Applied Knowledge & Innovation
- In Celtic mythology fish and in particular, salmon are associated with
knowledge and sacred wells.
- They were consulted by Celtic heroes in their fables for their wisdom
and forethought and to eat a salmon, or Eo Feasa, was to gain immediate
- The Salmon supposedly gained its knowledge by consuming the nine hazel
nuts of wisdom that fell into the Well of Segais, the primary source of
all knowledge in Celtic lore.
- In the
legend of Fionn, a pupil of the great Druid, he is told by his master neither
to taste or eat a salmon that he is cooking as the Druid wished to benefit
from the Salmon's wisdom himself. However, the Salmon blistered as it cooked
and Fionn popped the blister with his thumb, which caused his thumb to also
blister. Sucking his blistered thumb caused the Salmon's knowledge to be
transferred to Fionn regardless.
- Little is known about this obscure British Celtic deity also called Hvitiris,
Vetus, Vitris, Veteris,Hvitris, Vheteris, Fitires and Veteres.
- Generally associated with knowledge and wisdom.
- Popular in the very North of what came to be England, along the borderlands
defined by Hadrian's Wall.
- There was a cult centre dedicated to Vitirus at Carvoran, near modern
day Haltwhistle in Northumberland, where there are altars inscribed with
his name and decorated with carvings of boars and serpents.
- Mostly worshipped by lower ranking soldiers
- One of the greatest of the Irish gods, "De Dagda" was known
by a variety of names, among them "Lord of Great Knowledge","
The Red One of Great Knowledge" the "Good God" and "Mighty
one of knowledge".
- He was the patron god of Irish Druidism and as such was offered to in
the pursuit of wisdom and for victory in law or judgement.
- His symbols were the cauldron and the club or staff.
- Oghma was alledgedly the son of De Dagda and was also an Irish Celtic
God of Wisdom, Learning, Communication, Literature and Eloquence.
- Like his father he carried a huge club and supposedly invented the Ogham
Script that was originally carved on the edges of standing stones
- The Druids were the priests and wise-men of Celtic civilisation.
- Working as healers they had a great wealth of knowledge about the medicinal
properties of herbs as well as preserving and unifying a common culture,
history and knowledge across all the various Celtic tribes of Britain.
- They also played a political role, using their sacred status and power
over individual Chieftans to settle disputes.
- The Roman Emperor Julius Ceasar noted that the Druids :
"know much about the stars and celestial motions, and about the
size of the earth and universe, and about the essential nature of things,
and about the powers and authority of' the immortal gods; and these
things they teach to their pupils." Being a pupil of the Druids
was to make a lifetime commitment ; becoming a member of the Druidic
order took up to 20 years of study, oral instruction, memorisation and
apprenticeship in the knowledge of natural science."
- According to the Roman writer Pliny the Elder, the term "Druid"
comes from the Celtic word "Druidae" which has roots in the Greek
words 'Drus' meaing "an oak" and "wid" meaning "knowledge".
This ties in with the Druidic believe in the sanctity of the Oak tree and
the Celtic social title given to those possessing "Oak Knowledge".
Pliny also comments that:
"The Druids...hold nothing more sacred than the mistletoe and
the tree on which it grows provided it is an oak. They choose the oak
to form groves, and they do not perform any religious rites without
Gaelic and Gaelic Culture
in Ibiblio The Public's Library
Encyclopedia of the Celts
: The Salmon
in Celtic Mythology : A paper for Religion 375 at the University of Michigan
by Lars Noodén, 22 November 1992
The Celtic Druids
Religion and Mythology
- The Ancient Egyptians believed in a complex hierarchical system of interrelated
deities. As with other polytheistic worship systems, Gods were usually associated
with a concept important to the worshipping culture. In the context of knowledge,
the deity Thoth (or Thot) is the most interesting of the Egyptian pantheon.
- The Egyptians believed that Thoth was the scribe of the gods, documenting
and disseminating their sacred decisions. In this role, representing the
embodiment of precision, trustworthiness and meticulousness, Thoth represented
a model for the privileged and esteemed Egyptian scribe class.
- Thoth is usually represented as an ibis or baboon/dog headed man carrying
a reed pen and a writing palette signifying his status as god of writing.
One of his pseudonyms was "lord of the reed pen" and as such was
credited as "the one who created writing" and the invention of
the Egyptian system of hieroglyphics.
- As the Egyptian religion evolved, Thoth's role became extended and he
became associated with knowledge and wisdom in general. In this capacity
he was credited with the invention of mathematics, astronomy and engineering
and was described as "the one who is sharp of perception" and
"the one who knows all that is".
- Thoth was also credited for the knowledge behind the "wisdom texts";
the moral rules that governed the Ancient Egyptian society. His role as
moral guardian extended to the afterlife where he acted as judge of the
deceased, weighing the hearts and consciences of the dead in order to determine
their eternal fates.
