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)

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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Dione and the Oracle at Dodona

The oracle at Dodona was the oldest in Greece, with only Delphi rivaling it in prestige. There was a main temple, probably dedicated to Zeus and Dione, with several smaller temples around the site. (At least one, near the theatre, had dedications to Aphrodite, Dione’s daughter by Zeus, according to local myth.)

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Dione: the Divine

Dione, whose name means Divine or Goddess, is mainly known as Aphrodite’s mother, but she had her own cult, centred around the oracle at Dodona. She was probably a Mycenean goddess, but her origin is somewhat mysterious.

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Link

The god who is willing to play a high price for justice, for the protection of his tribe, is found in many Indo-European religions. In the Irish pantheon we find Nuadhu, often known as Nuadhu Airgetlam (Silver Hand or Arm)…

via Catching Wisdom: Nuadhu, Nechtan, Nodens – Finnchuill’s Mast

Nuada: the king with the silver arm

The Irish god Nuada is known for three things: his magical sword, his sliver arm, and losing the kingship twice. HIs losses, however, define him in ways that show his quality.

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Nehalennia – from Livius.org

Nehalennia is known from more than 160 votive altars, which were almost all discovered in the Dutch province of Zeeland. (Two altars were discovered in Cologne, the capital of Germania Inferior.) All of them can be dated to the second and early third centuries CE.

via Nehalennia – Livius

Nodons: healing god

It may seem strange that in Roman times the British god Nodens, famous for his healing shrine, was associated with Mars, a god more likely to do damage than to cure it. However, other Celtic “Mars” gods such as Lenus and Ocelus were healers, and not just to soldiers or men, but women and children.

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Esus: the third god

When the Roman poet Lucan wanted to show the savagery of Gaulish religion, he used the bloodthirsty cults of three Gaulish gods to make his point: Taranis, Toutatis and Esus. While the first two had well-established cults in Gaul and Britain, Esus is more elusive.

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