Monday, September 21, 2009
Our Guest: The Dagda
By: D. VonThaer
Art by: Christopher Chamberlain
Image Copyrighted and can not be used without permission obtained from the artist. http://manyfacesart.blogspot.com/
Dagda. In Celtic mythology, this is the big man. Known as ‘the good god’ not for being morally good, but for being superior at everything, he is also referred as The All Father (Eochaid Ollathair) and the son of the Mother Goddess Danu. His tribe consisted of pre-Christian deities called the Tuatha De’ Danann, means ‘The people of Danu.’ The Tuatha De’ are the fifth inhabitants of Ireland, and their stories are thousands of years old.
For the Celts, The Dagda is the man. He is immensely powerful, his limits virtually unknown. He was the King of the Tuatha De’ and fathered many children. Like all Celtic gods, his powers are broad, so broad in fact they cover IT ALL. He is said to be the father of all magic, bounty, music, knowledge, and fertility. He is very often portrayed wearing a small tunic that barely covers his backside, with an enormous uh, ‘member’, that drags in the ground, fertilizing the crops. This man was built to make other men pale in his wake.
The thing about The Dagda is, he not only cared for himself, he cared for his tribe. He had three items of importance: the Undry, the Harp, and the Club. The Undry was a massive cauldron said to be bottomless , always filling back to keep his people nourished. His magically appointed harp, when stroked by his hand, returned the seasons into order to allow the crops to flourish, and also sang a battle cry, calling warriors to fight. His club is known to kill nine men with a single blow, but the handle could return the slain to life. It was so enormous, it was carted on wheels, like a canon, scarring the ground where he drew the lines of battle. He cared about the harvest, and the lives of his people, always making very sure no one starved under his rule.
Dagda’s appetite for good food was matched only by his insatiable appetite for women. The term ‘player’ could have been born from his many escapades. What was born, was a son. Dagda, though married, had an affair with Boann, and he stopped time for nine months to attempt to hide his indiscretion. His son, Aengus, was conceived and born the same day as the sun stayed high in the sky, refusing to set under Dagda’s orders. Another infamous affair was with Morrigan, the war-goddess. They met on a riverbed on Samhain (pro: Sah-Win) where the Morrigan bartered for a taste of The Dagda’s well-known gifts, and she, in return, would stand on their side during the war. Afterward, she bathed in the river, and called for the limbs of those who were about to die.
He is a central figure in their history and myth. Later depictions (namely, after the battle of Gaul with Julius Caesar) show him crude and humorous in comparison to earlier carvings which show him as tall, well built, and very strong. He was highly respected by the druid priests, and as the father of knowledge, he would bestow such knowledge on those who wished to learn. Regardless, he is considered the preeminent father-figure, Druid, leader, and High King, and the most respected. Even the Romans wrote about him, the Egyptians bartered with him, and the people respected him. All the way around, was a good enough guy, he just couldn’t keep it in his non-existent pants. Then again, when it’s the size of an arm...maybe he needed a sleeve?
How he graces the pages of my book, Tuatha and the Seven Sisters Moon:
Aodh [pro: A-Oh] means sacred fire and is another name for The Dagda, as his fires burned strongly for both food and women, never to be extinguished. He slept for two millennia, waking on Samhain (The Feast of the Dead) to find the world he’d known a distant memory. The entire tribe is gone, and he has woken alone, no way to get back home. Instinct takes him to a woman, a witch, a fireball of energy that will become more important than she could have ever realized. She was born important, she just doesn’t know it yet.