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PostSubject: The Major Goddesses and Gods   Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:58 am

The Major Goddesses and Gods

Angus mac og/Angus of the Brugh/Oengus of the Bruig/Angus Mac Oc ( Ireland)
 


Aengus is the Celtic god of soulmate love. His name means “young son”. In Celtic mythology, the story goes as follows: Aengus was said to have lived at Newgrange by the River Boyne, Co. Meath and his parents were the Dagda and Boann. The Dagda had an affair with Boann, wife of Nechtan. In order to hide their affair, the Dagda made the sun stand still for nine months; therefore, Aengus was conceived, gestated and born in one day.   Aengus fell in love with a girl he had seen in his dreams. His mother, Boann, searched Ireland for an entire year. Then his father, the Dagda, did the same. Finally, King Bodb Derg of Munster found her after a year. Aengus went to the lake of the Dragon's Mouth and found 150 girls chained up in pairs. He found his girl, Caer Ibormeith. On November 1, Caer and the other girls would turn into swans for one year on every second Samhain ( a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Most commonly it is held on 31 October–1 November, or halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice). Aengus was told he could marry Caer if he could identify her as a swan. Aengus succeeded. He turned himself into a swan and they flew away, singing beautiful music that put all its listeners asleep for three days and nights.

Aengus now plays a magical golden harp that mesmerises all who hear its sweet melodies. Whenever romance is threatened by quarrels or outside interference, Aengus weaves a net of his golden harp music around the lovers and draws them back together. It’s said that when he blows a kiss, it turns into a beautiful bird that carries his romantic messages to lovers who ask for his help. Aengus lives among the fairies in a brugh (a fairy glen). He’s the half brother of the goddess Brigit. He also escorted two young lovers named Diarmuid and Grainne out of harm’s way (but that's another story in Irish mythology).
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PostSubject: Re: The Major Goddesses and Gods   Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:00 am

Anu/Anann/Dana/Dana-Ana ( Ireland)

Anu, pronounced an-oo, (aka Anann, Dana, Dana-Ana) is the Irish Goddess of plenty and is the maiden aspect of the Morrigu. She is the Mother-Earth Goddess and the flowering fertility Goddess.  Great Goddess; greatest of all goddesses. The flowering fertility goddess, sometimes she formed a trinity with Badb and Macha. Her priestesses comforted and taught the dying. Fires were lit for her at Midsummer.


Two hills in Kerry are called the Paps of Anu.




Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess in Ireland. Guardian of cattle and health. Goddess of fertility, prosperity, and comfort. Anu is associated with the Celts as the mother Goddess of the ancestors, reaching so far back into time there is very little record of her... externally at least. She is identified with the Goddess Danu and the Children of Danu (Tuatha De Danaan) and the four great cities Falias, Gorias, Finias and Murias. In the beginning it was Anu who watered the first Oak tree Bile from the heavens and granted life to the earth, from the tree fell two acorns which Anu nurtured as her own and in turn they became the God Dagda and the Goddess Brighid. Anu has been known to appear in the form of a swan, representing the purity of the female and gracefulness in motherhood.

Anu is considered to be the ancestor of all the Gods, the Tuatha d頄anann, who found themselves obliged to reside in the Otherworld when Miled brought the Celts to the British Isles. She still looks down on us from the night's sky where she appears as Llys Don, better known as the constellation of Casseopeia.   Anu was especially popular in Munster, though her most lasting memorial is a mountain in County Kerry called the "Breast of Anu". The Dane Hills in Leicestershire are also named after her and this area, perhaps a major centre for her cult, is where her memory lives on as Black Annis.  This hideous old crone's habit of eating young children was, no doubt, invented by incoming Christians to blacken the name of the Celtic Goddess. In Christendom, the lady usually took on the guise of St. Anne, however, in order to smooth the path of conversion. This saint's popularity in Brittany probably stems from the previous worship of the Celtic Goddess there.

Anu was also the patroness of springs and fountains, hence the numerous St. Anne's Wells throughout Britain today.

