Alan Ward


1981, revised 1996


It is not easy for the specialist in mythology, let alone the layman, to get a clear overall picture of Irish pagan mythology. Ireland never produced a Snorri Sturlason. There is no Irish Edda, no great collection of texts setting out the main pagan myths and explicitly giving an ordered pantheon. All is piecemeal, down to and including the editing of the texts we do possess. This was perhaps inevitable. In the first place, Christianity was introduced to Ireland long before it reached Scandinavia. It came in its monastic form with all that this implies. Thus the earliest texts we possess have already been filtered through the monastic tradition with consequent downgrading and distortion of the divine, but polytheistic, nature of the myths. More grave than such ideological rectifications, which are seldom more than an easily detectable patina, is the linking of Irish myths - reinterpreted as "history" - to the Christian world history of the early medieval period. This, with the consequent wholesale invention of non-persons to fill genealogical gaps, played havoc with the Irish pantheon and has led many a scholar astray. Very often the outlines of a myth and its protagonists are better preserved in the popular tradition - a folk tale collected only in this century may prove to be nearer to its pagan prototype than a version found in a twelfth century manuscript. This book is based on a study of all available texts in the light of the diagnostic method of comparative Indoeuropean mythology evolved by Georges Dumézil. It attempts to present Irish pagan mythology and its pantheon as a structured whole and in a way accessible to those who may not have the opportunity or time to go through all the relevant texts, which are widely scattered, for themselves (for those who do so wish, references to sources are indicated whenever appropriate). If the reader finds that the following analysis, despite its undoubted shortcomings, helps to situate the myths of the Irish gods in their wider, Indoeuropean, context, then it will have served its purpose.


Abbreviations of works and sources


PART II: THE MYTHS Chapter 1: STORM 1. The theft of Gaibhneann’s cow and the birth of Lugh. 2. Lugh’s arrival in Teamhair. 3. The gods prepare for war. 4. The Daghdha’s exploits. 5. The drunkenness of Lugh. 6. Gaibhneann and Dian Céacht. 7. The killing of Balar. Chapter 2: WIND 1. Wind and Moon. 2. Bé bhFionn and Eocha Aireamh. 3. The raising of Conaire Mór to kingship. 4. The downfall of Conaire Mór. Chapter 3: FIRE 1. The birth of Macan Óg. 2. The courtship of Macan Óg. 3. The pigs of Deirbhreann. 4. Aoibhleán the burner. 5. The horse of Macan Óg. 6. Fear Í the harper. 7. Seinbheag the harper and Linn Féig. Chapter 4: WATER 1. Neachtan’s spring. 2. Divine food. 3. The Spring God and Fire. 4. Mongán. 5. Manannán and Cormac. 6. The sacrifice to Manannán. Chapter 5: THE SPECKLED COW 1. The Ghost Cattle. 2. The harrowing of Death I. 3. The harrowing of Death II. Chapter 6: LIGHT AND DARK 1. The incarnations of the Twins. 2. Moirríoghan and the cattle prey.

3. Cú Chulainn, Lóch and Moirríoghan.

Chapter 7: THE THREE FACES OF MACHA 1. The three faces of Macha. 2. The gifts of the gods. 3. The three gods on earth. 4. Lughaidh Laoighdhe and kingship. 5. The tripartite sacrifice of Diarmuid mac Cearbhaill. Chapter 8: THE UNSUITABLE KING 1. The birth of Breas. 2. The kingship of Breas. 3. The ransoming of Breas. 4. The slaying of Breas. 5. The Three White Ones of Eamhain. 6. Breasal Cowplague. Chapter 9: STORM INCARNATE 1. The birth of Cú Chulainn. 2. Cú Chulainn visits the Otherworld. 3. The feast of Bricre Poisontongue.

Conclusion Select index

LIST OF SOURCES AND THEIR ABREVIATIONS When citing sources, reference is to page unless "line" or "paragraph" are mentioned below. Inscriptions are referred to by number. AA. ACR (paragraph) Adom. AF Anec. Manuscripts,1907-13 Arm. AS AS-SG ATDM (paragraph) AU l895. AV BD BDD Béal. BG BJ Rheinlande. BM BSAF CA CB CC CCC Cláiringhneach CCF CCum Celtica CGH CIH CIC Celticarum, 1945-49 CIL CIR CM CMM CMT (paragraph) CMTC CMT (C) CS DD DF DSI Européens, 1977. EC ED EE E.Müller: Aislinga Oengussa, RC 3.344ff, 1877. R.I.Best: Aided Con Roí maic Dairi, Eriu 2.20ff, 1905. A.O. and M O.Anderson: Adomnan’s Life of Columba, 1961. J.Vendryes: Airne Fingein, 1953. O.J.Bergin and others:Anecdota from Irish E.Gwynn: Book of Armagh - the Patrician documents, 1937. W.Stokes: Acallamh na Senórach, IT 4, 1900. (line) Agallamh na Senórach in SG L.Duncan:Altram Tige Dá Meadar,Eriu 11.186ff, 1932. W.M.Hennessy and B.MacCarthy:Annals of Ulster,1887Atharvaveda. (cycle,hymn,verse) W.Stokes: Bodleian Dindshenchas, 1892. E.Knott: Togail Bruidne Da Derga, 1936. (line) Béaloideas Caesar: De Bello Gallico. (book, chapter, verse) Bonner Jahrbücher des Vereins von Alterthumsfreunden im Bulletin Monumental. Bulletin de la Société des Antiquaires de France. W.Stokes: Cóir Anmann, IT 3.288ff, 1897. J.O’Neill: Cath Boinde, Eriu 2.17ff, 1905. A.G.Van Hamel: Compert Con Culainn, 1933. P.M.MacSweeney: The Martial Career of Conghal ITS 5, 1902. S.Ó Searcaigh: Cloich Cheann Fhaolaidh, 1911. M.E.Dobbs: Cath Cumair, RC 43.278ff, 1926. (paragraph) M.A.O’Brian: Corpus Genealogicarum Hibernicarum, 1962. D.A.Binchy: Corpus Iuris Hibernici, 1978. R.A.S.Macallster: Corpus Inscriptiorum Insularum Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. Brambach: Corpus Inscriptionum Rhenanarum. Compert Mongáin in IB. (paragraph) Cath Maige Mucrima in LL. (line) W.Stokes: Cath Maighe Tuireadh, RC 12.56ff, 1891. J.Fraser: The first battle of Magh Tuireadh, Eriu 8,4ff,1915. B.Ó Cuív: Cath Muighe Tuireadh, 1945. (line) W.W.Heist: Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae, 1965. E.C.Quiggin: A Dialect of Donegal, 1906. E.MacNeill: Duanaire Finn, ITS 7, 28, 1908, 1933. (poem) Georges Dumézil: Les dieux souverains des IndoEtudes Celtiques. W.Stokes: Edinburg Dindshenchas, Folk-Lore 4, 1893. Ephemeris Epigraphica.

A. LL 67.Bernard and R. J. Satapathabrahmana. Orelli-Henzen: Inscriptionum Latinarum selectarum K. hymn. 1910.Windisch: Irische Texte. NB OSL (paragraph) RA RC RE RIACon Irish Language.M.Bergin:Lebor na hUidre. 1868. Revue Celtique.Mueller-Lisowski: Imtheachta Moighi Ruith.1906.Dumézil: Jupiter Mars Quirinus. G. F F FDD 1926. K.1923.Sjoested-Jonval: Forbuis Droma Damhghaire. RC 43 (paragraph) M.ZCP W.H. 1903-35.1898.Bergin. 1891. (paragraph) J.44. Todd Lecture Series Vaillant: Notes Boullonnaises .S.185ff. Todd Lecture Series .O Grady: Silva Gadelica II 1892. Todd Lecture Series 16.Stokes: Scél na Fír Flatha. Revue épigraphique du midi de la France. 1938-56.Eigse EN Eriu ERPS Saintonge.chapter. 1958. (paragraph) S.41. 1954S. Revue Archéologique. (lemma) Serglige Con Culainn in LU. G. 1864. FTC GT HP 1939.H.35. M.Ó Duilearga: Leabhar Sheáin Í Chonaill. R.line) K. Irish Texts IT ITI ITS JMQ LG LH Hymnorum.39.Meyer: Eachtra Nerai.L. verse) W. 1970.214ff. Lejay: Inscriptions antiques de la Côte d’Or. 1929.Stokes: Cormac’s Glossary. FL FNE FSA Achill.Epigraphie de la Morinine. 1899. RC 10. 1.24ff. RV SC SCC SFF SG SPB TBF 13.Macalister: Lebor Gabála Erenn.Meyer: The Colloquy between Fintan and the Hawk of Anec. Royal Irish Academy: Contributions to a dictionary of the (lemma) Rgveda.Best. (line) E.Meyer: Fiannaigecht. (line) LSC LU MD 7. IMR 14. ITS 30. l962.MacNeill: The Festival of Lughnasa. IACO IB IBP ILS amplissima collectio.Best and O. (line) Gregory of Tours: Historia Francorum.Joynt: Feis Tighe Chonáin. 1948. N.O’Brian: The Book of Leinster. K.Dumézil: L’ideologie tripartie des Indo-Européens. Irish Texts Society G.Henderson: Fled Bricrend. ITS 2.Bergin: Irish Bardic Poetry. 1895.154ff. 1941.O. 1936.Atkinson: 0n The Irish Liber R.Meyer: The Voyage of Bran.Gwynn: The Metrical Dindshenchas. K.O’Donovan and others: Ordnance Survey Letters.Stokes and E. (paragraph) M.I. (cycle.Meyer: The Triads of Ireland.Ross: Heroic Poetry from the Book of the Dean of Ismore. (paragraph) O. Todd: Martyrology of Donegal. 1907. IT 3. (paragraph) Espérandieu: Épigraphie Romaine du Poitou et de la K.I. R. (cycle. (line) W.

Larminie: West Irish Folktales and Romances. 1896.142ff.Plummer: Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae. K.Best: Tochmarc Étaine. Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie. 1972. IT 2.Stokes: Tripartite Life of Patrick.241ff. 1893. W. 1887.Ó Colm: Toraigh na dTonn. 1887. 1910. E. 1967. (paragraph) Tochmarc Emire in CC.TBFr TBR TDG TE 1938.I. (line) E. C.J. TEm TLP TT VSH WIF YBL YI ZCP Táin Bó Fraích in LL. 1971.Ní Shéaghdha: Tóruigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne. . ITS 48. R. (paragraph) N.Bergin and R. Eriu 12. (line) O.Atkinson: Yellow Book of Lecan.Windisch: Tain Bo Regamna. (paragraph) W.Danaher: The year in Ireland.

(1) The Shaman God has four names. In other cases. He shows the dichotomy typical of the shaman in that he is at once a terrible and majestic priest-king and a classical Trickster. under the name Fear Í (LL 37094ff). Aodh and Cearmaid (LL 1158). "Yew god". and also the coupling with the Sky God. of course. The descriptions of him bear this out. one over the other. aspects. the archaic legal formula Glé fo Erc nEbron (CIH 1506. nine men on either . In post-pagan Ireland. we shall examine in order (1) The Nine Great Gods (2) The Four Great Goddesses (3) The Young Gods (4) Other deities. Ebron which occurs only in Ebron. the god with the yew spear.under the names Macan Óg.a pantheon. the Drought God. which simplifies matters for the researcher. The Shaman God. the Storm God. Brighid (LL 1365. The task of understanding Irish myths is complicated from the outset by the fact that many gods have aliases . Only when this is done. the Wind God. Earc. the Fire God. all of which are ultimately epithets. attributes and functions. basically husband to the Earth Goddess in her aspect as Moirríoghan (CMT 84). at least one of the available texts clearly identifies a certain name as an alternative for another. The Shaman God is. The second.PART I: THE PANTHEON Chapter 1 THE IRISH PANTHEON The aim of this first part is to present the gods who function in the myths as a structured whole .2223) "let him swear by Erc and Ebron". Earc (TE I 1-2). Bóinn. as the Daghdha. The fourth. the Sea God. the Sun God. these aliases frequently came to be regarded as completely separate personages and only the cumulative sifting of all references enables one to distinguish the personage in his own right from the alias masquerading as a separate personage. in exact parallel to the Vedic Mitra-Varuna (DSI). wife of the Sky God. there is the meaning. The first step is to set out the individual gods with their respective aliases. however.e. others indicating a particular aspect of the god’s nature. the Sky God. This is confirmed by the fact that both are stated to be father of Áine. The Nine Great Gods are. In the case of Ebron. as Eoghabhal. The third is Eoghabhal (LL 37094ff) from common Celtic *IWOGABLOS "Yew spear" i. family relationships if any. in order: the Shaman God. is Eochaidh Ollathair (LL 1106) reflecting common Celtic *IWOKATUS OLLOATÎR "Yew-fighter the great father". will it become clear what the general structure of the pantheon is. To students of Indoeuropean mythology this will come as no surprise: the practice is widespread. Clearly the names Eochaidh "Yew-fighter" and Eoghabhal "Yew-spear" could indicate identity. The Fire God is the product of the god’s adulterous liaison with the Water Goddess. appears to reflect common Celtic *EB(U)RONOS "Yew god" (compare the Gaulish tribal name Eburones).some mere epithets. the Smith God. In one. The first and most common is the Daghdha (TE I 1-2) which reflects common Celtic *DAGODÊWOS "the good god". In this first section. he is shown as a large man with a dark gray cloak and seven hoods. LG 317). explicitly stated to be equivalent to the first. a byname of the Dawn Goddess. is also father of the Fire God . unfortunately. the upper being shorter than the preceding lower one.

had its counterpart among the mainland Celts. CMT 84) an epithet which. The Moon Goddess. This function.who is described as Patrick’s lawspeaker and whose habitat . MD 4. and lives at the Bruigh (the megalithic monument at Newgrange overlooking the Boyne). The Shaman God’s functions are explicitly stated: "Another name for him was the Good God. At a later point in time. responsible for the highest magic of all: life. the Sky identical to the god’s (TLP 4044. the barrel which does not stop leaking at flood tide but which gives no drop at ebb (BD 8. Elcmaire. killing them. as such. returns to the well whence it came (TBF 237).at first on the Boyne near the Bruigh and. The name Earc is retained (as noted above). in the archaic legal formula Glé fo Erc nEbron "let him swear by Erc and Ebron" (CIH 1506. heavy enough for eight men. Hence. after elevation to the episcopate. He is the divine magician and. Earc is the husband of the Water Goddess. Bóinn (also the river Boyne). however. during which time the sun never sets and meanwhile begets a son on the Water Goddess. is appropriately named.. (3) . at Slane nearby .the day after Samhain and traditionally included in the celebrations of Samhain. Interestingly. as noted above. and then reverses the process (LL 35023ff). is clear: he is the lawspeaker of the gods (LL 29461f. bringing them to life." (TE I 1-2). 1183. of Old Irish *Erc Már "great sky". too. and legging shoes of horse skin with the fur outside. the bishop’s feast day was celebrated on 2 November .58). the díorna (a stone of power) which. in Welsh wybr and Breton ebr "sky".none other than the Sky God baptized . There is no indication in the texts that Earc has any distinguishing physical aspect or numinous attribute. he has several other attributes: the cauldron from which no company goes unsatisfied (LG 305). This would seem to be Elcmair. voluntary or involuntary. which thus links Earc to the Fire God and the feast of Samhain at the Bruigh (DB 40).2223). His function.. He touches one set of nine men with the "storm end".side of him and a huge iron club in his hand. persisted in the tradition even after he was Christianized as Bishop Earc. because it was he that made the miracles and governed the weather and fruits for them. Apart from the club of life and death. (2) Earc. MD 2. 1565). after which it retreated to the "magic sea" (MD 4. In another description he wears a short hood. one end of it being the "storm end" and the other the "mild end". with metathesis. the future Fire God. Ercmaire) a literary corruption. Then the Daghdha came with his "storm club" and dived onto the sea snail and uttered a spell over it. the connexion with water and the sea illustrated by his barrel and by the following: There was a large sea snail which used to suck a fully armed warrior into its "house bag". Hence the aspect of fertility god which is especially marked in his copulations before the battle of Magh Tuireadh and by the epithet Fear Beann (the Horned Man) by which he names himself on one of these occasions (ZCP 12.269). as we shall see. Earc is tricked into ceding the Bruigh to Macan Óg and thereafter takes up residence at Cleiteach on the other bank of the Boyne (TE I). he drags a vast club. the track it leaves is large enough to be a boundary ditch (CMT 93). Bé bhFionn. a brown tunic down as far as the cleft of his buttocks. and the harp on which he has bound tunes so that they will not sound until he calls them (CMT 163). It is also retained in the name of Bishop Earc . Macan Óg. is a daughter of Earc and Bóinn (AS-SG 229). and the other set with the "mild end". Behind him.294). In the strictly mythological context.264). The Shaman God sends him on a journey of nine months. Old Irish erc is glossed "sky" (RIACon Erc). even if thrown into the sea or locked inside a house. however.401-462. the name used is Elcmar or Ercmar (genitive Elcmair Elcmaire Ercmaire (LL 1156. and clearly represerts common Celtic *ERQOS which is found.

Donn has the epithet Deascorach ("of the just contracts"). TDG 882) and Donn of Reachrainn (Rathlin Island off Co. the Fire God is the son of the Shaman God. he is credited in the earliest text with two sons who are one. in the older texts and suffers further corruption to In Mac Oc (TE I 1-2). Aed Caem (i.182f) and. is Macan Óg ("the divine son") which reflects common Celtic *MAQONOS and is identical to Welsh Mabon and the Gaulish and Old British god Maponos who was equated to Apollo (CIL 7. Protean in aspect and attribute.Kerry and then gradually approaching Ráth Mhór in Co. as Eoghabhal. by false etymology. This same dwarf god of music turns up in another myth as Seinbheag ("the old little one") (RC 5. Conaire Mór. Dá Dearga (BDD 265).like the Indian Agni . CMT 60). has a triad of sons who are one. the god of music and corresponds to Fear Í. Fear Í and Aoibhleán. In the Togail Bruidne Dá Derga. FL 201ff).is the earliest noted. RIACon Donn). fire) is the Fire God himself. Arguably the most common name. So. AS-SG 103.e. The name Aonghas is explicitly stated to be equivalent to Macan Óg and is interchanged with it in the texts (LL simply called Aodh ("Fire") (SC Aedh) with an alternative name Aoibhléan ("spark") (LL 3350). The Welsh Mabon is son of Modron (from common Celtic *MÂTRONÂ. who is going to his death in the hostel of Dá Dearga say: "We are riding the horses of Donn Deascorach from the other world. "the divine mother". the latter being more common and occurring in several localized variants around the coast. Donn of Dumhach (in Co.e. he hears him at first wading through Castlemaine harbour in Co. that of his youthful aspect.e. Aiblen) 199). the Fire God .199. none other than the House of Donn. 157. as Abhcán ("the dwarf") (LL 1185. LL 30434). Donn of Teach Doinn (MD 4. The offshore location of many of these sites is due to the belief that the dead dwelt in the Western Isles. CCC 72-82) who doubles as Aodh of Reachrainn (AS-SG 103. Although we are alive. LL 29736). Cearmaid Honeymouth) (LL 1158). elsewhere. The three Red Ones who ride before the king. We have already noted above that the Shaman God. of course. different aspects of the same personage (LL 3350). The name is written Mac ind Oc (MD 3.Limerick) (CF 371. He is thus brother of the Dawn Goddess.310. Fear Í. this triad represents three aspects of the same personage. reflecting common Celtic *DÊWOS DERGÂS ("the god of the Red Woman" i.Clare) (AS-SG 199. As judge of the dead. He is also god of music and judge of the dead. we are dead. by virtue of his epithet. TE I 1-2). it is clear that Caoilte is coming from Teach Doinn. Aoibhleán (Middle Irish Aiblen is often corruptly transmitted in later texts as Aillen (AS-SG 130. 199) or Donn ("the dark red one") (MD 4.218).386. as Brighid (daughter of the Daghdha) (LG 317) or as . is described as a "little man" with a three-stringed tympanum sitting in a yew bush over a waterfall. The Lebor Gabála gives a triad as "sons of the Daghdha": Oengus Mac Og (i. As is often the case. he has a variety of names and/or epithets which in the postpagan period were interpreted as distinct personages. (IB 45-48) Although the text is not explicit. In his basic aspect. When Mongán mac Fiachna summons the shade of Caoilte mac Rónáin to give evidence about the death of Fothadh Airgdeach. an epithet of the Water Goddess which survives in the name of the river Marne in France). ("the man of the yew"). the Fire God is either called Aodh (LL 30434." (BDD329f) Dá Dearga’s hostel is. son of Eoghabhal (like the Daghdha.310) ("The House of Donn where the dead have their tryst") (AF 257) the Bull Rock off Dursey Island in West Cork .Son of the Shaman God and the Water Goddess. The otherwise colourless Cearmaid is clearly. Aonghas Macan Óg). TDG 883. As already noted above. as the Daghdha. but there is also Donn of Frighrinn (Cnoc Fírinne in Co. the Shaman God) (LL 37122ff).e beloved Aodh) and Cermait Milbel (i. the Fire God is many sided: he is god both of fire and of youth.Antrim.Antrim) (AS-SG 199.

This attribute of his aspect as god of music occurs most usually when he has this aspect.the first is made son of the daughter of Dáire while the second is made son of Dáire. the Fire God is apparently only distinguished as god of music . Aodh) the salmon of Eas Ruaidh (FSA 21. as Aoibhleán.89). with its power to produce the Three Strains of laughter. it sees (him) from afar and is not carried out of its way. He is also messenger of the gods in this aspect (MD 4. incarnate as Cú Chulainn. as Midhir (TE I 1-2). however.32ff).26). When the Storm God. enemy of Neachtan incarnate as Fionn mac Cumhaill (LU 3179ff) and to Aodh of Eas Ruaidh (FSA 21. the sinful souls approach the house of Donn before going to hell. This is the belief of the heathen. may be responsible for the epithet Goll ("one-eyed") applied to Aodh. Linn Féig. Cú Raoi’s name reflects common Celtic *KÛ ROIWÎ "the hound of the Great Yew" and. As god of youth. In one text he is called Noíndiu Noimbrethach) Noibrethach (correctly Noídiu Noimbrethach "infant of the nine births" since his mother carried him for nine times nine months. is a judge (FB 78. pacific but extremely powerful with his "sleeping strain". The salmon also occurs in connexion with the Fire God’s incarnation as Cú Raoi (ACR 1) . is salmon-fishing in this pool. As Fire God. he is the divine tympanum-player. MD 3. the god is a shape-changer who.182f). The connexion with the salmon of knowledge is that Cú Raoi’s soul is said to be in a golden apple inside a salmon which appears once every seven years in a well near his dwelling at Cathair Chon Raoi in Co. he is a judge and ruler of the island where the dead reside. he is son (of the Shaman God) and fosterson (of the Wind God) and lover (of the Earth Goddess) (AA. he combines attributes both of fire god and god of music. But if it is a righteous and truly repentant soul. As far as physical aspect is concerned. in order to greet the soul of Donn. The functions of the Fire God are usually separated to coincide with his aspect of the moment .386). As fire god. cannot be separated from the Fire God’s name.he is a dwarf. his "natural" kinship to the one-eyed Drought God. As god of music. weeping and sleep. The Ruadhán ("red one") who aids Balar by attacking the Smith God before the battle of Magh Tuireadh is conceivably an alias for Aodh (CMT 124f). As judge of the dead. Fear Í. When this is killed with his own sword. Seinbheag tries to prevent him (RC 5. A further attribute is the bronze boat used by Seinbheag and by Abhcán.Kerry. incarnation of the Storm God.yet we have seen that. This same text states that Macan Óg was the father (CGH 188f). one of whose habitats was the pool. And one of Fiontan’s many incarnations is as Goll (i.the enemy of Cú Chulainn. The Fire God’s main attribute is his tympanum. Cú Raoi dies (Eriu 2. He is also fosterson of the Wind God. in the Boyne near the Bruigh (the dwelling which the Fire God as Macan Óg took over from explicitly stated in Sanas Cormaic (SC Aedh). Balar. AF 168. but this is mere genealogical juggling. There is a strong connexion between the Fire God as god of music and the salmon of knowledge. like Donn.310) Incarnate as Cú Raoi. as such. But it also occurs in connexion with his fiery aspect: as Aoibhleán.58). (4) .e. he first uses his tympanum to send the warriors of Teamhair to sleep and then proceeds to burn the hall with his main attribute by breathing out fire from his mouth (AS-SG 130). The identity of "Noíndiu Noibrethach" with Cú Raoi is not in doubt . he is obviously fire ." (MD 4. Macan Óg is also called rí Féiglinne ("king of Linn Féig") (LL 29755). as Fear Í or as Seinbheag.Áine (daughter of Eoghabhal) (LL 37102). As the Dinnsheanchas puts it. in a somewhat garbled fashion: "According to the heathen. the Sky God).26).

of uncertain meaning.usually inaccurately translated as "distortion" . is an incarnation of the Storm God. the celebrated riastradh of Cú Chulainn . Lugoves (CIL 2. One eye sank back into his head while the other stood out on his cheek. daughter of the Drought God Balar (LL 1147. It is interesting to note that. as a Celtic group deity in Spain. and Eithne. the lower part of his cheeks coming away from the bone so that his gullet was visible. stating merely that Cú Chulainn is Lugh’s son (LU 6307.2818.288). Flashes of fire were seen in the air above him. The veins in his head went to his neck. Cian. 12. 1150. a straight drop of dark red blood rose up from the top of his head and became a black mist of magic like the smoke rising from a royal hostel when a king comes to feast on a winter’s evening. since Balar manages to kill the first two sons (OSL (Donegal) 95). The absolute identity of the two is repeated elsewhere (LL 17995ff) although the Táin Bó Cuailnge is less clear. We are dealing then. shins and knees turned to the back. the third son of this a description of the incarnate Storm God taking on his divine aspect as Storm: "His limbs shook like a tree or a bullrush carried along by a stream." (LL 9700ff) This is paralleled by the description of Lugh rising in drunkenness before the battle of Magh Tuireadh and dragging after him the chains and the stone pillars to which he had been bound to keep him from the fight (CMT-C 156ff).820. Saint Molua of Cluain Fearta. It is identical to the Welsh Lleu and the Gaulish god Lugus whose name is found in the several towns called Lugudunon "the fort of Lugus" (principally Lyon in France and Leiden in the Netherlands). Lugh then appears to her in a dream and says that she is pregnant with him and that he will be born as Séadanta (Cú Chulainn) (CC 5). When Cian flees Balar’s stronghold with the Smith God’s cow and the infant Lugh. 701ff) and his spear (streak lightning) which no man may withstand (LG 305). 13. where he acquires many kinds of knowledge and is known as Samhioldánach "the many-skilled one" (CMT 53). 1237). He is. 6478). The beating of his heart in his rib cage was like the baying of a hunting pack. Eventually he comes to Teamhair. LL 13779). 75) and fulfills the prophecy that he will kill his grandfather by slaying Balar at the battle of Magh Tuireadh (CMT 135. His mouth stretched wide. His feet.5078). with a god whose appellation is pan-Celtic although the Gaulish Storm God is usually called simply Taranus or Taranucnos "thunder" (CIL 3. calves and popliteal hollows turned to the front. 6094. This is explicitly stated in the story of his conception and birth which describes Lugh entering Deichtine’s mouth in the form of a small insect. . The Storm God is the son of the Sun God. Eigse 8. of course. the Sea God Manannán takes Lugh for fostering to Eamhain Abhlach (WIF 242ff. It also features in the plural. each knot standing out as large as the head of a month old child. a name ultimately identical to the Scandinavian Thor. His lungs and his liver came up and floated in his throat and mouth.2804. in the Christian period. Every sinew in his calves swelled like a warrior’s fist and stood out on his shins. His hair curled round his head like branches of red hawthorn in a re-fenced gap. in fact. the youthful hero of the Ulster cycle. The name Lugh is often accompanied by the epithet Lámhfhada "the longhanded" (CMT-C 1) which corresponds to the Welsh Llawgyffes. In fact. Streak lightning is. the long hand which hurls the thunderbolt. The warrior light arose from his forehead till it was as long and as broad as a fighting man’s whetstone. OSL (Donegal) 90). The Storm God’s attributes are the Thunderbolt (ball lightning) which the Smith God forges for him to kill the Drought God (CMT-C 677.The Storm God’s name is Lugh (LL 1147. displaces the Wind God Nuadha from the kingship of the gods (CMT 53. his heels. CMT 55) from common Celtic *LUGUS. Like the mast of a large ship. Cú Chulainn. Flashes of fire as large as the skin of a three year old wether dripped out of his throat into his mouth.

is restricted to his aspect as father of Fionn. 3646). "The angel of the Lord" came and breathed on it. This would hardly be noteworthy by itself. he is married in the first instance to an avatar of the Earth Goddess.predisposes to some connexion with the Storm God.26. celtic *NEUDONTS "the seizer" and is identical to the Welsh Nudd (or Lludd) and the British god Nodons or Nodens. replaced it with a silver one. Midhir shows the attributes of the wind by transporting vast quantities of material in a single night to build a causeway across the marshes of Teathbha in the . Whereat the man was cured (VSH Molua 2). Like Lugh. Luadha’s weapon. apparently alone among the gods. The Leinster name of the Wind God is Nuadha (Old Irish Nuadu genitive Nuadat (LL Nuadu. the combination of "water from heaven" and "fire from heaven" are the hallmark of the Storm God. He has a further name in his aspect as god of strength. The identity is assured by the Welsh equivalent of Fionn son of Cumhall which is Gwyn (=Fionn) son of Nudd(=Nuadha). the second being centred on the Midlands. One day a heavy shower put out their fire. Fuamnach (the noisy one) (LL 1416. and the Welsh variant Lludd besides Nudd. Nuadat) 1133) which reflects common. he is the youngest of three sons (VSH II Molua 1). did in fact take over certain of his aspects. Namat is obviously a (conscious) corruption of "Nuadat". Nuadha’s plain) (LL 6069. both representing common Celtic *KAMULOS. going out with the other shepherd boys. soon replaced by the ubiquitous Dian Céacht (TE I 9f). Yet another name for Nuadha. TE I 15). Unlike Nuadha.e. Celtic *LUGUDEKS "worshiper of Lugh") . while the third is linked with Ulster. But among his "miracles" we find: (1) A man who suffered from frequent headaches and a bad chest ulcer saw the infant Molua "burning with a flame like lightning".21).46. is the sword.140. Cumhall (LU 3179ff). equated to Mars (CIL 7. The identity of the two is indicated in the texts by the following circumstantial evidence: (1) "Cacher" and Neachtan are made the two sons of Nama (in the genitive form Namat) Namat (LL 1154). one is tempted to see here a corruption of *Labraid Luadu Lám ar Cloidem (the Speaker Nuadha Hand-on-sword) and *Labraid Luadu (the Speaker Nuadha). The name itself corresponds to the British war god Camulos (CIL 6. He has the epithet Airgeadlámh "Silverhand" (LL 1133) since he lost one hand in battle and Dian Céacht.whose name . FNE 286). As Midhir. In both incidents. "Caithear" (i. sailing in the sky for protracted spells of time by means of a howling gale (TE I 18. LL 1366.26) which was originally an epithet. When the child was brought to him. Thus Nuadha is "Nama" is Labhraidh. Then Molua picked up a damp and dead firebrand. 3340.a hypocoristic form of Lughaidh (common. (2) Molua acted as shepherd for his parents. 1416). 943). one being connected with the Leinster tribes on the East coast. whereat it again flared up and the shepherds were able to dry themselves at their fire (VSH Molua 3). the incarnate Neachtan. Molua) "wept and his tears fell on the man’s chest". Bé bhFionn. "Cacher") is one of the sons of Nuadha (LG 368). the Sun God (and god of healing).1103). since folk myths teem with the youngest of three sons. his arm is meither missing nor replaced. In view of the variant Luadha which occurs in Magh Luadhad besides Magh Nuadhad (Maynooth. The Midland name of the Wind God is Midhir (TE I 2ff. who is the Wind God’s second wife. 7. Neachtan is the son of Labhraidh (MD 3. he (i. LL 17940). (5) The Wind God has three main names which appear to reflect regional or tribal differences. whose main attribute is that of the storm wind: she sends the Moon Goddess. A further name for Nuadha is Labhraidh "the talker" (MD 3. But he does lose an eye. this name clearly developed early into a separate god.e. (2) Labhraidh is called Labraid Luathlám ar Cloidem (the Speaker Swift-hand on sword) and Labraid Luath (the Swift Speaker) (LU 3313.

. An earlier epithet. Nuadha. 1412). the Wind God is called Oghma. Oghma embodies his strength. that look on the eye would withstand him. Badhbh or Bé Néid ("Néid’s wife") (SC Neith. No troop. wood and trees began to heat up. As Midhir. Macan Óg (TE I 2).. Of Oghma. Eithne has three sons by him. His name is Néid and.. since he is unable to face the Drought God. (LL 1095) This name clearly. The classical writer Lucian states that Ogmios was the Celtic Hercules.72). however. does have the former kill the latter (LL 1366).Midlands (TE III 7). As to physical aspect. It is Balar (LL 1086) which reflects common Celtic *BALEROS "the deadly one". the whole land caught fire.. At the fourth. but does have a daughter. reflects common Celtic *KALETOBOLKOS "the hard pass". The same is true of the offspring of the first two.. he is foster father to the Fire God. Nuadha embodies the kingship of the Wind God. No myths concerning the Wind God in this aspect have been preserved. Midhir levitates . once drawn.88) This singularly unpleasant deity has apparently no wife." (CMT 133) The folk tradition is at once less prosaic and much closer to what must have been the original aspect of the Drought God: "He had one poisonous eye in his forehead. Balar’s aspect and attribute are one and the same: his single eye. Midhir and Néid never figure in the same myth or mythical context. Its name. smoke came out of wood and trees. He also flies (TE I 9f). is irresistible. At the same time. (6) The Drought God in his divine aspect has only one name. At the first. one after the other. Four men lifted his eyebrow off his eye.(Hercules 1). Oghma is simply strong. opened only during battle. At the fifth. At the third. everything got red hot. Nuadha’s attribute is his sword which. Obviously. Midhir is simply described as a young man with long golden hair and blue candle-like eyes (TE III 1). He took the cloaks off one by one. he is definitively replaced by the young Storm God. CMT-C 14). "of the blows") or Bailcbhéimneach ("of the mighty blows"). after losing his arm. WIF 242ff). Oghma is closely united to Nuadha in the myths. Later texts often add the epithet Béimneach. In Ulster. Thereafter. acting as court wrestler to Nuadha as king (CMT 59. When Balar steals the Green Cow of the Smith when he rises up with the Moon Goddess through the smoke hole of Eocha Aireamh’s court (TE III 15). since they are identical but belong to variant traditions. was Birugderc "of the piercing eye" (CMT 133) which is apter. like Midhir. Balar. At the this case she is called Neamhan. At the sixth. the Wind God has the aspect of war god and is so described. At the seventh. Caladhbholg. but the third ." (Béal. the Sun God Cian comes to get it back (OSL (Donegal) 90ff. but irregularly. grass began to redden. plague". there is no description at all other than the epithet Grianeinech ("sunfaced") (LL 1153. Eithne (LL 1086). Lugh (CMT 53. which via Welsh Caledfwlch has given the Arthurian Excalibur. in a poem obviously inspired by the anti-pagan idea of showing that the so-called gods were in fact mortals. Balar kills the first two. 4. It was always covered with seven cloaks to keep it cool. Nuadha is marked by his silver hand. In his aspect as God of Strength. LL 1183. The literary tradition describes it as "a destructive eye. he is married to the Earth Goddess in her aspect as war goddess . ferns began to wither. Neachtan and Sioghmhall . He is at first king of the gods but. is first "suspended from duty" since this physical blemish incapacitates him for kingship.74).although the Lebor Gabála. originally an epithet. reflects common Celtic *OGMIOS. The function of the Wind God best typified by Nuadha (or Cumhall) is that of the displaced leader of the divine warband. however great. cognate with Old Irish at baill "dies" and Welsh ball "death.

the other harsh and warlike. but no permanent wife or children. knowing good and bad weather" (SE Manannán). is referred to as "the sea king’s wife" (LU p.13). When he appears to Bran mac Feabhail. WIF 242ff) since only Storm can banish Drought. A further attribute of Manannán are his pigs. LG poem 66. There is no doubt that this represents an earlier *Trethri. Lugh (IBP 79. although this is not explicitly stated. As is proper. sends the hearer to sleep. LU 10016ff. 24502). When these are killed and eaten. Lugh (OSL (Donegal) 95. they are alive and well the next day (SF 42. The first is Manannán mac Lir (LL 1320) "the Manxman son of the sea" which corresponds to the Welsh Manawyddan fab Llyr. Sanas Cormaic states specifically that both Irish and Welsh honoured him as sea god (SC Manannán). Fionn mac Cumhaill. probably enable him to walk on water. Teathra. LG 319). Indeed. (SFF 25. WIF 242ff).25. 76. as battle goddess. (8) . (7) The Sea God has two names. the god has no distinguishing physical aspect.288ff). TE m 17. Manannan is once referred to as Easach (LG 319. *Trethri would reflect common Celtic *TRIYATORÎX "sea king". There is also mention of a silver branch (with golden applles in one text. The scald crow. Apart from the indefatigable efforts of the genealogists which are not to be taken too seriously. Tethrach. his pigs . As Manannán. IB 2) This branch is certainly connected with the magic apple trees in Manannán’s domain of Eamhain Abhlach ("Eamhain of the apple trees") whose fruit have rejuvenating properties (AS-SG 103. he is a merchant. his grandson is fated to kill Balar (OSL (Donegal) 90ff. A probable incarnation of Balar is Flann ("the red one") who opposes the incarnate Neachtan. The texts mention many liaisons (LU 3338. particularily in the context "rough sea" (RIACon Trethan. 38).and his fleeting loves. As sea king. appears in the texts as Tethrai with a genitive Tethrach (CMT 25. genitive *Trethreg. The cloak has magic properties: when waved between two persons. at the Ford of the Stone (Áth Liag at the north end of Lough Ree) and whom Neachtan defeats with the Stone of Power (lightning) handed to him by the Water Goddess (MD 4. The metal shoes. 1237). Fish are referred to by the kenning buar Tethrach "the sea king’s cattle" or buar maige Tethrach "the cattle of the sea king’s plain" (TEm 17. he has no chariot but wears a rich cloak over a tunic and metal shoes (electrum in one text. ATDM 2. The Sea God’s functions are clear. he is the raging sea. when shaken.50. When on land. the descriptions are more lavish. a kenning meaning "boat man" derived from early Irish ess "boat. the first part of which is found in early Irish as triath "sea". with dissimilatory loss of the first r. He is.36. so long as the bones are not broken. corresponding to his two aspects: the one peaceful and beneficent to men. Eigse 8. He also has the overtones of a fertility god with his apples. 124). "the best navigator in Western Europe. however. against the Storm God. As sea king. a pirate. the Sea God appears to have no known relatives. LL 1150. LL 1157. the foster father of the Storm God.vessel" (RIACon Ess). AS-SG 175. As Manannán. and thus on the side of the Drought God Balar. to whom in his other aspect he is foster father. as befits a sea rover. with flowers in another) carried by Manannán or by his emissary which. both originally epithets.58). they will never meet again (LU 4032). CM 3). As owner of these pigs. The second. Eigse 8.289. 162. 31). he is driving his chariot over the waves and explains that what for Bran is sea and fishes is for him a wide plain with grazing cattle (IB 32ff). gold in another) (SFF 25.escapes to become the Storm God. MD 4. however. Lugh (CMT 25). Triath).

equally bright by night and day to those within it (FDD 63). like his Greek counterpart Apollo. had lost his arm. "the warrior of the chariot". The purely solar deity is represented by Mugh Roith reflecting common Celtic *MAGUS ROTÎ. the chariot being that of the sun (IMR. let Corn Measure still remain" (CMT 33ff). As Mugh Roith. the following myth interestingly combines the two: When the Wind God. Then 365 herbs of healing grew out of his tomb "according to the number of his joints and veins". As god of healing. marches" which has been nominalized in the sense of "path".a mere guess. and the fruit of this union is the Storm God. he has mixed the 365 herbs so that only a leech can know their proper use. Nuadha. As god of healing. Cian "the distant one" is an epithet for the Sun God. Starting with the monastic Lebor Gabála. His son Miach ("Bushel") was not satisfied and made Nuadha’s old arm grow back on ("joint to joint and vein to vein"). Miach was buried. He is sometimes referred . In the myths. was obviously no longer understood by the earlier glossators who suggest "strength" . At the fourth attempt Dian Céacht finally slew him. he becomes the lover of Eithne. as Sun God. daughter of Balar. As god of healing. His original name is preserved in no text. which is necessarily a genitive plural in function (it cannot be an adjective since Dian is declined but Céacht is not). however. he has a son Miach ("Bushel") and a daughter Airmheadh ("Corn measure") (LL 1168. however. 1122. had mixed the 365 days of the year so that only a seer can know the actions for which a given day is favorable (Irish Texts 4. 1108.first as a purely solar deity. reflects common Celtic *GOBENNONOS or *GOBANNONOS "smith god".The Irish Sun God. While there is no doubt about the twin functions of healing and time measurement which are proper to the Sun God.8f). also known as the Lake of Herbs. described as being drawn by two oxen. CGH 280). who cured himself successfully three times. But Dian Céacht came and scattered them so that noone now knows their proper use unless inspired by the spirit. It blinds whoever looks at it. Dian Céacht is thus "the swift (traveller) of the paths" which is an apt enough epithet for a Sun God. Lugh (LL 1147). Mugh Roith can stop the sun (IMR 155). deafens whoever hears it and kills whoever it strikes (MD 4. (9) The Smith God has two names which correspond to his dual function: first as divine smith and second as hospitaler to the gods. 1342ff. 1147). The older texts also have a secondary form Goibniu (genitive Goibnenn Goibnenn). Céacht. a rowan chariot with shafts of electron and sides of glass. SC Nescoit). he frequently forms a triad with two acolytes. And Dian Céacht said "If there is no Bushel. MD 4. Gods killed in the battle of Magh Tuireadh are put into this at night and arise alive and well the next day (CMT 123. CMT 122.184). Cian is made a son of Dian Céacht (LL 1085. As divine smith he is Gaibhneann (LL 1122. 1235. his three names being all originally epithets. Dian Céacht. which in itself is an indication that they are in fact one person. My own guess is that Céacht is the old passive participle of the verb cingid "steps. CMT 123). neither of whom have any independent function. 126. his attribute is the Well of Healing. Dian Céacht made a silver one to replace it. The first element presents no problem as it simple means "swift". has a dual function .188. Dian Céacht was enraged and tried to kill his son. they never appear together. which. His sister Airmheadh ("Corn measure") spread out her cloak and collected them. Brighid. like its Welsh equivalent Gofannon. 1341). In this capacity. the Sun God is married to the Dawn Goddess. Since he is its master. As Dian Céacht. FDD). The question of his hospitaller aspect is more complicated. in her aspect as Bé Leighis ("wife of healing") (SC Brigit). As Dian Céacht. the sun chariot. the Sun God’s attribute is. second as god of healing. Luchtaine the carpenter god and Créidhne the tinsmith god (LL 1076. he is called Dian Céacht (SC Dian Céacht). obviously. As Cian.

