Who shall speak for the Gaels but themselves, now that the Druids have gone the way of the Tuatha de Danaan – surviving as confused simulacrums in a modern real of modern sensibilities? Who shall sing the songs of the Gaul, where few will carve the Ogham in living stone? Who shall listen to the Trees and for the language of the Birds where the race of Nemed is now dust? Will you, Brother, speak for the Celt? I shall give my praise to this ancient race whose glories are now so long forgotten and buried in the eternal now. I will show my hand in friendship to my Celtic Brethren, the Irish, Scotch and Welsh. I have taken my wife from the daughters of the daughters of the Sons of Mil, and my son therefore shall have more rights to the Tartan than I, Eternal Anglo, ever shall.
The Celts were dealt a hard hand, their exquisite mysteries and wonders maligned and miscredited. The Irish adopted Christendom freely and with minimal bloodshed. The Druids, they said, saw something of the new Iesvs in their Mabon and their enigmatic God Esus who appeared 200 years and in complete isolation, we’re told, from the latterday Christian Saviour. We know the Druids were accepted into the cloth, along with the Bards and Ovates. Could it be that they had the last laugh? When we look at Iesvs Khristos, how much of what we see is the one who claimed ‘Salvation is of the Jews,’ and how much of the God to end all Gods was a last joke played by the rebellious, mischievous Celts? Their good will and faith was abused, for within five hundred years their myths had become parables and mockeries and jokes. The once proud Dagdha showed his ass to the world, an embarrassment. And what of their other Gods, those majestic and otherworldly spectacles? Are they fodder for New Age fantasy? Are they now the Saints who fill rivers with effete and pretty little tears? As with all things, we must secure the Gods of our Celtic brothers, so that our sons and daughters can have a future that isn’t so grim and pathetic as the one we were asked to carry. So. Come, sit a spell and hear about that which was lost, but is not yet gone.
It is a hard sale to make a claim which Celtic Gods were prime. It is a strained ordeal to bring order to their pantheon. I cannot, for I have not the faculties. Though I pray, brothers, you shall see as well as I the threads of fate woven so tightly through these Gods of this noble race. I hope you shall bind the knot with me and weave the corded rope of fate into a knotted noose to choke the disparity of this globalist hellscape, with solidarity in true brotherhood, our arms shall lock like knotwork.
The Gods were a sorted bunch. The Irish were given a genealogy and a table of the divine races. The Welsh must squint through a very Christian haze to see the ties to their Irish kin. The Gauls bequeathed their Gods to Religio Romana, just as the Druids had shaken hands with the Pythagoreans. Thus is the Celtic Pantheon an adventure in intricacy, an adventure in syncretism. It is difficult to say which races claim what Gods, and what Gods claim which races. We know that when the Sons of Mil came to Ireland that Amairgen split Ireland in twain, the hills and outskirts and dark woods went to the Tuatha who gained dominion over the Sidhe and drove them underground, the Milesians gained the fields and light woods and became Irish. Where do the Gods begin and end, and how much divine blood courses through Gaelic blood today? Answers beg more questions. Nevertheless, the Gods themselves have delivered themselves to our care as they have sailed the crooked rivers of blood to reach us.
Taranis, God of Thunder, carried the Thunderbolt and Wheel. He was ever associated with the Oak. It is believed he was considered by the Druids to be Father God. Given the connection of the Druids to Greece through their capitalisation of Pythagorean theory there is little wonder this God would have acted as a bridge to Zeus. And also given the presence of Druidic schools in Rome, there is less wonder that the Romans saw him as similar to Jupiter. Woefully little is said of him in the books one can stock upon their dusty shelves.
