Ancient Celtic society is as intriguing as it is mysterious. History laced with folklore, rumor and grandeur to weave a beautiful yet convoluted image of one of the most historically rich cultures of our time. Many Celtic goddesses may have in fact been inspired from actual Celtic women. Some of these goddesses were so beloved, that even the Christian church could not part with them so they elevated them to Saint status and called it a day.
What we do know for sure about women in Ancient Celtic society is they enjoyed rights that women in Greek and Roman societies were not afforded. Celtic women were protected by the law and could own property, get a divorce, be a priest, a judge, a doctor, a poet, fight in battle and even own her own fighting school. They were honored as much for their minds as their bodies and served as both warriors and rulers. Marriage was viewed as an equal partnership, and they could conduct business without the consent or involvement of their husbands. They could serve as political diplomats, become priestesses, poets, and healers.
Since many Americans are in fact descendants of these famous Europeans via Welsh, Scot, Cornish and Breton pedigrees, it is worth noting how we may share a kindred spirit with these ancient deities.
Just as a tree will always produce the leaves of its roots, we also still display the same independence, artistic and audacious nature as these bold beauties.
Here are 11 Celtic Goddesses that should send you on your own kind of odyssey (and may even inspire a special Halloween costume):
1. The Natropathic: Aine of Knockaine– was the Celtic Goddess of love and fertility, later known as the fairy queen. She is affiliated with the moon, crops, and farms or cattle. Aine is revered among Irish herbalists and healers and is said to be responsible for the body’s life force.
2. The Green Thumb: Airmid- was a healing Goddess of the celtic order of Tuatha de Danaan, Goddess of medicinal plants and keeper of the spring. She is a regenerator, and brings the dead to life again.
3. The Tempted: Blodeuwedd – was changed into an owl for committing adultry. She symbolizes wisdom, lunar mysteries, and initiations. She is also known to help a garden or a child grow.
4. The Multidimensional: Brighid– Some say there are actually three Brighids; one is in charge of poetry and inspiration; one is in charge of midwifery and healing, and the last is in charge of crafts and blacksmithing. When Christianity was at its onset, so loved was Brighid that she was elevated to a saint. However, the upkeep on her flame was considered pagan by the church and it was extinguished out of more than a thousand years of burning. St. Brigit symbolizes human potential and remains one of the most popular Irish saints today, alongside Saint Patrick.
5. The Dreamer: Caer Ibormeith- was the Goddess of sleep and dreams (think “counting your sheep). 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 vehemently adored and sought after by the 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 calming music ever heard upon this earth. They are said to have put all of Ireland asleep with their music for 3 days and 3 nights.
6. The Horse Lover: Epona- was the Goddess of horsebreeding, healing spring, prosperity and mountains. Called Divine Horse and the Great Mare, the Goddess of horses was acknowledged and also worshipped by Roman soldiers.
7. The Animal Activist: Flidais– was the Goddess of the forest, woodlands, and wild things. She had a magic cow that could produce milk enough for three hundred men in one night. Also a shapeshifter who rode in a deer-drawn chariot. Heavily associated with protection of wild animals.
8. The Man-Eater: Maeve- was the Goddess of Earth, fertility and war. She was a great conqueror and enjoyed enslaving the men of the various armies she defeated as spoils of war to pleasure her at will. An extremely lustful woman. The mere sight of Maeve blinds enemies, and she runs faster than the fastest horse. With her heavy sexual drive, she needs thirty men a day to ease her sexual appetite. Also a fertility Goddess.
9. The Avenger: Morrigan– was the Celtic Goddess of war and death who could take the shape of a crow or raven. If you’ve ever been one to “get even” this Supreme warrior Goddess has got you covered. She is associated with the frightening aspects of female energy. She symbolizes the power of the dark Goddess’ prowess, death, war, and fate. A shapeshifting war Goddess of sensuality, magic, prophecy, revenge.
10. The Fallen Hero Helper: Nemain- was Celtic war goddess who appears to help heroes at their death.
11. The Money-Maker: Rosmerta – was also know as “The Great Provider”. She was the Celtic Goddess of fertility and wealth. Her symbols are a cornucopia [the horn of plenty] and a stick with two snakes. She may be invoked for fertility or money.
Now let’s be honest, more than one of these goddesses represent layers of our own personas, but which is your favorite? May we always live a life so out of the ordinary that a future civilization is left to wonder if we were in fact real or a beautiful legend.