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The Religion of the Ancient Celts

Page: 122

Pliny speaks of the nudity of the women engaged in the cult. Nudity is an essential part of all primitive agricultural rites, and painting the body is also a widespread ritual act. Dressing with leaves or green stuff, as among the Namnite women, and often with the intention of personating the spirit of vegetation, is also customary. By unveiling the body, and especially the sexual organs, women more effectually represented the goddess of fertility, and more effectually as her representatives, or through their own powers, magically conveyed fertility to the fields. Nakedness thus became a powerful magico-religious symbol, and it is found as part of the ritual for producing rain.

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