Down placename Loch Bricleann (Loughbrickland) indicates that the original form was *Bricliu (genitive *Briclenn). Lugh (CMT 96. MD 4. Wizard’s briocht) powers are commonly attributed to smiths in Irish folklore and the Smith God a fortiori shares this trait: he chants spells (di chan brichtu (SC Nescoit). AS 6402. 2.297). In connexion with the Fire God she is called Deirbhreann (variants Drebrenn. in the context of the Ulster cycle. As mother goddess. F as Gaibhneann in this capacity (ATDM 2. each of which has its own name or names. CMTc 48.128. she would fill with milk. OSL (Donegal) 90ff. She also has the aspect Bé nGaibhneachta "wife of smithery" (SC Brigit) which means that she is married to Gaibhneann in this aspect. is the mother of the same two (LL 24601). the Moon Goddess. As hospitaler of the gods. the Dawn Goddess. he appears as Bricre Poisontongue (Old Irish Bricriu genitive Bricrenn (FB Bricriu. Bricrenn) 1) while in the Lebor Gabála and associated texts the same name appears as Tuirell Bicrenn. OSL (Donegal) 90ff. reflects common Celtic *TEUTÂ DÊWÂS DONONÂS "the people of the divine Earth". with some morphological reshuffling in the last word. The Co. He is also owner of the cow of plenty. has four additional aspects.172. WIF 242ff).196) from common Celtic *MORORÎGONÂ "the goddess queen of death". however. 129) in the older texts (later corrupted to Tuatha Dé Donann and Tuatha Dé Danann) (LL 1263). she has a druidic aspect. In the first place. he has his forge in which he forges the thunderbolt for the Storm God. Fleadh Bhricreann. Iuchar and Iucharbha (LG 319. the Dawn Goddess. all sources agreeing that any vessel put under her. This concludes our examination of the Nine Great Gods. In the Ulster cycle.59) but she figures very prominently in the folk tradition. apart from her basic function as mother of the gods. thus corresponding to the terrible side of the Shaman God’s nature (the "storm end" of his club). 1180) which reflects common Celtic *MAGOSOWÂ "the great mother (genitrix)" the second element of which is cognate with Irish suth "offspring". 6. 122. This reflects common Celtic *BRIKTLIÛ "spell master" derived from *BRIKTLON a synonym of *BRIKTUS (Irish briocht "spell". leads to the birth of Lugh and ultimately to Balar’s death. Consequently Gaibhneann and Bricre are identical as father of the Twins. She is specifically stated to be the mother of the gods (LL 1229) and the expression used for the pantheon as a whole is Tuath Dé Donann (LL 929. LG poem 66). 3. the theft of which by the Drought God. This. 6803). CMT-C 677ff. The Smith God’s attributes are clear and correspond to his functions. however large or small the vessel might be (WIF" and the Welsh divine name Dôn don) which corresponds to Donann as the mother of the gods. Mention of this cow is infrequent in the literary texts ("Gaibhneann’s cow: what she grazed she ground both grass and water") (Anec. In the second. brichtu) di Gaibhneann and Bricre are certainly identical. . CMT 96. As wife of the Shaman God she is called Moirríoghan (LL Bricre . A localized name for the mother goddess is the Ulster name Macha (LL 1120.238.furnishes but does not preside over the divine feast. Also cognate is common Celtic *DONIOS "earthling" which has given Irish duine Welsh dyn "human being". Balar. In connexion with the Shaman God and the Fire God. Piccrenn) Bicreo (genitive Tuirill Bicrenn Tuirill Piccrenn (LG 316. 6. the Water Goddess. Gaibhneann . Deirbriu. As divine smith. 1322) reflecting common Celtic *DONONÂ "Earth goddess" which is derived from *DÛ (genitive *DONOS). OSL (Clare) 68ff. Bricre (in the form Tuirell Bicreo) is the father of the Twins. OSL (Cavan) 16. Eigse 8. Brighid. she is called Donann (LL 1169. in order: the Earth Goddess. known as Fleadh Ghaibhneann or. he furnishes the divine feast. Glas Ghaibhneann "the Smith God’s green one".168. We now turn to the Four Great Goddesses who are. (10) The Earth Goddess. Béal. "earth" which gave Old Irish dú (genitive don "earth. OSL (Derry) 265. 319). 1197. 11.

CB 174. which occurs in Old Irish as Letha "the European mainland" and in Welsh as Llydaw "Brittany" has the basic meaning of "earth" and is formally identical to the Indian Earth goddess Prthivi. the land which the king must wed in order to achieve sovereignty .wife of the war god. 5. 4. 26. 7564. The connexion with Deirbhreann is clear.6131). Cicollus is evidently the War God. Deirbhreann is the goddess of the oak grove. With the same god in his aspect as war god. An interesting parallel to the Irish Earth Goddess in her aspect as wife of the War God is furnished by inscriptions from Gaul dedicated to "Marti Cicollui et Litavi" (IACO 1. 2. would occur. reflecting common Celtic *BODWÂ "scald crow" which appears. Deirbhreann (3) Fuamnach. Néid. 1180) reflecting common Celtic *ANASONÂ "wealth goddess".she is thus connected to a place of particular sanctity where sacrifice. CCum 7ff) and Mughain (common Celtic *MAGUNÎ) "the maiden" (LL 7564). the second time of Badhbh. presided over by the Fire God. of course. a derivative of *ANASÂ (Old Irish ana "wealth" from yet earlier *ANESÂ.which is formally ana) identical to Sanskrit ápnas. called Bé Néid "war god’s wife" (TEm 50). she is called Fuamnach "the noisy one" and personifies the storm wind (TE I 15. A further name is Neamhan (Old Irish Nemon from common Celtic *NEMONÂ (SC Neith. 3. MD 4.4525) who is equated to Victoria. In the texts. the Earth Goddess appears as Anann (LL 1120. As incarnation of kingship . in the name of the Gaulish goddess Cassibodua "the brilliant scald crow" (CIL 13. Therefore Fuamnach = Bé Néid. Badhbh. The list is given twice: the first time it consists of Badhbh.36. TEm 50). Badhbh and Neamhan are in one place made two wives of Néid (LL 1412). Elsewhere. Macha (2) Moirríoghan. Mughain. Neamhan is the goddess of the . as is usual in such Donann in this aspect . Sanas Cormaic refers to Anann as "mother of the Irish gods". Clothrann. Neamhan.). Macha and Anann (LL 1120). enables us to establish their basic identity: 1. Fuamnach is wife of the Wind God. Nemon) which appears to be a by-form of NEMETONÂ "the goddess of the sacred grove" (from *NEMETON Irish neimheadh "sacred grove") who also figures in Gaul as wife of Mars (CIL 7. is an aspect of the Wind God. In connexion with the Wind God. Macha and Moirríoghan (LL 1180). LL 1416). Bé Néid can only be a wife of Néid by the very nature of her name. all these appear as separate personages. This reflects common Celtic *DERWERONÂ "the goddess of the oak grove" .404 etc. The Lebor Gabála has a triad: the "three daughters of Ernbas (Iron Death)". We thus have the following groups of names all referring to the same deity: (1) Donann. Bé Néid (4) Anann (5) Meadhbh.primitively. as War God. Therefore Donann = Anann. 13. Donann is called "the mother of the gods". Careful examination. in another they are explicitly equated (LL 9572ff). As already noted. compounded.she is called Meadhbh "the drunken woman" (LL 7564) with further epithets Clothrann (the distributor of fame) (LL 7564. 1180. plural of *ANES. naturally. so Litavi is . Therefore Macha = Moirríoghan = Badhbh = Anann. Now common Celtic *LITAWÎ. as Midhir.206). wife of Mars. In an agricultural context. LU 4074. 1120.94). TBR 7. MD 3.Drebriu) (LL 16689. She is also. The triad are three aspects of the one. she is called Badhbh or Bodhbh (LL 9572ff."wealth" and cognate with Latin opes "wealth" and Ops "harvest goddess". Therefore Badhbh = Anann = Bé Néid. however.

Not so her Ulster counterpart in this aspect. in his incarnation as Cú Chulainn. 6246ff) but against women she is more direct. Since Deirbhreann is linked to this triad. 21). she employs trickery (TBR. 404). particularly as aider and abetter of her other aspect. We have seen in 6 above the identity of Deirbhreann to Moirríoghan. Mughain . parallels in this world the actions of the Earth Goddess as Moirríoghan on the god plane.124. who in one tale appears as the incarnation of the sovereignty of Ulster (LL 2514ff). A double triad. In another. the chariot is pulled by a single one-footed horse and its shaft is set inside the horse’s skin so that its end pokes out through the animal’s forehead (TBR 2). CB 174) but once Muireasc (placename in Co. fleet of foot.actively represent incarnate sovereignty in the texts and the dominant member. LU 5321). Co. 7. 6232ff. AF 168). As Fuamnach. The sacred grove by all accounts was an oak grove. When the Shaman God goes to copulate with her before the battle of Magh Tuireadh.198). LL 9544ff.which has persisted in popular tradition (LSC 133) . Since she is the goddess of the oak grove. 6196ff. As Moirríoghan. She is a shape-changer. As lover of Macan Óg. the other is called Eithne (river flowing into the Shannon) (LL 21551.Meadhbh. 7664. used to explain the name Eamhain Mhacha. . The basic triad . A sum of the equations established in points 1 to 7 above will give the equation Donann = Macha = Moirríoghan = Deirbhreann = Fuamnach = Badhbh = Neamhan = Bé Néid = Anann = Meadhbh = Clothrann = Mughain. She is described as a red woman with red eyebrows clothed in red who is driven in a chariot with her cloak trailing on the ground behind it. she is washing at a river with one foot on each bank (CMT 84). The most striking aspect of Moirríoghan . But in at last part of the tradition. Both the red aspect (compare the Fire God as Death God) and the washing activities underling her function as "goddess queen of death". into a pool of water (TE I 16). 6. Meadhbh. Macha. she is principally described as an enchantress.Mayo) (LU 4074). the "six daughters of Eocha Feidhleach". Clothrann. Meadhbh (TBR). She has the further attribute of the storm wind which she uses to send the Moon Goddess. LL 14547ff). same county) (LL 16689).150. Of the remaining two. 6104ff. Therefore Deirbhreann = Neamhan.and neither is necessarily correct. who is the incarnation of motherhood (MD 4. she appears as a young woman. as when she melts the girl Odhras into a stream (MD 4. in the form of a large purple fly. Deirbhreann and her pigs share the Cave of Cruachain with Moirríoghan (LL 16689) . Clothrann. her preferred aspect being that of a crow (TBR 5. 386. It is clear that these extra two were added later to make a double triad. With the Storm God. Éadain. 7664.386).is that of the washerwoman. Another text describes her washing the spoils of the dead after battle (F 16). Mughain and Deirbhreann always appear in it. these red pigs are described as human beings changed into pigs by magic (MD 3. she uses the same attribute as Moirríoghan to dissolve the Moon Goddess. are frequently mentioned in the texts. the association with acorns and thus with pigs is reasonable. Whence Deirbhreann = Moirríoghan. As Donann. the goddess is active in several myths. she is also called Caor "berry" (AA. Is this a hint at human sacrifice ("long pig") in the sacred groves under the auspices of the Earth Goddess and the Fire God? Or is it quite simply a much later addition by someone who had somehow heard of Circe and her pigs? Both explanations are possible . then Meadhbh = Clothrann = Mughain = Deirbhreann.Tipperary) (LL 21551. one is called Éile (placename.sacred grove. CB 174) but once Lothra (placename. As Deirbhreann. the Earth Goddess is simply the mother of the gods and does not figure actively in any myth.because they are identical. lover of the Fire God in his aspect as Macan Óg and owner of the red pigs (MD 3. EN 13. sailing through the sky for protracted periods of time (TE I 18. LU 6081ff. Meadhbh.

her agricultural aspect. LG 587) Leinster were so called because they followed the goddess *BRIGANTÎ. A fearful man would not be her match since she wins battles and skirmishes by herself. both originally epithets. After the terrifying and frequently bizarre appearance of the Earth Goddess in her shaman and warrior aspects. is perforce disappointing. found in Britain and .134. he cannot be king and he will remain king only as long as she accepts him. Unless a man marries her. She is wife to the Sun God. descended at least in part from Ptolemy’s Brigantes. she is specifically described as goddess of prosperity with a special connexion with Munster (CA 1. she is also the sister of the Fire God. The Dawn Goddess is thus the daughter of the Shaman God. Dian Céacht. a mountain on the Cork-Kerry border with twin peaks which are indeed breastlike) (LL 1120. or the goddess was so called because she was patron goddess of the Brigantes. The first is Brighid (SC Brigit) reflecting common Celtic *BRIGANTÎ. CA 70). Iuchar and Iucharbha (LL 24601). in her aspect as Bé nGaibhneachta "the wife of smithery" (SC Brigit). It is a moot point whether the tribe Brigantes. 875. As Meadhbh.according to Ptolemy . she appears to prospective candidates for kingship as a hideous hag and only the candidate who agrees to make love to her in this form passes the test and sees her in her glorious aspect as Sovereignty (MD 4. She is the mother of the Twins. The second name is Áine (LL 1365). Elsewhere Áine is called daughter of Eoghabhal whom we have seen to be identical to the Daghdha. However. she is the scald crow flying above the heads of warriors as they rush into battle (LL 9574. "the high one" and corresponding to the British goddess Brigantia (CIL 7. Neamhan or Bé Néid. In one myth. she is a swift naked greyhaired hag leaping on the points of their weapons and shields (CMR 198). SC Ana). Mughain (CB 175) fit into this pattern. Anann. Ipso facto. 14412). as "the sovereignty of Britain and Ireland". as Macan Óg or as Fear Í. The identity of the two is not in doubt.5) wherein are the two breasts of Anann (The Paps. Gaibhneann. A jealous man would not be her match since she is never without one man following in his predecessor’s footsteps (LL 7578ff). christianized as Saint Brighid. (11) The Dawn Goddess has two names. in her aspect as Bé Leighis "the wife of healing" and to the Smith God.200. reflecting common Celtic *ÂSNÎ "the brilliant one". She has three taboos: her husband of the moment must be without jealousy. without fear and without niggardliness (CB 182). less spectacularily. .As Badhbh. under the name of Moirríoghan. 1062). She figures actively in no extant myth. (LG 317) so is Áine (LL 1365). originally probably *Áin. It is certain that. In one text. 203. Brighid is daughter of the Daghdha. she was considered the patron of the Leinstermen. A niggardly man could not be her match since she is good at bestowing. CCum. the goddess is queen of the Éarainn and incarnates sovereignty. Clothrann (LL 14399.

bizarrely ascribed to "the king of the island of Sicily". In this aspect. Ultán moccu Chonchubhair says: "Brighid.6). LL 22624). known as the "two horses of Áine" (CA 176). a name which corresponds exactly to Irish mná "women". of which it is said "Death by iron has no power over them" (LG poem 66.110) Mutatis mutandis. This must be cognate with the Sanskrit Sindhu which the Indoeuropeans applied to the river Indus after conquering the Indus Valley civilization and who is worshiped in the Vedas as Water Goddess. one in the western tradition. truth. all three of which are still very much extant as river names. I believe. Sanas Cormaic states this quite clearly: "The goddess Brighid whom poets worshipped" (SC Brigit). may the bright sun lead us to the eternal kingdom". The identity of Sionann and Banna. Banna is applied as a name to two Irish rivers . In his hymn. 342) which continues common Boend) Celtic *BOUWINDÂ "the woman of the white cows". 11b. Sionann and Bóinn represent local names for the goddess. lies elsewhere. As daughter of the Shaman God and sister of the Fire God.118) and that she loved "herding and early rising" (FNE 34). that is "the goddess of the Waters". The goddess could. *BANODÊWÂ at first sight would appear to mean "the goddess" like modern Irish bandia If so.Wexford. since common Celtic *DÊWÂ bandia. As we shall see. she is goddess of poetry (LG 317. As Dawn Goddess. eternally good lady. including Ireland. 15b) which continues common Celtic Bandae) *BANODÊWÂ. in the christianized Saint Brighid that the aspect and functions of Dawn Goddess emerge most clearly. of course. (LH 1.the "dawn of the year" . The third is Banna (Old Irish Bandae (Arm. LG 319). this would be a tautology.Her functions are multiple. The second is Bóinn (Archaic Old Irish Boend (Adom. be considered incarnate in any large river. âpas There is good reason to believe that the "Women" and the "Waters" of Vedic tradition are one and the same.1114) particularily in view of the fact that she is mother of the twins "Horseman and Horseman’s Bane". 1 February. One might then interpret *BANODÊWÂ as "the goddess of the Women".in the agricultural calendar. The hagiographers tell us that Brighid used to herd her sheep on the Curragh of Kildare (LH 1. this could be a couplet from a Vedic hymn to Dawn. As Brighid she is owner of the "two oxen of Dil" of uncertain function (LG 317). however.9. Moreover. she owns the two horses of the dawn.35. as such. The gloss "true poetry" on the expression a cuardaib Ane "from visitations of Áine" (LL 24320) shows that she was also known as Áine in this aspect. golden sparkling flame. was applied as a name to several rivers in the Celtic world. These are probably identical to the two horses. (12) The Water Goddess has three names. The legal texts also mention the "judgements on horses" of Áine (here made daughter of Úghaine) (CIH 1497).the other in the eastern or Leinster tradition. perpetuates the pagan festival of Iombolg (RIA Con Imbolc) and corresponds to the lambing season and beginning of spring . 14b) from *Sindon like Sindon Brendin) Brenainn from Brendin which continues common Celtic *SINDWONÂ "the goddess Sindus". in divine terms is proved conclusively by the note . 7. one is tempted to compare her to the Gaulish horse goddess Epona (CIL 3. Vedic tradition has a group of water goddesses known collectively as Gnâs "the women" (RV 7. The. The Vedic collective name for "water" as a divine power is also a plural feminine noun âpas. alone meant "goddess" and. not a Christian hymn in praise of a human saint. It was applied to the river Boyne which flows past the prestigious cult site of tbe Bruigh (Newgrange megalithic monument). It is. the name was applied to the river Shannon. Early rising is rising at dawn. The first is Sionann (Archaic Old Irish Sinon (Arm. In Ireland.the Bann in Ulster and the Bann Co.7750. her christianized feast.

11b). The third is Dar Earca "daughter of the Sky God. There is further mention of such activity: as Bóinn. As Sionann. imbus) imbus Eriu 13. This is yet another case of a triad representing three aspects of the same.120. the waters. and of his son Neachtan (LL 24337). She gives birth to the Fire God. identical. must be equated to Bé bhFionn. not her husband. The second is Éadain (TE I 11) which appears to reflect common Celtic *YANTUDÂNÎ "the mighty gift". (13) The Moon Goddess has four names. not her husband. Macan Óg. She is essentially Bóinn "the woman of the white cows" . Agallamh na Seanórach states quite simply that she is the daughter of Earc (AS 6803). Earc (TE I 1). LL 16565). 3340. all of them epithets in origin. also issues from Seaghais. some of which her daughter Bé bhFionn gives to Fraoch (LL 33104f. There is no need to discuss in detail the identity of Bé bhFionn and Éadain since they are explicitly stated to be alternative names (TE III 10). we should probably take Lí Bhan to mean "the delight of the Women" i. it is clear that this analysis must be right. also called the spring of Neachtan (MD 3. The identity of Sionann and Bóinn is circumstantial but. she transmits numinous knowledge (imbus (LL 24445. bearing in mind what has already been seen in the case of the Water Goddess as Banna. Bóinn. her role is a mainly passive one. Consequently. however. So. to my mind.e. Earc" (CS 83ff). the triad lists give "the three streams of Ireland: Sionann. To clinch the matter. In the myth dealing with her adventures. The Fire God. Other texts enable us to trace a clearer relationship. They are thus. Bé bhFionn (LL 33102).in the Book of Armagh whlch gives Archaic Old Irish Bande in latinized form Bandea Bande. she is twice incarnate among mortals and her "mortal pedigree" is given (TE I 11. This typifies her role: to hand on to mortals the gifts of the gods (in this case: cows). but apart from the actual parturition does little more (TE I 1). As Bóinn. states that she was daughter of Earc and lover of Midhir. although appearing only in a christianized form as Saint Dar Earca (CS 83ff). As we shall see below under the Spring God. Macan Óg. Bandea. TBFr). When sent for she comes to her son’s bedside in the Dream of Aonghas but is soon eclipsed by the Daghdha (AA). it is reasonable to suppose that Bóinn is the mother of Bé bhFionn.26).28). is thus the Water Goddess’ son in law. Neachtan is thus Bé bhFionn’s son and hence grandson of the Water Goddess. Bé bhFionn is the wife of the Wind God. as divine river. Thus Dar Earca. Banna" (TBF 40). as the equivalent of Sionann (Arm. she is the wife of the Sky God.these cows being the divine cows with white body and red ears. she gives the stone of power (MD 4. She is in fact neither. giving her yet another name for the occasion. The first and most widespread is Bé bhFionn "the White Lady" (LL 33102. 288). is her son by the Daghdha (TE I 1). Earc. metaphysically. not her sister. corresponds both in name and function to the Vedic Apam Napat "grandson of the Waters" (Celtica 6. she is made wife both of the Wind God. Sionann. The Wind God. Engleic. is the father of Bé bhFionn (AS-SG 229). 40. She is the wife of Labhraidh (SCC) whom we have seer to be .26). In the myths. She is also made sister of the Moon Goddess. If we take into account the fact that Neachtan (common Celtic *NEKTONOS "the divine grandson"). This is not so. as Nuadha (LL 24340). TE III 10).286. Bóinn. Nuadha. unequivocal. otherwise called the spring of Seaghais (MD 3. Her "divine pedigree" is only found in other texts. As Bóinn.36f). This is supported by the Dinnsheanchas which. However.26). since she clearly shows the aspects of the Moon Goddess. TBFr. who carried her away to Sliabh na mBan (just as he does in Tochmharc Éadaine) (MD 3. must Lí Bhan. too. Midhir (TE I).50ff). as divine river. The family relationships of the Water Goddess as given in the texts are in some disarray. ZCP 8. SCC) which superficially appears to mean "the delight of the women". The fourth is Lí Bhan (LU 3312. issues from Seaghais in the Otherworld (MD 3. Fraoch son of Bé bhFionn is an incarnation of Neachtan.

hence an epithet meaning basically "delight of the Waters" is apt. scented rowan berries and arbutus apples (TDG 896ff. However. thus identical to Midhir. to mankind and particularly to poets. she is perforce daughter of Bóinn. which function no doubt earned her the epithet. the two names reflect regional differences.will rise after sunset today and tomorrow at dawn the other child will appear". She serves it to them. for one child . 293). He continues: "There is a spring in the courtyard there where all knowledge is found. Her birth precedes that of the Dawn Goddess. Brighid. who as Éadain is the best server of drink in Ireland (TE III 18). Thereafter mixing occurred. She who is later in birth will be higher in grade. This concludes our examination of the Four Great Goddesses. Fionn (incarnation of Neachtan) relates how he met Bé bhFionn (disguised as Ceibfiond in the text) guarding the spring. The nuts.50ff). Consequently the Moon Goddess is Neachtan’s mother. A further correspondence is the Indian and Iranian god Apam Napat "grandson of the waters" (Celtica 6. the Commoner King and the Twins. Bé bhFionn is also mother of Neachtan. Everyone who has tasted it is certain that it is the Seaghais. Dar Earca is goddess of the night: she travels by aspect of the Wind God.the lesser . This is stated explicitly in the case of Neachtan’s incarnation Fraoch (of whom more below under the Spring God) (LL 33102. Bé bhFionn has other and more important functions: firstly. 90). We are not told explicitly what was served at Gaibhneann’s feast but. Agallamh na Seanórach states: "She (Bé bhFionn) has the healing drink of the gods and what is left of the feast of Gaibhneann.288.26) which continues common Celtic *NEKTONOS "the divine grandson" also found in Old Welsh as the name Neithon. as guardian of the spring. It corresponds to Gallo-Latin use of the name Neptunus in inscriptions to "Neptunus and the (water) Nymphs" and "Neptunus and Forces". Neachtan himself is son of Labhraidh (MD 3. albeit in a corrupt form. (14) The Spring God has four names. Although I obtained the salmon of knowledge. in order: the Spring God. Seaghais. protects cattle from wolves and travellers from robbers (CS 88.26. LL 1739) whom we have just seen as husband of Lí Bhan. typified by the hazel nuts and the water of Seaghais. two in his divine aspect and two in incarnate forms. She also has another more physical role to play and this is best expressed by her christianized form Dar Earca. The eastern or Leinster name is Neachtan (MD 3. Éadain "the mighty gift". "Before dawn tomorrow. since Bé bhFionn is daughter of Earc. it consisted of the three divine foods: purple nuts. two children will be born in this house. the Water Goddess. BD 40). Seaghais. this is a purely mythological account of the birth of the Moon and Dawn. In Feis Tighe Chonáin. Apparently *SEGOMÛ passing through the intermediate stage *SEGUMÛ gave *Sigum. The feud between the Moon Goddess (as Éadain or Bé bhFionn) and the Earth Goddess (as Fuamnach) are related in Tochmharc Éadaine. We now turn to the Young Gods who are. The time of birth will be most apt for them. it was as nothing until I reached the Seaghais" (FTC 1541ff). has a crucial role to play in distributing numinous power. Furthermore." (AS 6803). Seaghais (SFF 35. but she is second only to her (CS 84). at least. The Midland name is Sioghmhall (LL 1156) which almost certainly continues common Celtic *SEGOMÛ (genitive *SEGOMONOS). In his divine aspect. TBFr). MD 3. very probably with contamination from the . while the genitive *SEGOMONOS regularly gave *Segmon (Semon is actually attested Semon for Old Irish). presumably. came from the nine hazels that grow above the spring. (CS 3) Despite superficial ascription to two human saints of Leinster. Thus the Moon Goddess. and secondly as distributor of the Smith God’s feast. which belongs to her son Neachtan.

one a daughter of Midhir. TBFr). 5340). TBFr). described in the texts: "A spring with perpetual flow on the bank of a chilly river. 7. 38). which continues common Celtic *SEGOSTÎ.36. "the place where *SEGOS is". Fionn and Flann (the incarnate Balar) of the Shannon at Áth Liag. which we have seen to be an epithet of the Wind God (as Nuadha). The identity of these names can be established as follows: Neachtan is the son of Labhraidh (MD 3. The spring is very adequately seg). reflect regional differences.Roscommon. this is confirmed by the existence of a Gaulish god Vindonnos (*WENDONOS "the fair god"). The meaning of *SEGOMÛ is clear: it is "the possessor of victiorious power (*SEGOS)". We have already seen above that Cumhall is an alias for Nuadha . inventions of the genealogists since they are mentioned nowhere outside his pedigree (TE III 21). As a divine personage.26. *SEGOMÛ.although she is mistakenly made sister of Bé bhFionn in the myth (LL 33102. as Nia Segamain. Under the same name." (MD 3. The fact that the Moon Goddess. The tribe were known in early Irish as Semoni (Eriu 3. The incarnate forms. 5645). also found in the British name for Colchester: Camulodunon "the fortress of Camulos". the place where victorious power (*SEGOS. in a curiously archaic form. consequently Neachtan is son of Bé bhFionn and thus grandson of the Water Goddess (Bóinn). He owns the spring Seaghais (MD 3. the Spring God is the owner of the spring Seaghais. The eastern or Leinster form is Fionn mac Cumhaill (LU 3135ff). His two parents. continuing common Celtic *KAMULOS. thus Fionn mac Cumhaill corresponds to the Welsh Gwyn ap Nudd. was sited at what is now called Fairymount. 292. is the British war god Camulos (CIL 6. Moreover. LL 17939). The Midland form is Fraoch "battle fury" (LL 33102.36). All four can thus be taken to be the same personage: son of Bé bhFionn and the Wind God and essentially grandson of the Water Goddess. the original form of his name. The god also appears in Gaul under the same name and is identified as Mars (Marti Segomoni) (CIL 5. Síodh Neanta. A series of ogham inscriptions found at Seskinan bear the name NETA SEGAMONAS "warrior of Segomû" (CIIC 263. "the possessor of *SEGOS". the god was tribal god of a portion of the Déise in Co.Waterford. Bé bhFionn serves Fionn with the water of Seaghais is not without significance (FTC 1341ff). Fionn "the fair one" corresponds exactly to the Welsh Gwyn. Old Irish seg resides. .name Cumhall (of which more below) and certainly in conjunction with the related name Críonmhann (the variations cf which are listed helow) and the result was Old Irish Sigmall whence Sioghmhall. "Above the spring of graceful waves there is the many-musicked hazel of poetry.138). identified with Apollo and worshipped together with "the springs" (CIL 13. LL 14087). from which spring seven major streams. He should therefore be considered son of Midhir and thus identical to Neachtan.5644. as reports of it declare. Nor is the battle between. from *SEGOMONIÎ. in Co. As war god he is equivalent to Nuadha. too.consequently Fionn mac Cumhaill may be identified to Neachtan. Moreover. Sioghmhall is made grandson of the Wind God (Midhir) and takes revenge for him on Eocha Aireamh (TE III 21). This is confirmed by another text which makes him grandson of Earc (Ercmar) and thus grandson of Earc’s wife.1103). Bóinn (LL 1156). *SEGOMÛ. Fraoch is son of the Moon Goddess (Bé bhFionn) and thus grandson of the Water Goddess Bóinn .46. are nonpersons.2532. overlooking the Shannon and a short distance from Áth Liag (MS 28. cannot be divorced from the name of the spring Seaghais.286). 300) which occurs later in the Old Irish period as Neth Semon (AU cxxxii) and later still. His otherworld dwelling. The Wind God is married to the Moon Goddess (Bé bhFionn). in which the Water Goddess (Sionann) helps Fionn to victory by handing him the stone of power out of the river (MD 4. Cumhall. "those of the god Segomû". Sigmall.

under the name Brian he has been fused with the Twins into a triad and this has caused confusion in the pedigrees.e. Through the waters. He is the son of the Smith God. (15) The Commoner King has two names. is blinded in one eye by Luichead i. Sioghmhall burns lluched) Eocha Aireamh in Fréamhainn to avenge the insult to Midhir (TE III 21). To the unauthorized. MD 3. the spring was lethal. flowers and ripe fruit all at the same time. To this. Donann. In this respect. confusion. and the Earth Goddess. slayer of Fionn’s father Cumhall in the battle of Cnucha. Lugh. But in the Lebor Gabála and related texts. Neachtan is similar to the Storm God. The first. Thus in one place his father is the Smith God as Bricre (in the form Tuirell Bicreo alias Delbaeth) (LG 319). ostentation". The second. LL 24315). Neachtan in the form of lightning (Welsh lluched (LU 3135ff). His function is simple: he is the Unsuitable King. This then is the "power house" of the gods and Neachtan is its guardian. Thus in his myth he is made son of Ealadha and Éire ("Ireland" here standing for the Earth) (CMT 16. Thus Aodh. 292. In Neachtan’s own hands. since the Twins are sons of the Smith God and the Dawn Goddess. the others being rowan berries and arbutus apples (TDG 896ff). from the nine hazels of Seaghais" (LL 24315). uproar.e. its gifts are seeped out to mankind.The spray of Seaghais is shed on the spring of strong power as the nuts of fair Críonmhann fall onto its limpid bosom" (MD 3. with overtones of "din. Brian.286. add the gloss "From the woods of Críonmhann i. These nuts of Críonmhainn (genitive Crínmond Crínmoind Crimaill in the texts (MD 3. Brighid. The purple nuts fall into the spring and are eaten by the five salmon swimming in it.286f). and it is probable that some overlap of functions occurred. the power can be aggressive. These then make bubbles of numinous knowledge (imbus from the imbus) imbus juice of the nuts and the bubbles float down the streams into the world of men (SFF 35. himself (wrong in both cases) (LL 24601). taking the form of the lightning flash. It would burst the eyes of any that looked on it and. however much they tried.e. Other texts state that the hazel trees produce leaves. wrong in the case of the Twins) (LL 1169). . In another his father is the Smith God (called Delbaeth) and his mother is Donann (right in his case.28). right in the case of the Twins) and his father is Breas son of Ealadha i. In yet another place his mother is Brighid (wrong in his case. 21). however.292f). they would not avoid being blemished by it (MD 3. all reflecting common Celtic *KRÎNOMONOS genitive of *KRÎNOMÛ "the grower") are one of the three divine foods. may reflect common Celtic *BRÊSONOS "god connected with *BRISTÂ". disguised as Ealadha ("art"). Breas (common Celtic *BRISTÂ) neans simply "noise".

