Danu, Celtic Mother Goddess by Judith Shaw

judith Shaw

Danu, of the flowing waters, Queen of the fertile land – Danu, the Great Mother Goddess of the Irish Celts, known as Don by the Welsh Celts, is the Creator Goddess of the Tuatha De Danann, the first wave of Celtic tribes to invade Ireland.   She is also known as Danann, Ana, and Anann.  She gave birth to all life in the land of the Celts.

No stories of Her survive but Her power remains strong. She is the most ancient of all the Celtic deities. In a silver flash of iridescence she appears in my mind’s eye.

As the “Flowing One” She is associated with the seas, wells, springs and the Danube River, gifting Her children the magic of transformation, inspiration, and wisdom. As an Earth Goddess, She bestows abundance and earth mysteries. She embodies the wisdom of living in balance with the Earth. She is sometimes associated with Flidais of the cattle and deer. She is also connected with Brigid, Goddess of Healing, Poetry and Smithcraft, who the original Neolithic people of Ireland worshiped long before the Celts arrived.

Danu, Celtic Mother Goddess, painting by Judith ShawAs the centuries moved on, the deities of the Tuatha de Danann were turned into the Fae Folk of Celtic legend. Danu, the Great Mother Goddess remains connected to the Sidhe, the fairy hills and the dolmens known as portal tombs.

Danu and the Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of Death, are aspects of each other as life and death are eternally intertwined. Her colors are the blue of the waters, green of the Earth, and white silver of inspiration and wisdom. She is everywhere, protecting Her children but never forcing us in any way.

She is associated with mares, snakes, seagulls, and fish that live in both oceans and rivers like salmon. Her trees are the rowan tree, long honored by the Celts for its balance of beauty and hardiness, the apple tree, and the hawthorne tree.

Danu calls us to recognize the richness of life. She lights the fires of inspiration that connect us to the source. She reminds us of our own divinity, creativity, and ability to manifest. She rules both chaos and its transformation to new beginnings.  When Danu calls, remember that it is within our power to restore balance to the Earth, remember that we are all connected.  May Her loving, abundance be with you always.

Resources: LEBOR GABÁLA ÉRENN, The Book of the Taking of Ireland, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danu_%28Irish_goddess%29, http://thegoddesstree.com/GoddessGallery/Danu.html,

Judith’s deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is available now.  Celtic-Goddess-Oracle-cards-by-judith-shawYou can order your deck on Judith’s website. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!

Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life.  Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her artwork.  She continues to be inspired by the Divine Feminine in all of Her manifestations. Originally from New Orleans, Judith now makes her home in New Mexico where she paints and teaches part-time.  She is currently hard at work on a deck of Goddess cards. Her work, which expresses her belief in the interconnectedness of all life, can be seen on her website at http://judithshawart.com

Categories: General, Goddess, Goddess Spirituality, Goddess Spirituality

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14 replies

  1. An inspiring post for a chaotic world we live in :)


  2. I didn’t realise that Danu and Anann were one and the same. I had heard that Anann was one of the sacred triad of the Morrigan, but had not heard of Danu in that context. I’m curious as to why, when there are so many stories of the Morrigan, and the other Irish deities, do you think none of Danu remain? It seems strange to me, when she is the Mother Goddess, and as such must have been considered one of the most important of the Gods. What are your views?


  3. Lovely post and artwork. Made my morning a little brighter. ;)


  4. Brightened up my morning, too. Brava! If there are no stories of Danu from the olden days, let’s make one up for the new days.


  5. My personal theory is the reason there are stories missing about Danu is that her name was changed to Brigid. And in the stories of Triple Brigid we see glimpses of Danu’s original story and attributes. I have something typed up on this that explains what I mean more. Now if I can only find it…. ;)


  6. Judith, as always, so very beautiful. So inspirational. Thank you.


  7. Reblogged this on Pagan at Heart and commented:
    As Mother’s Day approaches it’s nice to consider mother goddesses.


  8. I really like how you did her face and hair and all the little swirling pigment dots (sea spray?). It’s one of those “eye trapper” paintings. Thank you for sharing!


  9. Thanks everyone for reading and sharing your thoughts.
    Ali, I have also wondered why no stories remain for such an important Creator, Mother Goddess. Like lb, I have considered the possibility that Danu is one and the same with Brigid. But then my research has shown that Brigid actually was worshiped by the early Neolithic peoples long before the Celts arrived. Lb if you find what you have written about that connection I’m sure we’d all love to read it.

    The Tuatha Dé Danann (“People of the goddess Danu”) arrived in Ireland from dark clouds in the sky. They were magical beings who first defeated the Firbolgs and then the Formorians. The Tuatha Dé Danann were handsome and skilled in the arts, magic and ways of the mind. Why the Mother Goddess of such a people would be so clouded in mystery is truly a mystery to me. Perhaps she was so powerful that it was impossible for the later patriarchal minds to twist Her stories and rob Her of Her power. I do think that She possibly morphed into Brigid as Brigid remains the most powerful and loved of all the Celtic Goddesses. Barbara we eagerly await your story of Danu for our new time.

    nmr my thoughts on the “swirling pigment dots” and the other spiraling lines around Her head is that they represent the “chaos” the “unformed” from which Danu creates the manifest world. Sea spray could be part of that thought for sure.


  10. I have always thought of her as ancient and very primal. We are not. We are far younger and to step into knowing her requires that we know our place on the full web. I have found that Primal Goddesses do not deal in trifles. I loved your description.



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