by

The Wayfinder

In a Yahoo group way back in October 15, 2006 a discussion took place about the Sun and Moon where the main protagonist of the discussion insisted that the Sun was feminine and the Moon was masculine. I did a great deal of research for anopposing view and resently found my response which I present below as an article. I have removed the main protagonist - opposing debator's name as to ensure that their is no repercussions and to take ownership of my words in response. My view-point is arguably more solid and valid

I don't rely much on scientific analysis as I am Shaman and science has little meaning when it comes to mythology, understanding ancient paths and especially SPIRIT/ SOUL.

I have learnt much from the Folk of the Asatru about Teutonic Traditions, Ethos and the Norse gods and goddesses but here my friend (the original protagonist in the discussion) I must beg to differ in regards to the Sun being feminine and the Moon being masculine as far as the Celtic heritage of my ancestors is concern.

Now I may not be considered by some as an academic but I am a stickler for misinformation. Not that I am saying that you're wrong, but there are clearly some points in your (original) post that at least can be considered debatable.

I will not consider covering your post point by point (if anyone wishes to revisit it they can read back through the archives) to do so would make this response a great deal longer than necessary. As it is, this is relatively going to be a long post, so I will take this opportunity now to warn all those who may consider reading this to either go make a cup of tea or coffee first or download it for later or just delete it and wait for the movie to come out.

I will endeavour to report here my own research and supply my own knowledge that I have on this topic.

The first point to draw attention to is a fundamental and long standing biological fact that the moon controls the tides and the ebbs and flow of energy in our bodies. Since early times the moon was seen as feminine because of the connection noted between the feminine cycle and the moon phases. In early religious art the pregnant woman is also seen as a reflection of the moon.

As stated:

"In the study of mythology, a lunar deity is a god or goddess associated with or symbolizing the Moon. She is usually female, perhaps because of the association between women's menstrual cycles and the moon. She was also often associated with virginity, hunting, warriors (particularly female) and wisdom. She was usually sister, mother, daughter and/or enemy of the solar deity. "

http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/lu/Lunar_deity

The Sun is seen as an aggressive heat, light and a strong burning figure in many mythologies while the moon is seen as gentle, luminous and exhibiting more feminie qualities.


"The pantheons of many cultures have included a sun deity, usually a god but occasionally a goddess. Some myths reflect the sun's vital role in supporting life: Solar deities are often creators who bring people into existence."


http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Sp-Tl/Sun.html

Now as I am a Celtic Traditionalist with Irish and Welsh ancestry, I need to address certain aspects of your (original) post where I believe that my research does not support your position.

At the beginning of your (original writer's) post was stated:

"What passes for Celtic Mythology and Lore is more often than not the product
of 18th - 20th century romanticism and UPG (Sorry, you dumbed me out here) which has been presented with such force and determination that people "believe" it must be true."

I do not believe that this is actually the case. For instance The Mabinogion, although of Welsh origins is considered Celtic traditional mythology and was written originally in around the 12th - 14th century. Many of the actual Irish folk tales were attributed to the scribing of early catholic priest and some as early as the 9th century. Admittedly, some romanticist writers of the 18th century took the tales and polished them up.

http://www.webmesh.co.uk/Mabinogionhomepage.htm

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/mab/index.htm

Further, the beliefs and stories of the Druids were recorded in many writings of both Greek and Roman scribes prior to 400AD. Some of these interactions occurred as far back as 55BC.

"Ancient Britons- How they lived" - Maitland-Howard, Hodgers and Pyddoke

Arianrold for instance, was considered to be one of the main Celtic deities, her myths are recorded by Roman and Greek historians who recorded the beliefs and activities of the druids as she was a major goddess of the druids.

However, before I even start waxing lyrically about my Lady of the Silver Wheel, we need to address etymology.

The original protagonist wrote:

"However if we go to linguistics and folk lore which predates modern
romanticism we start to find some very interesting suggestions."

Indeed, and I agree. Words sometimes do not fully describe the actual feelings a person may express and very rarely describes the attributes of an object adjectively. The translation of language from one to another quite often looses the true meaning of the word.

The original protagonist wrote:

"The Proto Indo European languages from which Celtic, Germanic, Sanskrit,
Lithuanian etc descended had a system of gender allocated nouns. There is no
doubt that the normal usage of the word for Moon was gender allocated
masculine and the word for Sun was gender allocated feminine. For example
even the ancient Sanskrit word "Mas" as Moon represented the masculine
Gender."


