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Nov 24, 2014

Schattenreich Mythology: Warrior Goddesses, Dark Queens, and Black Friday specials

Her name is Cathubodua (possibly pronounced cahú-bodwa or catú-bodwa) and what we know about her is limited to one main inscription (with the 'C' missing) from France. The name according to several sources, has been interpreted to mean 'battle crow'.

That's not much, is it?

But there is correspondence to the other more widespread fertility and warrior goddesses such as Badb or Bodb, Nemain, and the Morrígan (also known as the Demon Queen or Dark Queen). What these fearsome ladies have in common is their love of battle and death, their fertility powers, their temper, and their ability to transcend age and outward appearance, and their shapeshifting abilities.

In the Schattenreich series, I have incorporated many of these qualities into the Breton-Gaulish deity called Cathubodua. She commands a cohort of the Folk (the Tud) who can shapeshift into frightening and dangerous forms of crows/ravens (there are no real animals in Ande-dubnos).

What makes her special is her relevance. Despite her totally Celtic origin - there is no real equivalence in the Germanic or even the Greco-Roman pantheon - she continues to thrive. I've chosen this actuality in spite of the softening of female deities since the Iron Age through persistent and detrimental whittling down by Christian (and New Age pagan) influence.

Goddesses with a darker bent just cannot be beaten down. The reasons for my choice have to do with how society has evolved to totally negate and, to a certain extent, bury the ancient reverence for powerful female symbols of both war and fertility. The need for such symbols exists, even today, perhaps much more than ever. But that's just my opinion. Take it or leave it.

Cathubodua serves as both adversary and teacher to heroes (and heroines, as the case may be). A telling line from her conversation with Catilin von der Lahn in Shadow Zone, Book 4 of the Schattenreich series explains the dichotomy

"Can I ask you something else?” I made my voice soft. When I returned to my life, my enemies would be waiting for me along with the people I loved.

She gazed at me, and the motherly crone appeared. “You may.”

“Why do you pit Dagmar against me?”

“She makes her own choices.”

“And if I defeat her? Will that make you my enemy?”

“I have no interest in your squabbles in the waking world as I have little influence there. Unfortunate, that is. You are of the blood. Only those who choose to be my enemy are.”

And that sums up Cathubodua's philosophy quite well. She wants to walk among us again...and waits for her chance. As so many of the Ande-dubnos dwellers.

Book 2 of the Schattenreich
Book, 1 of the Schattenreich
And now, Black Friday. All this week and through the weekend, Primary Fault and Shaky Ground are discounted to $0.99 at many retail outlets. 

References and recommended further reading:

Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe, H. R. Ellis Davidson
The Gods of the Celts, Miranda Green
Celtic Culture, A historic encyclopedia, John, T. Koch
The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, Patricia Monaghan

photo credit: chrisotruro via photopin cc