Tag Archive: celtic mythology


Goddess Oonagh

Art by Howard David Johnson

“Oonagh’s themes are fairies, nature, devotion and relationships. Her symbols are all fairy plants, silver and dew.  This ancient Irish Queen of the Fairies is also a potent Goddess of magic. In Irish legends, Oonagh is a faithful wife and the most beautiful of all Goddesses, having long silky hair and a robe of silver and dew. Today She brings the fey into our lives to remind us of the unseen worlds and to awaken the child within each of us that dares to dream and wish.

Sometime in November, the people of ancient Ireland celebrated a day for the ‘wee folk’ known as the Lunantishees.  This was a time to revel in fairy folklore and superstition.  We can honor Oonagh and Her children by following suit. Today wear green, which is a favorite fairy color. Don some pleasant-sounding bells that tinkle lightly when you walk. Fairies love this sound.  Or, carry a staurolite stone, also known as the fairy cross. This stone not only brings luck but also helps in controlling elemental beings such as the fey.

To see fairies today, find a four-leafed clover and lay seven kernels of grain beneath it. Or go to an area where oak, ash and thorn trees grow together. This is said to be sacred ground for both the fey and Oonagh.

If you’re concerned about fairy mischief, wear red for protection. Or, carry some flint as the Irish did to keep fairies at arm’s length.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Art by Gloria Scholik

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Oona (pronounced OO-nuh) was “the most beautiful of Ireland’s fairy queens.  She was said to have golden hair so long it swept the ground; She flew through the earth robed in gossamer silver bejeweled with dew.  Oona lived with the fairy king Finnvara [High King of the Daoine Sidhe] who was constanly unfaithful to Her with mortal women; She retained, nonetheless, an even, benevolent termperament” (p. 239 – 240).

Judika Illes adds that “Oonagh is a Goddess of love and protectress of young animals.  Oonagh may also have influence over the realm of death.  She is Mistress of Illusion and Glamour: Her silver gossamer dress appears to shimmer with diamonds, but it’s really sparkling dew.  Oonagh’s blessings are invoked to find true love and to experience romantic happines.

Manifestation: Oonagh is described as so beautiful that no one (at least no mortal) can look at Her without being awed and amazed.

Consort: Fionnbharr

Metal: Silver  ”  [2]

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Oonagh“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Oona”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Carleton, William. Sacred-texts.com, “A Legend of Knockmany“.

Eric (Coolsite-DS). Daoinesidhe.net, “Daoine Sidhe means“.

Esotericonline.net, “The Fey” (includes rules you need to abide when journeying with the Fey about half way down the page – GOOD STUFF!)

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Daoine Sidhe“.

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Lunantishee“.

Moonsong, Jasmeine. Wiccanmoonsong.blogspot.com, “Oonagh“.

Shee-eire.com, “Úna“.

Virtue, Doreen. Archangels and Ascended Masters, “Oonagh“.

Wikipedia, “Fairy Queen“.

Goddess Henwen

“Demeter” by ~eclipse79

“Henwen’s themes are peace, prosperity, fertility and the harvest. Her symbols are sows, grain, honey, eagles and wolves.  This fertile British Goddess appears in the form of a pregnant sow who births abundance in our lives. In mythology She wandered the countryside mothering grains, bees, cats, eagles, and wolves as She travelled. Henwen also presides over all physical and magical agricultural efforts.

In Devon village, England, there lies an old stone called Devil’s Boulder. Legend says that during a battle, Satan flung this stone into the village. To keep peace and prosperity in the town and ensure continued good harvests, the stone must be turned annually.  For us, this might translate into an annual furniture rearrangement, leaving one piece of grain in each piece to invoke Henwen’s ongoing providence for your home.

To partake of Henwen’s abundance and encourage your own nurturing nature, try eating a whole-grain toast for breakfast with honey (which comes from the Goddess’ bees!). Or enjoy a BLT for lunch and pork roast for dinner. Since the sow in Henwen’s sacred animal, eating its meat symbolically allows you to ‘take in’ this Goddess’ essence.

If you have indoor plants, ask Henwen to keep them green and growing by putting a piece of grain or small dab of honey in each pot. This will become part of the soil, nourishing the plant with Henwen’s power.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ceridwen” by =wintersmagic

“Henwen, pronounced [HEN-oon] was a sow Goddess much like Her Welsh counterpart Cerridwen.” [1]

“In British mythology, this magical sow Goddess came forth early in creation to give life to the world.  As She roamed the hilly countryside, She gave birth to litter after litter.  But instead of piglets, Henwen produced a grain of wheat and a bee; a grain of barley and a bee; a wolf cub, an eaglet, and a kitten, each strange litter in a different part of the country” (Monaghan, p. 150).

 

 

Sources:

Joellessacredgrove.com, “Celtic Gods and Goddesses“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Henwen”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bamfield.eu, “The Celts and Their Pigs“.

Blair, Nancy. Goddess in a Box, “Henwen“.

Celtnet.org.uk, “Henwen: A Cymric Goddess: Old White“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Henwen“.