Brigid is a Goddess of the Hearth. She has many names and many faces, and she has lived many lives. She was well known as one of Ireland’s Triple Goddesses, those strange and wonderful entities who exist simultaneously as different forms – often in aspects of mother, maiden and crone. Currently she is known as a Saint by her children, the Irish. In her hinterlands, Gaul and elsewhere the Celts did roam, she was known as Brid, and as Bride in Scotland, and in Brittany she became Brigantia. Today, there are nuns who keep a flame lit perpetually in honour of Saint Brigid. Why? Because she foster-mothered Iesvs Khristos, of course. Christ, you’ll recall, was seen as an incarnation of Esus or Mabon. This betrays Saint as Goddess, for the Goddess Brigid had a temple of the eternal flame. But Light to the Celts was symbolic of much and many things. Brigid was also a steward of memory, the bards and Ovates called upon her to help cite their lineage. To this end, she was patroness of knowledge, also. Knowledge would have lent itself to skill, for the Celts. She had also been known as a Goddess of the smith, devising metalworks and craftworks. She was a patroness of poetry, considered a mystic art by the Gaels. She was associated with the cow, which was in ancient days viewed as a sacred animal to the Divine Feminine. Her name Brigantia refers to brightness, as she was a solar Goddess to the Gauls, thus her people the Brigantes, were literally children of the sun. She was symbolic of the dawn, as she has been known to stand in opposition to the Cailleach, an awful, wretched witch hag who come fall would strike the ground with her hammer rendering it hard as iron. Brigid would prevail over the hag in the Spring when she doused the land. This battle was replayed yearly. In Hebridean tradition, Brigid was believed to be a White Goddess and in her honour effigies were fashioned, dressed in white, and invited into homes over ritual song. There was a procession, we’re told, of women girt only in woad that saw her into the home to be blessed. This was done at Oimelc, and men, we’re told, were not permitted to see. Brigid shed the first tears to fall in Ireland, when her son Ruadan by Bres was laid low by the Tuatha.
Cailleach was mentioned before as being in staunch opposition to Brigid the Dawn and Spring Goddess. Cailleach is therefore the Fall and Evening. She represents the crone, the sort of Goddess who utters dark prophecy and cackles. She smashes the ground with her hammer and turns ground to iron, rendering it infertile. She is not intrinsically evil, her name means ‘veiled one,’ and some nuns to this day receive the title – those that have not thrown away their habits for the sake of everloving convenience. In Scotland she is called the blue hag, perhaps a reference to the woad. She is known to fly through the sky, hurling stones which become the towering mountains. She has also been called the Old Woman of Beare, and under this name fostered many children who would pass her in age, their grandchildren becoming races and tribes.
Ogmios. Now here was a God of eloquence. Considered by the learned Druids to be an aged Hercules, Ogmios carried a hallowed club. His tongue was pierced by glistening golden chains, these chains shot and fastened the words of the God to the ears of those who could hear his words. He had the power to bind and loose, and he could sway the souls of men. He is thought to have been a psychopomp, which makes great sense given the prevalence of poetry in the soul of the Gael. In Ireland he was known as Oghma, where it was known he devised the writing system known as Ogham. Ogmios had a nickname in the lands he lorded over, Grannus. This meant Sun Face. A solar deity, as the sun was of such importance to the Gauls who following the not-so-fabled Via Herculaneum created a solsticial network that connected the Gauls to the sacred zones of their religion, where the sun pointed to zeniths, where the spirits soared. Would that we could feel what they felt, and know what they knew!
Cernunnos is the Wild God. He was associated with the stag, an animal totem of extreme spiritual significance to the Tribes. As Lord of the Wild Hunt, Cernunnos is thought to have led the souls of the dead to and from the Underworld and the Overworld. He himself tamed the serpents and excited the ram. He was friend to the hunter. More, he was looked to for purification, both of body and of soul, as nature strips away the dishonesties of civilised man and humbles the wicked. Some say that when Merlin worked his magick, that he channelled Cernunnos. Cernunnos, at times and in places like Ireland was sometimes called Herne the Hunter.
Modron the Great Mother. This was perhaps a title of honour. But we know that the name used to be borne by an ancestral Goddess in Britain, and in time, the Romans would call her Matrona as a title for their own Goddess.
