W104 | The Sovereignty Goddess


3:30 pm - 5:00 pm 


3/24, 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21 &  4/28

Six Sessions 

This course is offered online via the easy-to-use Zoom program.

Why did the Celts see a king’s authority as the gift of the Sovereignty Goddess? In this course, we will look for her roots in Indo-European myth and, perhaps, in the political symbolism of Rome.  You may have encountered her manifestations in any number of places, such as Stith Thompson’s motif D732, "The Loathly Lady," Child Ballad #32, “King Henry,” or Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath’s Tale.” To the Irish and the Welsh, this Goddess granted power by giving the candidate a drink, usually mead, or by coupling with him (with or without benefit of marriage.) Sometimes as the triple Goddess, sometimes as the goddess of war, she leaves her footsteps throughout time and history, and it will be our task in this course to follow her trail.


For the first class, please read Tain Bo Cuailnge (aka The Cattle Raid of Cooley). You can read it for free or obtain a free ebook here.

Translations are also available in paperback:

The Tain: Translated from the Irish Epic Tain Bo Cuailnge, trans. Thomas Kinsella. [Oxford University Press, 2002]

The Tain, trans. Ciaran Carson. [Penguin Classics, 2009]

Additional recommendations are here.  Other readings will be posted after registration.

Susan Wozniak has a Master’s degree in Celtic Studies, Magna Cum Laude, Harvard University. She is presently retired, a former adjunct professor and working journalist.


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