Tag Archives: Celtic Goddess

Badb, Goddess of Life and Death

Strange that the last Celtic Goddess I am covering is one that deals with death and destruction.  But with all the craziness and division in the world right now I wanted to look death in the face and see if there were a way to find the positive side.  Badb fits that bill pretty well.

Badb is one aspect of the Celtic War Goddess Triplicity, The Morrigan.  Badb, Badb, Celtic War Goddess painting by Judith Shawtranslates as “Hooded Crow” and “One Who Boils.” She signifies fury, rage and violence. She brings war, death, chaos but also enlightenment, life, and wisdom.

In The Destruction of Da Choca’s Hostel She is the “Washer at the Ford,” washing the bloodstained clothes of the one about to die as She prophesied the death of the hero Cormac. Here she is seen standing on one leg with one eye opened and one eye closed; with one foot in the human world and the other in the spirit world. While She is the harbinger of death of our current mortal condition She also offers the promise of new life.

Visit my Feminism and Religion post to read the rest of Badb’s story

Goddess Oracle cards by Judith ShawAccess the wisdom of the Goddess with my deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle cards.  Pre-order your deck or purchase a print or original of my art (prices reduced) on my Indiegogo campaign page.

All proceeds go to the cost of production of the deck and accompanying booklet.

 

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Love Trumps Hate – Day 3

Today is Imbolc, the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  It is a perfect day to reflect on our Earth Mother and the love she gives us through the cycle of the seasons and the promise of rebirth in the spring.

Brigid, Celtic Triple Goddess is honored on this day as She ushers in the days of growing light.  As Donald Trump continues to flame the fires of hate remember Brigid and her gift for detail and creativity which helps us to resolutely fight the battle for good.

Brigid Celtic Goddess painting by Judith Shaw

Love Trumps Hate!

Rosmerta, Celtic Goddess of Abundance

As we near August 1, known to the ancient Celts as Lughnasadh or Lammas, examples of abundance are everywhere.  Gardens and farms are in full bloom with some crops ready for harvest and others very near.  Lambs born in spring are now reaching maturity. Days are still long and we are full of energy. It is a perfect time to remember the Celtic Goddess, Rosmerta.

Rosmerta, celtic goddess painting by Judith ShawRosmerta,  a goddess loved by both Celtic and Roman Gauls was known as ”The Great Provider”. She is a goddess of fertility and wealth. She was worshipped in South-western Britain, Gaul, and along the Rhone and the Rhine rivers.

After the region was conquered by Rome, Rosmerta was incorporated into the Roman pantheon, becoming associated with Mercury.  Though She has been called Mercury’s consort there is no evidence that was the nature of their relationship.  She survived in the Roman era as a powerful goddess in Her own right, being depicted alone many times.  Alone and with Mercury, She carries a cornucopia and a basket of fruit, symbols of abundance.   A giving goddess, She was often shown with a patera, a ritual offering bowl, and with a ladle or scepter.

Read the rest of my thoughts on Rosmerta and view some ancient images of her on my recent post on the Feminism and Religion blog.  Click here.

Grainne, Celtic Sun Goddess

Grainne, Celtic Sun Goddess painting by Judith ShawIn the ancient Celtic world the Goddess was the One who expressed Herself through the many.  Grainne is such a one. She is both Winter Queen/Dark Goddess, nurturing seeds through winter, and Solar Sun Goddess, welcoming the rebirth of spring.  She is Aine’s sister or another aspect of Aine. She, like Aine, was honored at the summer solstice and the first grain harvest of early August with bonfires and torchlit processions on top of her sacred hill at Leinster, Ireland.  Remnants of these festivals are still found in folk ritual today.

Grainne is a part of the triple goddess formed by Herself and Her two sisters, Fenne and Aine.  Both Grainne and Aine were seen by locals as beautiful, golden-haired goddesses who visited their fields and hilltops to protect and nurture the land, people and animals.

A Sun Goddess and master herbalist, Grainne rules herbs, knowledge, the sun, and fire.

Today Grainne is most known from the elopement story of Diarmaid and Grainne, with a similar theme to the later Welsh story of Trystan and Iseult and to the even later tale of King Arthur and Guinivere. These tales portray the unhappy love triangle of two men who both love one woman.  Usually the woman is married to or promised to the older, more powerful man yet is in love with the younger man. In theses tales it is the woman who chooses the man, compelling him to act as she desires. The woman’s choice of the younger man is reminiscent of the Sovereignty Goddess who chooses youth over an ailing king.

Read the rest of the story on my post on the Feminism and Religion site.  You might want to visit some of the sites I have listed in my sources as they give more details of the magical events in the elopement story of Grainne and Diarmaid.

Credhe, Celtic Goddess of Love

This journey I am on with the Celtic Goddesses is like a walk into the labyrinth, with many twists, turns and confusions until I finally reach the center of each story.  Each goddess has multiple names and multiple stories which are sometimes even a bit contradictory.  Some have very few or no surviving stories as they were only put into written form in the 12th century.