Symbols: Emeralds, Blood, Moonstones



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PostSubject: Re: The Major Goddesses and Gods   Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:02 am

Arawn (AR-AWN)   ( Wales)



Arawn was the king of the Otherworld, the realm of dead, Annwn.  His memory is retained in a traditional saying found in an old saying of Cardigan, South Wales Folktale: 

" Hir yw'r dydd a hir yw'r nos, a hir yw aros Arawn".  

which means:

"Long is the day and long is the night, and long is the waiting of Arawn"

In Welsh Folklore, the Cwn Annwn, or "Hounds of Annwn" ride through the skies in Autumn, Winter and early Spring.  The baying of the hounds was identified with the crying of wild geese as they migrate and the quarry of the hounds as wandering spirits, being chased to Annwn.  Later the myth was Christianised, to describe the "capturing of human souls and the chasing of the damned souls to Annwn, and Annwn was equated with the "hell"  of the Christian tradition.

Some writers, notably Robert Graves, have written of an incident in which Amaethon, steals a dog, lapwing and a white Roebuck from Arawn, leading to the "Cad Goddeu" (Battle of the Trees), which Arawn lost to Amaethon and his brother, Gwydion.   The standard text of "Cad Goddeu" in the "Book of Taliesin" makes no mention of this, but the Welsh Triads records the Battle of Goddeu as one of the "Three Futile Battles of the island of Britain... it was brought about by the cause of the bitch, together with the roebuck and plover, while Lady Charlotte Guest notes in her Mabinogion an account in the Myvyrian Archaeology, that 
the battle "was on account of a white roebuck and a whelp; and they came from Hell, and Amathaon ab Don brought them. And therefore Amathaon ab Don, and Arawn, King of Annwn (Hell), fought. And there was a man in that battle, unless his name were known he could not be overcome; and there was on the other side a woman called Achren, and unless her name were known her party could not be overcome. And Gwydion ab Don guessed the name of the man".


Arawn was the first king of the Celtic Otherworld, but later was superseded in the myths by Gwyn ap Nudd.  The Hounds of Arawn could be seen riding through the skies in any season but summer.  The Hounds chase wandering spirits back to the Otherworld, Annwn (pronounce roughly “ah-noon”).

Arawn was instrumental in elevating the status of the mortal Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed ( pronounced “duu-ved”.) The two met when Pwyll chased away Arawn’s hounds bringing down a stag and sent his own hounds on the stag.  Arawn was understandably rather offended, and as payment as Pwyll to trade places with him for one year and defeat Arawn’s enemy Hafgan.  Pwyll agreed, and wore Arawn’s likeness and ruled over Annwn for a year, while Arawn wore Pwyll’s likeness and ruled Dyfed.

At the end of the year, Pwyll had defeated Hafgan.  Arawn and Pwyll became good friends not only for Pwyll’s victory, but because Pwyll had slept chastely next to Arawn’s wife the entire year (Pwyll was not yet married, so Arawn had no like temptation).  Pwyll was happy because his realm had never flourished so well as it had under the care of Arawn.  When Pwyll returned, he gained the name of Pwyll Pen Annwn, and is considered a lord of the Otherworld.

Arawn’s wife is not named, and it’s not known if they had any children.  What is known is that the friendship between Annwn and Dyfed continued long after Pwyll’s death.

Light and Dark Sides
Although there is a pretty good description of Arawn and his personality, it’s difficult to say exactly where he falls on the spectrum.  I’d say he’s a very grey character.  He brings back the souls that get lost or wander and returns them to their place in Annwn.  In that respect, he and his hounds are guiders of the soul, a psychopomp. 

Since he is the king of the Otherworld, there is a great deal of mystery and magic associated with Arawn.  The Otherworld is a strange and mysterious place–clearly seen in its name, the Other World.  It is Other, and therefore unknowable.  Arawn, as lord of that realm, would carry many of those same qualities with him.  He is Other himself, a guider of souls but also the unknowable mystery of the soul.. if that makes sense. 

