Saturday, November 19, 2011


Mother goddess. Danu or Ana was the mother of the race of Tuatha Dé Danann. Danu was goddess of fertility and the earth. Some believed that Danu and Ana were separate entities, even both are mother goddesses.

Danu was widely worshipped mother goddess throughout Europe. She was known under various names, such as Danu, Dana and Anu in Continental Europe and Ireland. In Wales, she was called Don.

Danu married her consort Bilé (Bile), and was the mother of Dagda, who was the chief leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Her other offspring probably were Dian Cécht and Nuada.

With Dagda, Danu was also the mother of Ogma. Her other possible sons were Cian (Kian), Sawan and Goibhniu by Dian Cécht.

Danu was also known by another name – Brigit. Here, as Ana or Brigit, she was known as the daughter of the Dagda. She was mother of three sons; all of them were named Ecne.

In some of the sources, Danu or Ana was the proper name of the war-goddess Morrigan.

In Munster, Danu was associated with two round-topped hills, which was called Da Chich Anann or the Paps of Ana, because they resembled two breasts. Da Chich Anann literally means the "two breasts of Ana".

Name Danu, Dana (Gallic and Irish).
Ana, Anu (Irish).
Don (Welsh).
Danuvius (Roman).
Duna (hangedarian).
Donau (German).
Brigit? (Irish).

From: Timeless Myths
A Cymric and Celtic Goddess, also known as Donwy, Danu: Gift
Synonyms: Donwy, ?Danu?
Cym, Celt: 'Gift'

Dôn is a goddess about whom much has been witten; though little is actually known about her. She is the eponymous mother and ancesstress of the Plant Dôn, the Cymric gods. However, the name of Dôn occurs in the Cymric genealogies, the Triads and the Mabinogi. Though she is not directly described as a deity in her own right each instance sheds a little more light on her nature and attributes.

In the Cymric genealogies: Bonedd yr Arwyr (Peniarth MS 127) the Plant Dôn are named as Gwydion, Gofannon, Amaethon, Hunawg, Idwal, Eunydd, Elestron, Digant, Gilfaethwy, Cynan, Hedd, Aidden, Elawg and Arianrhod; the first three of these are also noted as Dôn's sons in the Mabinogi. It should also be noted that Gwydion, Gofannon and Amaethon themselves form a sacred triad wth names meaning, respectively, Great of Knowledge (Druid), Great Smith and Great Farmer. Arianrhod, their sister is herself the mother of the divine twins Lleu and Dylan, and herself forms a sacred triad: that of mother and divine offspring. The relationship of Math fab Mathonwy as Gwydion's uncle indicates that Math was Dôn's brother and if Mathonwy ever existed as a real person (see entry on Math for a discussion) then he/she would also be Dôn's parent.

In the Trioedd Ynys Prydein Dôn is mentioned as the mother of Gwydion in triad 28 and the mother of Arianrhod in triad 67. Though no consort is explicitly named for Dôn, triad 35 does give a tantalizing hint. In this poem, Arianrhod is mentioned as the mother of Gwennwynwyn and Gwnar. Here Arianrhod is noted as the daughter of Beli. Some have suggested that there may have been two Arianrhods and the one in this triad was different from the one in the Mabinogi. However, Arianrhod was a well-known figure during the Middle Ages and if there were two figures bearing this name then some distinction would probably have been made between them. Thus we have Beli Fawr as Arianrhod's father and Dôn as her mother which suggests that the selfsame Beli Fawr was Dôn's consort.

If Beli Fawr is the ancestral Father then this would make Dôn the ancestral mother. A rôle that is perfectly compatible with her function as the mother of a divine trinity of deities and the ancesstress of the Cymric lineage of gods, the Plant Dôn. In the Mabinogi Math fab Mathonwy is Dôn's brother, the ruler of the Plant Dôn, who gains his authority via his sister in a relationship reminiscent of Egyptian matrilinear descent. This obviously also makes Mathonwy Dôn's father.