Mabon is the God-Child, the divine son of light. It was he who ordered the creation of the animals, their names and stations. It was he whom the Druids saw Khristos in, we are told. Many Ogham sites have been found in his name. In the North, in the realms of magic, he was called Maponus and was known as a skilled hero. Some say that he was of the same substance as the Irish Oenghus.
Belenos was a God of the shining sky. His name crosses boundaries we might not expect, coming so close as touching the heart of Ba’al so far before and aside. He was a God of healing, and may have been named Bladud in later days. Beltane is named for his honour, celebrated even now. He purified the waters, and brought fire to the land and lightning to the sky.
Gofannon, called Goibniu by the Irish, was smith to the Gods. When the Tuatha de Danann waged eternal war against the Fomorians, the smith gave his oath; that he should restore each weapon lost in battle to the Tuatha. In his honour a feast was held in Emain Ablach in which pigs were slain. It is said that though the pig was flayed and eaten, it yet walked, and in the morning had skin again for the warriors to partake of.
Many Goddesses have many names, and here is one that’s no different. Epona lives even now in the name she gave to the pony. Epona was the only Celtic Goddess to be adopted into the official Roman Cult. She was worshipped along with the gods of the deep. On her day animals were given rest. She was shown with a key and a flag – the symbolism, strange to us, was clear to them. The flag begins the race and the key unlocks the underworld. Epona is the Goddess of the Circuit of Life, she travels with us through life’s journey, and shows us the door when we are dead. In Ireland she had been called Etain, and Macha. In Wales she was seen as Rhiannon. The horse has always been a sacred animal, often associated with dreams. Indeed, the Night Mare was such a steed that brought ill omens in dreams. One may choose to believe Epona the Horse Goddess was her mistress. It takes a soothing hand to tame a horse, a natural soul, and it comes as no surprise therefore that Epona was connected to the birds. Birds, we know, were connected to the spirit world. Of Rhiannon, though, there is much to say. Once, Rhiannon was pursued by a lover, but she was too fast for him. Pwyll was the hero’s name. She was tricked by an evil God, and lost the baby resulting from her union with the hero. Her chambermaids betrayed her by smearing the miscarriage with dog blood and bone, claiming that she had eaten her own young. Rhiannon was stripped of her divinity and forced to tell the false tale of her crime before carrying strangers on her back like a horse, a mockery of her divine agency. She was eventually exonerated and was reunited with Pwyll, a love fated to fail, for mortals die in the blink of an eye before the Gods. Manawydan then took Rhiannon in the night, subsuming both her and her likeness upon a wave which drew her into Otherworld. There they were united in marriage, and Rhiannon once more became a Goddess upon her throne. On another occasion, Rhiannon’s birdsong caused Bran to lose track of time. Those same birds can transport the souls of men to otherworld. Rhiannon possesses a magickal bag which contains endless space. Etain was a tragic Goddess. In one tale Etain falls in love and is married, but in so doing becomes mortal and forgets her past. In the end, she becomes a swan and flies away. Macha as she was called in Ireland, was a Goddess who had come to Ireland to marry a king – her one decree was that none should know her breeding. She was betrayed, and her husband boasted none could beat her in a race. By now pregnant, she was forced to race, and she cursed all those who heard her cries to suffer pregnancy pain like women. She had gained Connaught through conquest, being a warrior queen, but eventually would die of exhaustion in a manner similar to Lugh’s foster, Tailtiu.
Sulis is a Goddess of the underworld. As Sul she has been called the ‘Goddess of the Eye of the Sun.’ She brings curses and blessings. She was favoured at springs where she in turn gave favour. Her shrine was called Aquae Sulis, and in the Roman occupation, it was revealed that she and Minerva were of one substance.
Esus, enigmatic, once slayed a great bull. He was also charged with the cutting down of special trees. We know little of him, beyond reliefs in his honour upon scattered Altars of a late date in Celtic history. The Druids likened him, as with Mabon, to Christ due to his connection to the yews.
Sucellos the Good Striker carried a long handled hammer. Some say Sucellos is a title, and that he is the Dagdha in disguise.
