Irish gods and goddesses of mythology

Posted on
brigit pendant

Aine – (AN-yuh) Ireland; a woman of the Leanan Sidhe (Sweetheart of the Sidhe). Some said she was the daughter of Manannan, some said she was the Morrigan herself. There was a stone, Cathair Aine, belonging to her and if anyone sat on the stone, they would be in danger of losing their wits, sit three times and they would lose them forever. Aine was very revengeful, and it was not a safe thing to offend her.

Aine of Knockaine – (AN-yuh of knock-AN-yuh) Ireland; moon goddess and patroness of crops and cattle; associated with the Summer Solstice. Also Aine Cliach, and Cnoc Aine.  Aine started out as a Sun goddess, and as she matured, also became a Moon goddess

Amatheon – Welsh magician, son of Don, who taught his craft to his brother Gwyddion. His theft of a dog and a roebuck from Annwn (the Welsh Otherworld) caused Cad Goddess (The Battle of the Trees).

Angus Mac Og – Ireland; god of youth, love, and beauty. One of the Tuatha De Danann, name means “young son.” He had a harp that made irresistible music, and his kisses turned into birds that carried messages of love. His brugh, underground fairy palace, was on the banks of the Boyne River. Variants: Angus or Oengus of the Brugh, Angus Mac Oc.

Anu – Ireland; goddess of plenty and Mother Earth. Greatest of all Irish goddesses, deity of cattle, health, fertility, prosperity, and comfort.

Aoibhell – (Evill) Ireland; another woman of the Sidhe, she made her dwelling in Craig Liath. Legend has it that she gave a golden harp to Meardha, Murchadh’s son, when he was getting his schooling at the Sidhe in Connacht and learned of his father’s death. Whoever heard the playing of the harp would not live long afterward. It was this harp that Cuchulain heard the time his enemies were gathering against him at Muirthemne, and he knew by the sound that his life was near its end.

Arawn – Wales; god of the dead and the underworld Annwn. Only until Christian conversion, the Welsh didn’t look on the underworld as hell. God of revenge, terror, and the dead.

Arianrhod – Wales; goddess of beauty, fertility, and reincarnation. Known as Silver Wheel and the High Fruitful Mother, the palace of this sky goddess was Caer Arianrhold (Aurora Borealis). Keeper of the Silver Wheel of Stars, a symbol of time and karma. Her ship, Oar Wheel, carried dead warriors to Emania (Moon-land).

Badb – A daughter of Ernmas, she is called ‘the one who boils’, as in boiling the Otherworld cauldron of death and rebirth which she is thought by many to preside over, deciding the fate of those who have passed over into its great cosmic mix. In Celtic eschatology (end of world beliefs), it is Badb who will cause the end of earthly time by causing the great cauldron to boil over, engulfing the planet in a great wasteland. Badb prophesied the downfall of the deities (the Tuatha) to the humans (the Milesians) and many believe she also prophesied the Great Famine of 1845-1849.

Banba – Ireland; one of a triad of goddesses that included Fotia and Eriu.

Barinthus – (Welsh, Anglo-Celtic) A charioteer to the residents of the Otherworld who was once probably a sea or sun God. He is mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Vita Merlini

Bel – Ireland, Wales; god of cattle, crops, fertility, fire, healing, hot springs, prosperity, purification, science, success. A sun and fire god closely connected with the Druids and the festival of Beltaine (May 1). Variants: Belenus, Belinos, Beli Mawr (Wales).

Belatucadros – (British) Celtic War God. According to some authors he is the horned god of the North equating to Cernunnos. The Romans syncretized him with the god Mars. Britain) God of war and of the destruction. His name means “fair shining one”. The Romans equated him with their god Mars.

