Celtic War/Love Goddess Queen Medb/ Maeve
Medb (She who intoxicates) also known as Maev, Maeve, Maebh is a Celtic/Irish Goddess of Intoxication Honey Mead is named for her. Her body was the Earth; Her body processes were the Earth as it created. She was the force of the rushing waters, the windswept mountains, and the fertile plains. And, like many other deities, Medb is also associated with death as well as fertility and inebriation.
In the Irish mythological cycle, it was Medb who not only set the conditions for kingship, but also chose and tested Her partners, temporarily marrying those who passed Her tests. No king could accept the title unless She offered him the “Cup of Sovereignty”. She destroys those kings who spurn Her and has been know to send their warriors to their doom.
Medb is a triune Goddess who, in one of Her avatars, was able to assume human form and live among us mortals as a warrior queen; in fact, Medb is the most famous queen of Irish literature. She isoften portrayed as a pale women with long flowing hair; She wears a red cape and carries a spear, while a raven and a squirrel are perched on Her shoulder.
Maeve is the central figure of the most important old Irish epic, the Tain Bo Cuillaigne, or Cattle Raid of Cooley. The story begins with Maeve, ruler of the Connaught wilderness in the Irish west, Iying abed with Her current consort, King Aillil. They compare possessions, Aillil attempting to prove he owns more than She does. Point for point, Maeve matches him. Finally, Aillil mentions a magical bull-and wins the argument, for Maeve has no such animal.
But She knows of one, the magic bull of Cooley in northern Eire. And so Maeve gathers Her armies to steal it. She rides into battle in an open car, with four chariots surrounding Her, for She is glamorously attired and does not wish to muddy Her robes. She is a fierce opponent, laying waste the armies of the land, for no man could look on Maeve without falling down in a paroxysm of desire.
The armies of Ulster, stricken with the curse of the Goddess Macha, fall down in labor pains upon the arrival of Queen Maeve’s army in their land. Only the hero Cuchulain resists, killing Locha, Maeve’s handmaiden, as well as many male heroes of Connaught. Maeve tries to buy victory with Her ‘willing thighs’, stops the battle whenever She is menstruating, and otherwise shows Herself to be an unusual warrior. After much bloodshed, She does indeed win Her bull–but it and Aillil’s bull fling themselves upon each other, tear each other to bits, and die in the bloodiest anticlimax in world literature.
She lived by violence and She died by violence. Her reign on Earth eventually came to an end as the result of Her murdering Her pregnant sister, Eithne (or Clothru). The baby managed to survive (her son Furbaide was born by posthumous caesarian section) and when he grew up, he revenged his mother by killing Medb.”
“In Medb’s later years She often went to bathe in a pool on Inchcleraun (Inis Cloithreann), an island on Lough Ree. Furbaide took a rope and measured the distance between the pool and the shore, and practiced with his sling until he could hit an apple on top of a stake Medb’s height from that distance. The next time he saw Medb bathing he put his practice to good use and killed Her with a piece of cheese. She was succeeded to the throne of Connacht by Her son Maine Athramail.
According to legend, Medb is buried in a 40-foot (12 m) high stone cairn on the summit of Knocknarea (Cnoc na Ré in Irish) in County Sligo. Supposedly, She is buried upright facing Her enemies in Ulster. Her home in Rathcroghan, County Roscommon is also a potential burial site, with a long low slab named ‘Misgaun Medb’ being given as the most likely location.”
Artist: Maxine Miller
Brigid (Breo Saighead, Brid, Brighid [Eriu], Brigindo, Brigandu [Gaul], Brigan, Brigantia, Brigantis [Briton], Bride [Alba])
Breo Saighead, or the “Fiery Arrow or Power,” is a Celtic three-fold goddess, the daughter of The Dagdha, and the wife of Bres. Known by many names, Brighid's three aspects are:
(1) Fire of Inspiration as patroness of poetry
(2) Fire of the Hearth, as patroness of healing and fertility
(3) Fire of the Forge, as patroness of smithcraft and martial arts.
She is mother to the craftsmen Sons of Tuireann: Creidhne, Luchtaine and Giobhniu. Brighid's festival is Imbolc, celebrated on or around February 1 when she ushers Spring to the land after An Cailleach's Winter reign. This mid-Winter feast commences as the ewes begin to lactate and is the start of the new agricultural cycle. During this time Brigid personifies a bride, virgin or maiden aspect and is the protectoress of women in childbirth.
Imbolc also is known as Oimelc, Brigid, Candlemas, or even in America as Groundhog Day.
Artist: Maxine Miller
Danu, Dana, Danaan, Don- is considered the most ancient of all Celtic Deities. Her name means knowledge, wisdom, teacher, wealth and abundance. She is also known as Dana and as her Welsh equivalent, Don. Also called the Red Mother of All, Danu is the major Irish Mother Goddess, mother of the Gods and patroness of wizards, rivers, water, wells, prosperity plenty, magick and wisdom. Danu is especially associated with Munster, two hills in Co. Kerry are still known as Da Chich Anann, “The Paps of Anu.” She also has given her name to the Tuatha De Danann, which means “The Children of Danu.” The Tuatha de Dannan are believed to have been the wise ones, the alchemists of ancient Ireland. Some references have them as actual descendants of Danu.
It is believed that when the Gaels invaded Ireland, the Tuatha de Dannan shape shifted to the Sidhe (shee) who are considered the “faerie folk” or the Leprechauns of Ireland. Danu will act as a Divine Ambassador to the Elemental Kingdoms, providing platforms for positive interactions with the Leprechauns and the Faerie Folk.
Rivers, flowing water and the sea are also Danu’s Domain. Within this water form she wields the magic of Divine Flow. This River Goddess offers to clear stagnant energy and to remove blockages so that our efforts easily flow into fruition. As the river eventually flows into the sea, here Danu brings motivation to move within the direction of our dreams.
