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Celtic Gods And Beliefs Of Ireland England And Wales

Updated on September 26, 2016
Nell Rose profile image

Nell lives in the heart of Celtic Britain and is fascinated by Celtic history. Especially Boudicca, Englands most famous Celtic Queen.

Abnoba is a Goddess of the Black Forest, a region with many therapeutic springs such as the famous Baden-Baden. Her Celtic name is related to the word for river and where the English River named Avon comes from
Abnoba is a Goddess of the Black Forest, a region with many therapeutic springs such as the famous Baden-Baden. Her Celtic name is related to the word for river and where the English River named Avon comes from

The Celtic Landscape

The Celts have a fascinating history. Most people don't realize that the Romans are the first to use the term Celt. And by Celtic they didn't just mean northern Europe. The Celts extended through a large area of Europe, including Spain France Ireland Wales Scotland and South England.

This Celtic landscape is still sprinkled with all the old beliefs, many of them still used today. In fact if you include Christmas you may be surprised to find that actually the 25th of December pretty much covers many of the old beliefs long before Jesus came along.

Walking through the English countryside you will find many ancient Celtic Burial sites and long barrows.

Cernunnos or Horned God
Cernunnos or Horned God

Cernunnos or The Horned God

Most people associate The Horned God with Wicca and Witchcraft, but in fact he predates them by many years.

The whole belief goes back many centuries. We can see various forms in the shape the Greek god Pan or the Roman equivalent Dionysus. He was the God of wine women and debauchery!

The Celtic equivalent is named Cernunnos. He is widely known in England as Herne The Hunter.

He was particularly known as the God of the underworld, animals fertility and wealth.

As Herne The Hunter he 'lives' in Windsor Great Park, Windsor Castle Berkshire. His ghost is said to have been spotted near one of the oldest trees. Its said that he walks around one of the great oaks, sporting huge antlers on his head!

Sometimes his appearance is first noted by the sounds of 'The hounds of hell and the noise of Horns blowing' before he is captured and hanged at the old tree.

As told in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, below.

'Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,

Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,

Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;

And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,

And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain

In a most hideous and dreadful manner.

You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know

The superstitious idle-headed eld

Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age,

This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth'

The Merry Wives of Windsor.

— William Shakespeare.
Dagda Irish God.
Dagda Irish God.

Dagda a Rather Strange Irish Diety!

Now we pop across the Irish sea to meet Dagda. Now he is rather a strange God. Evidently he was known in Gaelic/Celtic times as the 'Father of all Gods'. He was first mentioned in the 'Tuatha de danaan'. The People of the Goddess Dana.

The Tuatha de danaan were the Irish family of Gods, lead by Danu. And were said to have perfected the art of magic.

But back to Dagda. He wasn't one of the most attractive Gods to be honest! He was pot bellied and ugly. He wore rough clothes the sandals of a peasant. Others state that in fact he was a very manly father figure.

He also had many mates, one of them being the Morrigan.

The club he carried was so heavy it would leave huge holes and furrows in the ground. He also had a magic cauldron that never ever emptied!

But there is a serious note about the cauldron. It signified eternal life.

Dagda, strangely enough, was a fertility God. And like many Gods, he had to undergo a challenge. Now this is where it gets slightly odd!

He had to eat a huge quantity of porridge that appeared in a crater! This happened on the first of November, the time of the great feast.

This is the time of the Old New Year. And we know it as Halloween or Samhuin. Did he have any good points? Well yes! Evidently he was a dab hand at playing the Harp! Which he played at the turning of the seasons.

Dagda was the God of Fertility Agriculture Manliness and Strength. Also Magic and Druidry.

Rhiannon Goddess
Rhiannon Goddess

Rhiannon Welsh Great Queen

The name Rhiannon comes from Rigantona, which means Great Queen. The Welsh Goddess is closeley aligned with the Roman Epona. And some believe at the time of the Roman invasion of Britain both Goddess's became one. She is said to be a fairy queen, but not the sweet ones that we all know and love!