Lowchensaustralia.com, “Ancient Celtic Mythology – Caridwen or Hen Wen; in Wales, Brighid“.

Mallory, James. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture,Pig” (p. 427).

Wikipedia, “Henwen“.

Goddess Nicneven

“The Faery Godmother” by Brian Froud

“Nicneven’s themes are protection, ghosts, divination, peace and winter. Her symbols are pumpkins, gourds and traditional Halloween fare. In Scotland, Nicneven is the crone Goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.

In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grow thin and spirits can communicate with the living.  Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way to family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.

In Druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.

To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Queen of the Bad Fairies” by Brian Froud

Nicneven or Nicnevin or Nicnevan (whose name is from a Scottish Gaelic surname, Neachneohain meaning ‘daughter(s) of the divine’ and/or daughter(s) of Scathach‘ NicNaoimhein meaning ‘daughter of the little saint’) is a Queen of the Fairies in Scottish folklore. The use of the name for this meaning was first found in Montgomerie’s Flyting (c.1585) and was seemingly taken from a woman in Scotland condemned to death for witchcraft before being burnt at the stake as a witch. In the Borders the name for this archetype was Gyre-Carling whose name had variants such as Gyre-Carlin, Gy-Carling, Gay-Carlin amongst others. Gyre is possibly a cognate of the Norse word geri and thus having the meaning of ‘greedy’ or it may be from the Norse gýgr meaning ‘ogress’; carling or carline is a Scots and Northern English word meaning ‘old woman’ which is from, or related to, the Norse word kerling (of the same meaning).

She was sometimes thought of as the mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy mythology.  This guise is frankly diabolical.  Sir Walter Scott calls Her:

a gigantic and malignant female, the Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under Her grim banner. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies, namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon the ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass. In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in Her triple character of Hecate, doubtless) and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of their choir, But we return to the more simple fairy belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described Her as:

Nicnevin with Her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

“The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Even so, the elder Nicnevin or Gyre-Carling retained the habit of night riding with an ‘elrich‘ entourage mounted on unlikely and supernatural steeds. Another, satirical popular depiction made Her leave Scotland after a love-quarrel with Her neighbour, to become wife of ‘Mahomyte‘ and queen of the ‘Jowis‘. She was an enemy of Christian people, and ‘levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche’; still, Her absence caused dogs to stop barking and hens to stop laying. But in Fife, the Gyre-Carling was associated with spinning and knitting, like Habetrot; here it was believed to be unlucky to leave a piece of knitting unfinished at the New Year, lest the Gyre-Carling should steal it.” [1]

“Nicnevin” by Xavier Collette

For a fantastic and in-depth piece written on this Goddess, I highly recommend reading “Nicnevin” by Sarah Lawless over at Witchofforestgrove.com.  In her piece, she explains “Nicnevin is the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the fairies, spirits, and strange creatures, queen of the Unseelie Court of Alba.  She reigns with a male consort at Her side, but his name is never given, it is my guess he changes with Her moods.  She is the Gyre Carline and appears sometimes in the Scottish tales as Habetrot, a crone-like spirit known for Her magical powers of spinning, weaving and clothmaking. It is said She wears a long grey mantle and carries a white wand and can appear as an old crone or a beautiful young woman. White geese are sacred to Her and their cackling may herald Her arrival. In this we see She is linked with the Germanic Goddess HoldaHel, queen of the Underworld, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Norse legend.”

In the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes, she writes: “Nicnevin, Scottish witch Goddess, can transform water into rocks and sea into dry land.  Her name is derived from Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, ‘Daughter of Frenzy.’ Nicnevin flies through the night.  Although usually invisible, Her presence is announced by the cacophony of geese.  The Romans identified Her with Diana.

Following Scotland’s official conversion to Christianity and brutal witch trials, Nicnevin, a former Goddess, was reclassified as both a Fairy and a demon. (Scotland suffered particularly virulent witch hunts, second in scope only to the German lands in terms of prosecutions and executions.)  She is considered Queen of the Fairies of Fife, Scotland and is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt.

Sea hag from the hit TV show “Charmed”

Manifestation: Nicnevin manifests as a beautiful woman and a dried out old hag.  She wears a long gray mantle.

Attribute: Magic wand

Element: Water

Birds: Geese

Day: Samhain (Halloween) is Nicnevin’s sacred night when She grants wishes and answers petitions.  She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting.  On Samhain, Nicnevin makes Herself visible as She flies through the air accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese.  Rituals are also held in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1″ (p. 760).

 

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Nicnevin: The Bone Mother“.

Lawless, Sarah. Witchofforestgrove.com, “NICNEVIN“.

Wikipedia, “Nicnevin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientsites.com, “The Celtic Huntress“.

Andarta, Boudicca. Paganpages.org, “Let’s Spell it Out“.

Dalyell, John Graham. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits“.

Electricscotland.com, “The Goddess in the Landscape“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddess“.

Illes, Judika. Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz, “Nicnevin“.

Rankine, David R. Sacredfires.co.uk, “Hekate Wears Tartan“.

Wikipedia, “Queen of Elphame“.

Wikipedia, “Wild Hunt“.

