God and Goddess
Celtic and Egyptian
ANGUS OF THE BRUGH Also OENGUS OF THE BRUIG
God of youth, son of the Dagda. In Ireland, Angus is the counterpart of
Cupid. Angus' kisses turn into singing birds, and the music he plays irresistibly draws all who hear.
"Silver Wheel," "High Fruitful Mother." One of the Three Virgins
of Britain, her palace is Caer Arianrhod, the Celtic name for the Aurora Borealis.
A goddess of war. One of a triad of war goddesses known collectively as the
Morrigan. Bird shaped and crimson mouthed, Badb uses her magic to decide battles. Badb lusts after men and is often seen at
fords washing the armour and weapons of men about to die in combat.
Goddess of healing and craftsmanship, especially metalwork. Also a patron of learning and poetry.
In Wales she is Caridwen, who possesses
the cauldron of knowledge and inspiration. The Celts so loved Brighid that they could not abandon her even when they became
Christians, and so made Brighid a Christian saint.
CARIDWEN also HEN WEN; in Wales, BRIGHID "White Grain,"
"Old White One." Corn goddess.
Mother of Taliesen, greatest and wisest of all the bards, and therefore a patron
of poets. The "white goddess" of Robert Graves. Caridwen lives among the stars in the land of Caer Sidi. Caridwen is connected with
wolves, and some claim her cult dates to the Neolithic era.
god of virility. Cernunnos wears the torc (neck-ring) and is ever in the company of a ram-headed serpent and a stag. Extremely
popular among the Celts, the Druids encouraged the worship of Cernunnos, attempting to replace the plethora of local deities
and spirits with a national religion. The Celts were so enamoured of Cernunnos that his cult was a serious obstacle to the
spread of Christianity.
Earth and father god. Dagda possesses a bottomless cauldron of plenty and rules the seasons with the music of his harp.
With his mighty club Dagda can slay nine men with a single blow, and with its small end he can bring them back to life. On
the day of the New Year, Dagda mates with the raven goddess of the Morrigan who while making love straddles a river with one
foot on each bank. A slightly comical figure.
goddess, an aspect of the Great Mother. Another of a triad of war goddesses known collectively as the Morrigan. Connected
with the moon goddess Aine of Knockaine, who protects crops and cattle. Most importantly, the mother of the Tuatha de' Danann,
the tribe of the gods.
A healer. At the
second battle of Moytura, Dian Cecht murdered his own son whose skill in healing endangered his father's reputation. The Judgments
of Dian Cecht, an ancient Irish legal tract, lays down the obligations to the ill and injured. An aggressor must pay for curing
anyone he has injured, and the severity of any wound, even the smallest, is measured in grains of corn.
a god of death and the underworld, later the chief god of the Gauls. The Gauls believed, as their Druids taught, that Dis
Pater is the ancestor of all the Gauls.
DONN Irish counterpart to
Donn sends storms and wrecks ships, but he protects crops and cattle as well. Donn's descendents
come to his island after death.
EPONA Horse goddess.
portrayed as riding a mare, sometimes with a foal. Roman legionaries, deeply impressed with Celtic horsemanship, took up the
worship of Epona themselves and eventually imported her cult to Rome
A god of the Gauls "whose shrines
make men shudder," according to a Roman poet. Human sacrifices to Esus were hanged and run through with a sword. For unknown
reasons, Esus is usually portrayed as a woodcutter.
smith god. The weapons Govannon makes are unfailing in their aim and deadliness, the armour unfailing in its protection. Also
a healer. Those who attend the feast of Govannon and drink of the god's sacred cup need no longer fear old age and infirmity.
LUG also LUGH, LLEU
A sun god and a hero god, young, strong, radiant
with hair of gold, master of all arts, skills and crafts. One day Lug arrived at the court of the Dagda and demanded to be
admitted to the company of the gods. The gatekeeper asked him what he could do. For every skill or art Lug named, the gatekeeper
replied that there was already one among the company who had mastered it. Lug at last pointed out that they had no one who
had mastered them all, and so gained a place among the deities, eventually leading them to victory in the second battle of
Moytura against the Formorian invaders. (The Formorians were a race of monsters who challenged the gods for supremacy in the
first and second battles of Moytura.) The Romans identified Lug with Mercury. The most popular and widely worshipped of the
Celtic gods, Lug's name in its various forms was taken by the cities of Lyons, Loudun, Laon, Leon, Lieden, Leignitz, Carlisle and Vienna.
The third of the triad of war goddesses known as the Morrigan, Macha feeds on the heads of slain enemies.
Macha often dominates her male lovers through cunning or simple brute strength. MEDB "Drunk Woman." A goddess of war, not
one of the Morrigan. Where the Morrigan use magic, Medb wields a weapon herself. The sight of Medb blinds enemies, and she
runs faster than the fastest horse. A bawdy girl, Medb needs thirty men a day to satisfy her sexual appetite.
MORRIGAN, THE also MORRIGU MORRIGAN
A war goddess, forerunner of the
Arthurian Morgan La Fey. Like Odin, fickle and unfaithful, not to be trusted. A hag with a demonic laugh, the Morrigan appears
as a grotesque apparition to men about to die in battle. Her name is also used for a triad of war goddesses, who are often
thought of as different aspects of the Morrigan.
NUADHU also NUD, NODENS, LUD.
of the silver arm." God of healing and water; his name suggests "wealth-bringer" and "cloud-maker." At the first battle of
Moytura, Nuadhu lost an arm, and Dian Cecht replaced it with a new one made out of silver. Because of this, Nuadhu was obliged
to turn leadership of the Tuatha de' Dannan over to Lug. People came to be healed at Nuadhu's temple at Lydney, and small
votive limbs made of silver have been found there.
also OGMA "Sun Face."