Beli – (Welsh) The primary Welsh father God, husband of Don, and father of Arianrhod. Also a minor sun God who some feel is the Welsh equivalent of Balor. Other scholars cite his name as being the origin of the name for the Beltaine Sabbat, though most of his associations are now deeply linked with Samhain. Now Beli’s principal role is that of the God of death and king of the Underworld. He is also linked to several of the legends concerning the sacred Pagan site of Glastonbury Tor where balefires were lit on Beltaine and Samhain up until the Commonwealth period (1640-1660). Some legends say that this site is the home of the death God Gwyn Ap Nuad, and that Beli purifies this site with his fires each Sabbat.

Also: Belenus (continental-European); Belinus, Belanos, Belinos (Anglo-Celtic); Belimawr; Beli (Welsh); Bel, Bile (Scottish); Beltane (Irish); Apollo-Belenus (Romano-Celtic)

Belisama – (Celtic) Goddess of light and fire, the forge and of crafts. She is the wife of the god Belenus (Beli) and the Goddess of the Mersey River.

Bellona – (Scottish) This battlefield Goddess is mentioned in the second scene of Shakespeare’s Mac Beth. Her name is probably a Latinized or corrupted form of Ireland’s Badb, a Goddess with similar properties. In Roman mythology she is a Mother Goddess and Goddess of war. She becomes syncretized with the Cappadocian mother Goddess Ma. The first known temple dedicated to Ma-Bellona by the Romans is dated to 296 BCE. Bellona was attended by Asiatic priests who performed frenzied dances and gashed themselves with swords, offering the blood on the Goddess’s altars. Because of its violent nature, Rome refused to officially recognize the cult until the third century CE.

Bladud – (Welsh, Anglo-Celtic) This ‘flying king’ was probably a regional sun God. He is associated with the sacred English hot spring known as Aquae Sulis, and area occupied heavily by Roman forces which appropriated many of the local deities. He is depicted in a famous stone carving near the spring as a very virile male figure with flaming hair, the radiant features making him unmistakable a sun God.

Blodeuwedd – (blod-oo-eeth) (Welsh) “Flower Face”; “White Flower”. Lily maid of Celtic initiation ceremonies. Also known as the Nine fold Goddess of the Western Isles of Paradise. Created by Math and Gwydion as a wife for Lleu. She was changed into an owl for her adultery and for plotting Lleu’s death. The Maiden form of the Triple Goddess; her symbol was the owl; goddess of the Earth in bloom. Flowers, wisdom, lunar mysteries, initiations. Blodeuwedd was created from the flowers of oak, broom, and meadowsweet by Gwyddion and Math as a wife for Gwyddion’s nephew Llew. This arose because Llew had been cursed by his mother, Arianrhod, that he would never win a bride of his own people. While Llew was away one day Blodeuwedd saw Gronw hunting in the woods and the two fell madly in love at first sight. She and Gronw made plans to kill Llew, but because he was no mere mortal, Gronw asked his lover to discover for him the secret of his death.

Blodeuwedd coaxed the information out of Llew, and not only passed the information along to Gronw, but tricked Llew into being at the right place at the right time. At the moment of his death, Llew turned into an eagle and flew away. Gwyddion sought out Blodeuwedd to seek revenge, and for her punishment decided he would turn her into a bird, on which only lived by night, a carnivore whom other birds shunned and feared. Thus she became an owl.  She can be viewed as a May Queen, bound in sacred marriage to sacrificial king who must eventually be sacrificed to her and through her to his people.

Boann – Ireland; goddess of the River Byone and mother of Angus Mac Og by the Dagda. She held the powers of healing. Variants: Boannan, Boyne.

Borvo – (Breton) God of healing. Borvo’s name means ‘to boil’ (similar to Goddess Badb), and he was a God of the hot springs. He replaced his mother, Sirona, in this function when her story was patriarchized. The spring he ruled had tremendous healing powers.