Although, I conceive that this may indeed be the case where the Germanic, Sanskrit, Lithuanian etc may be concern I do not feel this is the case when it comes to the Celtic. My own personal gaelic may be a little rusty and I really wish I paid more attention to my dearly departed mother and grand-mother when they attempted to enforce my learning of it, however, if we need to venture into etymology and linguistics we should look at the different Celtic languages and the words for sun and moon.


According to the University of Wales Department of Welsh the welsh words for moon are lleuad n.f. (lleuadau) lloer n.f. (lloerau) both nouns being feminine. The welsh words for sun haul n.m. (heuliau) huan n.f. You will note here one is feminine and the other is masculine.


http://www.geiriadur.net/atebion.php?prefLang=en


An English Irish dictionary provides "Irish Moon definition: n gealach f2; usage: adj: a moonlit night oíche ghealaí" showing the moon as feminine whilst the Sun definition "Sun definition: n grian f2; usage: on Sunday Dé Domhnaigh; in the sun faoin ngrian;" is also feminine.


http://www.englishirishdictionary.com/dictionary


This brings us to a very interesting discovery also, that both the Irish word for Moon and the Irish word for Sun are both Feminine. No Masculinity at all, No wonder the Irish men bitter, divisive and aggressive.


The protagonist wrote himself to collaborate this:

"By careful study of the ancient texts, as well as the language itself, we see that the Sun and the Moon are feminine. They are sisters to each other."

In regards to the Sun and Celtic mythology, I really need to clear up one or two statements which could be construed as misinformation.

He went on to write:

"Though in some lore there is traces of evidence that some believed that while the Sun was feminine, the Moon was masculine. In Gaidhlig the names of both luminaries are feminine, and in invocations and spells they are
both addressed as feminine beings. Yet they can change gender according to which of their attributes is brought to the fore. The nurturing, warm Sun who promotes growth is feminine … "

From my own knowledge and study of Celtic lore, "Grianne", as the protagonist stated was an Irish Celtic deity but her story is about elopement and has nothing in actual fact to do with the Sun. In fact, most of Grianne's story is irrelevant. The fact that her name is similar to the Irish word for Sun and that being "grian" is the only connection I can see at all.

The protagonist continued in the same sentence:

"… the light, as personified by Lugh, is masculine, and the scorching Sun just before Harvest is represented by Balor."

My belief from my own studies of Celtic lore which go way back to when I was a boy and became interested in the folk lore of my ancestry was that the hero and leader of the Tuatha Dé Danaan , was the Sun god and "Balor", whilst being an Irish Celtic figure was in fact in myth the king of a race of giants who possessed a single evil eye and who could destroy whole armies. He caused terror amoung the heroes of Ireland until he was defeated by Lugh.

The above statement can be supported and referred to in "Who's Who in Mythology" by Michael Senior and countless websites about Tuatha De Danaan.

So your post twig my curiosity and I set out to renew my own interest into the Gods and Goddesses of my ancestry and in support of what I believe offer the following.

Belenus was the Celtic God of the sun. He was sometimes simply called "Bel" and the fire festival of Beltaine gets its name from this God. "He was a Gaulish God, whose influence ranged as far as Italy and Britain. Belenus was married to the great mother Goddess, Danu (My Goddess)."

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/celticpanth/p/belenus.htm

"Belenus meaning 'bright' or 'brilliant', refers to the Continental Sun-God of the Celts. He is also a healer and associated with healing spings and the healing power of the Sun. The fire festival Beltene is probably related to Belenus. He is Cognate with the Roman god Apollo, their prime Solar deity and also a healer. Often refered to as Apollo-Belenus, pre-Roman inscriptions are known."

http://www.kernunnos.com/deities/belenus.html

"Beltaine begins the season of summer as well as the "summer half" of the year. This High Holy Day was dedicated to adolescent joy, contests, frolicking in the woods, romance and passion. Dancing around the Maypole, games, and feasting are the usual customs. "

"The Fires of Bel, a Celtic Sun-God. Beltaine is an 'in between' festival, but was just as important to the ancient Celtic as the Solstices"