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PostSubject: Re: The Major Goddesses and Gods   Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:03 am

Arianrhod  (ari-an-rod)   (Wales)



Arianrhod (ah-ree-AHN-rhohd), Arian meaning 'silver', and Rhod meaning 'wheel' or 'dis Celtic Moon-Mother Goddess. Called the Silver Wheel that Descends into the Sea. Daughter of the Mother Goddess Don and her consort Beli. She is ruler of Caer Sidi, a magical realm in the north. She was worshiped as priestess of the moon. The benevolent silver sky-lady came down from her pale white chariot in the heavens to watch more closely over the tides she ruled. Her Festival is on 2nd December, she is also honoured at the Full Moon.

In addition to native variations by locality or over time, there are often several possible transliterations into the Roman alphabet used for English, Arianrhod Aranrhod - Arianrod.

A star and moon Goddess, Arianrhod was also called the Silver Wheel because the dead were carried on her Oar Wheel to Emania (the Moon- land or land of death), which belonged to her as a deity of reincarnation and karma. Her consort Nwyvre 'Sky, Space, Firmament' has survived in name only. Caer Arianrhod is the circumpolar stars, to which souls withdraw between incarnations, thus she is identified as a Goddess of reincarnation. The Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess in Wales, her palace was Caer Arianrhod (Aurora Borealis), or the secret center of each initiate's spiritual being.
The moon is the archetypal female symbol, representing the Mother Goddess connecting womb, death, rebirth, creation. (Albion, the old name of Britain, meant 'White Moon'). The Celts "know well the way of seas and stars", and counted time not by days, but by nights, and made their calendars, such as the famous Coligny Calendar, not by the sun, but by the moon. Ancient astrologers took their observations from the position of the moon and its progress in relation to the stars - the starry wheel of Arianrhod.

In Celtic Myth the Goddess has three major aspects: the maiden, the mother and the crone. These three represent the three stages in life of a woman. Blodeuwedd is the flower maiden, Arianrhod represents the mother and The Morrigu at last is the crone. These three aspects of the Celtic goddess may have different names in different regions and regional legends. For example, Morrigan also takes the mother role at times.

Arianrhod is said to be able to shape shift into a large Owl, and through the great Owl-eyes, sees even into the darkness of the human subconscious and soul. The Owl symbolizes death and renewal, wisdom, moon magic, and initiations. She is said to move with strength and purpose through the night, her wings of comfort and healing spread to give solace to those who seek her.
 
Hymn to Arianrhod
Arianrhod of the Silver Wheel
By all the names men give thee -
We, thy hidden children, humbly kneel
Thy truth to hear, thy countenance to see.
Here in the circle cast upon the Earth
Yet open to the stars - unseen, yet real -
Within our hearts give understanding birth,
Our wounds of loss and loneliness to heal.
Isis unveiled and Isis veiled, thou art;
The Earth below our feet, the Moon on high.
In thee these two shall never be apart -
The magick of the Earth and Sky.
The only remaining source is a story in the Mabinogion:

The Story of Math ap Mathonwy

It is the story of Math ap Mathonwy (MAHTH ap mah-THOHN-wee), who is king, teacher, and wizard, brother of Don; uncle of Arianrhod, Gwydion, Amaethon, and Gofannon.

She was the daughter of the Welsh Goddess Danu. Her uncle, King Math, was compelled by a taboo to keep his feet in the lap of a virgin whenever he was not actively engaged in battle. After his first 'footholder', Goewin, was deflowered, Math asked Arianrhod to take her place. She had to step across a magic rod to prove her virginity, but when she did so, twin boys dropped from between her legs. Math named the first of the boys Dylan.