Coventina is a Goddess of the well. Wells and springs hold great meaning. To this day the concept of the wishing well is an idea we owe the Goddess, just as we owe it to her whenever we cast our lucky pennies into the deep well. Coventina reclines on a leaf and is sometimes accompanied by two women bearing pitchers who pour from beakers. Her cult was upheld by women, and by the Romans she was called Brocolita.
Nemed is another Goddess of antiquity. She was perhaps in Gaul known as Nemeatoma, where she was presumed to be connected to the forest. Nematoma was believed by the Romans to lie in betrothal to Mars, surnamed Regonemetis. An entire race was named after her, and they were the third race to conquer Ireland. To this day groves have born her name, some ancients of days being called Nemetoma. Nemed was the leader of this third race. Some say she ordered the plants and waged war against the Fomorians. There was a slaughter. The Fomorians utterly crushed the Nemedians and took Ireland. Only thirty of the race of Nemed was spared. Of these some died in a futile rebellion, precious few fled North, and the rest went to Greece.
Danu is a Goddess of great antiquity and mystery. Her name is spoken in countless placenames, to this day, and she has seeded her tribes as far as Czechoslovakia to the East, and so far west as Iceland – this confirmed, in ancient times. She is also called Anu, and Don. Danu is what she was to the Irish, while the British called her Don. Don, we might recall, was a heavenly Goddess. She sat upon a throne in her own constellation, the Llys Don. It is possible that her offspring laid the Ogham down even in the United States, for there the stones stand, forgotten cairn. The Danube bears her name. So, we’re told, does the Dnieper, the Dniester, and of course the River Don. She was the Great Progenetrix of the Tuatha de Danaan. The Tuatha, we know, were led by the Great Goddess from the North. The North, we know, was the point on the compass which governed magick and mystery. And so she sits, this Goddess on her shrouded throne, so veiled in mystery. Such a veil is one we mortals would love to pierce, if only to gaze at last upon her luscious beauty whose radiance must have gleamed like morning sun! On one occasion Danu was compelled to show her power, whereupon she enchanted the very land to rise up as an armed host to crush the enemies of Ireland. Such a Goddess is one we might enjoy, who value blood and soil. Some believe that Brigid herself is Danu in disguise, that the mantle of ancestral protectress passed from the continental Gauls, into the British and onto the Irish.
Donn was perhaps the masculine answer to Danu. A consort, mayhap, a brother, maybe. Who can say, when the record is so dimly lit by aeons of dispersion? What is known is that Donn was held to be the first ancestor in primal myth, a God that became a man and died. How did this man die? He disrespected the Goddess of the Land, and in so doing become a Lord of the Underworld. See now, Don led the Milesians as their king and made the mistake of insulting Eriu, the sovereign spirit of Ireland, by threatening to mistreat and destroy the vanquished Tuatha. He was given another chance, but was impetuous. Some say Eriu drowned him, other say he was struck down. What is known is that he was thrown to the Underworld and compelled to shepherd it. It was in this form that he became equivalent to the Roman Dis-Pater. It is said he leads the wild hunt, that he controls the weather. It is also known that he may have built his kingdom within the island of Tech Dunn which lay off Ireland’s coast – a perfect place for the souls of the dead to reside. However, before his apotheosis Don was prophesied over by Eriu, that neither he nor any of his would enjoy the island. All Gaels are invited to join him in death, from now until the Morrigan’s prophecy is fulfilled and the world might end.
