Reply To: Here comes the sun, Lugh, Lughnasad, Danu

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum Here comes the sun, Lugh, Lughnasad, Danu Reply To: Here comes the sun, Lugh, Lughnasad, Danu



That’s some interesting information. Nevertheless, after having gone down many false paths and on many a wild goose chase myself, I’m wary of etymologies that draw parallels between diverse languages and cultures that were not connected in time or place with each other. I don’t think it’s wise to connect Indo-European languages with Afro-Asiatic, Japanese and so on unless a real historical link or connection can be proven.

Just of example, the Roman goddess Ceres is indeed connected to the word cereal and this seems to come from a root word meaning to feed or grow. However, our word corn seems to come from a different Indo-European root which meant to ripen, grow old or mature. Kali is, I believe, the Sanskrit feminine form of time; Kamadhenu in Hindu tradition is connected to cows. Cybele was an Phrygian goddess who was the “Mountain Mother” and, moreover, there are plenty of deities – male and female – associated with grain, corn, earth or vegetation from around the world that don’t seem to have similar names at all: Pachamama, Demeter, Kore is an aspect of Persephone, Saturn, Chronos, Centeōtl, Chicomecōātl, Xochipilli, Osiris (Wesir) and so and so forth and they all come very distinct cultures and epochs. If we go back far enough, we could also ask whether our pre-agricultural ancestors, the hunter-gatherers of the Stone Age(s) even had any notion of a god/goddess specifically associated with agriculture seeing as they did not practise agriculture themselves.

In Gaelic tradition we have the Cailleach or seanbhean, but she is associated with winter and cold weather and is quite terrifying in folklore, she might be connected to the equally terrifying Welsh Gwrach-y-Rhibyn – the terrifying “hag/witch of the mist”, and the agricultural rites associated with the Cailleach in Scotland appear to be more centred upon keeping her away from your homestead! Focusing more specifically on Cerridwen, there isn’t one, agreed etymology but the ones that are proposed: “fair and loved”, “crooked woman” or “crooked white one” are not very informative, not very convincing and not easily connected to anything to do with agriculture unless, of course, we make an enormous poetic leap, perhaps, and associate the crooked or hooked motif with the sickle that reaps the corn, but that would not really be proof of anything other than our own speculation. The main issue with Cerridwen, for me, is that she does not appear anywhere else other than in Welsh medieval literature and there is no evidence from Iron-Age, Roman, sub-Roman Britain or Gaul to support the notion that she was known to the pre-Christian Celtic-speaking peoples of Britain, let alone Ireland. On the other hand, albeit not fraught with difficulties, Brigit, Rhiannon, Lleu/Lugh, Beli Mawr, Modron and Mabon and so on may indeed have a connection if only in name; Ronald Hutton, for that matter, even casts doubts on these. It doesn’t leave us with much at times.

Finally, I think we need to remember how stratified these societies were in terms of classes and castes. Even in the Middle Ages, it is unlikely that a poor farmer would have been listening to the court bards of a Welsh king and in the pre-Roman Iron Age, Celtic societies were highly stratified and it wasn’t much fun to be a serf. This leads us to the question as to whether a Celtic farmer would have known about the lofty concepts of the bards of court or would they have pursued their own more down-to-earth folk religion?

Whatever the case, it’s fascinating stuff to explore and, naturally, everyone is entitled to their own spiritual inspiration and choice of belief-path.


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