The name 'Dôn' is probably derived from the reconsturcted proto-Celtic *dƒnu-dānu (river). Indeed, her name is preserved in that of the river Danube (Donaw) and possibly the Dee, which in old Cymric is the Dyfrdonwy; which has led to the proposal that the original form of Dôn is actually Donwy. A form that later became truncated around the tenth century. Indeed the mutation from the original Indo-European Donaw to old Cymric Donwy to modern Dôn seems etymologically plausible. (gift) and may be related to the Scythian

It has long been believed that the Plant Dôn are cognate to the family of Irish gods and goddesses, the Tuath Dé Dannan with the goddess Danu (suggested by the genitive form Dannan being rendered to the nominative *Danu). However, the presumed goddess name Danu cannot be verified in any early Irish sources. In the earliest Irish source, the Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of Conquests of Ireland) there is no mention of any primordial mother goddess bearing the name Danu. The only figure in this book with anywhere near a similar name is Danand, daughter of Delbaeth son of Ogma. She has three sons by her own father, Brian, Iuchar and Iucharba who became known as the tri Dé Danand (the three gods of Dannand). Though the situation is complicated in that other triads of gods by different fathers — Tuireann, Bres and Cermait — are ascribed to Danand. The goddess is also described as having four daughters (Airgdean, Barrand, Be Chuille and Be Thedhe) though elsewhere they are sometimes represented as Danand's sisters. Danand and Be Chuille are particularly linked and are describes as di bantuathaig (the two female farmers). What we see here is a mediaeval attempt at unifying many conflicting original sources into a coherent whole. Regardless, the features of Danand emerge clearly: she is the mother of a triad of deities and has earth/agricultural connotations. Might Danand therefore be the true name of the Irish mother goddess now known as Danu? This is certainly an intruiging possibility.

In common with the assignment of constellations to her offspring, Dôn is associated with the constellation Cassiopeia which even today is known as Llys Dôn (The Court of Dôn) in modern Cymric.

From: Dôn: a Cymric and Celtic mother goddess, also known as Donwy, Danu (Gift)

The greatest of the goddesses of ancient Ireland, Danu was the ruler of a tribe of divinities called Tuatha de Danaan, the people of Danu, who where demoted to fairies called Daoine Sidhe in later times. Her name derives from the Old Celtic dan, meaning "knowledge," and she was probably the same goddess and the Welsh Don. Some scholars see her as the same goddess as Anu, while others contend that she is an aspect of Brigid. There are no legends of her left to elucidate the search for her meaning, but her preeminence among ancient Irish deities remains clear.

From: here
Danu is the mother of the Irish gods, linked to the goddess Dôn in Wales. Her tribe is the Tuatha Dé Danann, the People of the Goddess Danu or Ana. Invading Ireland on the first of May, the Tuatha Dé Danann battled the Fir Bolg, and eventually won an uneasy peace. In their turn the Tuatha Dé Danann were displaced by the mortal Milesians, and retreated to the sídhe, or hollow hills, to become the Faery Folk of legend. The coming of the Milesians is likely a mythologizing of the Christian conversion of the Isle that ousted the pagan gods and goddesses.

Danu is a goddess of fertility and plenty, and there is evidence that the river Danube is named for Her. As mother of the faeries she is close to the land and waters.

Other members of the Tuatha Dé Danann include: Manannán, Brigid or Bride, and Macha, one face of the triple war-goddess, the Morrigan. Danu in a reading brings a time of richness and inspiration, of magic and a return to the source.
Alternate names: Ana, Anu, Anann ("wealth, abundance")

From: here

Donu is the special case. According to Miriam Robbins Dexter (1990b), she seems to be a non-Indo-European river and earth goddess who was adopted at an early stage of Proto-Indo-European religion. This makes her Proto-Indo-European enough for our purposes, though. She is found throughout the Indo-European domains, from the Irish goddess Danu to the Vedic Danu to the Danube, Don, Dniester, Donets, and Dniepr rivers. The Greeks were called the Danaans, and the Danes are descended from Dana. She is not found among the Hittites, which may be evidence that she is late Proto-Indo-European, but even to the Hittites the deities of rivers and springs were female.

As a river goddess, Donu is the giver of fertility to the land. "Donu" may have been carried along with the Indo-Europeans as a title rather than a personality, being applied to a river or earth goddess in each new land. She may be worshiped effectively at local rivers, especially the major river in a watershed, and especially at that river's source. The local goddess may be worshiped under her own name, or called "Donu," or even "the Donu" as a title or name. Or she may be called by a combination of names; the Charles river here in Massachusetts, called Quinobequin by the Indians, may be the abode of Donu Quinobequin.

Pure stream, water clearly flowing,
source of life and source of power,
Donu, queen of land extending,
lady of both earth and river:
Here for you this sweet libation,
Here for you our glad oblation,
Back to you our gift is flowing.

Dexter, Miriam Robbins. Reflections on the Goddess *Donu. Mankind Quarterly 31:1 & 2 (Fall/Winter, 1990), pp. 45 - 57

From: Ceisiwr Serith's PIE deities page
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