Category Archives: Mythology

it could be argued… that any myth is a neutral structure that allows paradoxical meanings to be held in a charged tension. Indeed, we might argue that this is one of the defining characteristics of a myth, in cotnrast with other sorts of narriatves (such as novels): a myth is a narrative that is tramsparent to a variety of constructions of meaning.
(Wendy Doniger, The London Review of Books, 30: 7 (10 April 2008): 27-29)

Aeracura: Goddess of the Underworld

Aeracura seems to have been a a goddess of the underworld and of prosperity, whose cult centered on southern Germany and the north-west of the Balkans. The Roman god Dis Pater sometimes accomapanies her, in inscriptions, a statue, and magic spells.  She shares her fruitful attributes with the Mothers, and may be a patron of miners.

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Serket: the Scorpion Goddess

Serket (also known as Serqet, Selkis, and Selket) is an Egyptian goddess of protection associated with the scorpion. She was worshipped widely in Lower Egypt as a great Mother Goddess in the Predynastic Period (c. 6000- c. 3150 BCE) and so is among the older deities of Egypt. She is associated with healing, magic, and protection, and her name means “She Who Causes the Throat to Breathe”. Her symbols are the scorpion, the Ankh, and the Was Sceptre, all of which convey her benevolent aspects.

Read more at the Ancient History Encylopedia

(Image originally from Flickr, by Merce.)

Deities of Earth and Underworld

Chthonic in ancient Greek means “of the earth”, as opposed to the heavenly deities who lived in Olympus. These deities could be deities of the fertile earth, like agricultural deities, or else of the underworld. Heroes and the spirits of the dead were also considered chthonic.1

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Wolverine Myths

This post had its genesis in a question on reddit/mythology, encouraging other redditors to share their favourite myths from their home countries. I’ve always loved the fact that Wolverine made my world, especially if you look at it from an airplane, where the scars left by the retreating glaciers at the end of the Ice Age do make you think of claw marks.

Wolverine  made the world, and who mistook his own ass for caribou jerky. Coyote is the trickster out west, but among the East Coast Innu the wolverine took that role. Wolverine could also be a bully, which fits with the ferocious nature of the animal, who will fight bears 10 times their size.

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Elen of the Hosts: Goddess of Sovereignty, King Maker, Warrior Queen of the Britons

Historically, Elen of the Hosts was a real woman who lived in the 4th century, but in British legend and Welsh and Celtic mythology, may go back even further.  She appears to have been a woman of many roles that have grown and evolved over the centuries to the present day.

Read more at Folklore Thursday.

Ritona: goddess of the crossing

Ritona is not a well-known goddess, considering that she is attested by six different inscriptions1 from four different parts of modern France and Germany. This means that three different tribes acknowledged her as a power. According to Deo Mercurio “she must rank as one of the most major ‘minor’ deities from northeastern Gaul.”

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Maponos: the Son

The Celtic god Maponos had followers on both sides of the Channel: he was also one of the most commonly invoked gods along Hadrian’s Wall. He was no war-god, however, but a youthful deity, a musician and hunter. In the Roman era he was often called Apollo Maponos, linking him to another god of youth and youths.

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Nodens Silver Hand

Here’s another post on Nodens, which appeared just after mine. Lorna’s article is much more poetic, weaving together Irish, British and Welsh myth and literature. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Signposts in the Mist

Silver Hand of Nodens Med

Nodens ‘the Catcher’ was worshipped across Britain in the Romano-British period. This is evidenced by his temple at Lydney, an inscription at Vindolanda on Hadrian’s Wall, and two silver statuettes found in Lancashire on Cockerham Moss suggesting the existence of a nearby shrine.

In medieval Welsh literature Nodens appears as Lludd Llaw Eraint. Lludd originates from Nudd ‘Mist’ and ‘Llaw Eraint’ means ‘Silver Hand’. A bronze arm found in Nodens’ temple in Lydney supports this link. His iconography and identifications with Mars and Neptune suggest he was a sovereignty figure associated with hunting, fishing, war, mining, healing, water, weather, and dreams. Many of these skills would have depended on his catching hand, which was lost and replaced in silver. Sadly we have no Brythonic stories explaining how Nodens/Nudd/Lludd got his silver hand.

Therefore we must turn to the Irish myths and the story of Nodens’ cognate Nuada Airgetlám ‘Silver Hand’…

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Ogmios: Strong Persuader

Ogmios is a vaguer deity than the Irish god Ogma. Most of what we know about him comes from the Roman writer Lucan, who called him Hercules and described him as a master of persuasion and rhetoric. One inscription seems to record a dedication to him in fulfillment of a vow, and two curse tablets invoke him.

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Ogma: champion of the Tuatha

The Irish god Ogma combines aspects of Mercury and Hercules – he is the inventor of the ogham writing system and an orator and poet, but he is also the champion of the deities, their official warrior.

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