There are several Celtic Gods and Goddesses associated with death and rebirth, and the journey of souls
to and from the Otherworld. In time we expect to include Deities from other cultures here as well.
- King of the Underworld of Annwn. A wise, mysterious figure who leads across the land a pack of wild, white
hounds, with red-tipped ears, sometimes straying into the world of men. He is the rival of Hafgan (Summer-White).
He is a powerful protector, who patrols places which appear unsafe to travellers. He also gives access to
- Bilé is an Irish God, cognate with Bel and Belenos (the Bright One) in Brythonic tradition. He is a
god of death whose feast day is on May Eve and 1 May -- Beltaine. He is also a god of solar healing. In some
texts Bilé is known as the "father of gods and men" and husband to Dana. In other texts he appears as
father of Milesius, who significantly comes from "Spain," a synonym for the Land of the Dead. He had profound
influence throughout the Celtic world, apparently as a god of both life and death.
- The Cailleach
- The Cailleach, or Old Woman, of Beara, originates in Ireland, but her story perhaps survives better in
the folklore of Scotland. It is obvious that the stories about the Cailleach must have been handed
down from a very early period. She is also known in Wales as the Old Woman or Mountain Mother. Mountains,
lakes, and islands owe their existence or their location to her, and cairns are said to be stones that have fallen
from her apron. A note in the Book of Lecan says that she "passed into seven periods of youth, so that every
husband used to pass from her to death of old age and so that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren
were peoples and races." Therefore, her tale seems to be both a foundation myth and a creation myth. She is
said to be one of Lugh's wives, and is also called Buí (yellow). Each winter she reigns as the Queen of
the Four Red Divisions, and every spring drinks from the Well of Youth and so grows young again.
- The Dagda
- In Ireland, the Dagda, or "good god," is the Father of the Gods. He is the Lord of Great Knowledge, and the
god of Druidism, who carries a giant magic club which could slay men with one end and restore or heal them
with the other. Therefore, he is sometimes said to be the God of Death, and yet he is also the Red One of All
Knowing, who holds the Cauldron of Undry, one of the major treasures of the Tuatha de Danaan, from which no
one went away unsatisfied. The Dagda also rules the dispensing of the brughs (or palaces) to the other
members of the Tuatha de Danaan.
- "To me, to my house, ye shall all come after your death." The Irish Donn, Lord of the Dead, resides in Tech
Duinn (the House of Donn), the assembly-place of the dead on their way to Tir na nOg (Land of the Young). He is
the son of Mider the Proud. Tech Duinn is placed on an island off the southwest of Ireland, and the belief has
survived in Ireland that on moonlit nights the souls of the dead can be seen over the Skellig rocks.
- Gwyn ap Nudd
- In Welsh tradition, he is the leader of the Wild Hunt through the skies with the darkening of the year. The
prey he hunts are the souls of the Year's dead, whom he gathers and herds to their rightful place in the
Otherworld on Samhain.
- Manannán mac Lir
- Manannán son of Lir is the Lord of the Sea, where the Islands of the Dead lie. He rules from Emain
Ablach (Emain of the Apple Trees) in the Land of Promise. He appears more frequently in the Irish lore than
most gods, and is always described as a handsome and noble warrior. He is cognate with the Welsh sea-god
Manawyddan son of Llyr. He has several magickal items: his boat, Wavesweeper, which knows and obeyed a
man's thoughts and goes without oar or sail, and his horse Aonbarr ("Splendid Mane"), who can travel as well over
the waves as on land, and a sword called "The Answerer," which no armor can resist. He is a master of illusion,
and wears a great cloak which is capable of taking on every kind of color, like the sea. He is considered the
protector of Ireland.
- The Mórrígán
- A major Irish goddess of war, death, and slaughter. Her name seems to signify either 'Great Queen' or
'Queen of the Phantoms,' and she is often said to be a triune goddess, collectively called The Morrígna,
with Macha ('personification of battle'), Badb ('scald-crow,' also sometimes given as 'fury'), and Nemain ('venemous'),
all of whom haunt battlefields and prophesy carnage. She is also listed as one of the five battle goddesses,
Fea ('hateful') being included with the others named above. In any event, it is clear that the Mórrígán
is the supreme war goddess. Her favorite shape is that of a crow or raven. She assisted the Tuatha de Danaan
in the Second Battle of Mag Tured after the Dagda curried her favor by sleeping with her on Samhain. She tried to
incite Cuchulainn to make love to her, but he rejected her advances and so they fought and he managed to
wound her. For this, his fate was sealed, and so began his "death ride" against the forces of Queen Medb of
Connacht's army, related in the epic Táin Bó Cuailgne or "The Cattle Raid of Cooley." She
also appeared to Conaire Mór before his death at Da Derga's Hostel.
- The Irish Ogma is the Champion of the King of the Gods. He is the one that accepts challenges to the truth.
As Champion, Ogma ("sun-face") is the guardian of the spirits of the dead as they journey to the Otherworld.
He wields the sword Orna that came from the hand of Tethra, and so herds the cattle of Tethra to the Underworld
at the rising of the sun. He has also suffered death, yet never dies. Ogma can be equated to the light that faces
us in the tunnel of death, questioning, yet accepting, demanding truth and receiving only truth from our spirit's
voice. It is through our encounter with him that the dawn occurs and that we are admitted to the company of the