A Cymric, Brythonic and Gaulish Goddess, also known as Matrona: Divine Mother

Modron (Matrona) is a Cymric (Welsh), Gaulish and Brythonic goddess known from inscriptions and images in Gaul as well as the Welsh Triads, where she is the mother of the Divine Son, Mabon (Maponos). Modron herself is the daughter of Afallach, king of the Fair Folk (Tylwyth Teg).

Modron (also known as Matrona) she is known from an invocation at Belsme, Haute-Marne, France. This being in the territory of the Belgae. Indeed, the name of the river Marne itself is derived from the name Matrona. Matrona is an aspect of the Celtic mother goddesses, the Matres which are known from literally hundreds of votive altars scattered throughout the entirety of Northern Europe such as the AufuniƦ. Though it should be noted that the Matres are always triple goddesses and Modron is invariably represented singularly.

In insular tradition Matrona has survived as the sacred mother of the sacred son Mabon and she is invariably referred to as Mabon fab Modron. However, except for the matronymic little of the goddess’ own attributes and tales have survived. One of the few of these is Triad 70 from the Trioedd Ynys Prydain which names Modron as the mother wife of Urien of Rheged and the mother of the twins Owein and his sister Morfudd. It also names Modron’s father as Afallach. In all other ocurrentces she is merely the mother of Mabon. All except for an episode recorded in the manuscript known as Peniarth 147 which relates specifically to the Triad 70 poem. Here, a tale of the ‘Washer at the Frod’ type is told. The washer is Modron and the man who encounters her is Urien of Rheged. Like many of the old tales, the story has been re-located from Urien’s origins in the old north to Llanferres in Clwyd at a place known as Rhyd y Cyfarthfa (The Ford of Barking) where every evening the local dogs gather to bark at some unknown fear. No man dares go near the place, save Urien himself who ventures out to seek the cause of the dogs’ barking. But when he got there he saw nothing but a woman washing at the ford. Urien seized her and had his will of her. However, instead of berating him she blesses his arrival, saying that she had been cursed to wash at the ford until she conceived a child by a christian man. She names herself as the daughter of Afallach and tells Urien to return upon the year’s end where she will present him with a son. This he did and received a boy, Owein and a girl, Morfudd.

From this is seems that Modron was known as a Faery Woman and what would be more natural than for such a supernatural being to be the daughter of the King of the Fair folk, Afallach himself.