Bran the Blessed – (Welsh, Pan-Celtic) Also Bran MacFebal. His name means ‘crow’, or ‘Raven’. The brother of the mighty Manawydan ap Llyr (Ireland, Mannanan mac Lir) and Branwen; son of Llyr, and in Welsh sagas he is also the son of the Goddess Iweridd. Associated with ravens, he is the God of prophecy, the arts, leader, war, the Sun, music, writing. A master of the Isle of Britain, he is a cauldron-God, associated with a cauldron of regeneration which would revive the slain while leaving them voiceless. The giant of a man set out with an army to avenge the ill-treatment of his sister Branwen by her husband, King Matholwch of Ireland who blamed her for an insult they endured at their wedding. Nothing would stop his army’s progress, and he once laid down across the Shannon river so his forces could use him as a bridge to walk across. In the Battle of the Trees, he could not be defeated unless someone could guess his name (a common mythological ploy in western Europe) and Gwyddion was able to do this.

His forces won the battle, but he was fatally wounded by taking a poisoned arrow in the foot. His cauldron destroyed, and he mortally wounded in a war to rescue his sister Branwen, he instructed his adherents to decapitate him and, after many travels, bear the head to London and bury it, where it would become a defense and a protection to the whole Isle. His grieving troops took his head to their stronghold at Harlech for a period of seven years where it talked and offered warnings and divinations. It then sat eighty-seven years at Gwales (a place unknown today), then it was taken to London where it was set facing France so that is could warn of invasion.

Branwen – (Manx, Welsh, Pan-Celtic) Sister of Bran the Blesses and wife of the Irish king Mathowch. Venus of the Northern Seas; one of the three matriarchs of Britain; Lady of the Lake (cauldron); Goddess of Love and Beauty. Welsh love goddess. In the Mabinogion, She is a central figure in being wed to the High King of Ireland and thereby encompassing the doom of both the Irish and Britons, when her brother Bran invades Ireland to rescue her from the degradation she experiences at the hands of a vengeful Court. A daughter of Manannan and Iweridd whose name means “fair bosom”. She is often equated with the Greek Aphrodite and is a Goddess of love, sexuality, and of the sea. She was married to Mathowch, a king of Ireland who fought a battle with Bran after a wedding feast insult. Her son Gwern was put in his place but immediately killed. She died of a broken heart during the war between Wales and England, which began with an insult at her wedding feast, which she believed was her fault. It had, in fact, been the deliberate act of Evnissyn, a jealous courtier who thrived on malicious mischief.

Brid – (Pan-Celtic) [breet or breed] Also Brigit, Brigid, Bride, Brighid, Bridget, Brigindo, and Banfile. Her name comes from the old Irish word brigh, meaning “Power”; “Renown”; “Fiery Arrow or Power” (Breo-saighead). Daughter of The Dagda and one of the Great mother Goddess of Ireland. At one time in History most of Ireland was united in praise and worship of her. She probably was one and the same with Dana, the first great mother Goddess of the Irish. Called the poetess, often called the Triple Brigids, Three Blessed Ladies of Britain, The Three Mothers. Another aspect of Danu; associated with Imbolc. She had an exclusive female priesthood at Kildare and an ever-burning sacred fire. The number of her priestesses was nineteen, representing the nineteen-year cycle of the “Celtic Great Year”. Her kelles were sacred prostitutes and her soldiers brigands. Goddess of fire, fertility, the hearth, all feminine arts and crafts, and martial arts. Healing, physicians, agriculture, inspiration, learning, poetry, divination, prophecy, smith craft, animal husbandry, love, witchcraft, occult knowledge. A major Celtic pastoral deity, described as a “wise woman. Brid became “Christianized” as St. Brigit of Kildare, who is said to have lived from 450-523 AD and founded the first female Christian monastery community in Ireland.

