Guide to the Gods 1.0
Celtic Gods: A - Z
Copyright by Mark de la Hey, 1994, 1995.
Romano-Celtic god known from an inscription in Cambridgeshire, England. Little else is known.
"Performer of Feats". Irish (Celtic) god, member of the Tuatha De Danann.
Gallic (Celtic) local deity of the Garonne valley, possibly a god of apple-trees.
Romano-Celtic forest and river goddess (Black Forest area). Source of the English river name "Avon" and its cognates in continental Europe.
Continental Celtic river goddess.
An Irish (Celtic) underworld god. Son of Lir and Aobh.
(Angus, Aonghus, Oengus of the Bruig)
Irish (Celtic) god, apparently of love and youth. Son of the Dagda and 'the wife of Elcmar', generally believed to be the goddess Boann. He is associated with the valley of the River Boyne. Aengus was said to have dreamed of a beautiful maiden, for whom he searched all Ireland. He eventually found her, named Caer, chained to 150 maidens who were destined to turn into swans at the feast of Samhain (November 1). Aengus transformed himself into a swan and was so united with Caer, who followed him back to his palace at Brugh na Boinne on the River Boyne (modern New Grange).
Romano-Celtic chthonic underworld god.
'The people of the hills', collective name for the old Irish gods who dwell in hills.
Celtic goddess of strife and slaughter. The river Aeron in Wales is named after her.
(Aoi Mac Ollamain)
Irish poet god, a member of the Tuatha De Danaan.
Irish 'fairy' goddess.
In Irish mythology, a malevolent Otherworld beast.
Irish sun goddess.
Irish goddess of love and fertility. Daughter of Eogabail, who was in turn the foster-son of Manannan Mac Lir. Later regarded as a fairy queen in County Limerick.
Irish creature of the Otherworld whose three daughters took on the shape of werewolves who were eventually killed by the warrior Cas Corach.
A Celtic version of Mercury in the areas of Mannheim and Salzburg.
"King of the world". An epithet of the Celtic god Teutates on an inscription at Avignon.
Local god of Celtic Gaul, in the region of the Cite d'Or.
Welsh god of agriculture. Son of Don and brother of Gwydion. In one account he stole a dog, lapwing and roebuck from Arawn, the Welsh god of the dead, resulting in a war between Amaethon and his kin (the Children of Don) and the underworld deities led by Arawn. In the Battle of Cath Godeau, or the Battle of the Trees, Amaethon's brother Gwydion transformed trees into warriors with whose help the forces of the underworld were defeated.
Continental Celtic god, equated by the Romans with Jupiter.
Romano-Celtic water goddess of continental Europe.
Gallic (Celtic France) fertility goddess.
Goddess of war in Celtic Britain. Queen Boudicca (Latin Boadicea), leader of a rebellion against the Roman occupation, reportedly sacrificed captive Roman women to this god in AD 61.
British-Celtic tribal deity.
Angus of the Brugh
(Aonghus, Oengus of the Bruig, mac Oc)
Irish (Celtic) god of youth. See Aengus.
Welsh (Celtic) god of Annwn, the underworld of the dead. A famous tale in the Mabinogion relates how Arawn persuaded Pwyll, prince of Dyfed, to trade places with him for a year and challenge Hafgan, Arawn's rival for dominion of the underworld. Pwyll defeated Hafgan and was rewarded with a gift of pigs.
Gaulish (Celtic) goddess of forests and hunting. Known particularly from the Ardennes region of France, to which she gave her name. Her sacred animal was the boar. The Romans equated her with Diana.
Welsh (Celtic) earth goddess, daughter and/or wife of Don, wife and/or sister of Gwydion, and mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes and the sea god Dylan. Her name is interpreted variously as meaning 'silver wheel', 'silver circle' or 'high fruitful mother'.
British-Celtic water goddess.
(Artio of Muri)
Continental Celtic goddess of the bear cult. Known from inscriptions in the Bern region of Switzerland.
Gallic god of the Arverni.
