Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Dagda

The Dagda is an important god of Irish mythology. He is the supreme god in Irish mythology. His name means "The Good God" (Old Irish deagh dia; Modern Irish dea-Dia), not necessarily good in a moral sense, but good at everything, or all-powerful. The Dagda is a father-figure (he is also known as Eochaid Ollathair, or Eochaid All-Father) and a protector of the tribe. In some texts his father is Elatha, in others his mother is Ethlinn.

Irish tales depict the Dagda as a figure of immense power, armed with a magic club and associated with a cauldron. The club was supposed to be able to kill nine men with one blow; with the handle he could return the slain to life. The cauldron was bottomless, capable of feeding an army. He also possessed Daurdabla, a richly ornamented magic harp made of oak which, when the Dagda played it, put the seasons in their correct order; other accounts tell of it being used to command the order of battle. He possessed two pigs, one of which was always growing whilst the other was always roasting, and ever-laden fruit trees.

The Dagda was moreover the High King of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the supernatural beings who inhabited Ireland prior to the coming of the Celts. His lover was Boann and his wife was Breg. Prior to the battle with the Fomorians, he coupled with the goddess of war, the Mórrígan, on Samhain in exchange for a plan of battle.

Despite his great power and prestige, the Dagda is sometimes depicted as oafish and crude, even comical, wearing a short, rough tunic that barely covers his rump, dragging his great penis on the ground.

The Dagda had an affair with Boann, wife of Nechtan. In order to hide their affair, Dagda made the sun stand still for nine months; therefore their son, Aengus, was conceived, gestated and born in one day. He, along with Boann, helped Aengus search for his love.

Aengus later tricked him out of his home at the Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange). He arrived after the Dagda had shared out his land among his children, and there was nothing left for Aengus. Aengus asked his father if he could live in the Brú for a day and a night, and the Dagda agreed. But Irish has no indefinite article, so "a day and a night" is the same as "day and night", which covers all time, and so Aengus took possession of the Brú permanently. In "The Wooing of Étaín", on the other hand, Aengus uses the same ploy to trick Elcmar out of Brú na Bóinne, with the Dagda's connivance.

The Dagda was also the father of Bodb Dearg, Cermait, Midir, Aine and Brigit. He was the brother or father of Ogma, who is probably related to the Gaulish god Ogmios; Ogmios, depicted as an old man with a club, is one of the closest Gaulish parallels to the Dagda. Another Gaulish god who may be related to the Dagda is Sucellus, the striker, depicted with a hammer and cup.

He is credited with a seventy or eighty-year reign (depending on source) over the Tuatha Dé Danann, before dying at the Brú na Bóinne, finally succumbing to a wound inflicted by Cethlenn during the first battle of Magh Tuiredh.

The Cerne Abbas giant, a famous outline of an ithyphallic giant with a club cut into the chalky soil at Cerne Abbas, in Dorset, England, was probably produced in Roman times, but may represent the Dagda.

FROM: Wikipedia article
The Irish-Celtic god of the earth and treaties, and ruler over life and death. Dagda, or The Dagda, ("the good god") is one of the most prominent gods and the leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He is a master of magic, a fearsome warrior and a skilled artisan. Dagda is a son of the goddess Danu, and father of the goddess Brigid and the god Aengus mac Oc. The Morrigan is his wife, with whom he mates on New Years Day
The Dagda is portrayed as possessing both super- human strength and appetite. His attributes are a cauldron with an inexhaustible supply of food, a magical harp with which he summons the seasons, and an enormous club, with one end of which he could kill nine men, but with the other restore them to life. He also possessed two marvellous swine---one always roasting, the other always growing---and ever-laden fruit trees.
One of his epithets is Ollathir, which means "All-father". He is identified with the Welsh Gwydion and the Gallic Sucellos.
FROM: The Dagda
An Dagda
Irish: "The Good God", probably from *dago devas, though some early texts give the incorrect etymology of dag dae "good hand" (skillful hand, prefiguring Lugh), or daeg dia "god of fire"

A.K.A. Eochu Ollathair "Horse All-Father", Ruadh Rofhessa "Red One Great in Knowledge"

The son of Elada and brother of Ogma. In the Lebor Gabala Erenn, his three sons are given as Oengus, Aed, and Cermait, while his daughters are Brigit and Aine. Other texts add Bodb Derg, over-all king of the Sidhe as a son. In the Dinsenchas, Dian Cecht is also named as a son, but the Lebor Gabala differs, naming Dian Cecht only as a cousin of the Dagda.