Erin is the titular Goddess of Ireland, sometimes called Eriu. She was another of those potential Triple Goddess, for three sisters were petitioned Amairgen to intervene in favour of the Sons of Mil and of them, Eriu answered. Her reward was to give her name to the island forever, and in accordance with the ancient occult laws of sovereignty, forever embody the Spirit of Ireland. Though she was powerful in her own right before, she gained the sovereign spirit by aiding Amairgen and also later through her condemnation of Don and her fating the Milesians who would go forth and become the Celtic Race. Eriu, we are told, receives the sacrificial fire of Uisnech which once contested with Tara for being Ireland’s cultic heart. Surely, a great honour. As Arianhrod the Goddess appeared to the Welsh Race. She gave birth to the hero Llew who was of a substance with Lugh. A Virgin Mother, Arianhrod needed no man to give her divine son to the world. In her wisdom Arianhrod placed 3 divine seals on her son, fearing the terrible Gea – or magically restricted destiny – that fate had laid upon him. He could not bear arms, nor take his name or his wife, without her blessing which she would not give for fear of losing her son. Through trickery and the inviolable machinations of fate, Llew was allowed to break the seals – however in the process he would be mortally wounded, turned into an eagle and then resurrected in lesser form. Arianhrod reigned in the North, as one would expect a Goddess of such sumptuous stature to do. Her realm was called Caer Sidi, and her name means ‘Goddess of the Silver Wheel.’ The silver wheel refers to the stars, and the morning sky which show the axis upon which the universe turns. As such she had power to issue names, which as we know from all occult science, gives her extraordinary power over destiny. The Goddess as Ariadne unravelled the mysteries of the universe and gave them to the poets washed in language the commoner could never understand. She sometimes appeared as a mare, and was a Goddess accustomed to moving the thread of fate. In this form, this guise, the Goddess spoke to the Celts that had mixed with the Greeks to create the great race which harboured the Druids of such renown that they would impress holy Rome, those masters of mystic arts who carved away the tracts of Europe to follow the sun. The roads these Druids made are with us today. Do remember this, Brother, when next you say “Erin go Bragh.” If Rome is the Eternal City, she borrowed the Gaulish roads that came before her, her chariots and her arms.
Nuadhu was once the King of the Tuatha de Danann, a great and skilled warrior. However, during a terrible battle with the Fomorians, the ancient giants that had plagued Ireland before the Tuatha conquered, Nuadhu lost a hand in battle. Because no maimed man could be king, he stepped down. He wandered about for a time, and eventually received a silver arm from Dian Cecht, the healer of the Gods who could raise a dead warrior to life overnight. In time, Dian Cecht would have a son, Miach, who grew for Nuadhu an arm of flesh. No longer maimed, he returned to the Kingship, but eventually he stepped down of his own will in favour of the God Lugh of the Talents. He is known to be in possession of a magickal sword whose merest touch causes mortal wounds. He has also been called Nodens, a God known to manipulate dreams and visions. He had a temple at Lydney replete with chambers designed to encourage dreaming. In Wales, he was called Llud and was privy to the vision of the two great dragons waging war over Wales who would be trapped in the island’s heart. It fell to Llud, a hero, to trap them and bury them. Ludd also leant his name to London, where there remains to this day a place in his name: Ludgate. In war he defeated an alien race and repelled them, saving the Celtic land. However, his Geasa was that he would never repel the triumphant Sassanach who is embodied by the Great White Sleeved Wyvern of legend, sealed with the Red Wyrm of Wales. He did, however, thwart giants from stealing the food of the Celts.
The Dagdha is the Good God, that, we are told, is the meaning of his name. He was called good because he tended to the weather and oversaw harvests. The Dagda, remember the name. Like many Celtic Gods, he has more. It is suggested that Dagda is more a title than name. Some believe that Dagda is the title taken by Sucellos upon entering Ireland. He has been called Eochaid, meaning “Allfather,” and Ruadh Rofessa, meaning “the Red One of Perfect Knowledge.” Being one perfect in knowledge was no small boast among Gods who prized versatility. So having many talents, it is no wonder he became a chief deity. Indeed, such is his chiefdom that he is reckoned king of the Tuatha de Danaan, or rather he was before the Sons of Mil drove them beneath the earth and into the faerieworld of the Sidh. Such were his talents that should he choose, he can swing his club and with a single stroke kill nine men, and turning his club, bring nine men back to life. He has power of life and death. His power, we know, comes from his possession of the Great Cauldron of Plenty. We know the cauldron is an allegory for bounty, and such bounty even turns death to life, as life turns to death. The warriors of the Celts were shown marching into death, pouring into the cauldron, and emerging again on the other side, reborn. This cauldron of his not only replenished lost life, but fulfilled the living. Murias was the name of the cauldron, none could sup from it and hope to leave unsatisfied. The Dagda stirred his cauldron with a spoon so vast a man and woman could couple within it – the divine origin of spooning. Such was Dagda’s hold. Now, the Dagda gains his poetic power of life and death, a God of life who beds Morrigan, the Goddess of death, on the Eve of Samhain. On another occasion, the Dagda wooed a Fomorian lass with such prowess that she turned her wiles against her own race and thus helped seal the supremacy of the Tuatha de Danann over them for good. No doubt his mastery of music aided and abetted his wooing, for he had a harp of four sides which he used to strum the seasons of life and the world. He is known to quest with Lugh and Ogma.