Continental Celtic deities, they seem to have been matron-like figures.
Gallic goddess of birth and midwifery.
(The Badb, Bodb)
Irish (Celtic) goddess of war. She formed part of a trinity of goddesses with Macha (Nemain) and the Morrigan. She often took the form of a crow or raven during war, when she was known as Badb Catha, 'battle raven'. She often took part in battles, influencing their outcome, and led the Tuatha de Danaan to victory over the Fomore at the mythical battle of Magh Tuireadh (Moytura).
Irish (Celtic) god of death, King of the Fomorians. Son of Buarainech, husband of Cethlenn (Cathlionn). Balor had one eye which had the power of striking dead anyone who looked into it. At the Battle of Magh Tuireadh (Moytura) he slew Nuada but was slain in turn by the god Lug. It had been prophesied that Balor would be killed by his own grandson. To prevent this, he had his only daughter Ethlinn locked up in a crystal tower on Tory Island. But Cian, one of the rival Tuatha De Danaan, managed to reach Ethlinn with the aid of a druidess named Birog, and slept with her. Ethlinn gave birth to a boy, which Balor discovered and threw into the sea. The druidess Birog saved the boy, who was subsequently fostered by the sea god Manannan Mac Lir, and the boy grew to become Lugh Lamhfada of the Long Arm, or Lug.
Goddess representing the spirit of Ireland. Part of a trinity with the goddesses Fotla and Eire. She appears to have been a fertility goddess as well as a goddess of war.
An Irish goddess of the Tuatha De Danaan, associated with a magic well.
Popularly known as banshee, a type of Irish god or fairy whose wailing warned of approaching death. Literally, 'woman of the hills', indicating the demotion of the old Irish gods to the status of fairies.
Irish goddess who married the High King Conn after being banished to the human world.
Celtic god of war worshipped in Britain (primarily in the region of Wales). The name seems to mean 'fair shining one' (compare Belenus). Belatucadros was equated by the Romans with their god Mars.
"Shining" or "Fair Shining One". Celtic god, probably of fire or of the sun. His worship extended from northern Italy to Britain. He seems to have been identical with the Irish god Bile. His festival was Beltain on May 1 when purifying fires were lit and cattle driven between them before being allowed out onto the open pastures. Belenus was equated with Apollo by the Continental Celts. Several Latin writers refer to Belenus in connection with Aquitaine, Austria and northern Italy.
God of the river Ribble among the British Celts.
Gaulish goddess, probably the same as Brigit (q.v.).
Irish god of death, equivalent to the Celtic gods Bel and Belinos.
"She of the white cattle". Irish goddess of the River Boyne. Wife of the water god Nechtan or of Elcmar, consort of the Dagda, by whom she was the mother of the god Aengus.
Irish goddess of battle. She prophesied the doom of the Tuatha De Danann after the Battle of Magh Tuireadh (Moytura).
'Bodb the Red', a son of the Dagda who succeeded him as ruler of the gods.
"Boiling". Gallic (Celtic France) god of mineral springs and healing. He was known as Bormanus in Provence and Bormanious in Portugal. The Romans identified him with their Apollo.
Irish river deity. See Boann.
Celtic (Irish and Welsh) hero god (perhaps also a god of poetry and of the underworld). He is the brother of the sea god known to the Irish as Manannan mac Lir and to the Welsh as Manawydan ap Llyr. The raven (or crow) was associated with him, and his name can be taken to mean 'raven', and some scholars take this to mean that he was a god of the underworld. In Irish myth, Bran was said to have sailed to the otherworld, from which voyage he and his men could not return without dying once they set foot on Irish soil, a great deal of time having passed in the world of the living. In Welsh myth, Bran was said to have been killed while leading an invasion of Ireland. Bran was said to have instructed his men to bury his head in the White Mount in London, where it would ward off invasion as long as it remained undisturbed. King Arthur is said to have had the head removed from the site, saying that Britain should be protected by the valour of its people rather than by supernatural means.
