The bull was an important part of Druid sacrificial rituals, especially those of a prophetic nature. The bull was the emblem of the mysterious god Esus (“Lord”)- monuments to the god are frequently inscribed with the Tarvos Trigaranus,(Latin, “bull with three cranes”) an image of a bull or bull’s head with three cranes either perched atop his back or in the branches of a nearby tree. The theft of the bull Donn Cualnge is central to the best know Celtic mythological tale, the Tain bo Cualnge, or “Cattle raid of Cooley,” wherein a prize bull is warred over.
|Dying bull from the bottom panel of the Gundestrup cauldron.||Tarvus Trigaranus|
To the Celts, as everywhere, the bull was a symbol of fertility, wealth, and status. The bull likewise symbolizes ties to the land, ancestry, and kinship. A good bull was a conspicuous sign of wealth in a culture that revolved around cattle husbandry; the prestige of a clan’s bull was closely linked to that of its king, and to the prosperity of its people.
More Celtic Symbols