Celtic Gods and Goddesses
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D, E, F

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GoddessDAHUD-AHES

(Breton) Also Dahut. Her adoring father, King Gradion (or Gradlon) of Cornwall, built for her the city of Ker-Ys ("city of depth") off the coast of Brittany in order that she might escape the persecutions of the monks who had declared her a witch for her violent opposition to their Christianization of her kingdom.

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.

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GoddessDAMARA

(Anglo-Celtic) An English fertility Goddess associated with Bealtaine.
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GoddessDAMONA

(Gaul) Goddess of fertility and healing; her name means "divine cow". Cow Goddesses were linked to fertility and abundance. Little information exists about her now.
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GoddessDEAE MATRES

(Breton, Continental, Romano-Celtic across Europe but particularly Rhineland) [DEE-uh MOT-rays] Triads of mother goddesses. Triads of benevolent mother goddesses were probably worshipped, in the main, as household deities guarding against disease or famine. An important sculpture of Matres was found embedded in the walls of London on a section of fourth century rebuilding adjacent to the Thames. Another, The Matres Aufaniae, was dedicated by Quettius Severus, the quaestor of the colony of Cologne. Several unnamed Matres are held in the Corinium museum at Cireccestedr. The sculptures are often associated with cornucopieae, baskets of fruit, loaves, sheaves of grain, fish or other symbols of prosperity and fertility. They may also carry or suckle children. Many of the triads were specific to regions, hence the Treverae among the Treveri tribe around modern Trier, or the Nemausicae at Nimes

Many of the dedications to such mothers were made by soldiers. There is a slight suggestion that they might also have been linked to victory in battle. The plaque found in London seems to have the mothers holding palm fronds. They are also not infrequently depicted with dogs, which were generally included as symbols of healing. Some, particularly from the Rhineland, show young and older figures, suggesting the different ages of womanhood. They are sometimes associated with Habondia.

Also: Matres; Matronae
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GoddessDIA GREINE

(Scotland) The daughter of the sun, or possibly a sun God - in ancient Scotland. She appears in a folktale in which, held captive in the Land of the Women, (a synonym for the Otherworld) she is freed by the Cailleach, disguised as a fox, and a helpful young man named Brian. Her name means "suns tear". Archetypally her legend serves as a metaphor for reincarnation.
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GoddessDISPATER
(Continental) Also Dis Pater. This Gaulish God, whose name means "the Father," was a primal God of creation who later merged with both Don and Cernunnos, the Horned God. The Gauls all believed themselves to be descended from him.
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GoddessDIVONA

(Gaul) A fertility Goddess associated with water and known only from inscriptions.
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GoddessDON

(Welsh) [pronounced with a long 'o'] "Deep Sea; "Abyss". Queen of the Heavens; Goddess of Sea and Air. The equivalent of the Irish Danu. Control of the elements, eloquence. It is believed by some scholars that Don has roots in the Goddess Danae of the Greeks, while Dana's origins are believed to be Peloponnesian.

With her consort Beli, Don is the mother Goddess from whom the Britons believed themselves to be descended. Her children taught the arts to the Brythons. The Mabinogion lists among her famous divine offspring Arianrhod, Gwyddion, Amaethon, and Govannon. The Donwy River is named for her.

Also: Domnu; Donn
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GoddessDRUANTIA

(Breton) "Queen of the Druids", Mother of the tree calendar; Fir Goddess. Fertility, passion, sexual activities, trees, protection, knowledge, creativity.

Druantia probably had her origins in Gaul, the root of her name drus, means 'oak', and links her also with oak trees and Druids. Today she is associated with the Dryads, the tree faeries, and reigns as their queen. The Dryads protect their native trees by punishing those who show disrespect.

Archetypally she is an aspect of the eternal mother as seen in the evergreen boughs.
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goddessDWYVACH
(Welsh) [DOO'ee-vhk] Also Dwyfach. With her husband Dwyvan, they built the ark called Nefyed Nav Nevion in which they and their animals escaped the great flood caused by the dragon king Addanc. In Welsh their names simply mean God and Goddess.

Welsh legend says that she and her husband were each part of one river which flowed in to Bala Lake shish was at one time called Lake Dyfrdwy, from the term dyfr-dwyf meaning 'water of the divinity'. This confluence image links them to lost creation myths. Dwyvach embodies the feminine principle of creation.
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godDWYVAN

(Welsh) Also Dwyfan. Dwyvan and his wife, Swyfach, are the heroes of the Welsh flood myth. Together they built an ark, filled it with animals, and survived the great flood caused by Addanc, a lake God/dragon/faery. Though later versions of this myth are distorted in order to make it conform to the Biblical version, the old story shines through and we see that Dwyvan was the personification of the male creative principle which has taken over for the older sacrificed God.

The Welsh deluge legend says that he and his wife were each part of one river which flowed into Bala Lake which was at one time called Lake Dyfrdwy, from the term dyfr-dwyf meaning "water of the divinity".
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godDYLAN

(Welsh) God of the Sea. Son of Gwydion and Arianrhod. His symbol was a silver fish.

The Mabinogion story tells us he took off for sea as a newborn where he could swim like a fish immediately and was beloved of these creatures. No wave ever broke beneath him and so he was called Dylan Eil Ton, "the son of the wave". In other stories he married the Lady of the Lake who bore him Vivienne, Merlin's great love.

Romanticized stories grew up around his death, thanks in part to the efforts of the bard Taliesin. The Welsh believe that the restless crash of the sea is an expression of longing to avenge his death. Around River Conway this roar is still called "Dylan's death groan". In some stories he is one and the same as Math Ap Mathonwy.