Perhaps excepting Brigid, the Morrighan is the most famous of the Celtic Goddesses. Her name means ‘great queen,’ indeed she is the phantom queen. It is she who pulls the threads of fate, and washes away the destinies of men at the Ford. She is a Goddess of sex and death, of dark powers and portents. In addition to governing the fates of heroes and mortal men, she is said to rule in the Underworld in a sisterhood of nine. It has been said that she is of such immense size that when she straddles the river for relief, it is by her that the rivers are filled. She has appeared to men with her beautiful hair split into nine freeflown tresses, indicating her sovereignty. (Many Celtic lasses of marital age bound their hair.) It is she to whom the Tuatha come for knowledge to defeat the Fomorians, and she teaches them a magick called aos-dane, a magick to slay giants. It is no surprise therefore that it is the Morrigan who declares victory. She also prophecies, as well as stirs up storms and punishes sin. Her familiar is the Raven, and she herself has appeared to men in this black, sleek form. Such is her power, that she can rob a man of his magical essence. This she does by causing him to break his Gea, his restricted fate. So she did to Cuchulainn, thus sealing his doom. On another occasion the Goddess proclaimed the end of the world as following a tide of sin and debauchery. Like many of the Celtic Goddesses expressed in Ireland, she was a Triple Goddess, at times appearing as a sensual maiden, a sweet mother, and a shrieking crone. Her trinitarian plural name is Morrigna. She embodies, as all Goddesses do, the feminine energy channelled by different stages of the woman’s life cycle; bliss, temperance, and foreboding wisdom. She sometimes appears as Badbh, meaning raven, a red girt and red haired lass when she seeks to pursue heroes and stalk them. Badbh is said to be partnered to Net, a God of Battle. She often comes as a friend while plotting doom in this form. The Morrigan has been likened to a dark Goddess called Sheela na Gig, a crone, and it is possible that it is in this form the Morrigan appears to work winter magicks. It has been suggested that she and the Cailleach are one. Later she would be come to be known as Morgen, her divine origins muddled – though it was known she was the prettiest of 9 sisters. These same nine sisters provide inspiration to the souls of men, for they maintain a sacred flame and guard the Cauldron of Annwn. Some say this same Morgen is the famed Lady of the Lake, rising to the occasion for to shape heroes according to her wisdom. Morgen healed those who came to her in Otherworld, and could fly like the witches of medieval fame. Arthur, it is said, remains in her care in Otherworld and will someday be released by her in a new form for a new time – the Once and Future King.
