Celtic Gods and Goddesses




(Irish) [Bayv, Bibe, Bive, or Beev] Also spelled Badhbh and Badb Catha, is a Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess who is often called 'The Fury'. Her Gaulish names are Cauth Bodva and Cathubodua.

Her archetype as a war Goddess is particularly strong, and she is a part of the dreaded Morrigan, a triplicity of crone Goddesses associated with death, destruction, and battle. She is often linked with the death portent faery, the Beansidhe (usually written in English as "Banshee"), who was seen washing the armor of soldiers who would perish in the upcoming battle. Badb usually appeared over the fury of the battle as a hooded crow, but sometimes ran wild among the fighting in the guise of a wolf. In her own battle, she is one of the deities who drove the Formorians (sometimes called the Formors or the Formorii) out of Ireland forever.

A daughter of Ernmas, she is called 'the one who boils', as in boiling the Otherworld cauldron of death and rebirth which she is thought by many to preside over, deciding the fate of those who have passed over into its great cosmic mix. In Celtic eschatology (end of world beliefs), it is Badb who will cause the end of earthly time by causing the great cauldron to boil over, engulfing the planet in a great wasteland.

Badb prophesied the downfall of the deities (the Tuatha) to the humans (the Milesians) and many believe she also prophesied the Great Famine of 1845-1849.
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(Welsh, Anglo-Celtic) A charioteer to the residents of the Otherworld who was once probably a sea or sun God. He is mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Vita Merlini

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(British) Celtic War God. According to some authors he is the horned god of the North equating to Cernunnos. The Romans syncretized him with the god Mars.(Britain) God of war and of the destruction. His name means "fair shining one". The Romans equated him with their god Mars.
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(Welsh) The primary Welsh father God, husband of Don, and father of Arianrhod. Also a minor sun God who some feel is the Welsh equivalent of Balor. Other scholars cite his name as being the origin of the name for the Bealtaine Sabbat, though most of his associations are now deeply linked with Samhain.

Now Beli's principal role is that of the God of death and king of the Underworld. He is also linked to several of the legends concerning the sacred Pagan site of Glastonbury Tor where balefires were lit on Bealtaine and Samhain up until the Commonwealth period (1640-1660). Some legends say that this site is the home of the death God Gwyn Ap Nuad, and that Beli purifies this site with his fires each Sabbat.

Also: Belenus (continental-European); Belinus, Belanos, Belinos (Anglo-Celtic); Belimawr; Beli (Welsh); Bel, Bile (Scottish); Beltene (Irish); Apollo-Belenus (Romano-Celtic)
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(Celtic) Goddess of light and fire, the forge and of crafts. She is the wife of the god Belenus (Beli) and the Goddess of the Mersey River.
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(Scottish) This battlefield Goddess is mentioned in the second scene of Shakespeare's MacBeth. Her name is probably a Latinized or corrupted form of Ireland's Badb, a Goddess with similar properties.

In Roman mythology she is a Mother Goddess and Goddess of war. She becomes syncretized with the Cappadocian mother Goddess Ma. The first known temple dedicated to Ma-Bellona by the Romans is dated to 296 BCE. Bellona was attended by Asiatic priests who performed frenzied dances and gashed themselves with swords, offering the blood on the Goddess's altars. Because of its violent nature, Rome refused to officially recognize the cult until the third century CE.
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See Bran.
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(Welsh, Anglo-Celtic) This 'flying king' was probably a regional sun God. He is associated with the sacred English hot spring known as Aquae Sulis, and area occupied heavily by Roman forces which appropriated many of the local deities. He is depicted in a famous stone carving near the spring as a very virile male figure with flaming hair, the radiant features making him unmistakable a sun God.

Several Goddesses were also sacred to this hot spring, including Brid, whom the Romans called Minerva.

