Daghdha, Daitya, Dandelion, Danu, Dazhbog, and Da Zodji
Welcome to the fourth instalment of my weekly folklore and mythology posts! This week I’ll be looking at some figures beginning with ‘D’ (but decided dragons should get a post of their own). Today I’ll cover the Daghdha, Daitya, dandelion, Danu, Dazhbog, and Da Zodji.
The Daghdha, also referred to as “Great Father” and “Mighty One of Great Knowledge” is an Irish god of “abundance, fertility, wisdom and magic” (Tresidder, 2004:138). He is also the “supreme tribal deity” (Tresidder, 2004:138) of the Tuatha Dé Danann. (The Tuatha Dé Danann is said to be the fifth race to invade Ireland.)
“The Daghdha’s offspring included Oenghus, the god of love, and the goddess Brighid” (Tresidder, 2004:138).
Besides having a massive appetite, and having a “huge cauldron from which he dispensed never-ending sustenance” (Tresidder, 2004:138-139), he also “possessed a massive club with one end that was lethal and one that brought the dead back to life” (Tresidder, 2004:138).
The Daitya is found in Indian myth, wherein they are one of a race of “demons names after their mother, Diti, the daughter of Daksha and wife of Kashyapa, one of the Seven Sages” (Tresidder, 2004:139). Almost all of the Daityas were killed at the Churning of the Ocean when the Asuras (demons) and Devas (gods) fought. See also Tresidder (2004), page 139.
The dandelion is “[a]n emblem of Christ’s [Jesus’] Passion – a symbolism derived from the bitterness of its leaves” (Tresidder, 2004:139 – 140). Tresidder (2004:140) further notes that the dandelion may also be used in Netherlandish Crucifixion paintings.
Said to be the ancestor of the Tuatha Dé Danann (”People of Danu”), she is an Irish mother goddess. However, little is known about her. See also Tresidder (2004), page 141.
Now on to Slavic mythology, in which Dazhbog (or the Giving God) is an ancient Slav sun god (see Tresidder, 2004: 143). Dazhbog is the “son of the supreme elemental deity Svarog and the brother of the fire god Svarozhich” (Tresidder, 2004:143) (see also Wilkinson (2009), page 131). Living in “a celestial eastern land of never-ending light and bounty” (Tresidder, 2004:143), he rode forth every day on his chariot which is drawn by white horses. According to one of the traditions associated with him, Dazhbog is “the ancestor of the Russians, the easternmost Slav people” ((Tresidder, 2004:143). See also Wilkinson’s Myths and Legends (2009), page 285.
One of Dazhbog’s companions was Byelobog, of which I wrote in the second folklore post (see also Wilkinson (2009), page 143).
The Da Zodji is thunder deities, ruled by Sagbo, who is the second son of the female creator deity, Mawu (see Wilkinson, 2009:250). The Da Zodji is part of the mythology of the Fon people of Dahomey (see Wilkinson, 2009:250). See also “Aido-Hwedo” in the first of the folklore posts.
Tressider, J. (ed.) (2004). The Complete Dictionary of Symbols in Myth, Art, and Literature.London: Duncan Baird Publishers Ltd.
Wilkinson, P. (2009). Myths & Legends: An Illustrated Guide to Their Origins and Meanings. London: DK London.