Lugh the Morning Star, who among the Romans would one day be called Lucifer, and by silly superstition, Satan. Lugh, God of the Morning Light born of a Virgin, whose name was Lux to the Romans and Ljus to the Northman, was a God from whom no darkness could hide, enlightened in all, there was no skill he could not master. So when he came to the court of the mighty Tuatha de Danaan he boasted that he could do all things their court masters could. So he deposed Nuadhu by right of superiority and skill, as the Irish took their kings on skill and not through blood. Thus he earned the name Samildanach, meaning one skilled in all trades. Lugh bore the great spear, which he used to slay the wickedest of Giants, Balor, thus securing Ireland for the Tuatha. Balor of the Evil Eye was a fearsome foe, who had lost his other eye – scalded from his skull when he tried to sneakily observe Druidic ritual to prepare the cauldron of knowledge. It was said Balor only opened his evil eye when he aimed to destroy, so Lugh cast his spear as it opened and ensured that the tip emerged from the other side of his skull, painting the battlefield with brain and bone. It is said that the spirit of Balor compelled Lugh to decapitate him, as was the way of the Celt who well knew the soul of a man lay in his brain, and wear his skull as a masque and thus gain his power. Lugh, it is said, denied him this, and so Balor perished, his power wasted. Once, Lugh disguised himself as a crone and a harbinger of ill omen to sew dissent among the Fomorians while boosting the spirits of the Tuatha. After Balor was defeated and the giants were driven from Ireland, their king, Bres, was delivered to the Tuatha under Lugh. They compelled him to reveal Fomorian agriculture, and the giant agreed to ensure that the wheat would never fail and the cows would always give milk. Lugh declined, this he argued would deny the law of nature. It is said that Lugh, God of Light, was the first to receive Ogham – he saw the sigils which warned of an attempted kidnap on his wife to faerieland, the Ogham told him to seek for her protection under the sacred Birch. Even in the ages to come when the Milesians, the Gaelic race took Ireland from the Gods, Lugh remained and would sponsor mighty Cuchulainn in a vision. Indeed, some believe that Cuchulainn himself is an avatar of Lugh. It went one day that to Dechtine the God appeared in a dream, he told her that he had planned all that had come to this moment and that the dead son she had fostered had indeed been his. What was more is that he informed her that by the dream’s end he would enter her womb and be changed, reborn to live a life as a man called Setanta. Setanta, the good Gael knows, is Cuchulainn’s given name. In another dream he appeared to Conn who saw a forest of a house within a forest of golden trees where there was seated a Goddess on a crystal throne. Lugh came to the house and told Conn that from him a lineage of princes would arise, he proceeded to speak the name of all who would follow until the end of time. A druid recorded the names on yew staves as Lugh and Conn were served drinks in cups from a splendid vat. When Conn awoke and realised it had been a dream he was stunned to see the cup and list remained. Such is Lugh’s power. Today he is remembered in the Folkish festival of Lughnasadh. This festival came about in honour of his foster mother died clearing Ireland for cultivation. Llew the God was known as in Wales, though here he was a hero come from the North, a man. His mother tried to seal his fate, but through trickery he evaded fate and instead sealed his doom. Forbidden from arms and lineage and marriage, he was eventually given a maiden of the flowers as his wife – Bloduwedd was her name, and she betrayed him. In a sense this myth represents a warrior of the earth coming into the maiden of nature, an esoteric wedding that was not in this case meant to be.
Oenghus was a God of youthful energy, he was associated with poetry, lust, sex and death. He is the ever youthful son of the Dagda, who sees Aisling, dream women, in his sleep. Of these dreams, strongest was Ibormeith whom he pursues in the form of what inspire later chivalric quests. He was seized with such longing for her that he could neither eat nor rest and his dreams were taunted. He sought both mother and father, but it was Dagda who helped him. Such is Oengus’ love for the maiden that he can tell her by her smell in a crowd of 150 fair maidens of sweetest countenance. After this, he and his bride become swans and flock to Otherworld to dwell with the Sidhe, an enchanted love. He wins territory by cunning and determination, going so far as to impress Dagda with his cunning. In a challenge, the Dagda had ceded land to all but young Oenghus, and cleverly, Oenghus asked to possess land for a day and a night. Dagda conceded, and when the day and night ended, the Dagda asked why Oenghus had not stepped aside. The answer; the day and night are the opening and closing of the world, and all time is measured between the sun and moon – every night is an eternity. The lands remained his.