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(blod-oo-eeth) (Welsh) "Flower Face"; "White Flower". Lily maid of Celtic initiation ceremonies. Also known as the Ninefold Goddess of the Western Isles of Paradise. Created by Math and Gwydion as a wife for Lleu. She was changed into an owl for her adultery and for plotting Lleu's death. The Maiden form of the Triple Goddess; her symbol was the owl; goddess of the Earth in bloom. Flowers, wisdom, lunar mysteries, initiations. Blodeuwedd was created from the flowers of oak, broom, and meadowsweet by Gwyddion and Math as a wife for Gwyddion's nephew Llew. This arose because Llew had been cursed by his mother, Arianrhod, that he would never win a bride of his own people.While Llew was away one day Blodeuwedd saw Gronw hunting in the woods and the two fell madly in love at first sight. She and Gronw made plans to kill Llew, but because he was no mere mortal, Gronw asked his lover to discover for him the secret of his death. Blodeuwedd coaxed the information out of Llew, and not only passed the information along to Gronw, but tricked Llew into being at the right place at the right time. At the moment of his death, Llew turned into an eagle and flew away. Gwyddion sought out Blodeuwedd to seek revenge, and for her punishment decided he would turn her into a bird, on which only lived by night, a carnivore whom other birds shunned and feared. Thus she became an owl.

She can be viewed as a May Queen, bound in sacred marriage to sacrificial king who must eventually be sacrificed to her and through her to his people.

Also: Blodwin; Blancheflor

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godBORVO (Breton) God of healing. Borvo's name means 'to boil' (similar to Goddess Badb), and he was a God of the hot springs. He replaced his mother, Sirona, in this function when her story was patriarchized.

The spring he ruled had tremendous healing powers.
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godBRAN THE BLESSED (Welsh, Pan-Celtic)Also Bran MacFebal. His name means 'crow', or 'Raven'. The brother of the mighty Manawydan ap Llyr (Ireland, Mannanan mac Lir) and Branwen; son of Llyr, and in Welsh sagas he is also the son of the Goddess Iweridd. Associated with ravens, he is the God of prophecy, the arts, leader, war, the Sun, music, writing. A master of the Isle of Britain, he is a cauldron-God, associated with a cauldron of regeneration which would revive the slain while leaving them voiceless.

The giant of a man set out with an army to avenge the ill-treatment of his sister Branwen by her husband, King Matholwch of Ireland who blamed her for an insult they endured at their wedding. Nothing would stop his army's progress, and he once laid down across the Shannon river so his forces could use him as a bridge to walk across.

In the Battle of the Trees, he could not be defeated unless someone could guess his name (a common mythological ploy in western Europe) and Gwyddion was able to do this. His forces won the battle, but he was fatally wounded by taking a poisoned arrow in the foot.

His cauldron destroyed, and he mortally wounded in a war to rescue his sister Branwen, he instructed his adherents to decapitate him and, after many travels, bear the head to London and bury it, where it would become a defense and a protection to the whole Isle.

His grieving troops took his head to their stronghold at Harlech for a period of seven years where it talked and offered warnings and divinations. It then sat eighty-seven years at Gwales (a place unknown today), then it was taken to London where it was set facing France so that is could warn of invasion.

Also: Benedigeidfran; Brennus (Gallic)
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GoddessBRANWEN (Manx, Welsh, Pan-Celtic) Sister of Bran the Blesses and wife of the Irish king Mathowch. Venus of the Northern Seas; one of the three matriarchs of Britain; Lady of the Lake (cauldron); Goddess of Love and Beauty. Welsh love goddess. In the Mabinogion, She is a central figure in being wed to the High King of Ireland and thereby encompassing the doom of both the Irish and Britons, when her brother Bran invades Ireland to rescue her from the degradation she experiences at the hands of a vengeful Court.

A daughter of Manannan and Iweridd whose name means "fair bosom". She is often equated with the Greek Aphrodite and is a Goddess of love, sexuality, and of the sea.

