Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Bull Sons of Taranis

I think I have mentioned these figures before in an idea for a myth and also in the blogasmed 'Hymn to Ambactonos'. A comment over on the Dun Brython site asked who these Sons of Taranis were.

To be honest they were something that emerged from my mind as I was writing, in the same way as the first of all animals appeared in the 'Making of the World'; funny ideas thrown up by my imagination during a bout of creativity.

This question though actually got me thinking about it a bit more and it was a pretty quick jump for me to decide on who these sons actually were and where they fit into the cosmology of mine.

They are the clouds.

More accurately, they are the rain clouds that scud overhead, whose milk is the rain that waters the land and whose hooves thunder and make the sky tremble when they are in full flight. They have wives of course! These wives are the herds of clouds who fill our skies; the white clouds upon the blue plains of the heavens.

The idea of clouds as cows isn't nothing new, in fact they are regarded as such in the Rig Veda and tie in with Indra quite a lot (Indra being cognate with Taranis).

So a new layer to my own cosmology; the herds of the sky led out each dawn and shepherded across the sky by the chariot of the sun. often the while, gentle wives and sometimes the Bull Sons come with their three voices of rain, thunder and lightning.  What is particularly useful is that these rainclouds are personified in the Rig Veda as Parjanya and there are three hymns to him. these might serve as a useful basis for 'adaptation' and use within practical devotional work along with hymns to Ambactonos etc.  Also of note is that these hymns could also be viewed as incantations of sorts asking Parjanya to come and water the land. 

Summon the powerful god with these songs;
praise Parjanya; win him over with homage.
The bellowing bull.
freely flowing with luscious drops
places his seed in the plants as an embryo

Trans. W. Doniger 1981


Bo said...

Bulls don't give milk! (At least, not that kind...)

Lee said...

well indeed, but it does say Parjanya has udders and he is a chap in the Rig Veda. I think we are dealing with the mythic here rather than the literal :)

Frenchie said...

I like it. One question though, who is the sun/cowherd, in your cosmology?

Lee said...

that is one thing I haven't addressed yet :)

i shall do soon

Anonymous said...

I was doing a little bit of research a while back for a piece I was submitting to Rick Derks Cernunnos devotional anthology. I absolutely fell in love with a lot of the Vedic and pre-Vedic culture during this.
A few (very) random thoughts for you.
Indra and his connection to thunder/storm reminds me a lot of Rudra (probably pre-vedic)who is taken now to be an aspect of Shiva the Destroyer. Rudra is connected to thunder (one translation of Rudra is given as 'the roarer' which is supposedly in relation to his storm aspect) but he is also connected to animals and the hunt, supposedly a wild and fearsome God. But Rudra is also connected to the Pashupati (which is what i was originally researching)-or the lord of the animals/souls - of the Indus Valley who is also taken to be a proto-Shiva aspect. The Pashupati strongly resembles what we take to be Cernunnos on the Gundestrup cauldron, horns, phallus, animals and all. Shiva is said to ride upon a white cow and to take the connections even further Krishna (as i'm guessing you already know) is regarded as the cowherd.
These are all very random thoughts losely linked but thought they might spark some ideas for you.
Erm... actually I think I probably waffled on a bit there!