Welsh goddess (perhaps descended form an earlier Celtic goddess of love). She was the daughter of the sea god Llyr by Iweridd, sister of Bran, and wife of King Matholwch of England.
Minor Irish god -- a member of the Tuatha De Danann.
Irish goddess, wife of the Dagda.
Irish (Celtic) god of fertility and agriculture, briefly a leader of the Tuatha De Danann and husband of the goddess Brigit. His mother was Eriu, a member of the Tuatha De Danaan, his father Elatha, a prince of the Fomore. He succeeded Nuada as king of Ireland after the former lost a hand at the first battle og Magh Tuireadh. But Bres proved an unworthy ruler, and he was deposed in favor of Nuada once the latter had a temporary silver hand replaced by a real one, making him fit to rule once more. Bres fled into exile and rallied the Fomore against the De Danaan, but the Fomore were defeated at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh. Bres was captured during the battle and his life was spared when he promised to instruct the De Danaan in the art of agriculture.
Celtic (British) goddess of the rivers Braint and Brent, which were named after her, and a tutelary goddess of the Brigantes in Yorkshire. She was also a pastoral goddess associated with flocks and cattle. During the Roman occupation she was associated with the Roman goddess Caelestis as Caelestis Brigantia.
Name of the Celtic goddess Brigit in eastern France.
Celtic goddess of healing, fertility, and patroness of smiths. In Ireland she was known as the daughter of the Dagda and wife of the god Bres. Also known in Gaul and Britain, her festival was that of Imbolc on February 1. Giraldus Cambrensis, a medieval Welsh chronicler, wrote that in his day a fire was maintained at her sanctuary at Kildare, Ireland. Her worship continued after Christianization in the form of St. Brigit or St. Bride.
Romano-Celtic (British) tutelary goddess.
Continental Celtic god, identified with the Roman Jupiter.
Celtic (Ireland) goddess represented as an old hag. She was said to turn to stone every April 30 (Beltine) and to be reborn every October 31 (Samhain).
War god of Celtic Britain. He gave his name to the Roman town of Camulodunum (Colchester).
Irish goddess whose three sons (Calma, Dubh, and Olc) ravaged Ireland before being defeated by the Tuatha De Danann.
A Celtic war god of Britain.
Irish and continental Celtic war goddess.
A Welsh (Celtic) goddess who seems originally to have been a corn goddess, best known for her role in the story of the poet Taliesin's childhood. The consort of Tegid Foel, she had a daughter, Creirwy, and a son, Afagddu. In the Taliesin story, Ceridwen prepared a brew in a great cauldron which was to give her son Afagddu the gifts of inspiration and knowledge to compensate for his ugly appearance, and set the child Gwion to stirring it. However, Gwion tasted the brew and thus obtained its benefits. Ceridwen, realizing what had happened, pursued the boy, during which both she and Gwion transformed themselves into a variety of creatures. Finally, Ceridwen in the form of a hen, swallowed Gwion in the shape of a grain of corn. However, this only served to impregnate Ceridwen, and she later gave birth to the rejuvenated Gwion. She wrapped the infant up in a leather bag and threw him into the river. The child was rescued by a fisherman who, struck by the child's beauty, named him Taliesin ('radiant brow').
"The horned one". Celtic horned god apparently connected with fertility and wealth. His cult was widespread, but centered on Gaul (France). He was later imported into Britain. Cernunnos is depicted as the 'horned god', with the antlers of a stag, most notably on the famous Gundestrup cauldron discovered in Denmark. He seems to have been a god of fertility and of wild animals.
Irish goddess of beauty. Later a fairy queen in the area of Carraig Cliodhna in County Cork.
Celtic goddess of the river Clyde.
Hunting deity of Celtic North Britain. Equated with the Roman Silvanus.
River god of Celtic Britain.
Local god in the area of Lancaster in Celto-Roman Britain.
Irish (Celtic) god; one of the Fomors.
Goddess of water and springs in Celtic Britain. Known locally in the area of Carrawburgh (Roman Brocolitia) along Hadrian's Wall.
