Many of us think immediately of Bob Dylan, the aging musician, when we hear the name Dylan, yet it was once the name of a famous character in Celtic mythology. Now, I can’t say I particularly like Bob Dylan, but I love the music his son makes with “The Wallflowers.”
WHO HE IS
Dylan was part of a virgin birth, from the goddess Arianhrod. He’s apparently also named for his father who was also called Dylan. A sea god in Welsh mythology like his father before him, the story of Dylan of the golden hair was spread far and wide by the great bard Taleisin.
HOW HE WAS WORSHIPED
Dylan’s symbol was a silver fish. The Welsh used to say that the crashing waves were symbolic of his death, because he was killed by accident.
DYLAN IN MYTHOLOGY
Dylan is an important character in the fourth book of the Welsh epic “The Mabinogian,” mostly in the tale “Math ap Mathonwy.” He was supposedly born when his mother Arianhrod is told by Math to test her virginity by stepping over his wand. One of the tales regarding him tells that when he was baptised, he became a sea creature of some kind. He was the twin brother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes.
Dylan could apparently take on the form of the sea and the waves, and their movement. Supposedly he was killed by his uncle Gofannon in an accident, which has become legendary with the Welsh. Dylan was immortalized by Taleisin in his poem “The Elegy of Dylan son of the Wave.” In that tale, the seas of the British isles are all casting waves over the land in mourning for the death of the god.
DYLAN’S WORSHIP TODAY
I’ve read “the Mabinogian”, but Dylan’s name didn’t really stand out to me till I noticed the title for this article, and then all I could think of was Bob Dylan’s son and his music. As for the god, he isn’t very well-known in Celtic mythos but he is remembered in a few little fables and some sayings. The Welsh still apparently believe that the crash of the waves was this sea god wanting to avenge his death. And there are many famous people, like the poet Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, and his son, who are named for the god. There isn’t much left for information about Dylan, but hopefully this article has helped you understand this god a little better.