The rivers of Eurasia bear her name which means “flowing” – Danube, Donn, Dneistr, Dnieper. In Sanskrit Dana means “Danube, Donn, Dneistr, Dnieper”.
Some of Danu’s symbols include holy stones, horses – particularly mares, seagulls, fish, amber, gold, royalty/empress, rivers, sea, flowing water, air, wind, earth, moon, keys and crowns.
Artist: Maxine Miller
Cerridwen is one of the Old Ones, one of the great megalithic pre-Christian Goddesses of the Celtic World. Although, in her story, she embodies all three lunar aspects of the Goddess, Maiden, Mother and Crone, she is primarily worshipped in her Crone aspect, by and through her Cauldron of Wisdom, Inspiration, Rebirth and Transformation. The cauldron has an intimate association with femininity, together with the cave, the cup and the chalice, and the association of femininity with justice, wisdom and intelligence goes back to very ancient times.
Cerridwen was originally worshipped by the people of Wales. It is told that she lived on an island, in the middle of Lake Tegid, named after her husband, with her two children, a beautiful daughter, Creidwy, and a very ugly son, Afagdu. To compensate her son for his unfortunate appearance, Cerridwen brewed a magical formula, known as “greal”, (is this where the word Grail came from, I wonder?) which would make Afagdu the most brilliant and inspired of men. For a year and a day, she kept six herbs simmering in her magical cauldron, known as “Amen”, under the constant care of a boy named Gwion.
One day, while Gwion was stirring the cauldron, a few drops of the bubbling liquid spattered on his hand. Unthinkingly, and in pain, Gwion, sucked his burned hand, and, suddenly, he could hear everything in the world, and understood all the secrets of the past and future. With his newly enchanted foresight, Gwion knew how angry Cerridwen would be when she found he had acquired the inspiration meant for her son.
He ran away, but Cerridwen pursued him. Gwion changed into a hare, and Cerridwen chased him as a greyhound; he changed into a fish, and Cerridwen pursued him as an otter; he became a bird, and she flew after him as a hawk; finally, he changed into a grain of corn, and Cerridwen, triumphant, changed into a hen, and ate him.
When Cerridwen resumed her human form, she conceived Gwion in her womb, and, nine months later, gave birth to an infant son, whom she, in disgust, threw into the water of a rushing stream. He was rescued by a Prince, and grew into the great Celtic bard, Taliesin.
Cerridwen's cauldron is an ancient feminine symbol of renewal, rebirth, transformation and inexhaustible plenty. It is the primary female symbol of the pre-Christian world, and represents the womb of the Great Goddess from which all things are born and reborn again. Like the Greek Goddess, Demeter, and the Egyptian Goddess, Isis, Cerridwen was the great Celtic Goddess of inspiration, intelligence and knowledge, and was invoked as a law-giver and sage dispenser of righteous wisdom, counsel and justice.
The image of her cauldron, holding the magical potion of wisdom, is, perhaps, the mythical origin of the Halloween image of a cauldron-stirring hag, making up her witch's brew. The brew had to simmer for a year and a day, a common passage of time in Celtic lore, and a standard time before magickal initiation. Today, many Druidic pagans believe that her shape-shifting chase after Gwion was meant to represent the different elevations of Druidic initiation rites. The chase can also be seen as representative of the many changes our souls must make, into different forms, and over different human lifetimes, before we can discover the very reason for our existence.
The potent nature of her brew has, today, transformed Cerridwen, in some eyes, into a goddess of fertility, creativity, harvest, inspiration, knowledge and luck. A festival in her honor is celebrated on July 3rd, and the pink sow, a symbol of fertility, good fortune and enrichment, is said to be her matron animal.
Artist: Maxine Miller
The Morrígan- Also known as Mórrigan, Morrighan, Mór-Riogain, Morrígu and Morrigu, her name means “great queen” or “phantom queen.” She may be an aspect of the Irish earth-goddess Ana. In her triple form she sometimes appears as the battle-furies Badbh Catha, Nemhain and The Morrigan, aspects that combine destruction, sexuality and prophecy. They appeared in numerous animal forms, such as carrionbirds. She is sometimes connected to Macha, who also can appear in triple form.
One of the Tuatha de Danaan who helped in both battles of Mag Tuireadh, The Morrigan's aspects have the ability to influence the outcome of conflict by inspiring fear or courage. As Badbh Catha, whose name means “battle-crow,” she often takes the form of a crow or battle-raven. Badbh also is connected to the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, where she was said to appear over the heads of the soldiers of High King Bran when he defeated Viking invaders.
The Morrighan sometimes appears as the “Washer at the Ford,” a maiden who is seen prior to battle washing the armor and weapons of those destined to die. Her ability to change from a hag into a young girl and her mating with The Dagdha in the Dinnshenchas, as well as other matings with other figures, denotes that she also is a goddess of sovereignty and fertility.
As Nemhain, whose name means “frenzy,” she is the wife of Nuadha Airgetlamh, a leader of the Tuatha de Danaan. Nemhain also appears in the Ulster Cycle when she shrieks on behalf of CuChulainn at the Connacht army and 100 soldiers drop dead with fright.
Artist: Maxine Miller
The Goddess and the Serpent " Corchen
She is an ancient Celtic Goddess who was said to have an affinity for snakes. The serpent is an ancient symbol of the Goddess, and has been used by many different cultures since the beginning of time. Although in modern times, the snake has been demonized as an evil and deceitful creature. This new view of a once sacred animal was imprinted on us by Christianity in their tale of Adam and Eve. This was not the case for our ancient ancestors. Many cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Celts and many more revered the snake as a symbol of rebirth and fertility.