The second of these was taken away by Arianrhod's brother Gwydion and raised in a magic forest. Arianrhod incensed by what she had suffered, laid three curses on the boy, Lleu. He shall have no name except one she gives him. He shall bear no arms except ones she gives him. He shall have no wife of the race that is now on the earth. Through elaborate magic and trickery, Gwydion deceived Arianrhod into breaking the first two curses herself. To break the third, Math and Gwydion created Blodeuwedd, a woman made of flowers, to be Lleu's bride. Blodeuwedd (flower face), who appears to the embodiment of a fertility Goddess, betrayed her lover, Lleu, to his death, but his spirit hung on a tree was resurrected on the following day.
 
Humiliated by King Math, thwarted by her son, forsaken by her brother, Arianrhod retreated to her castle Caer Arianrhod. Here she later drowned when the sea reclaimed the land.
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PostSubject: Re: The Major Goddesses and Gods   Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:05 am

Banba  ( Ireland)



 Banba (pronounced BAHN-va) is the Celtic Goddess of the spirit of Ireland. Banba’s name, which means “unplowed land,” is also seen as Banbha, Bandha, Bánbhé, or Bánubh. She is one of the Tuatha de Danaan, the people of the Goddess Danu. When the Milesians arrived in Ireland and conquered them, Banba and her two sisters, Ériu and Fodla, all asked that the island be named for them. Ériu won the request, but Banba’s name continued to be used on occasion. Ériu won the contest because she made the most generous offering to the Milesians. Ériu’s name then became Eire, which is known as Ireland. The three sisters represent the spirit of Ireland.

In Irish mythology, Ériu; modern Irish Éire), also called Eri, daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, was the eponymous matron goddess of Ireland. The green island at the far western periphery of Europe bears the name of its earth goddess, Ériu. That we do not call Ireland Fódla or Banba is explained by the myth that, when the final wave of invaders, the Milesians, arrived on Ireland’s shores, they encountered the three sisters, all goddesses of the land, each of whom asked that the island be called after her. The sorceress Banba made her demand from the top of her favorite mountain, so did Fódla, when the invaders arrived at her mountain. Each stalled the Milesians in their attempt to reach the center of Ireland, and to each the same promise was given. But at the center the invaders found the resplendent Ériu, who made the same demand as the others.  Because Ériu promised greater prosperity than did her sisters, the chief Bard of the Milesians, Amairgin, decided to call the island after Ériu (Erinn being the genitive of her name, meaning “of Ériu). The names of  Fódla and Banba are still sometimes used as poetic names for ireland.

From the Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, by Patricia Monaghan.
These three sisters, Banba, Ériu, and Fodla are a trinity of sisters, which may be another system of the Goddess trinity.  Not much is written about these three sisters, but in 365 Goddess by Patricia Telesco, Banba is celebrated by the Scots. They burn a pole attached to a barrel of tar (a Clavie) and taken around town to banish evil influences, especially magickal ones. The Clavie’s remaining ashes are gathered by the people as an anticurse amulet. Telesco advises that in keeping with this tradition on January 11, a person should burn a small piece of wood reciting the following incantation:

“Banba, burn away negativity, burn away malintent.
Let the energy return from where it was sent.”

And then the person keeps the ashes as a talisman against all negativity of magickal persuasion.

Banba and her sisters are the daughters of Ernmas, a mother Goddess, who is also the mother of another triad of Goddesses—Badb, Macha, and Anu, also known as the Morrigan. The first triad represents the sovereignty of Ireland, while the second triad were Goddesses of war, and therefore represent the protection of Ireland. Banba’s husband MacCuill was one of the last kings of the Tuatha de Danaan, along with his brothers MacCecht and MacGreine.  Banba also, according to Telesco, is a Celtic war Goddess who extends safety to those who follow her, wielding magick in their support. In Irish tradition, where she hails from, she protects the land from invaders. As a reward for her sorcery’s assistance, Banba’s name is linked with ancient poetic designation for parts of Ireland. There are also cafe’s and pubs that bear the name of Banba. 

The following is one poem to Banba, by James Clarence Mangan.