In reality her shrine at Kildare was desecrated and adopted as a holy site by Christian missionaries who turned her into their Saint Brigit in an attempt to Christianize her pagan followers. She was originally celebrated on February 1 in the festival of Imbolc, which coincided with the beginning of lactation in ewes and was regarded in Scotland as the date on which Brigit deposed the blue-faced hag of winter (see Cailleach Bheur). The Christian calendar adopted the same date for the Feast of St. Brigit. There is no record that a Christian saint ever actually existed, but in Irish mythology she became the midwife to the Virgin Mary. The name can be traced into many Irish and European place names. It is also akin to Brahati which means “exalted one” in Sanskrit. In pre-Roman Britain, she was the tutelary Goddess of the Brigantes tribe, and like so many Celtic Goddesses, she has some reverend associations. Brid represents the supernal mother, fertility, and creative inspiration. She has also been worshipped as a warrioress and protectress, a healer, a guardian of children, a slayer of serpents, a sovereign, and a Goddess of fire and the sun. Still other sources say she was the Goddess of agriculture, animal husbandry, medicine, crafting and music.

Brigit – Ireland; goddess of agriculture, fire, healing, inspiration, learning divination, occult knowledge, poetry, prophecy, smithcraft. Her Gaelic name of Breo-saighead means “fiery arrow” or “fiery power.” Celts often referred to her as being three in one – the Triple Brigits or the Three Mothers. An ever-burning fire was kept in her honor by her nineteen priestesses who lived in a sacred temple at Kildare. She was also a daughter of the Dagda. Variants: Brid, Brig, Brigid, Brighid.

Brigatia – (British, Anglo-Celtic) “High One”; pastoral and river goddess. Associated with Imbolc. Flocks, cattle, water, fertility; healing; victory. Tutelary Goddess of the Brigantes of West Riding of Yorkshire. She became identified with Caelestis, at Corbridge Northumberland, there is an altar inscribed to various deities, including Caelestic Brigantia. In carved stone relief at Birrens, on the Antonine Wall in Scotland, she is depicted with the attributes of Minerva. She may also bear links with the Goddess Brigit. She is frequently associated with water and herding. She is the Goddess whose face and sovereignty are the source of the appellation Britannia for Great Britain. As a Goddess of sovereignty, she is usually thought of as the Brid of England. In 1667 Charles I had her face placed on the coinage where it remains today, reviving an old custom, first instituted by the invading Romans who adopted her as their own.

Britannia – (Romano-Celtic British) Tutelary Goddess. The genia loci of Britain who first appears on the coinage of Antoninius Pius in the 2nd century AD. She became the symbol of the British Empire after being partly syncretized with the war goddess Minerva.

Caer Ibormeith – Ireland; goddess of sleep and dreams; and perhaps a less violent version of Mare; daughter of Ethal Anubail, a faery king of Connacht. She often took the form of a swan who lived on a lake called Dragon’s Mouth, and wore a copious golden chain with 130 golden balls on a silver chain about her slender neck. She was loved by Aengus MacOg, god of young love. When he awakened from a dream of her he sought her out. After he found her, he too became a swan, and the two of them flew and sang the sweetest, most restful music ever heard upon this earth. Together they flew away to Bruigh na Boinne, his megalithic site north of Tara, where they sang so wonderfully that the whole of Ireland fell into a peaceful sleep for three days and three nights.

Caillech – Ireland, Scotland; goddess of disease and plague. A Destroyer, or Crone, goddess, she was also called “Veiled One.” As the Crone, she ruled with the Maiden and the Mother. Dogs guarded the gates of her afterworld realm where she received the dead. Celtic myth has her gatekeeper dog named Dormarth “Death’s Door.” Irish bards who could curse with satire were often called cainte “dog.”

Cernunnos – all Celtic areas in some form; god of animals, commerce, crossroads, fertility, reincarnation, virility, warriors, woodlands. Druids knew him as Hu Gadarn, the Honored God. Ancient Celtic images show him seated in a lotus position, naked, with antlers or horns on his head. Animals that were sacred to him: bull, ran, stag, and horned serpents. Variants: Cerowain, Cernenus, Herne the Hunter.

