It seems strange, if you look at Irish or Welsh mythology, that there doesn’t seem to be any thunder-god like Thor. However, among the Celtic peoples of continental Europe, we find the god Taranis, whose name means “thunder” and who sometimes wields a thunderbolt.1
I was seriously tempted to call this piece “Cernunnos: God of Bling”. This may seem a wildly inappropriate way to describe a god revered by neo-Pagans and possibly the divine ancestor of the Gauls, but when so many images of him feature one or more torcs, which are simply enormous gold necklaces, how can you resist?
Searching out Minervas always feels like seeing through a scrim; when you look at the Roman goddess, you see her through the Greek and Etruscan influences that went into her making. Looking at the Celtic goddesses who were compared to Minerva, named for her, or depicted in her image, you see through yet another veil, trying to discern the Celtic form under the Roman covering.
Check out my piece on Cernunnos and Flidais on the Dun Brython blog.
This is an extremely condensed look at the goddess Brigantia. For a much more detailed study, see my book Brigantia: Goddess of the North.
The Brigantian federation stretched over most of northern England, and their queen, Cartimandua, is one of the few female rulers known to history. But the fame of their goddess, Brigantia, comes from a Roman statue.
In this post I have assembled all the written evidence I could find for sun-worship in pre-Christian Germanic and Scandinavian culture. I haven’t covered rock art or other visual evidence for the cult of the sun here as that is a post in itself.
In my first post on Rosmerta, I focused on her as a goddess in her own right. This time around, I want to examine the ideas put forth in Michael Enright’s thesis Lady with a mead-cup, which argues that the cult of Rosmerta and Mercury was the basis for the later cult of Odin and various prophetic, mead-serving goddesses (and others) associated with him.
Julius Caesar wrote that the Gauls believed they were descended from Dis Pater. In his writings, he did not give the local names for his deities, substituting ones his readers would recognize. (This is a classic instance of the interpretatio romana, giving foreign deities Roman names and attributes.)
Rattawy, or Raet, is the feminine form of the Egyptian sun-god Ra. The longer form of her name means “Raet of the Two Lands”. Although her name would suggest that she was merely a form of Ra, she seems to have led an independent existence from the 19th Dynasty onward. It is not clear if she was always an independent goddess or if she was an offshoot of the Ra cult that took on a life of its own.
Since the goddess Rosmerta often (not always) appears with the Roman god Mercury in both inscriptions and art, it is generally assumed that she is his consort, and the images that show her with his attributes indicate that he was the more powerful partner. There is a strong case to be made, however, for reading it the other way around.