These goddesses had great value to the Celts as they were highly prestigious to the society and their powers were admired. I choose this topic since I can personally see more of matriarchal religion under paganism for the Celtics, which is rare and very commendable. The figure of women will always be see as a possession to men, but this society gave these goddesses a form of respect and fear. These goddess held more power and political advantage over men, and the gods themselves, but surprisingly they were respected for this. I find these women enlightening and an inspiration for women, we should all understand the values this religious history incorporated.
The goddess of fire was Saint Brigit, this beloved goddess was transferred over to Christianity from Paganism as she still had been greatly valued by the society that which worshipped her. This Irish divinity was a triple goddess who held the title of the protector of childbirth, which in human history, the creation of life is the greatest and most valued responsibility. She is considered to be a poet, a smith, and a healer; but also possesses the gift of light. Brigit created the development of the whistle to summon her allies during war. She was greatly respected and loved by the Celts for her kind and passionate personality. Her main purpose was to protect children, she also had a great admiration for the hearth fire as she used it as the flame of life. She also is associated with healing waters, hope, and enlightenment.
Wigington, Patti. “Brighid-Hearth Goddess of Ireland.” 20 Dec 2014. About Religion. http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/godsandgoddesses/p/Brighid_Profile.htm
The goddess of death was known as Cailleach, she was the guardian that led man to the underworld at their time of passing. She is known for her old age and wisdom; usually captures the physical characteristics of a crone, but also has the power of the triple goddess and forms as a young maiden during spring on February 1st. Her name translates into veiled one, as the veil between the worlds, and also is frequently called the death hag. She is the Irish goddess that embodies the winter and earth; she is related to storms and prophecy. Cailleach sometimes appears in legends as an old woman seeking love, and when it is given, she becomes a beautiful young maiden. The Celts formed her identify with death and hideous characteristics that related to the winter. She is sometimes referred to the destroyer, but can bring new life in the earth and protects the wild creatures that roam.
Wigington, Patti. “Cailleach, the Ruler of Winter.” About Religion. 4 August 2014. http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/celticdeities/p/CailleachProfil.htm
Macha, the warrior and sex goddess of the Irish is commonly associated as an aspect of the triple goddess Morrigan. This goddess is referred as an omen of death; by possessing powers of prophecy, she can be seen by the unfortunate prey of death, washing bloody clothes by the river of the soon to be deceased. She is not only linked to ravens, but also to the land, crows, and horses. Her personality is descripted both seductive and strong warrior-like, but she also values of justice and loyalty. She is portrayed as a guide for the dead, but also can be depicted as a relative of the Banshee. Macha is seen is three myth lore’s such as the wife of Nemed, a warrior queen, and a pregnant woman forced to run a race. This Irish goddess represents the shadowy part of the human perception, by adding a dark fear of foretold death and sexual bounding magic.
Canfield, Nicole. “Irish Gods and Goddesses List and Descriptions.” 10 March 2015. Hub Pages. http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Irish-Gods-and-Goddesses-List-and-Descriptions
Boann was the Irish goddess of the river Boyne, she was most attributed for creating the river from the sacred Well of Segais. Her husband Sidhe Nechtan was the god of water, and only he and his servants were allowed to approach the well of knowledge, but Boann ignored this warning and proceeded to the forbidden well. The well became violent as she circled it counter clockwise chanting “amrum” three times, the chanting caused the waters to flow from it and drown her. This event created five streams that flowed from the incident, the steams are associated with the five senses, which gave pagans a reason to became grateful towards her as she had opened that knowledge to man. She also was involved in an affair with Dagdha, causing the sun to stay placed in the sky for nine months until their child Oenghus was born. Boann’s name means white cow, she was also associated with fertility, poetry, knowledge, creativity, and spiritual insight. Her element is water, and her identity represents the stars. She is usually depicted in poems such as the Vigil at the Well.
Quarrie, Deanne. “Boann, goddess of the River Boyne. A Gallery and Poem”. Nigel Borrington. 28 August 2013. http://nigelborrington.com/2013/08/28/boann-goddess-of-the-river-boyne/
The most ancient prestigious deity of the Celtic pagan beliefs was the astounding mother goddess Danu. She was not only known for the function of producing many gods, but also as the mother of the fairy people, the Tuatha de Dannan, as the name originally translates into “The Children of Danu”. Some consider her to be the divine source that brings forth the essence of earth, air, and water; but she is most known to represent fertility and knowledge. Danu is commonly referred to the first great mother of Ireland, giving birth to all the life in the Celtic islands, and also possesses the power of a triple goddess. She acts as the Ambassador for the elemental kingdoms, as she is knowledgeable of the Divine magic and values balance; but she also is a great inspiration of wisdom. The colors that are closely associated with her are green for the earth, blue as she is known for flowing waters, and white silver for wisdom. The animals that represent her are ones which can travel through both the sea and the land. She is also associated with the rowan tree, apple tree, and the Hawthorne tree; by which many intertwine her divine presence with all life on earth. She was greatly valued by the pagan Celtics, her identity is mentioned in literature such as The story of the Tuatha de Dannan.
Shaw, Judith. “Danu, Celtic Mother Goddess” Feminism and religion. 30 April 2014. http://feminismandreligion.com/2014/04/30/danu-celtic-mother-goddess-by-judith-shaw/