Cerridwen – Welsh; goddess of death, initiation, inspiration, magic, regeneration. Known as a moon goddess, Great Mother, and grain deity; wife of the giant Tegrid. She brewed a magical potion of wisdom in her cauldron, and forced the young Taliesin to stir it for a year and a day. When he accidentally swallowed the last three drops, he was transformed into a bard. Welsh bards once called themselves Cerddorion “sons of Cerridwen,” meaning they received their initiation from Cerridwen herself. Variants: Caridwen, Ceridwen.

Creiddylad – Wales; goddess of flowers, love. A daughter of the sea god Lir, connected with the festival of Beltaine and called the May Queen. Variants: Creudylad, Cordelia.

The Dagda – Ireland; god of the arts, knowledge, magic, music, prophecy, prosperity, regeneration. Known as the “Good God” and “Lord of the Heavens,” he was one of the high kings of the Tuatha De Danann and had four great palaces under hollow hills. Of his children, the most important are Brigit, Angus, Midir, Ogma and Bodb the Red. His magical cauldron had an inexhaustible supply of food and his oak harp made the seasons change.

Diancecht – Ireland; god of healing, magic, medicine, regeneration. Physician-magician of the Tuatha De Danann; his sons were Miach, Cian, Cethe, and Cu, his daughter Airmed was also a great physician. Variant: Dian Cecht.

Danu – Ireland; Mother of the Gods, she was goddess of rivers and wells, magic, plenty, wisdom. Possible aspect of Anu; ancestress of the Tuatha De Danann. Variant: Dana.

Don – Ireland, Wales; in Ireland, goddess who ruled over the Land of the Dead. In Wales, goddess of sea and air. For both, generally a goddess of the elements, communicating with the dead.

Donn – Wales; the sea goddess.

Druantia – several Celtic areas; goddess known as Queen of the Druids and Mother of the tree calendar.

Dylan – Wales; sea deity and the some of Gwydion and Arianrhod, this god was called Son of the Waves, and a silver fish was his symbol.

Eadon – Ireland; nurse of poets

Eiru – Ireland; daughter of the Dagda, her alternate name, Erin, was given to Ireland.

Elaine – Wales, Britain; a Maiden aspect of the Goddess, she was later transformed in the Arthurian sagas.

Epona – Britain, continental Gaul; goddess of horsebreeding, healing spring, prosperity. Called Divine Horse and the Great Mare, the goddess of horses was acknowledged and worshipped by Roman soldiers. Her symbols were horses and dogs.

Flidais – Ireland; goddess of forests, wild creatures. A shapeshifting goddess who rode in a deer-drawn chariot.

Goibniu – Ireland, Wales; god of blacksmiths, weapon-makers, brewing. One of a triad of Tuatha De Danann craftsmen, he was called the Great Smith. Weapons that he forged always hit their mark and made fatal wounds. The other two craftsmen were Luchtain the wright, and Creidne the brazier.

Gwethyr – Wales; King of the Upper world, this god was the opposite of Gwynn ap Nudd.

Gwydion – Wales; god of enchantment, illusion, magic. A son of Donn, the sea goddess, and brother to Govannon, Arianrhod, and Amaethon (god of agriculture). Known as a great wizard and bard in northern Wales. He was many skilled, like the Irish god Lugh, he was a shapeshifter whose symbol was a white horse.

Gwynn ap Nudd – Wales; first known as King of the Fairies and Lord of the Underworld, this god later ruled over the Plant Annwn, subterranean fairies.

Llew Llaw Gyffes – Wales; son of Arianrhod and raised by his uncle Gwydion. A curse prohibited him from having and earthly wife, so his uncles made him one out of flowers and named her Blodeuwedd. She and her lover, Gronw Pebr, plotted Llew’s death, but because of Llew’s divine origins, the death simply became an annual duel between the two men. His symbol is a white stag, and is celebrated on August 1, the Celtic ceremony of Lunasa.

Llud Llaw Ereint – Wales; God of harpers, healing, poets, smiths, sorcerers, and waters.

