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Taranis with a spoked wheel and a thunderbolt found at an archeological site in Bayard-sur-Marne, France and on display in the National Archaeological Museum of France

Taranis, also known as Toranos, Taranus, Tonaros, or Tanarus, is the Pagan god of thunder in the ancient Celtic tribal religions of Gaul, Hispania, Britain, Ireland, the Rhineland, and the Danube regions. He is an integral part of the great triad, alongside Esus the river god and Teutatis the tutelary tribal god. The revered thunder lord shares attributes with other European sky gods, most notably Norse Thor, Greek Zeus, and Roman Jupiter. Following Roman influence in Celtic lands, he came to be worshipped as Jupiter-Taranis. The most notable historic site of Taranis's worship was found in Chester, England, in the form of a funerary altar erected in 154 CE by Lucius Elufrius Praesens, a Roman officer from the Iberian city of Clunia. The altar bears an inscription dedicating it "To Jupiter Best and Greatest Tanarus," equating the two thunder gods of Rome and Gaul. The sacred days of Taranis are July 6th, 7th, and 8th.

An intriguing aspect of Taranis' worship is his association with time. He is regarded as the Lord of the Wheel of the Seasons, a role he assumes through his ritual union with Duir, the Oak tree, a tree which held the highest sanctity among the Celts. In ancient groves of Oak, they gathered for worship, subsisting on acorns, and observed the Thunder Lord's penchant for striking the Oak with bolts of lightning. This act was believed to facilitate the celestial union of the Sky Lord with the earthly Oak.

Ancient artifacts and modern Neo-Pagan depictions of Taranis generally show him as a bearded man holding a thunderbolt in one hand and a spoked wheel in the other. In the writings of the Roman poet Lucan, Taranis is mentioned as a Celtic deity to whom sacrificial offerings, including human sacrifices, were made. In modern times, adherents of Celtic carry pieces of lightning-struck oak as protective amulets, attributing to them the safeguarding power of Taranis.


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