Celtic (Welsh) goddess, daughter of Llyr. She later appeared in Shakespeare's King Lear as the king's daughter Cordelia.
Celtic goddess of streams. Later entered folklore as a spectre haunting woodland streams. Her shriek was said to foretell death.
Irish (Celtic) 'Good God', earth and father god, leader of the Tuatha De Danann. One of his epithets was Ollathir, which is generally interpreted as meaning 'All-father'. He is paired with the goddesses Morrigan and Boann, and is the father of Brigit and Aengus Mac Oc. The Dagda is portrayed as possessing both super- human strength and appetite. Among his possessions were an enormous club which could both kill and restore men to life, and a great cauldron which provided an inexhaustible source of food.
Gallic goddess, known as the "Divine Cow"; spouse of Borvo (Bormanus).
Irish (Celtic) earth mother. Matriarch of the Tuatha de Danaan ('People of the Goddess Danu)', the gods of Ireland. The Dagda, one of the 'People of Danu', was sometimes referred to as her father. Her Welsh equivalent was the goddess Don.
Celtic deity at source of Marne.
Celtic deity at source of Seine.
Celtic god of healing.
Caesar's name for the supreme god of the Celts he encountered in Gaul. It is uncertain which Celtic deity this refers to.
Irish goddess of the Fomors.
Welsh goddess, counterpart of the Irish Danu. Wife of Beli.
Welsh sea god; brother of Lleu. He was eventually slain by Govannon.
A Celtic goddess associated with riding and probably equivalent to the Gaulish goddess Epona.
Celtic mare goddess, goddess of horses. Later adopted by the Romans (also Bubona) as a goddess of horses and cattle.
Irish goddess whose name is preserved in Eire, the Gaelic name of Ireland.
Celtic "Lord" or "Master". An agricultural deity of the Celtic Essuvi, who derived their name from him.
Wife of the Irish sea god Manannan.
Early gods of Ireland.
Irish goddess who was part of a trinity of goddesses said to have ruled Ireland at the coming of the first Gaels to the island.
An Irish race of gods, adversaries of the Tuatha de Danann. The fourth dynasty of Ireland, they succeeded the Firbolgs and were in turn overthrown by the Tuatha De Danann. The Tuatha finally defeated them at the Battle of Magh Tuiredh (Moytura).
(Irish Goibhniu; Welsh Govannon)
Celtic smith god. In Irish myth, Goibhniu, together with Credne and Luchtainel, manufactured the arms which the Tuatha De Danann used in defeating the Fomors.
Welsh equivalent to the Irish smith god, Goibhniu. He was the son of Don, and the brother of Amathaon and Gwydion. It was Govannon who slew the sea god Dylan.
Continental Celtic god of healing, associated with mineral springs.
Gwenn Teir Bronn
Celtic goddess of motherhood.
Welsh warrior/bardic/magician god. He was the son of Don and Beli, and father of Lleu and Dylan by his sister Arianrhod.
Triad of Celtic deities, associated with healing and fertility.
Irish sea god.
Lleu Llaw Gyffes
Welsh hero god, Lleu of the Dexterous Hand, analog of Irish Lug. He was the son of Arianrhod and Gwydion.
Welsh sea god. Father of Bran, Branwen, and Manannan.
(Lugh, Lleu, Lugus)
Celtic hero god. Known to the Irish as Lugh, and to the Welsh as Lleu. He was also prominent among the continental Celts, giving his name to the towns of Laon, Leyden, and Lyons (Lugdunum). His festival, the Lugnasad, was held on August 1.
(Lugh of the Long Arm/Hand)
"Lugh of the Long Arm/Hand". An Irish deity analogous to the continental Celtic Lug, and to the Welsh Lleu Llaw Gyffes. He led the Tuatha De Danann to victory over the Fomors at the Battle of Mag Tuireadh.
Celtic deity, continental form of Lug (qv).
Celtic god of healing.
Irish kingly god.
