Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dian Cécht

In Irish mythology, Dian Cécht (Old Irish pronunciation /dʲiːən kʲeːxt/), also known as Cainte, Canta, was a healing god. He was the healer for the Tuatha Dé Danann and the father of Cian, Cú, and Cethen. His other children were Miach, Airmed, Étan the poetess, and Ochtriullach.

Dian Cecht's curative well

He blessed a well called Slane where the Tuatha Dé could bathe in when wounded; they became healed and continued fighting. It would heal any wound but decapitation.

Dian Cecht's 'boiling' of the River Barrow
It was Dian Cecht who once saved Ireland, and was indirectly the cause of the name of the River Barrow. The Morrígú, the heaven-god's fierce wife, had borne a son of such terrible aspect that the physician of the gods, foreseeing danger, counselled that he should be destroyed in his infancy. This was done; and Diancecht opened the infant's heart, and found within it three serpents, capable, when they grew to full size, of depopulating Ireland. He lost no time in destroying these serpents also, and burning them into ashes, to avoid the evil which even their dead bodies might do. More than this, he flung the ashes into the nearest river, for he feared that there might be danger even in them; and, indeed, so venomous were they that the river boiled up and slew every living creature in it, and therefore has been called the River Barrow, the ‘Boiling’ ever since.

Dian Cecht's healing of Nuada's arm
He made King Nuada a silver arm which could move and function as a normal arm. Later, Dian Cecht's son, Miach, replaced the silver arm with an arm of flesh and blood, and Dian Cecht killed him out of professional envy. Miach's sister, Airmed, mourned over her brother's grave. As her tears fell, all the healing herbs of the world grew from the grave. Airmed arranged and catalogued the herbs, but then Dian Cécht again reacted with anger and jealousy and scattered the herbs, destroying his daughter's work as well as his son's. For this reason, it is said that no human now knows the healing properties of all the herbs.

Dian Cecht was also able to heal Mider after the latter lost an eye when struck with a twig of hazel.

Dian Cecht's healing powers were invoked in Ireland as late as the 8th century.

Linguistic knowledge about regular sound changes in Celtic languages (McCone, 1996) and analysis of the University of Wales’ Proto-Celtic lexicon [1] and of Julius Pokorny’s Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch permit *Deino-kwekwto- ‘swift concoction’ as a plausible Proto-Celtic reconstruction for this theonym.

From: Wiki

Dian Cecht in Myth
The role of Dian Cecht among the Tuatha De Danaan is that of a healer and craftsman. While this seemingly disparate combination of abilities initially may seem an odd juxtaposition, it should be remembered that the Tuatha De were thought of as gods who brought various arts and magic to ancient Ireland. In addition, according to some interpretations, Dian Cecht was a craft-god, who also practiced healing through the use of magic. Indeed, this is how he is portrayed in the Book of Invasions (Leabhar Gabhala in Gaelic). There are stories of this god's contributions, and one of the most prominent of these tales is examined below.

The first legend concerns Dian Cecht's powers as a smith and craftsman. Nuada, once the leader of the Tuatha De Danaan, had gotten himself into a bit of a bind, in that he had lost his arm in battle. This serious wound had disqualified Nuada from his position as king, and in his absence, the unsavory Bres had stepped in to rule the Tuatha De. Unfortunately, no one was pleased with this change of leadership (except maybe Bres himself), so Dian Cecht created an arm of silver to make Nuada "whole" again. With his new limb, Nuada could once more rule his people, thanks to the industrious Dian Cecht.

From: Here
The great god of healing and the physician of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He made the silver hand for his brother king Nuada to replace the one he lost in battle. Dian Cecht had blessed the well Slane in which the wounded Tuatha Dé bathed. It healed all their wounds so they could resume their fighting. He had a son, Miach, whom he slew out of professional jealousy. Miach had replaced the silver hand Dian Cecht had made for Nuada with Nuada's own hand. Some claimed it was jealousy, while Dian Cecht said is was the disrespectful manner in which the replacement was done. He is also the grandfather of Lugh.


The Celtic god of healing. Dian Cécht (Dian Cecht) was the great physician of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

There is a lot of confusion over his parentage. Dian Cécht was said to be the son of Esarg and grandson of Neit. This makes Dian Cécht the brother of Goibhniu, Luchne and Creidne. He had also being named as the son of Dagda. In another work, Dian Cécht was the son of Echtoigh and grandson of Esoirc. While in the Lebor Gabala, he had being called one of the seven sons of Ethliu. This would make him the brother of Dagda, Nuada, Goibhniu, Luchta, Credne and Lug Mac Cein. In one poem in the Dindshenchas, Dian Cécht was even called the son of Dagda, but this was clearly a mistake, because another poem in the same work, stated differently.

Through the goddess Danu, Dian Cécht became the father of Goibhniu, Cian (Kian) and Sawan.

When Bres grew oppressive, the Dananns wanted Nuada to become their king. However, Nuada was disqualified from ruling Ireland because he lost one of his hands in battle against the Firbolgs. Dian Cécht replaced Nuada's hand with a silver hand, enabling Nuada to replace Bres as king.

Dian Cécht was not an ethical healer, because he was jealous with anyone who surpassed him as a healer, even his own children. When Miach had shown to be a greater healer than him, by restoring Nuada's original arm, Dian Cécht murdered his own son. When Airmed, his daughter, began categorying the herbs used for healing, Dian Cécht jealously mixed catalog so the results came out wrong.

In the war against the Fomorians, Dian Cécht blessed the water, which the Dananns bathed in, healing their wounds and restoring their vigour.

From: Here

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