I just finished a very interesting article "Boand" river-goddess and rebel" that talks about the bovine origin of her name, and makes a good case for cows as a symbol of wisdom in Irish lore.

The article also references the Vedas, and my first thought, per the author's revelation of the etymology of Boand as "bó" (cow) +"vinda" (bright or wise), was of Govinda.

I'm looking for other mythological references that link cows to wisdom.


I think there may be something to the Govinda idea, and the "white/wise" also links her to the Irish hero Finn, whose enlightenment came about because of her transgression.

Her wisdom could also come from being a river-goddess, like the Indian Saraswati and Persian Anahita were also goddesses of abundance, wisdom, and rivers. Either way, I do feel she has a wisdom component that's often overlooked.

I've come back to add that some trace her back to a proto-Indo-European *Gwouwinda, whose Celtic avatars would be Boand, Brigit and maybe Damona. Saraswati may have had a cow aspect, since the Rig Veda (RV 9.67.32) says she makes milk and butter flow. I haven't been able to find anything bovine for Anahita.

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    There is no cow symbol associated with Anahita, she is mostly a goddess of water. Also add the traditional, virgin, fertility. And a war aspect. globally a mixture between Athena and... Calypso (?). The war aspect is definitely a "Ishatarian" addition, after the conquest of Babylon. – Gibet Apr 24 '17 at 7:13

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