LAMENT FOR BANBA
by James Clarence Mangan

O My land! O my love!
What a woe, and how deep,
Is thy death to my long mourning soul!
God alone, God above,
Can awake thee from sleep,
Can release thee from bondage and dole!
Alas, alas, and alas!
For the once proud people of Banba!

As a tree in its prime,
Which the axe layeth low,
Didst thou fall, O unfortunate land!
Not by time, nor thy crime,
Came the shock and the blow.
They were given by a false felon hand!
Alas, alas, and alas!
For the once proud people of Banba!

O, my grief of all griefs
Is to see how thy throne
Is usurped, whilst thyself art in thrall!
Other lands have their chiefs,
Have their kings, thou alone
Art a wife, yet a widow withal!
Alas, alas, and alas!
For the once proud people of Banba!

The high house of O’Neill
Is gone down to the dust,
The O’Brien is clanless and banned;
And the steel, the red steel
May no more be the trust
Of the Faithful and Brave in the land!
Alas, alas, and alas!
For the once proud people of Banba!

True, alas! Wrong and Wrath
Were of old all too rife.
Deeds were done which no good man admires
And perchance Heaven hath
Chastened us for the strife
And the blood-shedding ways of our sires!
Alas, alas, and alas!
For the once proud people of Banba!

But, no more! This our doom,
While our hearts yet are warm,
Let us not over weakly deplore!
For the hour soon may loom
When the Lord’s mighty hand
Shall be raised for our rescue once more!
And all our grief shall be turned into joy
For the still proud people of Banba!

The poet Thomas Boyd wrote the following poem in honor of Banba,
and is the first poem entry in his book ‘Inis Fail’ which features many other poems by him.

BANBA
by Thomas Boyd

I have seen thee, O Banba!
There was a storm upon Breathy height,
The scream of the storm in the night,
And a hallowed silence fell
On the winds and the foaming hell
Of the seas when I saw thee arise
With the lure of God in thine eyes:
Not dark, as the hearts we bear,
But ensnared everlastingly fair,
On the darkness, O Banba!

Thou are lovely, O Banba!
Alone by the Western rocks!
And the burning gold of thy locks,
Down-streaming, a magickal tide,
Over shoulder and radiant side,
In waves in whose shadows were lost
The lives of thy sacrificed host,
And in gleaming of curling crests,
Still lift, as of old, our breasts
With thy rapture, O Banba!

And we love thee, O Banba!
Though the spoiler by in thy hall,
And thou art bereft of all,
Save only that Spirit for friend
Who shapes all things in the end:
Through thine eyes are a sword that has slain
Thy lovers on many a plain,
When glad to the conflict they pressed
Drunk with the light of thy breast
to die for thee, Banba!

Thou art might, O Banba!
More rich in thyself alone
Than that harlot upon a throne,
Whose lure is on every flood
And whose robes are the price of blood.
She will pass with the shades that have passed:
Thou wilt last with the Powers that last:
Thou has eaten of Bread Divine,
Thou has drunken Eternal Wine;
Thou art mighty, O Banba!


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PostSubject: Re: The Major Goddesses and Gods   Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:06 am

Belenus





One of the most worshiped gods in Celtic Mythology, just like his name which means “the shining one”; Belenus is the god of “light and sun.” He is the Celtic equivalent of Apollo, a sun god and associated with heat and healing. He is typically depicted with a heavy brow, large eyes, a thick moustache and his hair is usually shown in a corona that represents the rays of the sun.







Healing springs are often associated with this god, tying in with the healing influence of the sun and of heat. Belenus was married to the Celtic goddess Belisama. Her name connects well with his, meaning 'summer bright'. She also shared his association with fire and light but lakes, rivers and crafts were also under her dominion.

There is a Celtic Fire Festival called the Beltane (fires of bel) which is associated with this god, Belenus. Beltane fires were lit to encourage the sun's warmth. These fires also had restorative properties and cattle were herded between them before being loosed on the new spring pastures. From this it is likely that Belenus was a fire god, a patron of flame and the sun's restorative powers (which explains his classical association with Apollo.)





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