Realm of the Tuatha de Danann

Long before their people fought religious wars over Christianity, the Tuatha de Danann were revered as the gods of Ireland, larger-than-life figures who inspired as much by their squabbles and intra-family troubles as by their awesome prowess in combat. Descended from the Great Mother Danu, they freed Ireland from the depredations of the Fomorians (their Titans) and ruled it in relative peace for centuries before the invasion of new peoples and religions eventually forced them to follow their Great Mother and High King into the fairy mounds and depart from the world for all but the most important of matters.

Some of the Tuatha de Danann Deities

Few Titans (Elder Gods) are so inextricably linked to both the gods and world as Danu, the great Ancestral Mother of the Celtic pantheons and personification of the land that gives fruitful fertility to support all life upon it. She, as Great Mother, is the source of all things that give life and the wild foundation that takes it away again; her very body and blood have given birth to humans, gods, animals and features of landscapes both ordinary and divine. She is the Mother of The Tuatha De Danann, the Irish Gods, which literally means the Children of Danu. All the Danann can trace their Lineage back to her.

Dagda is known as the father of the Tuatha de Danann, also known as the "All-Father". Some Irish texts say that Dagda was the son of Danu, while others say that he was actually the father of Danu. Dagda protects the Irish tribes and watches over his people. He is one of the most powerful and fierce and yet also one of the most loving of the Irish Gods and Goddesses. His brothers are the Irish gods Ogma and Lir. Dagda was depicted as a great god with a club that he could use to kill nine men in a single swipe; however, the other end of the club was used to breathe life back into the dead or injured. Dagda is said to have had a lover, the Irish Goddess Boann (whom we will talk about in a bit) and a daughter named Breg. Legends say that Dagda played a magical harp in order to "put the seasons back in order" and he also had two pigs. One of the pigs was said to be forever growing, while the other pig was always roasting. Dagda represents the fruitfulness of the land, protection of his people, and justice when justice is truly needed.

Lugh whose name means "shining one" is a Celtic sun god. He is the god of skill and can seldom be defeated in any contest, being as multi-talented and versatile as some gods are narrow-minded and restricted. He was handsome, perpetually youthful, and full of life and energy. This energy manifests itself especially in the number of skills he had mastered. He was also the Patron God of Lugdunum (modern day: Lyon, France).

Cernunnos is a horned god associated with fertility, nature, fruit, grain, the underworld, and wealth, and especially associated with horned animals like the bull, stag, and a ram-headed serpent. He is connected with male animals, particularly the stag in rut, and this has led him to be associated with fertility and vegetation. Depictions of Cernunnos are found in many parts of the British Isles and western Europe. He is often portrayed with a beard and wild, shaggy hair -- he is, after all, the lord of the forest. Today, many Pagan and Wiccan traditions honor Cernunnos as an aspect of the God, the embodiment of masculine energy and fertility and power.

Brigit (or Brighid) is the one Irish Goddess whose name has been literally absorbed into Catholicism. She was originally an Irish Goddess but as the Catholics converted the Irish from their Pagan ways, they also converted Brigit from an Irish Goddess to a patron Saint of the Church (Saint Brigid). There is even a day on the Catholic calendar known as Saint Brigid's Day which is February 1st (coincidentally or perhaps not so coincidentally, this day is also the Pagan festival of Imbolc).

The Morrigan is a shape-shifter, who would usually take on the form of a raven or a crow. She is also known as the Protectress, having the unique ability to draw upon a person’s inner strength, and then empower that person to confront his or her own challenges; frequently causing them to use every bit of that strength to face overwhelming odds.

Manannan mac Lir is the son of Lir, an ancient ocean god believed by many to be of an older generation than the other Tuatha, born of some long-lost line of Danu or even a sibling or close relation to her. Indeed, his son certainly seems different from the other Tuatha; Manannan is the god of the sea that beats against the rocky shores of Ireland and of the restless dead, a figure of dread, confusion, and mystery. Despite the dark realms he moves through, he is an honorable god and is often sought for the fairness of his rulings, a fact that seems at odds with his occasional decision to act as a trickster to open the eyes of his fellow deities. He makes travel possible, whether by sea or atop a land steed, and often seems to possess an answer when no others can solve a problem without his knowing help.


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