Abnoba

Abnoba

Origin:

Celtic

Abnoba is the Goddess of the Black Forest, now in modern Germany, a region with many therapeutic springs including the famed Baden-Baden.

The etymology of her Celtic name is related to “wetness” or “river.” It is very closely related to Avon, a popular name for rivers; some conjecture that at least some of those rivers are named in her honour.

Very little information about Abnoba survives. The Romans identified her with Diana. A Roman altar was dedicated to Diana Abnoba at the warm mineral springs of Badenweiler at the Black Forest’s edge. As her altar was located at a therapeutic bath, it is probably safe to assume that she was similar in nature to Celtic female deities associated with healing springs, like Sequana or Sulis, but possessing stronger associations with wild nature, hence the association with Diana. Like Diana, Abnoba may have associations with fertility and women’s rites.

Roman historian Tacitus (circa 56–circa 117 CE) writes that Abnoba also names a mountain from which the source of the Danube River flows. Two streams within the Black Forest do form the Danube’s source, but the location and modern identity of this mountain has not been identified. It is possible that Abnoba is also the spirit of that mountain, one or both of those streams, the Danube itself, or any or all of the above.

Petition: Petition Abnoba to help preserve wild nature, forest plants, and animals.

Favoured people:

Those possessing strong associations with the Black Forest or perhaps even woods in general form her constituency.

Altar:

Decorate it to evoke a deep forest. Include pine and fir cones (the most prevalent trees in the Black Forest) and images of forest animals.

Offerings:

Efforts on behalf of what was once her domain; Black Forest Cake; Black Forest ham; spring water; pilgrimage to one of the springs near the Black Forest

Source:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by: Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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