In Celtic mythology, Dôn stands as a central figure, leading one of the two warring factions of gods. Often depicted as the ancestral figure in Welsh legend and literature, Dôn is known for her brood, the “Children of Dôn.” This group includes notable deities like Gwydion, a master in magic, poetry, music, and a formidable warrior, as well as Arianrhod, a sky goddess representing fertility. Arianrhod’s twins, Dylan, a sea god, and Lleu Llaw Gyffes, often likened to the Irish god Lug, further highlight the significant lineage of Dôn.

One interpretation of the mythological narratives posits the Children of Dôn as the forces of light, perpetually at odds with the Children of Llyr, symbolizing the powers of darkness. Another perspective views this conflict as a representation of the clash between indigenous gods and those of an invading populace.

While Dôn shares parallels with the Irish goddess Danu, the Welsh mythology surrounding her and her kin diverges significantly, with only fragments of these stories surviving. Dôn has also been traditionally associated with astronomical bodies; Llys Dôn is the name for the constellation Cassiopeia, while Caer Gwydion and Caer Arianrhod correspond to the Milky Way and the constellation of Corona Borealis, respectively.

The Family of Dôn

Dôn’s Brother

We also find out that Dôn brother, Math, is the king of Gwynedd. As we know Math is the son of Mathonwy we can speculate whether Dôn is also the daughter of Mathonwy.

Dôn’s Children

The The Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi we find the names of five of children of Dôn: Gwydion, Gilfaethwy (Gilvaethwy), and Gofannon (Govannion) sons of Don, Aranrhod daughter of Don, and in some sources, Beli.

“Math the son of Mathonwy was lord over Gwynedd… Gilvaethwy the son of Don, and Eneyd [or Eueyd] the son of Don, his nephews, the sons of his sister.”

“Gilvaethwy the son of Don set his affections upon her…One day his brother Gwydion”

“Lord,” said Gwydion the son of Don, “it is easy to give thee counsel; seek Arianrod, the daughter of Don, thy niece, thy sister’s daughter.”

Dylan, [Arianrod’s child] was struck by his uncle Govannion

The Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi: Math Son of Mathonwy

Dôn’s Grandchildren

Arianrod has two children Lleu Llaw Gyffes and Dylan ail Don.

Elegy for aeddon Mor (Marwnad Aedon)

Was Dôn Male or Female?

Early modern antiquarians often viewed Dôn as a male deity, but later interpretations have cemented her feminine aspect. The intriguing connections and potential shared origins or influences between Dôn’s offspring and the Irish Tuatha Dé Danann, particularly figures like Danu, further enrich the complexity of her character within the wider Celtic pantheon. This link hints at a shared cultural heritage between Welsh and Irish mythologies, though each tradition uniquely shapes the portrayal of these deities.