Danu and Gaia

Discuss Druid Lore and Legends, Celtic mythology, comparative mythology...
Forum rules
If you find a topic of interest and want to continue the discussion then start a new topic under The Hearthfire with a similar name and add a link back to the topic you want to continue.
To copy a link just copy the url on the top left of your browser and then put in your post, highlight it and press the url button.
User avatar
TRAKER
OBOD Bard
Posts: 15
Joined: 22 Aug 2010, 22:32
Gender: Male
Location: Birmingham, UK
Contact:

Danu and Gaia

Postby TRAKER » 27 Oct 2010, 16:52

I have recently begun to think about this question. Is Danu comparable to Gaia? Could Danu be seen as a 'Mother Earth' figure as Gaia is. It seems to to me that the Irish pantheon is almost a blend of Polytheism and Pantheism with Gods associated with different aspect of the world (Lugh for light and harvests, Manannan for the sea). But there seem to be some deities that are viewed along almost Pantheistic lines (Danu for the land and Lir for the sea). What are your opinions on this?

With thanks and blessings.

User avatar
DJ Droood
OBOD Druid
Posts: 5558
Joined: 02 Feb 2003, 18:52
Gender: Male
Location: North Eastern North America
Contact:

Re: Danu and Gaia

Postby DJ Droood » 27 Oct 2010, 17:25

I have recently begun to think about this question. Is Danu comparable to Gaia? Could Danu be seen as a 'Mother Earth' figure as Gaia is. It seems to to me that the Irish pantheon is almost a blend of Polytheism and Pantheism with Gods associated with different aspect of the world (Lugh for light and harvests, Manannan for the sea). But there seem to be some deities that are viewed along almost Pantheistic lines (Danu for the land and Lir for the sea). What are your opinions on this?

With thanks and blessings.
I am currently reading Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans by Ceisiwr Serith. (most excellent book, btw...very readable and geared to practicing pagans...not a dry, scholarly tome.) He says that Danu is an Indo-European river goddess...think the Danube, Dneiper, Donn....that the Proto-I E people brought with them in their cultural travels. They had a seperate Earth Mother-type goddess that morphed into different forms in the various Indo-European cultures, and served different purposes in ritual.

Not sure if this is the definitive answer for the Danu question, but that is the one stuck in my head at the moment.
Image
2010 LI
2011 LI
2013 BS
Image
12/10-Ancestors
"If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe."
Kerry Thornley

User avatar
Heddwen
OBOD Druid
Posts: 3132
Joined: 26 Sep 2007, 16:06
Gender: Female
Location: West Wales
Contact:

Re: Danu and Gaia

Postby Heddwen » 27 Oct 2010, 17:38

I always understood that the origins of Don were rooted in the Danube too. She's also Danu/Anu. In Wales, Don is a mother Goddess and is referenced within The Mabinogion, although I'm not sure if She's seen in quite the same way as Gaia.

User avatar
DJ Droood
OBOD Druid
Posts: 5558
Joined: 02 Feb 2003, 18:52
Gender: Male
Location: North Eastern North America
Contact:

Re: Danu and Gaia

Postby DJ Droood » 27 Oct 2010, 17:55

I always understood that the origins of Don were rooted in the Danube too. She's also Danu/Anu. In Wales, Don is a mother Goddess and is referenced within The Mabinogion, although I'm not sure if She's seen in quite the same way as Gaia.

I suppose a river goddess could also be a mother goddess, in that the river gives and is the center of life for a community, but no necessarily an "earth" goddess.
Image
2010 LI
2011 LI
2013 BS
Image
12/10-Ancestors
"If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe."
Kerry Thornley

User avatar
TRAKER
OBOD Bard
Posts: 15
Joined: 22 Aug 2010, 22:32
Gender: Male
Location: Birmingham, UK
Contact:

Re: Danu and Gaia

Postby TRAKER » 27 Oct 2010, 18:20

Thank you for the replies.
I feel a bit dumb since I had already heard the River Goddess theory and had simply forgotten it. I have to admit though, I'm not quite sure about the definition of a 'Mother Goddess'. I have heard it before but I'm not sure what it actually means for the character and associations of the Goddess it is tied to. What defines a mother goddess? Any information you can give would be very appreciated.
Sorry for going off on a tangent.

