Celtic mythology - primal goddess who gave birth to 3 sons whose names were 3 types of music - which induced sleep, laughter, and sorrow. Linked with the nature of the earth and fertility, she took several husbands and had many children. Her name translates as 'cow', cows being an important method of value for property to the Celts.

Boann: BOYN
Irish: "cow"
Modern: "Boyne"

Personification of the River Boyne in Ireland, Boann or Boanne is the wife of the Dagda* and mother of Oengus Mac ind-Og.

Legend says that the Dagda had a well of wisdom surrounded by nine hazel-nut trees; the nuts fell into the water and were the source of the wisdom. Only the Dagda and his three cup-bearers were allowed to draw water from the well. However, one day Boann was curious and drew the water for herself. The well overflowed, and pursued Boann to the sea. The water became a river, and the river was called the Boann, or Boyne. Some legends say that she was turned into a salmon and swam in the river, and that she is the same as the salmon of wisdom.

As the mother of Oengus, she is then identifiable with Modron/Rhiannon in Welsh mythology. Oengus is often identified with Mabon ap Modron, and as such is identifiable with Pryderi. As such, along with the significance of the Newgrange settlement and that she is the wife of the Dagda, she may be a sort of Irish version of the Grail bearer, or at least mother of the Grail hero.

Moreover, the story of the salmon reminds me of how Aphrodite/Venus and her son Eros/Cupid (with whom Oengus is often identified) changed into fish, and became the constellation Pisces.

As a river deity, she is similar to Danu for the Danube and Sabrina for the Severn.


*In some sources, she is the wife of Nechtan; others say that the Dagda stole her from Nechtan, while some say that Nechtan and the Dagda are the same person, as the Dagda had several names.

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