*(Y)ETENONÂ is quite obscure to me and the myths give no indication of divine function other than childbirth. Some names we do know . regretfully. They then. As we have seen above. the Whitehorned bull of Cruachain. assimilated. So we may take Ochaine as a corruption. the king of the síodh of Connacht. Thereafter. in the form of their swineherds. Ochaine appears in the myth of the Twins as Ochaill Oichne. Eithne . violent enough but by no means impossible. as daughter of the Drought God and mother of the Storm God. Brighid. a goddess this time. The original function of the Twins seems to have been that of the twin horsemen of Dawn.such as the southern and eastern god. must be considered a goddess. In popular tradition Iucharbha still appears as Bodhbh Dearg but Iuchar has been renamed yet again to appear as Céadach (LSC 207ff). the genealogies of the Lebor Gabála are confused. by Iucharbha’s last incarnation. Others have names we shall never know or. no function can be assigned to these minor gods. the Black (or Dark Red) bull of Cuailnge (LL 32930ff). 1379) predisposes us to see a goddess name ending in common Celtic -ONÂ (*(Y)ETENONÂ is the only possible form). however. the Irish pantheon must have been openended. of Iuchar. act out their lovehate relationship culminating in the killing of Iuchar’s last incarnation. These appear in a later text as the Three Speckled Cows of Iuchna and perched on their ears are the Three Men of Ochaine (ACR 1). never recognise. Corb. Cú Macha. under the Commoner King. Iucharbha appears to have been early corrupted to Iuchna "pink". LG 319) reflecting respectively common Celtic *EQOWIROS "Horseman" and *EQOWIROBOYOS "Horseman’s Bane" which stress their mutual antagonism. with local or foreign deities being adopted. equated to previously worshiped gods in a continuous process. In this case. with a special connexion with the weather. must remain an unsolved problem . occurs in the myths .unless one accepts that Balar’s paternity is a later addition. Nia Seaghamhain. Yet one other. one white and one red.but in a passive role. Nevertheless. whose name occurs in person names (Mugh Corb. (17) This brings us to the end of our examination of the gods who are active in the myths. Thus the Book of Leinster mentions the Speckled Cows of Iuchna (LL 4039). Eithne. as exemplified in their myth (Chapter 6 Myth 1). at least. Other personages occur in tales which may or may not have a mythological content such as Buchad the "cowherd" who may or may not be a minor "hospitaler god" of British origin. Cú Nuadhad. This is Eithne (LL 1237) who. in antithesis to Bodhbh Dearg "red scald crow" king of the síodh of Munster (LL 32930ff). The variant Eithleann (LL 1150. like any polytheistic system. Nia Corb) which have a structure identical to that found in other personal names containing the names of known gods (Mugh Nuadhad. Where there is no myth. Nia Teathrach). Obviously.a river name and given once as an alternative for . Cú Chorb. 24601. To schematize a somewhat confused picture: HORSEMAN Iuchar Ochaine Ochaill Oichne Céadach HORSEMAN’S BANE Iucharbha Iuchna Bodhbh Dearg Bodhbh Dearg The Twins are sons of the Smith God as Bricre (in the form Tuirell Bicreo) and the Dawn Goddess. they developed into agricultural deities with a strong territorial bias and antagonism.(16) The basic names of the Twins appear to have been Iuchar and Iucharbha (LL 1169.

Aoibhleán. Bé Néid. (incarnation) Cú Raoi STORM GOD: Lugh. Abhcán. Donn. Midhir. Macan Óg. Dá Dearga. Fuamnach. The Nine Great Gods SHAMAN GOD: the Daghdha. Mugh Roith SMITH GOD: Gaibhneann. Ochaill Oichne + Bodhbh Dearg. Eochaidh Ollathair. Ercmar) FIRE GOD: Aodh. Anann. Cearmaid. SEA GOD. Ebron. Éadain. DROUGHT GOD + ? | Eithne (2) Second and third generations: SMITH GOD + DAWN GODDESS + SUN GOD + Eithne MOON GODDESS + WIND GOD | | | THE TWINS STORM GOD SPRING GOD Unattached: SEA GOD . SUN GOD. here is a recapitulation of the list of gods with their aliases: I.Bóinn . Deirbhreann. Oghma DROUGHT GOD: Balar. (incarnations) Fionn. Fear Í. (incarnation) Flann SEA GOD: Manannán. Brian TWINS: Iuchar + Iucharbha. Moirríoghan. The Four Great Goddesses EARTH GODDESS: Donann. Dar Earca. Néid. Bricre II. Cumhall. Sionann. Meadhbh. Céadach + Bodhbh Dearg The family relationships involved can be expressed thus. Mughain DAWN GODDESS: Brighid. Lí Bhan III. Teathra SUN GOD: Dian Céacht. Seinbheag. Fraoch COMMONER KING: Breas. Eoghabhal. in two tiers: (1) First and second generations: SMITH GOD + EARTH GODDESS + SHAMAN GOD + WATER GODDESS + SKY GOD | | | | COMMONER KING DAWN GODDESS FIRE GOD MOON GODDESS Unattached: WIND GOD. Cian. Neamhan. Ochaine + Iuchna. In appendix to this first chapter. Fear Beann SKY GOD: Earc(Elcmar. (incarnation) Cú Chulainn WIND GOD: Nuadha. Áine WATER GODDESS: Bóinn. Clothrann. Macha. Badhbh. Sioghmhall. Labhraidh. The Young Gods SPRING GOD: an avatar of the Water Goddess. Aonghas. Banna MOON GODDESS: Bé bhFionn.

.The Sea God is thus the only great god with no apparent family relationships.

must be taken into account when examining the pantheon. Indoeuropean and Celtic society’s analysis of the elements found in nature was subjective. As Sky God he is connected with air. Definition: MALE:AIR:FUNCTION 1. (CIH 2227) It is clear from Nede’s function that the role of the seer-poets was a priestly one. Though supreme over the three classes. His connexion is with water. The three classes were priests. as was sacral kingship with the king coming from the warriors. They distinguished four elements: earth.was archaic in this as in many other respects. for long after . warriors and farmers. JMQ etc. We shall start by examining the Nine Great Gods in the light of these three criteria: (1) The Shaman God with his power over life and death belongs to Function 1. The last criterion is that of sex: male or female. . Celtchar guards the tribute of every battle ground. too. Definition: MALE:WATER:FUNCTION 1. Distraint required four sureties (ráth and these are typified in the first fragment as ráth) ráth follows: "Ailill mac Mata from the princes (flathi flathi) flathi Celtchar mac Uthechair from the rarriors (láthi gale láthi gale) Blai the Hospitaler from the freemen (féni féni) féni Nede mac Aidni from the seer-poets (filid (CIH 885f) filid)" filid In the second fragment. Any examination of the pantheon. in many ways very similar to the feudal system of the European middle ages. As Georges Dumézil has conclusively demonstrated (ITI. then. we can analyze its theoretical structure. must take the following functions into account: Function 1: priests (shamans) Function 2: warriors Function 3: commoners Supra-functional: king As is usual in a pre-scientific society. As we have noted.). (2) The Sky God as judge also belongs to Function 1. (4) The Storm God as king of the gods and as their champion against Balar belongs to Function 2. in essence. their legal functions as sureties are set out: "Ailill fights the battle of every weighty affair on the assembly hill. he belonged in origin to the warrior caste. warriors and commoners (farmers and merchants) was firmly anchored. air. which is preserved in fragmentary form in the laws.Chapter 2 Structure of the Irish Pantheon Now that we have identified and isolated the active members of the pantheon. Irish society in the period immediately preceding the introduction of Christianity and indeed. That this was a conscious structural concept is clearly proved by a legal archetype illustrating the law of distraint. He is fire. (3) The Fire God as god of music and judge of the dead belongs to Function 1. Definition: MALE:FIRE:FUNCTION 1. he has a marked connexion with water. Definition: MALE:WATER:FUNCTION 2. The caste system of druids (including not only priests but judges and seer-poets). Nede is a match for the malefic power of every night. fire and water. Blai the Hospitaler undertakes the protection of every company". Indoeuropean society was a tripartite class structure. This. The king’s person was sacred: he was married to the tribe’s territory symbolized by the Earth Goddess.

we can draw up the following grid: WATER EARTH GOD FUNCTION 1 FUNCTION 2 FUNCTION 3 GODDESS Earth Goddess Goddess Goddess Goddess AIR FIRE Shaman God Sky God Fire God Storm God Wind God Drought God Sea God Sun God Smith God Water Moon Dawn How do the Young Gods and Eithne fit into this scheme of things? . she is connected to Function 1. His connexion is obviously with water. extra-functional. imbus server of Gaibhneann’s feast. Definition:FEMALE:EARTH. She is thus extra-functional. in association with the Wind God. As goddess of poetry. Definition:MALE:AIR:FUNCTION 2. (2) The Dawn Goddess is also extra-functional. Definition: FEMALE:WATER. she is connected to Function 3. as Donann or Macha. goddess of wealth. As "wife of healing" and "wife of smithery" she is connected to Function 3. Definition:MALE:AIR:FUNCTION 3. Her physical function as a celestial deity links her to air. (6) The Drought God as opponent of the Storm God belongs to Function 2. Now the Four Great Goddesses: (1) The Earth Goddess. As patron goddess of the Brigantes. (4) The Moon Goddess is connected to Function 1 as dispenser of "numinous knowledge" (imbus to Function 2 as wife of the Wind God and to Function 3 as the imbus). (3) The Water Goddess as wife of the Sky God is associated with Function 1. Definition: FEMALE:FIRE. belongs to no function. is with air. she is firmly anchored to Function 3. Definition: MALE:FIRE:FUNCTION 2. (8) The Sun God as leech belongs to Function 3. His connexion. His burning eye firmly connects him with fire. she is connected to fire. 9. Bearing in mind that the element Earth is always female and that goddesses are. As Fuamnach. The Smith God as smith and hospitaler belongs to Function 3. she belongs to Function 1. As Meadhbh. Definition:MALE:FIRE:FUNCTION 3. Brighid). as a celestial deity. she is connected to supra-functional kingship. Neamhan or Bé Néid. in association with Function 1 gods. As Anann. As Moirríoghan or Deirbhreann. As owner of the White Cows. she is connected to supra-functional kingship. as we have seen. Clothrann or Mughain. Badhbh. (7) The Sea God with his trading activities snd fertility aspects belongs to Function 3. Definition: FEMALE:AIR.e. she is connected to Function 2.(5) The Wind God as war god and ex-king of the gods belongs to Function 2. Definition:MALE:WATER:FUNCTION 3. His connexion is with air. It is interesting that the Welsh word for king brenin (Old Welsh brenhin brenhin) reflects common Celtic *BRIGANTÎNOS "husband of the goddess *BRIGANTÎ (i. goddess of sovereignty. His connexion is with fire. In her natural function as Dawn.

and that Neachtan. seg Nevertheless there is cause to suspect that he and the Sea God. The most likely explanation. is historically the Bealltaine. is that she is an avatar of the Water Goddess. SUMMER: the three months beginning on 1 May.from *BELENO-. there is a likelihood that they were originally sons of the Dawn Goddess and her other husband. but of a different nature to Eithne. "the two fires of Belenos" between which cattle were passed in a ceremony of purification (YI 96). Thus the first syllable must continue common Celtic *BELLO.under epithets such as Manannán "the Manxman" or Teathra. Samhain. The Scandinavians did have a sea god. were originally one and the same god . (LSC 353) With the exception of Lá Fhéile Bríde which has long replaced Iombolg.of Function 3 . is a problem. the womanizing) gradually hived off to become a Function 3 deity in his own right. Manannán. The Greek Poseidon is in origin a Mediterranean earthquake god. In this connexion. since he does not belong to the warrior caste.but he. it is as well to note here what we can ascertain about the place of the individual gods’ festivals in the ritual year. As the Indoeuropeans knew no ocean. again. as we have seen. it is noteworthy that Mongán mac Fiachna is clearly claimed as an incarnation of Manannán (LU 10916ff + YBL 1926. gradually acquired a maritime dimension . Before examining the Irish pantheon in the broader context of the Celtic world. IB 3-35) but that he is also identified as an avatar of Fionn mac Cumhaill. Although they are sons of the Dawn Goddess and the Smith God in all the texts. Bealtaine. Lá Fhéile Bríde "St Brigit’s day". only landlocked seas such as the Caspian. the names of the first days of the quarters have remained unchanged since the Old Irish period. from *BELENOTENES. . connected to Function 2 in his aggressive aspect and connected to Function 3 in the fertility aspects of the Spring and to kingship in the sense that *SEGOS (Old Irish seg) is the fertilizing power of kingship. This is born out by an examination of the Vedic. the incarnation of Neachtan (LU 10940ff). Njordur . "the sea king" .and that this avatar. the Dawn Goddess. which cannot be satisfactorily proved.Eithne.could not be right. the divine grandson. like Neachtan. The Roman Neptune was originally a god of springs. can be identified to the earlier Germanic fertility god Nerthus. a god inherited from Indoeuropean days. which we shall do in the following chapter. gealt) proves that the spelling Bealltaine often found in manuscripts. the Sun God. WINTER: the three months beginning on 1 November. while the original deity Neachtan acquired extra-functional status. Lúnasa (Lughnasadh). AUTUMN: the three months beginning on 1 August.from *BELNO. the pigs. They can be analyzed as follows: Iombolg (Old Irish Imbolc) continues common Celtic *EMBIBOLGON "budding " Bealtaine continues common Celtic *BELNOTENES. The typifies the commoner who makes an Unsuitable King. The Irish year is still divided into four seasons as follows: SPRING: the three months beginning on 1 February. Lughnasadh continues common Celtic *LUGUGNÂSSETON "the visitation of Lugh". The Munster pronunciation of the first vowel ( /au/ as in meall not /a/ as in gealt meall. So it would seem that common Celtic *NEKTONOS. *BELO. The Twins are likewise an appendage to their mother. more correct. The Commoner King is obviously an appendage to the Smith God his father. Samhain continues common Celtic *SAMNIS "assembly". Greek and Roman pantheons. while retaining some of Neachtan’s fertility aspects (the magic apples. one would not expect them to have a fully fledged Sea God. As we find him he is extra-functional: connected to Function 1 in virtue of his ownership of the spring Seaghais and its magic powers. continues the more archaic concept. The Spring God is also a problem. and only assumed a maritime dimension under Greek influence.

"the hill of Fionn". is the feast of Belenos (Neachtan).Although the "quarter days" are now linked to the standard calendar. BEALTAINE. IOMBOLG. LUGHNASADH again. the Fire God appears at Teamhair at Samhain. This is probably the Fire God. These four main feasts can be attributed to gods as follows: 1. is an evident anachronism (RIACon Luan). probably developed as a specialized form of Neachtan. Fionnabhair of the River (Fennor on the south bank of the Boyne. 4. as its name indicates. For 2 May we find "Neachtan. as we have seen. Neachtan’s mother. disciple of Patrick from Cill (Fh)uinche in Conaille Muirtheimhne (Co. SAMHAIN is essentially the festival of the Bruigh (the megalithic monument at Newgrange). Firstly. Brighid. Irish luan reflecting common luan. but of the moon. in pre-Christian terms. What is certain is that this is the god Neachtan. and the patronymic "son of Roi" cannot be divorced from Cú Raoi. the Fire God. Fionn. As Aoibhleán. as indicated by his appearing to Cormac on this day and returning on the same day a year later. still are . Aodh. We have seen that Manannán the Sea God. it is the dawn of the year when budding begins.Louth) and from Fionnabhair Abha on the bank of the Boyne" (FNE 118). as we nave seen. he mates with the Earth Goddess (as Deirbhreann or Caor) at Samhain. The Irish were . in matters agricultural. It is the year’s noon and a suitable moment to invoke the fertility god whom we have seen Neachtan to be in some aspects. It will eome then as no surprise to find that Manannán also shares the feast of Bealtaine with him. Celtic *LEUKSNOS. it is obvious that this cannot have been the case in pre-Christian times. presided over by the divine lawspeaker Earc and the judge of the mortal dead. is the feast of the Dawn Goddess. in this case.thus an expression like luan taide Shamhna (RIACon Taite) should be taken to mean "the full moon which marks the beginning of the feast of Samhain". Secondly. it later came to mean "Monday". It is the right moment to invoke the Storm God’s help against the Drought God. his incarnation. It is the evening of the year and the earth is parched after the hot summer. as its name indicates. The Christianized calendar confirms this. 3129ff) whom we have seen to be equivalent to Bé bhFionn. We have already noted the feast of the Christianized "Bishop Earc" on 2 November. the "meet" of the dying year. Fuinche (as in Cill Fhuinche) is yet another name for Lí Bhan (LU 2957ff.a basically pastoral people. Whether Patrick ever had a disciple named Neachtan is a moot point. It is at Samhain that the gods meet at the Bruigh and hold games. Aptly. Since they do not correspond to equinox or solstice (these fall in approximately the middle of each season). We can thus set up the following skeletal calendar: SPRING 1 Iombolg: Dawn Goddess SPRING 2 SPRING 3 SUMMER 1 Bealtaine: Spring God and Sea God SUMMER 2 SUMMER 3 AUTUMN 1 Lughnasadh: Storm God AUTUMN 2 AUTUMN 3 . 3.and. not of the sun. while cognate to Latin luna did not simply mean "moon" although luna. On 1 November. It was later taken to mean "the first Monday after Samhain" but this. almost opposite the Bruigh) reflects common Celtic *WINDOBRIGS "the white hill" or. is the incarnate form of Neachtan. 2. we may take it that the beginning of each season in any given year was based of observation. at least for a pastoral people dependent more on their cattle than on their crops. we find mentioned the feast of "Aedh mac Roi" from Foibrén (FNE 292). As Aonghas. It seems to have meant "full moon" and was used particularly of the full moon marking the beginning of a month . is the feast of Lugh.

The Christian calendar gives us a few names we can more than suspect of being "baptised" gods .Saint Aodh "of the Island" on 7 April (FNE 96). Eochaidh Ollathair. Saint Eochaidh of Uisneach on 1 January (FNE 4) (this latter is obviously the Shaman God. whose stronghold was at Uisneach) but it would be foolhardy to assign pagan festivals to these dates without backing from mythological texts. . Saint Gaibhneann on 23 May (FNE 136).WINTER 1 WINTER 2 WINTER 3 Samhain: Sky God and Fire God The texts give us no information of other demonstrably pre-Christian feasts.

who as we shall see is the Germanic form of the Shaman God and . Like the Irish Shaman God (as Fear Beann).4130).444ff + Commenta Lucani).hanging and ritual wounding. as Christianity in Wales hes a longer tradition than in Ireland and. 142). those associated with him as patron god of the Arverni . burning and drowning was offered. is shared with the Scandinavian Odin who is depicted as horned on one of the bronze plaques from Öland in Sweden.6347.and this trait. What we do have is a sizable corpus of dedicatory inscriptions to various gods . he appears as one of the Great Gods to whom the tripartite sacrifice . Under this name. This is riches indeed compared to the debris found in the rest of the Celtic world.are clearer.the important tribe which has given its name to Auvergne in France . By "interpretatio Romana" the Shaman God appears to have been assimilated to the Roman Mercury . Or again. This gives us an idea of the function of the god . it is possible that his was an esoteric cult restricted to the druid caste and thus not on public display in inscriptions.1). Romanization had penetrated deeply. At all events.117. The specific sacrifice to Esus was by hanging and ritual wounding (Lucan 1. but it must be stressed that in the absence of a myth showing the exact function of a god. CIL 3. the most one can do is note those names of gods . and this is an incalculable loss. As the inscriptions are mostly in Latin. However. 1461). we have an "interpretatio Romana" for most names or epithets of the gods. Arvernorix.Visucios (CIL 13. Camulos was probably a war god like Mars . Dôn which are clearly linked to their Irish counterparts. . too. as we have seen. In practical terms.3026).32).do not enlighten us very much. not christianized fragments. Many of the epithets . the painstaking culling of fragments of a once unified tradition and the jigsaw-like assembly of the same. such identifications must be considered speculative. Caesar states that Mercury is the god whom the Gauls most worshiped (BG 6. We have no myths. the Gaulish god also had a horned avatar. it is tempting to compare it to the Shaman God’s appearance in the Irish Fionn cycle as the Giolla Deacair "the difficult lad". Dumiatis "of the Puy de Dome" (RAns 28332) and Vassocaletis (CIL 13.though caution must be exercised. Lleu. Moccos (CIL 13.for instance: Marti Camulo "to Mars Camulos" (CIL 7. appears to have been Esus (CIL 12. His basic name. 6384).6603).17.3026) "the horned one" . more important perhaps. Gods are often accompanied by their goddess wives. As in Ireland. Adsmerios (ERPS 36).in the case above. The British him . Latin Dies Mercuri was germanicized as Woden’s day (Wednesday). There appears to be no equivalent of the Sky God in the dedications. Nudd.1103). This was the form of sacrifice to the Scandinavian Odin. This is to say that the god’s name appears joined to that of the Roman god he was considered most similar to . however. these myths lack coherence and are suspect of containing more than a little cross-Channel influence from Ireland.5676) . In the following I shall try to identify as many of these gods as is feasible to those of the Irish pantheon. it is possible that his function was completely taken over by the Fire God. If we can interpret this as *Vassos Caletos "the hard lad". as found in the Welsh Mabinogi and the odd citation from early poets. or Atesmerios (BSAF 1880.equated to Mercury. does contain some fragments of myths but. Cernunnos (CIL 12. Gofannon. Then he is called Arvernos "the Arvernian" (CIR 257). which is a further aid to identification. The Celtic world of mainland Europe is a different question. This is born out by the dedications.and these inscriptions represent a living. which last epithet persisted very late since Gregory of Tours condemns his worship under the name Vassogalate (GT 129.Chapter 3 The Celtic Pantheon The reconstruction of the Irish pantheon requires.Mabon. "king of the Arverni" (CIR 1741.probably because of his Trickster aspect. everyday pagan tradition. Cissonios (CIR 400.

appears to have been simply Taranus "thunder" (CIL 12. 6478). that as Mars "he rules war" (BG 6. Cú Chulainn.61). he appears as one of the Great Gods of the tripartite sacrifice .probably as a simple latinization of Gaulish *Nectonos. since only the plural form Lugoves occurs in the dedications (CIL 2. he appears as Ogmios in Lucian (Hercules 1) .130. 943).but not in the inscriptions. CIL 7. somewhat superfluously.1033). he is also equated to Mars and in two inscriptions from Austria (CIL 3.2818. found in Northern Italy. as war god. however. Further epithets which are self-explanatory are Caturix "king of battle" (CIL 13. appears as Mars. There is no trace whatever of a Sea God in the dedications. 13.6094. he has curative powers manifested in springs (BG 6.5863). Further epithets are *Ouxelisamos (Latinized as Uxellimus) "the most high" (CIL 3. What can only be the Drought God appears as Mars Leucetios (CIR 930) or Loucetios (CIR 929. CIL 7. is not clear. in the primitive redaction of Táin Bó Cuailnge. He is equated to Apollo since.1103.140. Of interest. is very much present in his primitive role as a fertility god associated with springs. The most common name.820) or.5078). Lóch is aided and abetted against Cú Chulainn by Moirríoghan who. is identical to Nemetona. Under this name.206) under which he was worshipped in Gaul in association with the Earth Goddess.1). In his aggressive aspect. we should not be surprised to find a group deity in place of the individual god. is Leucimalacos "of the shining eyebrow" (CIL 5. Samhioldánach "the many-skilled one". the Fire God appears under the same name in the form Maponos. as already suggested. There is also the possibility of a connexion with Lóch (common Celtic *LEUKOS). that he is not alone in being so interpreted . corresponding to Lugh. As god of Strength (Oghma).17. Litavi. Caesar states that the Gaulish Jupiter also ruled the gods (BG 6.the Drought God and the Spring God are also so identified.18. he is equated to the romanized Apollo. 7.17.173ff). however.5046. Caesar states.his specific sacrifice being that of burning (in imitation of lightning) (Lucan 1. . CIL 13. the greatest adversary of the incarnate Storm God.5501) and the deified Danube (CIL 3. The Wind God.45. CIR 164) and Nodons or Nodens (Nuadha) (CIL 7.1090) whose epithet is obscure. in adjectival form. 4285) he appears as Neptune . however. In Britain. We have seen that he occurs in Britain under names that recur in Ireland: Camulos (Cumhall) (CIL 6. as owner of the spring Seaghais.2).36) "the shining one" in association with the Earth Goddess as Nemetona "goddess of the sacred grove". Like Mars Leucetios.3662.2).218). Manannán is a secondary development from Neachtan "grandson of the waters". The Storm God is naturally equated to Jupiter. 5054. In the Gaulish inscription of Chamalières he is called Maponos Arverniatis "Arvernian Maponos" and is invoked for magic purposes (EC 15.7862a) which cannot fail to remind us of Balar’s burning eye which was covered by his eyebrow. Instead we find principally Hercules Magusanos (CIR 51. We have also seen the name Cicollus (IACO 1. Whether or not his main name was Lugus. As Macan Óg.17. are the dedications associating him with the Matronae (water goddesses) (CIL 5.2804.46. Caesar says: the Gauls say they all descend from Father Dis (BG 6.5145) and Bussumaros "great in command (?)" (CIL 3.1. which may be confusing. A further name.444ff).The Fire God in his aspect of god of the dead appears as Dis by "interpretatio Romana". which seems to indicate that. doubtless in his aspect as god of music (CIL 7.5911). Taranucnos (CIL 3. 13. in view of Lugh’s alignment with the Water Goddess against the Drought God. Neachtan. as an avatar of the Earth Goddess. We shall see. The places bearing the name Lugudunon "fortress of Lugus" certainly point to an originally singular deity. Bearing in mind the Irish epithet of Lugh. CIR 1588) and Rigisamos "most kingly" (CIL 7. BJ 77. The equivalence to Donn is clear.

46). 5911. he appears as Segomo (in the dative: Marti Segomoni) (CIL 5. is represented as a man with a mallet (smith). thus stressing his herding and hospitaler aspects.his specific sacrifice being that of drowning in a vat. Seaghais (Lucan 1. Bormoni) (CIL 13. It is as if he had been merged into Neachtan as god of healing. he was worshipped as Grannos (CIL 3. Cocidius (CIL 7. Another name. in the poem Verba Scáthaige as an alternative name for Neachtan’s incarnation. this time called Sirona "the star goddess". By "interpretatio Romana" she is normally equated to Minerva since. 738).5791). as Caesar says. 642. 5645) which we have linked to his Irish incarnation Fionn. however. 5340) and this name we have linked to Irish Sioghmhall and the ogham genitive SEGAMONAS.2532.160) who is a goddess of prosperity associated with the Shaman God. 335. The forge is not absent. The similarity to Deirbhreann is obvious. written belend in the manuscript. Of the Sun God there is no trace in the dedications. We have seen that the Dawn Goddess.We have seen that. also equated to Apollo in classical sources (Herodian 8.3. significantly. is Belenos. 875. Vulcan and Mars. equated to Mars.1640). Matres Nemetiales (CIL 12.17. Is Mars here the interpretation of the . A further epithet is Sinquatis.444ff).206). This. In Function 2. Every Roman schoolboy knew that. In two inscriptions (CIL 13. he appears as Vindonnos (CIL 13. appears in Britain as Brigantia (CIL 7. equated to Victoria and patron goddess of the Brigantes. 5677.7564). Semantically cognate is the epithet Albios "the white one" (CIL 13. attested in Belgium (ILS 7416.2831. was fairly close in concept to the Dawn Goddess who was married to the Smith God (Vulcan).36.4525) who is identified to Victoria and clearly equals Badhbh.8) and inscriptions (CIL 3.6730. is equated to Apollo. thanks to Greek influence.200. Vulcan was married to Venus and cuckolded by Mars. another form Toutiorix "the king of the tribe" (CIL 13.80).2). BSAF 1859.286.734. 737. CIR 790) who also appears as a group deity. becoming Silvanus by "interpretatio Romana". The most widespread epithet in Gaul. The Smith God is well represented. 203.2901. 7417). With the same goddess. 5873. Archaic Old Irish *Belen also occurs. as we have seen. a cask or drinking jar (hospitaler) and occasionally a dog (herdsman) (CIL 12. RAns 29. occurs in the Irish summer festival name Bealtaine (*BELENOTENES.84) associated in Britain with a further epithet.15.264) who is explicitly equated to Apollo by the Greek historian Dio Cassius (77.36. The most common avatar.2840) under which name he is assoclated with Damona "the cow goddess". however. Vesta. Tutatis) "the god of the tribe" (CIL 7. there is Cassibodua "the brilliant scald crow" (CIL 13. Brighid. the god is one of the Great Gods of the tripartite sacrifice . In Function 3. Sucellos "the good striker". he was worshipped at Bourbon-les-Bains under the name Borvo or Bormo (dative: Borvoni. we have a group deity Dervonae "the oak goddesses" variously described as "fairies" (fatae) (CIL 5. thus underlining his aspect as hospitaler.2221).5861.1676. In association with the same goddess. Fraoch (LU 10395). In Function 1. 953). symbolizing Neachtan’s spring. Teutatis is equated to Mars in the inscriptions but. 6. "the two fires of Belenos"). which probably represents common Celtic *SINQATIS "pourer". an aspect of the Moon Goddess.1836. Likewise connected is Nemetona "the goddess of the sacred grove" (CIL 7. 13. The Earth Goddess appears in her basic role as Litavi "earth" in association with the war god Cicollus (IACO 1. since we have a dedication to Silvanus made by a guild of smiths (CIL 13. seems to have been Teutatis (variants Toutatis.4208) and "mothers" (matronae) (CIL 5. we find Rosmerta (CIL 12. As Teutatis. RC 17.6). 2940) we find her equated to Vesta in what must have appeared to a Roman the unlikely trinity of Vesta.5644. "she gave men the beginings of works and artisanal activities" (BG 6. RAns 30. however. equated to the Roman Maia (CIR 1763). Equated to Apollo and associated with springs. CIR 1711. 1062).

6.162. 290.284. CIR 814) or as the goddess Segeta (CIL 13. Cnabetios (CIR 1598. she is Epona "the horse goddess" (CIL 3. as we have seen. Suleviae Iunones (EE 7.3057) who are equated to Mars. Whence too the dedications to the goddess Sequana (the Seine) (CIL 12.163) and Carros Cicinos (CIL 7. Corresponding to the horse aspect of the Irish Áine.39. unless one or both of the Twins are hidden under the puzzling name Tarvos Trigaranus "the bull with three cranes" in the inscription from Paris (CIL 12. the other husband of the Dawn Goddess? As wife of the Sun God. The Moon Goddess is almost invariably associated with Neachtan in the dedications. could be considered incarnate in any large river. 290.2974) or a trinity. and the *SEGOS of Neachtan. once found as a group deity Eponae (CIL 3. RE 1896. NB 13. She may also appear as a group deity.3057) and by those whose "interpretatio" is Apollo or Mars and thus ambiguous. 12. BSAF 1883.80). Minerva Sulevia) (CIL 7.applied Mâtronâ to the Marne in Northern France. BJ 50. 12. 12.7750.173). as in the Gaulish dedication to the Mothers of Nimes (matrebo Namausikabo (CIL 12 p. depicted as three seated women and called variously Matres Suleviae. 1646) at Feurs near Montbrison.1641. With the exception of Neachtan who in Gaul was not replaced by the Sea God and has been examined in his place.1176.the birds sitting on their ears). Anextlomaros "of great protection" (BM 1889. . Further problems are posed by gods who are never given an "interpretatio Romana" such as Veriugodumnos (CIL 13.782. Sul Minerva.768). Plutarch parallel c29 p312E). CIL 3. as Damona "the divine cow" (CIL 13.12).3026) (compare the Three Speckled Cows of Iuchna and the Three Men of Ochaine . 7.1114. as Sirona or Dirona "the star goddess" (CIL 6. Examples are Cobledulitavos (RE 1. 2858). This last name cannot be separated from the spring.Sun God.2840.3487) and Ialonos (alias Ialonos Contrebis or simply Contrebis) (CIL 7. RAns 39. Whence the name *Mâtronâ "mother goddess" which was .36. Sul is either a single goddess (Sul.284. A further epithet is Belisama "most brillant" (CIL 12 p. Seaghais.5900. Suleviae.and still is .7904).383) matrebo Namausikabo) incarnate in the still justly famous Fountain of Nimes.1318) who are equated to Apollo. The Water Goddess. 5911.583) and Atepomaros "of great succor" (CIL 3. the Young Gods do not appear in Gaulish dedications. CIR 673. she appears in Britain as Sul which historically means "sun" (compare Irish súil "eye" from *SÛLIS and Sanskrit sûrya "sun").2865. 40.


but has also taken over the Sky God’s function as divine lawspeaker. The Roman and Greek pantheons have been heavily suffused with Mediterranean influences . god of the sea and shipping. one would expect to find some common ground in the pantheon over and above inherited pan-Indoeuropean traits. This is natural.Chapter 4 The Indoeuropean Pantheon We have seen in the previous section that the common Celtic pantheon must have been basically very similar to the Irish pantheon as presented in the first section of this chapter. and there is a myth dealing with the primal discord which existed between them. Thus. like Nuadha. Thus both the Irish and Scandinavian pantheons created a separate Sea God out of the inherited fertility god of the waters. while one can detect inherited Indoeuropean patterns in their theoretical structure. and is identical in function to Manannán. Judging from the connexion with common Celtic *NERTON (Irish neart "vigor. as in historical Iceland. has taken over the baleful qualities of the Drought God.even Mycenean Greeks . Thus the Scandinavian pantheon presents a series of male gods each of whom is accompanied by his respective spouse. the latter Vanir. What then of the wider Indoeuropean perspective? In view of the undoubted Celtic influence on Germanic culture in its formative stages. since when we first meet them. And indeed one does. there is a formal distinction made between gods of Functions 1+2 and gods of Function 3. The former are called Aesir. Nevertheless.have undergone several centuries’ acclimatization to a higher and maturer culture. with none of the easy fluctuation between polygamy and polyandry to be observed in the Irish pantheon. However. noticeably more in the Roman than the Greek pantheon. the Scandinavian pantheon shares one very important innovation with the Irish pantheon. an influence manifested above all in the limited but important sociopolitical terms which entered Germanic from Celtic. This caused sweeping changes in the male hierarchy of gods. The creation was doubtless independent but in response to the same stimulus: navigation in the Atlantic. Tyr is one-armed. In this two-caste society. Replacing him in his original fertility function is his son Freyr. strength". the priestly caste had disappeared. This said. the warriors also acted as priests. both Romans and Greeks .what society is without it? . Germanic society evidently evolved in the direction of monogamy. while retaining the Fire God’s trickster aspect. Loki.but it is against a monogamous background. mirroring social tensions between warrior and farmer castes. In Function 3 deities. however. too. both pantheons have more in common with the Mediterranean cultural zone than with the basic inherited pantheon. Divine adultery there is . instead of the six gods of Function 1 and Function 2 which we found in the Irish pantheon: SHAMAN GOD STORM GOD we find only four Odin Thor Tyr Loki SKY GOD WIND GOD FIRE GOD DROUGHT GOD Odin and Thor correspond respectively to the Daghdha and Lugh. In Germanic society. If we had a record of the beliefs of the Italic or Greek peoples at the point of time when they entered the . A Germanic god Nerthus is mentioned in classical sources as a fertility god. by the time we are presented with the Scandinavian much so that. he seems to be equivalent to Neachtan in his more neart) primitive Function 3 aspect. the differences are notable. he has become Njordur.

Mediterranean zone. it might well be a different matter. not to mention the adoption of pre-Indoeuropean local deities. .but the fragmentary nature of the evidence make it very difficult to assess their importance. The Hurrian and Babylonian myths and gods were imported practically wholesale. Some structures in Hittite rituals make it plain that inherited Indoeuropean traits there were . The same is true of the pantheons of the Anatolian peoples.

15.16. Religion. Nevertheless. the Vedas. The is called "Aryaman born of old" (RV 7.6. and gradually crept into Zoroastrianism.The situation in Iran is different. Shortly before the Iranians achieved literacy in about the 6th century BC. It is a moot point which tradition is the more archaic here . As Dyau. presiding over the ancestors in the divine world. The fire god Agni ("fire"). Pre-Christian Irish society was remarkably archaic .3. 2. As we shall see. He is associated with water and living things. to Varuna. king Varuna is there as a third and knows it.91. Aryaman and Agni. that native Indian elements gradually permeated Vedic religion and transformed it into Hinduism. on maturer reflection. in the post-Vedic period. like law.136.he is equated to the sky as Dyau. He is universal: "If two persons sit together and scheme. however.and a poet (RV 10. which combines the two.3) . And these two oceans are Varuna’s loins .of the inherited religion managed to survive. the similarities between the Vedic and Irish pantheons are remarkable but.1. of whom the first three form a triad.yet he is hidden in this small drop of water" (AV 4. although the religion itself has undergone enormous changes in the last three thousand years. these texts. Fragments .5). This is very early. The Vedic pantheon has four Function 1 gods: Varuna. perhaps. or the Irish.2). almost two thousand years had passed and India had given birth to Buddhism.5).just as Earc is divine lawspeaker. the inherited religion has kept its earliest texts down to this day and. In India. spread it far and wide and then seen it wither on its home soil before a vigorous revival of Hinduism. Unlike the Irish Shaman God . Aryaman is the god of the forefathers. Both this earth here and yonder broad sky whose boundaries are so far away belong to king Varuna. He corresponds clearly to the Irish Fire God as Donn.20.6. was in the hands of the druids who. then it should be no surprise that religion should do likewise. He is also a seer . Mitra is the god of contracts . he is a shaman: "Varuna is the spiriter of the gods" (SPB 5. described as "the red man" (RV 3.35.6. just as the Irish Shaman God is married to the Earth Goddess as Moirríoghan.15. he is the messenger of the gods (RV 2. They shunned it and it was only later. He is requested to defend the righteous (RV 1. The Vedic pantheon has three Function 2 gods: Indra. the Aryans entering India did not at first assimilate the culture of the peoples they found in possession. the resulting amalgam transformed both the older religion and Zoroastrianism. which separates the functions of god of death from those of the Fire God.6). Varuna corresponds to the Shaman God. appear to have been an efficient but intensely conservative caste. the inherited Indoeuropean religion was overthrown by Zoroaster (Zarathushtra). Mitra. Vayu and Rudra (later to .but like Earc . who established a dualist religion (two gods: one good. if one remembers that by the time monks were writing down scraps of Irish pagan mythology.189. the forefather and judge of the dead. although the physical quality of sky belongs. Mitra corresponds to the Irish Sky God.the Vedic. Prthivi.the Youngest (RV 1. If law remained close to the inherited prototype. however.and indeed whole chunks .one has only to examine the earliest law texts to realize this. not too surprising.2)."he who knows births" (RV 3. He is the god of youth .3).90. have not and a study of them makes it possible to reconstruct the Vedic pantheon and its myths.3). "Dressed in wood" (RV 9.3) corresponds to the other functions of the Irish Fire God: through the sacrificial flame. The incalculable importance of the Vedic pantheon and myths for Indoeuropean comparative mythology is that one can take roughly 1000 BC as a closing date for the compilation of the Vedic hymns. he is married to the Earth Goddess. Unlike the primitive Greeks entering the Mediterranean zone. like their Indian counterparts the Brahmins.2f). 3. as we have seen. one bad).4.

