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Extra resources for Celtic Mythology A to Z, 2nd Edition

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One was a physician and one was a Smith. The two minor sisters are probably simply other aspects of the dominant Brigit. Taken together, the three women form a triple goddess. This triple aspect is one indication of Brigit’s high status and her importance to the Celtic people, since the number three is usually linked to power and magic. Another indication of Brigit’s renown is that she is honored at the feast of Imbolc. She was credited with various innovations or discoveries. By some accounts, she mourned the death of Rúadán with Ireland’s first keening (a loud, wailing cry of sorrow).

The woman of the flowering apple branch warned them to stay, but they would not listen to her. Bran, too, was longing to see his homeland again, and he agreed to lead his men home. As he departed, the woman handed him her flowering apple branch. She warned him not to set foot on the earth when he returned. At the shores of Ireland, unfamiliar faces greeted Bran. These strangers asked his name. When he told them that he was Bran, son of Febail, the people shook their heads in wonder. Bran and his father, they said, were unknown to their people, but the Voyage of Bran was one of their most ancient tales.

Bóand drowned when she tried to drink from the Well of Segais in order to gain its supernatural wisdom. The sacred well was surrounded by hazel trees and filled with salmon. Its waters were a source of supernatural wisdom, but drinking from it was forbidden. When Bóand tried to drink from the well, its waters rose up and pursued her. Bóand ran toward the sea, but the water overcame her, leaving the goddess dead in its wake. The waters formed a river leading from the well to the sea, which was named the Boyne, in honor of Bóand.

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