Goddess Niskai

“Niskai’s themes are cycles, time, luck, home and success. Her symbols are a quarter, calendars and water.  This Western European water Goddess has a threefold nature, exemplifying the full movement of time’s wheel from birth and maturity to death and rebirth. She instills in us a respect for each season and the ability to use time wisely so that all our Goddess-centered efforts will be more successful.
Throughout England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, Quarter Days mark the four quarters of the year. It is traditionally a time to pay one’s bills in Niskai’s timely fashion so that prosperity stays with you. Also, this is a very propitious time to move into a new residence; it brings luck!

To keep Niskai’s promptness with you and augment your awareness of the cycles in your life, try this spell. Begin with a quarter (which is round, representing the Wheel of Time). Place the token in moonlight for three hours and sunlight for three hours to charge it. Bless it, saying:

‘To everything, there is a reason
To every moment, a reason
For Niskai’s timeliness I pray
Every hour of every day.’

Carry this in your wallet or purse. If, for some reason, you start running late, touch the quarter and recite the incantation again. Then use the quarter to call folks so they don’t worry!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“The Nereids” by Gaston Bussiere

According to Donald A. Mackenzie, Niskai refers to any of the water spirits and Goddesses in Celtic mythology.  Niskai may have a certain minor currency as a Goddess in Neo-Paganism.” [1]

Prudence Jones reaffirms what Mackenzie wrote.  She writes: “Romano-Celtic shrines, like later Celtic myths, tell of triple Goddesses such as the Proximae (kinswomen), Dervonnae (oak-sprites) and Niskai (water-Goddesses).  These are often known as the three Mothers and are particularly numerous in the Rhineland…” (p. 86).

 

 

Sources:

Jones, Prudence. A History of Pagan Europe, “The Celtic Divinities“.

Wikipedia, “Niskai“.

 

Suggested Links:

Celticoldreligion.com, “THE HUMANISED GODS OF CELTIC RELIGION“.

Celtreligion

Goddess Rhiannon

“Rhiannon’s Ride” by Selina Fenech

“Rhiannon’s themes are movement, communication, rest, ghosts, fertility and leadership. Her symbols are the color white, horses and the moon.  This Celtic horse Goddess rides into our festival calendar today on a white mare bearing fertility, leadership, and a means to get things moving where they may have stagnated. Some historians believe the swiftness of Her steed (which is white, a lunar color) alludes to a lunar Goddess. In stories, Rhiannon commands singing birds that can wake spirits or grant sleep to mortals.

In Britain, people would come to Berkshire hillside today to partake in the White Horse Festival in which they scour the white horse that adorns the grasses here. This ancient galloping steed is created from pale clay, and this ritual kept it, and Rhiannon’s memory, vibrant.  So, if you have any images of horses (magazines, statuary, paintings) around, dust them off and put them in a place of honor today.

Since this was a festival for horses, you might consider tending to your own ‘horse’, be it a car or a bicycle!

Give it a tune-up or oil change, then take a ride! As you go, visualize yourself on the back of Rhiannon’s horse moving swiftly toward attending productivity or improved authority wherever you need it. Alternatively, wear something silver or white so that Rhiannon’s lunar energies can begin filtering into your day through the color’s vibrations.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

This is pretty much a repeat of the entry I did on Rigantona back June 28.

“Rhiannon” by Caroline Gully-Lir

The great Goddess Rhiannon is a potent symbol of fertility, yet She is also an Otherworld and death Goddess, a bringer of dreams, and a moon deity who is symbolized by a white horse. Her father was Heveydd the Old, and She was married to both Pwyll and Manan. The story of Her marriage to Pwyll, and the subsequent accusation of the murder of Her child, is well documented and most people are familiar with Rhiannon from this tale. [Click here to read Her tale].

“Rhiannon” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Patricia Monaghan comments: “What can one expect of a Goddess of death? Her son disappeared, and the queen was found with blood on Her mouth and cheeks. Accused of murder, She was sentenced to serve as Pwyll’s gatekeeper, bearing visitors to the door on Her back; thus She was symbolically transformed into a horse. All ended happily when Her son was found; Rhiannon had been falsely accused by maids who, terrified at finding the babe absent, had smeared puppy blood on the queen’s face.

Behind this legend is doubtless another, more primitive one in which the death queen actually was guilty of infanticide. This beautiful queen of the night would then, it seems, be identical to the Germanic Mora, the nightmare, the horse-shaped Goddess of terror. But night brings good dreams as well as bad, so Rhiannon was said to be the beautiful Goddess of joy and oblivion, a Goddess of Elysium as well as the queen of hell” (p. 266 – 267).

“Rhiannon” by Helena Nelson-Reed

“In Her guise as a death Goddess, Rhiannon could sing sweetly enough to lure all those in hearing to their deaths, and therefore She may be related to Germanic stories of lake and river faeries who sing seductively to lure sailors and fishermen to their doom. Her white horse images also link Her to Epona, and many scholars feel they are one and the same, or at least are derived from the same archetypal roots.