Tvashtr the craftsman god is equivalent in function to the Irish Smith God and as important.15.10. Both continue the common Indoeuropean epithet *pltHwiH.Vala). daughter of the Vasus (Varuna. 10. As Aditi.113. Vrtra and Vala. such invocations as do occur are litanies of requests to desist from action (RV 1. He is younger than his brother god like the Irish Lugh. it must be admitted that he is not active in the Vedic tradition."the broad one".113. she is associated with the Fire God (RV 1. she typifies the Earth from which all the Great Gods derive their powers. Rudra’s function corresponds to part of that of Balar in the Irish pantheon.32.4). in fact. have one significant role .become Shiva).35. a killer with bow and arrow who is assimilated to the fire god Agni and by euphemism called "the cattle lord" . He prepares the banquet of the gods.1.he is "the guardian of soma" (RV 10. Ushas "dawn" corresponds to the Irish Dawn Goddess in her more physical aspects: "The awaker with the red horses. for Aditi is this Earth and she is the wife of the gods and the queen is the wife of the king" (SPB 5.32.3. 7. We have seen that the name of the Vedic Earth Goddess.14). Indra gets drunk on soma. The parallel with Lugh’s combat with Balar needs no underlining. While he banishes disease when passing in the sky. Vala imprisons the cloud cattle in a stone prison but Indra with his thunderbolt releases them and slays Vala.1.84.7f). Seldom invoked in the hymns.66.4).13).32.3). He forges the thunderbolt for the Storm God.3).41. Nor does Indra’s kingship of the gods. "He prepares a cake. source of immortality" (RV 8. There is not the tension between Storm and Wind Gods which we have seen in the Irish pantheon. she is extra-functional and many-formed.5).5). thus releasing the life-giving waters for cattle (RV 8. Balar. Agni). is a relatively minor deity in the Vedic pantheon.1ff). The detailed coincidences with Gaibhneann are self-evident. Surya with his avatar Savitr (the morning and afternoon sun) corresponds to the Irish Sun God in his solar role.Vrtra.since he kills cattle (SPB 1. When the demon Vrtra hides the waters (RV 2.. Vala is robbery.3). Soma is at once the intoxicant used for ritual purposes (symbolized in Irish tradition by the bubbles of "numinous knowledge") and the Moon God. The Vedic pantheon has three Function 3 gods: Apam Napat "the grandson of the waters".101. That said. corresponds to the Gaulish name Litavi. Cian. sister of the Adityas (Varuna. consisting of the intoxicant soma (SPB 1. Apam Napat. Aryaman). As goddess of sovereignty. 6. Under another name.9). corresponding structurally to the Moon Goddess of the Irish pantheon. Mitra. Prthivi.25). The three together make up the complete functions of the Irish Drought God. He also creates the divine cow Prsni that lives in the house of the Moon (RV 1.but he can protect him. .3). Like the Irish Earth Goddess.13. invoked as Fire in the Waters (RV 5. If Rudra is Plague.6. for Indra at the dwelling of him who is being consecrated king.66. for Indra is the ruler" (SPB 5.114.35. The Wind God obviously cannot marry the Moon God . Wind. receives the thunderbolt from the smith god Tvashtr and destroys the demon (RV 1. 10.6). Like Brighid.1. however. Surya "sun" and Tvashtr "craftsman". Sri.11. He is associated with the Water Goddess in the form of a group deity Gnâs "the women" (RV 7.5).85.35. she appears as Aditi: "He goes to the dwelling of the queen and prepares a porridge for Aditi..7.1. then Vrtra is Drought who keeps the water from the cattle. she is described as "Mother of the Rudras (Rudra. Ushas comes with her well-yoked chariot" (RV 1.3. he has not developed a fully fledged aspect as God of Healing. while corresponding to the Irish Neachtan. is seldom invoked at all. Indra is the Storm God. Vayu is the Wind God. It also boasts two demons. He is the "great demon of the sky" (RV 2. This is obviously a more primitive version of Balar’s theft of the Glas Ghaibhneann and the cow’s subsequent recovery by the Sun God.6.30.2). Indra (RV 1. He does. 7.

3. but carried their deified river names east and west with them . Just as Lugh destroys Breas. most riverlike. one of her epithets is Brhati "the high one" which is formally identical to Brighid. Unlike their Irish counterparts. while Breas whatever his other shortcomings is not. Bé bhFionn. both reflecting common Indoeuropean *bhrghntiH.64f). appears to be an aspect of the Storm God as bearer of the lightning. Midhir.186. of course. are called Ushasa-Nakta "Dawn and Night" . which separates Moon and Night. Corresponding to the Irish Moon Goddess. he is son of the Water Goddess as noted above. The Wind God. 1. Brhati.3.19). As the moon. The Maruts. the Moon God (RV 9. The Rbhus. just as the Irish Water Goddess is mother of the Moon Goddess. They are Function 3 deities connected like the Irish Twins with human prosperity (RV 3.: "The mother of the gods.16). young horsemen of the storm who accompany Indra.5). As Ratri..hence Sionann "the goddess Sindus" in Ireland and in the Irish pantheon. As a group deity "the Women".118. she wears a black cloak spangled with stars. After which the traditions diverge.Interestingly.5) just as the Irish Wind God. who is at one and the same time the deified intoxicant used for ritual purposes and the moon god. shines forth" (RV 1.1. but like Dian Céacht. She corresponds to the Irish Moon Goddess in her aspect as Dar Earca. Pushan "the feeder" is clearly similar to Gaibhneann in his hospitaller aspect and may well have more direct connexions with Buchad the "cowherd" . or the Celtic.the use of the old Indoeuropean word for night proves the archaism of the link. since Visvarupa is a three-headed monster. Sindhu. Sindhu is the historical Indus but we may well suspect the existence of a deified river Sindhu in the Indoeuropean homeland.113.just as in the Irish pantheon the Moon Goddess. and it is no more than that.7. 1. My own guess.39. which cannot but remind us of the Gaulish avatar of the Moon Goddess. so in the Vedic texts we find "Sindhu. Tvashtr’s son Visvarupa "all shapes" corresponds to Gaibhneann’s son Breas in the Irish pantheon.96).1f). which clearly combines them. The god is Soma. the Vedic pantheon has the two Horsemen (Asvina). The goddess is Ratri "night".3). they are the twins who precede their mother. like Iuchar and Iucharbha "Horseman and Horseman’s Bane". the Sun God. The two goddesses.6. most divine" (RV 2. can be compared to the retinue of young horsemen who accompany Lugh to Teamhair (Celtica 2. It is difficult to say which tradition is the more primitive . her grandson.6. Bé bhFionn. Corresponding to the Irish Twins. Such are Danu and Gandharva. Like Dar Earca.5. Soma is prepared by Tvashtr for the gods . several minor gods or group deities in the Vedic pantheon which have no clear equivalent in the Irish pantheon. she appears as Sarasvati "the flowing one" who is addressed as "most motherlike. serves Gaibhneann’s feast to the gods (SPB 1. they are leeches (RV 8. with whom we invoke Apam Napat (the grandson of the waters)" (RV 1.16). when invoked jointly. In the same way that the Irish Water Goddess is associated with Neachtan. Parjanya.41.85. Sarasvati was almost certainly a river name in origin. she is closely associated with the Dawn Goddess whom she precedes in time but who is greater than her. Vayu. remind one of Lugh’s dwarf son Cnú Dearóil the musician (AS-SG 108). subsequently deified.3). is Bé bhFionn’s husband. The Indoeuropeans dispersed.61.the Vedic. is that the Celtic (and Irish) tradition is the older. protector of men against wolves and robbers. is his protector (RV 10.54. associated with the wind. As deified intoxicant.46. The same is true of her alias.. The Vedic Sindhu is specifically the mother of Soma. so Indra destroys Visvarupa (SPB 1. the Vedic pantheon has one god and one goddess. There are. Among the Young Gods.184. Dawn (RV 1. a group deity aptly described as artisan elves and associated with Indra. the Water Goddess is associated with Tvashtr. Sirona "the star goddess".6f). As an individual goddess.

hospitaler. what sounded the final death knoll of Irish paganism was not the work of Patrick and his successors but the destruction of the social order in the 16th-17th centuries and the emergence of a more international Catholicism in Ireland. however. the remarkable number of agreements in detail between the two pantheons and their basic identity of structure leave one in no doubt of the archaic nature of the Irish pantheon and its overall fidelity to the inherited Indoeuropean pattern. The reason for this is perhaps to be found in the fact that Irish society. there was no pressure for social change. long after Christianization.. Indeed. pagan beliefs still flourished side by side with a Christianity infused with pagan concepts. With no shift in the economic base. still clung to the inherited Indoeuropean economic base: cattle. On the whole. . When eventually Christianity was accepted by the Irish. hence religious concepts remained static.

the basic myth is preserved in an archaic form but has been clumsily welded to the myth of the unsuitable king. while he was making it. he must right it. Eithne. One day Cian went to Gaibhneann’s forge to have a sword made. becomes Balar’s daughter. Manannán agreed to help him in return for half of what he brought back. To rescue the cow. the Sun God needs help . (Source: WIF 242-245 collated with OSL (Donegal) 90-97. As Sun God. Then Cian saw a man in a boat and hailed him. The two myths have been separated in this book one being given here and the other in Chapter 8 Myths 1-3. TT 45-47) DD The forging of a sword for Cian is a later addition to explain how Cian came to be guarding Gaibhneann’s cow when it had been forgotten that Cian is the Sun God. He soon became friendly with Eithne and they made love. Of the seven myths or episodes of myths which form this chapter. Eithne became pregnant and gave birth to three sons. It is no chance. the motif of the son/grandson who is fated to kill his father/grandfather is brought in. If anything happens to the cow. At the end of the day he came back to the forge with the cow. Whether this was part of the original . the cow was gone.and who better than a water deity. seizes the cow of fruitfulness and shuts her in his prison. By the time he reached the shore. The rest are found in the oldest version of the battle of Magh Tuireadh. Thus Eithne.Donegal. As Cian was about to step out of the boat. the mother of Lugh. Cian dressed in woman’s clothes and was admitted. Cian knew that this was Balar’s work and set out in pursuit. Cian agreed and went out to watch the cow. therefore. who is the natural enemy of drought? At this point. Now Balar had a daughter. the Sea God. When he came out again with the sword. he is the divine cowherd who leads the Smith God’s Cow of Plenty in her grazing across the sky. So Cian gave him the child. Balar discovered two of them and threw then into the sea but Cian escaped with the third one and the cow. Manannán reared Lugh and taught him many arts so that he became known as Samhioldánach "the many-crafted one". Balar. Balar was away out to sea making for the island of Toraigh. and returned the cow to Gaibhneann. Manannán was waiting for him in the boat and brought him safely to land. It was Manannán. 236-239. the first is from the popular tradition. the seasonal variations between drought and rain are of fundamental importance since insufficient pasture leads inexorably to catastrophe. Manannán asked for his share of half of what was brought back. Lugh. The protection of the cow from theft and disease is his responsibility. Glas Ghaibhneann. Gaibhneann agreed to make the sword but said that Cian would have to guard the cow. that the story of the combat of the Storm God and the Drought God is the best preserved and most persistent of Irish myths. So he shut his daughter up in his fortress and would let no man in. Balar had seized the opportunity and stolen the cow away to his fortress on Toraigh. In this literary text. and he knew that he would die at the hands of his grandson. Remnants of it are still alive now (1981) in the folk tradition of Co. the Drought God. Myth 1 THE THEFT OF GAIBHNEANN’S COW AND THE BIRTH OF LUGH. We shall see him in a similar role in Chapter 5 Myth 1. CCF 3-5.PART II : THE MYTHS Chapter 1 STORM For a mainly pastoral people. he went into the forge and forgot to tether the Glas. Eager to have his sword.

myth or not is difficult to say." "We already have a harper. The motif of the death of the first son(s) also occurs in the myth of the incarnation of Lugh as Cú Chulainn (Chapter 9 Myth 1).I am a strong man. to spite Lugh." The gatekeeper went into the royal house and told the king." "Ask me -I am a leech." "We already have a leech. Myth 2 LUGH'S ARRIVAL IN TEAMHAIR Nuadha gave a great feast to the gods in Teamhair. Of Balar’s hostility to Cian and Eithne and their offspring there is." "Ask me -I am a sorcerer. B (1) The Sun God and a goddess. inventing the gambit called Cró Logha (Lugh’s Enclosure). threw a great stone through the side of the house and out of Teamhair. is momentarily not watching her." "We already have a strong man. (2) With the Sea God’s help." "We already have a tinsmith. the Sun God retrieves the cow." "We already have a warrior. for no one enters Teamhair without a craft.I am a poet and storyteller." "We already have a poet and storyteller. Lugh threw it back so that it settled in the center of the royal house and healed the gap in the wall.I am a warrior." "We already have several sorcerers. the Sun God." "Ask me . Nuadha was informed and gave orders for him to be admitted." "We already have a smith. He sent out the chess players of Teamhair to him and he beat them all. But Oghma." "Ask me .I am a harper." "Ask me . no doubt. It is probable that Eithne was originally a form of the Water Goddess and the enemy." "Ask me . This. attempt to produce a son .the Storm God . The gatekeeper asked:"Who goes there?" "Lugh son of Cian and of Eithne." "We already have cupbearers." "We already have a carpenter.I am a carpenter.who will overcome the Drought God." "What craft do you play." "Ask me . Eithne (the Water Goddess).I am a smith. a youth called Samhioldánach came at the head of a company from Eamhain Abhlach to Teamhair." "Ask the king if he has anyone who can ply all these crafts. While this feast was in progress. is a double myth and can be schematized as follows: A (1) The Drought God steals the Smith God’s cow of plenty when her cowherd. not the daughter. If he has.I am a tinsmith. . I shall not enter Teamhair. There he is inaccessible to the Drought God." "Ask me -I am a cupbearer. then. however. of Balar." "Ask me . (2) The Drought God kills two of their sons but eventually at the third attempt they succeed in spiriting the future Storm God away to the domain of the Sea God." "Ask me . but the chances are that it was not.

for he was the wise man of every craft. Then the gods took counsel whether Lugh could lift the oppression of the Fomhóire from them.64f) .Then Lugh went in and sat in the wise man’s seat. (Source: CMT 53-74 collated with Celtica 2. And they decided that Nuadha should change places with him. They asked him to play the harp for them and he played them the Three Strains. Then Samhioldánach sat in the king’s seat.

harper. This must represent Old Irish *Fomairi. The Daghdha said that he alone would do all these things together. Then they adjourned for three years. The sorcerer said that he would set the mountains of Ireland fighting on the side of the gods against the Fomhóire.that is. Much has been written about the Fomhóire. smith/carpenter/tinsmith. Then they summoned their forces and inquired what they could do. Balar. Schematically this myth runs as follows: 1) The Storm God demands the kingship of the gods. Now the Daghdha had a house in the north at Gleann Éadain and he had a meeting there with a woman at the Samhain before the battle. hunts down and slaughters cattle. strong man. And the only male suprafunctional office is that of king. 2) The reigning king. Myth 3 THE GODS PREPARE POR WAR.they had been seven years preparing them. The list given by Lugh is in no sort of order but can be analysed as follows: Function 1: sorcerer. They summoned their relatives Gaibhneann and Dian Céacht. Latin venari "to hunt" and Old Slavonic vojï "warrior". Thus Lugh is making a claim to supra-functionality. most of it completely beside the point and ultimately based on the etymological speculations of medieval glossators. but that the men of Ireland would have drink enough for seven years of war. This is the only time in the myths where the two aspects. continuing common Celtic *WOYOMÂRIÎ. 3) The gods accept the Storm God as king .The Storm God is now ready to lead the gods against the Drought God. The Fomhóire are thus a group of demons grouped around and ultimately emanating from the Drought God. The earliest (middle Irish) form of the name is Fomaire (see RIACon Fomóir) which rhymes with Conaire and has no long vowel. The Great Hunter can only be an epithet for the Drought God. In the form of his alter ego. Function 2: warrior. Noone is admitted to the company of the gods without a valid attribute and only one god may wield a given attribute. at Greallach Dhollaidh. The Wind God. Function 3: cupbearer. he makes a bid to oppose Lugh’s entry into the kingship of the gods and fails. And this is called the Nonplan of the Gods at Grealladh Dhollaidh. when he is acting as a simple Function 2 warrior he is called Oghma . *WOYOMÂRIOS is a patronymic from the name *WOYOMÂROS "great in hunting" i. poet/storyteller. The gods then give Lugh the kingship for a specific purpose: to lift the oppression of the Fomhóire from them. are active within the framework of a single episode. is reigning king. Oghma.e. "the Great Hunter".comparable to the Vedic Maruts (see Part I Chapter 4) and demands admittance to the gods. god of strength. the first element being cognate with Irish fian "hunting band". The druid said that he would send three showers of fire against the Fomhóire seizing two thirds of their strength and knotting their excrement in their bodies and in the bodies of their horses . as Nuadha. the Daghdha and Oghma. He found her washing in the river Uinsinn in Corann. who like his Vedic counterpart Rudra alias Pasupati "lord of the beasts". opposes this demand but is forced to yield. plural of *WOYOMÂRIOS. Meanwhile Lugh. The cupbearers said that they would make the rivers and lakes of Ireland dry for the Fomhóire.but that every breath the men of Ireland drew would be strength to them so that seven years of war would not tire them.there is never any contrast in function. He arrives from the Sea God’s domain at the head of his followers . as warleader against the Drought God and his followers. Lugh took counsel with his relatives. the Wind God. They deliberated for a full year on their plan. She had one foot on one bank and the other on the other . Nuadha and Oghma. the Daghdha and Oghma went to the three craft gods and they gave Lugh weapons for the battle . We shall see that when the Wind God is acting as king he is called Nuadha.

She was Moirríoghan. representing Function 1. Then everyone dispersed until the men of Ireland should come together the day before Samhain. the druid handles Fire and Air. represented here by the sorcerers the cupbearers and the druids are to manipulate the elements in the gods’ favor. The Storm God is now king and consults with the Daghdha. handle supplies. the Priests (Function 1) and Commoners (Function 3) have their own ancillary roles to play and these are set out here. (Source: CMT 75-87) This and the following myth can be described as sidelines. He left they and went to Trácht Eothaile.hence the summoning of the Function 3 gods. The Priests. So the Daghdha came to their camp and requested a truce till battle. a dark brown tunic down to the cleft of his buttocks and horse skin trousers with the hair on the outside. sheep and pigs into it and boiled them all together. He took up his ladle . as Shaman God. She would go to Sceidne to maim the king of the Fomhóire and seize the blood of his heart and his kidneys. Nevertheless. he saw a beautiful girl ahead of him. Lugh sent the Daghdha to spy on the Fomhóire and detain them until the men of Ireland were ready for battle. to mock him. handles all four. Then the Fomhóire made him a porridge. We then return to the Shaman God who obtains the active help of the Earth Goddess in her Function 1 aspect as Queen of Death by copulating with her over water. The "third estate" may come only when summoned . Myth 4 THE DAGHDHA’S EXPLOITS. She brought the blood in her cupped hands and gave it to the company that was waiting at the Ford of Uinsinn. While he was on his way. He ate everything and then scraped the bottom of the hole clean with his finger.and the pieces in it were half flitches and quarters of lard. The sorcerer handles Earth. They put goats. And he appeared ugly: a short hood down to his elbows. It is axiomatic that the warriors (Function 2) will do the actual fighting. Functions 1 and 2. represented here by the three craft gods (Gaibhneann and his byforms Luchtaine and Créidhne). The Commoners.a man and his wife could lie together in it comfortably . Afterward she told the Daghdha that the Fomhóire would land at Magh Sceidne and that he should summon the poets of Ireland to her at the Ford of Uinsinn. The Daghdha lusted for her but the size of his belly incapacitated him. which caused merriment among the Fomhóire. have automatic access to the king’s council. That was granted. The Daghdha. and Oghma (the "demoted" Nuadha). This was a week before Samhain. The girl started taunting him and . He felt sleepy afterwards and his belly was as large as a house cauldron. They filled the five-handled cauldron of the king for him . He dragged a club heavy enough for eight men behind him and it left a track big enough to be a boundary ditch. Priests and warriors. Then they poured it out into a hole in the ground for him and told him that they would kill him unless he ate it all. Then the poets maimed the king and chanted spells over the Fomhóire.and her hair was in nine loose plaits. because he was much given to porridge. while the main line for the cycle is taken up again in Myth 5. representing Function 2. She then unleashes her spiritual power against the Fomhó held eighty sextarii (120 pints) of milk and the same amount of flour and fat. the cupbearers handle Water. The Daghdha spoke to her and they made love. Gaibhneann and Dian Céacht. It was not easy for the fellow to walk with the size of his belly.

wrestling with him. She cast him so that he was up to his arse in the ground. He glared at her and said: "Why are you taking me from my allotted path?" "So that you will carry me on your back to my father’s house." "Who is your father?" "The king of the Fomhóire." She laid into him again until the scrub around him was covered in his shit and forced him to take her on his back. He said it was taboo for him to carry anyone who could not call hlm by his name. "What is your name?" she asked. "The Horned Man" he said. "That is an excessive name" she said "get up and carry me on your back, Horned Man." "That is not my name" he said. "Well?" she said. And he told her his full name. She repeated it without a fault and added "Now, get up and carry me from here." "Do not mock me any further" he said. "It is a promise" she said. Then he emptied his belly into the hole and rose up and carried the girl on his back. He had put three stones in his belt and every now and again he dropped one and said they were his genitals dropping. The girl leaped on him, knocked him down on his backside and laid bare his pubic hair. Then the Daghdha took her and they made love. The place of the encounter can still be seen at Trácht Eothaile. Afterward she said to him: "You will not go to the battle." "I will go" said the Daghdha. "You will not - because I shall be a stone at the entrance to every ford you come to." "True," said the Daghdha "but you will not stop me. I shall go strongly over every stone and the mark of my heel will be on every one of them for ever." "True, but they will be sucked down and no one will see them. But you will not go because I shall be an oak in every ford and on every road you come to." "I shall go" said the Daghdha, and the mark of my ax will be on every oak for ever and they will say: this is the mark of the ax of the Daghdha." "Let the Fomhóire land," she said, "because the men of Ireland have come together in one place." She said that she would chant over the Fomhóire and that he should ply the deadly trade of his club on them. Then the Fomhóire landed at Sceidne and the men of Ireland were at Magh Urfholaigh. (Source: CMT 89-94 + ZCP 12.401f) This myth, which is crucial for an understanding of the Shaman God’s nature and of his identity to the Horned God of mainland Europe, has not received the attention it deserves - for reasons which have more to do with recent attitudes to sex in Europe (not excluding Ireland) than with Irish mythology. Nevertheless it has been in print since 1918 when Thurneysen courageously published his transcript of the manuscript, with all its orthographic oddities, in volume 12 of Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie. No translation or critical edition has appeared, not even a précis such as the above. One can like or dislike the subject matter and its treatment, but the serious student of Irish mythology ignores it at his peril. To one brought up in a religious tradition in which a strong air of celibacy surrounds both the concept of priest and the concept of god, the idea of a god who is also a priest and not only horned but undeniably horny can and does shock. Nevertheless such a deity is by no means rare in the pantheons of mankind. The Shaman God is not celibate. He is a Trickster, a universal copulator who links the four elements: on the one hand the female Earth and on the other the male trinity of Water, Air and Fire. The joining of these elements is life, their separation is death and the Shaman God has a vital part to play in both processes which occur

simultaneously. Hence his gargantuan appetite for everything - excretion as well as eating, slaughter as well as the fertilizing act of copulation. That is what this myth is all about. Myth 5 THE DRUNKENNESS OF LUGH. Unknown to Lugh, Nuadha went round the leaders of the gods asking if they were happy to let Lugh alone have the glory of the battle. And were their warriors unable to deal with the Fomhóire without him? "I have a plan, he said, I have a great feast of good drink ready for the strong men of the god, and for Lugh. Let him be served with that feast until he is drunk. When he is drunk, bind him with iron chains and bronze links. Sink great pillars into the ground on all sides around him and bind him to them. And let the battle take place without him." The gods agreed to this . When Lugh was drunk, they summoned Abhcán and he played to him until he fell into a music-induced sleep. Then the binders arose and bound him. The companies rose up then to fight the battle under Nuadha, leaving Abhcán in charge of Lugh. They declared battle on the Fomhóire and the two armies came wildly together. That woke Lugh from his slumber. "What is all this, Abhcán?" he asked, "Why am I bound? And what are those great shouts I can hear?" "I don’t know," said Abhcán, "what the shouts are - unless they are the shouts of the foreign games of the Fomhóire or the shrieking of the deadly swords being doused in cold water by Gaibhneann or Moirríoghan coming with her tricks and telling every hero his fate and everyone making sport, gazing at the backside of that uncommon girl and the multiplicity of her tricks." "That is enough, Abhcán," said Lugh, "this is the onslaught of battle I can hear none of the things you say. Untie me so that I can go and stop the companies, because this day is not theirs." "I can’t break your bonds," said Abhcán, "hands of warriors and the strength of heroes bound them on you." Then Lugh shook himself and dragged the pillars from the ground and they clattered behind him, attached to the chains, as he rushed forward to stop the companies. The din was tremendous: the iron chains rubbing against each other and the pillars crashing against the rocks so that the dying sparks would have turned night into day. He ran rightways around the companies and set his face against the Fomhóire. Both sides stopped, for he was no usual sight with the chains streaming out behind him like the rigging from the mast of a great ship. And the crashing of the pillars behind him, breaking heights and hillocks, gave them cause for reflexion. (Source: CMT(C) 80-195. Craiftine Cláirseoir and Ceithleann Chraosfhiadach have been substituted for Abhcán and Moirríoghan in this late recension. I have restored the original names.) With this myth we are back in the mainstream of the cycle. Just before the battle, the displaced warleader Nuadha tries to stage a comeback and, in doing so, provides the fledgling Storm God with the means of raising his principal attribute - the Storm. The complicity of the Fire God, in his aspect as Abhcán, with the Wind God against Lugh is not fortuitous. If Lugh usurps the Wind God’s kingship, he also usurps the Fire God’s fire with his thunderbolt. We shall find Wind God and Fire God allied in Chapter 2 Myth 1 and Fire God and Storm God opposed in Chapter 5 Myth 3 and Chapter 6 Myth 2a. Abhcán’s Three False Guesses (a fairly common motif) are neatly arranged in tripartite form: Function 1: Moirríoghan’s antics and fortune-telling. Function 2: the games of the Fomhóire.

Function 3: Gaibhneann’s work. The last part of the myth is a description of Lugh taking on his aspect as Storm and raising up his attributes. The Vedic Indra only becomes a fully mature Storm God when he drinks the soma prepared by the Artisan God. Likewise Lugh can only achieve his full divinity after a surfeit of the liquor with which he is plied at the Wind God’s feast. Like his Vedic counterpart, the Irish Wind God (as Midhir) has a special relationship with the Moon who serves the Smith God’s feast. Schematically then: 1) The Wind God attempts to recover the sovereignty of the gods by making the Storm God drunk with the Moon Goddess’s drink. 2) The Fire God aids and abets him in this. 3) Contrary to expectations, the drunkenness enables the Storm God to achieve full aspect. Myth 6 GAIBHNEANN, AND DIAN CÉACHT. The battle raged between the Fomhóire and the gods each day. And the Fomhóire were surprised that their weapons were failing and their dead did not reappear next day. This was not the case with the gods. If their weapons failed today, they were renewed tomorrow, because Gaibhneann the smith was in his forge making spears. He made a spear head with three blows and the third completed it. Luchtaine the carpenter made a spear shaft with three chips and the third completed it. Créidhne the tinsmith made a rivet with three blows and the third completed it. Gaibhneann cast the spear heads with his tongs and they stuck in the door jamb. Luchtaine threw the shafts after them and that was enough to fix them. Créidhne cast the rivets from his tongs and that was enough to fix them. Dian Céacht with Miach and Airmheadh were chanting over the Well of Healing. The gods threw their dead and dying into the well and the next day they arose out of it alive and well. Then the Fomhóire sent Ruadhán to spy out the camp of the gods, since he was related to them. He saw the work of the forge and of the Well of Healing. Then he came again and begged a spear head from Gaibhneann, a rivet from Créidhne and a spear shaft from Luchtaine. There was a woman grinding the weapons and she ground Ruadhán’s spear for him. Then Ruadhán cast his spear at Gaibhneann. Gaihhneann pulled the spear out of his body and slew Ruadhán with it. Then Gaibneann went into the Well of Healing and emerged whole again. (Source: CMT 121-126 collated with SC Nescoit) This myth is another sideline dealing with the activities of the Function 3 gods and is self-explanatory. Ruadhán "the Red One" is certainly an avatar of Balar (see also Myth 7 below).

Myth 7 THE KILLING OF BALAR On the day appointed for the great battle, Lugh came in his chariot and took his place at the head of the gods. He took the form of an old gray hag with one foot and one hand and one eye and went round both armies prophesying doom for the Fomhóire and prosperity for the men of Ireland. Balar was at the head of the Fomhóire. His single eye was opened only during battle, for it was deadly to all it saw. Lugh and Balar challenged each other and Balar ordered his eye to be opened. Then Gaibhneann cast the molten thunderbolt fron the door of his forge. Lugh caught it, whirled it once round his head and cast it at Balar’s eye. It went through his head and its poison sprayed out over the Fomhóire behind him. As Balar lay dying, he begged Lugh to behead him and place his head on his own so

the head split the pillar into four pieces with its venom.udder in cows. at least temporarily. Pot on griddle full of honey mead in abundance. the great waters and the estuaries of Ireland: "Peace to the sky. On Bóinn’s bank (a womb with riches) woods above green grass in spring and autumn. . Spear on shield. Let the Red One with eternal sight be peaceful. Mess for crannaib craob do scis scis do áss saith do m(ui) the one usually used for a red berry." (Source: CMT 127-128 + ZPC 12. water is back and with it abundance and fertility under the auspices of the Water Goddess. Sky to the world. the branch is weary. the bull to the slaughter. Thanks to Lugh. a fierce camp . the saw to the tree. In no time. is a beautiful résumé of the whole purpose of this myth cycle and looks very much as if it could be directly derived from or inspired by a hymn to Lugh sung at his feast of Lughnasadh (1 August). foidb Fod di uir oss for biur ms trom foid ms benna a buir benna buair be(t)i metha. DF 16.abstain for a time. Lugh beheaded him and placed the head on a vast pillar. Strength in all. Moirríoghan’s chant which has nestled in volume 12 of Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie for the last sixty years without edition or translation. The Smith God forges the thunderbolt and the Storm God uses it to unleash the storm and kill drought. 701ff. the síodh hosts. representing Function 2 (warriors. stone in soil .spoils are consumed. a weariness from growing. Corn is growing.caor . Lugh). A lad riding the bull’s neck. The summer drought is over. particularly that of the rowan tree. The word used for thunderbolt here . Án for la(i)nd lan do mil mid co saith sam hi ngam. the birds flock to land land and shore with excellent weather. Bóinn. World under sky. his grandson.10-13) The Storm God and the Drought God at last meet in open confrontation."the Red One with eternal sight" . Then Lugh set it in a hazel fork and there it stayed. shield on fist. his fill for the pig.that his virtue would pass into Lugh. horned cattle which will be fertile. 1295-1344.406 collated with CMT(C) 741ff. I give here the text with emendations: Sith co nem nem co doman doman fo nim nert hi cach. Fruit on trees. The tree to fire. 677ff. As Moirríoghan’s chant has not been edited and my translation is based on an emended text. Let the Drought God . summer in winter. Gai for sciath sciath for durnd dunad lonngarg longaiter foidb. We shall see in Chapter 4 Myth 2 that rowan berries are part of the food of the gods. fire on stone. Moirríoghan came to proclaim the news of the fight and the great victory that had been won for the royal places. Sod from soil and deer on spit. When the battle was over and the slaughter cleaned up.

Forasit etha iall do tir ms tene ms uich ms Boinn a mbru ms id. Boinne bru brú la fefa fid oss glassfeor errach foghamar. rithmár tir co tracht la feib re Bid Ruad roscaib siraib sithmár. Crann do ten ten ann ail ail an uir uth a mbuaib.406) .Mac for muin muinel tairb tarb di arccoin (r)odhb do crann. glassiaer ms feab rae ms rossaib. sithmár (Source: ZCP 12.

He also gave him the chariot and the mantle. he found that Fuamnach was not there. A quarrel broke out between the two groups and Midhir offered to mediate. Éadain melted into a pool of water. a mantle fitting his station and the most beautiful girl in Ireland. They quarrelled bitterly but Fuamnach recognized that the purple fly was Éadain. Fuamnach led Éadain into the sleeping chamber. which he did. Meanwhile. the spray of the drops from her wings cured all sickness and disease and plague. The heat of fire. Eventually she alighted on Macan Óg’s breast on the mound of the Bruigh. Myth 1 WIND AND MOON Midhir came to visit Macan Óg at the Bruigh at Samhain.a holly spit was thrown at him and knocked out his eye. Then he tracked down Fuamnach and beheaded her. Midhir returned to his domain at Brí Léith with Éadain. The cycle of Wind is much more composite. Then Midhir was comforted and Macan Óg invited him to stay for a year. She followed Midhir wherever he went. Fuamnach. but demanded a reward for staying: a chariot worth seven slave girls. His mediation was not successful . the Daghdha and Oghma as sureties. bewailing his blemish and saying: "I cannot see the land I came to visit and I cannot now return to my own land. He returned to Macan Óg with his eye in his hand. Fuamnach was again at Midhir’s side." Éadain sat down and Fuamnach struck her with a rowan rod. the rejuvenation of the earth by rain after the summer drought. her eyes shone like jewels in the dark. Fuamnach invaded the bower and sent Éadain forth on another blast of wind. Macan Óg recognized her and welcomed her. air and earth aided the water to turn the pool into a purple fly as big as a man’s head. her fragrance and bloom kept hunger and thirst from all near her. Fuamnach fled and Midhir abandoned his house to the water that was Éadain. so Macan Óg went to court her on Midhir’s behalf. The cycle of Storm deals with one basic theme. passing through the world of men and ending in the fall of Death. When Macan Óg came to Midhir. Éadain daughter of Oilill of Magh Inis was the most beautiful girl in Ireland at that time. beginning in the world of the gods. He found his fosterling sitting on the mound of the Bruigh and Earc (Elcmar) on the mound of Cleiteach on the opposite bank of the Boyne watching their respective companies playing. Her voice and the hum of her wings was sweet music." Macan Óg went to Dian Céacht and asked him to heal Midhir. She stirred up a great wind which took Éadain from Brí Léith and for seven years she could settle nowhere in Ireland but only on the rocks of the sea and the ocean waves. After showing Midhir round his estate. so that Macan Óg should not give offense to Earc. He knew that she was Éadain and took no other wife. Midhir agreed. she had Midhir send for him. she stayed in his portable bower. When she heard that Éadain was in Macan Óg’s bower. Then Midhir stayed with him for a year. Oilill required a vast bride price for her: the clearing of twelve plains in Ulster and the creation of twelve rivers to drain them.Chapter 2 WIND In this chapter we shall examine a Myth cycle very different from that of Storm in Chapter 1. . They both suspected Fuamnach was playing them false. From then on. Afterwards Fuamnach came to Midhir bringing Lugh. Finally Éadain’s own weight in gold and silver was weighed out to complete the purchase and Macan Óg returned to Midhir with the girl. When Macan Óg left for Brí Léith. saying: "You have come to the seat of a good woman. At the end of the year. This the Daghdha did for Macan Óg. They were met by Midhir’s first wife. so Macan Óg returned home and found that Éadain had gone.

Whether. Some contemporary cultures certainly knew this fact and this myth makes it likely that the druids shared this knowledge. She was swallowed in a drink from a beaker by Éadar’s wife. whom he calIed Bé bhFionn. to placate him. The Fire God (Macan Óg) as presiding god of sacrifices is compelled to compensate. 24-46) This myth is a much elaborated "just so" story. This time Midhir won and demanded to embrace Éadain and kiss her. Eocha demanded a wager and Midhir offered fifty dark gray horses. She is called Bé bhFionn. The woman drank what was in the beaker and Éadain entered her womb and was born again as Éadain daughter of Éadar. they saw a handsome horseman coming across the plain towards them. The first act is as follows: the Wind God (Midhir) makes a sacrifice (loses his eye). She healed the king’s eye from the spring of Loch Dá Líogh.and makes her disappear temporarily (melted into a pool of water). Eventually Eocha demanded a causeway over the bog of Lámhraighe. to by delivered next day if he lost. One thousand and twelve years had passed since she had been born as Éadain daughter of Oilill. Midhir agreed but told him to keep his people indoors until dawn next day. She is our Éadain.(Source: TE I 9-21. The Wind God is already married to the Earth Goddess (Fuamnach). He said: "This is Éadain here today among small children at Inbhear Cíochmhaine. Because of her.and next day delivered the horses. He halted on the bank and looked at Éadain. All this is an explanation in mythical form of the waxing and waning of the moon. Next morning. The does so by presenting the Wind God with the Moon Goddess (Éadain alias Bé bhFionn) as wife. Eocha was obliged to agree and a day a month ahead was appointed.and post-Christian Ireland . since he was unmarried. The second act is more complex. "And this is why the clouds seem to be racing with the Moon and the Wind on a windy night". the druids were aware that this is caused by the earth’s shadow must remain an open question. Midhir lost . the de-stoning of Midhe and a cover of rushes over Teathbha. a wood covering Bréifne. From then on they played daily and Midhir lost each time and each time payed Eocha his wager. One day when she and the other girls were bathing at Inbhear Cíochmhaine. and asked her to return to him. Then he demanded the fairest girl in Ireland and she was found for him: Éadain daughter of Éadar from Inbhear Cíochmhaine. agreed to play chess for an unknown wager. the king shall chase the birds from Teathbha and drown his two horses in Loch Dá Airbhreach. The elder wife is jealous of the younger wife . But she refused unless Eocha himself told her to do so. Eocha Aireamh took the kingdom of Ireland and commanded the men of Ireland to hold the feast of Teamhair for him. Myth 2 BÉ bhFIONN AND EOCHA AIREAMH When Éadain was sent sailing on the wind for the second time by Fuamnach. But the Moon Goddess returns in a particularily lustrous form. They refused until such time as had a wife. Then Midhir appeared to Eocha Aireamh and challenged him to a game of chess. But Eocha sent his steward to watch. thus causing an imperfection in the causeway. . she eventually alighted on the roof tree of Éadar’s house in Ulster and fell into the golden beaker in front of Éadar’s wife. Midhir appeared in a rage and axiom in polygamous societies such as that af pre." Then he disappeared. They were married. with assaults on síodh and battle for thousands. in fact. And Midhir appeared to Éadain. Eocha of Midhe shall have many wars because of her. Eocha Aireamh gathered all the best warriors in Ireland to guard his dún that day and he himself and his queen were in the middle of the house with all gates locked. only to be attacked yet again and exiled by the Earth Goddess.