Celtic goddess of war, one aspect of the triple Morrigan.
Manannan mac Lir
Irish god of the sea and of fertility. He was the son of Lir and the husband of Fand. His Welsh equivalent was Manawydan ap Llyr.
Manawydan ap Llyr
Welsh version of the Celtic sea god, known to the Irish as Manannan mac Lir.
Celtic god of youth.
Welsh god of sorcery.
Celtic mother goddess of Gaul.
Celtic goddess of war.
Irish chieftain god of the Underworld. Son of Dagda, husband of Etain.
Gallic goddess of handicrafts and arts.
(The Morrigan, Morrigu)
Celtic battle goddess. She was said to hover over the battlefield in the form of a crow.
Irish lake goddess, probably a form of the Morrigan.
"Winding River". Gallic protective goddess and goddess of water. Among the Mediomatrici of Alsace she is often portrayed holding a model of a house, indicating a domestic function.
Irish god of war. He was a consort of Nemain, an aspect of the triune goddess Morrigan. He was killed at the second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.
Celtic battle goddess.
Nemeton = "shrine". Celtic goddess of sacred groves or shrines.
Celtic river god of the Severn estuary in south-west Britain. May be equated with Nuada.
Known as Nuada Argetlamh: "Nuada of the Silver Hand". An Irish god and one time leader of the Tuatha de Danaan. He lost a hand at the first Battle of Magh Tuireadh fighting against the Firbolgs. Due to this infirmity, he was forced to give up his position as king of the Tuatha De Danaan. Dian Cecht made him a silver hand (whence the epithet). However, Dian Cecht's son Miach later gave Nuada a new hand of flesh and blood which allowed him to regain the kingship. Nuada was killed in the second Battle of Magh Tuireadh by the Fomorii leader Balor.
(Oengus Mac Oc, Angus)
Chief Irish god, patron of eloquence and learning, inventor of Ogham letters. The son of Dagda. He is credited with inventing the Ogham alphabet. He is equivalent to the Gallic Ogmios.
Gaulish god of eloquence, inspiration and eloquence.
Sometime Celtic god of the Underworld.
May have been a goddess (Rigantona) in pagan Britain.
Celtic goddess of plenty.
Gallic local god.
Celtic river goddess of the Severn.
Celtic river deity.
"Shadowy One". Irish goddess who taught warriors the art of war.
Continental Celtic war god.
Celtic river goddess of the Seine.
Irish goddess of the river Shannon.
Celtic female demon.
A Celtic sea deity recognized in Britain.
The hill people of ancient Ireland. They were believed to be the spirits of the dead.
Continental Celtic goddess of the Mosel Valley.
War-like deity of Gauls.
Gallic syncretic god. He appears to have been a god of fertility, as well as a god of the dead. The hammer was a common attribute of Sucellus.
Celtic British goddess of hot springs, especially at Bath (Aquae Sulis).
Celtic goddess of the earth.
Celtic goddess of fresh waters. Her name survives in the English River Thames and in Tamise, a French name for the Scheldt.
"Thunder". Gallic thunder god. He was equated by the Romans with Jupiter. He is symbolized by a spoked wheel.
Gallic bull god. He is known chiefly from a monument on the Seine near Paris honouring Tarvos along with Esus, Vulcan, and Jupiter.
In Irish myth, the Fomorii sea god and god of the otherworld.
A Gallic war god whose name may mean "God of the People". The Gallic word touta means 'people' or 'tribe' (similar to the Irish tuath).
Tuatha De Danaan
The main family of Irish gods. The name means "Children of the Goddess Danu". Danu served as their chief goddess and matriarch but was not literally their mother. They defeated the Fomors at the battle of Magh Tuireadh (Moytura). They were in turn defeated by the Milesians, after which they retired to the Irish underworld. The most important members of the Tuatha were: Boann, Brigit, Danu, Dagda, Dian Cecht, Gobniu, Lug, Macha, and Nuada.
Celtic goddess of the river Wharfe.
Celtic river deity.