Thursday, 16 August 2012

Anu / Danu

Anu, her hair flows out into the universe and her body is the land of Ireland. 

In Ireland the name Anu / Ána is that of a non-sovereignty, land goddess providing food, prosperity and protection in Munster. 

She appears in the old myths as Anann or Anand and is described as one of a trio of sisters, together with Badbh and Macha, called 'the women rulers'. 
We are also told that Anand is one name for the Morrigan.

Anu is also associated with Danu, whose name originates from the Celtic dánuv meaning 'flowing one' and she was later described as the 'Mother of the Gods'.

On the horizon are Da Chích Anann, 'the two breasts of Anu', Co. Kerry topped by cairns which give the appearance of erect nipples, their entrances aligned to the setting sun. 
Below lies Gleann Freaghan, Glen of the Ravens, birds associated with the Morrígan.

As a goddess of prosperity and abundance Anu gives milk and corn to sustain her people. 
In her right hand is the fertile land, a harvest of oats and wheat and in her left, the abundant sea and nourishing milk. 

At the centre of the painting is the well outside the northern wall of Cathair Crobh Dhearg, 'Fort of the Red Claw', at the foot of the Paps, which are the remains of a Neolithic monument. Also known as 'The City' it is considered to be one of the earliest settlements in Ireland and as such has been a place of spiritual devotion since pre-christian times.

To the right is the silhouette of Cnocbúi, 'mountain of Búi', another name for An Cailleach and to left, Beanna Bó, 'Cow's Horns', Benbo Mountain, Co. Leitrim.

In the centre is Toberaune, 'the well of Anu', one of six wells at Cnoc Barrainn, Knockbarron, Co. Offaly, the spring of which is surrounded by a stand of birch trees.

At the bottom of the painting Anu connects once more to water, the Salmon of Wisdom and the circle of life.

Below are photos from a recent visit to the Paps.

The Paps seen from the 'Fort of the Red Claw'

The well outside the northern wall

Words & pictures © Jane Brideson 2012