This is an ancient festival that has its origins in early history. The cattle were driven between two massive fires before being sent out to pasture. And then there is Lugh. Lugh was the major Sun deity for the Celtic people and his festival at Lughnasadh celebrates aspects of the sun occurring at this time and this is recorded historically back into early time pre- Celtic times. It is a harvest festival and a fire festival and is marked on the calendar as the day the sun gets to a certain point in the sky


"Lugh - (Loo) Ireland, Wales; a sun god of all crafts and arts,
healing, journeys, prophecy. Son of Cian, a Tuatha De Danann. Of
legend, his skills were without end; in Ireland he was associated
with ravens; and a white stag as his symbol in Wales. He had a magic
spear and otherworldly hounds. His festival was Lughnassadh, or
Lunasa - August 1. Variants: Llew, Lug, Lugus, Lugh Lamhfada (of the
long arm), Lug Samildananch (much skilled)."

http://www.daire.org/names/deities.html

Which finally brings me back to My Lady of the Silver Wheel; my Moon Goddess, Arianrod. Arianrod, Lady of the silver wheel was one of the main celtic deities, her myths are recorded by Roman and Greek historians who
recorded the beliefs and activites of the druids as she was a major goddess of the druids.

The above references comes from "Who's Who in Mythology" by Michael Senior:

"A Welsh (Celtic) moon goddess, daughter of Donn (female earth god),
sister of Gwydion (male), and mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes (male) and
the sea god Dylan. Her name is interpreted variously as
meaning 'silver wheel', 'silver circle' or 'high fruitful mother'."

http://www.mythome.org/celtic.html

"Arianrhod - Wales; goddess of beauty, fertility, and reincarnation. Known as Silver Wheel and the High Fruitful Mother, the palace of this sky goddess was Caer Arianrhold (Aurora Borealis). Keeper of the Silver Wheel of Stars, a symbol of time and karma. Her ship, Oar Wheel, carried dead warriors to Emania (Moon-land)."

http://www.daire.org/names/deities.html

Rhiannon, the Celtic goddess of the moon was a Welsh goddess. The goddess Rhiannon's name meant "Divine Queen" of the fairies. In her myths, Rhiannon was promised in marriage to an older man she found repugnant. Defying her family's wishes that Rhiannon, like other Celtic goddesses, declined to marry one of her "own kind".

http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/celtic_goddess_Rhiannon.htm

Góntia (Guntia, Candida, Fortuna), was a Celtic moon goddess; her name comes from the Welsh word canda (shining white) and the Celtic condate (confluence). She was said to bring good luck, and was the goddess of the river Günz, near Günzburg in Germany. She was also the horse goddess of the Cantii, the Cantabri and the Ghent in Belgium.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B3ntia

Although, Celtic Mythology does have a number of Sun Goddesses like Brigid. Born at the exact moment of daybreak, Brigid rose into the sky with the sun, rays of fire beaming from her head. She was the daughter of Dagda, the great 'father-god' of Ireland.

"In Druid mythology, the infant goddess was fed with milk from a
sacred cow from the Otherworld. Brigid owned an apple orchard in the
Otherworld and her bees would bring their magical nectar back to
earth. It is said that wherever she walked, small flowers and
shamrocks would appear. As a sun goddess her gifts are light
(knowledge), inspiration, and the vital and healing energy of the
sun."

http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/celtic-goddess-brigid.htm

An online search of masculine moon deities produces "Mani" from the Norse Pantheon and a number of Native American, African and Thoth in Egyptian Myth. Tsukuyomi is a moon god in Shinto Japanese myths. There are no Celtic Moon Gods.

There are a large number of female deities linked to the sun in other cultures. In Japanese Shinto belief their major deity is the sun Goddess Ameratasu however Book research And Online research fail to show any Celtic Sun Goddesses.

A visit to Wikipedia and a search for Lunar Gods shows there are only
20 on record:
Aglibol
Alignak
Bahloo
Chandra
Chons
Daramulum
Elatha
Fati
Hilal (god)
Igaluk
Jarilo
Kalfu
Kaskuh
Kidili
Mani (god)
Napir
Sin (mythology)
Tecciztecatl
Thoth
Tsuki-Yomi
.... And Not one of these is Celtic.

The protagonist finally wrote:

"Basically people will believe what they wish to believe."

What I believe is the Sun is Lugh and the Moon is Arianrod. This has been the way of my own heritage and Ancestry and I choose to maintain the Status Quo of my Dreamtime.

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