- Thoth was also associated with the measuring of time, the moon and was
identified by the Greeks with their messenger god, Hermes.
- One of Thoth's daughters, Sheshat also became deified as a goddess. Sheshat
kept detailed records of the pharaohs and became was associated with mathematics,
architecture, writing and history.
- Imhotep was an unusual deity in that he was also a real person. In life
he was counsellor, physician, courtier and architect to the Pharaoh Zoser,
founder of the 3rd Dynasty in around 2700 BC.
- He designed the first pyramid, the Great Step pyramid at Saqqara which
is also possibly the first recorded stone structure. This design and engineering
feat credited him with the invention of stone architecture.
- Imhotep also wrote many books and thereby became worshipped as a god
of knowledge and healing.
- Other Deities associated with knowledge:
- Neith (Neit) - goddess of the sky, crafts, and wisdom.
- Safekh-aabut - Goddess of Knowledge
- Sofh - Goddess of Education
- Tie - Goddess of Intelligence/Wisd
Ancient Egypt Site : Thot
Hieratic and Demotic
- Athene was the Greek goddess who represented wisdom, the intellectual
and civilized side of war, intelligent activity, arts and literature, and
- She was regarded by the Greeks as an active goddess who took time to
intervene in the lives of mortals, most notably Jason, Heracles, Perseus
- Her symbol, the wise owl, was featured on Athenian coins. She was the
protector and patroness of the city of Athens, which bears her name.
- She was also associated with agriculture, cities in general and the arts.
- Athene was also known as Pallas Athene and Tritogenia and was identified
with the Roman goddess Minerva who also was associated with wisdom and the
- Prometheus was one of the Titans, who were the first race of Greek gods.
They represented basic natural elemental phenomena such as sky, earth, sun
etc. Prometheus was said to be the wisest of the Titans, his name meaning
"forethought". He was credited as being the creator of mankind,
having fashioned them out of mud. Having created humans he then managed
to upset the ruling God, Zeus, by supplying them with fire which he stole
from Hephaestus, against the chief god's command.
- His punishment was to be chained to a mountain where an eagle would come
and peck out his liver on a daily basis, the organ having regrown in the
- The goddess of hidden wisdom and the crossroads, sometimes seen as the
goddess of witchcraft.
- Protector of the occult, or hidden knowledge and the wisdom that comes
- Seen as a woman with three heads, one of a dog, one of a snake and one
of a horse.
- Said to roam during the new moon.
- One of the Titans, the first race of Greek gods that represented basic
natural elemental phenomena such as sky, earth, sun etc.
- Said to be the Titan of Intelligence.
- Son of 2 other Titans, Gaea and Uranus.
- Married his sister Phoebe who bore him the goddess Leto.
: Ancient/Classical History : Athene
Aesir and the Vanir
- The Nordic deities were classified into two races ; the Aesir and the
Vanir. The Vanir represented a more ancient tradition of worship connected
to nature whilst the Aesir represented a more bellicose and aggressive culture.
- Nordic mythology tells of conflicts between the two races leading to
a gradual assimilation of the Vanir inot the Aesir pantheon. The struggle
between the two races can be seen as a metaphor the Germanic conquests of
Northern Europe - the Vanir represented the agricultural culture of the
original inhabitants and the Aesir represented their Germanic invaders.
- A system of written letters carved on Runestones by ancient Scandanavians
until around the end of the 11th century A.D.
- They contained knowledge of Nordic mythology and were also used for divination
- At the head of the Aesir was Odin who was also known as the "All-Father",
Odhinn, Woden, Wodan, and Woutan.
- As well as being the supreme ruler of the Norse pantheon he was specifically
associate with wisdom, poetry, magic and runes.
- He had a great thirst for knowledge and there are two tales of how he
gained a superior wisdom.
- The first has Odin sacrificing himself to himself on the branches of
Yggsdrasil, the World Tree for nine days and nights and being pierced by
a spear in order to learn knowledge of the Runes' meanings and magical uses.
- The other tale is slightly more coherent and tells of Odin's visit to
Mimir, the fountain of Wisdom that sprung from beneath the roots of the
same World tree. In order to drink from well of knowledge Odin was forced
to sacrifice an eye and is often depicted with an eye missing.
- Odin was aided in his quest for knowledge by 2 black ravens Huginn (thought)
and Muninn (Memory) who flew far and wide bringing him news of the world
on a daily basis
- Mimir was also the name of Odin's uncle, the giant guardian of the Well
- He was said have been one of Aesir gods who had been standing in the
Well's water since the beginning of time.
- He was sent to live with the Vanir gods after the first big conflict
where he was decapitated and his head sent back to the Aesir. Odin used
a magic ointment to restore life to the head and consulted with it regularly.
: The World Tree
Runes : Alphabet
YGGDRASIL, World Ash
The Norse Runes
Mythology : Odin
General Mythology Links
: Ancient & Classical History