A Collection of Celtic Goddesses in Art

Celtic goddesses come from many different regions including Ireland, Scotland, Britain and Wales. Here is a small selection of these goddesses and their representations in art.

In Celtic myth and folktales, the goddess Aine is said to be Queen of the Fairies. Some say that when the fairies gather together in fairy rings to celebrate, Aine may even join the festivities. She is also believed to be a solar deity and is most likely to appear in mid-summer's eve.

'Midsummer Eve' - Edward Robert Hughes
In Welsh folklore, the goddess Cerridwen is also referred to as the white sow. It is believed that she can shapeshift and that she wanders the land in the form of a pig, representing her connection to fertility, harvest and abundance.

Cerridwen – Christopher Williams, 1910
 
In Scotland and Ireland the Cailleach was both a weather deity, divine hag and creator goddess. In Scotland she was known as Beira, Queen of Winter, and was believed to have created mountain ranges. She is connected to the cold, snow and winds.

Eran Fowler
The Morrigan or 'Phantom Queen' is a Celtic goddess of war, fertility and fate. She is associated with the crow and is believed to assume its form to foretell the outcome of battles. Often a crow would appear over battlefields as an omen of death.

Olivia Rayner, Celtic Wisdom Tarot

Arianrhod is a Welsh chthonic goddess and a star and moon deity. Her name means ‘silver wheel’ because she is believed to carry souls to the afterlife on her silver wheel, symbolising re-birth. 

Anne Stokes

Elen of the Ways is a fascinating and little known British goddess also known as Elen of the Hosts. She was a goddess of sovereignty with connections to shamanism in earlier times and in later times to the Emperor of Rome.

Amanda Lindupp

 
Morgan le Fay features in the Arthurian legends as a powerful enchantress. In early versions of the tales she has the role of a goddess, fairy or witch and is protective of Arthur. In later versions she had a more dualistic nature with the capacity for both good and evil.

Morgan le Fay - Frederick Sandys, 1864

Also featuring in the Arthurian legends is Nimue or the lady of the lake. Throughout the legends there are many different ladies of the lake, possibly connected to Welsh water fairies, with many taking on the role of sorceress. The lady of the lake is responsible for presenting Arthur with the sword Excalibur, raising the hero Lancelot after his father's death and, as Nimue, bewitching Merlin and trapping him beneath a rock.

'The Beguiling of Merlin' - Edward Burne-Jones, 1877

Arthur Rackham in Malory's Morte D'Arthur

See also my posts about the Welsh goddess Rhiannon and the Irish goddess Brigid on this blog.

Comments



Instagram

curiousordinary