Okay, so I totally didn’t start working on this last night. I got sidetracked. But I’m here now, so that’s what counts! ^__^
As promised, today I want to talk to you about Danu, my mother Goddess, and the first to come to me. Please note, this is not a “definitive” piece on Danu, this is simply who She has shown Herself to be to me.
If you’ve read the info under the My Faith section, you’ve seen the story of who I was and how I struggled as a child. It was a hard time for a child so earnest and when I finally turned to Paganism, it was this Goddess who welcomed me with open arms. I didn’t really know Her at first, she was simply “the Goddess” – as influenced by Wicca, my introduction into Paganism. But I studied where She led me and it was She who pushed me to accepting the idea of a God in my life. I was drawn to the stories of Ireland thanks to my heritage there and I kept coming back to Danu, but there was so little information that seemed to fit (an ongoing problem I’ve had following my path), but I just kept being drawn back. So finally, I just called out (yes, literally out loud) the name Danu and She responded with the gentle smile that I so often see on Her face.
So who is She? She is the Primordial Mother; She is the Earth and She is the River of Life. She is usually calm and peaceful, like our mothers whose calm comforts us as children. But I have, on occasion, seen Her in Her rage. It was a terrible (awe-inspiring, not horrible) sight, but even in Her rage, there was a peace that I think only a mother could conjure. I have seen Her young and fresh-faced, like a first time mother flushed with the joy of her first child. I have seen Her face beginning to show the lines of every joy and sorrow that a mother experiences as her children grow. Like this She reminds me of my own mother, though they look nothing alike; both are beautiful, neither in spite of nor because of the lines – the lines are merely an aspect of their beautiful faces. And I have seen Her as a grandmother, faded eyes peeking out from a face lined with the map of a lifetime of wisdom. I don’t really see this as the “Maiden/Mother/Crone” aspect as embraced by many – Danu is simply Mother, and mothers come in all shapes and forms.
At age 14, I dedicated myself to Her (at the same time I dedicated myself to the Dagda, but it’s not His turn yet ^_^) in a ritual that was simple, yet very profound for me. I blessed some water and “baptized” myself to Her service (I’ll talk next week of what I did for the Dagda during this ritual). It was very basic, I don’t even think I cast a circle and called the corners (maybe an indication that form of ritual/ceremonial magic wasn’t for me?); but in those few moments, I felt the pain and struggle from my attempt at Christianity wash away. You see, I was baptized as a Christian in an attempt to be saved – prayed the prayer and didn’t feel anything; but as a Baptist, I thought maybe the real change didn’t take place until after the baptism – I don’t blame this thinking on them, it was the way my young mind tried to justify what wasn’t happening in my life. I used the water for Her because of Her association with rivers, though I was still fairly vague on the details at that point.
Over the last 12 (nearly 13 at this point) years, I have studied everything I could get my hands on about Danu and I’ve read some things that I didn’t like, but I will discuss them briefly (yeah, right). There is the ever-present discussion of who Danu (seen as Dana in the modern Irish) really is. Did She even exist as a Goddess in ancient times, or was Her name simply a moniker that was used by the people who were the basis of the Gods? Was She also Anu/Ana? Was She actually just the Goddess Danann and Her three sons were the only “Tuatha de Danann”. When it comes down to it, I believe that Danu is the mother of the Gods, and I believe that She is connected to motherhood, the earth, and rivers. I believe She is primordial, the most ancient of ancient, and I’ve only recently encountered another God who feels as old to me (but more on Him later).
She has been my teacher and my companion, speaking to me through some of the roughest times of my life, and flying high with me on the best. She was there the day I handfasted my husband, and the day we wed. She held me as I wept for my grandparents and my lost babies. And She is the one who finally gave me a not-so-gentle push towards opening myself to accepting the other Gods who wished to claim Their places in my life.