A hero god like Hercules, a god of eloquence, language, genius. Generally portrayed
as an old man dressed in a lion skin. From his tongue hang fine gold chains attached to the ears of his eager followers.
Guardian of forests, patron of agriculture. His consort is Nantosvelta, whose name suggests brooks and streams. Sometimes
considered synonymous with Cernunnos or Daghda.
TUATHA DE' DANANN
The divine tribes and people descended from the goddess
Danu. Skilled in druidry and magic, the Tuatha de' Danann possess four talismans of great power: the stone of Fal which shrieked
under the true heir to the throne; the spear of Lug which made victory certain; the sword of Nuadhu which slays all enemies;
and the ever full cauldron of Daghda from which no man ever goes away hungry.
Also AMON; AMUN; AMEN "Hidden." King of the gods of Egypt. Patron of the Pharaohs. Originally
a god of fertility, a local deity of Memphis. Ammon became
linked with the sun god Ra through the royal family, becoming Ammon-Ra.
The jackal-headed god. Anubis can foresee a mortal's destiny and is associated with magic and divination. Anubis supervises
the weighing of the soul when the departed are brought to the hall of the dead.
The Assyro-Babylonian goddess Ishtar, inducted into the Egyptian pantheon and made a daughter of Ammon-Ra. Sometimes
identified (or confused, which is the same thing) with Isis.
The first of the gods, the self-created. By sheer will, Atum formed himself out of the stagnant waters of Nun. Atum
was bisexual and was sometimes called "the great He-She." The Egyptians had two cosmogonies, one taught by the priests at
Heliopolis and the other by the priests at Memphis.
The priests at Memphis taught that Nun and Atum, together
with Atum's children Shu and Tefnut, were aspects or forms of Ptah.
Also BASTET. The cat-headed goddess, a local deity of the delta. The kindly goddess of joy, music and dancing.
Cats were sacred to Bast as a symbol of animal passion. Bast's devotees celebrated their lady with processions of flower-laden
barges and orgiastic ceremonies. Her festivals were licentious and quite popular.
a sky goddess, sometimes represented as a woman with cow's horns between which hangs a solar disc, sometimes portrayed
as a cow. Hathor concerns herself with beauty, love and marriage, and watches over women giving birth. Mother and wife of
Ra. Hathor is also a goddess of death and offers comfort to the newly dead as they pass into the afterworld.
The falcon-headed god. A complex deity with many aspects. Some of them are: Horus the Elder, a sky god whose eyes
are the sun and the moon, continually at war with Set, the god of evil; Horus of the Horizon, symbolized by the rising and
setting sun; Horus the Child, whose frequent depictions as a baby at the breast of his mother Isis influenced Christian images
of the Madonna and the Christ child; Horus, son of Isis, avenger of Osiris. There were many others.
Wife and sister of Osiris (the ancients had nothing against a little divine incest). The ideal wife and mother. Generally
a goddess of the home and person rather than of the temple and the priest. After the twenty-sixth dynasty, Isis is increasingly
portrayed as a nursing mother, and her cult eventually spread throughout the Roman Empire.
MAAT Goddess of truth and justice. Her symbol is the feather.
A god of fertility and sexual potency. An ancient god of pre-dynastic origins. His symbol is the thunderbolt. As
orgiastic festivals were held in his honour, Min was quite a popular god.
God of the primal waters. Nun was a mass of stagnant water which filled all the universe.
At first the god of corn; later the god of the dead. Osiris brought civilization to the Egyptians, teaching them
the uses of corn and wine, weaving, sculpture, religion, music and law. Set slew Osiris and dismembered the body; but Osiris'
consort, Isis, reassembled the body and brought Osiris back to life. Osiris then retired to the underworld. Osiris is the
god of the Nile which rises and falls every year; the god of corn and the vine, which flourish,
die, and flourish once more; and the god of the rising and setting sun.
The artificer. The creator god. According to the priests of Memphis,
the fount of all creation. God of artisans and artists, designers, builders, architects, masons, metal workers. Ptah's consort
is Sekhmut, goddess of war.
God of the sun; sometimes identified or considered synonymous with Atum. Ra created man from his tears. At one time
Ra became so disgusted with men that he ordered Hathor to kill them all. This Hathor did with such zeal that Ra took pity
on men and ordered Hathor to stop. Crazed with blood, Hathor ignored the order, and Ra resorted to chicanery to save humankind.
Ra mixed beer with pomegranate juice and left pots of the concoction about the battlefield. Thinking the mixture was blood,
Hathor drank it greedily and got too swacked to carry out her mission.
Goddess of war and battles, consort of Ptah. Hathor took Sekhmut's shape when she made war on men. Sekhmut is usually
portrayed as a woman with the head of a lioness, sometimes brandishing a knife in an upraised hand.
Red of hair and eyes, pale of skin, Set is the god of evil, of drought, of destruction, thunder and storm. Set tore
himself from his mother's womb in his hurry to be born. Every month Set attacks and devours the moon, the sanctuary of Osiris
and the gathering place of the souls of the recently dead.
THOTH "Thrice Greatest."
God of wisdom, music, magic, medicine, astronomy, geometry, surveying, art and writing. Historian, scribe and judge.
Thoth's priests claimed Thoth was the Demi-Urge who created everything from sound. It was said that Thoth wrote books in which
he set forth a fabulous knowledge of magic and incantation, and then concealed them in a crypt.