He had the cauldron the Un-dry, which never went empty, and a magic club which could heal on one side and kill on the other, and a magic harp called Daur-da-bla "Oak of two greens" and Coir-cethar-chuir "Four-angled music." According to The Taking of the Sidhe (refering to how Oengus won Brugh na Boinne), he was the protector of corn and milk, and according to The Wooing of Etain, he was the controller of weather and crops. In the same text, para. 18, he is named one of "the three gods of Dana, namely Lug and the Dagda, and Ogma."

His best-known consort was Boand</I>, the mother of Oengus mac ind-Og and goddess of the Boyne. When Oengus fell in love with Caer, it was the Dagda who was able to find the girl through the help of Medb and Ailill.

According to the LGE, he was king of Ireland for eighty years, until turning it over to Delbaeth (which one is uncertain), and was killed in battle against the Formorians; this, however, seems an obvious attempt to rationalize a divine figure.

When relations were good with the Fomorians, and Bres became king, it was the Dagda who built his home, Dun Bresse. In return, Bres enslaved not only the Dagda, but all the Tuatha De Danann--the Dagda was made a permanent rath builder, and Ogma had to gather firewood, for example, and everything they had was under tribute to Bres and the Fomorians. The Dagda and his son Oengus plotted to kill Cridenbel, a Fomorian who demanded the Dagda's food each night. This lead ultimately to the Second Battle of Magh Turedh. The night before the battle, he went to his home in Glen Ettin, and met the Morrigan by the River Unis in Connacht. There he slept with her, thus ensuring victory for the TDD.

The Dagda was made a spy for the TDD; his immense appetite and appearance are described in less-than-flattering terms:
A cape to the hollow of his two elbows. A dun tunic around him, as far as the swelling of his rump. It was moreover, long breasted ,with a hole in the peak. Two brogues on him of horse-hide, with the hair outside. Behind him a wheeled fork to carry which required the effort of eight men, so that its track after him was enough for the boundary-ditch of a province. Wherefore it is called "The Track of the Dagda's Club"
Now, looking at this information, we can see several things. First, by his titles "the good god", "horse all-father" and "red one great in knowledge", we can see that he is a sort of leader of the gods, though not in the same sense wherein Nuada is king. The Dagda is more like the father and druid of the gods--and like Odhinn, he is called "All-father."

He is obviously an agricultural god, a god of plenty; his harp seems to not only be able to command people, but the seasons (which may be why it is called "four-angled"). He is also a god who secures the services of the goddess of sovereignty. It is the Dagda who sleeps with Morrigan, thus securing the victory of the TDD, and it is the Dagda who fathers figures like Brigit and Aine, who act as goddesses of sovereignty; moreover, he is called a god of Danu, thus connecting him to the mother goddess. His name "Eochaid" is also indicative of a sovereignty connection, as it is the Horse Goddess who often confers sovereignty to the king.
Some scholars have also connected him to Sucellos, the good striker of Gaulish religion, because of his magic club; certainly this is possible, and both the Dagda and Sucellos have been tentatively tied to Dis Pater, who Caesar says was the ancestor of the Gauls; this would connect to the Dagda's status as "all-father."

FROM: An Dagda
Other Sites:
Dagda - ADF Neopagan Druidism
Ireland Now Irish Myths - The Dagda's Harp
Celtic God Dagda
The Dagda at Sacred Source
the dagda: celtic Father-God
Celtic God An Dagda

Threads on MW:
The Dagda
Help please on Dagda....

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