God of the Week: Goibhniu

Published July 23, 2013 by christinenorris

This week I decided to give the guys equal play. We have Goibhniu (pronounced: Guv-nu), and he was a Celtic god. This is what Encyclopaedia Britannica online has to say about him:

Goibhniu, ( Celtic: “Divine Smith”: ) Welsh Gofannon,  ancient Celtic smith god. Goibhniu figured in Irish tradition as one of a trio of divine craftsmen; the other two were Luchta the wright and Creidhne the metalworker. Goibhniu was also the provider of the sacred otherworld feast, the Fled Goibhnenn; he allegedly brewed the special ale thought to confer immortality on those who drank it. In Christian times he became known as Gobbán Saer (Gobbán the Joiner), legendary builder of churches and other structures; as such he is still remembered in modern Celtic folk tradition. His Welsh equivalent, Gofannon, figured in the Mabinogion (a collection of medieval Welsh tales). It was believed that his help was vital in cleansing the plow at the end of the furrows.

Basically, the G-man was an important dude. Many Pantheons have a smith of some kind; I mean, they need someone to make all their lightning bolts and armor and drinking horns and whatnot, right? But whereas Hephaestus was kind of a bit player, Goibhniu ranks right up there on top of the heap.  He provides the “Otherworld Feast” meaning that once you get to Tir Na nOg, the Celtic afterlife, he would be there to throw you a party.

I used Goibhniu in my book, The Sword of Danu. Traditionally, I guess he’s supposed to look like the guy up there in the picture — big arms (of course), sweaty, covered in burn marks. Not really a hottie. I used that model as a glamour in my book, and when he revealed his true self f to my main characters, he looked like this:



What? It’s my book, I can make my smith god look however I want. He’s a bit cheeky too, but, yanno, that’s kind of expected when you look like John Barrowman.


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