Thunder Gods

Welcome to Tursan Tuesdays, where I take you on a journey through the Celtic world.

Ok, so you’re probably familiar with the Greek god, Zeus

…but did you know that his lightening bolt, as it is commonly referred to now, was actually a thunderbolt? It was known for the great thunderous noise that emanated from it, as well as the awesome destruction its reverberations caused.

In Celtic mythology, the thunder god, Taranis, would be Zeus’s closest counterpart:

Now I’m gonna nerd it up for you a bit:

  • Certain depictions of Celtic artwork equate Taranis with the Celtic god, Cernunnos, which would not be accurate as Cernunnos is the horned god of fertility and animals.
  •  Like both Zeus, and Jupiter, the Roman thunder god, Taranis is often shown with thunderbolt in hand.
  •  Taranis is also usually depicted with a wheel. This could be the sun as he is a sky god as well as a thunder god, or it could represent time as he is connected to the calculation of the calendar.

Here’s a fun fact: Taranis and Zeus both have similar stories told of them defeating great serpents or snake-like creatures.

How snakes happened to be in the sky, I have no idea.

Interestingly enough, the name Taranis, shares its roots with the Old Norwegian name Thor.

Thanks to the recent Marvel epic of the same name, you should know something of him 😛

So talk to me. Did you know about the thunderbolt? Have you ever heard any tales of Taranis? What other gods or goddesses interest you? If there are some you’d like to see highlighted here, let me know!


10 thoughts on “Thunder Gods

  1. Though I don’t mind snakes, I know a lot of people who would be really freaked out by snakes in the sky. That’s interesting about the thunderbolt vs. lightening bolt. Hard to imagine being able to hold or see what to us is a sound.

    1. Could you imagine…strolling along and a snake falls to the ground in front of you?? LOL It IS interesting! I’m inclined to believe that anything is possible, however. Just a few short years ago no one would have thought a person could literally light up a room just by walking in it, and now it’s not only possible, but thousands of companies and homes have motion-sensor lighting. Pretty cool. 🙂

  2. Hi Kate! Loved the post – I have always been fascinated by Greek Mythology – so this was a wonderful addition! I was always intrigued by the amount of children Zeus sired along with their inherited abilities – but in regards to the thunderbolt – I have read that Althena (his favorite daughter) was the one female he allowed to use his mightly thunderbolt. I thought that was quite interesting. I would love to hear more about the differrent Gods related to the Celtic world. This is some wonderful & new information I can add to my mythology collection! So thank you!


    1. Hi Patty!

      I’m so glad you liked the post! I find mythology as a whole vastly fascinating, and obviously Celtic mythology is my passion 😉 I am really interested to see the similarities and differences between the different Gods and Goddesses of various mythologies. I also love learning about new Gods and Goddesses that aren’t well-known or heard of. Fun stuff, eh?

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