Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Great Mother manifests itself in myth as a host of archaic images. Commonly conceived of as a nature goddess, the recurrent theme of nature and motherly care go hand in hand. As the prominent feature of many early Indo-European societies, the mother archetype manifests itself in a host of deities and symbolism (independent and therein).
The most defined occurrence of a mother goddess is with the Celts, and their predecessors. The goddess Danu was an archaic character and was the namesake for the pseudo-pantheon of gods found in the Celtic tradition, the Tuatha Dé Danann (People of the Goddess Danu). The mother goddess will consistently be associated with, if not in direct control of nature. There is a multitude of reasons for this, though, most plausible is the seemingly divine nature of life, the mother's ability to beget it, and the nature that obviously is the host of all of it.
Many aspects of the mother goddess become deified in their own right, usually as a fertility goddess or a goddess of war or destruction. The general contention behind this is that nature is both the giver and destroyer of life. In Celtic mythology this is manifested in the character of Queen Medb. Medb is an example of remnants of a war goddess with her general military prowess, and with her leading role in the Cattle Raid of Cuilage. She shows the qualities of a euhemerized fertility goddess as she constantly negotiates with her 'friendly thighs', and is renowned for being promiscuous.
She appears in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", during Mercutio's monologue concerning dreams. He draws out the role of Medb as a fairy of sorts, and being responsible for maidens becoming impregnated. This is important in how she is associated with a small being and pregnancy. In more than one place in Celtic myth, a small being who is swallowed is shown as a method of becoming pregnant. This would show that her qualities as a fertility goddess were more pronounced and emphasized as she endured time. Typically the Mother Goddess is referenced in archaic and distant terms and rarely occurs in the present of the myths. The main feature that survives with the Mother Goddess is her connection to nature, this will occur as independent symbolism, either directly connected to the goddess or as the trait of another character.
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