"This is Éadain" said Eocha. Eventually the last two women came forward. We have no other mention of the Moon Goddess "healing the king’s eye from the spring of the Lake of Two Colors". and came forward two by two to serve. he and his wife found the girl in the kennel and adopted her. One of them served first. (Source: TE I 21-23. but he was grieved at having lain with his own daughter. "Are you satisfied?" asked Midhir. "and yet it isn’t. grandson of Midhir. they were told to leave blind puppies and blind cats at Brí Leith every day. Neither have we the story of Eocha Aireamh drowning his horses in Loch Dá Airbhreach. so they sat and ate and then cast the girl to the bitch with her whelps in the kennel." "Then I am satisfied too. The rest of the myth is the working out of the problem in favour of the divine. he stayed at Dún Fréamhann in Teathbha and his mind was troubled. This prophecy is obscure in places. one at either side of the hall. She was Meas Buachalla "the herdsman’s fosterling". II 1-9. The Wind God . In return for leaving Sliabh na mBan." Eocha did not dare attack the síodh again." They advised him to choose her. Your wife is with me .we must be getting home. they gave up and went back south to Sliabh na mBan and started to dig there again. came and burnt the dún over him in revenge for Midhir’s honor. At last Sioghmhall. "Yes. The first act illustrates the mechanics of divine incarnation. she is prevented by human social considerations from returning to Midhir until human society. And the hosts saw two swans flying away from the dún in the direction of Sliabh na mBan. And so he died. III 1-23) In this myth we are at the interface between the god world and the world of men. Noone was at home. He ordered two men to go and cast this daughter into a pit among have let her go a second time. Then Eocha mustered his men and went to Sliabh na mBan and started to dig up the síodh. in the form of Eocha. When the herdsman returned. she healed Midhir’s eye after it had been knocked out. This they did and eventually Midhir came out of Brí Léith and promised to return Éadain to Eocha the next day." So all the women were arranged in two rows. releases her. síodh Someone came out and told them that the woman was not there but at Bri Léith with Midhir. I shall recognize her by her serving." The men of Ireland were perplexed but an idea occurred to Eocha: "My wife is the best server of drink in Ireland. in a lost recension. He put his right arm around Éadain and carried her away through the smoke hole of the house. and the other women left. As for Eocha Aireamh. So they went north to Brí Léith and started to dig up the síodh there. Midhir suddenly appeared in the middle of the house and claimed his wager. The Moon Goddess enters the womb of her future human mother in the form of an insect. As she has taken on human nature. That daughter is now your queen. After a year and three months." said Midhir. Bé bhFionn is certainly associated with healing . "your wife was pregnant when she came with me and gave birth to a daughter. A prophetic interlude follows. So Eocha went home and next morning they saw a grey whore leading fifty identical women into the house." said Eocha.While they were there. She was pregnant and bore him a daughter. "I did not give you my wife. They went to the house of the herdsman of Teamhair in Sliabh Fuaid. The second act opens with the formation of the "eternal triangle": both Midhir and Eocha Aireamh are married to Éadain/Bé bhFionn and both want her. One day Eocha and his queen were talking in the middle of the courtyard when they saw Midhir coming towards them. We shall find the same process in Chapter 9 Myth 1. She said to Eocha: "Choose your wife now or ask one of the women to stay with you .perhaps. indicating that part of both the preceding myth and this one have been lost. which he did. Whatever they dug up by day was restored by night.

Whoever he saw in his sleep would be their king. And eventually . When his horses were tired. the men of Ireland made a bull feast that is. the three sons of Donn Déis." said Conaire.the scene is set for the next myth. they killed a bull and one man ate his fill of it and drank its broth. Meanwhile. of sight and of estimation. Myth 3 THE RAISING OF CONAIRE MÓR TO KINGSHIP A They made a house for Meas Buachalla. You will be pregnant by me and give birth to a son. The birds were swimming on the waves. He sent his people to bring her to him immediately. Fear Lé. do not hunt the evil beasts of Cearna. do not let the Three Red Ones go before you to the Red One’s house. Name him Conaire and do not let him kill any bird. He said he would come later. daughter of Eocha Aireamh and the Moon Goddess’ daughter. "Go to Teamhair tonight. He went to attack them. The had three foster brothers. Conaire answered: "Youth is no blemish on a king." Then she was brought to the king and he married her. He had also been given these taboos by him: "There will be fruitfulness in your reign and birds will flourish and you will always respect them but do not go to the right round Teamhair nor to the left round Breagha. It had no door but only a smoke hole. When Eidirscéal died." said Neamhghlan. I shall ask questions of wise men until I am wise myself. three kings were waiting with clothes because it had been foretold that he would come naked. At each of the four roads lending to Teamhair." So he went naked to Teamhair with his sling and his sling stone. Afterward he said: "The king has sent people to break down this house and carry you off to him. At the bull feast a naked man coming to Teamhair with a sling and sling stone has been seen. king of your father’s birds. he left his chariot and went down to the beach with his sling. do not sleep in a house out of which the light of a fire is seen after sunset. do not let a single woman be in the same . do not be more than nine nights away from Teamhair. The people murmured that their new king was a beardless youth. If the man lied about his dream.displays his attributes in carrying out Eocha’s requests and in carrying Éadain off from Eocha’s dún pursued by Eocha ."the king shall chase the birds from Teathbha". His foster brothers left him and he went east in his chariot to Áth Cliath." This he said as he had been instructed by the man on the waves. He left his bird clothes on the floor and made love to her. Fear Gar and Fear Roghain. Conaire had three gifts of hearing. Éadain’s granddaughter. do not let plunder be taken in your reign. granddaughter of Eocha Aireamh and the Moon Goddess ." "That I did’nt know. he would die. He saw some strange white speckled birds there and chased them. and he taught one of these to each of his foster brothers. Meas Buachalla saw a bird coming through the smoke hole to her. She bore a son and they called him Conaire.with the birth of Meas Buachalla. The people of Eidirscéal king of Teamhair noticed this house and one of them peeped in through the smoke hole and saw a beautiful girl inside. Do not hunt birds because everyone here is your blood relative. You will be that man. They received and clothed him and he was made king. One of them protected him and said: "I am Neamhghlan ("Sky-pure"). Conaire was playing with his foster brothers with their chariot in Magh Life when his foster parents came to him and told him to go to the bull feast. They dropped their bird clothes and turned on him with spears and swords."you will be made king. The Moon Goddess displays one of her attributes by her qualities at serving drink. Then a spell of truth was chanted over him as he lay. He told the king and the king recognized the girl as the one who was fated to bear him a son.

Eidirscéal." "You will have the men. It went to the two flagstones and they opened. He put it on before the host. If the sovereignty of Teamhair refused a man. Fál would scream against the nub of the chariot and everyone would hear it." said his mother to Conaire. the chariot would rise against him and the horses would rear. The chariot moved forward while he was standing in it. The host that was at Teamhair did not oppose them but prepared the chariot of sovereignty. They yoked to it two horses of the same color which had never drawn a chariot. set a hand’s breadth apart. they would open and let him and the chariot through."here is a host that will not fail you. There was the king’s chariot in Teamhair. She was cowherd in Sliabh Gearg and Sliabh Fuaid for her foster father. She was huge and hideous and used to frequent the síodh and the seas." she said. There were two flagstones in Teamhair. the cape would be too big for him. If the sovereignty of Teamhair accepted a man. If the sovereignty of Teamhair refused a man. Then Meas Buachalla said to her son. The host that was at Teamhair gave hostages to him and the kingship. the Laighin and the kinsmen of Conn Céadchathach assembled at Teamhair to make a king. No one knew whence they came nor where they went." said Meas Buachalla. In the chariot there was a cape. "Put on the cape. And she had tucked up her tunic around her waist and let her black mane of hair stream out behind her. Lughaidh Riabh nDearg was candidate but the sovereignty of Teamhair did not accept him." said Conaire. (Source: Eriu 6. Druids were around her and a shield guard and satirists and trumpeters. "I would not let them do as they are doing.133-136) This myth has come down to us in the above widely differing and at first sight . "There is a chariot for you." (Source: BDD 1-181 collated with TE III 20) B Meas Buachalla was the daughter of Eas daughter of Eocha Aireamh and Éadain." They went across the plain of Breagha to Teamhair with the host. Blog and Bloigne. Conaire Mór: "Do you know what is being done at Teamhair?" " with you after sunset. And they were big men. The host that was at Teamhair saw the other host coming towards them with Conaire Mór and his mother in the lead. It went to Fál and Fál screamed. If the sovereignty of Teamhair accepted a man." she said. "Fál has accepted him." said the host." she said." "Whose son am I?" "Eidirscéal’s. do not go and stop your servants quarreling with each other. warning him that the sun should not set and rise on him at Teamhair. Conaire mounted it and it accepted him. She left him and returned with a host immediately. After Eidirscéal was killed. His mother was in the lead. "If I had the men now to contend for the kingship. At the end of the chariot field there was Fál. "Go." said Conaire. They were of the same size and Eidirscéal got her pregnant. But the pregnancy was concealed until Eidirscéal’s death. The host that had come with him stayed for nine days and then left. a stone phallus. "They are settling your father’s inheritance. It fitted him.

after which they prepared to come to full in Version A. effectively ensure that Conaire Mór obtains the kingship. that the original myth had the Wind God as father and Meas Buachalla as mother. No wind stirred the cow’s pelt from mid Spring to mid Autumn. They made a pact with him and the joint force went first to plunder Incéal’s own home. proving their connexion with the Wind God’s function (MALE:AIR:FUNCTION 2). (2) The kingship of Teamhair falls vacant. actively under the leadership of Meas Buachalla in Version B. Then his foster brothers began to follow their ancestral trade . but Conaire said: "No. Until all was done. his father is the Wind God in the form of a bird. Incéal the One-eyed. No man killed another in Ireland in his time. but let my foster brothers be spared.thus the formulator of Version B . Meanwhile two of Conaire’s underkings quarreled in Munster. for he was away from Teamhair for more than nine days. it is the same myth and can be analyzed schematically as follows: (1) Meas Buachalla becomes pregnant and gives birth to Conaire Mór.irreconcilable recensions. From Uisneach he went to his right around Teamhair and to his left around Breagha and hunted the evil beasts of Cearna. Let elders accompany them all down to the sea and let them ply their plunderings on the men of Britain. There was no quieting them until Conaire himself went to make peace. He said: "Let every man kill his son. They also give him a list of taboos which he must observe ." The men all agreed to this. so he no longer came to the king. He made peace between them and then spent five nights with each of them . The stage is now set for the next myth.this time his followers also appear in this guise and are shown to be warriors. Returning from the south he went through Uisneach and from the height he saw disorders and the four quarters teeming with armed men and hosts and naked men and fire. when Deichtine is pregnant with Lugh "it was considered that Conchubhar had done it when drunk". In Version B. Meas Buachalla’s foster father. since he should have waited for them to come to him. Both versions give (differing) accounts of the method used to determine the new king. Then his foster brothers organized a band of a hundred and fifty sons of the men of Ireland and went plundering in Connacht for practice." They crossed the sea and met a British plunderer. Basically. They attempted to wound the man. had to find some father for Conaire Mór and chose Eidirscé counsel and in bird form in Version A. so as not to shame him. Seven full boats of fish from Inbhear Colpa every Midsummer and mast up to their knees every autumn and numinous knowledge on the rivers Buais and Bóinn at Midsummer every year and peace. he did not notice that he . the father is said to be Eidirscéal. Myth 4 THE DOWNFALL OF CONAIRE MÓR There was great abundance in the reign of Conaire Mór. however. Parthenogenesis among humans was as incomprehensible to the Irish as to anyone else . in much truncated form in Version B. The man complained to Conaire and Conaire told him to talk to his foster brothers. however. the mechanism becomes clear. In Version A.and this was taboo for him. If we compare Chapter 10 Myth 1. That was a bad judgment. Midhir has already appeared as a swan in Myth 2 above . They committed the Three Thefts on one man .stealing a pig and a steer and a cow every year to see what the king would do and what it would do to his reign. (3) The followers of the Wind God . His kingship was not marked by thunder or storms. having excised the Wind God’s role. We may rest assured. They were seized and brought before Conaire.robbery. This was taboo for him.

Conaire was sad and felt the ill prophecy lie heavy on him from then onwards." The boy turned back again and reported the chant to Conaire. There a one-eyed one-armed one-footed man caught up with him. Then phantoms drove him before them until he was on the Cuala road. will be too hot for you. saying: "If the greater part of the men of Ireland had come with you. So he followed the road. The Three Red Ones were there. His bodyguard." "What is your wife’s name?" "Cíochail. "Offer them three steers and three flitches and the place of honor as long as they are in my company. so was Fear Coille with his wife and his pig." They left him there and he could not stop them. lad. they saw a solitary woman at the door of the hostel . You are the best king the world has ever seen. He told them not to go before the king." The boy went after them again and told them his father’s offer. their horses were red. "I have broken all by taboos tonight." "Who are you?" asked Conaire. "Go after them. to intercept them." he said. In his hand was an iron club and on his back a singed and blackened pig squealed. Although we are alive. dear Conaire. "since I failed to get rid of those three. "and offer them six steers and six flitches and my leavings and presents tomorrow and a place of honor as long as they are in my company. A hideous woman followed him." said the man. lad. The boy galloped after them but they did not stop. Conaire remembered that it was taboo for him to follow the Three Red Ones to the Red One’s house and sent his son. feeding of ravens. He decided to go to the hospitaller Dá Dearga for the night." Conaire reached the hostel and sat down and everyone else sat down. since it led right through the hospitaler’s house.had broken three more taboos. Great portents: shortening of lives. Suddenly he saw three horsemen before him." "No. also making for the hospitaler’s house. Dá Dearga came to them and welcomed Conaire." The boy went after them again and the third man answered him: "Great tidings." The Red Ones went before them to the house. The overheating of a young vigorous king through men’s magic will be hot for you. He waited for his father and told him the words he had heard. "Welcome. The curse of wounds is a terrible deed. we are dead. breaking of shields after sunset. The third man chanted over his shoulder: "Great tidings. In the meanwhile Conaire and his party had reached Áth Cliath. lad. He was monstrous. told him he only had to follow the road. sating of crows. The red embroideries of slaughter have settled on Bé bhFionn. Then the boy told him the last chant. Lé Fear Flaith. "After them again" he said. taboo and non-taboo. A group of nine presides and permits. the burning lightning of valorous warbands." They left him then. din of battle. "Fear Coille ("Woodman") with a pig to keep you from fasting tonight. Their hair was red. We are riding tired horses. "we shall come to you tonight." said Conaire. sharpening of weapons. "I have long known you would be coming. Mac Céacht. Tidings from the hostel: a path of ships. Conaire" he said." "I will come to you any other night." When the sun had set. The third man chanted over his shoulder: "Great tidings." said Conaire. their clothes and accoutrements were red. There they sat down and their horses were tethered at the door. "but tonight leave me be. "I see you did not stop the men" said Conaire. I would feed them too. We are riding the horses of Donn of the Just Contracts from the Otherworld.

"since you are a prophet. He gives the king a drink and performs feats." "If the king cannot afford food and a bed for a single woman in his house. He threw a stone pillar at him and broke his back. as we have seen in Myth 1 above. Then he came to Fuarán Garadh in Magh Aoi in Connacht." said Conaire." she said. Mac Céacht beheaded one of them and the other fled with the king’s head. Mac Céacht is the best of men. "What do you want?" asked Conaire. "Samhain Síonann Seiscean Sadhbh Saighleann Samhlocht Díchaomh Díchuimhne Déaruaine Níth Neamhan Naoine Badhbh Blosc Bloghra." she said." "Let her in" said Conaire. No drink was found in the river Dothra which flowed through the hostel." (Source: BDD 182-1539) The Wind God’s followers had left Conaire Mór with a series of taboos he must observe during his kingship. She is also. Why these taboos were necessary gradually becomes clear as this myth evolves. If . "I have many other names. Mac Céacht told him to ask his cupbearers. Neamhan) is. She wore a striped cloak and her beard fell to her knees." said Conaire. Conaire Mór’s wife." "What is your name?" asked Conaire. Badhbh. He again asked for a drink. He returned to Dá Dearga’s hostel before dawn in time to see two men taking Conaire’s head. but let her stay elsewhere tonight. Then Mac Céacht picked up Conaire’s head and poured the cup of water into his throat.demanding permission to enter. woman. the implacable enemy of Bé bhFionn. Conaire Mór is the son of the Wind God and great-greatgrandson of the Moon Goddess. what do you foresee for us?" "No flesh or vein of you will leave this house but what the birds carry off in their talons. The Earth Goddess in her Function 2 role (Fuamnach. "That is not excessive" said Conaire. "Very well." she said. since the generosity of the king in the hostel is at an end. "What you will" she said. He went round the great rivers of Ireland and the great lakes of Ireland before dawn and could not fill the cup in any of them. as goddess of sovereignty. There he filled the cup and Conaire’s son fell from his arm. He again asked for a drink. Then Incéal the One-eyed and Conaire’s foster brothers and their joint force of plunderers attacked the hostel and set it on fire. "whatever about the taboo. "Taboo or not. "Caill" she said. He went to the spring of Corb nearby and could not fill the cup in it." She chanted these with one breath and on one leg from the door. "then I shall find what I ask from someone else who will be honored. She rested a shoulder on the door jamb and began to satirize the king and his company. "It is taboo for me to let a single woman be in the same house with me after sunset." said Conaire. They said that all the drink had been used to put out the flames. Conaire and his troop defended the hostel without difficulty until the plunderers’ druids put a curse of thirst on him. Then Mac Céacht took Conaire’s son under his right arm and Conaire’s gold cup under his left and broke out of the hostel." The woman’s words cast a pall of horror over them and they did not know what was in store for them. "I shall not leave until I find lodging in this house tonight." "Tell her. Conaire came in and asked Mac Céacht for a drink. The head said: "Mac Ceacht is a good man. "that I shall send a steer and a flitch out to her and my leavings.

For a full understanding of this. She is the woman satirist who. In his first speech. there is always a place for them in the hall of death. Conaire Mór has broken his contract with kingship by violating his taboos. And so this cycle closes with the babble of Conaire’s disembodied head in an ironic commentary on the utility of a warrior’s life. In the third speech. he states plainly that the Three Red Ones are from the hall of the dead . At first social order breaks down. Forgetfulness. It is also the naked truth: however many die. the words of the third of the Three Red Ones are of crucial importance. Then he says: "A group of nine presides and permits.riding the horses of the king of the dead. Not-nice. he says: "The red embroideries of slaughter have settled on Bé bhFionn. The Earth Goddess appears in person to watch her triumph. . And Donn is lord of the Just Contracts. Then cosmic order breaks down and he is driven as if along a tunnel to the house of the Judge of the dead (Dá Dearga)." This is the politeness of a hospitaler to a king." What group of nine? The Nine Great Gods who. Conaire Mór breaks his taboos. When Conaire Mór is greeted by Dá Dearga/Donn. Strife). she will turn and rend him and no one. the latter permits himself a grim joke: "If the greater part of the men of Ireland had come with you. among the list of more or less fanciful names (Samhain. One by one. cannot withstand the Earth Goddess’ desires. can do anything to help him. the third Red One prophesies the curse of thirst and the burning of the hostel." Why Bé bhFionn? Because Fuamnach is taking her ultimate revenge on her rival through the latter’s descendant. least of all the other gods. gives at least two of her true names: Neamhan and Badhbh.he is not magically protected by the strict observance of those taboos. since Conaire Mór has broken his taboos. Bad weather. Swamp. after prophesying the physical doom that is to come. His kingship is therefore at an end and he must go before Donn to be judged. In his second speech. I would feed them too.

" So Midhir and Aonghas returned home. Let Aonghas threaten to kill him unless he does his will. and received her name. which was the feoff he had intended for Aonghas. into leaving his . The following Samhain. He kept darkness. Earc granted him kingship in the Bruigh for a day and a night in exchange for his life. to the Daghdha’s house. Let the matter be referred to me for judgment and I shall judge for you. but with the exception of Myth 3 they all have the Fire God as central figure. the Sky God." he said to Macan Óg." Then Midhir and his fosterling went to Uisneach. and said to him. since Earc had said that he would return within the day. The Daghdha at once took his son to Midhir’s house at Brí Léith for fostering and he was there in fosterage for nine years. The great river flowing past it was equally identified as the Water Goddess. Its striking position and even more striking structure ensured that the newcomers recognized it as a seat of numinous power and made it the seat of the lawspeaker of the gods. with only a white hazel fork in his hand. on the opposite bank of the Boyne from the Bruigh." Then Aonghas went weeping to Midhir and asked who his parents were. "Come with me" said Aonghas. Aonghas set out for the Bruigh and followed the Daghdha’s advice. and his usurpation of Earc’s role as judge of the dead. The Daghdha judged in his favor as he had promised but granted Earc another fief. Earc accepted this and moved in there. So the Daghdha sent Earc to Breas at Magh Inis and gave him a lot of errands to do. Then the Daghdha went into the Bruigh to Bóinn and she conceived and bore a son before Earc returned.Bruigh na Bóinne. another fosterling of Midhir’s. Cleiteach. Myth 1 THE BIRTH OF MACAN ÓG Earc (Elcmar) of the Bruigh had a wife." And Triath replied: "I am irked that a hireling of unknown parents should speak to me. Then." said the Daghdha. Macan Óg continued in his sovereignty of the Bruigh. "At Samhain let Aonghas go fully armed to the Bruigh. The Daghdha wished to sleep with her but she was afraid of Earc. One day Aonghas quarrelled with Triath. Eithne otherwise known as Bóinn. "What do you advise then?" asked Midhir. the centre of Ireland. The next day Earc returned to take back his land. The myth’s basic theme is the birth of the Fire God. Bóinn. "so that my father may acknowledge me and I may no longer be hidden and insulted by Fir Bholg. The Daghdha acknowledged him but said that Earc was still in the Bruigh. lawspeaker of the gods. The monument itself is pre-Celtic. (Source: TE 1-8) This myth has as its location the megalithic monument at Newgrange . Schematically it runs as follows: (1) The Shaman God tricks the Sky God. since the world goes by in days and nights. so that he would not return early. unarmed. the youngest of the gods. being well over a thousand years old when the first Celtic speakers reached Ireland in the first millennium BC. hunger and thirst from him so that nine months passed before nightfall. but Macan Óg refered the matter to the Daghdha’s judgement. His name was Aonghas Macan Óg. Earc. "Earc will be sitting on the hill. And let his will be kingship in the Bruigh for a day and a night. Midhir told him. watching the games.Chapter 3 FIRE The myths in this chapter do not form a cycle. "I am irked that a slave’s son should speak to me. "do not yield up the Bruigh again but claim that the land has fallen to you simply for sparing Earc’s life and that what you asked for was kingship by day and by night. Macan Óg took up residence immediately and Earc’s household was subject to him.

he returns to his birth place. The alternative version (LL 29451-674. Conn’s leech. king of the síodh of the Cave of Cruachain. the place of power." he said privately to Aonghas. "Aonghas has seen a girl in his sleep. "Look after this man. was sent for and examined him." said Fearghna." They sent messengers to him and he welcomed them and asked their business. "The best thing to do. (3) Immediately after birth. "To advise your son." ." Then Aonghas and his people went home. "You are suffering from absent love. There was a silver chain between each pair of girls and a silver torque and a golden chain on the girl. "She is Caor. since Wind nourishes Fire. Daghdha. He searched all Ireland until he found the girl at Loch Béal Dragon ("Dragon Mouth Lake" . She played music to him and he fell asleep till next morning. Fearghna. "you are the king of the síodh of Ireland. "he is sick." said Bodhbh. He is in love with an absent love. (4) When the Fire God has acquired power through nourishing. For a whole year she visited him in this way." "What is the use of talking to me?" said the Daghdha. Aonghas recognized her and asked who she was." said Fearghna. daughter of Eathal." "You of power for a period. Fearghna was again sent for and he advised calling in the Daghdha to talk to his son. He took no food. Here they saw a hundred and fifty nubile girls and the girl among them. "Yes. Bodhbh accompanied them to advise the Daghdha and Bóinn at the Bruigh. After feasting him for three days and three nights." They went to the lake." said Bóinn. He became ill but told noone. He is henceforth the judge of the dead with his feast at Samhain and the Sky God accepts a minor role. 32910-929) which casts the Daghdha in Earc’s role as ruler of the Bruigh is clearly not the original one." said Fearghna. He sent for Aonghas. major role." "Make an alliance with her. We have no idea where in Ireland this girl is. probably. "The most beautiful girl in Ireland came to me and played music to me every night so that I fell asleep. "Send for your mother Bóinn. by the practical eclipse of Earc in his primary." said Aonghas." Bóinn was sent for." "Give me a year and I’ll find out" said Bodhbh. I cannot give her to you but I can let you see her. The form he had seen without speaking made him ill. He remained there till next day and was out of humour." They were searching for a year but could not find her. "It would be a pity to lose him. to go to Oilill and Meadhbh since the girl is in their province. He went to take her hand to bring her into the bed. They brought Aonghas in a chariot to Bodhbh at Sliabh na mBan. the Fire God is entrusted to the Wind God for fostering. Bodhbh said: "Come with me now to see if you recognize the girl. He has the most knowledge in Ireland. Send for Bodhbh king of the síodh of Munster. "is for you. but was caused. "I know no more than you." And he told her the whole story. he saw a girl by his bedside.Lough Musgrave in the Galtee mountains). "Search the whole of Ireland until you find this girl whom your son has seen. and with the aid of the Shaman God acquires jurisdiction over it. Myth 2 THE COURTSHIP 0F MACAN ÓG Once when Aonghas was asleep. Suddenly she disappeared. The Daghdha came and asked why he had been sent for. (2) The Shaman God and the Water Goddess then produce between them the Fire God in the place of power. The Daghdha wishes you to find the girl in Ireland who answers to Aonghas’ description. Next night she came again with a sweet tympanum in her hand.

" They sent messengers to summon him but he refused to come and would not give his daughter to the Daghdha’s son. daughter of Eocha Feidhleach. So Oilill’s household and the Daghdha’s people plundered the síodh and brought the king out as a prisoner. "but we cannot give her to him." She went to him and he threw his arms around her. I have made the preparations for them. "Eathal’s daughter. "I will not betray her. The Daghdha made his departure and informed his son. They spent a year with Buchad until his wife had a desire for pig steak. He himself was in human shape on the lakeside." "Who is calling me?" she said. flame-colored".So the Daghdha went to Connacht. The name here used for Deirbhreann . ." "What is her power?" asked Oilill." "We would if we could.Caor . After a week’s feasting." he said. Thereafter the girl remained with him. Oilill asked him why he had come. The basic myth is quite simply a statement: the Fire God based at the Bruigh and the Earth Goddess. "I cannot." said her father. "Aonghas. in her form as Deirbhreann. come and talk to me. The introduction of the Twins in their respective roles as kings of the síodh of Munster (Sliabh na mBan) and of the síodh of Connacht (Cruachain) indicates this (compare Chapter 6 Myth 1)." said Oilill. the next year she is a woman. "molten mass")." "The best thing to do is to summon the king of the síodh said the Daghdha. "You will be headless if you do not" said Oilill. Myth 3 THE PIGS OF DEIRBHREANN A The pigs of Deirbhreann. síodh. "she is more powerful than I am. It carries strong connotations of "red. They chanted a musical spell which put everyone to sleep for three days and three nights. "One year she is a bird. " "Who is she?" asked Oilill. She will spend Samhain there and there will be a hundred and fifty geese with her." Then Oilill. "and my son has fallen in love with her and fallen sick of it. He called: "Caor. Macan Óg went to the lake and found a hundred and fifty white birds with silver chains and golden circlets on their heads. They slept together in the form of two geese and then flew to the Bruigh. "Give your daughter to the Daghdha’s son. "Next Samhain she will be in bird form at Loch Béal Dragon." said Oilill and Meadhbh. were originally three men and three women who became red pigs after eating the mast of Eocha’s wood. (Source: AA) This myth in its present form is a late romantic reworking of older material. "You have a girl in your territory" said the Daghdha. Eathal and the Daghdha made peace and Eathal was the word for "berry" (particularly "rowan berry" but also "thunderbolt". I have come to see if you would give her to my son. based at Cruachain are associated as Function 1 deities. This links Deirbhreann to her alter ego Moirríoghan as typified in Chapter 6 Myth 2a." "What year is she in bird form?" asked Oilill.

" So they were uncountable in this fashion. (Source: LL 37235-254) These three fragments are all we have of the myth of Deirbhreann and her pigs. At the end of the year they went.whose name continues common Celtic *WLIDOWETSÎ "the Sow of Feasting" . "That pig is an extra one. (Source: MD 3. Wherever they went." "Thirteen pigs. "Not at all!" said Meadhbh.386-394) B One day Deirbhreann sent out her red pigs from Collamhair and they wrought havoc in the land. Macan Óg said he was unable to protect them until a year had passed and they had shaken the sacred tree on Tarbhgha’s bank and eaten the fish of Inbhear Umhaill.404-406) C The Cave of Cruachain is the hell door of Ireland. . (Source: MD 3. as "Goddess of the Oak Grove" and lover for the Fire God (who is god of sacrifice). Indeed. they went to the lake to drink. And they counted them. Balar (MALE:FIRE:FUNCTION 2) but operate at Function 1 level with magic. Functionally the pigs must be equated to the ghost cows of Fliodhais which cause similar havoc (see Chapter 5 Myth 1). All its skin came off. Fliodhais . both Deirbhreann and the Fire God have an aspect similar to that of the Function 2 Drought God. When the pigs had eaten mast in the oakgrove of Tarbhgha. One of the pigs leaped across it. Néal was a hunter. Néal followed them. All but one of the six perished. That day Meadhbh had gathered all the Connachta in Umhall and led them against the pigs. "Eleven pigs. One day Meadhbh of Cruachain and Oilill went to count them. Consequently they could not be killed because. ever agape to swallow new sacrifices. shook the sacred tree and continued west to Umhall. Out of it came the pigs. Out of it came the scarlet birds which withered everything in Ireland that their breath touched until the Ulaidh slew them with their slings. The pigs killed them all but Buchad’s wife. seven" said another. when they attacked. entered the lake and was drowned.Buchad offered to slay his wife. requesting asylum. Then they went to Macan Óg at the Bruigh. seizing its leg. owns these red pigs. It is not known where they have gone since then. Out of it came the three-headed goblin who laid Ireland waste until Amhairghin father of Conall Cearnach slew him in single combat before all the probably to be equated to Deirbhreann herself. In this context. "There are three of them. Meadhbh" said everyone. He followed the bare track left by the pigs. no corn or grass or leaf would grow for seven years. The Earth Goddess. They are a plague and ruinous to the land. "No. but the pigs refused. "There are nine" said yet another." one man would say. They went to Deirbhreann who sheltered them for a year. They stayed in no place where they were counted but went on to the next tribe.a hundred men and as many dogs hunted the pigs. typifying the Earth Goddess in her negative aspect as a bottomless maw. So the hunt started . they did not retreat. Meadhbh was in her chariot. leaving her with the skin and the leg.

Thus armed. the Fire God appears in his negative aspect. They paid no heed. gave him a shield and a spear. Éibhleann. Neachtan incarnate as Fionn. he fled northwards to the síodh of Fionnachadh with Fionn in hot pursuit." he asked Fionn." said Conn. the help of your right hand and a third of your counsel and advice. Balar (see Chapter 1). is also very similar to that of Lugh as Balar’s opponent. Then Fionn stood up before the men of Ireland to guard Teamhair and Fiacha. . They went north to the Bruigh." said Fionn. in particular.Myth 4 AOIBHLÉAN THE BURNER For sixty years Aoibhleán came to Teamhair at the feast for Samhain. if anyone of you could guard Teamhair until dawn tomorrow and prevent its burning by Aoibhleán. He appeared a third time. They paid no heed. That night he killed all their cattle. "and Ciothruadh and the druids." The pact was made and Fionn undertook to guard Teamhair and its furnishings until dawn the next day. When Aoibhleán saw that he had failed. First he would play his tympanum and send everyone who heard him to sleep. taking Mairidh’s goods. he appears as destructive flame in a role which has much in common with that of the Drought God. We shall see Neachtan in a similar role in Chapter 4 Myth 3. Fionn made the rounds of Teamhair. The role of his adversary. Myth 5 THE HORSE OF MACAN ÓG Eocha was the son of Mairidh. Mairidh’s wife. Then Aoibhleán belched a sheet of flame but Fionn cast his cloak around it and it fell and the flame carried the cloak twenty six spans deep into the ground." Then Fionn stood up and asked the king: "What sureties do you offer to guarantee that you will fulfill your part of the bargain?" "The five provincial kings. He again ordered them off his land. That night he killed all their horses. A man came and ordered them to leave his territory. Then Fionn took Aoibhleán’s head and put it on a stake at Teamhair and it was there until the sun rose above the land. Aoibhleán began playing his tympanum and everyone but Fionn fell asleep. When they reached the Boyne. "if I found you a deadly spear that never missed its cast?" "What are you asking for?" said Fionn. The motive of the two myths is the same: destructive fire is quenched by water. Fionn was kept awake by the spear point against his forehead. unknown to the sons of Morna or anyone else in Teamhair. Before long he heard haunting music and placed the spear with its butt on the ground and its point against his forehead." "You shall have both. In this myth. named Fiacha. (Source: AS-SG 131f) In this and the two following myths. Just as Aoibhleán was entering the síodh síodh. warning them that if they did not obey. Then he would belch a sheet of flame out of his mouth and burn Teamhair and all its furnishings. they unyoked their horses. I would give him all his ancestral rights. however great and however small. he would kill them too. Fionn cast his spear and broke his back. But Aoibhleán’s mother came and mourned him and then went in search of a leech to cure him. fell in love with him and they fled together. They said they had no horses to carry their chattels. "What reward would you give me. "However great or little your luck. In the king’s retinue there was a young relative of Cumhall’s. Then the king of Ireland arose and said: "Men of Ireland.

Oilill stayed on the hill. He escaped by the way he had come and left dissension between them." he said." "Why are you quarreling?" asked Oilill. causing a deep well to form. Then they came out of the síodh Eoghabhal king of the síodh was behind them and síodh. "All right. playing to him on a clay tympanum." "You have no right to blame him. and formed Loch nEachach. but Feircheas cast a spear at him and broke his back. He was a little man with a three-stringed tympanum. Feircheas stayed outside it. the son of Mugh Nuadhad went to graze his horses at Áine Chliach." said Oilill. "It isn’t worth it. then. He played them the Three Strains. They wept with the Weeping Strain. "truth is seldom on your lips. So he played the Laughing Strain. warning them not to loose him until he lay down in an unknown plain." said Lughaidh. They asked him to stop. Myth 6 FEAR Í THE HARPER On Samhain eve Oilill. (Source: MD 4. Then he played the Sleeping Strain and put them to sleep for a day and a night. "We are quarreling over this man. "It’s not true. drowning everyone but Eocha’s son Conaing. "True.So Aonghas lent them a great horse. "I said: the musician’s mine" said Eoghan. Art was the brother of Eoghan’s mother. Eocha came and built his house over the well and fixed a lid on it." ." "Play us music" said Oilill. who fled towards the síodh.62-68) This is a myth of a type common to all religions: what happens when the god’s orders are not carried out. Oilill fell asleep listening to the animals grazing. They went north and reached Liathmhuine." said Eoghan. his daughter Áine was before him. "True judgment" said Oilill. "the man is Eoghan’s. This happened two years running. Then he sent for Feircheas the poet and the two of them went to the hill on Samhain eve. Then they awoke. "a peasant like yourself. There the horse lay down." "What sort of a man is he?" "A good tympanum player. Meanwhile Oilill attacked Áine who took his ear off (so he is called Oilill Crop-ear)." said Oilill. But one day he left the house in charge of a woman. "What is your name?" "Fear Í son of Eoghabhal. She opened the lid and the well surged up. He made his bed on the hillside and the hill was cropped bare that night and he did not know who had cropped it." "Bad judgment" said Lughaidh. Feircheas rose up and struck Eoghabhal. they asked Oilill for judgement. "What did you say when you found the man?" "I said: the music’s mine" said Lughaidh. So he strayed and pissed. they heard music coming from a yew above the waterfall. When they were returning across the plain. they should loose him and send him back immediately before he pissed. There is no clear connexion between the Fire God’s giant horse and the horse sacrifice we know to have been practised by the pagan Irish as well as the Germanic peoples but it will remain an object of fascinated speculation. They found a little man there and took him back to Oilill and were quarreling over him till Oilill gave them a judgment. They took their chattels from his back and loosed him at once but noone turned the horse’s face towards the Bruigh. When he did. One day Eoghan son of Oilill and his foster brother Lughaidh Mac Con went to Art son of Conn who was visiting Connacht to get horses and bridles from him.

" said Cú Chulainn. he said he was following the hazel nuts. "let us meet a month from today at Ceann Abhrad. (Source: Eriu 13." said Seinbheag." said Cú Chulainn. "I will pay ransom: my cloak and my shirt. Cú Chulainn seized them in the palm of his hand." (Source: LL 37088-143) This myth. He saw a little man in purple clothes floating down the Boyne in a bronze boat. I am Abhcán. I am not a minor. Myth 7 SEINBHEAG THE HARPER AND LINN FÉIG A Once Cú Chulainn was in his chariot beside the Boyne catching salmon in Linn Féig. So Seinbheag escaped him. Oilill and his companion not only infringe the precinct of the Shaman God (Eoghabhal) and his offspring the Dawn Goddess (Áine) and the Fire God (Fear Í). He ran his finger over it and Cú Chulalnn wept at the Weeping Strain. My name is Seinbheag grandson of Éibhreac ("Salmon speckled") from the síodh síodh." Then Seinbheag offered many rewards to Cú Chulainn as his ransom but Cú Chulainn accepted none of them. So he touched his harp and played the Weeping Strain to him." said Lughaidh. (Source: RC 6. Secret gods have given me wisdom. You will lose no fight and you will never be wounded as long as the shield is protecting you. "Take my shield and my spear. "they are in the palm of my hand. a sage of wizardry. illustrates both the negative side of the Fire God’s character and the unwisdom of offending the gods. a poet from Seaghais. "In battle. Then he played the Sleeping Strain and Cú Chulainn fell asleep for twenty four hours. And they are any colour you wish them to be. "shall I play it for you?" "Yes.26f) C ." "I am in a sorry plight. You cannot be drowned or burnt or slain while wearing them." "How so?" said Eoghan. Neither can you age."A peasant like myself." "They are all mine." said Cú Chulainn." "I already have them. "will shear off that head of yours and trample on your cheek.182f) B Seinbheag came from the plain of Seaghais following numinous knowledge and met Cú Chulainn on the Boyne. too. They will fit anyone. "So it seems. I am not a man. Then Seinbheag escaped along the Boyne in his copper boat. When Cú Chulainn seized him. they assault the former two. Then he played the Laughing Strain and Cú Chulainn laughed without stopping." said Lughaidh. Consequently Fear Í takes revenge on Oilill through his son and foster son by stirring them up to a fratricidal quarrel. man and boat. however big or small. "A small tympanum. "What is that there?" asked Cú Chulainn. Then the Laughing Strain and finally the Sleeping Strain which put him to sleep. They have virtues. "I have you" said Cú Chulainn." said Seinbheag." he said. He said of himself: "I am not a boy.

