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Old Irish gods in their relations with m .pdf


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Old Irish gods in their relations with mythologized constellations
Iurii Mosenkis
Old Irish mythology might be closely related with observations of constellations

Many Old Irish and other Celtic gods may be hypothetically connected with certain
constellations, e. g.:
Old Irish Nechtan1, the husband of a goddess of the River Boyne, might be related to
Aquarius;
Old Irish goddess Danu, as well as Welsh Dôn may stand for Aquarius (cf. Danaë
‘Aquarius’ in the ancient Greek symbolical astronomy);
Old Irish Goibniu (cf. Welsh Gofannon2), like lamed Hephestus3, is identified with lame
Hercules;
Gaulish Tarvos – with Taurus;
Old Irish Manannán mac Lir (Welsh Manawydan fab Llŷr) and his water horse – with
Pegasus ‘water horse’;
the head of Old Irish Bran – with head-shaped Equuleus;
Old Irish Cú Roí, ‘hound of the battlefield’ (a shepherd, being assistant and then,
enemy of Cu Chulainn4) – with Procyon and its constellation of Canis Minor while Cύ
Chulainn was related to Canis Major;
Old Irish Balor the Evil Eye may be Antares-eyed Scorpius;
Old Irish golden-haired Elata, dressed in golden clothes and sailing in a silver boat,
might be compared with Orion near Argo.
Old Irish Crom Cruach (crom, ‘bent, crooked, stooped’, cruach ‘bloody’) is notable for
its cult portrayal comprising a gold figure surrounded by twelve stone figures. The
ritual actions were held in Samhain. A similar god Crom Dubh (‘black crooked’) was
also related to megaliths; Samhain was an important part of the year for Crom Dubh’s
worshippers. The common component of their names may be identified with crom,
‘bent’ in cromlech. Crom Dubh is supposed to be the major Celtic idol of Ireland, but in
The Voyage of Bran (Book 2) the same is said about Crom Cruach. In my opinion, Crom
may stand for the constellation of Hercules, which rises in Samhain, has a crooked form
(cf. Hephaestus as the same constellation) and looks as a single stone encircled by other
stones.
If Nuadu with his sword symbolizes sword-shaped Boötes, then his epithet
Airgetlám, ‘silver hand’ may be an anagram of the name of the brightest star in the
constellation, Arcturus or Arctophylax.
The name Brigit or Brigid may be associated with the name Virgo, Gen. Virginis.
Perhaps, the name is cognate with those of the Romano-British god Nodens, the Roman god Neptune, and
with the names of the Persian and Vedic gods sharing the name Apam Napat.
2 Compare with Old Irish gobae ~ gobann ‘smith’, Middle Welsh gof ~ gofein ‘smith’, Gallic gobedbi ‘with the
smiths’; all these words are supposed to be of pre-Celtic origin.
3 Cf. another phonetic form of the root, Iapetos from iapto, both are of pre-Greek origin and are related to
the pre-Celtic form.
4 Шкунаев, С.В. Примечания, in: Похищение быка из Куальнге, М.: Наука, 1985, с. 479.
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