Meet the Gods: Dian Cécht
(art by Jane Brideson)
With so many people around me sick, it was probably no coincidence I came across Dian Cécht, the Irish god of healing. It so happens a story told about him is the same as the one told about Credne, one of the three craft gods, last month. He was described as a craftsman who worked mostly in bronze and when the High King lost his arm in battle, he fashioned a functioning replacement arm from silver.
In “Pagan Portals: Gods and Goddesses of Ireland: A Guide to Irish Deities,” Morgan Daimler also tells the same story, adding that Dian Cécht also healed Midir’s wounded eye and cured plagues disguised as serpents. “There is a reference in the St. Gall’s incantations to a salve of Dian Cécht, which is used for healing. Dian Cécht was invoked with healing charms into the 8th century CE and even in modern folklore is associated with an herbal oatmeal preparation that has healing properties,” Daimler wrote.
In the Ever Living Ones blogspot, Jane Brideson offered “a prescription for Dian Cécht’s porridge,” describing it as “the oldest-known Irish medical remedy.” It’s made of oatmeal, dandelion, hazel buds, chickweed and wood sorrel.
Multiple sources speak of Dian Cécht’s Well of Health, Tiopra Sláine, said to contain one of every herb that grew in Ireland. Wounded warriors bathed in the water were healed.
Daimler writes, “Dian Cécht was considered the supreme physician of the Gods and possessed a well or cauldron, the Sláine, into which the wounded could be placed and from which they would emerge restored. Throughout the Irish texts where he appears he is renowned for his healing skill and he is called ‘the healing sage of Ireland’ and ‘God of health.’”
As the god of healing, he is associated with physicians and restoring of the body.
“He is not only a god of active healing, but also of the knowledge of healing arts and of healing magic. He is known as a superlative healer with any method. We don’t have many existing myths featuring Dian Cécht, but the ones we do have generally center on his healing skill in one way or another,” Daimler wrote.
His name is thought to translate as swift for dían and power for cécht, yet another source said the name appeared to mean God of the Plowshare.
“Dian Cécht was also known as Cainte, a chanter of spells and prophecy. His titles include god of power and health and sage of leechcraft,” Brideson wrote.
A well or a cauldron are associated with him, and can be used to symbolize him. Offerings could include water, medicinal herbs or herbal tea. He may be called on for anything related to healing or medicine, when wishing to heal or be healed.
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Merry part. And merry meet again.
About the Author:
Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.