Celtic Gods And Beliefs Of Ireland England And Wales
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 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 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 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 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:
By Suzette Walker (Naples)
- Boudicca - Celtic Warrior Queen
Hell hath no fury as a woman wronged. Celtic Queen Boudicca revolted against the the Roman army in southwest England (60-61 AD) and soundly defeated them in three battles before experiencing defeat.
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.
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:
- Regional Accents In England Why Do We All Sound Diff...
England has many different dialects and accents that originate far back in our History. But where do they come and why are they so diverse? Includes Cornwall, Scouse, Geordie, Cockney, and Hampshire.
- Imbolc - Candlemas 2nd February Celebrate the real f...
Imbolc bringer of Spring is the ancient Celtic celebration between winter and summer. Falling on the 2nd February it is also known as Candlemas. It has a fascinating history. Did you know? Brigid the Goddess of fire, and the Christian, St Brigit both
- Celtic Spain
There is quite the Celtic culture alive today in the northwest corner of Spain, known as Galicia.
- Welsh Celtic Gods and Goddesses List and Description...
Learn about some of the Welsh Celtic Gods and Goddesses: their qualities, their stories, and how you can work with them in your life and practice today.
- Brigid Celtic Goddess and Catholic Saint
Brigid was an Irish, Celtic Goddess who was worshipped as the one who could aid people in survival against all odds. When Christianity came to Ireland, she was somehow able to become both St. Brigid, and also maintain her identity as a Pagan Goddess.
© 2016 Nell Rose