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Celtic Idols & Nummo Twins

c.400-800 Celtic Idol, Boa IslandShannon Dorey, The Nummo, p. 117

This two-sided Celtic idol is found in Caldragh Cemetery on Boa Island in Northern Ireland. My research associates it with Dogon carvings of the Nummo twins shown below, with one side male and the other side female. The Nummo were often depicted as twins because they were androgynous.

One side of this Celtic idol is male with a pointed penis beneath stylised crossed arms, and the other side is female with a protruding tongue.The protruding tongue is a symbol of divinity and associated with the Greek Gorgons.Shannon Dorey, The Nummo, p. 117

Lithuanian-American archeologist Marija Gimbutas associated the Gorgon with the snake goddess further connecting this Boa Island idol with descriptions of the Nummo, who had both fish and snake like characteristics. According to Gimbutas, the Gorgon extends back to at least 6000 BCE.Shannon Dorey, Day of the Fish, p. 24


Nummo Twins, Musée
de Bamako, MaliReconfigured from Dieterlen and Griaule, The Pale Fox. PL XVIII. p.383.

Archaeologists unearthed Gorgon masks from the Varna cemetery in eastern Bulgaria on the Black Sea coast. The masks' round eyes, long mouth, and studs representing teeth are characteristic of the snake, and Gimbutas associated them with the snake goddess. Other depictions of Gorgons show them with whiskers and fangs.

These descriptions of the Gorgon with their combination of snake-like bodies and whiskers or fangs further describe the Nummo. The Dogon particularly associated the Nummo with the silurus, which is a type of catfish. Most of these fish have barbs, or whiskers, on the lower jaw. As shown in some Dogon drawings, the Nummo also had these same whiskers.Shannon Dorey, Day of the Fish, p. 24

My research reveals that the Gorgons, who were later demonized by the patriarchal Greeks, were Greek representations of the Nummo. During his research on Greek mythology, Karl Kerényi associated the Gorgon with a sea goddess.Shannon Dorey, Day of the Fish, p. 28

Kerényi discovered that parents used to name their little girls "Gorgo" after the Gorgon. He reported that "One cannot believe that 'Gorgo' meant only something ugly and terrible; for the same name used to be given to little girls, whose parents certainly did not expect them to turn into terrifying creatures!"

This would suggest that in the early years the Gorgon was so respected that parents actually named their daughters after her. Over time ancient Greece became a patriarchal culture and with it the reversal of the religious symbols of the Goddess. It was at that time that the warring tribesmen likely turned the female Gorgon into a figure of evil.Shannon Dorey, Day of the Fish, p. 64

The androgynous twin aspect of the Nummo appears on many other ancient artifacts in places including Mexico, Greece, China, Peru, Iraq and Italy.Shannon Dorey, Day of the Fish Chapter 24, Twins and Cowries pp. 124-144

For more information on these things refer to my books, which can be purchased at right.