God who had a well of wisdom which was the source of the Boyne. His wife's name is given as either Boann or Elcmar; either way, this wife was later wooed by the Dagda, who impregnated her with Oegnus.

Nechtan's well of wisdom was situated under nine hazel trees, the nuts of which imparted wisdom. In that well swam the Salmon of Wisdom. Only Nechtan could draw water from the well. One day, his wife decided to draw water, but instead flooded the well, creating the River Boyne.

In another story, Oengus tricked Nechtan out of his home, the Brugh. In other places, the Brugh is said to belong to the Dagda; it is also thought that Nechtan may simply be a double of the Dagda.

His name is related to Neptune; both, it seems go back to the Proto-Indo-European god Népo:t, whose name means "close relative of the waters," and who rules the firey waters which grant wisdom--sacred alcohol, essentially.

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Mary Jones © 2004