In today’s magick and ritual, Rhiannon can be called upon to aid you in overcoming enemies, exercising patience, working magick, moon rituals, and enhancing dream work.” [2]

“Call upon Rhiannon to bless rites of fertility, sex magick, prosperity and dream work. Work with Her to enhance divination skills, overcome enemies, develop patience, and to gain self confidence. She is most definitely a Fae that every woman can relate to on some level. Her perserverance and will is an example of what we as women are, have been, and will continue to be for millennia to come. Solid, unwavering beauty and strength, like Mother Earth below our feet.” [3]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Moon, horses, horseshoe, songbirds, gates, the wind, and the number 7.

Animals: Horse, badger, frog, dogs (especially puppies), canaries and other songbirds,hummingbirds, and dragons.

Plants: Narcissus and daffodils, leeks, pansies, forsythia, cedar and pine trees [evergreens], bayberry, sage and rosemary,[jasmine, any white flower]

Perfumes/Scents: Sandalwood, neroli, bergamot, lavender, narcissus, and geranium.

Gems and Metals: Gold, silver, cat’s eye, moonstone, crystal, quartz, ruby, red garnet, bloodstone, turquoise, and amethyst.

Colors: Dark green, maroon, gold, silver, rich brown, white, black, charcoal grey, and ruby red.   [4]

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Animals and fertility

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Suitable Offerings: Music

Associated Planet: Moon    [5]

Moon Phase: Waning

Aspects: Leadership, movement, change, death, fertility, crisis, magic for women, protection, strength and truth in adversity, dreams

Wheel of the Year: Willow Moon (Saille): April 15 – May 12

Ivy Moon (Gort): September 30 – October 27   [6]

 

 

Great Goddess, help me remember that times of sorrow are opportunities for the greatest growth.  Rhiannon, I affirm that I have the courage to overcome my doubts and fears.

And here’s a great 13 minute video on Goddess Rhiannon, The Great Queen

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Rhiannon“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow. Within the Sacred Mists, “The Celtic Tradition of Witches and Wiccans“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Rhiannon”.

PaganNews.com, “Rhiannon“.

 

 

Rhiannon – Divine Queen

Saille, Rowen. Order of the White Moon, “Rhiannon: Great Queen of the Celts“.

Suggested Links:

Barkemeijer de Wit, R. Celestial Journey Therapy, “Who is Goddess Rhiannon?

Epona.net, “Later Influences of Epona“.

Goddessgift.com, “Activities to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Meditations to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Rhiannon, Celtic Goddess“.

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Rhiannon“.

The Mabinogion, “Rhiannon“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, “Mórrígan” (p. 339 – 340)

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Rhiannon, A Cymric and Brythonic Goddess, also known as Rigatona: Great Queen“.

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Rhiannon“.

Shaw, Judith. Feminismandreligion.com, “Rhiannon, Goddess of Birds and Horses“.

Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Goddesses“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Rhiannon“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Rhiannon“.

Goddess Matrona

“Matrona’s themes are the harvest, providence, health, abundance, autumn and love. Her symbols are Swiss cheese and water.  This Teutonic Mother Goddess is the great provider of both food and refreshment, especially freshwater. A benevolent figure, She personifies the earth’s abundance during the fall and offers to share of that wealth freely. Judging from artistic depictions of Matrona in the company of a dog, or carrying palm fronds, She may have also had a connection with the healing arts.

People in the Swiss Alps gather today to enjoy the fruits of their labors, specifically cheese that has been stored in cellars since grazing season in the summer. In many ways this is a harvest rite, rejoicing in Matrona’s ongoing providence.

Consider enjoying a Swiss fondue today, complete with sliced harvest vegetables and breads from Matrona’s storehouse. The melted cheese inspires warm, harmonious love. Matrona makes that love healthy and abundant.For physical well-being and self-love, simply add some sautéed garlic to this blend, or add other herbs known to combat any sickness with which you’re currently coping.

Other ways to enjoy this Goddess and invite her into your day – Have an omelette with cheese and harvest vegetables for breakfast, or grilled cheese and ice water at brunch.  If you own a dog, share a bit of your healthful meal with it!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Goddess Gaia – Great Mother” by ~Umina

“In Celtic mythology, Dea Matrona (‘divine mother Goddess’) was the Goddess of the river Marne in Gaul.

Terracotta relief of the Matres, from Bibracte, city of the Aedui in Gaul

In many areas She was worshipped as a triple Goddess, and known as Deae Matres (or Deae Matronae), with a wider sphere of believed influence. This triadic deity is well attested throughout northern Europe (more generally as the Matres or Matrones), not just in Celtic areas, and was similar to the FatesFuriesNorns, and other such figures.

The Gaulish theonym Mātr-on-ā is interpreted to mean ‘great mother’. The name of Welsh mythological figure Modron, mother of Mabon is derived from the same etymon. By analogy, Dea Matrona may conceivably have been the mother of the Gaulish Maponos.” [1]

“Modron” by Shanina Conway

Conerning Modron: “In Welsh mythology, Modron (‘divine mother’) was a daughter of Afallach, derived from the Gaulish Goddess Matrona. She may have been the prototype of Morgan le Fay from Arthurian legend. She was the mother of Mabon, who bears Her name as ‘Mabon ap Modron’ (‘Mabon, Son of Modron’) and who was stolen away from Her when he was three days old and later rescued by King Arthur.