Version C is more divergent. There is a man in front with his charioteer. With his spear point he is taking speckled salmon from the Boyne.represented by a naked woman . "Blind justice" is. In this text. He is here seen attempting to acquire numinous knowledge in the form of the salmon of Linn Féig in versions A and B. Thus Baldur’s brother Hodur "Battle" is blind." Feidhlim said. Cú Chulainn struck off his thumbs and big toes. He had a chess set. Feidhlim." Earc went down to the ford and hurled a squared pillar at the chariot. of course. in the form of the bubbles of numinous knowledge in version C. Numinous knowledge is the prerogative of Function 1. He is therefore resisted by a Function 1 deity . Nevertheless.Cú Chulainn came hunting numinous knowledge on the Boyne. She appeared to them at the end of a year and that caused the weakness of the Ulaidh. a buanbhach set. . Cú Chulainn. The belief that female magic .is fatal to warriors is also extremely common. Feidhlim and her husband Earc (Ealcmhar) came from the other bank down to the the Fire God in his aspect of god of music in versions A and B and by the Fire God’s predecessor as owner of the Bruigh. Earc appears to be blind. which is a mirroring at myth level of the social tensions between the priestly caste and the warriors. in version C. He is thus usurping. is a Function 2 deity. "I can see a chariot. In Scandinavia as elsewhere battle was considered a form of judgment. the incarnate Storm God. Earc said to his wife: "Describe. all three are recensions of the same archetype. Feidhlim prophesied that she would spend a year caring for him and then appear naked to the Ulaidh. (Source: ZCP 8. He has a chess set and a buanbhach set and throwing stones for fowling. a commonplace. Earc.120) Versions A and B of this myth are close variants of the same prototype. the gods’ lawspeaker. and throwing stones in his chariot and a spear in his hand with a line from it to catch fish.

the second maimed her eye and the third maimed her hand. When the nuts are ripe. blossoms and nuts all at the same time. presented in fragmented form above. If anyone should look down into it. his eyes would burst. One day Bóinn came to the eternal spring to test its power. they dropped a rowan berry at Dubhros ("the black moor"). Her sacrifice takes the form of ritual blemishing and is tripartite: she sacrifices one eye to obtain Function 1 power. arbutus apples and fragrant rowan berries. However much he tried to escape. one hand to obtain Function 2 power and one foot to obtain Function 3 power.292-296) Neachtan’s spring has been extensively discussed in Part I Chapter 1. has a meaning and purpose which has been (un)intentionally garbled by the Dinnsheanchas poet.14. but all revolve around the Spring God. Over it stand the nine hazels of Críonmhann which bear leaves. they make bubbles of numinous knowledge which float down the seven streams coming from the spring. Thereafter.Chapter 4 WATER The myths in this chapter do not form a cycle. This duplicates the temporary blemishing Lugh imposes upon himself before fighting Balar (see Chapter 1 Myth 7). bringing with them their provisions: purple nuts. there is the drunkenness of wine . This myth. whom we have seen to have been originally identical.286-290 collated with MD 3. Neachtan. but the water followed her from the síodh right down to the sea and this is the river Bóinn. A rowan tree grew out of that berry and the berries of that tree have these virtues: if a man eats three of them he will suffer no disease. Myth 1 NEACHTAN’S SPRING A Neachtan the son of Labhraidh had a secret spring. (Source: MD 3.28-30) B There is a spring called Seaghais on the bank of a chilly river in the Otherworld. Myth 2 DIVINE FOOD. As they were passing through the territory of Uí Fhiachrach. she flows from the spring as the fully fledged Water Goddess (Bóinn or Sionann). She ran towards the sea so that none should see her blemish. From the juice of the nuts. This river is called Sionann. She came to the spring and followed the bubbles down into the river. where the five salmon eat them. (Source: MD 3. A The gods came visiting from the Otherworld. and the Sea God. they fall down into the spring. "mana". The nascent goddess sacrifices at Neachtan’s spring to obtain seg (*SEGOS) "divine power". Consequently only Neachtan and his three cupbearers dared approach it. Manannán. It is the myth of the raising of water to the divine status of Water Goddess. One day Sionann decided that she possessed all fame except numinous knowledge. She walked three times around it and three waves burst from it. One maimed her foot. he would not escape blemish.

"This is the weeping of my mother and the women of Bóinn" said Fraoch. although severely wounded. . The second fragment takes up the theme. they set a guard over it.wounding. asks for food. the Waters. Then Meadhbh asked him to fetch her a handful of the berries. In the first fragment we are introduced to divine food. water cannot drown him. (Source: LL 33108-310 collated with HP 198ff) The two fragments presented here belong to the same archetype. it is the tree of kingship and must be guarded from non-initiates because of the virtue of its fruit. We have already noted their connexion with Lugh’s thunderbolt (see Chapter 1 Myth 7). This is. And he has only one eye. tripartite: Function 1: the purple nuts from the hazels of Críonmhann above Neachtan’s spring. if a centenarian eats one of them he returns to the age of thirty. He was brought to them. (Source: TDG 898-922) B There was a swimming pool in the river Bré near Cruachain. Fraoch picked them and threw them up to her but then the beast attacked him. Function 2: the rowan berries. He was unarmed.drowning) and can be overcome only by his own weapon. he is resuscitated by his mother. incarnate as Fraoch. but Fionnabhair threw him his sword and. A sacred rowan tree grows on the Black Moor (identified in this fragment with a real place of the same name in Co. Meadhbh. Function 2 . aided by the Water Goddess and her women. Fraoch was invited to swim in the pool. The women came round him and took him into the síodh of Cruachain.and the satisfaction of noble food in them. naturally. In it grew a rowan tree. Once dead. The rowan is Lugh’s tree just as in Scandinavia it is the tree of Lugh’s counterpart Thor. Meadhbh’s daughter Fionnabhair had fallen in love with Fraoch and Fraoch had on this account come to ask for her in marriage. The Spring God. He is at the top of the rowan tree by night and at its root by day. Function 3 . her divine. the Moon Goddess. the rowan tree is protected by Death and only through death can Death be overcome and the virtues of the rowan tree acquired. the berries of which were always ripe and had virtues: one berry would keep a man from hunger for nine whole days and would add a year to his life. fire cannot burn him. But it was guarded by a monstrous water beast. goddess of sovereignty. He is not fated to die until three blows of his own club are struck on him.burning. He is immune to the tripartite sacrifice (Function 1 . When the gods heard of the virtues of this tree. A Nuadha was the druid of Cathaoir Mór of the Laighin and built the fort at Almhain. with a water beast playing the role of Death. There is an iron chain wound around his body and an iron club attached to the end of it. Next day he emerged quite healed from the síodh. guarding it. They made a healing bath for him. Function 3: arbutus apples. they heard the sound of weeping at Cruachain. Myth 3 THE SPRING GOD AND FIRE. While he was in it. he slew the monster. Weapons cannot wound him. He is a giant called Searbhán. As Lugh’s tree. passes through death to obtain it. Function 2 food. The guardian is called the Bitter One (Searbhán). In other words.Galway). Meadhbh wanted him killed.

(3) Tadhg’s daughter Muirne gives birth to Fionn. Fionn. to Almhain and Conn ordered her to Cumhall’s sister at Teamhair Mhairge. her father refused her admittance. Cumhall. we possess one of these in uncontaminated form (Chapter I Myth 1) and can thus peel it off the above. Fionn is fighting the decisive battle against the Fire God. Nuadha refused because he knew that his grandson would dispossess him. After seven years to the day. Schematically it is as follows: (1) Tadhg son of Nuadha knows that his grandson is fated to dispossess him and takes steps to prevent this. leader of the warband of Conn king of Ireland. Removing this schema. we are left with the bare bones of the second myth: (1) There is enmity between the Wind God (here as the war god Cumhall) and the one-eyed Fire God Aodh . the son of Dáire Dearg. She will lay it on the shore.His son. ro Fionn stretched out his hand and seized the stone. (2) Before his defeat.40-42) Owing to the similarity of function in certain aspects of the Spring God. was born and reared. Tadhg complained to Conn and Conn ordered Cumhall to return Muirne to her father or go into exile. Myth 4). Fionn placed the stone on the shoulders of Guaire the One-eyed and fought on. This is Cian’s role. Then Sionann came from the síodh and gave a stone on a golden chain to Fionn. Muirne had become pregnant by Cumhall a few hours before the battle. In myth B. ("the wife of the wave") will perchance slip her foot into its golden chain and thus find it. thus achieving complete victory. he took Almhain from Tadhg and made peace with Goll. There her son. This is Eithne’s role. Athleague on the Shannon) was as follows: Flann with a vast troop attacked the ford from the north and Fionn defended. Cumhall has a son. incarnate as Fionn. who appears as Flann "the scarlet one" and at noon takes on his divine aspect as Drought God. (Source: MD 4. (2) Cumhall impregnates Tadhg’s daughter. and the Storm God Lugh and a blending of the Fire God (Aodh) and the Drought God (Balar). the incarnate Spring God. Aodh defeats Cumhall and takes over his position as warleader. This is Balar’s role. had a daughter Muirne. Fionn. Then Flann roared from the north and took his divine aspect (ro riast a chruth chruth). The Water Goddess (Sionann) hands Fionn the stone of power. Tadhg. Afterwards. the Spring God defeats Drought and the world will . His warrior’s light came on him and he cast the stone into the ford. killed Cumhall. who on coming into his powers takes up the struggle against the Fire God (see Chapter 1. with the aid of Water. The stone will remain in the river until one day Bé Thoinne. Thus. who has taken over the aspect and function of the Drought God. When he was of age. myth A above presents an apparently inextricable intertwining of two originally separate myths. Aodh. the end of the world will come.36-38 collated with MD 4.72-76) B The fight at Áth Liag ("the ford of the stone". This is the role of Lugh’s thunderbolt putting out Balar’s eye. Luichead put out one of Aodh’s eyes and henceforth Aodh was called Goll "One-eyed". (Source: LU 3135-3219 collated with ME 2. Fortunately. giving birth to Lugh. (4) Luichead ("lightning") puts out one of Aodh’s eyes. asked for her in marriage. So Cumhall carried Muirne off by force. Then Conn sent his mercenaries against him and they fought the battle of Cnucha. Cumhall refused to do either. until his troop’s weaponry was exhausted. from dawn until noon.

A message came from Aodhán requesting his help: he was in conflict with the Saxons and they had brought a terrible warrior to kill him in the battle. Myth 4 MONGÁN A Fiachna was king of the Ulaidh. If we make love. She said she would not dishonor her husband for all the riches in the world. bright morning has come. Fiachna went home. A terrible warrior has been brought against him and he will die at his hands. a silver-antlered stag . Aodhán mac Gabhráin. he saw a silver branch with white flowers near him. the virtue. He picked it up and went to his royal house. Then he said: "I am going to the house of a woman in Magh Line. He had an ally in Britain. When he woke. she would do anything she could to help him. He said: "Do it." (Source: LU 10916-937 + YBL 1926f) B One day Bran mac Feabhail was near his dún when he heard music behind him. She said that. When it appears on dry land. He will be the familiar of every síodh and the darling of every good land. you will give birth to a wonderful son and he will be Fiachna’s. She explained that the branch was from the apple tree of Eamhain and praised Eamhain and its wonders. He will be in the shape of every beast of land or sea: a dragon in the shower before hosts. Next morning Bran and his men set out to sea. His wife was pregnant and gave birth to a son. because your husband is in great peril. then. He fell asleep because of it. a handsome man came to Fiachna’s wife at Ráth Mhór in Magh Line. So Mongán was the son of Manannán mac Lir although he is called Mongán mac Fiachna. if she saw him in peril. When the two armies rose up at each other. Mongán son of Fiachna. Then she disappeared. three groups of nine men in all. they saw a man driving a chariot over the waves. And I shall go to the battle that will be fought tomorrow morning and fight that warrior in the sight of the men of Britain.the son will be mine. After two days and two nights at sea. He asked her if she would do it to save her husband’s life. beauty and agelessness of its inhabitants. And I shall tell your husband what we have done and that it was you who sent me to help him. For he left a poem with his mother when he left her in the morning: "I am going to my retinue. I shall lie vigorously with Caintighirn . He will speak secrets of wisdom in the world without fear. He came to Fiachna in private and told him what had happened with his wife the day before and promised to help him in that hour. they saw a distinguished man in front of Aodhán and Fiachna’s forces. Manannán mac Lir is the name of the man who came to you. a wolf in every heath.remain in equilibrium until the stone of power is wrested from its safe hiding place in the waters. taking the branch with her. When the hosts yonder were in conflict." So it happened. When all were assembled that evening. but Fiachna will acknowledge him. leaving his queen here. a woman in strange apparel appeared in the middle of the house and chanted to Bran in full sight and hearing of the company. He explained that he was Manannán mac Lir and that what for Bran was the sea and the fishes was for him a plain with cattle. Then he went to the other force and fought the warrior and Aodhán and Fiachna won the battle. So Fiachna went across. He asked her for a tryst. the world will return to chaos.

The poet refused everything except Mongán’s wife. This is the spear shaft . With kings and warband leaders he will be a warrior. Forgall began threatening. help was probably on its way. with ogham written on the part which is sunk in the ground. a white swan. For his honor’s sake.." The man said the poet was wrong. Mongán’s wife wept all the more as the moment for handing her over came nearer and she saw no help coming. Mongán told her not to be sad. He is is a stone coffin and his two silver bracelets. One day Mongán asked the poet where Fothadh Airgdeach met his death. Mongán was seated in his royal house with his mourning wife on his right. Mongán agreed. a seal. who came and Mongán was Fionn but did not wish it to be known.. wetting his feet in them. "I and that poet have a wager about Fothadh Airgdeach’s death. too. Mongán offered him anything except the freedom of himself and his wife. his mother and his grandfather. The poet threatened to satirize his father. if he would stay the execution of his threats for three days. Fionn’s fosterling.. to chant over his waters so that no fish could be caught in his estuaries. (Source: LU 10940-998) . Manannán went his way and Bran went his. Forgall said he was killed in Duibhthir Laighean. His wife was not happy and did not stop weeping. Bran’s journey will be uneventful . Mongán told her not to weep.." With that. until he reached Ráth Mhór. turning to Mongán. "he says he was killed in Duibhthir Laighean. Co. We met Fothadh Airgdeach over there by Ollarbha (the Six-mile Water). three ditches into the courtyard and then into the royal house. We fought a skirmish and I threw my spear at him and pinned him to the ground. The third day arrived and the poet started to bind her. I say that’s not true. A dragon stone from the sea will kill him in the battle at Seanlabhair and a white company will draw him up under the cloud chariot to the everlasting assembly." Everything was found as he said.. The poet would tell Mongán a tale each night and he was to remain from Samhain to Bealtaine. He will be a hundred years in blessed sovereignty. receiving in exchange food and jewels from Mongán.its iron point was stuck in the ground then. a speckled salmon in the pool. You will find the point in the ground still and Fothadh Airgdeach’s grave a little to the east of it." said Mongán. Forgall the poet came to him. "I can prove it" said the man. the man who was coming to help them was wetting his feet in Labhrann (Castlemaine Harbour. then. "Don’t say that" said Mongán.. The poet was binding her with his spells. his two armrings and his silver torque are all on the coffin. "coming from Britain.Kerry).he will reach Eamhain before nightfall. There is a stone column there. Caoilte slew him in combat with Fionn. coming to rest between Mongán and the wall. "What is the matter here?" asked the man. Mongán told him to wait until dusk. And so the hours passed while the man crossed the rivers of Ireland. The poet was at the back of the house behind the king." said the man. to chant over his woods so that they would bear no fruit and over his plains so that they would forever be barren of the chariot course. "We were with you" he said. It reads: This is Eochaidh Airgdeach. When night fell. It was Caoilte. "We were with Fionn. (Source: IB) C Mongán was in kingship at Ráth Mhór in Magh Line. Suddenly a man with a great spear shaft was spotted to the south of the dún Using his spear shaft he vaulted over the dún. Mongán that this was not so.

He saw a single warrior coming towards him. He was wearing a rich cloak and tunic and electrum shoes. If you come." Conn was amazed that his son said nothing. he neither ate nor drank anything but this apple. they are calling you to the people of Teathra (the Sea King). your body will not lose its youth or its beauty till the end of time." she said. But he longed for the woman he had seen. "There are you from?" he overjoys all who visit it and in it there are only women and girls. son of Conn Céadchathach. Corann." said Conla." said the woman. because only Conla could see the woman. Conla?" he asked. "In my crystal boat we shall reach the síodh of Buadhach. The woman said: "Conn Céadchathach. Conla was with his father by the sea when he saw the woman again and she said: "There sits Conla among the shortlived mortals awaiting terrible death. Myth D is a further illustration of a visit from the Sea King’s realm ("the people of Teathra"). "I love Conla the Red and I am calling him to Magh Meall (the plain of delights)." said the woman. Just as she was retreating under the druid’s chanting. was with his father at Uisneach when he saw a woman dressed strangely. she threw Conla an apple. In myth C." No one saw the woman but they all heard her words. Conn said to his people: "Call the druid to me". "From a land of the living where there is neither death nor sin nor crime. do not set store by druid’s craft now for it is of little value. Is this a sign of inter-god rivalry which might contribute to explaining the enmity between the Spring God and the Fire God? Myth 5 MANANNÁN AND CORMAC." As soon as he heard her voice. it was still whole. "Who are you talking to?" Conn asked his son. Cormac grandson of Conn was alone on the rampart of Teamhair early in the morning. The immortals are inviting you. Wounded men or women in childbirth or warriors with plague would sleep with the sweetness of the music this branch made when it was shaken. . "Have the woman’s words affected you. (Source: EC 14. Soon they could see nothing more as they sailed out to sea. B and C belong to the cycle of Mongán who must be considered the incarnation ("rationalized" as "son") of Manannán. For a month afterward. However much he ate of it. But I long for the woman. Conla summoned his druid.221-225) Of the above. Come. They greeted each other. myths A. A month later. They saw them leaving. There was a silver branch with three apples by his side." Then Conla leaped from them into the crystal boat. Conla. he is identified as the incarnation of Fionn. They see you every day among your dear ones. One May day. The druid chanted against the woman’s voice so that no one heard her voice and Conla no longer saw her. "He is talking to a fair young woman who will face neither death nor old age. From myths B and D it would appear that Neachtan’s otherworld dwelling was presented as a form of paradise in opposition to the rather gloomy prospect of the Fire God’s Hall of Death. They have not been seen since.D One day Conla the Red. to stop the woman from taking his son. There king Buadhach ("Victorious") reigns eternally and there has been no weeping or sorrow in his land since he assumed sovereignty. which makes a good case for the identification of Neachtan and Manannán which has already been discussed. himself the incarnation of Neachtan. There is another land there that is worth visiting . "I love my people." "You are fighting the wave of your longing to leave them. "It’s not easy.

"I will. Then he disappeared. Cormac could not suffer this and went after him. A man came in at the end of the day He had a wood chopper in his right hand." said the warrior. The women of the household raised three loud cries mourning the king of Ireland’s daughter. There was no end to the weeping in Teamhair at the loss of the king of Ireland’s son." he said. There was a shining spring in the courtyard with five streams coming out of it and hosts drinking from them. And next morning the pig is alive and the club is whole again. The purple hazel trees cast their nuts into the spring and the five salmon that were in the spring chewed them and their bubbles went down the streams. wattling and a thatch of white feathers. The waterfall sound of those streams was sweeter than any music. Their sadness left them and they all fell asleep. A great mist suddenly covered the plain. Everyone followed Cormac." said Cormac. There is enough wood in the club to cook the pig and enough on the pig to feed a royal household." said the master of the house." said the master of the house. There was a great dún before him with a bronze palisade. and took her. a club in his left and a pig following him. he came again and asked for his first gift. I impounded them. At the end of a year. I found it already stacked in the field in one stack. So they made alliance. "When I needed to plow that field out there. "the pig will never be cooked until a truth is spoken for each of its quarters. "One day I was walking my land. They were served but no servant was to be seen. "when I found another man’s cows on my land." "That is a true tale. He went into the royal house. The cows’ owner came and offered me a reward for releasing them. "You had better turn it. "if I am given the three gifts from Teamhair that I shall ask in exchange. Cormac found himself alone. At the end of a month. I gave him his cows. There is no old age or withering or sadness or envy there. There were nine everlasting hazel trees above the spring. When I needed to stack it over there. harrowed and sown with wheat. The saw the great royal house with bronze poles and silver dún." said the warrior." he said . He gave me a pig and a chopper and a club. Then he put the pig into the cauldron."Where have you come from?" asked Cormac." said the master of the house. After a while he said: "Shall we make alliance?" "I should like to. "we have a noble guest. "Today I shall take Ailbhe. "What are you asking for today?" asked Cormac." said the cook. the warrior came again and took Cairbre Lifeachair." said the master of the house." "It’s not like that here. "From a land where there is only truth. "Your wife. There was just one handsome couple in there." they said. "Take it" said Cormac. When it dispersed. A bath prepared itself for Cormac and he bathed. The warrior pledged him to it and left him the branch. "Give me the branch" said Cormac. "There is no need. "Plowing time came round. You kill the pig with the chopper every night and split the club with it." said the master of the house." "You speak first. There were four houses in the dún He went in." "They will be given" said Cormac. The pig was turned and only one quarter of it was cooked.and took her. "Let another tale of truth be told." The man killed his pig with the chopper and split the club into three with it." said the cook. I found it plowed. "It is time to prepare the meal. We have . The warrior came again. Cormac shook the branch over them. Cormac shook the branch over them and took away their mourning.

interestingly. son and daughter by him side. (Source: MD 4." When Cormac awoke next day. And keep the branch for music. while playing the Sleeping Strain to her." The pig was turned and the second quarter was found to be cooked. Fear Í did not go looking for a boat and the wave did not drown Tuagh. "Speak three lies at it and it will break in three. Cormac." said the master of the house." said the woman of the house. What occurred was a sacrifice to the Sea God. His family were with him and his branch and his cup. preserved in the folk tradition as the following tale from Co. The wave came in a thick flood and drowned her. Mannanán. The sent his messenger Fear Í son of Eoghabhal. Then the pig was completely cooked." Then the third quarter of the pig was cooked. that your wife and daughter have not seen a man’s face since they were taken from you. When he awoke. "the cows give enough milk for all those of the Otherworld and the sheep give enough wool to clothe them. As she grew up. As was promised. "It is better to speak truth. it did not stay after Cormac’s death. On the fourth day he sang spells on Luan eve and bore Tuagh away in her sleep. "to make it whole again. they will all be taken from you. There. I am Manannán mac Lir. Manannán heard of her beauty and fell in love with her. illustrates: Cluasach Ó Fáilbhe was out in a boat with the White Trader. Cormac told them how his wife. to fetch her. "It is your turn now. Beer and food were served and they became merry. Manannán’s dwelling is presented as a form of paradise and the identification with Neachtan is underlined by the presence in it of Neachtan’s spring." he said. "and take this cup to distinguish truth from falsehood." said Cormac. "There is a greater wonder in this cup." said the master of the house. He came to Teamhair in the form of a young woman and penetrated the bower where the girls were.Kerry. "I have seven cows and seven sheep. They carved it up and placed Cormac’s portion before him. That was Cormac’s cup which he used to separate truth from falsehood for the men of Ireland.been eating it ever since but there is never less of it. He laid her down asleep on the beach and went looking for a boat. he was on the green at Teamhair." He spoke three lies at it and it broke in three. nor has your son seen a woman’s face. (Source: SFF 25-54) In this myth. "Take your people." The master of the house chanted something and put him to sleep." they said to Cormac. This Fear Í was a druid of the gods. the Dinnsheanchas poet has "rationalized". The form of this sacrifice is. too. Cormac wondered at the form and craftsmanship of the cup. "without fifty in my company. . And the day you die. He carried her on his back.58) This myth calls for no rectifications until the very end. Speak three truths at it and it will become whole again. The boat was at anchor. A golden cup was handed to the master of the house. I swear. "I never eat. he saw fifty warriors and his wife. He stayed in Teamhair for three nights with Tuagh. son and daughter had been taken from him and how he himself had come looking for them. from Teamhair to the edge of Ireland. Then he was happy. The king Conaire Mór fostered her from birth. Myth 6 THE SACRIFICE TO MANANNÁN Tuagh was the daughter of Conall of Collamhair." The cup was whole again.

stayed with her. The rider said that he would have done better to marry his sister when she had both eyes than marry her now that she only had one. Cluasach. which as we have seen is the feast shared by Manannán and his alter ego. she agreed to let him go up on board again and tell his comrade what was happening to him. He gave Cluasach permission to go home and warn his relatives and then go down to Ó Spealáin’s rock on a certain day to meet him. messenger of the gods and accompanier of sacrifices. After parleying. Luan here is abbreviated for Luan Taide Bhealtaine "the full moon marking the beginning of Bealtaine". Cluasach shot her in one eye and the wave subsided. No sooner was he on the rock than a vast wave rose in the sea and covered the rock. (3) The Fire God spends the statutory three days and three nights with her in preparation. When it subsided. (2) He sends the Fire God. telling those with him not to go beyond the green grass. and then departs.When they wished to haul in the anchor and go to land. his task done. Tuagh’s story can now be analysed schematically as follows: (1) The Sea God desires a beautiful mortal. The woman followed them in a monstrous wave. No sooner on board than he and the White Trader set sail for land. Neachtan. (5) The Sea God comes in the traditional form . to fetch her. Then he saw a rider on a dark red horse coming over the sea towards him. The Fire God brings the sacrifice to the appropriate place. . he went down to Ó Spealáin’s rock. (4) On Luan eve all is ready. on the day appointed. She agreed to release it on condition that he. Manannán and this is further confirmed by the association with Bealtaine. (Source: LSC 62) The rider is. Then.a vast wave to claim his sacrifice on his feast day. of course. Cluasach Ó Fáilbhe went down and found a young woman was treading on it. Cluasach went home and promised his relatives that every year of his life he would send burnt peat sods ashore at Tráigh Phraisce at Bealtaine. they found it was stuck. there was no sign of Cluasach but for years after burnt peat sods came ashore every Bealtaine at Tráigh Phraisce. the sea shore.

certainly perform the same function as Deirbhreann’s pigs.70-74) We have already mentioned the likelihood that Fliodhais is an avatar of Deirbhreann (Chapter 3 Myth 3). a cow and a bull."speckled".72). "Your journey was not prosperous. We have a further example of the Sun God. The cow dropped two calves. Fiachra went towards the invisible herd. He told his fostermother and she told him to search all Ireland until he brought the cow back to her stall." she said.capture Earc. I shall give you some more . although differing in name since they belong to different branches of the tradition. One of the cows of Fliodhais came straying west across the Bann. (Source: MD 2. Earc (who may be increased in multiples of three. acting out the same role in the following: There was a snake demon called Miach. as divine cowherd. This cow got in heat at the voice of the mighty bull and abandoned Fiachra. (3) The Sun God slaughters the ghost cattle (and presumably returns Earc to her proper place). We may take it that Earc and the Glas Ghaibhneann are one and the same. Myth 1 THE GHOST CATTLE. The Vedic name of the divine cow Prsni. she is identified with the Dawn Goddess who. as Bé nGaibhneachta. on that journey. Éachtghal is in one manuscript called Áine (MD 4. There was nothing of the Otherworld that his eyes did not see. Cian. he killed them all. whom we have seen acting as divine cowherd in Chapter 1 Myth 1. as was the custom). He was the fairest warrior in Ireland and Britain except that he was not immortal. His mother gave him twelve white red-eared cows from the Otherworld. (2) The ghost cattle . Three times the snake demon attacked him but Dian Céacht slew it and cast its ashes into Bearbha (the river Barrow). the sister of Bóinn. Dian Céacht went against it. as exemplified in this myth. is also cognate and synonymous. that is. She gave him an enchanted cow called Earc which had seven virtues. Women could not milk them or men hunt them and. also found in Welsh erch "speckled". when the bull bellowed. is Gaibhneann’s wife. Her cows. Fraoch was the son of Bé bhFionn. Three of the cows are with the Picts. Her "fosterson" Fiachra is thus to be identified with the Sun God. (Source: MD 4. his mother came to him. Fiachra was the fosterling of Éachtghal. "your cows and your three sons and your wife have been stolen away to Monadh (the Mounth in Scotland). Myth 2 THE HARROWING OF DEATH I. as Dian Céacht.62) This myth can thus be schematized as follows: (1) The Smith God’s wife gives the cow Earc into the Sun God’s keeping.plague . He went on a journey to Meadhbh and Oilill at Cruachain. When he returned. which was threatening to destroy all the cattle of Ireland. These multiplied until they were a vast herd led by a brindled bull.Chapter 5 THE SPECKLED COW All three myths in this chapter concern the Speckled Cow. and is ultimately derived from Indoeuropean *perko. Thus the best cattle in Ireland were lost to the invisible herd. The name continues common Celtic *ERKÂ. When he reached the herd. But do not lose your life for them. created by the Artisan God. every cow in the land would go to the wild herd.

Then the Ulaidh followed the cows home across the sea to Eichdhe’s tower. Only Cú Raoi knew. the epithet of the Gaulish Shaman God.154-194. He seized Bláithín. The cows are taken to Monadh. who was in love with Cú Raoi. the Vedic Prsni dwells "in the house of the Moon". Myth 3 THE HARROWING OF DEATH II. and is identical in meaning to Fear Beann "the horned man". Each of the Earca would fill it with milk once a day. to the Hall of Death. When the Ulaidh were in Eamhain. stanzas 58-103) In this myth it is the Moon Goddess who gives Earc (now increased to twelve cows) to her son Neachtan. 33367-423. Interestingly. they are taken to the síodh of Donn. This will be confirmed in Chapter 9 Myth 3. It leaps into Conall Cearnach’s belt." "You will not get what you seek" said his mother. More specifically. The Spring God needs a helper and finds him in the form of Conall Cearnach. When they had taken all the treasure in the dún Conall released the serpent from his belt dún. the owner cf the club of life and death. They enter the Hall of Death and are confronted. the sea and reached the síodh of Donn in Monadh. (Source: LL 33101-105. Why? Because the Shaman God is its eventual master. These cows used to stray from Ard Eichdhe into Seimhne and Latharna. When Fraoch has recovered his cows." " Searbhán and the water monster in Chapter 4 Myth 2 . She agreed to leave the gate of the dún open for them. When he was going aboard his ship. the daughter of Conchubhar. the incarnation of the Shaman God just as Cú Chulainn is the incarnation of the Storm God. that is.cows. which is probably a reminiscence of cross-sea piracy. collated with Celtica 2. the three Earca of Iuchna. Laoghaire and Cú Chulainn. "it is a question of my honor.they saw a headless man coming towards them over the plains. Cú Chulainn also went at last. They all went except Conall. by the serpent that guarded death itself. the Shaman God releases death and "neither does any harm to the other". With them went the Three Men of Ochaine. he met Conall Cearnach on the Beanna Boirche and they joined forces. They went east across. Then they plundered the dún and saved Fraoch’s wife and three children. they collected the remaining three cows and so returned home. TBFr. Conall’s epithet cearnach "horned" is cognate to Cernunnos. And their "calf" was a copper cauldron which could hold thirty sextarii (45 pints). The Ulaidh arose while Eichdhe was asleep and the warrior took the cauldron and the ." he said. The Ulaidh were troubled that their land was being grazed. Going through the lands of the Picts. He had three unusual cows. which is an epithet of the Daghdha. This serpent . Eichdhe was from Ard Eichdhe in Ceann Tíre. It was Eichdhe Horsemouth but the Ulaidh did not know this. They kept a watch in order to kill the cows. birds which sat on the cows’ ears. wife and children (in that order). They entered the dún and the serpent that guarded it leaped into Conall Cearnach’s belt. however much authority he may have delegated to his son the Fire God as judge of the dead. and left him. He set out in a group of three times nine men with a wooden cup and a hound. We must take it that he is. in fact. They found an old woman herding sheep and she sent them to another woman who was herding Fraoch’s cows. incarnate as Fraoch. and neither did any harm to the other. In the land of the Ulaidh. a badly dressed warrior (wearing a dun-colored cloak and tunic) presented himself and they offered him three nights’ hospitality.

Cú Raoi is. Then she seized his sword and gave it to Cú Chulainn. When they had come a good way. of course. All this she told Cú Chulainn and arranged with him that he should come back on Samhain eve and that. Thus the three gods: Lugh. They say the conflict goes on from Samhain to Iombolg. abstain from attacking the Sun God. So he seized the cows and the cauldron and the girl. The warrior made a spearcast out of the boat and struck a wheel which was by Eichdhe’s right side. so Cú Raoi’s wife Bláithín (older form Bláthnat as in Chaptor 9 Myth 3) betrays him. Conall is the incarnation of the Shaman God. when the Ulaidh follow the cows across the sea." He went in and she bathed him and tied his hair to the pillars. as we shall see in Chapter 9 Myth 3. Who he really is becomes apparent at the moment of his death . Conchubhar’s daughter recognized him and agreed to betray Cú Raoi for the sake of her father and the Ulaidh. Earc has become a trinity of cows and has been joined by three birds. (Source: Eriu 2. The Ulaidh and the warrior returned to Ireland. That is where he kept his soul. Eventually Cú Chulainn found out that it was Cú Raoi who had humiliated him and. He is the Sun God. he would die. in this myth. Cú Raoi was as that moment in his copper boat harrying Britain and the Islands and the Great World.the cattle in exchange for warding off Eichdhe. Eichdhe fell and died. Inside the salmon was a golden apple where he kept his soul. Then he took the cauldron and the cows and the girl and kept them at cathair Chon Raoi. Laoghaire. Just as Balar’s daughter Eithne betrays him.he is carrying a wheel in which he keeps his soul. as a sign. But they played him false and would not honour the agreement. When Cú Chulainn does go. Consequently. Eichdhe Horsemouth is a nonce form coined from the placename Ard Eichdhe (the Mull of Kintyre) which perpetuates the name of the British tribe the Epidii. one of whose epithets is Mugh Roith "the warrior of the chariot (or wheel)".who was Cú Raoi . Afterward she betrayed him. He had told her in confidence that there was a spring to the west of Sliabh Mis. even possessing the copper boat which is the Fire God’s attribute. . Conall. In it was a salmon. They are the same three gods that we have seen together organizing the gods against Balar and the Fomhóire in Chapter 1 Myth 3. a tendency which we have already noted several times. then up to his buttocks. he takes no part in the fight with Eichdhe. Nevertheless.32ff collated with ACR) In this myth. Conchubhar’s daughter was delousing Cú Raoi’s hair at the gate of the fort and said: "Come inside and I shall bathe you. Cú Chulainn is the incarnation of Lugh. The myth can be schematized as follows: (1) The Sun God is herding the three Earca. Cú Chulainn followed him and laid his hand on the handle of the cauldron. The two trinities have been further linked to the Twins. They promised to give the warrior . which appeared once every seven years. They trespass on the lands of the Ulaidh. is the Wind God as Oghma. As we have seen in Myth 2 above. So it happened. If the apple were cut with his own sword. disguised as a beggar. Then his courage and strength left Cú Raoi and he said "Never a secret to women. then up to his waist and finally up to his armpits. the Daghdha and Oghma. Cú Chulainn and the Ulaidh came. she would pour the milk of the Three Earca of Iuchna into the river when she was bathing Cú Raoi. When the salmon appeared. And Cú Chulainn killed him. the incarnation of the Fire God.girl and the cows and a lot of treasure. Cú Chulainn killed it. he is a Fire God who combines Fire God and Drought God in one. never wealth to slaves". Laoghaire and Cú Chulainn do not go. Eichdhe followed them through the sea. The warrior turned round and threw him into the ground first up to his knees. They agreed that he should take all the treasure and leave them the cow and the girl for a year. which is to say that the wheel is his divine attribute. he set out for Cathair Chon Raoi.

(5) This conflict goes on from Samhain to Iombolg each year. Then the Fire/Drought God comes against him. Lugh again frees the world from the grip of death and. . The Fire/Drought God seizes these from the Ulaidh and enters into conflict with the Storm God.He also seizes the woman who loves the Fire/Drought God. the Shaman God and the Wind God do not participate. the Storm God defeats and slays the Fire/Drought God. presumably. (4) With the woman’s help. The meanimg is clear: the Sun dies after Samhain and Death takes over. (3) The Ulaidh try to keep both cows and woman. The Storm God. kills him and captures the three Earca and Bláithin. (2) The Ulaidh mount an expedition against him without success. When life begins again (the milk of the three Earca runs in the river). restores the Sun to life.

