Celtic Gods and Goddesses



GoddessCAILLEACH BHEUR (Scottish, Irish, Manx) [COY-lck or CALL-y'ach] Also: Caillech Beine Bric; The Cailleach; Crone of Beare. Great Goddess in her Destroyer aspect; called "Veiled One". Another name is Scota, from which Scotland comes. Originally Scotland was called Caledonia, or land given by Caillech.

In parts of Britain she is the Goddess of Winter. Depicted as a blue-faced hag, who is reborn October 31 (Samhain) She brings the snow until the Goddess Brigit deposes her and she eventually turns to stone April 30 (Beltaine). In later times the mythical witch like figure of "Black Annis" is believed to have derived from her.

She was an ancient Goddess of the pre-Celtic peoples of Ireland. She controlled the seasons and the weather; and was the goddess of earth and sky, moon and sun.

She is a Tutelary Goddess to southwest Munster, and appears in tales describing a knight being importuned by an old hag for love, acceptance of which transforms her into a beautiful maiden.

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(British) War God. Probably the deity from which the name Camulodunum (meaning 'place of Camulos'), the original name of Colchester, England, derives. Known from inscriptions and coinage bearing the symbol of a boar.
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GoddessCARLIN (Scotland) She was the spirit of the eve of Samhain (Halloween), the night the year turned to winter, and the ghosts of the dead roamed the world of the living. See also Cailleach.

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(Breton) Sometimes seen as a Breton version of the Irish earth Goddess Banbha, most likely with origins in Gaul. Also thought to be a war Goddess who shares Badb's energies.

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godCERNUNNOS (Pan-Celtic) [KER-noo-nos] Known to all Celtic areas in one form or another. The Horned God; God of Nature; God of the Underworld and the Astral Plane; Great Father; "the Horned One". The Druids knew him as Hu Gadarn, The Horned God of fertility. He was portrayed sitting in a lotus position with horns or antlers on his head, long curling hair, a beard, naked except for a neck torque, and sometimes holding a spear and shield. His symbols were the stag, ram, bull, and horned serpent. Sometimes called Belatucadros and Vitiris. Virility, fertility, animals, physical love, nature, woodlands, reincarnation, crossroads, wealth, commerce, warriors. Cernunnos is a Greek name, one of the many names of the European Great Horned God. Whatever his original Celtic name might have been has been lost to history.

Cernunnos appears to have been recognized in the region of Gaul, that is now central France, as the God Dispater. He is typically drawn as a man bearing the antlers of a stag, not necessarily representing an animal spirit but a deity closely involved with animals and one that can transform instantly into animal shape. In the Celtic world, horns and antlers were generally regarded as symbols of virility and fertility. On the Celtic Gundestrup Bowl from Denmark, Cernunnos is attended by a boar - an animal revered by the Celts for its speed, pugnacity and magickal connotations - and on the same vessel he seems to be associated with a bull. This later link reappears on a stone relief from Reims. Cernunnos is also depicted in association with snakes, sometimes bearing rams' horns, as on a stone relief found at Cirencester in England. His legs may be replaced by snakes, and at Sommerecourt (Haute Marne) a relief was found depicting the god in company with an unnamed goddess holding a basket and feeding a snake. The snake symbolism is generally associated with rejuvenation. Other reliefs show him holding purses of money.

He is equated with the Greek God Pan whose name means 'all'. Both Cerunnos and Pan became the prototype for the Christian anti-God, Satan. This was not a judgment on the attributes of these deities, but rather a device for frightening the European populace away from the Old Religion.

Also: Cernawain; Cernenus; Herne the Hunter; Kernunos
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GoddessCERRIDWEN (Scottish, Welsh) [KARE-id-ooín or KARE-id-win] Moon Goddess; Great Mother; Grain Goddess; Goddess of Nature. The white-corpse eating sow representing the Moon. Wife of the giant Tegid and mother of a beautiful girl Creirwy and two ugly boys Avagdu and Movran. Welsh Bards called themselves Cerddorion (sons of Cerridwen). The Bard Taliesin, founder of their craft was said to be born of Cerridwen and to have tasted a potent brew from her magic cauldron of inspiration. This potion known as 'greal' (from which to word Grail probably came), was made from six plants for inspiration and knowledge. Gwion Bach (later called Taliesin) accidentally drank the remaining three drops of the liquid. Her symbol was a white sow. Death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, magic, astrology, herbs, science, poetry, spells, knowledge.