In the Welsh Triads, Modron becomes impregnated by Urien and gives birth to Owain and Morvydd.

Her Gaulish counterpart Matrona is a Celtic mother Goddess and tutelary Goddess of the River Marne. She is also a fertility and harvest deity often equated with Greece’s Demeter or Ireland’s Danu. In Britain, She appears as a washerwoman, and thus there would seem to be a connection with the Morrígan.” [2]

Relief of three Goddesses, or Matres, Corinium Museum, Cirencester

Pertaining to Deae Matres, Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Their names – bestowed by scholars – may be Latin, but the Deae Matres were Celtic, the primary divine image of the continental tribes.  No legends survived of this trinity of earth Goddesses, although hundreds of inscriptions and sculptures attest to the strength of Their worship.

Their religion was apparently destroyed early in the Roman occupation, but Their names and images survived into the days of the empire.  They were were then called sorceresses of the early days, thus holding the attention and reverence of their people in ancient Gaul and Germany.

The ‘mother Goddesses’ – for this is what their Latin name means – were always shown as three robed women bearing baskets of fruit and flowers; sometimes they also carried babies.  Seated under an archway, They were depicted wearing round halolike headdresses; the central Goddess was distinguished from the others by standing while They sat or by sitting while They stood.  They were probably ancestral Goddesses, rulers of fruitfulness of humanity as well as that of the earth” (p. 99).

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Deae Matres”.

Wikipedia, “Dea Matrona“.

Wikipedia, “Modron“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Celtnet.org.uk, “Modron: A Cymric, Brythonic and Gaulish Goddess, also known as Matrona: Divine Mother“.

Her Cyclopedia, “The Triple Goddess Deae-Mates“.

Joellessacredgrove.com, “Deae Matres“.

Journal of a Poet, “Morgan Le Fay“.

Spangenberg, Lisa L. Digitalmedievalist.com, “Who is the Celtic Mother Goddess?

Took, Thalia. Amusedgrace.blogspot.com, “Goddess of the Week: Morgana“.

Wikipedia, “Matres and Matrones“.

 

Bon Dammes

“lyinf around” by ~tytaniafairy

“The Bon Dammes’ themes are rest, pleasure, fairies, playfulness and youthfulness. Their symbols are any fairy plants (foxglove, primrose, oak, thorn, ash).  The Bon Dammes are devic Goddesses in Brittany that appear much like fairies and often act with much impishness. Having a kindly nature, the Bon Dammes inspire playful, youthful outlooks to take with us into early fall with childlike wonder in our hearts.

Follow the custom of all regions the United Kingdom (except Scotland) and take the day off. Enjoy family outings and a little leisure before the warm weather really starts to fade. Sleep in a bit, ask for a few hours off from work, get outside and play with the Bon Dammes. Leave them gifts of sparkling stones, honey, and sweet bread beneath any flower or tree that captures your eye and makes you smile. In return, the Bon Dammes will make sure your day is filled with pleasurable surprises.

Think about an activity you really enjoyed as a kid and recapture that moment sometime today. Jump down a hopscotch board, play tag with the wind, climb a tree (carefully please), pick buttercups, go berry picking, skinny-dip in a stream, or do whatever re-inspires the Bon Dammes’s youthfulness in your heart. You’ll find that this moment refreshes your entire outlook and provides extra energy for the days ahead.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Man, striking out here!  I couldn’t find anything on Saki-yama-hime, Braciaca turned out to be a god, and I could not find anything on the Bon Dammes!  I did however run across two references to “Dames”: Dames Blanches (White Ladies) and Dames Vertes (Green Ladies).  Now, according to Sacred-texts.com, “the Fairy-lore of the North of France, at least of Normandy, is, as was to be expected, similar to that of the other portions of the Gotho-German race. We meet it in the fées or fairies, and the lutins or gobelins, which answer to the Kobolds, Nisses, and such like of those nations.

The Fees are small and handsome in person; they are fond of dancing in the night-time, and in their dances which are circular they form the Cercles des Fées, or fairy-rings. If any one approaches their dance, he is irresistibly impelled to take part in it. He is admitted with the greatest courtesy; but as the whirling movement increases, and goes faster and faster, his head becomes giddy, and he falls to the ground utterly exhausted. Sometimes the fées amuse themselves by flinging him up to a great height in the air, and, if not killed by the fall, he is found next morning full of bruises. These little beings, it is also said, haunt solitary springs, where they wash their linen, which they then dry by way of preference on the Druidic stones, if at hand, and lay up in the hollows of rocks or barrows, thence named Chambres or Grottes des Fées. But, further, it is said of them, like the Lutins, they select particular farms to which they resort at night, and there making use of horses, harness and utensils of all kinds, they employ themselves at various kinds of work, of which, however, no traces remain in the morning. They are fond of mounting and galloping the horses; their seat is on the neck, and they tie together locks of the mane to form stirrups. Their presence, however, always brings luck, the cattle thrive where they are, the utensils of which they have made use, if broken are mended and made as good as new. They are altogether most kind and obliging, and have been known to give cakes to those to whom they have taken a fancy.