With Thanks and Blessings.

User avatar
DJ Droood
OBOD Druid
Posts: 5558
Joined: 02 Feb 2003, 18:52
Gender: Male
Location: North Eastern North America
Contact:

Re: Danu and Gaia

Postby DJ Droood » 28 Oct 2010, 00:15

I have to admit though, I'm not quite sure about the definition of a 'Mother Goddess'. I have heard it before but I'm not sure what it actually means for the character and associations of the Goddess it is tied to. What defines a mother goddess? Any information you can give would be very appreciated.
Well, I'm just pulling stuff out of my hat here, but I think a "mother goddess" could be either a local geographical feature like maybe a river or fields....something that obviously gives and nurtures life, or perhaps a "tribal" mother...the "spirit" of the feminine progenitor and/or spiritual sustainer of a community...maybe even a whole culture.... perhaps the abstract "life force" that produces new life.....Cosmologically, it could be the sun, although I am so steeped in the greco-roman (judeo-christian?) mindset that I find it hard to wrap my head around that...I think of "sun god", but I think Celts considered the sun a goddess....the ultimate mother.

That is the way I would conceptualize "mother goddess".

Sorry for going off on a tangent.
your thread!
Image
2010 LI
2011 LI
2013 BS
Image
12/10-Ancestors
"If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe."
Kerry Thornley

User avatar
Huathe
Posts: 628
Joined: 13 Sep 2010, 03:42
Gender: Male
Location: Asheville NC USA
Contact:

Re: Danu and Gaia

Postby Huathe » 28 Oct 2010, 05:39

Traker,

Dana is the primal earth goddess, the land, sea, and sky ( atmosphere ) itself. It is from her womb that all life has emerged. Dana has all the tending, nurturing, and soul-nourishing qualities of a mother. I look at God, the great shaper of all things as the heavenly father.

Yes, I believe Dana And Gaia are the same. Both in a spiritual way and that of the literal Planet Earth.

Not only should we be thankful to God And Dana, our Sun is another that deserves recognition. Without our star life could not exist.

While I am a Christian Druid and uphold a monotheistic God as my center of worship I can respect others views and beliefs on the sprirituality of Dana. Dana, or Gaia is well deserving of being called a " mother goddess ". I am not at all offended by that thought, despite my Christian beliefs.
James E Parton
Bardic Course Graduate - Ovate Student
New Order of Druids

" We all cry tears, we all bleed red "_Ronnie Dunn

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/
http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145
http://www.burningman.com/

User avatar
DaRC
OBOD Ovate
Posts: 4523
Joined: 06 Feb 2003, 17:13
Gender: Male
Location: Sussex
Contact:

Re: Danu and Gaia

Postby DaRC » 01 Nov 2010, 15:24

I tend to agree with Droood on this. Danu / Anu seems to be a primordial river goddess, which in Celtic myths seems to be related to the spirit of the land. Look at the story of Boann (the river Boyne), as precised here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boann, to see the link. She is married to Nuada the King of the Irish Gods. This link of a River Goddess to a male Tribal God seems to be typical of the Celtic worldview. In this respect each land of the Celts would have had their own primordial river goddess linked to their own tribal King of the Gods.

Gaia is the Greek mother earth - so encompassing the whole of the earth, the rivers etc... and is so integral to the Classical Greco-Roman wordview.

In my experience this is the risk with trying to equate a goddess from one worldview with another. Certainly within the Romano-British world it seems that they had the same problems, for example Nodens (or Nuada in Irish) is equated with the Roman Mars, Neptune and Silvanus. In trying to abstract the two goddesses into a single archetype you miss the nuances and subtleties that are the detail, thus the wisdom, in each of the mythologies. I have been through a similar process with the Germanic and Celtic and ultimately came to realise that you lose more in the details than you gain in the commonality.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
http://gewessiman.blogspot.co.uk Image


Return to “Mythology and Lore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests