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Celtic Goddess Names - B

Badb is the Irish goddess of war. She often assumes the form of a raven or carrion-crow, her favorite disguise, and is then referred to as Badb Catha, meaning "battle raven". Not only did she take part in battles themselves, she also influenced their outcome by causing confusion among the warriors with her magic. The battle-field is often called 'land of Badb'. She formed part of a triad of war-goddesses with Macha (Nemain) and the Morrigan.

Badbh Catha
The Irish crow goddess. The crow and the raven are shape-shift forms of the goddess; especially Morrigan, Rhiannon and Nanosuelta, and were considered oracles due to their distinctive voices. They were called Cathubodva or "Raven of Battle" in many Celtic myths. Badbc Catha was a form of Morrigan, the great Irish War Goddess. She sometimes took the form of a hooded crow, a wolf, a bear or a heifer, or a giant woman who straddled a river with one foot on each bank.

("pig", "sow") The Irish goddess who represents the spirit of Ireland, thought to be the first settler in Ireland. She is part of a trinity of goddesses; the daughters of Fiachna, together with Fodla and Eriu. Amergin, the son of Miled, promised her the honor of naming the island after her. Banba is a poetic name for Ireland. Initially, she may have been a goddess of war, as well as a fertility goddess. Her name derives from the same root as "sow", or "pig". Banbha was the wife of the Tuatha King MacCuill.

A common name for the Irish Bean Sidhe. In Scotland the banshee is known as caoineag (wailing woman) and, although seldom seen, she is often heard in the hills and glens, by lakes or running water (see also Bean Nighe).

Baobhan Sith
The White Women of the Scottish highlands. These women are ghost-like vampires who assume the shape of beautiful women and invite men to dance with them, and drink their blood.

An Irish goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, associated with a magic well.

Bean Nighe
The Washer at the Fords, she is the Scottish version of the Irish Bean Sidhe (Banshee). She wanders near deserted streams where she washes the blood from the grave-clothes of those who are about to die. It is said that Bean Nighe are the spirits of women who died giving birth and are doomed to do this work until the day their lives would have normally ended. A Bean Nighe is thought to have one nostril, one big protruding tooth, webbed feet and long hanging breasts. A mortal who is bold enough to sneak up to her while she is washing and suck her breast can claim to be her foster-child. The mortal can then gain a wish from her. The Washer of the Fords is sometimes known under the generic name of ban nighechain (little washerwoman) or nigheag na h-ath (little washer at the ford).

Bean Sidhe
In Irish folklore, the Bean Sidhe (woman of the hills) is a spirit or fairy who presage a death by wailing. She is popularly known as the Banshee. She visits a household and by wailing she warns them that a member of their family is about to die. When a Banshee is caught, she is obliged to tell the name of the doomed. The antiquity of this concept is vouched for by the fact that the Morrigan, in a poem from the 8th century, is described as washing spoils and entrails. It was believed in County Clare that Richard the Clare, the Norman leader of the 12th century, had met a horrible beldame, washing armor and rich robes "until the red gore churned in her hands", who warned him of the destruction of his host. The Bean Sidhe has long streaming hair and is dressed in a gray cloak over a green dress. Her eyes are fiery red from the constant weeping. When multiple Banshees wail together, it will herald the death of someone very great or holy. The Scottish version of the Banshee is the Bean Nighe.

An Irish underworld goddess and a patron of pleasure.

Bendith Y Mamau
("the mothers' blessing") The Bendith Y Mamau is a rather unpleasant clan of Welsh fairies. They are ugly creatures, and are sometimes regarded as the result of interbreeding between goblins and fairies. They steal children and substitute them for their own ugly ones, called Crimbils. Through the intervention of a witch, the parents can regain the stolen child, who will remember nothing of its time with the Bendith Y Mamau, except for a vague recollection of sweet music.

Black Annis
In England, Black Annis is a blue-faced hag who lives in a cave in the Dane Hills, Leicestershire. The cave, called "Black Annis' Bower Close" was dug out of the rock with her own nails. Situated in front of it is a great oak in which she hides to leap out and catch and devour stray children and lambs. Every year on Easter Monday, it was customary to hold a drag hunt from her cave to the Mayor's house. The bait was a dead cat drenched in aniseed.

Wife of King Cu Roi. She fell in love with Cuchulainn and betrayed her husband by showing Cuchulainn how to penetrate her husband's castle. In the ensuing battle Cuchulainn killed Cu Roi and abducted Blathnat and Cu Roi's bard, Fer Cherdne. When they stopped for the night on a cliff top, Fer Cherdne revenged his king by grabbing Blathnat and jumping off the cliff to their deaths.

("flowerface") In Welsh legend, Blodeuwedd was created out of oak, broom, and meadowsweet flowers by Gwydion to wed Llew Llaw Gyffes. She betrayed Llew, either because she had no soul, being non-human; or because she resented being his chattel. The drama of one of a triplicity of woman and two men must play itself out in Welsh myth, and Llew Llaw Gyffes must die.

She fell in love with Goronwy and, wishing to be rid of Llew, she tricked out of him the clearly supernatural and ritual manner in which only he could be killed: neither by day nor night, indoors nor out of doors, riding nor walking, clothed nor naked, nor by any weapon lawfully made. She asked him to explain this, and he did: he could be killed only if it were twilight, wrapped in a fish net, with one foot on a cauldron and the other on a goat, and if the weapon had been forged during sacred hours when such work was forbidden. Blodeuwedd convinced him to demonstrate how impossible such a position was to achieve by chance, and when he was in it, her lover Goronwy leapt out and struck. Llew was transformed into an eagle and eventually restored to human form, after which he killed Goronwy. Blodeuwedd was transformed into an owl, to haunt the night in loneliness and sorrow, shunned by all other birds.
(Boann) ("she of the white cattle") The Irish goddess goddess of bounty and fertility, whose totem is the sacred white cow, the tutelary goddess of the River Boyne. She is the wife of the water god Nechtan or of Elcmar, and consort of the Dagda, by whom she was the mother of the god Aengus. To hide their union from Nechtan, Boann and the Dagda caused the sun to stand still for nine months, so that Aengus was conceived and born on the same day.
The Irish goddess of battle. She prophesied the doom of the Tuatha Dé Danann after the Battle of Mag Tuireadh (Moytura).

Bodb Dearg
(Bodb the red).Irish. A daughter (son?) of the Daghda, and the tutelary God over southern Connacht and part of Munster.

("victory") An Irish and British female personification of Victory, especially in a martial sense. A very appropriate personification of her is seen in the historical Boadicca, Queen of the Iceni, who fought the Romans to a standstill in the first century CE. Although she ultimately lost, this original Victoria resembles her namesake very strongly.

("white raven", "white crow") In the Welsh epic Mabinogion, she is a central figure, wed to the High King of Ireland and thereby encompassing the doom of both the Irish and Britons. Her brother Bran invaded Ireland to rescue her from the degradation she experienced at the hands of a vengeful Court.

Branwen, daughter of Llyr and Penarddun, and sister of Bran and Manawydan; and half-sister of Nisien and Efnisien. Matholwch of Ireland sued for her hand, and gave horses to Bran. Efnisien mutilated the horses, nearly precipitating warfare, but Matholwch was appeased by the gift of a cauldron that could resurrect the dead. Branwen wed him, and went to Ireland, where she bore him a son, Gwern. But the Irish began to complain about their foreign queen, and she was banished to the kitchen, where she was a slave and boxed on the ears by the butcher daily. This lasted three years, during which Branwen trained a starling to speak and sent it to Wales, where it told Bran of her plight, and he sailed to rescue her.

Matholwch was terrified at the sight of a forest approaching Ireland across the sea: no one could make it out, until he called for Branwen, who explained it as Bran's navy, and Bran himself wading through the water. He sued for peace, they built a house big enough for Bran, and Matholwch agreed to settle the kingdom on Gwern. Some Irish lords objected, and hid themselves in flour bags to attack the Welsh. But Efnisien, scenting Irish treachery, cast them into the fire, and then cast Gwern himself in, thereby avoiding the geas against shedding kinsmen's blood. A war broke out, and the Irish replenished themselves through the cauldron. Efnisien, repenting, sacrificed himself by feigning death and being thrown into the cauldron, which he then broke, dying in the process. Only seven Welshmen survived, and Bran was fatally wounded. His head, which remained alive and talking, was returned to Wales and buried, and soon afterwards Branwen sailed to Aber Alaw and died. She is one of the matriarchs of Britain, as are Rhiannon and Arianrhod.

An Irish goddess, wife of the Dagda.

Scotland's version of the Celtic Irish Brigid.

Celtic French version of the Celtic Irish Brigid.

Another form of Brigit, the protective deity of the Irish Celts. She holds an orb and wears the crown of queenship, also holding the spear of Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom. As the tutelary deity of warfare (briga), her soldier acolytes were known as brigands. The British
tutelary goddess of the Brigantes in Yorkshire, and the goddess of the rivers Braint and Brent, which were named after her. Brigantia was also a pastoral goddess associated with flocks and cattle. During the Roman occupation she was associated with the Roman goddess Caelestis as Caelestis Brigantia.

(Brigit) Brighid was the Gaelic goddess of fertility, therapy, metalworking, and poetic inspiration. She is the wife of Bres. She is known as Caridwen (Cerridwen) in Wales. There are three sisters by the name of Brigit in Irish myth (daughters of In Dagda) who are the patron-goddesses of learning (poetry), healing and smithcraft.

(Breo Saighead, Brid, Brighid [Eriu], Brigindo, Brigandu [Gaul], Brigan, Brigantia, Brigantis [Briton], Bride [Alba])

The Welsh and Irish goddess of healing, smithcraft, poetry, inspiration, queenship and healing, she was known as the "Bright Arrow" or "Bright One" and was associated with fertility and the birth of lambs in the spring. The goddess of fire, wells, springs and of poets, a teacher of the martial arts and patroness of battle. The oystercatcher bird, shamrock, the rowan tree and the scallop shell were sacred to her; she is the lady of fire and sunlight. She is said to have invented whistling, and she is sometimes depicted with a caldron, symbolizing inpsiration.

Brigit's feast, Imbolc, is celebrated on the first of February. Imbolc, the day of union between Goddess and God. Her shrine at Kildare was maintained by 19 virgins who tended Her undying fire until almost modern times. No man was allowed to pass beyond the hedge surrounding Her sanctuary. On Her feast day of Imbolc, the universal Celtic fertility day, the Goddess Brigit kindles the fire in the Earth, preparing the way for Spring. Her power is that of fire-in-water: a power that heals and nourishes. Imbolc is the first day of Spring, mid-way through the dark half of the year. Brigit, Goddess of all creative activity, rekindles the fire in the Earth, preparing it for the reemergence of green things.
This stirring of new life is manifested by the first flowing of milk in the udders of ewes, a few weeks before the lambing season. Agricultural tools are reconsecrated for use, household fires and the fire of the smith's forge are blessed by the Goddess (often by a woman who plays the role of Brigit) and talismans of rushes, Brigit's Crosses are made for the protection of homes. Brigit's snake comes out of the mound in which it hibernates, and it's behavior is thought to determine the length of the remaining period of frost. During this time Brigid personifies a bride, virgin or maiden aspect and is the protectoress of women in childbirth. Imbolc also is known as Oimelc, Brigid, Candlemas, or even in America as Groundhog Day. As the foundation for the American Groundhog Day, Brigid's snake comes out of its mound in which it hibernates and its behavior is said to determine the length of the remaining Winter.

As Muse, she inspires bards with the spirit of truth.The Celts held poetry in great reverence as it was the art of divination, the revelation of secrets, and preservation of history. Her name derives from her worship by the pre-Christian Brigantes, who honored her as identical with Juno, Queen of Heaven. Brigit also shares attributes with the ancient Greek triple goddess Hecate. She is Ruler, Bringer of Prosperity; her two sisters display the alchemical sword and tongs of blacksmithing and the twin serpents connoting medical skill. As Guardian of the forge and consort of smiths, she is the patroness of warriors. As the Lady of the Land Who knows all herbs, She is the greatest of healers.
Her Irish consort was the Dagda, she is a daughter of the Daghda. As an individual, In pre-Roman Britain, she was the tutelary Goddess of the Brigantes tribe, and like so many Celtic Goddesses, she has some riverine associations. She was conflated into Christian mythology as Saint Brigit. The great Celtic empire of Brigantia included parts of Spain, France and the British Isles. Unable to eradicate the cult of Briget (pronounced Breed), the Catholic church made her a saint, saying she was a nun who founded a convent at Kildare. The convent was known for its miracles and evidences of fertility magic. Cows never went dry; flowers and shamrocks sprang up in Her footprints, eternal Spring reigned in Her bower.

Like the Arthurian Avalon, or "Isle of Apples," Brigid possessed an apple orchard in the Otherworld to which bees traveled to obtain it's magickal nectar. Brigid, which means "one who exaults herself," is Goddess of the Sacred Flame of Kildare (derived from "Cill Dara," which means "church of the oak") and often is considered to be the White Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. She was Christianized as the "foster-mother" of Jesus Christ, and called St. Brigit, the daughter of the Druid Dougal the Brown. She sometimes also is associated with the Romano-Celtic goddess Aquae-Sulis in Bathe.

The crone Cailleach drank from the ancient Well of Youth at dawn, and in that instant, was transformed into her Maiden aspect, the young goddess called Brigid. Wells were sacred to her because they arose from oimbelc (literally "in the belly"), or womb of Mother Earth. Because of her Fire of Inspiration and her connection to the apple and oak trees, Brighid often is considered the patroness of the Druids.

A British Romano-Celtic tutelary goddess.

("brown queen"') Her origin may be that of a Celtic goddess of the black sun of the other world, which shines more brightly at sunrise and sunset.
An Irish goddess of cliffs.

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