the Wheel again and again we can focus on what matters. By focusing on what matters, we can ensure the Wheel continues to turn. It is in following this ideology that we worship Taranos, honouring his stewardship over the Wheel, accepting his empowerment, and using our own motion to aid others around us.
Sources for information beyond the shared gnosis of Sepanioi Roti are as follows:
Poitrenaud, G. (2014) Porteur de la roue, porteur du ciel., Academia. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.academia.edu/11900096/Porteur_de_la_roue_porteur_du_ciel_Le_dieu_gaulois_Taranis
Wenzell, T. The Wheel Symbol in Celtic Culture, Academia. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.academia.edu/16208223/The_Wheel_Symbol_in_Celtic_Culture?source=swp_share
Widugeni, S. (2015). Samos, Giamos, Bitouesc – Summer, Winter, and Worlds. Polytheist.com. Retrieved 2021, from http://polytheist.com/segomaros/2015/03/04/samos-giamos-bitouesc/