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alias the Mother-Goddess
Celtic Goddess of Motherhood
Modron's name is alluded to in the Arthurian Tale of Culhwch & Olwen, where
she appears as the mother of the Celtic God of Youth, Maponos (or Mabon).
She is probably depicted with him as the double-goddess on a stone carving
from the Roman fort at Ribchester in Lancashire. Confusion with later mortal
characters indicate that her father was probably Afallach, God of the
Underworld. Little else is known of her directly, but her name, meaning
'Divine Mother,' shows she is almost certainly the ubiquitous Mother-Goddess
to be found throughout the Celtic World.
She is usually a triple-aspect goddess, referred to, by the Romans, as Deae
Matres or the Matronae, and depicted as three seated ladies often holding
their associated attributes. In Britain, these tend to be babies, fruit and loaves
emphasising her role a Goddess of Fertility in both the human and agricultural world.
There was a cult centre in the Cotswolds, probably at Cirencester, and another somewhere
in the Hadrian's Wall region of the North.
In later times, sites associated with Modron may have been transferred to other semi-historical
figures of similar name. For example, Carn Fadrun on the Lleyn Peninsula, which is said to have been
the sometime home of Queen Madrun of Gwent;
or Madron around Penzance, supposedly settled by Madern, a male saint reverred on 17th May. Most
famous, however, is her link with Morgan Le Fay
of Arthurian romance. In these chivalric tales,
this lady is described as a healer who lived on the mystical Isle of
Avalon with her nine sisters, like
the Greek Muses. She had a triple aspect with the Queens of Northgalis (North Wales) and the
Wastelands. Her epithet clearly shows her immortal origins, though she later had dark overtones
attached to her through deliberate confusion with the Irish War-Goddess, the Morrigan.