The resemblance starts with the fact that they are both associated with horses. She was said to be a beautiful woman who was dressed in a gown of gold. And she was seated on a snow white horse. Sounds lovely doesn't it? But the story gets very dark! Very dark indeed!

there is a very long story about Rhiannon, so I will try to condense it as much as I can. long story short, Pwyll the hero of the story, tries to catch her but this proves to be impossible. Eventually he calls out to her and she stops to speak to him. She is supposed to marry someone else, but is in love with Pwyll. So they prepare to marry.

The whole story involves magic, shape shifting and the birth of a son. This is where it gets slightly gory! Evidently Rhiannon is accused of eating her own baby! yuck! but truth to tell its really dogs blood on her!

Well I did say it was a long story! The end result is as a punishment she is forced to tell her story to every passing stranger and then carry them on her back if necessary! When this happens she is changed into a Horse!

Rhiannon is the Goddess of horses, but also birds. Evidently she inspired Stevie Nicks song 'Rhiannon'. The Birds of Rhiannon sing so well that they send everyone to sleep. But on a darker side, they also raise the dead! Both birds and horses carry the souls of the dead to the underworld.

There are various white horses carved on hills in Britain, many in England and one of them is at the Iron Age hill fort of Uffington, in England. Its been said that this horse was carved their in honor of Epona-Rhiannon.

Rhiannon was also a Goddess of fertility, the Moon, the night, and death. Her name means 'night queen'.

Boudicca England's famous Celtic Queen
Boudicca England's famous Celtic Queen

Boudicca England's Greatest Celtic Queen

Did you Know?

The most famous Celtic Queen was England's Boudicca or Boudicea. She was the Queen of the Iceni tribe which lived in East England, approximately where Norfolk, parts of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire is today.

She is well known for gathering an Army and storming after the Romans. She was one hell of a strong leader, but came to a sticky end when she made one big mistake against the Romans. To read more about Boudicca please click on the link below:

Source

For more reading on Celtic Divinities and many other secret signs and symbols along with Mythology this book by Adele Nozedar is fascinating reading.

I literally find everything I need to know in here. Its a huge book! And well worth keeping on your bookshelf.

Notes

I use the names Celtic compared to Gaelic to avoid confusion. Long story short Ireland and Scotland are in fact Gaelic speakers, whereas England Cornwall and Wales are the original Celtic speakers.

By Google Definition it means:

'In the Q Celtic group we have the Gaelic languages such as Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic. In the P Celtic group there are Brythonic languages which have evolved into modern day Welsh, Breton (English) and Cornish'.

Gaels - Irish Scottish and manx

Brythonic Celts - Welsh Cornish and Bretons (English)

There are many Gods and Goddesses throughout the United Kingdom. Some overlapping from Roman Britain, others our own going back thousands of years. These are just a few that fascinated me. More more reading please click on the link below:

© 2016 Nell Rose

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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      21 months ago from England

      Aw thanks so much Suzie! lol!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 

      21 months ago from Asheville, NC

      I decided to come see what is considered a great Hub these days and I found it here. Good stuff.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks so much DDE!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      22 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The photos are stunning and you shared an amazing hub about Beliefs.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks Martie, yes its all pretty weird to me, how they were named and so on, I will have to check out the Mesopotamian ones.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      22 months ago from South Africa

      Very interesting hub, Nell! One finds the strangest stories among the deities of Europe. They actually reminds me of the deities in Hinduism .

      Personally I prefer Mesopotamia's mythology, as their deities are somehow more realistic - the sky, sun, moon, wind, water, fire, earthquakes, etc., each with their own name.

