Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Goddess in the Landscape

The Goddess in the ancient world, was seen as the earth itself. The Great Mother that gave birth to all the animals and the plants, the earth was her body. So in many places, there are hills or mountain ranges named in her honor. Like the Paps on Anu in Ireland, and the Sleeping Beauty Mountain on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, Scotland.

The Paps of Anu, located in county Kerry near the town of Killarney, are breast shaped hills named after the Goddess Anu. She was the Irish Goddess of fertility and mother to the Tuatha De Danaan, the ancestor to all the Gods. The ancient people who worshiped her at her breast shaped hills, erected nipple like cairns and standing stone formations to make up her body. After this process was complete, they had created a woman in the landscape lying on her back. There is no head, arms or legs, just a belly rising up to meet two breasts, all that is needed to represent the fertility of the earth, and the fertility of our Great Mother.

The Sleeping Beauty Mountain (pictured above), is on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland. It is clearly a woman lying on her back with her breasts pointing towards the sky, also with her nipples erected by stones, put their by our Goddess worshiping ancestors. In Gealic she is called " Cailleach na Mointeach" which translates to "The old woman of the Moors". Every nineteen years or so, there is a celestial event that happens with the moon and the Sleeping Beauty. It is known as a lunar standstill, and the moon rises over the Sleeping Beauty's body as though she is giving birth to a new lunar cycle. The moon is then said to pass through the famous Callanish stones a few hours later. Some say that when this event took place in the ancient world, there may have been some ritual practices going on the symbolize a form of rebirth.

There are many other places where the Goddess is in the landscape, like the Paps of Jura in Scotland, the Paps of Morrigan in Ireland , Knockainey Hill in Ireland where the pregnant belly of the Goddess Aine is said to be, and many more. It is very clear that our ancestors worshiped our Great Mother in her natural earthly sanctuaries. They saw mountains and hills as her breasts, or pregnant belly. Just like they saw caves as her sacred womb. They performed rituals where the landscape Goddess birthed the moon or the sun, and rituals of transformation by entering her sacred womb caves. These people clearly respected and revered our Mother Earth, as the Great Cosmic force that is the Goddess. I hope someday to visit many of these great sites, and witness the Goddess in her greatest form as our ancient ancestors once did!

Photo courtesy of GoddessAlive!


  1. This is fascinating! I never knew any of this. What I wouldn't give to be on that Sleeping Beauty Mountain when the moon is rising over her. I just love Pagan Europe...especially Ireland, Scotland and England. They are steeped in so much lore.

  2. Those three are my favorite as well Kim. So much Goddess history! Glad you enjoyed :)

  3. What a lovely article! I knew about the Sleeping Beauty Mountain but not the others that you mentioned, so off now to search for photos.
    Thank you.
    One of my favourite goddess hills is Silbury _ I have a long connection with it and it always makes me so happy to see it.

  4. The small paps of the Goddess Morrigan are in a field to the right of Newgrange in Co. Meath and are barely visible.

  5. Super beautiful... and such a powerful post..magical and inspiring! I love your blogs...such a realm of enchantment and beauty always!
    Have a sparkling wkd


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