Credhe, Celtic Love GoddessSome take me into dark and scary places, whereas others reach for light and love. The goddess I explored for my February post in the Feminism and Religion blog is a Love Goddess, who allowed me to reclaim the color pink as one of power and agency.

Credhe, also known as Creide or Cred is an Irish Faery Queen Goddess of Love and Spirit Contact. She is associated with Danu’s mountains, the Paps of Anu.  These are two gently rounded high hills that were adorned by the ancients with earthen and rock mounds and cairns positioned on top to represent erect nipples.  Her Sidhe was most likely located near the Paps of Anu.  She is also associated with crystals, the color pink and rose oil.

The most well-known of Her stories illustrates Her power, a woman’s power, to manifest her heart’s desire.  Credhe vowed that the only man who would win Her heart would be the one who could write a perfectly crafted poem, describing in detail every aspect of her home and its contents. She lived in the beautiful and peaceful Otherworld ruled by Manannán mac Lir, God of the Sea. This place was known as Tír Innambéo or’ Land of the Living’. As it was inhabited mainly by women, it was sometimes called the Land of Women.  Mortal men were not allowed in unless invited. Thus Her would-be lover must write this perfect poem without advantage of sight.

To read the rest of her story and to hear the poem written for Her, click here.

A Dark Goddess for the Dark Time of Year

In the West on this day, December 31, we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next.  Parties sparkle with people and noise.  We make merry as we remember old friends and welcome new ones.

But the turning of the earth reminds us that we are smack in the middle of the dark days, when we in the northern hemisphere huddle around the hearth fire contemplating the eternal cycle of  life, death and life.  In that spirit I offer you my contemplations on the Morrigan, Celtic Dark Goddess.

The Morrigan, Celtic Dark Goddess, painting by Judith ShawMorrigan, Celtic Goddess of War and Death, is a dark goddess we mortals tend to approach with fear and trepidation. A great Warrior Goddess, She represents the more terrifying aspects of female energy; sensuality, magic, prophecy, revenge, and war. She could either shape-shift into a crow or raven or be accompanied by them.  In the Ulster cycle stories she also appears as a cow, a wolf and an eel.  This indicates Her connection to prosperity, sovereignty and the land.  Encompassing all essential divine functions, She is the Goddess of War, Sovereignty, Fertility and the Land.

Her name is linguistically rooted to the Indo-European words mor –  terror and rigan – queen.  Current scholars accept Her name to mean either Great Queen or Phantom Queen.  In addition, Celtic mythology refers to Her as Morrígu, Morríghan, or Mor-Ríoghain.  In Her aspect as Death Goddess, She is also called the “Washer at the Ford”, for when She was found washing a warrior’s armor in the stream it foretold his death in battle that day.

As with so many of the Celtic Goddesses, Morrigan is complex and hard to pin down. The Morrigan can be seen as a title given to either three different goddesses or three aspects of the same goddess.  Her three aspects are  Badb Catha, “battle crow”, Macha, “a plain” and Neaim, “frenzy”. She can appear as both a beautiful, sensual woman or as an ugly, old hag.

In Her aspect as Neaim, She was seen shrieking and flying over battlefields, striking terror and confusion into men’s hearts, often causing them to either fall dead from fear or to turn upon each other in confusion.  As Badb, She revels in the gore and carnage of war.  Here She is a flock of crows warning of a great battle or feasting on the slain warriors. As Macha, She takes on the most human of Her forms.  But even as wife and mother Her prophesy is of war and death as seen in Macha’s curse on the Ulstermen.

Read more in my recent post on the Feminism and Religion Blog about the stories of Morrigan and the little white bird that appeared in my painting of Her.  Click here.

 

 

Cerridwen, White Lady of Inspiration and Death

Having just celebrated Halloween, also called Samhain, and the Day of the Dead we are truly in the time when the veil between the world of the manifest and the world of the unmanifest is the thinnest.  We remember our ancestors, we reflect on losses and we look forward to positive transformation as we enter the quiet, meditative time of year.

Cerridwen, Celtic Goddess, painting by Judith ShawCerridwen, Dark Goddess of Transformation, Inspiration and Knowledge is a perfect goddess to remember during this time. She  is best known as the mother of Taliesen, the greatest of all the Welsh poets.   But Her story is much older and Her powers run deep.

Cerridwen (“White Sow”, or “White Crafty One”) has many other names:  Dark Moon Goddess, Great Mother, White Lady of Inspiration and Death, Goddess of Nature, and Grain Goddess. She rules the realms of death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, magic, enchantment and knowledge. Her ritual pursuit of Gwion Bach symbolizes the changing of the seasons, nature’s yearly cycle of death and rebirth.

Cerridwen, as a powerful Underworld Goddess, is the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge, inspiration and rebirth.  She and Her cauldron most likely appear in the Welsh legend of Bran the Blessed. She came from Ireland to the Land of the Mighty disguised as a giantess named Kymideu Kymeinvoll with her husband Llassar.

Read more about Cerridwen and Her wisdom on my recent blog post on the Feminism and Religion blog site.  Click here