Cerridwen is the goddess of dark prophetic powers. She is the keeper of the cauldron of the underworld, in which inspiration and divine knowledge are brewed. She is often equated with the famous Greek crone, Hecate, and to the Irish Badb. She is also sometimes related to the Greek Muses, only in a more violent and dark form.

Also: Caridwen; Ceridwen; Cereduin

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GoddessCLIODNA (Irish, Scottish) [KLEE-nah] Goddess of beauty and the otherworld. A Tuatha sea and Otherworld Goddess who often took the form of a sea bird and, as such, symbolized the Celtic afterlife. As the ruler of the waves, she was believed to be embodied in every ninth one which broke on shore. This wave was believed to break higher and stronger than the others.

Many folk-tales exist concerning her, nearly all of them contradictory in nature. In her native Munster she was a Goddess of beauty and was viewed as a very lusty woman who often took her mortal lovers to the Otherworld. She escaped the Otherworld with her favorite mortal lover, Ciabhan of the Curling Locks, just before the Cailleach was ready to send her back. The Cailleach sent her faeries to lull the girl to sleep on an Irish beach while a giant wave washed her back to the land of the dead (some versions of the myth say Manannan had a hand in this). She has since existed in Irish mythology as a minor sea Goddess doomed by the Cailleach never to return to Ireland in human form.

Today she is thought of as a faery queen in County Cork with her own resident burgh. The rocky coastal landmark Tonn Cliodna ('The Wave of Clena') is named for her.

She is attributed to be the daughter of the handsome Druid Gebann, and is also a Goddess of beauty in her own right.

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(Scottish) [CLOOD-uh] Popular Goddess of the River Clyde. In England she was called Clud and Cludoita, and in Wales, Clwyd. The waters in which she ruled were believed to especially useful in controlling seizures.

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godCOCIDIUS (Britain, Continental) God associated sometimes with forests and hunting (linked with the Roman god Silvanus), sometimes with war (equated with Mars).

Also see Segomo.
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(Welsh, Cornish) [KOND-oor-uh-moor] An archetypal guardian of the feminine mysteries and a Goddess of sovereignty who appears briefly in the Grail legends as the wife of Sir Percival. He weds her and beds her, then immediately sets off for the Grail Castle to which he is finally admitted. After wedding her, Perdival becomes the ruler of the Grail kingdom, acknowledging Condwiramur's sovereign role.

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(Britain) God who personified the waters, his sacred sites were wherever two rivers or bodies of water met. These places were 'inbetween' places which the Celts knew held great power.
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(Irish, Manx)A very old snake Goddess about whom little is known. Because of her linkage to the serpent image, she was probably one a regional mother earth Goddess, or a Goddess of rebirth. Others speculate that her lost legends were once part of forgotten creation myths.

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(Scottish) A Goddess of prophecy who usually appeared in the form of a crane. Similar Irish Goddesses such as Aife and Cally Berry also took this form, and did so to symbolize transcendent knowledge and transitions to the Otherworld.

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(Anglo-Celtic, Scottish, British) Tutelary and water Goddess of uncertain affinities. Little is known of Coventina other than that she was a purely local British goddess of some importance. She is best observed from the period of the Roman occupation, at which time she shows a classical influence but is clearly Celtic in origin. On one bas relief found at Carrawburgh her name is associated with three nymphs holding vessels with issuing streams of water; on another she is pictured as a water nymph on a leaf, pouring water from a vessel. Her Carrawburgh sanctuary, which followed a simple, unroofed design similar to that of a small Romano-Celtic temple, was sited beside a well fed be a sacred spring and was associated with the Roman fort of Brocolitia. The well attests to a cult involving a ritual shaft and water, into which more than 13,000 Roman coins had been thrown dating to the reign of Gratian (407 AD) , indicating Conentin's long-standing popularity. From the late period incense burners have been discovered that were inscribed to "Coventina Augusta."

In addition to money, pearls and pins were thrown into the well as votive offerings, the pins possibly implying a role in childbirth. Models of a dog (linked to the Greco-Roman physician Aesculapius) and a horse (a distinct fertility symbol) had also been deposited. Less significant and probably dumped when the temple was desecrated by Christians were a skull, altars, and other carved stones. There is no evidence of connection with a severed head cult.

