So, Celtic Gods and Goddesses are the subject of between 5 – 10 emails that we receive each and every week.
This wasn’t always the case. But then we published a guide to Irish mythological creatures, and we’ve been getting questions ever since.
So, in an attempt to make both our lives and yours a little easier, we’ve created a thorough guide to the most notable Celtic Gods and Goddesses.
A quick overview of the major Celtic Gods and Goddesses
|Main Celtic Gods||Main Celtic Goddesses|
|1. Dagda||1. Badb|
|2. Cú Chulainn||2. The Morrigan|
|3. Lugh||3. Medb Queen of Connacht|
|4. Cernunnos||4. Danu|
|5. Aengus||5. Brigid|
The table above gives a quick overview of the different Celtic mythology Gods and Goddesses that we’re going to cover in this guide.
Is this all of them? Absolutely not! But it’s the main body of Celtic Gods that tend to crop up again and again in Irish mythology.
The best known Celtic Mythology Gods and Goddesses
Section one of our guide tackles the major Celtic Mythology Gods and Goddesses, from the likes of the mighty Dagda to the powerful Danu.
Each Celtic God and Goddess has a colourful tale attached to them, with stories of battles, sorrow and magical powers all part of the package.
An important father-figure in Celtic mythology, Dagda is one of the ‘good’ Celtic Mythology Gods. He is the father of Aengus, Bodb Derg, Cermait, Midir and Brigit.
Dagda was also the leader of the mighty Tuatha Dé Danann tribe of Celtic gods that roamed Ireland back in the day.
Dagda had several powerful weapons and it’s said that his large club could slay 10 men with a single blow. It could also resurrect the dead.
He also had a harp that was used to summon the seasons, as well as a cauldron for producing food. Dagda had many lovers and one of them was the Celtic goddess of war and fate, the almighty Morrigan.
2. The Celtic Goddess Danu
Danu is one of the oldest mythical beings in Ireland. Often portrayed as a beautiful woman, this Celtic Goddess is commonly associated with nature.
Danu is considered as the divine mother of people of Dana (tribe of Celtic Gods). She also represents aspects of regeneration, wisdom, death, and prosperity.
As for the historical side of affairs, Danu was not just a major Celtic God in Ireland – her reputation earned her recognition in Britain and further afield.
The Celtic Mythology God Lugh was rarely mentioned in inscriptions, but this sun god of all crafts and arts was actually an important deity among the Celtic gods and goddesses.
Associated with ravens and thunderstorms, Lugh was often portrayed with his magic spear Gae Assail, helmet, and armour.
He was a warrior and killed the one-eyed chief of the Formorii, the famous Balor (whom you’ll read about in our guide to Celtic mythological creatures).
According to legend, Lugh was the divine father of the warrior Cú Chulainn, one of the most famous heroes in Ireland.
The Celtic Goddess Badb was the daughter of Ernmas and was also known to be a supernatural demon.
In Celtic eschatology, Badb is the person who will cause the end of the earth. The legend says how she prophesied the downfall of the deities, as well as the Great Famine in the 19th century.
Badb was also the Celtic Goddess of enlightenment, inspiration, life, and wisdom and in Celtic mythology, her name means “Crow”.
Section 2: Celtic Gods and Goddesses that have many a mighty tale tied to them
If you drop into our guides to either Irish folklore or Irish mythology, you’ll find endless tales and legends that involve some of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses below.
From slightly creepier stories involving the Morrigan to stories of monumental battles, involving Queen Maeve of Connacht.
1. The Morrigan
Known as the Celtic Goddess of war, the Morrigan is also known as the “Phantom Queen” or the “Queen of Demons”. The legend tells how she hovered over the battlefield in the form of a crow or a raven.
The Morrigan could also predict who is going to win in the battle. She appeared in front of Cú Chulainn, but he failed to recognize her.
Cú Chulainn died in a battle soon after. Once he died, the Morrigan settled on his shoulder in the form of a crow.
2. Cú Chulainn
Cú Chulainn was the defender of the Ulster and to this day, he remains the best-known folk Hero in Ireland. His actions were heroic, but as I mentioned before, Cú Chulainn died after failing to recognise the goddess of war.
Next on our list is the Cernunnos, who is arguably the more unusual of the many Celtic Gods and Goddesses in our guide.
Cernunnos was a horned God who is associated with nature, grain, wealth, and horned animals. The Druids called him the Honoured God and Julius Caesar associated this mythical being with the Roman Underworld God Dis Pater.
Many animals were sacred to Cernunnos including horned serpents, bull, stag, and ran. An interesting fact is that ancient Celtic images portrait him seated naked in a lotus position with either horns or antlers on his head.
5. Medb Queen of Connacht
Mebd was the Queen of Connacht in Celtic mythology and she is buried at the top of Knocknarea in Sligo (see above).
Powerful both physically and mentally, Medb was a fierce and respected leader who led armies into battle on numerous occasions.
The Tain bo Cuailnge is arguably the most captivating battle that this Celtic Goddess was involved in (yes, this was the battle for the bull!).
6. The Celtic God Aengus
Aengus was the son of the Dagda and river goddess Bionn. Also known as Angus or Oengus of the Bruig, he was the almighty god of youth and love.
The story of Aengus tells us how he searched all over the country for a beautiful maiden. Fortunately, he found one and she was called Caer.
Together with the other 150 maidens, she was destined to turn into a swan, so Aengus decided to transform into a swan so he could unite with the love of his life.
7. The Cailleach
Also known as the Hag of Béara, Cailleach had a cool power and that was to control the weather and the seasons. She was one of the most powerful and oldest mythical beings in Ireland and her myth is linked to the countries of Cork and Kerry.
Cailleach appeared as an old crone and according to the legend; she was responsible for the formations of many mountain landmarks like the Cliffs of Moher and Hag’s Head in Ireland.
Brigid was the Celtic Goddess of poetry, prophecy, healing, agriculture, and fire. She was actually the daughter of Dagda and a member of the Tuatha De Danann.
It is believed that Brigid had a couple of domesticated animals including sheep, critters, and oxen. Brigid was known for three aspects: the smith, the healer, and the poet. Some believe that Brigid was a triple deity.
FAQs about Celtic Gods and Goddesses
Since writing a guide to the Celts some time ago, we’ve seen an influx of queries about Celtic mythology Gods.
I’ve done my best to answer the FAQ below, but if you have a question please ask away in the comments section.
Who are the best know Celtic Mythology Gods?
- Queen Mebh
Celtic Gods and Goddesses list
- The Cailleach
- Queen Medb
- Cu Chulainn
- The Morrigan