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Celtic Gods and Goddesses

Celtic Gods and Goddesses


Gaeilge: Aonghus Óg (alt Mac Óg) - God of youth, god of love; son of the Dagda and Boann. Angus' kisses turn into singing birds, and the music he plays irresistably draws all who hear. Angus was said to have dreamed of a beautiful maiden, for whom he searched all Ireland. He eventually found her, named Caer, chained to 150 maidens who were destined to turn into swans at the feast of Samhain. Angus transformed himself into a swan and was so united with Caer, who followed him back to his palace at Brugh na Boinne on the River Boyne (modern New Grange).

ARIANRHOD Listed as both Moon Goddess and Earth Goddess in differing sources. "Silver Wheel," "High Fruitful Mother." One of the Three Virgins of Britain, daughterand/or wife of Don, wife and/or sister of Gwydion, and mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes and the sea god Dylan. Her palace is Caer Arianrhod, the Celtic name for the Aurora Borealis.

BADB (pronounced "Bive")A goddess of war. One of a triad of war goddesses known collectively as the Morrigan. Bird shaped and crimson mouthed, Badb uses her magic to decide battles. Badb lusts after men and is often seen at fords washing
the armor and weapons of men about to die in combat.

BRIGHID also BRIGIT. Goddess of healing and craftsmanship, especially
metalwork. Also a patron of learning and poetry. In Wales she is Caridwen,
who possesses the cauldron of knowledge and inspiration. The Celts so
loved Brighid that they could not abandon her even when they became
Christians, and so made Brighid a Christian saint.

CERIDWEN also HEN WEN; in Wales, BRIGHID "White Grain," "Old White One."
Corn goddess. Mother of Taliesen, greatest and wisest of all the bards,
and therefore a patron of poets. The consort of Tegid Foel, she had a daughter, Creirwy, and a son, Afagddu. In the Taliesin story, Ceridwen prepared a brew in a great cauldron which was to give her son Afagddu the gifts of inspiration and knowledge to compensate for his ugly appearance, and set the child Gwion to stirring it. However, Gwion tasted the brew and thus obtained its benefits. Ceridwen, realizing what had happened,pursued the boy, during which both she and Gwion transformed themselves into a variety of creatures. Finally, Ceridwen in the form of a hen, swallowed Gwion in the shape of a grain of corn. However, this only served to impregnate Ceridwen, and she later gave birth to the rejuvenated Gwion. She wrapped the infant up in a leather bag and threw him into the river. The child was rescued by a fisherman who, struck by the child's beauty, named him Taliesin ('radiant brow'). The "white goddess" of Robert Graves. Caridwen lives among the stars in the land of Caer Sidi. Caridwen is connected with wolves, and some claim her cult dates to the neolithic era.

CERNUNNOS Horned god of virility. Cernunnos wears the torc (neck-ring) and
is ever in the company of a ram-headed serpent and a stag. Extremely
popular among the Celts, the Druids encouraged the worship of Cernunnos,
attempting to replace the plethora of local deities and spirits with a
national religion. The Celts were so enamored of Cernunnos that his cult
was a serious obstacle to the spread of Christianity.

CAILLEACH BEARA (Irish- "Crone of Beare" also known as Skadi or Scotia,) she is an ancient goddess, both in worship and in form. She appears as an old hag with teeth of a bear and tusks of a boar. She is a sorceress who created the earth. She was said to turn to stone every Beltaine and to be reborn every Samhain. A giantess associated with mountains. She holds in her apron huge boulders with which to add to mountainous realms. She also appears in tales describing a knight being importuned by an old hag for love, acceptance of which transforms her into a beautiful maiden.

DAGDA Earth and father god,father of Brigit and Aengus Mac Oc. Dagda.,The Dagda is portrayed as possessing both super-human strength and appetite. He possesses a bottomless cauldron of plenty and rules the seasons with the music of his harp. With his mighty club Dagda can slay nine men with a single blow, and with its small end he can bring them back to life. On the day of the New Year, Dagda mates with the raven goddess of the Morrigan who while making love straddles a river
with one foot on each bank.

DANU (Anu, Dana) Mother goddess, an aspect of the Great Mother. Another of a triad of war goddesses known collectively as the Morrigan. Connected with the moon
goddess Aine of Knockaine, who protects crops and cattle. Most
importantly, the mother of the Tuatha de' Danann, the tribe of the gods. Her Welsh equivalent was the goddess Don.

DIAN CECHT Irish god of healing. The physician of the Tuatha De Danaan. He guarded a magic spring which could restore dead and wounded warriors who were bathed in it. When Nuadu lost a hand at the first Battle of Magh Tuireadh, Dian Cecht fitted him with a silver replacement, as a result of which Nuada acquired the surname Argetlam ("silver hand"). Nonetheless, Nuadu, now physically blemished, lost the kingship of the Tuatha to Bres. Dian Cecht's son Miach was subsequently able to outdo his father by replacing the silver hand with one of flesh, thereby enabling Nuadu to reclaim the kingship. At the second battle of Moytura (Magh Tuireadh), Dian Cecht murdered his own son whose skill in healing endangered his father's reputation. The Judgments of Dian Cecht, an ancient Irish legal tract, lays down the
obligations to the ill and injured. An agressor must pay for curing anyone
he has injured, and the severity of any wound, even the smallest, is
measured in grains of corn.

DIS PATER aka, Dis Domnu Caesar's name for the supreme god of the Celts he encountered in Gaul. Originally a god of death and the underworld, later the cheif
god of the Gauls. The Gauls believed, as their Druids taught, that Dis
Pater is the ancestor of all the Gauls.