Whatever the original myth might have been has been long lost. It is known that she was looked upon as the queen of river Goddesses, particularly of the watershed where the Celtic believe the power of the river deity could be seen and its energy most keenly felt. She was most closely associated with England's Caldew RIver.

Like other river deities, she represented abundance, inspiration, and prophecy. The coins offered to her appear to be sacrifices made in the hopes of sympathetic magick in which like attracts like. In Scotland she was also the Goddess of featherless flying creatures which may have represented some type of blockage to passing into the Otherworld. There is also evidence of her having been worshipped in Celtic Gaul where reliefs have been found depicting her reclining on a floating leaf.

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(Irish, Scottish) Also Creide. This faery queen Goddess is associated with Dana's mountains, the Paps of Any. She promised never to sleep until she found a man who could create for her the most magnificent poem ever penned. It not only had to be perfectly crafted, but describe in vivid detail her home and all its contents. The catch was the no man was allowed within her dwelling's guarded walls (possibly reference to one of the Otherworld realms known as the land of women).

Coll, one of the Fianna warriors. finally overcame these obstacles and wrote her the desired poem. She was so greatly impressed that she married him and they now make their home together in the Otherworld.

In another myth, she was given a ring by an exiled visitor from Scotland named Cano. The two fell in love, and before Cano left for his home in Scotland, he told her that the ring contained his very life and that she was to guard it carefully. Cano did not return and in her anguish, Cred accidentally dropped the ring and broke it. Cano died three days later.
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GoddessCREDDYLAD (Welsh) Daughter of the sea god Llyr. Connected with Beltaine and often called the May Queen. In her myths there was a famous rivalry of the Gods Gwyn and Gwyrthur over her each Samhain and Bealtaine. This is one of the origins of the Holly King and Oak King duel which is commemorated each Yule and Midsummer in most Celtic covens. (See The Holly King for details) She defied her father's wishes to marry the man of her choice, and became the inspiration for Cordelia in Shakespeare's King Lear. In Geoffrey of Monmouth's stories about her, she came to live on earth after Llyr's death.

She is considered the Goddess of summer flowers.

Also: Creudylad; Cordelia; Creiddylad
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(Pan-Celtic) One aspect of the Triple Goddess. She represents old age or death, Winter, the end of all things, the waning moon, post-menstrual phases of women's lives, all destruction that precedes regeneration through her cauldron of rebirth. Crows and other black creatures are sacred to her. Dogs often accompanied her and guarded the gates of her after-world, helping her receive the dead. In Celtic myth, the gatekeeper-dog was named Dormarth (Death's Door). The Irish Celts maintained that true curses could be cast with the aid of a dog. Therefore, they used the word cainte (dog) for a satiric Bard with the magic power to speak curses that came true.
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See Badb
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(Welsh) [KOON-uh-tha] Also Kwnedda. Cunedda is a figure from early Welsh mythology which tells us that he came to the region with his eight sons, and the nine of them carved out the nine Welsh kingdoms. His stories parallel that of Milesius and his eight sons who conquered Ireland. Archetypally he represents the potent force of a triple triplicity.
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(Welsh) [KEER-uh-eeth] Once a Goddess of streams, she later became thought of as a faery spirit who was a portent of death, very much like Ireland's Beansidhe or Cornwall's Washer at the Ford. Both of these specters are seen or heard just prior to a nearby death.
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(Welsh) [KEEM-ud-day KEEM-een-vol] Her name means 'big belly of battle.' She is a war Goddess who is always paired in stories to her husband Llasar Llaesyfnewid. Together they own a magickal cauldron into which they would cast warriors killed in battle. From the cauldron these dead soldiers would come forth to life again, but minus their power of speech. In later myth, the cauldron became a peach offering to end the war with Ireland. This image marks her as one half of the creative principle. As Wales' supreme war Goddess, she gave birth to its warriors, one every six weeks.
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(Welsh) [KEETH-rawl] In Welsh cosmology, Cythrawl archetypally symbolizes the opposing male creative force which represents destruction rather than creation. While this sounds very negative to non-Pagans, Pagans accept the energy as leading towards nothingness and being as necessary to existence as that which leads to creation.

Cythrawl's energy has been personified as deity, and his home is in the Otherworld where his energy is first manifested before appearing in the mortal realm.
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