Bo-Fion (The white cow ) And the fiery waters of Segais

Oct 6 / Dea Isidora

" I give you this carefully yet selfishly guarded wisdom many would hide from thee.As I am the coursing river of star fire, on my trackway, you can journey from sea to source to find your imbas, to see your own reflection in the waters of the stars.”

0ur 9 Fold Journey of Aes Uisce will begin with Bo-Fion (The white cow )
And the fiery waters of Segais Like in many other cultures in Celtic the bodies of water are feminine and they are manifested as goddesses with their own qualities talents intent and agency.

As the Aes Dana (people of the arts )have mastered the whispers of the elements, water magic comes naturally to Boann.

 Many understand this as a way of controlling magic but the Aes Dana did not control the elements, they become interconnected with them and eventually, they become identical.

Boann’s starlit crown is in need of reclaiming from the mythic tales which accuse her of adultery, and depict her as a rule breaker.

"The five streams that come from the Well are the five senses. The nuts from the hazels of wisdom drop down into the Well, to be eaten by the Salmon of Wisdom. The Salmon of Wisdom contains the Imbas, the mystical power of poetic inspiration and prophesy.”

 As a High Queen, a mother and the lady of the river of the stars Boann herself is a very eligible teacher of water wisdom.

"One day the lad fared forth till he was on the brink of the sea - for the poets deemed that on the brink of water it was always a place of revelation of science. He heard a sound in the wave, to wit, a chant of wailing and sadness, and it seemed strange to him. So the lad cast a spell upon the wave, that it might reveal to him what the matter was."


- From Colloquy of the Two Sages, Whitley Stokes translation


This passage from the Colloquy of the Two Sages describes the fili Néde standing at the edge of the sea and listening until he heard a message in the waves. This was one form of éicse or divination, a word which can also mean the power of inspiration or the art of poetry.

The concept of éicse, like the related concept of imbas, is closely connected to the lore of river goddesses like Boann. Boann’s name means “white cow,” and the traditional Gaelic name for the Milky Way means “the tracks of the white cow.” She is also the goddess of the Boyne, the most sacred river of ancient Ireland. In Indian mythology, the Milky Way is the goddess Ganga as well as the Ganges river and all other sacred rivers. Boann’s myth is essentially an Irish equivalent of this idea.

Boann was originally the wife of Nechtan or Elcmar, keeper of the Well of Segais. Nechtan wouldn't allow her access to the Well despite the fact that her proper name was actually Segais and therefore the Well was identical with her own self. Boann slept with the Dagda while Nechtan was away, conceiving the wonder child Óengus mac ind-Óg. Once the child was born, she walked tuathal or counter-sunwise around the Well of Segais, causing it to erupt violently and rip her to pieces. The waters of the Well flowed out into the world as the Boyne river, the new body of the goddess. The Salmon of Wisdom swims in this river, and the Imbas or magical power of inspiration arises from its waters. According to the Dindsenchas, all other rivers on Earth are manifestations of the Boyne. 

So what was it really that Nechtan kept from her, why did the goddess flood the well?
What is in really the River Boyne and what was The White Cows' gift to the world?

Join our ninefold water guardian monthly circle to journey with the Aes Dana and the People of the Water starting in November. 

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