Llyr – Ireland, Wales; god of sea and water, may have also ruled the underworld. The father of Manawydan, Bran the Blessed, and Branwen.

Lugh – (Loo) Ireland, Wales; a sun god of all crafts and arts, healing, journeys, prophecy. Son of Cian, a Tuatha De Danann. Of legend, his skills were without end; in Ireland he was associated with ravens; and a white stag as his symbol in Wales. He had a magic spear and otherworldly hounds. His festival was Lughnassadh, or Lunasa – August 1. Variants: Llew, Lug, Lugus, Lugh Lamhfada (of the long arm), Lug Samildananch (much skilled).

Macha – Ireland; goddess of cunning, death, sheer physical force, war; protectoress in both battle and peace. Known as Crow, Queen of Phantoms, and the Mother of Life and Death, she was honored at Lunasa. Variants: Mania, Mana, Mene, Minne.

Manannan Mac Lir – (May-nah-naun) Ireland, Wales; a shapeshifting god of the sea, magic, navigators, commerce, storms, rebirth, weather. The chief Irish sea god whose special retreat was the Isle of Man. In Wales his name was Manawydan ap Llyr. He had several magical weapons and a suit of armor that made him invisible; and his swine kept the Tuatha De Danann from aging.

Margawse – Wales, Britain; originally a Mother Goddess, she was transformed in the later Arthurian sagas.

Math Mathonwy – Wales; legend has him as a king who was also a god of enchantment and magic.

Merlin – Wales, Britain; god of all forms of magic and prophecy, healing, illusion, the arts. Originally an ancient Welsh Druid, priest of the fair religion, and great magician. He was transformed in the later Arthurian sagas. Tradition says he learned his powerful magic from the Goddess in her forms of Morgan, Viviane, Nimue, and Lady of the Lake. Legend says he now lies sleeping in a hidden crystal cave. Variants: Merddin, Myrddin.

Morrigan – Ireland, Wales, Britain; a shapeshifting war goddess of lust, magic, prophecy, revenge, war. Known as Great Queen, Supreme War Goddess, Queen of Phantoms, and Specter Queen, she kept company with Fea (hateful), Badb (fury), and Macha (battle). Variants: Morrigu, Morrighan, Morgan.

Neit – Ireland; god of battle.

Niamh – (Nee-av) Ireland; possible form of Badb, this goddess was called Beauty and Brightness and helped heroes at death.

Nuada – (Noo-ada) Ireland, Wales; god of harpers, healing, historians, magic, poets, warfare, writing. King of the Tuatha De Danann at one time, he had to step down when he lost his hand in battle; it was replaced by a silver one. Variants: Lud, Lludd, Llaw, Ereint, Nudd, Nodens.

Ogma – God of eloquence, inspiration, language, magic, music, physical strength, poets, writers. Invented the Ogam script alphabet and carried a huge club similar to Hercules’. Variants: Oghma, Ogmios, Grianainech (sun face), Cermait (honey-mouthed).

Pwyll – Wales; god of cunning, virture. Called Pwyll pen Annwn (Pwyll, head of Annwn) because he replaced Gwynn ap Nudd as ruler of the underworld at one time.

Scathach – (Scau-ahch) Ireland, Scotland; goddess of healing, magic, martial arts, prophecy. Called the Shadowy One, She Who Strikes Fear, and the Dark Goddess, she was a warrior woman and prophetess who lived in Albion, possibly on the Isle of Skye, and taught martial arts. Variants: Scota, Scatha, Scath.

Taliesin – Wales; god of magic, music, poetry, wisdom, writing. Known as Prince of Song, Chief of the Bards of the West, and Patron of Druids, he was a great magician, bard, and shapeshifter who gained his knowledge from the goddess Cerridwen directly.

White Lady – all Celtic countries; goddess of death and destruction. Called the Dryad of Death and Queen of the Dead, this goddess was a Crone aspect of the Goddess.

We have some lovely jewelry!