Also Dyonas (Breton)
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GoddessELPHAME, QUEEN OF

(Scottish) Also Elphlane and Elphane, which some claim is a corruption of the world 'elfland'. She is a Goddess of death and disease who is often equated with the famous crone Goddess Hecate. As the crone image began to deteriorate in Europe with the coming of Christianity, she became a Goddess of the "witches" and of evil. In Robert Graves' classic book "The White Goddess", he tells of several sixteenth century Scottish witchcraft trials in which accusations of having "dealings" with the Queen of Elphame brought the death sentence.

In the past few hundred years the Queen of Elphame has been seen as a Scottish faery queen and associated with Bealtaine. Thomas the Rhymer always maintained that she appeared to him on a May Eve all dressed in diaphanous green silks and riding a white horse with fifty-nine silver bells tied in its mane (an odd association since Celtic faeries have always been thought to shun the ringing of bells).
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GoddessEOSTRE

(Pan-Celtic) [ESS-trah or Y'OSE-tree] Eostre is an Anglo-Saxon Goddess, the one for whom the Ostara Sabbat is named. When the Saxons invaded Britain, they brought this vigorous Goddess with them and she was eventually adopted into the Celtic pantheon.

She is seen as spring personified, a Goddess of rebirth, new beginnings, and fertility. The name for animal menstruation, "estrus", meaning fertile period, is derived from her name, and as such, she is also a Goddess of animal reproduction. The Christian holiday of Easter is also her namesake, and the concept of the Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs come from her legends.
See also Ostara.
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GoddessEPONA

(Pan-Celtic) [ey-PONE-ah, AY-paw-nah or Ay-PAWN-nuh] "Divine Horse"; "The Great Mare"; Goddess of horses; Mother Goddess. Fertility, maternity, protectress of horses, horse-breeding, prosperity, dogs, healing springs, crops.

Horse goddess with fertility connotations. A popular equestrian goddess closely allied with the Celtic trade in, and domestic use of, horses. Concerned with healing, and with the fertility of domestic animals. The cult probably originated from Alesia in the heartland of Gallic resistance and location of Vercingetorix's final stand against Julius Caesar. She is arguably the only Celtic goddess to have been worshipped in Rome itself and her popularity was spread throughout the regions of Roman occupation (see also Morrigan). Her festival was celebrated on December 18.

Epona is typically with mares and foals, usually riding sidesaddle or merely in association with horses. She also holds cornucopiae sheaves of grain and other fruits suggesting an ancillary role as a vegetation goddess. Epona is also, on occasion, linked with dogs and birds.

Votive inscriptions have been found at Allerey, Armançon, and Essay (Côte d'Or), Jabreilles, Luxeuil, Santanay and others where sometimes she is alone with horse(s) and sometimes is depicted with the "mothers" (See Deae Matres). She was particularly worshipped by Roman cavalry regiments. At Armançon she rides in a cart reminiscent of the "tour" of other northern fertility goddess. In other circumstances Epona figurines are found associated with burial grounds such as La Horgue au Sabon illustrating the common link, well attested in ancient and modern cults, between fertility and death. Epona may also be enshrined close to thermal springs under which circumstance she often appears naked like a water nymph, e.g Allerey and Saulon-la-Chapelle.

Epona was also a Goddess able to bestow sovereignty on Celtic kings, old rites existed marrying the kings to her. Jean Markdale, author of the superb work on Celtic Goddesses, "The Women of the Celts", believes she may have been the first mother Goddess of Celts, predating even Danu.

In Scotland she is referred to as Bubona, and in England Lady Godiva is thought to be another version. Carvings of Epona also appear in Germany, and the Anglo-Saxons may also have adopted her in the form of their horse Goddess, Horsa. Other horse-associated Goddesses such as Macha, Edain, Rhiannon, and Maeve may have grown out of her myths.
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godEPOS OLLOATIR

(Pan-Celtic) A horse God often seen as either a male form of the widely worshipped Goddess Epona, or as her consort.
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GoddessERCE

(Anglo-Celtic) [AIR-chay] An earth mother and harvest Goddess symbolized by a womb or by an over-flowing horn of plenty, believed to be Basque in origin.
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godESUS

(Breton, Continental) Also Essus. A harvest God worshipped in Brittany, and in Gaul by the people known as the Essuvi. He was the consort of Artio.

He is connected with a vague and lost myth about the penalties for the cutting down of trees, and was associated with the totem animals of crane and bull, symbolizing his fertility principle and his link to the Otherworld.

Extant altars to him date to the third century BCE. The Romans recorded that sacrifices were made to him on these. He died by being hung on one of his sacred trees like the Norse God Odin with whom he is often equated. His legends eventually merged with those of Christ in the early centuries CE and eventually his own myths were lost. (makes one wonder though doesn't it?)
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godFISHER KING, THE

(Welsh, Cornish) A confused but powerful set of tales coalesce in the Arthurian mythos to create this figure. Stripped of all the divergent threads and inconsistencies, the essence of the story seems to be that of a Guardian of a sacred treasure (the Grail, in the Arthurian cycle), who is injured with an incurable but nonfatal wound, brought about by his own misconduct or inability to maintain the superhuman standards of his office. Though imperfect, and in continual suffering, he nevertheless continues to exert himself in the service of Good, and seems to be redeemed in the end. Note the common thread with Arthur and Merlin of the Flawed Hero.

Archetypally the Fisher King is not only the guardian of the Grail mysteries, but is a father God whose potency is restored when the feminine principle, which is also a part of him (as manifested in the Grail), is freed, and when it is reunited with the masculine principle as symbolized by the lance. It is only when his wound heals that fertility and abundance are restored.
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Joelle
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