Celtic History

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Posted by Sir Randal MacNiall Bundy on January 11, 1998 at 09:15:10:

It is felt that others may share an interest
in the History that I personnaly have found
very enlightening. This article is presented
here for all citizens of Ladonia and for the
Knights of Ladonia.

Submitted on 01-11-98 by Sir Randal MacNiall Bundy

The Celtic Ancestor Gods.

Beli Mawr (the Great), God of the Sun

Beli Mawr, called Belenos by the Romans, was the Celtic
God of the Sun, representing the curative powers of the
Sun’s heat. His festival of Beltane, when bonfires were
lit to welcome in the Summer and encourage the Sun’s
warmth, was held on May 1st, and is remembered in
today's May Day festivities. His symbols were the horse
(as shown, for example, by the clay horse figurine
offerings at Beli’s Sainte-Sabine shrine in Burgundy),
and also the Wheel (as illustrated on the famous
Gundestrup Cauldron). Perhaps, like Apollo, whom he
became identified with, Beli was thought to ride the
Sun across the sky in a horse-drawn chariot. Indeed,
a Celtic model horse and wagon, carrying a gilded
sun-disc, has been found at Trundholm in Denmark.
Sometimes he is illustrated riding a single horse,
throwing thunder-bolts (hence an occasional idenification
with Jupiter) and using his symbolic radiating wheel as
a shield, as he tramples the chthonic forces of a
snake-limbed giant. This personification is similar to
the classic depiction of the Archangel St.Michael
defeating the Devil. Sacred pagan hills associated
with Beli, are thought to have had their dedications
transferred to this saint (or sometimes St.George)
by the early Christians. Well known examples include
St.Michael’s Mount (Cornwall) and the churches of
St.Michael on Brent Tor (Devon), and Burrow Mump and
Glastonbury Tor (Somerset): All on a supposed ley line
that faces the Rising Sun at Beltane. He may also have
been worshipped on Dragon Hill below the great Uffington
White Horse in Berkshire.

Don, Goddess of Fertility

Don was known, in the Celtic World, by several similar
names: Danu or Anu being the most popular alternatives.
She was a Mother-Goddess, the wife of Beli Mawr (the Great)
and considered to be the ancestor of all the Gods, the
Tuatha dé Danann, who found themselves obliged to the
reside in the Otherworld when Miled brought the Celts
to the British Isles. She still looks down on us from the
night's sky where she appears as Llys Don, better known
as Casseopeia. Don was especially popular in Munster,
though her most lasting memorial is a mountain in County
Kerry called the Dá Chích Anann or "Breast of Anu". The
Dane Hills in Leicestershire are also named after her and
this area, perhaps a major centre for her cult, is where
her memory lives on as Black Annis. This hideous old
crone's habit of eating young children was, no doubt,
invented by incoming Christians to blacken the name of
the Celtic Goddess. In Christendom, the lady usually
took on the guise of St.Anne, however, in order to smooth
the path of conversion. This saint's popularity in
Brittany probably stems from the previous worship of
the Celtic Goddess there. Don was also the patroness of
springs and fountains, hence the numerous St.Anne's
Wells throughout Britain today. Early medieval historians
confused Don (alias Anu) with Anna, the daughter of
St.Joseph of Arimathea. In Arthurian legend she probably
appears as Annowre, a sorceress who imprisoned Arthur in
the Perilous Forest.

Lludd Llaw Ereint (the Silver-Handed), God of Health & Healing

Lludd (or Nudd), called Nodens by the Romans, was the Celtic
God of Healing, and the son of Beli Mawr (the Great). He had
a large shrine at Lydney in Gloucestershire, where the
devoted made offerings of small bronze representations of
their diseased limbs. He was sometimes identified with
the protective Mars or the regenerative Silvanus and his
companion and symbol was the dog: a deerhound whose lick
could cure the afflicted. An old story explains his connection
with amputees. At one time, Lludd was the leader of the gods,
but he was wounded in battle and lost his hand. Gorfannon,
the divine-smith, made him a new one out of Silver, but he
was still forced to abdicate in
favour of his nephew, Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Later, Lludd was
troubled by a constant scream that was heard the eve of every
Beltane. He travelled to Gaul, where his brother, Llefelys,
was particularly worshipped, to ask his advice. He explained
that the cry was made by two fighting dragons. Lludd managed
to capture the creatures and imprisoned them deep below Dinas
Emrys. Lludd may have been particularly worshipped in London,
which was said to have been named after him.

Afallach, God of the Underworld

Afallach was the son of Lludd Llaw Ereint (the Silver-Handed).
He was one of the Celtic gods of the Underworld. He ruled Avalon
where he lived with his daughter, Modron, and her nine sisters.
was like the Celtic heaven, a peaceful island far away where
apples grew and after which it became named. It is, of course,
best known as the place where the High-King Arthwyr was taken
after he was fatally wounded at the Battle of Camlann. Afallach
himself appears in Arthurian legends as King Evelake


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