The Fées of Normandy are, like others, guilty of child-changing. A countrywoman as she was one day carrying her child on her arm met a Fée similarly engaged, who proposed an exchange. But she would not consent, even though, she said, the Fée’s babe were nine times finer than her own. A few days after, having left her child in the house when she went to work in the fields, it appeared to her on her return that it had been changed. She immediately consulted a neighbour, who to put the matter to the proof, broke a dozen eggs and ranged the shells before the child, who instantly began to cry out, Oh! what a number of cream-pots! Oh! what a number of cream-pots! The matter was now beyond doubt, and the neighbour next advised to make it cry lustily in order to bring its real mother to it. This also succeeded; the Fee came imploring them to spare her child, and the real one should be restored.

“Shaylee of Faylinn” by *DragonDew

There is another kind of Fées known in Normandy by the name of Dames Blanches, or White Ladies, who are of a less benevolent character. These lurk in narrow places, such as ravines, fords and bridges, where passengers cannot well avoid them, and there seek to attract their attention. The Dame Blanche sometimes requires him whom she thus meets to join her in a dance, or to hand her over a plank. If he does so she makes him many courtesies, and then vanishes. One of these ladies named La Dame d’ Aprigny, used to appear in a winding narrow ravine which occupied the place of the present Rue Saint Quentin at Bayeux, where, by her involved dances, she prevented any one from passing. She meantime held out her hand, inviting him to join her, and if he did so she dismissed him after a round or two; but if he drew back, she seized him and flung him into one of the ditches which were full of briars and thorns. Another Dame Blanche took her station on a narrow wooden bridge over the Dive, in the district of Falaise, named the Pont d’ Angot. She sat on it and would not allow any one to pass unless he went on his knees to her; if he refused, the Fee gave him over to the lutins, the cats, owls, and other beings which, under her sway, haunt the place, by whom he was cruelly tormented.” [1]

“Be careful with the Fae” by ~Angueru-sama

Then, there are the Dames Vertes.  Patricia Monaghan writes, “The ‘Green Ladies’ of Celtic French folklore were seductive but cruel, luring travelers from the forest paths and holding them upside down over waterfalls, laughing all the while.  As wind spirits, they traveled speedily over their chosen countryside, invigorating all the plant life they touched.  When visible in human form, the Dames Vertes were said to be tall and seductive, dressed in long green robes, passing so lightly over the grass that it seemed only wind had disturbed it” (p. 96).

Based on this description, the Dames Vertes almost sound similar to the Rousalii or Rusalki of Russian folklore who were also reported to have worn green robes…curious, very curious indeed…

In conclusion, it would seem to me that Bon Dammes would translate to “Good Ladies” and either be related to the Dames Blanches or actually be the Dames Blanches as they clearly don’t fit the description of the Dames Vertes.

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddess and Heroines, “Dames Vertes”.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Fairy Mythology: Celts and Cymry: France“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cymru, Gordd. Celtic-twilight.com, “The Fairy Mythology – Great Britain“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Christine’s Faery List: Dames Vertes“.

Phillips, Valerie. Dnaalchemy.com, “Devas, Elementals and Fairies“.

Wikipedia, “Fée“.

Goddess Damona

“Coventina” by `cosmosue

“Damona’s themes are animals and health. Her symbols are sheep and hot water.  A Gaulish Goddess who cares for all domestic animals, especially sheep and cows, Damona is sometimes portrayed as a hot spring, alluding to a healthful, warm quality. As fall nears, we can call on Damona to protect our pets, or to maintain the health of animals who provide us with food.

As one might expect, the historic Shepherd’s Fair in Luxembourg brought together sheep merchants to show their goods to interested parties, including a special parade of the animals bedecked in ribbons. The parade probably goes back to much earlier times when animals were taken into magic rituals that maintained health. One way to continue this tradition is by sprinkling a little warm water on your pet to invite Damona’s protection (or brush it into the creature’s fur – this works better with cats).

Wear wool clothing (or wool blends) to don Damona’s healthy aspect for your day. Or, simply enjoy a cup of tea before the day gets busy; Damona abides in warm water.

To ensure a healthful night’s sleep and pleasant dreams, count sheep as you go to bed. Visualize each one jumping over Damona’s waters and walking toward you. This brings Damona into your sleep cycle, where Her energy can flow more easily to renew well-being.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Tauro” by palomi

Damona is a “Goddess of fertility and healing; Her name means ‘divine cow’. Cow Goddesses were linked to fertility and abundance. Little information exists about Her now.” [1]

According to Mary Jones, “‘Divine Cow’ would make Her similar to the Irish Goddess Boann, whose name also means ‘Divine Cow’. Damona was usually the consort of the god Borvo, usually identified with Apollo. However, at the temple at Alesia, Her consort is Apollo Moritsages, and they are associated with a healing spring nearby. As ‘Borvo’ means ‘to boil’, they are likely the same god under different apellations. At any rate, She was associated not only with the cow, but, like Boann, with springs and water.