DONN Irish counterpart to Dis Pater. Donn sends storms and wrecks ships,
but he protects crops and cattle as well. Donn's descendents come to his
island after death.

EPONA The Goddess of horses, mules, and cavalrymen. She was worshipped throughout entire Gaul, and as far as the Danube and Rome. Her cult was eventually adopted by the Roman army and they spread her worship wherever they went. Epona is depicted sitting side saddle or lying on a horse, or standing with multiple horses around her. Her symbol is the Cornucopia ("horn of plenty") which suggests that she could (originally) have been a fertility goddess. She is also identified with the Celtic goddess Edain.

ESUS A god of the Gauls "whose shrines make men shudder," according to a
Roman poet. Human sacrifices to Esus were hanged and run through with a
sword. For unknown reasons, Esus is usually portrayed as a woodcutter.

GOIBHNIU Irish smith god, a member of the Tuatha dé Danaan he is the brother of Dian Cecht (The Healer). Goibhniu appears in the Mythological cycle as one of the major figures in the second battle of Mag Tuired

GOVANNON (Gofannon) The Welsh smith god. The weapons Govannon makes are unfailing in their aim and deadliness, the armor unfailing in its protection. Also a healer. Those who attend the feast of Govannon and drink of the god's sacred cup
need no longer fear old age and infirmity.

GWYDION Welsh warrior and magician god. He was the son of Don and Beli. By his sister Arianrhod he fatherd Lleu and Dylan.

LUG also LUGH, (Welsh: LLEU) A sun god and a hero god, young, strong, radiant with hair of gold, master of all arts, skills and crafts. One day Lug arrived
at the court of the Dagda and demanded to be admitted to the company of
the gods. The gatekeeper asked him what he could do. For every skill or
art Lug named, the gatekeeper replied that there was already one among the
company who had mastered it. Lug at last pointed out that they had no one
who had mastered them all, and so gained a place among the deities,
eventually leading them to victory in the second battle of Moytura against
the Formorian invaders. (The Formorians were a race of monsters who
challenged the gods for supremacy in the first and second battles of
Moytura.) The Romans identified Lug with Mercury. The most popular and
widely worshipped of the Celtic gods, Lug's name in its various forms was
taken by the cities of Lyons, Loudun, Laon, Leon, Lieden, Leignitz,
Carlisle and Vienna.

MACHA "Crow." Daughter of Ernmas, the third of the triad of war goddesses known as the Morrigan, Macha feeds on the heads of slain enemies. Macha often dominates her male lovers through cunning or simple brute strength.

MEDB (pronounced "Mayv") "Drunk Woman." A goddess of war, not one of the Morrigan. Where the Morrigan use magic, Medb wields a weapon herself. The sight of Medb blinds enemies, and she runs faster than the fastest horse. A bawdy girl, Medb needs thirty men a day to satisfy her sexual appetite.

MORRIGAN, THE also MORRIGU MORRIGAN A war goddess, forerunner of the
Arthurian Morgan La Fey. Like Odin, fickle and unfaithful, not to be
trusted. A hag with a demonic laugh, the Morrigan appears as a grotesque
apparition to men about to die in battle. Her name is also used for a
triad of war goddesses, who are often thought of as different aspects of
the Morrigan.

NEMAIN "Panic or Frenzy." One of the three Valkyrie-aspects of the the Morrigan.
A war goddess.

NUADHU (Irish) also NUDD (Welsh), NOUDENS (Gaulish), (cloud maker or catcher). "Nuadhu of the silver arm." God of healing and water; his name suggests "wealth-bringer" and "cloud-maker." At the first battle of Moytura, Nuadhu lost an arm, and Dian Cecht replaced it with a new one made out of silver. Because of this, Nuadhu was obliged to turn leadership of the Tuatha de' Dannan over to Lug. However, Dian Cecht's son Miach later gave Nuada a new hand of flesh and blood which allowed him to regain the kingship. Nuada was killed in the second Battle of Magh Tuireadh by the Fomorii leader Balor. People came to be healed at Nuadhu's temple at Lydney, and small votive limbs made of silver have been found there.

OGHMA, (Irish) A child of the Daghda. A hero god like Hercules, a god of eloquence, language, genius. Generally portrayed as an old man dressed in a lion skin. He invented the Ogham script; he was also called Ogma Grian-aineach {of the sunny countenance} and Ogma Cermait {of the honey-mouthed} From his tongue hang fine gold chains attached to the ears of his eager followers. Equivalent to Gallic Ogmios.

SUCELLUS Guardian of forests, patron of agriculture. His consort is
Nantosvelta, whose name suggests brooks and streams. Sometimes considered synonomous with Cernunnos or Daghda.

TUATHA DE' DANANN The divine tribes and people descended from the goddess
Danu. Skilled in druidry and magic, the Tuatha de' Danann possess four
talismans of great power: the stone of Fal which shrieked under the true
heir to the throne; the spear of Lug which made victory certain; the sword
of Nuadhu which slays all enemies; and the ever full cauldron of Daghda
from which no man ever goes away hungry. They defeated the Fomors at the battle of Magh Tuireadh (Moytura). They were in turn defeated by the Milesians, after which they retired to the Irish underworld.



Brigit, Morrigan, Cerridwen, Cernunnos, the Dagda.

Brigit, Nuada, Ogma, Gwydion, Cerridwen.

Morrigan, Brigit, Nicneven, Cerridwen


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