      Now I'm curious again to learn more about the Celts versus the Goths.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks lex, yes we have loads and loads of Celtic gods and goddesses here, it goes way back thousands of years, thanks for reading, nell

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 

      22 months ago

      I didn't know anything about Celtic Gods of UK. I was thinking only in India we have so many gods and goddesses. Enjoyed reading this fabulous article.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks norlawrence, glad you liked it, nell

    • norlawrence profile image

      Norma Lawrence 

      22 months ago from California

      Fabulous article. So much information. Beautiful pictures. Thanks

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Hi kitty, thanks so much, yes I love them too, they are so fascinating! and yes I am fine thank you, hope you are too? I have seen a few of your photos on facebook, love your little baby! lol!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks phoenix, I love Mythology, I always think that reality is back there somewhere and its turned into stories ever since, thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Aw thanks Audrey!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks so much Dianna, glad you liked it, nell

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 

      22 months ago from Summerland

      Nell - Yay! It's been a while since I've read your articles, and this one did not disappoint! You know I'm a HUGE fan of the Celtic deities, Rhiannon was my first matron goddess when I was a mere maiden. :) Loved this very much. Hope you are well!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      22 months ago from United Kingdom

      Of course, I enjoyed this hub. I've been fascinated by mythology of all sorts as far back as I can remember. I find it intriguing how similar many of them are.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      22 months ago from California

      What a beautiful hub!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      22 months ago

      Your articles are always so vividly mind enhancing! I can picture the characters through your words. I enjoy reading about legends and myths of long.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Hi Shauna, thanks so much, yes I didn't really know the connection before, so me too! lol! thanks so much.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      22 months ago from Central Florida

      Nell, you always present the most interesting topics. That's what I love about you: I never know what to expect.

      I'll have to listen more closely to Stevie Nick's "Rhiannon". I love that song, but never knew about the Rhiannon you have introduced to us here.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks so much Chitrangada, I love reading about Indian Gods too, so thank you.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      22 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Very interesting and informative hub about Celtic Gods and Goddesses! The pictures are amazing and I really enjoyed going through the details.

      I have to admit that I do not know much about this.

      Thanks for enlightening me!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Hi Vellur, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      22 months ago from Dubai

      I enjoyed reading about the Celtic Gods, fascinating. Rhiannon Welsh Great Queen is quite intimidating and scary.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Hi Miz, good points, not sure what we would have been like without the Romans, if you think about it we were slaves to them for over 400 years! maybe we would have been even more Celtic these days! lol! thanks for reading, nell

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      22 months ago

      Nell, great story of the Celtic gods. My favorite has always been Boudicca because she was so brave. Cernunnos is so fascinating, too. I've always wished that the Romans had stayed out of Britain and left "our" people alone. Although I'm American, I wonder what the history would have been without Roman intervention. Oh, well, one can only fantasize.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks John, always great to hear from you, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks Flourish, it does make you wonder why we give them so horrible traits! lol! thanks for reading, nell

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Nell, thanks for writing this article about the Celtic gods.. enthralling reading as always. Wonderful images too.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      22 months ago from USA

      I enjoyed this "mean Celtic goddess" hub. That Rhiannon is something else! I wouldn't want to cross her.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      Thanks Ruby, we have some awesome Celtic gods and myths over here. I will be looking out for some more, and thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      22 months ago from England

      lol! thanks Bill! I am as ignorant of American stuff too, so no worries! and thanks as always for reading, nell

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Well I knew nothing about Celtic Gods before reading your hub. I found it really interesting. It seems that the women were meaner. ( Women's card ) Hillary is sending this card to all potential women voters. Nicely done Nell...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love this stuff, Nell. We Americans are so ignorant about your local history....well, maybe not all Americans, but I think I'm speaking for a great many....long-winded way of saying thanks for the education.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      23 months ago from England

      Thanks Suzette, I love Boudicca, and then remembered that you had written about her, so thats a great link, thanks! I love my Southern English Celtic links! lol! thanks as always, nell

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      23 months ago from Taos, NM

      Well, Nell I just love, love, love this article. Anything Celtic interests me. I am glad to learn about these gods and goddess because I knew nothing about them. The Celtic culture is so interesting and with great stories. I love Dagda and his story. Yes, he is a manly man! Lol! I also want to thank your for linking my hub on Boudicca in your article. I am honored to be a part of this article. Keep these articles coming. I'd love to learn more about these gods and goddess of Celtic legend and lore.

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