" "I am not less" said Ochaill’s swineherd. "I shall charm your pigs so that they will not fatten despite the mast they eat.Chapter 6 LIGHT AND DARK The three myths composing this chapter are part of a cycle in the sense that Myths 2 and 3 take place within the framework of Myth 1. With the cattle drove from Cuailnge. Then they were two phantoms and frightened each other. Then their swineherding was taken from them both and they spent two full years as hawks. Dissension arose between them because the Connachtmen said that their swineherd was more powerful while the Munstermen said theirs was more powerful. Bleadh and Blodh when they were water beasts. "We shall have mast here and then I shall work the same trick on him. When there was mast in Munster. "your comrade’s power is greater than yours. although not inherently probable." he said "These men say that you are mere powerful than I. Then. Myth 1 THE INCARNATIONS OF THE TWINS A Bodhbh was the king of the síodh of Munster at Sliabh na mBan and Ochaill Oichne was the king of the síodh of Connacht at Cruachain. Then they were two dragons and each snowed on the other’s land. It is possible." That is what happened. The other went into Fuarán Garadh in Connacht and was drunk by the cow of Meadhbh. the Black Bull of Cuailnge came to Aoi and met the Whitehorn. Rinn and Faobhar when they were mercenary leaders." "Not so. They fought and the Black Bull killed the Whitehorn. Their names were: Rúcht and Ruincne when they were swineherds. that the cattle raid of Cuailnge existed as a heroic tale quite separate from the successive incarnations of the Twins and that they were later linked." they said. When there was mast in the north. One year there was much mast in Munster and the northern swineherd went south with his pigs. thus mythologizing the cattle raid. One went into the source of Glas Cruinn in Cuailnge and was drunk by the cow of Dáire mac Fiachna. Then they were incarnate as two bulls: the Whitehorn of Aoi and the Black Bull of Cuailnge." That is what happened. At the end of this time they appeared briefly in human form. the southern swineherd would go north. There was alliance between them. Then they were two deer and collected two herds and fought. Scáth and Sciath when they were phantoms. Ingean and Eite when they were hawks. Then they both fell out of the sky and became worms. Then they were two mercenary leaders and fought each other. they became two water beasts and spent two full years in this form. Ochaill’s swineherd went home with his lean pige and people laughed at him." he said. His comrade welcomed him. the Whitehorn of Aoi and the Dark Red Bull of Cuailnge when they were bulls. They both had swineherds and there was alliance between them too. the northern swineherd would come south with his lean pigs. one year in Sionann and one year in Siúir." said Bodhbh’s swineherd. And Bodhbh’s swineherd took his lean pigs home. "They are disputing about us. . So everyone said that they were both of equal power. Cruinneac and Tuinneac when they were worms. one year north at Cruachain and the other south at Sliabh na mBan. "Your journey did not prosper. but mine will fatten. "Let us find out.

one to the síodh of Cruachain in Connacht and the other to the síodh of Sliabh na mBan in Munster. called his charioteer and they set out for Ath Dá Fhearta. Myth 2 MOIRRÍOGHAN AND THE CATTLE PREY A Cú Chulainn was sleeping at dún Imrinn when he heard a bellowing coming from the north. One. was allocated the north west. Hence their local differentiation within Ireland . some calling him Dubh "black" and other. He leaped up.44ff) It is clear that the Twins. The Whitehorn heard him and they fought before Meadhbh. Dubhmhuc entered Fuarán Garadh. the other. Version B is important in the sense that it identifies the Twins as brothers. The cow of Dáire mac Fiachna went to Glas Cruinn and drank. Donn "dark red". Their names were Eite and Ingean when they were birds. Cú Chulainn opposed her whole army from Samhain until the first fast after Iombolg. The two cows died when giving birth. As good and bad weather are mutually antagonistic and yet composed of the same element. was allocated the south east. When it came into sight. The two recensions presented here differ in some details but are essentially identical. Cruinneac and Dubhmhuc when they were worms. The eastern bull was the Dark Red One. In the chariot was a red woman with red eyebrows clothed in red with her cloak trailing on the ground behind her. he fought the Whitehorn on the seventh day of Spring and the Whitehorn fell. "Then tell me your true name" said Cú Chulainn . they saw it was pulled by a single one-footed horse and its shaft was set inside the horse’s skin so that its end poked out through the animal’s forehead. which detail has been lost in Version A. Cruinneac went to Glas Cruinn in Cuailnge. the worm entered her womb and became a calf. When one of Meadhbh’s cows drank from the spring of Fuarán Garadh. Rúcht and Ruincne. Then he leaped into the chariot. Then Neara’s cow came with her bull calf and he bellowed at Ráth Chruachan. The woman told him false ones. presaging bad weather. "Don’t attack me" she said. Bleadh and Blodh when they were Boyne trout. each form for one year. as harbingers of the Dawn. Meadhbh encouraged her bull and the bull calf fell saying "Beware of my sire. Her charioteer was a big man in a coarse tunic with a white hazel club driving a cow. (Source: RC 15. so the Twins represent the concept of yin and yang. "Leave me alone" she said. They were swineherds and were in seven forms. When the Dark Red Bull of Cuailnge reached Tarbhgha. presaging good weather. Cú Chulainn asked their names." . when Conchubhar came with his forces and Meadhbh retreated into Connacht with her prey. the other worm entered her and became a calf in her womb." Then Meadhbh went into Ulster on the cattle raid.(Source: LL 32930-997) B Cruinneac son of Aghnamhan had two sons. landing with his feet on the woman’s shoulders and his javelin over her head. "I am a satirist and Dáire mac Fiachna in Cuailnge has given me this cow in payment for an ode. took on the nature of weather symbols. Cú and Ceithean when they were dogs. eternally in contrast and yet eternally united. There they heard a chariot coming. the western bull was red and whitehorned. All the texts are divided on the question of the name of the bull of Cuailnge.

Neara was going back to Cruachain when he saw the dún burning and his people being slaughtered by the warriors from the síodh He followed the warriors back into síodh. He will provoke the cattle raid of Cuailgne. "it was a phantom host you saw.and all had disappeared: horse. "I have." "I shall stab you with my javelin and put out your eye and you shall never be cured unless you beg my pardon." "You have no power over me" said Cú Chulainn. Cú Chulainn leaped into his chariot . the Cave of Cruachain." "I shall become a grey wolf bitch and seize you from the right upper arm to the left forearm. I shall become an eel and twist round your feet in the ford so that you will fall. "I thought the ráth of Cruachain was síodh. challenged any of his household to fix a withe round the foot of one of the two captives who had been hanged that day. "let us go. "I am preparing your death. (Source: TBR) B On Samhain eve." said the woman." "This is not true." the cripple would say."Let’s hear the ode" said Cú Chulainn. "They visit the crown that is in the well" she said." "How can I warn my people?" he asked. He came before the king of the síodh who allotted him a house and a woman in exchange for bringing a load of firewood to the royal house each day. "when you are fighting a man who is your equal in strength. "it would have been the worse for you. Neara took up the challenge and succeeded with the help of the hanged man himself. In return for his help." being plundered and Oilill and Meadhbh and all their household killed." "Whatever you had done. "Go to them. But he saw that she had become a black bird on a branch near him. Fair combat will be broken and your head will be taken that day. "Is it there?" the blind man would ask." she said. "If I had known it was you. You will be alive only as long as it takes the calf in the womb of this cow to become a two year old bull." Neara asked his woman the reason for this. "they are still around the cauldron where you left them and ." Then he went to the back of the chariot and she declaimed the ode." she said. Every day he saw a blind man carrying a cripple to the edge of the well at the gate of the dún dún. "However you act in the cattle raid. But it will come true unless it is revealed." Then Badhbh Left him and Cú Chulainn returned home. chariot. he took the hanged man on his back to get a drink of water and then returned him to his place." "I shall trample you against the flagstones of the ford and you shall never be cured by me unless you beg my pardon. "When I was coming into the síodh said Neara. woman." "I shall be a white red-eared heifer at the head of a hundred white red eared cows and we shall plunge into the ford." "I shall cast a sling stone at you and break your hough and you will have no help from me unless you beg my pardon." said Cú Chulainn." said the woman." "I shall be the more distinguished for the cattle raid" said Cú Chulainn. "we would not have separated like that. "Yes." said the woman. I took this cow from the síodh of Cruachain so that the Black Bull of Cuailnge could cover it. "Just leave me alone" said the woman. man and cow. Oilill. "instead of fluttering over my head.

I shall neglect myself utterly until I see the two bulls fighting before me." But he thought he had been in the síodh for three days and three nights. perhaps. (Source: EN) The two myths presented here are complementary and set the scene for the cattle raid of Cuailgne. When he returned the white hazel wand held by Earc. nor will they. Moirríoghan took his son’s cow and had it bulled by the Dark Red Bull of Cuailgne. then it is an imitation: Odhras was Buchad’s wife. "Go to the dún. He told them his adventures and Oilill gave him the sword that he had promised in return for completing the challenge." So Neara returned to his people and found them just as he had left them. Neara went herding them and fell asleep. I told them you were sick. "That’s strange. his wife told him to herd the cows. A fragment of a variant recension of this myth is to be found." said his wife." Then they entered the síodh and plundered it. On the third day before Samhain. dressed in red. "She has come from Cuailgne. They fought for a day and a night and at last the bull calf was beaten. And this is your son." "How will they believe that I have gone into the síodh?" asked Neara. the Dark Red bull of Cuailgne. síodh As his son’s bull calf came out of the síodh it bellowed three times. "My son’s cow has strayed. Neara returned to the síodh to bring his people out." So he took his load of firewood and was greeted by the king of the síodh and congratulated of his recovery. One day she followed him to watch the cattle. The Fire God is carrying a white hazel club indicative of his function as judge of the dead .the doors of the síodh of Ireland are always open at Samhain.the food has not been taken off the fire yet. So he took wild garlic and primrose and golden fern. "Now I shall be pregnant and give birth to your son. "It said that if its father. "and has been bulled by the Dark Red Bull of Cuailgne. Warn me when your people are coming to plunder the síodh so that I can take your household and cattle to safety. "and take your load of firewood. Then the cow came back." she said." he said. If it is not a variant." Then Meadhbh said: "I swear by the gods of my tribe. Neara and his people were left in the síodh and have not come out since. "Tell them they will be slaughtered next Samhain unless they come and plunder the síodh. While . "Take summer fruits with you" she said. She had given one of them to their son at birth. in Myth A is the Earth Goddess in her aspect as Deirbhreann and accompanied by the Fire God. síodh. since at Samhain Oilill planned to plunder it . in the following. were to come and fight the Whitehorn. Moirríoghan. síodh It has been prophesied that Oilill and Meadhbh will plunder the síodh and take the crown of Brión. in Chapter 3 Myth 1. Neara brought his people and his cattle out of the síodh. Then the bull calf and the Whitehorn met and fought on the plain of Cruachain. Neara returned home with the cows at dusk. It bellowed as it went down. "What did the animal bellow?" asked Meadhbh of her cowherd. I have been taking it dún every day for a year now." The cow gave birth to a bull calf. he would drive him all over Magh Aoi. the lawspeaker. Where has this cow come from?" he said. he combines in this and the following myth the functions of Fire God (Function 1) and Drought God (Function 2). Moirríoghan likewise combines the functions of Deirbhreann (Function 1) and Meadhbh (Function 2 .kingship). As we have seen in several other instances. His wife welcomed him back. While he was asleep.

The incarnate Storm God. He put out its eye. This she does. Then he unleashed the Ga Bolga at Lóch and killed him." said Moirríoghan." said Cú Chulainn. He refused to fight a beardless youth. . There. Cú Chulainn made himself a beard of dyed grass and then Lóch agreed to fight. Cú Chulainn loosed a sling stone and broke her leg. is to be identified as the Fire/Drought God. Lóch (common Celtic *LEUKOS "shining"). He bulled one of Buchad’s cows and Moirríoghan then led both of them to Cruachain." said Cú Chulainn. Odhras melted and became the river Odhras (MD 4.eye (Function 1). Then a white red-eared heifer leading a hundred others plunged into the ford. And her leg was healed. Here. Instead of the thunderbolt. The Earth Goddess is ritually maimed . Earth Goddess and Fire/Drought God faced the Storm God and mutual challenges were issued. the pursuit west and the combat of the bulls in Magh Aoi. Then a wolf bitch attacked him. She gave him the milk of the second teat. Immediately afterwards. "Health and the blessings of gods and non-gods on you. the last combat in the primitive recension of the cattle raid of Cuailgne. LÓCH AND MOIRRÍOGHAN Lóch was asked to fight Cú Chulainn. these challenges are played out. as we mentioned in Part I Chapter 3.watching. When they were fighting at the ford. Moirríoghan came out of the Cave of Cruachain and chanted spells over her. And her eye was healed. Myth 3 CÚ CHULAINN. She gave him the milk of one teat. and this time the Earth Goddess is actively fighting against him. "Health and the blessings of gods and non-gods on you. breaking its ribs. Odhras followed them to the síodh of Cruachain and there fell asleep. Thus the scene in Myth 2A above is duplicated. is here duplicating his combat with Balar. Then Moirríoghan came bringing with her a bull. She can only be healed by begging the Storm God’s forgiveness. He asked her for milk. in this recension. The women told Cú Chulainn that he was being mocked in the camp because he had no beard. Later Moirríoghan appeared to him in the shape of a one-eyed hag milking a cow with three teats. he has the Ga Bolga. Cú Chulainn. at the inception of the cattle raid. "If I had known it was you" said Cú Chulainn.196-200). Then Cú Chulainn got up and struck the eel. And her ribs were healed. ribs (as an eel can hardly lose a hand) (Function 2) and foot (Function 3). an eel came and twisted round Cú Chulainn’s feet so that he fell on his back in the water. by granting his three requests. comes the rising of the Ulaidh from their weakness." said Cú Chulainn. in traditional manner. Lóch wounded him with his sword and the ford was red with his blood. "You said you would never heal me. "Health and the blessings of gods and non-gods on you." (Source: LU 6104-6257 collated with LL 9544-54 and TBR) The combat of Lóch and Cú Chulainn at the ford is. she fell asleep. at the end of the raid. in fact. She gave him the milk of the third teat. "I should never have healed you.


His wife was dead. When night came. he saw a woman coming in.Chapter 7 THE THREE FACES OF MACHA The myths in this chapter all illustrate tripartitism. Macha won and drove the sons of Díotharbha out into the wastes of Connacht. "let’s lay her. Wben Macha and Ciombaoth were married. (Source: LL 2514-2554) C Cruinneac son of Aghnamhan of the Ulaidh was a hospitaler. "because we’ll all do the same. Then she went back to the fire." she said. He lived in the wastes and had many sons. The Ulaidh said they should be killed. . She found them roasting a wild boar at Boireann in Connacht. "He shouldn’t be. she served the household with no questions asked.hence Magh Macha (and Eamhain Mhacha). They fought a battle. Macha the Redmaned. One day when he was alone in the house." they said. "that would destroy the truth of my sovereignty. Uallach ("Shouter") and Borbchas ("Rough Curlyhead"). Let them be slaves and build a ráth for me. back to the Ulaidh. (Source: ED 62) B There were three kings of the Ulaidh in co-sovereignty: Díotharbha ("Useless"). Then she took Ciombaoth as her husband and leader of her warband. They fought a battle and Macha won. "No. Her name was given to the plain . wife of Neimheadh son of Aghnamhan." So they built the dún and called it Eamhain Mhacha." said one of them. the understanding of which is essential to any investigation of Irish mythology. Aodh Ruadh and Ciombaoth. He liked the look of her. since she had not received it by contract but on the battle field. They claimed the kingship. She sat down at once and started preparing the meal as if she had always lived there. Bras ("Boastful"). Meanwhile Díotharbha fell at Corann leaving five sons: Baoth ("Rash"). Aodh Ruadh was the first to die. "The girl’s not bad looking. And let it be the capital of the Ulaidh for ever." Each of them went off into the woods with her and she bound each one of them by force and then brought them all. They made a treaty that each should have sovereignty for seven years. she went to seek out the sons of Díotharbha in the form of a leper woman. leaving no offspring but his daughter. She claimed her father’s share in the sovereignty. Macha answered that she would not yield it. She bound him by force and left him in the woods. "He’s ashamed to come back to you after laying a leper girl. She spent seven years in the kingship. saw a vision of all the evil that would be done in the cattle raid of Cuailgne long before it happened and her heart broke. Ciombaoth and Díotharbha answered that they would not give sovereignty to a woman. "Where’s the man who went with you?" they asked. the socio-religious concept." she said. Béadach ("Violent"). Myth 1 THE THREE FACES OF MACHA A Macha. They greeted her and gave her food at the fire." He went off into the woods with her. bound together.

"as I’m pregnant"." "What is your name?" asked the king. "I won’t. Their capital was called Eamhain Mhacha ("Macha’s Eamhain") in distinction to Eamhain Abhlach ("Apple-tree Eamhain") which was Manannán’s domain. Everyone who heard her fell into weakness for five days and four nights. albeit obscurely: There was a king named Neimheadh son of Namha. "but he will be killed if you don’t go. she is a warrior queen and belongs to Function 2. "All right. He was wearing good clothes and had a prosperous look about him. she gave birth to twins (hence Eamhain Mhacha "the twins of Macha"). "It may be a bother. (Source: LL 14547-585) Macha was the name under which the Ulaidh worshipped the Earth Goddess." Cruinneac said: "My wife is faster." she said. A stream broke forth from the síodh after them and there was much foam on it and it spread out over the land and remained thus for a year. At the end of the day they brought the king’s chariot onto the field. That sickess fell on all the men of the Ulaidh that were present and on their offspring for nine men’s lives from that moment. clothes or wealth. regrouping in what is now the district to the north and south of Belfast. "a mother gave birth to every one of you. "Help me. Armagh). He appears again in the form Neimheadh son of Namha (mac Aghnamhain corrupted to mac Namha). "It is a bother for me to go and have him set free" she said." The king had him seized at once. Only the women and children of the Ulaidh were exempt from it." They refused. and Cú Chulainn. (Source: MD 4. "worse will come of it and will stay with the Ulaidh for a long time. The chariot with its horses won the prize." he said. and they retreated east. Wait until I have given birth.D. Hence the river is called Uanabh "foam river". In Myth B.That night she slept with Cruinneac. Cruinneac went just like everyone else." she said. Every man of the Ulaidh had the strength of a woman in labour during this time. The fair was held. Five days and four nights was the "nine days" of the Ulaidh. The name is still very much alive in the placename Ard Mhacha ("Macha’s height". Then she raced with the chariot and when the chariot reached the end of the field.302) . She cried out in her labour. women and children. in the following myth which is connected to the above. the Ulaidh were holding a fair. Just to the west of Ard Mhacha is the fort which was the capital of the Ulaidh until their power was broken in the 5th century A. All the Ulaidh were going: men. "Don’t say anything foolish." she said to the crowd. He reared two horses with the people of síodh Earcmhan (the síodh of Earc?). In Myth C she is a hospitaler’s wife and belongs to Function 3. Not long after. In Myth A she is a seer and belongs to Function 1." So she came to the fair and her birth pangs started. "Macha. His wife was informed. The crowd said: "There is nothing faster than these horses. The horses are called the Two Horses of Eamhain." said the messenger. The three myths grouped above are all used to explain the name of the fort and show us Macha in tripartite function. It is clear that the Neimheadh ("sacred person") son of Aghnamhan in Myth A and the Cruinneac son of Aghnamhan in Myth C are one and the same. She remained with him for some time like this and with her in the house they had no lack of anything: food. Afterwards they sent the two horses out of the síodh." warned his wife.

"There have you come from?" he asked." said Bodhbh Dearg. "What will you give them. "I will tell you." They gave them three daughters of Midhir’s. Bodhbh Dearg asked why they were not eating. "My own good luck did. They went out to their dwelling then and remained there for a hundred and fifty years until those trees died." he answered. Fill the vat with stagnant water and it will become good mead. The fast is a form of sacrifice inherited . "Fear Toinne son of Troghan is his name. since they were relatives by marriage. and there they have been ever since. "is a hundred and fifty swords and a hundred and fifty spears. our own father. (Source: AS-SG 102f) In its present form this myth shows unmistakable signs of late transmission (the names of the gods are hopelessly muddled) but its structure and essential content are archaic. They were not long there when they saw a young man coming towards them. "From our foster parents." Then they arose and went to the green in front of the Bruigh and sat alone there. síodh all sons of kings. Fight for it yourselves. "There are a hundred and fifty of us in this síodh. Fill the horn with sea water and it will become wine. "is a horn and a vat." they said." "My gift to them. Let each king’s son give them a hundred and fifty ounces of gold and I shall give them a hundred and fifty suits of clothes. He greeted them and they greeted him." "I shall give them a good musician I have. because good and bad luck come from wives." said Áine. for everything she gives out she receives again." he said." They stayed three days and three nights in the síodh and Aonghas told them to take three apple trees from the wood of Eamhain: one tree in blossom and another with blossom falling and the third with ripe fruit." he answered. "Bodhbh Dearg." Then the gods took counsel and the eldest and most noble of them." "I shall give them a cook I have.Myth 2 THE GIFTS OF THE GODS The three sons of the king of Ireland went to see their father at Feart na nDruadh to the northwest of Teamhair. Midhir." they said. "Where are you from and where have you come from?" they asked. I will not give you land. Come with me." "My gift to them. "is a stockade and a fort and a royal dwelling." "My gift to them. "What do you advise tonight?" asked one of them. "My father did not give me a fief of land." They arose and entered the Bruigh." said Aonghas Macan Óg. "The king of Ireland. has refused us a fief of land. "From the Bruigh." said Bodhbh Dearg. "To ask you for a fief of land. "It is taboo for her to refuse food to anyone. Then they returned to the gods." said Aodh from Reachrainn. They may be schematized as follows: (1) The three princes fast against the gods." said Lir of Síodh Fionnachaidh. Defeated champions and women in labor and wounded warriors would sleep with the haunting music he plays." answered another. "Let us fast against the gods to get the good luck of a fief and riches from them. said: "Give them three wives. A meal was set before them but they did not eat. "What is your name?" they asked. Bodhbh Dearg?" asked Midhir. "It has been revealed to the gods that you have come here tonight to fast for land and great luck. "Why have you come?" he asked.

" said Bodhbh Dearg. (2) The gods accede to their request. until he died.from Indoeuropean times which compels the person fasted against to accede to the request of the faster. They entered a house. a hideous hag came in to them and said: "One of you must sleep with me tonight or I shall devour you all. (Source: AS-SG 154) This is a very straightforward illustration of tripartitism." The eldest son. one in each stage of development. (6) They receive three apple trees." . While they were by the fire. Function 3: gold and clothes." said Cormac. to maintain their health and youth. from her disfavor comes disaster. Artrach. There is good cause for you to leave the gods. since the king must arm his warband. Aodh is more than a match for the poets of Ireland and Britain. Artrach is Function 3. they return to the gods.loosed their hounds after it and made the kill near is enough that only I should perish." "You shall have it. men and dogs. Function 2: swords and spears. since kingship can only be acquired by marrying the Earth Goddess in her aspect as Sovereignty. "leave the gods to me and go to Cormac king of Ireland.Artrach. Aodh was in the Steading of the Poets and the poets of Ireland and Britain kept him company. (3) They are first given wives. and then they returned to the gods. Lughaidh Cal. since the king must drink the royal mead. (4) They are then given the gifts appropriate to a royal inauguration: Function 1: the magic horn and vat. From the Earth Goddess’ favor comes good luck." Lughaidh Laoighdhe said: "I will sleep with her . They cannot support themselves and the wealth of Artrach. since the king must distribute riches which are produced by craftsmen. (5) They then receive the gifts appropriate to the maintenance of kingship: Function 1: the musician representing the support of the priest/poet caste. "Our own father has banished us from the gods and we have come to ask you for land. Aonghas is more than a match for all their warriors put together." So the three sons came to Cormac and he asked them what they had come about. When these are exhausted. Lughaidh Orc and Lughaidh Laoighdhe . Lughaidh Cal slept. Aodh and Aonghas . Aonghas was at Ráth Mhongach and the sons of the kings of Ireland and Britain learned warriorship from him. had a hostel of seven doors and a welcome for every company. They spent thirty years of Cormac’s reign thus.Lughaidh Corb. Aonghas is Function 2. Lughaidh Orc brought water. Functiom 2: the royal stockade representing the support of the warrior caste. Myth 3 THE THREE GODS ON EARTH Bodhbh Dearg had three sons .and they quarreled with their father. "I shall give you Tír Chonaill. Myth 4 LUGHAIDH LAOIGHDHE AND KINGSHIP Dáire enchanted a calf so that it appeared to be a fawn. "Very well. each god representing one function: Aodh is Function 1. Function 3: the cook with an everlasting supply of food representing the support of the commoner caste. Four of his sons . Lughaidh Corb carved the fawn.

Diarmaid agreed. I made this house of it." said Banbhán." said Diarmaid. Extra functional: Lughaidh Laoighdhe conversed with Sovereignty. "and on the night of your death you will be wearing a shirt made from one flax seed and a cloak from the wool of a single sheep. You will drink a harsh drink." Then food and drink were brought to them. Let’s get out of here." "Burning" said the third druid. since she would not come." "Good. You will go forth to a woman who sees doom beneath diadems. a seer.When they went to bed. "did Beag and the druids prophesy my death. "Yes. then to Munster. He will be called Lughaidh Mac Con and he will be a druid. The cloak was made from the wool of a single sheep. You will drink a malt drink of one grain in a small ráth There you will be slain. "Once. Function 1: Lughaidh Cal slept (presumably seeking visions). did not. Function 3: Lughaidh Orc served them ("brought water"). "The shirt was made from one flax seed. "She shall sleep with you tonight to spite Mughain. Mughain. I was out plowing one day and killed a ring-dove. Beag said: "You will go forth from Teamhair to a festival of non-truth. "Slaying." Diarmaid looked up. blind in his left eye." "Truly. men!" ." said the first druid. Nothing more shall come of our meeting but your son will sleep with me." Then Diarmaid went visiting rightways round Ireland. will kill a black pig that leads pigs. intending to return to Teamhair to celebrate the feast of Teamhair with the men of Ireland at Samhain.136-142) This is another illustration of the three functions and the extra functional status of kingship. "It is bacon from an unborn pig." said Diarmaid. "Have you clothing for the king?" Banbhán asked his daughter. Myth 5 THE TRIPARTITE SACRIFICE OF DIARMAID MAC CEARBHAILL Diarmaid mac Cearbhaill went to Teamhair and asked the prophet Beag Mac Dé how he would die. Everyone praised them. she changed into a beautiful woman. Nevertheless Diarmaid accompanied Banbhán to Ráth Bheag ("small ráth in Magh Line. It is beer from one grain of corn. Lughaidh Laoighdhe asked her who she was. a poet. "The lower part of the house is newer than the upper part. Macha will wash your head. "My daughter planted the one seed and replanted the seeds from the plants." said Banbhán. "This is my daughter" said Banbhán." he said. This is the house. his queen. While he was on that circuit. "for it was cut living from its mother’s womb." ráth. You will see the cows of rock." said Banbhán. I planted and replanted its seed and so made this beer. Everyone admired them. She said: "High kings sleep with me. Function 2: Lughaidh Corb divided up the spoil ("carved the fawn"). a fair young woman came in. ráth") When they had sat down. I am the Sovereignty of Ireland and Britain. Diarmaid. In its crop there was one grain. a warrior came to him and asked him to be his guest that night. to Connacht and finally to Ulster." she said and gave him a shirt and a cloak. "and you shall drink beer from one corn grain that night. "and the bacon of an unborn pig will be on your plate." "Drowning" said the second druid. Then Diarmaid called his own druids and asked them how he would die. From Teamhair to the Laighin. The king put them on. "we were out fishing in our curraghs and saw a ridge pole floating in the sea. A dark man." (Source: MD 4.

Then the ridge pole of the house fell on him and he died. king of the Southern Uí Néill. it is quite immaterial that this tripartite sacrificial death be attributed to this or that historical king. (Source: SG 79-82) The chief protagonist in this myth is a historical personage . The sacrifice consists of: Function 1: sacrifice to the Shaman God by ritual wounding.D. Muircheartach mac Earca. He is also celebrated as the last pagan king of the Southern Uí Néill. Myth is an archetype and this myth is the archetype of the failing king. Then Diarmaid turned back into the house.D.He leaped for the door but Aodh Dubh was starding in the doorway and wounded him in the chest with his spear. The Ulaidh surrounded the house on the outside and set fire to it.Diarmaid mac Cearbhaill. who according to the same annals died in 533 A. . For mythological purposes. Diarmaid plunged into the beer vat. The tripartite sacrifice. who must be sacrificed for his people and his land. voluntarily or not. of drowning in a wine vat at Cleiteach on the Boyne. Function 2: sacrifice to the Storm God by burning. Function 3: sacrifice to the Spring God by drowning in a vat. who according to the Annals of Ulster celebrated the Feast of Teamhair in 559 A. attributed to him in this myth is likewise attributed to one of his predecessors.

the son had a fortnight’s growth. And not knowing your name. Ealadha and Teathra. The gods in this cycle are all gods of Functions 1 and 2. "Separating from you after our union. We can schematize as follows: (1) The Earth Goddess. of course. They said they should make Breas son of Ealadha king. son of the Smith God. She thought it was big but could not make out its form." she said. Myth 2 THE KINGSHIP OF BREAS There was strife between the gods and their wives about the sovereignty of Ireland. Breas. The Earth Goddess replies that he does not belong to the right caste ("I have made no arrangement with you"). The remaining myths are fragments belonging to the same branch of the tradition. By the time he was seven. as sureties to take the sovereignty back from him if his misconduct warranted this. He said to her: "Shall we make love?" She said to him: "I have made no arrangement with you. Ealadha ("Art") son of Dealbhaoth is. so that there was not a puff of smoke from a . since he is not a proper birth. And the current was bringing it gradually in to the shore. Then she saw it was a handsome man covered in accoutrements of gold and silver." She bore the son and called him by the name Ealadha had told her. he was the size of a fourteen year old. As this whole cycle has been fused with that of the Storm God (see Chapter 1). When the man got up again she began to cry. (Source: CMT 15-21) This myth sets the scene for the cycle of the Unsuitable king. priests (Function 1) and warriors (Function 2)." He said: "Come.Chapter 8 THE UNSUITABLE KING The first three myths in this chapter constitute the cycle of the Unsuitable King. as an examination of the two cycles shows. the Fomhóire under their kings Inneach. So the sovereignty of Ireland was given to him and he offered seven uncles. Nevertheless she accedes to his demand and they produce a son who is monstrous (in the sense that he is gigantic). in her aspect as Sovereignty (Éire). "What are you crying for?" he said. "I have two reasons for it. They mirror the same inter-caste contest among the gods that is found in the Scandinavian myth of the Aesir and the Vanir. Eocha Breas. This identification is secondary and late. are the gods of Function 3. the Smith God in disguise. is approached by the disguised Smith God. grouped around Breas. The Smith God is chief of the commoner caste (Function 3) and this cycle is a mythological playing out of social tensions between the commoner caste and the other two castes." "I am Ealadha son of Dealbhaoth king of the Fomhóire" he said. The sea was like a flat plain. his mother’s brothers." They lay down. bound their tribute on Ireland. Suddenly she saw a silver vessel in the sea. Their enemies. When Breas became king. (2) He makes a bid for sovereignty. "you will bear a son from this meeting and you must call him Eocha Breas. Myth 1 THE BIRTH OF BREAS One day Éire (Ireland) was looking out over sea and land. This continued. he is made "king of the Fomhóire" and identified to Balar and his followers. By the time her labour was a week past. a handsome man almost smothered in gold and silver (signifying wealth but not necessarily caste status). since Nuadha was no longer eligible after losing his hand.

Once Breas becomes king." The Daghdha followed Macan Og’s advice. That is the most noble part of your dish and the gold will stop in his belly and kill him." said Macan Óg. So Breas took sovereignty as it was given to him. for he had been pestering me since I started working. The Daghdha answered: "Have all the cattle in Ireland brought together in one place. since the gold was the best thing that was before me. Then choose a black heifer from among a blemished king. he must abdicate. The strong men were pressed into service: Oghma under a load of firewood and the Daghdha as a ráth ráth-builder. saying: Give me the three best pieces of your food. "Why are you looking so downtrodden?" asked Macan Óg. If it is not. The reason that he asked for the delay was that he wished to assemble the strong men of the síodh to take power by force if he could. for your honour’s sake. Breas abdicated from sovereignty but his account was not settled by that. Breas thought this a trifle. Inneach. I am badly off tonight. It happened that I received three pieces of gold today and put them on my food. This was granted on condition that he hand over all the goods he had accumulated until then. They will tell the king: the Daghdha killed Cridhinbhéal by giving him a poisonous herb. since he was annoyed at being driven from the kingship. he had expected him to choose more. you will live. The Daghdha was tired with this work. since he did not grease their knives. is the Smith Giod. . They did not see their poets or bards or satirists or harpers or pipers or trumpeters or jugglers before them in the household. Then I gave them to Cridhinbhéal. The gold remained in Cridhinbhéal and he died of it. who are extra-functional." The Daghdha gave them to him every night and felt the worse for it. Ealadha. subject to conditions." They cut open the satirist’s belly and found the three pieces of gold and the Daghdha was released. building the ráth of Breas. you will die. They did not see the prowess of their strong men tested by the king with the exception of Oghma who had to carry firewood to the dún dún. as we have seen. "Cut open the satirist’s belly" said Breas. The Daghdha came to work next day and Macan Óg came to him and said: "Your work will soon be finished. "I have reason enough. the "three kings of the Fomhóire"." The king did that and the Daghdha chose the heifer that Macan Óg had indicated. Their exploits did not prosper. impose their will on the gods. You will say to him: that is not a word of sovereign truth. give me the three best pieces you have. One day the Daghdha was in the ditch when he saw Macan Óg coming. Do not ask for your reward until the cattle of Ireland are brought to you. the gods. He thought that his own portion was small and the Daghdha’s was large and said: "Daghdha." "I have a solution for you. He asked for seven years’ grace. "Put these three pieces in the three best pieces of food for Cridhinbhéal. Cridhinbhéal the satirist asks me every day for the three best pieces of my food. Eventually they came together to parley with Breas and demanded a settling of accounts. If it is.roof in Ireland that did not owe tribute to them. However much they visited.24-40) Breas is now fully grown and Nuadha has lost his hand so that." The Daghdha finished his work and Breas asked him what he wanted as his reward. impose Breas as king on their Function 1 and Function 2 husbands. And there was a blind man called Cridhinbhéal. The king will order you to be killed. (Source: CMT 14. The goddesses. "to see if the gold is there. their breath was none the beerier. Ealadha and Teathra. There was much murmuring about him by his mother’s relatives. taking three pieces of gold out of his pocket and giving them to him. Breas’s judgement will not be good afterwards.

(4) The Sky God. The reason for the choice of the black heifer is that at the appropriate moment it will bellow and stampede all the cattle Breas has taken as tributes (CMT 163f). "When shall the men of Ireland plow and sow and reap? You will be released in ." "May bloody blows mark Maoiltne!" said Breas. Summer for strengthening the corn and beginning to ripen." said Lugh to Breas. "Why so?" asked Lugh. Oghma is forced into servile work carrying firewood. Henceforward he is represented by his avatar Oghma. the gods of Function 3. "that would release you?" "Yes. The Storm God. Thus neither has the Fire God. "May bloody blows mark Maoiltne!" said Breas. The myth of the armed struggle between the gods of Function 3 and the gods of Functions 1 and 2. the three represent the Function 3 gods who now lord it over the gods of the other two functions. has been completely obliterated.Teathra is the negative aspect of the Sea God. "he can keep them in milk while they are alive. "Is there anything else. Lugh. Myth 3 THE RANSOMING OF BREAS Afterwards Breas was brought to bay. in order to take his revenge. Autumn for finishing the ripening and reaping the corn. but retires to assemble "the strong men of the síodh" i. "The cows of Ireland will always be in milk." he said." "That will not release you" Lugh said to Breas. "is Spring for plowing and sowing. the beginning of Summer for finishing this." he said. as lawspeaker. schematizing: (1) The Wind God (MALE:AIR:FUNCTION 2) is demoted from his function as king of the gods. Winter for consuming it. except for a few fragments." "I shall consult with our wise men. "cowherd"?) is the Sun God. "Shall we release Breas in exchange for a corn harvest in every season for the men of Ireland?" "What we have" said Maoiltne. but he has no power over their ageing or their offspring.e. "What?" asked Breas." Lugh asked Maoiltne. gives the Shaman God a plan to ritually blemish the sovereignty of Breas by forcing him to give a bad judgment ("Breas’s judgment will not be good afterward").e. At all events. Breas. Judging from the role that "Macan Óg" plays in this myth. "It would be better to release me than kill me. (2) The Commoner Breas is elevated to kingship by the extra-functional goddesses. Macan Óg." asked Lugh. So. since he is the youngest of the gods. (3) The gods of Function 3 seize power and oppress the Shaman God (Function 1) and the Wind God as Oghma (Function 2)." said Lugh. "You have no power over their ageing or their offspring although you can keep them in milk while they are alive. "Less than that would release you. (6) He is then forced to abdicate his sovereignty." said Lugh. The Daghdha is forced into artisanal service building a ráth. Then he went to Maoiltne of the Great Judgments and asked: "Shall we release Breas in exchange for everlasting milk in the cows of Ireland?" "No. by the grafting of this myth cycle onto that of the conflict between Lugh and Balar (Chapter 1). has not yet been born. it would seem that his name has been substituted for that of Earc." "That will not save you." said Maoiltne. the lawspeaker of the gods whom Macan Óg later replaced in many of his functions. (5) Breas now weakens his position still further by failing to provide the hospitality required of a king. Presumably Inneach (from common Celtic *ENDEAGOS "the drover" i. Tell your lawspeaker: they will reap a harvest in every season in exchange for my release. ending with the defeat of the former. "if you release me.

(2) Breas offers ransom. They did not recognize her. all connected with Function 3 activities. the Three White Ones of Eamhain. Nár and Lothar. rose up against their father. Thus. (l) The Shaman God and the Wind God (Oghma) bring Breas and his father to bay. Maoiltne is clearly doing duty for Earc. He was under taboo not to refuse whatever was offered to him and so drank it all and died. to seize the kingship from him. This is evidently a fragment of the lost "Battle against the Commoner Gods" and the point in it at which Breas and his father. One by one they approached her and raped her. the lawspeaker of the gods. reap on Tuesday. Eocha retired from Cruachain before them. When the three reached Cruachain. The king is not driven from the kingdom but assassinated in a rather unpleasant way. Breas. (Source: CMT 149-161) The battle is over and the fate of Breas must be decided. .exchange for this knowledge. The third is accepted since it changes nothing.218-222) This myth appears to be an alternative ending to the cycle of the Unsuitable King. Pails were set under their udders and reddish bog water was milked from them. were brought to bay in the feasting house (the Smith God is a hospitaller) by the Daghdha and Oghma . Hs makes three offers. She allowed this so that their truth of battle should be spoiled and Eocha maintained in his kingship. the Smith God.Lugh being added later under the influence of the other cycle. The two armies met at Droim Criaich and the Three White Ones were defeated and killed. It is probable that in the original version it was the Shaman God and not Lugh who brought him to bay. (Source: MD 3. their sister Clothrann was waiting alone for them on the hill of Cruachain. Myth 5 THE THREE WHITE ONES OF EAMHAIN At the instigation of their mother. Then Lugh directed the fashioning of three hundred wooden cattle and assembled them. Breas has become a trinity and the background has changed. (Source: MD 4." "Tell them: plow on Tuesday." Then they released Breas through this trick. Eocha Feidhleach.43 collated with CCum 1-8) In this myth. Breas came into the milking yard to assess them and three hundred buckets of the bitter liquid were measured out for him. the Daghdha and Oghma pursue the Daghdha’s stolen harp and come to the feasting house "where Breas son of Ealadha and Ealadha son of Dealbhaoth were" (CMT 163f). sow on Tuesday. The Unsuitable King rapes Sovereignty (incarnate as his sister) and thus forfeits his claim to kingship. They singed all the cows of Munster over ferns until they turned black. Myth 4 THE SLAYING OF BREAS Breas was offered as tribute the drink of a hundred from each roof tree. The divine lawspeaker rejects the first two. in the form of milk from dun cows. since they are an attempt to subvert social and cosmic order. schematically. This is shown by the incident (which follows this myth in the text) where Lugh.

