In this article I’ll discuss the goddess Caer, a famous one in Irish mythology. I have an old friend who is a musician and who changed her name to that one. In the Welsh language it means “fort”, or “way,” as in “Appleton Way.” Caer Adaman is an example of one such place in Ireland. Caer is a name we hear a lot, pronounced “Keer” phonetically. That does not necessarily mean we all know exactly about the origins of the word, so in this article I’ll iron some of those out.
WHO SHE WAS
Caer was an Earth Goddess. She had many names, often very flowery such as “shapely yew berry.”
HOW SHE WAS WORSHIPED
Caer was in fact a pan-Celtic goddess, worshiped in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. All three countries have claimed her as theirs. Her name is everywhere in the languages of these three countries; in Scottish perhaps the most well-known usage is “Caer Edin,” which is the translation for the Scottish capital Edinburough. In Welsh the town Caernarfon means “Caer Arfon.” To the Irish, Caer is only used for the homes of kings, such as “Caer Arianhrod,” home of the goddess of that name.
To all three countries, Caer was the Earth goddess, according to the mythos left to us today, but it isn’t known how she was worshiped. Archaeological searches only turn up place names in all three countries beginning with her name.
CAER IN MYTHOLOGY
She lived as a swan mostly, and was so beautiful that according to one myth the love god Angus fell so in love with her that he became deathly ill. Her name as meaning “way” has found its own way into the Celtic language, so that by the time that poems such as “The Spoils of Annwn”, by the ancient poet Taliesen, were written, terms like “Caer Sidhe” and so on would have been taken at face value.
CAER WORSHIP TODAY
Perhaps it is telling to the immense impact Caer had on culture, that she found her way into the stars. The Milky Way, for instance, in Welsh is “Caer Wydion.” A lot of current druids I know of today have named themselves for this goddess. Many babies in Ireland and the United States are also named for her. So Caer is long gone, but certainly not forgotten.