One of my favorite Gaelic legend is about the infamous, Ellén Trechend in 8th to 9th century Irish mythology and is also known in Gaelic as Aillén Trechenn .
Art below of a depiction of Ellén Trechend by Nifty Buckles ©2018
Strong minded women have in the past been considered some sort of threat to insecure men in our society. Even in the past a character such as Ellén Trechend was given a bad rap. She was known in legend as a triple-headed monster (most likely a woman with her own opinion) that is mentioned in the text “Cath Maige Mucrama”, (The Battle of Mag Mucrima) as having appeared from the cave of Cruachan (Rathcroghan, County Roscommon) accompanied by goblins and a flock of copper red birds, helped to destroy Ireland and create chaos among the Irish folk. This monstrous creature according to an array of authors claim that the monster looks like a triple- headed Vulture or a three headed fire breathing dragon.
The legend cites that Ellén Trechend or the Gaelic Aillén Trechenn fought the Irish hero and poet, Amairgin whom slayed the mighty beast at the end of the legend.
According to some modern day scholars, it was likely, Christian priests at that time, who demonized the triple goddess, Brighid and Lugh, both who were worshiped by the Celtic people, pre-Chistian era.
Illustration below of The “Triple Goddess” symbol of the waxing, full and waning moon, representing the aspects of the divine feminine archetype in the three phases of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. This symbol is still used today in modern Wicca.
The goddess Brighid survived the Church’s demotion of pagan gods & goddess. Most of them were classified as devils or demons. The Celtic goddess Brighid came out unscathed by the RC Church and was transformed into Saint Bridget. She was the Celtic goddess bride of fertility and good fortune. In Irish folklore, Brighid’s name was taken from the Celtic brig meaning “exalted one”, she was the daughter of the Dagda, being one of the Tuatha de Dannan. Brighid had two other sister of the same name, and were associated with crafts and healing. The three Brighids were revered by Celts as three sides of a single deity, making her a classic Celtic triple goddess that represents the maid, mother and crone cycles of a woman’s life.
Below Photo of a depiction of the Goddess Brighid as a Corn Dolly Bride. (Public Domain)
Lugh in folklore, is the only survivor of triplets. Lugh was a pagan craftsman god. He is still revered in the pagan harvest festival of Lugnasadh or Lammas Lugh and Brighid are the Celtic deities of the field and first harvest. It is celebrated each August 1st.
Photo below of Flint Corn known for its’ attractive colors. (Public Domain)
Lughnasadh represents, one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane.
Lately, several Neo-Pagans have discussed the concept of a fourth classification in this archetype, portraying women who are out of the maiden phase transitioning into a new stage that isn’t the mother stage.
Photo below Enchantress tarot card.
Not all women wish to be a mother, instead they may desire to be more of a mentor. In some cultures, this stage is called the Enchantress.
The Triple Head Goddess Brighid wood figurine courtesy of Dyad designs
Sources & References:
“The Battle of Mag Mucrama“, translator unknown, para 34.
P. W. Joyce, “A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland”, 1906.
Translated text of The Battle of Mag Mucrama at ancienttexts.org
Here is the link to the “Battle of Mag Mucrama.”
The Triple goddess,
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