She stretched forth her hands and stopped the sun in its course. He compounds this by an orgy of ráth-building (compare Myth 2 above) and by incest with his sister (compare Myth 5 above). no night. He committed incest with her and broke the spell. plague breaks out among the cattle of his kingdom. Breas has become Breasal but is still recognisably the same.Myth 6 BREASAL COWPLAGUE In the time of Breasal Cowplague there came a plague on all the cows of Ireland which left only seven cows and one bull. Night came immediately and thus the hill is still incomplete. As he is an Unsuitable King. Another source informs us that he was slain by Lughaidh Luaighne (CGH 120) who is obviously doing duty for the Lugh of Myth 4 above. . until the work was complete. Breasal took hostages from the men of Ireland and compelled them to come together and build the hill of Cnodhbha for him all in one day.42-44) In this myth. His sister said that she would stop the course of the sun so that there would only be day. Then Breasal was seized by foolishness and came to his sister. (Source: MD 3.

When dawn came. They buried him and Deichtine was very sad at his death. bringing their chariots. the Ulaidh were drunk and happy. The significance of the two foals is not clear. It was he that led her to the Bruigh.Conall and Laoghaire and everyone else. And he himself was now in her womb and would be called Séadanta. Then he said: "I shall be your hound. the birth of Cú Chulainn mirrors that of Lugh: the first boy dies (compare Chapter 1 Myth 1). The warriors of the Ulaidh were all in their chariots . she felt like a drink. since she used to sleep by his side. And when she was going to the bed. As is appropriate. Then they came back to Eamhain. Conchubhar told his people to unyoke their chariots and look for lodgings. It was his son she had adopted. she saw a man coming towards her.Chapter 9 STORM INCARNATE The three myths included in this chapter belong to the cycle of Cú Chulainn. Then Conchubhar betrothed her to Sualdamh mac Róich. It was snowing heavily. Bricre was also with them. There were nine score birds with a silver chain between each pair." So he was called Cú Chulainn. The Ulaidh were enraged. Conchubhar sat in his chariot with his daughter Deichtine who was then nubile. Then Deichtine was pregnant. He killed the smith’s dog afterward while playing as a boy. That night when she was asleep. It was brought to her. They found nothing much in the house. Deichtine adopted him. He was Lugh and the foals were reared for the boy. the Storm God. Each score was in a separate flight. Three birds separated off from the rest towards nightfall and went before them to the Bruigh. They went back to their people. They yoked nine chariots to hunt them. She was her father’s charioteer. Bricre said it was not worth them going to a house without cloak or food. He said she would be pregnant with him. The Ulaidh took the boy and gave him the foals as a birth gift. the means used being the small insect which we have already noted in Chapter 2 Myth 2. It was considered that Conchubhar had done it when drunk. Myth 1 THE BIRTH OF CÚ CHULAINN Conchubhar and the nobles of the Ulaidh were in Eamhain. the sides of her vagina pressed together so that she was a virgin. Coming back from the funeral. Then the householder said his wife was in labor in the kitchen. Then she went to the man. they saw to the east of the Bruigh: no house no birds. unless they form part of a lost myth telling how the . Culann the smith fostered him. a small insect leaped across the beer into her mouth. She swallowed it. They found a new house and entered it. However she brought it to her lips. seeing them destroy their land. By the time it was time for them to eat. became pregnant again and gave birth to a son. leaving not a root of grass or herb. Nevertheless they went. Eadhmhainn and Breagha. just their own horses and the boy with his foals. (Source: CC 3-8) This is a simple incarnation myth. They reared the boy but he took sick and died. Then night fell on the Ulaidh. incarnation of Lugh. Deichtine went in to her and she gave birth to a boy. The birds fled before them across Sliabh Fuaid. This was a source of great comment for the Ulaidh since she had no known husband. Conall and Bricre went looking. A mare at the door of the house gave birth to two foals. There was a couple inside who welcomed them. She asked for a drink out of a copper vessel. Birds attacked the plain near Eamhain and cropped it. She was much ashamed at going pregnant to the man.

"If this man were well. The one in the green cloak came up to him. "I choose a bird for each of my shoulders. perhaps he would be able to tell what he saw in his dream when separated from his companions. a man came in and sat on the edge of Cú Chulainn’s bed. He will give you the woman in exchange for a day’s fighting against Seanach Siabhairthe. Lí Bhan." Then he woke up. "What brought you here?" asked Conall Cearnach. He’s having a vision. smiled and then hit him with her horsewhip. Cú Chulainn came and rested his back on a pillar stone and was dispirited. His wife tried to stop him. Soon after. One day before Samhain next year. If he were my friend. "don’t move him. He saw two women coming towards him. Eochaidh Iúil and Eoghan Inbhir. that she should have the most beautiful pair. some birds descended on the lake. They sang and sleep fell on the host. "If anyone gets some. Don’t fear. when the Ulaidh were around him in the house." said Cú Chulainn. It would be a great day if Cú Chulainn came to my land. The other woman did the same. He would have silver and gold and wine. Then Conchubhar told him to go to the same pillar stone. next time any birds came to Magh Muirtheimhne or Bóinn. Then he cast his javelin and it went through the wing of one bird. "We all choose the same thing. They continued in this fashion until he was almost dead. he would be a surety for all the Ulaidh. who sits at the right hand of Labhraidh Luath in Magh Cruaich sends this message: Fann wishes to make love to Cú Chulainn. Then Cú Chulainn got up and spoke. He fell asleep. And another." "Who are you?" they asked. Cú Chulainn rose up to get them. Once when they were there. "I am Aonghas son of Aodh Abhrad. All the Ulaidh heard this and said to wake him. If the daughters of Aodh Abhrad were with you." he said. Then they carried him away and he was one year without speaking to anyone. And another." said the women. "What happened to you?" asked the Ulaidh." He told them his vision of the previous Samhain." said the Ulaidh. he is even more of a surety." said Fearghas. the Liath Macha and the Dubh Saighleann." said the Ulaidh." she said. and disappeared. So he promised. "It was about time." said Cú Chulainn’s wife. in Magh Muirtheimhne. they would cure you." said Conchubhar’s wife. two birds linked by a gold chain descended on the lake. "and I have a message from my husband Labhraidh Luathlámh ar Cloidheamh. Then they all went to Cú Chulainn and pestered him to get the birds for them. I fear no one.adolescent Cú Chulainn acquired his two horses. one in a green cloak and the other in a fivefold purple cloak. three days after it and the day of Samhain itself. since I have come to speak with him. Then he said to Cú Chulainn: "This lingering sickness is not good." "You are welcome. There in the south. There were no fairer birds in Ireland and the women all wanted them and started quarreling. every woman received her share except his own wife. The woman in the green cloak came to him there and greeted him. Sick and wounded as he is." "I am in no form for fighting today. Lí Bhan will come to you. when he came to share them out. Myth 2 CÚ CHULAINN VISITS THE OTHERWORLD The Ulaidh used to hold a fair in Magh Muirtheimhne every year: three days before Samhain. "I am Lí Bhan. They disappeared. "No. He could not answer. I shall be the first. "Tell us what happened to you. She explained that she had come on behalf of Fann daughter of Aodh Abhrad. He threw a sling stone at the birds and missed. He agreed and caught them but. Manannán mac Lir had left her and she had fallen in love with Cú Chulainn. . Then they left him.

" "I have not been used to women’s protection till now" he said. Laogh said Cú Chulainn had not had enough fighting. "Leave me now" said Cú Chulainn. . Nevertheless. They heard his chariot coming. The fact that the tale. "You will not live through today. Labhraidh welcomed him and showed him to the battle field. "Labhraidh is bad-tempered today" said Lí Bhan." said Laogh. had come and that Cú Chulainn would come himself. indeed. (2) Cú Chulainn obliges and defeats them. "let us go and speak with him." "Where is he?" asked Cú Chulainn. "Come and eat my feast. The myth is thus either (a) a mirroring of the struggle with Balar (Chapter 1) or (b) a mirroring of the struggle with the Commoner Gods (Chapter 8). 4011-4039. Manannán shook his cloak between Cú Chulainn and Fann so that they would never meet again. in the manuscript. "It’s a pity Cú Chulainn is not in your place. "I should much prefer it. There they waited for Labhraidh. Cú Chulainn’s charioteer. 3243-3436. so they prepared the three vats for him. Myth 3 THE FEAST OF BRICRE POISONTONGUE Bricre Poisontongue made a great feast for Conchubhar and all the Ulaidh. the water boiled. The heat of the third vat was moderate. Eochaidh Iúil went to the spring to wash his hands early in the morning and Cú Chulainn speared him through the shoulder. Labhraidh came and begged him to stop the slaughter. Bricre went to Eamhain Mhacha when the Ulaidh were holding a fair." she said. to request the incarnate Storm God’s help against a trinity of enemy gods. The first vat he entered. Then he attacked Seanach Siabhairthe and killed him. No one could stand the heat of the second vat. You must do this for Labhraidh because he is the best warrior in the world. Eventually Fann returned to Manannán and Cú Chulainn returned to his own wife. After the battle Fann welcomed him. "you will be well and get your strength back. "unless a woman protects you. Labhraidh left him and the battle began. sends his wife the Moon Goddess. "It is indeed." Lí Bhan hailed Labhraidh Luathlámh ar Cloidheamh three times and then informed him that Laogh. because he knew that the Ulaidh would not allow him to remain in the hall. is in the form of a patchwork quilt of two recensions of the same story grossly stitched together does not help. He was a year preparing it and he built a house to hold it at Dún Rudhraighe. Lí Bhan took Laogh by the shoulder. heroine cast in for good measure. "Let Laogh go with you" said Cú Chulainn. the basic schema is as follows: (l) The Wind God. Cú Chulainn was much comforted and set off in his chariot with Laogh and Lí Bhan to the island. "to see your land. it seems at first glance to be a hotchpotch of mythological elements haphazardly flung together with a beautiful. Laogh." said Lí Bhan." she said." They they went to the island in a bronze boat and reached the house where Fann was. as Lí Bhan. SCC) This myth has come down to us in a much romanticized form and." he said. Labhraidh welcomed him then and sent him back accompanied by Lí Bhan. (Source: LU 3221-3227." said Lí Bhan. such as it is. 3777-3855. "In Magh Meall." So Lí Bhan and Cú Chulainn’s charioteer Laogh went to Fann. He made a bower for himself with a window overlooking the great hall. if uninspiring."That will not last. They greeted him. as Labhraidh (=Nuadha). Laogh returned to Eamhain and told his tale to Cú Chulainn and the rest.

"Greetings." they said." he said. he flattered Conall Cearnach twice as much. Not a man of the Ulaidh dared play the peacemaker until Seancha told Conchubhar to separate them. Then Laogh got up: "Give that to Cú Chulainn. "if the Ulaidh are. Bricre and his household retired to the bower. it would be." "We had better go. if we go to eat his feast. Laoghaire. Three days and three nights later all the Ulaidh went to the judgment of Oilill at ." said Conall Cearnach and Laoghaire Buadhach together. he went to Cú Chulainn. "Greetings. he said: "That hero’s measure is not the hero’s measure of a slut’s house. The sureties arose then with naked swords to drive him from the hall." said Laoghaire." With that he left them. "I shall stir up the kings and the leaders and the warriors and the farmers until they start killing each other. "will be worse." said Bricre. Give it to the warrior you think best among the Ulaidh. "that anyone who contends with me for it will end up headless. Then go and let Oilill judge it." said Bricre. since this will be a source of everlasting contention among the Ulaidh unless it is judged in Cruachain. Then the nobles of the Ulaidh took counsel. I shall stir up the two breasts of every woman of the Ulaidh against each other." he said. "why should the hero’s measure of Eamhain not be yours for ever?" "If I wished. The three of them leaped to the center of the hall raising their shields and drawing their swords."I am willing. "We shall. Cú Chulainn. take sureties from him and place eight swordsmen around him to ensure that he leaves the hall as soon as he has shown you the feast. I shall stir up father and son against each other. Conall." "What will you do?" asked Conchubhar. They dropped their hands to their sides at once. I shall stir up mother and daughter against each other. After stirring up Conall as he wished. Conall Cearnach’s charioteer got up and said the same. "It is no shame for the Ulaidh to give it to him because he is your best hero." he said." When Bricre was informed of this. When Bricre had shown them the feast with all its garnishings." said Seancha. "Greetings." "I will." he said." Then they served food and drink and got merry. On leaving the hall. since no one in Ireland can stand against you?" "I swear by my people’s gods." said Seancha. "Serve that hero’s measure to Laoghaire Buadhach." "That is not true." Fearghas and the nobles of the Ulaidh said: "We shall not go because our dead will be more numerous than our living by the time Bricre has stirred us up. "Do my bidding. "if you follow my advice. The charioteer of Laoghaire Buadhach got up. "why should the hero’s measure of Eamhain not be yours for ever?" If he had flattered Laoghaire." said Cú Chulainn." Then they went to the hall. "Very well. "Then let that hero’s measure be divided up tonight among all the company. Then Conchubhar and Fearghas came between them. he was ordered out of the hall on the honor of his sureties." said Laoghaire." said Fearghas." he said. "I shall get you the sovereignty of the warriors of Ireland. "why should you leave the hero’s measure to anyone else of the Ulaidh. Then Bricre went to Conall Cearnach. he thought of a way to stir up the Ulaidh nevertheless and went to see Laoghaire Buadhach." "What I shall do if you don’t come." said Conchubhar. "since you have to go with Bricre.

Then Cú Chulainn was sent for. This time the Ulaidh decided to send the three to Cú Raoi for judgement. the water beast in the lake near the cathair was fated to carry off everything on its bank. Laoghaire dodged. It was enormous. Laoghaire." She sent for Laoghaire Buadhach and greeted him. Then she summoned Conall Cearnach and said: "You are worth to receive the hero’s measure and an electrum cup with a gold bird in the middle. "I need time to study it. "You are worthy to receive the hero’s measure. "We need our heroes. "That is not excessive. Then it stretched out its hand to Laoghaire. uproar ensued. But he had known of their coming and advised his wife how to deal with them until such time as he came back from his journey to the east (for Cú Raoi never reddened his sword in Ireland and he never ate the food of Ireland after the age of seven). He slew ." "Three days and three nights will be enough for me. The Ulaidh came all together and Oilill and Meadhbh and all their household went out to welcome them. It threw an armful of them at him. He sat in the watcher’s chair till the end of the night when he saw a phantom far out at sea coming in from the west. "and a bronze cup with an electrum bird in the middle. each claiming judgment in their favour." said Seancha." She gave him the cup and sent him on his way." she said. Wherever in the world Cú Raoi might be. The third night. told the same thing and given a gold cup full of special wine and a jewelled bird in the middle. "It was no friendly act to send the case of these heroes to me. They agreed to this." said Seancha. Conall and Cú Chulainn were left awaiting Oilill’s judgment. Bláthnat. "No one could settle it better than you." She gave him the cup and sent him on his way. for he could see the horizon between its thighs. When it was time to go to bed. At midnight he heard a noise coning and the three groups of nine attacked.that they dared not have the quarrel of the three heroes about the hero’s measure settled elsewhere than in Cruachain. When the three heroes returned to Eamhain and showed their gifts one after the other. Then the Ulaidh took their leave and went heaping blessings on Oilill and Meadhbh and curses on Bricre who had started it all. Laoghaire stood watch the first night. Laoghaire cast a spear at it but missed. he was silent for a long time and troubled in his mind. Oilill asked Conchubhar why they had come. Then Meadhbh said: "You’re scared.Cruachain. each one the full load for an ox team and each trunk had been felled with one sword stroke." he said. "they are valuable. They were welcomed by Cú Raoi’s wife. It repeated the operation a couple of times but did not reach hide or hair of Laoghaire. Now Laoghaire was a big man but he fitted in the phantom’s hand as if he were a month-old baby and he was rubbed between its palms like a chessman bobbing on a mill stream. When he was half dead." said Oilill. Laoghaire and Conall accused Cú Chulainn of stealing the cup and all three attacked each other with drawn swords. Seancha explained the case . It was carrying two handfuls of oak trunks. In addition he received two dragon’s eyes." said Oilill. The next night it was Conall’s turn and exactly the same thing happened to him. When Oilill heard this. Conchubhar and Fearghas again stopped them. he always chanted a spell over his cathair every night so that it revolved swifter than a millstone. both people and cattle. So the next morning the three set off for Cathair Chon Raoi. Now that was the night that three groups of nine had planned to raid the cathair And that was the night that cathair. then I will. If you don’t give judgment. Oilill retired to his private chamber and abstained from food for three days and three nights. thus its door could never be found after sunset. the woman said that each man was to stand watch over the cathair for one night until Cú Raoi came home. Cú Chulainn went to the watcher’s chair. since Cú Raoi was not at home that night." said Seancha. the phantom threw him over the cathair wall and he landed on the dung heap at the door of the royal house.

He came and stood by the fire. Cú Chulainn leaped up and beheaded him. "Get up. Next night he came again . they saw Cú Raoi coming home. He was twice as big as any of the warriors of the Ulaidh.and brought the blunt side gently down on Cú Chulainn’s neck. "Is the hall too narrow for you. filling the hearth with blood. (Source: FB 1-16. Cú Chulainn. seized it by the throat. took up his head. Next night he came again . One night all the Ulaidh. then. except the three heroes.but Laoghaire was missing. however. 42. They saw a hideous peasant coming in. Towards the end of the much as you can say with one breath. were in Eamhain in the Craobhruadh. "Where is Cú Chulainn?" he asked. dressed in an old tunic and a dark gray cloak as big as a winter stable for thirty calves. The peasant got up." Then Muinreamhar got up. Next night he came again. Cú Chulainn. Conall was missing. "I will . the other two would admit nothing of Cú Raoi’s judgment. Cú Chulainn gave a fighter’s salmon leap and seized it. But that is not my only craft. he saw the phantom coming in from the west." said Cú Chulainn. 54-62." "You shall have them. towards dawn. He held a block heavy enough for twenty yoke of oxen in his left hand and a huge ax in his right that was so sharp that it would shave a hair against the wind. Once there.them all. He leaped towards it. It stretched out its hand to seize Cú Chulainn as it had the other men." said the phantom and disappeared. Cú Chulainn stretched his head on the block. He returned to the watcher’s chair and. The water beast died then." he said. "I am here" said Cú Chulainn. "It will be worse for you. sending his head up to the rafters of the Craobhruadh. It was Cú Raoi who came in this form to complete the bargain he had made with Cú Chulainn. He judged in favor of Cú Chulainn and the three returned to Eamhain. "A life for a life. Conall was present and beheaded him.maybe I could give the household light enough without lighting the house. 72-102) . Other than those two. he heard the lake churning and saw the water beast rising. took the ax from the peasant and beheaded him." said the phantom. "Give me my three wishes. Soon after." "The sovereignty of the warriors of Ireland for me from now on and the hero’s measure without opposition and precedence for my wife for ever over all the wives of the Ulaidh." said Dubhthach Blacktongue. "yours is the sovereignty of the warriors of Ireland from now on and the hero’s measure without opposition and precedence for your wife over the wives of the Ulaidh for ever to the ale house. "This is going to be a bad night." said Cú Cholainn. Laoghaire was present and beheaded him. I have others." it said. his block and his ax in his arms and left the hall." Then he said: "I am excepting Conchubhar because he is king and Fearghas because he is of equal rank. shoved his hand down its gullet and tore out its heart. which he threw to the ground. The peasant raised his ax ." Then the peasant disappeared. let whoever dares cut off my head tonight and I shall cut off his tomorrow night. Then he came the fourth night. "that you can find no other place than blocking the fire? Or do you wish to take over the lighting arrangements? You are more likely to light the house than be a light for the household." "That is my craft .but Muinreamhar was missing.

He tests them one by one. the Smith God and his feast is the Feast of Gaibhneann. Kena Upanishad. (2) The gods agree to eat it but without the Smith God being present. Brahma disappeared. since the Shaman God and the have changed places. He agreed. the Daghdha. . incarnates the Shaman God.The mechanics of this myth are simple but the story line has become much elaborated in the telling. the Shaman God (Daghdha: Conall Cearnach) and the Wind God (Oghma:Laoghaire Buadhach) at loggerheads with each other over the question of precedence (the hero’s measure). Meadhbh is the Earth Goddess as goddess of sovereignty. The gods considered that they had won the victory by their own efforts. Cú Raoi is the Fire God. Agni failed. from a common Indoeuropean myth about the relative powers and positions of Function l and Function 2 gods. here wearing his aspect of Judge of the Dead. Brahma placed a wisp of straw before him and told him to burn it. Brahma told him to pick up the wisp. Agni said that he could burn everything. revealing himself to none. of course. Here the residue of the caste conflict seen in Chapter 8 is more than noticeable. They asked the (Agni) to find out who it was. Bricre Poisontongue is. (4) The question is referred to the Earth Goddess. contains the following myth . but it is undoubtedly derived like the above Indian Myth. Vayu failed. incarnates the Wind God in his non-royal form. The Irish Myth is innovatory. Agni Vayu Indra. Thus these three gods are the greatest. as judge of the Dead. Brahma asked him what powers he had. She accepts all three since such is the nature of sovereignty but indicates her preferred order (the cups). the god of strength. all blustering strength. Lugh. He agreed. which is post Vedic but contains elements of Vedic age. for given in précis form: The Shaman God (Brahma) conquered by using the gods. Indra retired but met the goddess Uma (Sovereignty) who told him that it was Brahma. (5) The question is referred to the . (3) The Smith God nevertheless manages to disrupt the proceedings by setting the Storm God Lugh (Cú Chulainn). He agreed. But Indra has sovereignty over tho other two since he approached nearest to Brahma. They asked the Wind God (Vayu) to find out who it was. Brahma asked him what powers he had. Conall Cearnach. Vayu said he could pick up anything on the earth’s surface. Cú Chulainn is the incarnate Storm God. The schema is as follows: (l) The Smith God prepares his feast for the gods. and again judgment is given in favor of the Storm God. as Sovereignty. as we saw in Chapter 5 Myth 2. Brahma appeared to them and they did not recognise him. They asked the Storm God (Indra) to find out who it was. Oghma. Laoghaire Buadhach.

watermills and writing . That is why so much of the mythology of the gods has survived. a scrap of rag placed on a hawthorn bush. The fact that this religion was tailored to Irish society is manifest in the extraordinary tenacity with which. The Irish. directly. it survived the introduction and officialization of Christianity.and the prestige of Rome. but in the popular tradition as recorded in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. just as they added the new monastic caste to their legal system . just as we know that some stories were lost: we have their titles and no more. 80 Agni 9. Nevertheless. but usually unseen. As such.CONCLUSION These. typified in his own tuath which he knew formed part of a larger whole which was Ireland and which in turn was bounded by sea beyond which there were other lands. it found a foothold in the royal houses of Ireland and then spread out to become officialized. 40. like Irish paganism. are the myths of the gods. However. include a belief in reincarnation .but casting out nothing of their own tradition. but many religions . no Doomsday Myth. cheerfully adding the new gods to those already in place. 27. It may be objected that there is no Creation Myth and.or the same gods under different names. Fifth and sixth century monastic Christianity was the bearer of material innovations . and the judge of the Dead.the gods by which his tuath swore. become nameless with time. at popular level. There are hints here and there of other myths which have been lost. but nevertheless continuing to play a vigorous if discreet role. if nowhere else. Manannán. 77 Airmheadh 14. Donn. for a very very long time after their official baptism. The very names of the Sea God. He probably knew of other tuaths which worshiped other gods . SELECT INDEX Abhcán 9.especially those which. 21. 56. 17. 25 Anextlomaros 31 Aodh 7. by introducing its gods into the new pantheon of saints and its concepts into local Christian practice and. not only in twelfth century manuscripts. 41 Albios 29 Anann 15. The world of the gods was equally present. continued to act like tolerant polytheists. 77 Aodh Abhrad 85 . 58 Aditi 34 Adsmerios 28 Aesir 33. To the Irish pagan the world of man was present.view life as a continuous present. survived into the twentieth century and they and other gods. were propitiated in furtive and humble ways . 9. The gods were his gods . in as far as I have been able to track them down and isolate them. 60.the offering of the first drop of a bottle of whiskey opened on a fishing boat. the native religion survived in two ways: indirectly. 30. 89 Aillen 9 Áine 7. beyond the single hint in Chapter 4 Myth 3. gradually sinking lower on the scale of social acceptability and becoming more localized. then. it is unlikely that an appreciable proportion of the myths have been lost: traces of them would turn up in the popular tradition.bee keeping. as itself. 33. 9.

58. 60. 29 Caoilte mac Rónáin 9. 12. 9. 38. 19. 52 Bruigh na Bóinne 8. 56. 84 Buchad 22. 53. 61 Badhbh 12. 17. 67 Arverniatis 28 Arvernorix 28 Arvernos 28 Aryaman 33. 80. 22. 67 Bormo/Borvo 29 Boyne 8. 17. 72 Balar 9. 21. 34 Asvina 35 Atepomaros 31 Atesmerios 28 Áth Liag 13. 35. 52. 67 Bé Leighis 14. 21. feast of 14. 52. 17. 25. 18. 20. 44. 55 Aonghas 8. 29. 63 Caor 17. 13. 18. 77 Bóinn 7. 14. 26. 9. 28 artisan god 41. 68. 21. 61. 19. 84. 77 Apam Napat 19. 21. 44. 9. 53 carpenter god 14 . 18. 57. 70 Brahma 89 Bran mac Feabhail 13. 55. 15. 27. 25 Bé nGaibhneachta 14. 53. 85 Bodhbh Dearg 22. 29. 86 -. 29 Belisama 30 Bé Néid 12.9. 15. 70. 42. 52. 56. 30 Brighid 7. 52. 30. 48. 88 boat. 28. 20. 69. 54 bull feast 47 bulls. 25. 12. 70. bronze/copper . 22. saint 17 Brí Léith 44. 26. 26. 35. 27. 62 Breas 21. 49. the two 22. 44. 86 Bann 18. 67 Banna 18 Beag Mac Dé 78 Bealtaine 26. 62. 36. 50. 34. 30. 57. 21. 45. 86 Brigantia 17. 14. 53.Aoibhleán 9. 66 Bé bhFionn 8. 42. 76. 34 Apollo 8. 57 Bé Thoinne 61 Bláithín/Bláthnat 68. 34 -. 33. 17 Belen 29 Belenos 26. 59. 56. 20. 80 Brhati 34 Brian 21 Bricre Poisontongue 14. 73 Bussumaros 29 Cacher/Caithear 11 Camulodunon 20 Camulos 11.

44. 35 dawn goddess 7. 68 Cnabetios 31 Cnoc Fírinne 9 Cnucha 21. 79 Clothrann 16. 38. 14. 35. 25. 84 Deirbhreann 15. 20. 87 Dá Dearga 9. 21. 15.8. 84. 12. 17. 21. 34. 36. pigs of 16. 12. 53. 64. 33. 90 . 13. 67 dead. 60 Cnú Dearóil 35 Cobledulitavos 31 Cocidius 29 commoner king 20. 55. 33. 60. 86 Conla the Red 63 Conn Céadchathach 47. 25. 80. 25. 63 Contrebis 31 Corb 22. 82. 9. 68 Cian 10. 87 Caturix 29 Céadach 22 Cearmaid 7. 68. 22. 57. 39. 9 Cernunnos 28. 41 Cruachain 16. 71. 39. 29 Circe 17 Cissonios 28 Cleiteach 8. 9. 68. 32. 83 Cú Chulainn 9. 17. 57. judge of . 30 Danu 35 Danube 29 Dar Earca 19. 34. 53. 67. 98 Cumhall 11. 39. 14. 70. 17. 26. 21. 30 Cathair Chon Raoi 10. 67 Deichtine 10. 52. oxen of . 52. 67 Delbaeth 21 Dervonae 30 Dian Céacht 11.18 Dis 28 divine food 20. 65 Conall Cearnach 67. 38. 54.Carros Cicinos 31 Cassibodua 15. 46. 53. 73. 78 Créidhne 14. 67. 28. 89 death 60. 50 Daghdha 7. 21. 30. 67 Cicollus 15. 89 Dáire mac Fiachna 70 Damona 29. 17. 28 Donann 15. 73 -. 60 Cú Raoi 9. 27. 48. 64. 44. 25 Donn 9. 39. 30. 83 club of life and death 7. 29. 80 Conaire Mór 9. 68. 60. 68. 16. 22. 49. 59 Dôn 15. 50 Cormac 26. 49. 54. 53. 68. 17. 67. 67 Diarmaid mac Cearbhaill 78 Dil. 41.

25 Fraoch 19. 32. 28. 27 Eoghabhal 7. 21. 55. 27. 27 Earc (cow) 67 Earc (god) 7. 56. 30 Ercmar 8. 44. 12. 45 Éadar 45 Ealadha 21. 55. 40 end of world 61 Engleic 19 Eocha Aireamh 12. the four 24. 32. 68. 52. 61. 27. 67 Fomhóire 37. 10. 41. 69. 14. 17. 12. 52 elements. 76. 29. 61. 56. 54. 80. 52 Eithne (goddess) 10. 22 Elcmar 8. 50. 69. 13. 28. 11. 21. 33. 86 Earc (bishop) 8. 89 Flann 13. 25. 37. 20. 44.drought god 7. 33. 20. 76 Eamhain Mhacha 16. 68 Fear Coille 49 Fear Í 7. 51. 22. 15. 54. 38. 29. 12. 69 Eithne (river) 16. 19. 8. 83 Eocha mac Maireadha 56 Eochaidh Ollathair 7. 25. 19. 9. 44. 73. 27. 19 Ernbas 16 Esus 28 Fann 85 Fear Beann 8. 52. 19. 60. 65 Epona 18. 36. 37. 42. 44. 29. 75. 34. 73. 15. 8. 65 Fear Toinne 77 Fionn mac Cumhaill 9. 45 Eocha Feidhleach 16. 9. 58. 82 earth goddess 7. 15. 19. 9. 80 Eithne (Bóinn) 22. 36. 69 Dumhach 9 Dumiatis 28 Dyau 33 Éadain 17. 61. 62 Four Great Goddesses 7. 80 Fothadh Airgdeach 9. 38. 26. 27. 80 Eamhain Abhlach 10. 10. 63 Fiontan 9 fire god 7. 60. 33. 17. 89 Eas 47 Easach 13 Eas Ruaidh 9 Eathal 53 Ebron 7 Éibhleann 56 Eidirscéal 46 Éile 16 Éire 21. 22. 67 Freyr 32 Frighrinn 9 . 61 Fliodhais 55. 39. 17.

59. 69. 86 lawspeaker 8. 26. 52.Fuamnach 12. 22. 33. 35. feast of 19. 68 Jupiter 29 Kena upanishad 89 Labhraidh Luath(lámh ar Cloidheamh) 11. 40. 15. 38. 41. 57 Lir of Síodh Fionnachaidh 77 Litavi 15. 28 Lludd 11 Llydaw 15 Lóch 29. cow of 15. 65 Luchtaine 14. 17. tripartite . 60 Grannos 29 Gwyn ap Nudd 11. 36. 29 Lleu Llawgyffes 10. 42. 73 Leucetios 29 Leucimalacos 29 Lí Bhan 19. 29. see Fear Beann Ialonos 31 Indra 33. 35 Iuchna 22. 17. 28 Goll 9. 36. 38 Inneach 80 Iombolg 18. 35 Iucharbha 14. 85 Linn Féig 9. 71 Irish gods. 14. 29 Hodur 58 Horned Man. 27. 35. 19. 12. 67 Giolla Deacair 28 Glas Cruinn 70 Gnâs 18.24. 34 Gofannon 14. 85 Labhrann 62 Lá Fhéile Bríde 26 Laogh 85 Laoghaire Buadhach 68. 36. 41. 25. 32. 37. 17. 45 Fuarán Garadh 50. 75 Gaibhneann 14. 38. 44. 89 Gandharva 35 ghost cattle 55. 22. 35. 13. 20 Hercules 12. 34. . 85. 41 Lugh Lámhfhada 10. 26. 42. 67 -. 39. 19. 21. 48. 44. 89 Indus 18. 73 Loch Béal Dragon 53 Loki 32 Lothra 16 luan 26. 58. list of 22 Iuchar 14. 67 -. 30. 70 functions.

25. 56. 17. 25. 19. 30 . 28 Marne 8. 15. 62. 77.60. 60 Mabon 8. 52. 65. 17. 54. 28 Macan Óg 7. 41 Miach (snake) 67 Midhir 9. 40. 20. 17. 54. 59. 78 Lughaidh Riabh nDearg 47 Lughnasadh 26. 33. 75. 28. 56. 15. 34. 55. 26. 78 Magh Inis 44 Magh Meall 63. 29. 82. 30. 12. 38. 29. 8. 11. 17. 64 Manawyddan fab Llyr 13 Maoiltne 82 Maponos 8. 21. 41. 20. 34. 30 Meadhbh 16. 72 Néid 12 Nemetona 29. 77 Minerva 30 Mitra 7. 85 Magh Tuireadh 8. 61 moon god 34 moon goddess 8. 32. 44. 29. 32. 14. 62. 42. 69. 34 Moccos 28 Modron 8 Moirríoghan 7. 89 Meas Buachalla 46 Mercury 28 Miach (god) 14. 25. 10. 45. 44. 25 Mugh Roith 14. 29. 26. 90 -. 87. 18. 69 Muircheartach mac Earca 79 Muireasc 16 Muirne 60 Neachtan 9. 12. 29 Maruts 35. 12. 64 -. 68. 59 Neamhan 12. 81 Mac Céacht 49. 53. 50 Neamhghlan 47 Neara 71. 19. 20. 84 Lughaidh Laoighdhe 78 Lughaidh Mac Con 56. 48. 36. 42 Lugudunon 10. 83. 59. silver branch of 13. 41. 65 -. 54. 26. 38 Matres Nemetiales 30 Matronae 29. 30 Mars 11. spring of 18. 86 Mughain 16. 19. 15. 11. 68 -. 50 Macha 15. shoes of 13. 81. 36 Maia 30 Manannán mac Lir 10. 64. 25. 52. 29 Luichead 21. 46. 13. 44. 25. 33. 60. 29 Lugus/Lugoves 10. 76. 53. 30. pigs of 13. 12. 85. 29. 71 Molua 11 Mongán mac Fiachna 9. 45. 70. 67.

29 Nerthus 26. 29 Segeta 30 Segomo 20. 34. 84 Seaghais 18. 37. 32. 38. 21. 55. 23. 29 Nuadha Airgeadlámh 10. 80. 61 Ratri 35 Rbhus 35 Reachrainn 9 riastradh 10 Rigisamos 29 Rosmerta 30 rowan tree 42. 48 imbus) imbus Ochaill Oichne 22. 38. 25. 32 Nodens/Nodons 11. 32. 69. 84 Samhioldánach 10. 36 Sarasvati 34 Savitr 34 Scandinavian pantheon 32 Séadanta 10. Mothers of 30 Nine Great Gods 7. 59 Ruadhán 9. 36. 32 Oghma 12. 72. 41 Rudra 33. 26. 32 Newgrange see Bruigh na Bóinne Nimes. 59. 25. 59 sea god 7. 29. 30.20 Segamonas. 67. 21. 29. 21. 25. 71. 25. 20. Neta . 54. 19. 50. 81. 51 Nine Hazels of Críonmhann 20. 18. 13. 70 Ochaine 22. 52. 73 Odin 28.Neptune/Neptunus 20. 59 Segamain. Nia . 44. 87 Oilill of Magh Inis 44 Ollarbha 63 Ops 16 Parjanya 35 Pasupati 38 Prsni 34. 15. 80. 72. 62. 38 salmon of knowledge 9. 65. 86 Nudd 11. 58 Samhain 8. 33 Pushan 35 Ráth Bheag 79 Ráth Mhór 9. 29. 90 Searbhán 59. 28 numinous knowledge (imbus 19. 68 Odhras 16. 60 Njordur 26. 29. 29 Oilill Crop-ear 56 Oilill of Cruachain 53. 79. 68 seg/*SEGOS 20. 31. 44. 29. 11. 40. 20. 82 Ogmios 12. 29 .20. 38. 56. 26. 24. 10. 37. 14. 19. 67 Prthivi 15. 69. 22.

45 Teathra 13. 34. 29 Tarbhgha 54. 53. 41. 19. 10. 78 -. 61 Sirona 29. 39. 35. 30. 61 storm god 7. 26. 34. 47. 46. 68. 35 sky god 7. 33. 67. 15 Soma 33. 80. 68. 36. 21. 68 sovereignty 16. 52. 32. 60 Three Red Ones 9. feast of 45. 15. 89 -. 10. 36. 79 Sri 34 stone of power 8. 13. 30. 32. 29. god of 11. 82 Sliabh na mBan 19. 76 tripartite sacrifice 28. 81 Surya 34 Taranus/Taranucnos 10. 65. 13. 55 Tyr 32 . 29. 46 Sionann 18. 9. 78 Tuath Dé Donann 15 Tuirell Bicreo 14. 89 strength. 57. 20. 37. 69. 77. 82. 37.Seinbheag 9. 60. 17. 12. 22. 49 Three Strains of Music 9. 21. 41. 27. 9. 27. 79. 47. 74 tinsmith god 14 Toraigh 36 Toutiorix 30 trickster 7. 33. 28. 33. 80 Teutatis 29 Thor 10.20 shaman god 7. 60. cow of 10. 17. 35. 60. 35. 89 Shannon 16 Shiva 33 Silvanus 30 Sindhu 18. 25. 54. 89 Sucellos 30 Sul (Minerva) 30 sun chariot 14 sun god 7. 42. 70 tympanum 9. 17. 8. 74. 76. 55. 89 spring god 20. 35. 17. 30. 32. 34. 63. 34 Sinquatis 30 Síodh Neanta 21 Siogmhall 12. 52. 68. 29. 64. 9. 54. 25. 69. 81. 59. 67. 80. 38. 40 tripartite castes 24. 38. 28. 75. 57 Seine 30 Semon Neth . 50. 25. 79 Teathbha 12. 11. 61. 53. 80. 13. 36. 41. 32. 84. 33. 59. 71 Tarvos Trigaranu30s Teach Doinn 9 Teamhair 9. 41 soul in external object 10. 33. 21 Tvashtr 33 Twins 14. 45. 70 smith god 7. 14. 32. 57 Three White Ones 83 thunderbolt 10. 17. 11. 29. 14. 55.

81. 18. 78 Uma 89 Ushas 34 Uxellimus 29 Vala 33 Vanir 32. 89 Vedic pantheon 33 Veriugodumnos 31 Vesta 30 Victoria 15. 11. 21. 44. 29 Visucios 28 Visvarupa 35 Vrtra 33 Vulcan 30 water goddess 7. 34. 20. 20. 13. 60 well of healing 14. 41. weakness of 58. 29. 41 wind god 7. 49. 30 Vindonnos 21. 25. 80 Varuna 33 Vassocaletis 28 Vayu 33. 14. 35 . 89 young gods 7. 19. 10. 38. 52. 74. 29. 52. 69. 33. 30.Uisneach 27. 63 Ulaidh.