The Goddess of Wharfedale
NOTE: For the most up-to-date facts on Verbeia, please check out my Verbeia research page.
For perhaps the first time, gathered here are the range of diverse attempts at unearthing the nature of Verbeia, the Romano-Celtic goddess of the River Wharfe in West Yorkshire.
From the work of the earliest antiquarians in Elizabethan times, through Victorian speculations, up to more recent academic investigations, the author pulls together most of the information we have about this curiously neglected remnant of pre-Christian pagan traditions in the region.
He also expands this research with new insights and interpretations, drawing on etymology, folklore and archaeology, which demonstrate the importance of this female divinity in local history, her wide-ranging associations with traditions and myths across the globe, and ultimately the continuing importance of nature-based spirituality to human life.
Topics covered include: the prehistory of Yorkshire; cup-and-ring petroglyphs; Celtic Yorkshire and the Roman occupation; placename etymology; connection to French and Italian antiquities; Brigid and the spring/snake/fire goddess type; cattle and goddesses; the Ilkley Swastika Stone carving, the pole star, and Siberian shamanic traditions.
Includes a full bibliography and illustrations. This is the third revised edition (2000).
Following on from The Devil & The Goddess, I found this (then) local connection to my far-flung ideas—a snake goddess in Yorkshire! Naturally I projected a lot of my personal concerns into my research. This booklet, written under the pseudo-pseudonym G.T. Oakley, was intended to distill what I felt were entirely valid speculations out of those only of personal or poetic interest. It was my experience that casting my net wide, pouring myself into the research, was a crucial part of the process that resulted, after much sifting, in some genuine historical discoveries. The initial investigatory surge is documented in my essay The Goddess in Wharfedale (which is now reprinted in my essays collection Archaeologies of Consciousness).
…brings together a wealth of fascinating information and demonstrates fully how scant archaeological evidence can be put into a far more meaningful context when combined with a detailed knowledge of the local landscape and little-known folklore.
Bob Trubshaw, 3rd Stone
A special e-book edition of this booklet is available as a PDF. I’ve reformatted it to A4 for easy printing and reading.