Philosophical Treatise on the Celtic Goddess Pantheon
Chult in Dark Ages
The Goddess Dana;The Great Mother;Mother Earth;Danu;Danann.
The most ancient God on Celtic record.Evidence of this most ancient Celtic God is found in the Irish Lebor Gabala,date to about 1000 C.E.. Dana is the mother of the Tuatha De Danann,who later dwindled to the Daoine Sidhe,the Sidhe-folk of Ireland.She was praised as the mother of the Gods, who is beyond all other Gods of this world.
The Name Dana means wisdom,or teacher, as in the English word don, or giving, as in the root of the word donate. Well,lest look first at the Tuatha De Danann,this name means "Children of Dana".Today,the Irish people, through their veneration for the good St.Bridget, render homage to the divine mother of the people who bear her name Dana--who are the ever-living invisible Faery-People of modern Ireland.
The Recorded mythology and literature of ancient Ireland have, very faithfully, perserved a clear picture of the Tuatha De Danann, and their Goddess Dana.Danu is recorded as being the Mother of the Dananns. Her name is usually associated with the Danube.There is also some speculation that in Proto-Celtic periods, the name Danu had been connected with the River Don, in Russia. Don is the Welsh goddess who is equivalent to the Irish Dana, and it seems likely tat she was an immigrant from Ireland, for the children of Don correspond Closely in character and Functions to the Children of Dana. Don is also connected with the River Don in Scotland.
There is a Possible link between the name Dana/Danu, the name Dione,as goddess name in Greece, and the goddess name, Diana, as known by the Romans.A major theme linked to the goddess of the Celtic Pantheon is the association to a particular body of water, usually a river,but at times a spring, lake, or the ocean.
The Divine Ancestress of the Celtic Boii tribe was known as Boann, and linked with the River Boyne in Ireland. Sequanna, a goddess of France, became linked with the River Shannon of Ireland.Linking their goddesses with various bodies of water in turn appears to have linked the Celtic reverence for the goddess as The Great Mare, for the white breakers of the ocean were described in Irish legend as the white mane of the Morrigan's head.
If we ponder how the sea and horse draw a parallel in the Celts' mind, we may see a connection in the double use of the word mare. It means sea in Latin and Russian, and is the root of the english word marine. At the same time it was used to designate a female horse. Both meanings of mare may have been derived from the same initial INdo-European source word, possibly the Sanskirt mah meaning mighty. This word may also be the foundation of the goddess names: Morrigan and Morgan--the roots gan, gin, and gen meaning birth, as in genesis and begin.
This interesting connection between the two words may suggest that the origin of the Pantheon was not in Ireland itself, but came from across the sea, and that the symbol of the first God, Dana, may very well have been that of a horse.
As an aspect of the Irish goddess worth noting is their wonderful and magickal ability to shape-change,not only as creatures, but also switching from an ugly Hag-state to that of a beautiful woman. The Morrigan becomes and eel, a wolf, a heifer, a raven, and serveral other diverse images of a mortal woman. Macha and the Cailleach Bera take the form of horses, and the Badb takes the form of Royston crows, and also alternating between Hag-state and a young woman.
In addition to these powers, there is the martial prowess of Celtic Goddesses, who often acted as ambassadors in battles and rivalries between the Celtic tribes, sitting in on peace councils when disputes were discussed.
There is the less documented image of the goddess among the Celts as the figure of the Goddess of Victory, as well as the mother of some of the gods, such as Tailltiu, the step-mother of Lugh, and the goddesses of healing, poetry, and fate.
Breifly summarizing this, I would like to go back over what I stated earlier.That the Goddess Dana,as well as the other major Celtic goddesses that I listed, were all linked together in some way,and also linked to a body of water.They also had magickal abilities allowing them to transform theirselves into images suitable to their needs at the time.