She was married to Mathowch, a king of Ireland who fought a battle with Bran after a wedding feast insult. Her son Gwern was put in his place but immediately killed. She died of a broken heart during the war between Wales and England, which began with an insult at her wedding feast, which she believed was her fault. It had, in fact, been the deliberate act of Evnissyn, a jealous courtier who thrived on malicious mischief.

Also: Branwyn
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GoddessBRID (Pan-Celtic) [breet or breed] Also Brigit, Brigid, Bride, Brighid, Bridget, Brigindo, and Banfile. Her name comes from the old Irish word brigh, meaning "Power"; "Renown"; "Fiery Arrow or Power" (Breo-saighead). Daughter of The Dagda and one of the Great mother Goddess of Ireland. At one time in History most of Ireland was united in praise and worship of her. She probably was one and the same with Dana, the first great mother Goddess of the Irish. Called the poetess, often called the Triple Brigids, Three Blessed Ladies of Britain, The Three Mothers. Another aspect of Danu; associated with Imbolc. She had an exclusive female priesthood at Kildare and an ever-burning sacred fire. The number of her priestesses was nineteen, representing the nineteen-year cycle of the "Celtic Great Year". Her kelles were sacred prostitutes and her soldiers brigands. Goddess of fire, fertility, the hearth, all feminine arts and crafts, and martial arts. Healing, physicians, agriculture, inspiration, learning, poetry, divination, prophecy, smithcraft, animal husbandry, love, witchcraft, occult knowledge.

A major Celtic pastoral deity, described as a "wise woman. Brid became "Christianized" as St. Brigit of Kildare, who is said to have lived from 450-523 AD and founded the first female Christian monastery community in Ireland. In reality her shrine at Kildare was desecrated and adopted as a holy site by Christian missionaries who turned her into their Saint Brigit in an attempt to Christianize her pagan followers. She was originally celebrated on February 1 in the festival of Imbolc, which coincided with the beginning of lactation in ewes and was regarded in Scotland as the date on which Brigit deposed the blue-faced hag of winter (see Cailleach Bheur). The Christian calendar adopted the same date for the Feast of St. Brigit. There is no record that a Christian saint ever actually existed, but in Irish mythology she became the midwife to the Virgin Mary. The name can be traced into many Irish and European place names. It is also akin to Brahati which means "exalted one" in Sanskrit.

In pre-Roman Britain, she was the tutelary Goddess of the Brigantes tribe, and like so many Celtic Goddesses, she has some riverine associations.

Brid represents the supernal mother, fertility, and creative inspiration. She has also been worshipped as a warrioress and protectress, a healer, a guardian of children, a slayer of serpents, a sovereign, and a Goddess of fire and the sun. Still other sources say she was the Goddess of agriculture, animal husbandry, medicine, crafting and music.
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GoddessBRIGANTIA (British, Anglo-Celtic) "High One"; pastoral and river goddess. Associated with Imbolc. Flocks, cattle, water, fertility; healing; victory. Tutelary Goddess of the Brigantes of West Riding of Yorkshire. She became identified with Caelestis, at Corbridge Northumberland, there is an altar inscribed to various deities, including Caelestic Brigantia. In carved stone relief at Birrens, on the Antonine Wall in Scotland, she is depicted with the attributes of Minerva. She may also bear links with the Goddess Brigit. She is frequently associated with water and herding. She is the Goddess whose face and sovereignty are the source of the appellation Britannia for Great Britain. As a Goddess of sovereignty, she is usually thought of as the Brid of England. In 1667 Charles I had her face placed on the coinage where it remains today, reviving an old custom, first instituted by the invading Romans who adopted her as their own.
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GoddessBRITANNIA (Romano-Celtic British) Tutelary Goddess. The genia loci of Britain who first appears on the coinage of Antoninius Pius in the 2nd century AD. She became the symbol of the British Empire after being partly syncretized with the war goddess Minerva." See also Brigantia and Brid.
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