If She is identified with Boann, Apollo Moritsages may not be Her consort but Her son, as Oengus mac ind-Og was the son of Boann, and is often identified with Apollo. This would also make Damona similar to Matrona, Goddess of the Marne River, and mother of the god Apollo Maponos.

“The Goddess Boan ‘Dance of Delight'” by Helen O’Sullivan

She was mainly worshipped in Burgundy, France, and inscriptions attribute to Her the ability of prophecy in dreams.” [2]

Based on Her description, to me, this Goddess bears a striking similarity to the Norse primeval cow Audhumla and the Welsh Goddess Fuwch-Gyfeilioru,”a pure white Cosmic Elfin Cow; She Who produces endless streams of milk; She Who has the power to heal, to make fools wise and everyone in the world happy.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Her Cyclopedia, “Fuwch-Gyfeilioru“.

Joellessacredgrove.com, Celtic Gods and Goddesses: D,E,F“.

Jones, Mary.  Maryjones.us, “Damona“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Billington, S. The Concept of the Goddess, “Ancamna and Damona” (p. 30 – 33).

Celtnet.org.uk, “The Gaulish Goddess, Damona: The Divine Cow“.

Her Cyclopedia, “Damona, Divine Cow“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Damona“.

Wikipedia, “Damona“.

Dahut-Ahes

“Babonneau Ahes Dahud” by Christophe Babonneau

“Ahes’ themes are water, abundance, fertility, passion and courage. Her symbols are seawater and sea creatures.  This ancient pagan Goddess symbolizes the sea’s abundance, fertility and passion. She also teaches us about courage; She fought fervently against Christian influences to turn Her into a monstrous figure akin to a siren.

Ahes was honored with a plethora of beautiful ceremonies around the end of summer. If you have a beech tree nearby, you can follow the custom of gathering beneath it’s bowers or nearby a small pond. Here, wash any white cloth (perhaps an altar cloth). This brings Ahes’s health and productivity to wherever you keep that fabric swatch. For those who can’t find a beech tree or a pond, just add a little salt to your laundry today instead for a similar effect.

To engender this Goddess’s abundance, scent you hair with any earthy shampoo or cream rinse (the Bretons used moss). Definitely include some seafood in your diet today to partake of Her courage. Flavoring the fish with white borage flower, thyme, or a little black tea will accentuate brave energies.  And finally, if you have a seashell or bit of driftwood, find a way to release it back into Ahes’ care today (for example, give it to a river or leave it in a well). This thanks the Goddess for Her providence and encourages Her blessings in your life.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Art by Luis Royo

I have found in my research that Ahes was also referred to as Dahud-Ahes and Dahut.  According to Patricia Monaghan, “this pagan princess lived in Brittany, the far-western Celtic wilderness of France, during the period when the Christian monks were destroying the remnants of the old European religion – the worship of maternal nature.  These flesh-despising monks ruined the princess’ pleasurs until Dahut begged her father, King Gradlon, to build her a retreat from the cruelties of the new way.

Gradlon seemed to ignore her, but all the while he was secretly building a magnificent city for her.  Located on the rocky Pointe du Raz and called Ys, it was to be hers to do with as she wished.  When he presented it to Dahut, the sensual princess was filled with joy at the splendid homes arranged to catch the setting sun’s rays.

Dahut’s people were rich and happy, but it soon became clear that Ys had been built too close to the sea.  Storms endangered the small fishing craft by which the people of Ys earned their wealth. Dahut asked Gradlon to build them a safe harbor, but the king, threatened with damnation by the monks, built instead a fin new church to the Christian god right in the center of Ys.

Furious, Dahut rowed that night through dangerous coastal waters to a secret island where women – possibly immortals – continued to celebrate the ancient rites.  There she asked them to command the sea spirits, the Korrigans, to help her; she offered eternal fidelity to the old ways in return.

But then Dahut’s ambition poisoned her.  Granted the aid Ys needed, Dahut asked for yet another miracle: that magical powers would raise her palace high above the Christian church.  She was granted that, too, but her selfish desire took its toll.  For many years Dahut and her people lived in splendor and pleasure.  But the princess’ sickness grew.  Eventually she began to take one-night lovers, having them destroyed immediately after they left her.  The powers of passion and ambition that Dahut had stirred grew so strong that finally the king of the waters himself came to claim the princess – and he drowned the entire city of Ys when he did.

Although the above story is told as a local historical legend, it is possible that Dahut was originally a Breton Goddess – possibly Celtic, for her image recalls that of the Welsh Arianhod, who similarly mated with the ocean king.  But Brittany was also a center for pre-Celtic civilizations of note, including that of the megalith builders whose alignments to the winter solstice surround the hamlet of Carnac.  Dahut’s heritage could thus, like that of Celtic Brigid, include ancient material transformed as times changed” (p. 95 – 96).