Manannan, a sea God was often called Mac Lir. He has a chariot which follows his horses across the waves. He has appeared to warriors such as Cormac in dreams wearing bronze shoes. In some traditions he has another name, Oirbsean, who died after a hundred combats which was understood that he has reincarnated this many times. Manannan is a night visitor who comes to women in distress at night and renders them children. He is also known to send women back to heroes to entice them toward their destinies, such as the hero Bran whom he led to the timeless Isle of the Women. He was known to be Lord of Emain Abhlach, the Island of Apples. He has a hall called Tir fa Thonn, meaning the Land Under the Waves, which is a palace with five rivers – these rivers he explained in a vision to a man of great renown, were the five senses and their source. So he blesses poets and gives prophecy to heroes. Often he comes to the land of mortals in disguise, such as one time he came as Fionn. Manawydan ap Llyr was likely what he was called in Wales.
Cerridwen was a mistress of dark prophecy. She is keeper of the cauldron. The cauldron, we know, is a symbol in the Celtic Folk Soul for death and rebirth. The cauldron, and thus Cerridwen, also doled out wisdom and ecstasy, inspiration and knowledge. She was noted for her great stature. On one occasion she punished her guardian, Gwion, for stealing a taste. After pursuing him viciously, she savaged him and then ate him alive, and, holding his remains in her great belly, eventually gave birth to Taliesin. Taliesin you might know, was a Lord of Poetry famed in Wales. She is thus, a Goddess of transformation.
Tlachtga is a Goddess who bears a the thunderbolt in the shape of a spear. She is the daughter of a Druid, and she erected a pillar called Cnamchaill which kills all that touch it, blinds all that see it and deafen all that hear it. She gives her name to a hill of the ward where it is said the Samhain fires are lit. She is the sovereign of Munster, where it was said witches excelled in magick. When her fire was lit there offerings were made to the ancestors in her name on Samhain against the south.
Scathach is a Goddess after whom the Isle of Skye is named. She is a fierce warrior queen who has been known to take on lovers and tutour them in the art of war. Her name means shadow and she is capable of scrying the future.
Merlin is far older than we might think. In Wales he was known as Myrddan. By the time we know him best he had come to be known as a Druid, a seer and a prophet. It is said he was born of a virgin, by some, by others that he is the devil’s own son. Often guided by a feminine figure, Merlin possesses insights into the laws of nature seemingly unrivalled. He was known to have had a pet pig, pigs we might recall were of special importance to the Tuatha. He was wed to one Guendolena, a flower maiden, an unearthly lass. On special occasions Merlin was known to dress in the guise of a stag, covered in furs and horns, in this guise he summoned beasts, betraying his shamanic past. On another occasion Merlin helped Arthur hunt the Great Boar. Britain was once referred to as Merlin’s Enclosure. Using his arcane arts, Merlin helped the wounded Arthur at Avalon later, almost surely a symbolic gesture. In another tale, Merlin himself was known to be so old that he had outlived the oldest animals after Jove flooded the Earth according to the old testament.
Arthur, now a hero of great renown imbedded in the European Psyche, was once a hero to the Celts, and in much likelihood a God come into human flesh. The name Arthur comes from Artos and Arcturus, both of which were antiquated terms referring to the bear. The bear, we know, was a shamanic totem of vast importance to the early Europeans, of especial importance to the warrior tribes. So the Medieval Chivalric legend is betrayed by his name and deeds. Arthur, we know, led his men – his war band – on a raid that led them to the very heart of the Underworld. A deed fit for a God, no? On another occasion he hunts a great boar, itself reminiscent of ancient rites, and also frees Mabon God of Light, from captivity. This mythopoeic essence suggests a passion play in which the hero, the warrior God frees the God of Light and allows joy to return to the land. A prevalent theme among our Races. And where was Arthur taken, when wounded? To Avalon. Once Emain Abhlach, the Island of the Apples – such islands we know were stepping stones between worlds. Arthur returned to the Aether to be healed, as Gods once returned to Otherworld to change shapes and bodies. Is there any wonder then, that we should see the Heroic Arthur heralded by the Shamanic Merlin? Merlin, the aged spirit of the Old European Shaman sees Arthur, the Great Bear, rise to power. A promise, we must recall, was given that Arthur should return again in Britannia’s time of need. And so we wait, as we always have, for our hero such a one and another, to come.