Friday, September 3, 2010
Dagda, Daghdha, The Father God.
The father god of Irish mythology, his name means 'The Good' he is master of all arts and knowledge, and can be seen as one of the most powerful gods in the Irish Celtic pantheon.
His symbols are the cauldron known as the Undry (inspiration and wisdom), and the club (primal power) the club was supposed to be able to kill nine men with one blow; but with the handle he could return the slain to life. His cauldron also has the power to restore life, and was always full, providing endless nourishment for his peoples.
In mythology he is the chief of the Tuatha de Dannan (The people of the goddess Dannan), and was a key figure in the overcoming of the Formorians. The Dagda is also associated with the bardic tradition, and has a magical harp in his possession, which flies into the hands of its true owner when called. It was known as Daurdabla (also known as The Four Angled Music), it was a richly ornamented magic harp made of oak, which when the Daghdha play it, put the seasons in their correct order. Other accounts tell of it being used to command the order of battle. He possessed two pigs, one of which was always growing whilst the other was always roasting, and ever-laden fruit trees.
His prowess as a lover appears many times in the Irish tales, which may link him to fertility; in any event he is the father of many of the Irish pantheon.
Also known as Eochaidh Mór (The Great Horseman) he was better known as the Daghdha an ancient name which meant the Good God and he was famous for his wisdom and generosity. He was a big man, who carried a great club with which he hit the earth so as to make the crops grow. Tremendously strong, he was a great builder of raths and forts. He was also a skilled musician on the harp, and if he had any fault it was his tendency to eat and drink too much.
The ‘great Daghdha’, as he was usually called, had his residence in Brugh na Bóinne (the tumulus at Newgrange on the bank of the Boyne). It is said that he fell in love with the lady Bóinn, a mystical woman after whom the river is named. She was the wife of the water-deity Nuadhu, nicknamed ‘Ealcmhar’, who lived in the well at the source of the river. The Daghdha thought of a plan to gain her love unknown to her husband, and for that reason he asked Ealcmhar to go on a message for him which would take nine days. When Ealcmhar was away, the Daghdha used his massive strength to tie the sun in the sky so that it did not move for nine months, and in that time he became the lover of Bóinn, and she gave birth to a baby-boy before her husband returned. The boy was called Aonghus and we will look at him in another post.
The Dagda (or sometimes just Dagda; Proto-Celtic: dagos-deiwos; Old Irish: dag dia; Irish: dea-Dia; all meaning "good god") is an important god of Irish mythology. The Dagda is a father-figure (he is also known as Eochaid Ollathair or "All-father Haughey") and a protector of the tribe. In some texts his father is Elatha, in others his mother is Ethlinn.