“Dahut” by maelinn

At Joellessacredgrove.com, it states that “modern legends tell that her city was swept away by a wave caused by an intervening Christian saint. Pagan stories tell how she asked a city of Korrigans, the Breton sea faeries, to disguise her sea world until it was safe again for them to emerge again in a world without religious persecution. In this way she is similar to the sleeping deities, such s King Arthur, who lie in a state of suspended animation waiting until their people call upon them again.

Dahud was dubbed a Goddess of ‘debauchery’ by her detractors, while some more recent legends go so far as to make her the destroyer of her realm through her excesses and her worship of ‘idols’. Patriarchal legends say her father, recognizing her as evil, either escaped her world, or drowned her.

She is hailed as a Goddess of earthly pleasure by her followers. Archetypally she can be viewed as a mother Goddess cradling the reborn infant of the Old Religion, and as a rebel against patriarchy and its new rules.” [1]

“Morgan La Fay” by Wendy Andrew

Upon further research, I also found links between Dahut and Morgan le Fay.  According to Arthurianadventure.com, “Once stories of Morgan had crossed the English Channel, Morgan became linked to a favourite Breton Goddess, named Dahut (or Ahes) Dahut was a princess, who had caused the destruction of her city Ys. But, we also read in earlier tales, that Dahut (or Ahes) was originally a Breton sea goddess. Later accounts say that she had died when the sea had flooded Ys, or that she had escaped by being transformed into a mermaid. It is interesting to note that the word Mor, in Breton, means the sea, and this draws out the connection between Morgan and the sea. Perhaps, they believed that she was a sea or water goddess.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Arthurianadventure.com, Morgan le Fay” (down to section labeled “Brittany”).

Joellessacredgrove.com, Celtic Gods and Goddesses D,E,F“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Dahut”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Dahut“.

Covenofthegoddess.com,Goddess Dahut Vision Ritual“.

Deamatre.wordpress.com, “Dahud“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, Dahut, Dagosoitis (Guardian of the Waters) Dahud Ahes, Ahès (Good Witch) Marie-Morgane (Born of the Sea) Sirona, Syrene, Seraine (Star)“.

Timelessmyths.com, Dahut“.

Wikipedia, “Dahut“.

Goddess Olwen

“Olwen” by Alan Lee

“Olwen’s themes are the arts, creativity, excellence and the sun. Her symbols are late-blooming flowers, red and gold items and rings.  A Welsh sun Goddess whose name means ‘golden wheel’, Olwen overcame thirteen obstacles to obtain Her true love (symbolic of thirteen lunar months) and She teaches us similar tenacity in obtaining our goals. Art portrays this Goddess as having a red-gold collar, golden rings and sun-colored hair that shines with pre-autumn splendor on today’s celebrations.

Announced thireen months in advance, the celebration of Eisteddfod preserves Welsh music and literature amid the dramatic backdrop of sacred stone circles. The Eisteddfod dates back to Druid times; it was originally an event that evaluated those wishing to obtain bardic status. Follow these hopeful bards’ example and wear something green today to indicate your desire to grow beneath Olwen’s warm light. Or, don something red or gold to generate the Goddess’s energy for excellence in any task.

You can make an Olwen creativity charm out of thireen different flower petals. It is best to collect thirteen different ones, but any thirteen will do along with a red- or gold-colored cloth. Fold the cloth over the petals inward three times for body, mind and spirit saying with each fold,

‘Insight begin, bless me, Olwen.’

Carry this with you, releasing one petal whenever you want a little extra inspiration.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Danu of the Celts” by Dean Morrissey

Patricia Monaghan has this to say about Olwen: “The Welsh sun Goddess’ name may mean ‘leaving white footprints’ or ‘golden wheel’.  She was the opposite of the ‘silver-wheeled’ moon Goddess Arianrhod.  Olwen [pronounced O-loon]  was mentioned in early Arthurian legend as a princess who, attired in many rings and a collar of red gold, married a man named Culhwch [pron. kil-hooch], despite the knowledge that this marriage would kill Her father.

The father, [Ysbaddaden] whose name translates as the ‘giant hawthorn tree,’ tried to prevent the consummation of Her love for Culhwch by placing thirteen obstacles – possibly the thirteen lunar months of the solar year – in Her path, but Olwen survived the tests by providing the thirteen necessary dowries.

That Olwen was specifically the summer sun seems clear from descriptions Her: She had streaming yellow hair, anemone fingers, and rosy cheeks; from every footstep trefoil sprang up.  The ‘white lady of the day,’ She was called, the flower-bringing ‘golden wheel’ of summer” (p. 238 – 239).

 

 

 

Sources:

Joellessacredgrove.com, Celtic Gods and Goddesses – Olwen“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Olwen”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Blueroebuck.com, “Olwen“.

Brookroad.org.uk, “CULHWCK AND OLWEN or the TWRCH TRWYTH“.

Celtnet.org.uk/celtic/ , “Olwen – A Cymric Goddess: White Track, Fair“.

Dames, Michael. Second-congress-matriarchal-studies.com, “Footsteps of the Goddess in Britain and Ireland“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Spring Goddesses“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Sun Goddesses“.

Timelessmyths.com, “Culhwch and Olwen“.

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