Most commonly known as the mother of the Tuatha de Danaan, which literally translates into “Children of Danu”. She is a central mother figure known for her ability to give birth rather than for any assertive actions. Her consort was Bile, the god of death, and together they were the parents of Dagda, Chief of the Tuatha De Danaan.
She was worshipped extensively through Western Europe ruling over rivers, magic, fertility, wells and wisdom. Her influence over a large portion of Europe and her association with water are often thought to reflect the Proto-Indo origins of the Celtic peoples. In the earliest of Hindu scriptures, the Rig Veda, Danu is mentioned as the goddess of the seas. Her son is a dragon, Vritra, who is slain by the god Indra. Upon his death, Vritra releases the waters, allowing seven rivers to flow into the sea. This is an obvious symbol for the abundant nature of the goddess, since the water bathes the thirsty plants on its way back to the source.
She can also be found in stories of the creation myths of the rivers Boyne and Shannon. In both myths, a young, semi divine woman journeys along a river to the Well of Segais, which is the source of all inspiration, wisdom and knowledge in ancient Irish mythology. It is the place to which Druids and Batrds venture in the Otherworld to comprehend the gods and gain mystical understanding. The well is surrounded by nine hazel trees, a tree synonymous with the fruit of enlightenment. Flowing from this well are seven rivers (some sources state five) that correspond to the seven (or five) senses of the individual and that relate back to the seven rivers in the Rig Veda that spring from the son of the Hindu goddess Danu.
Danu becomes the Well of Segais when she is confronted by Boand and Sinann. Both women fail to honor the power of the well, believing their inner strength to be greater than that of the well. The power and energy of the well remains deceptively calm most of the time, gently spilling its bounty over the earth. However, Boand and Sinann disturb the tranquility of the well with their overconfidence and superior attitudes. The well belches forth weaves of water, destroying the physical forms of the women, carrying or chasing them back to the sea and creating rivers that harbor the spirit of each woman.
To honor her, go to a local fountain or well and pay tribute. It was very common in ancient Ireland, Wales and Britain for people to visit sacred wells and request aid from the goddess who resided there. Call upon her at Lammas also, as she is associated with agriculture, cultivation and the nurturing of the land.