Sep 25 2014

Welsh tree was alive 3,000 years before the birth of Christ!

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Yew Tree in St Cynog's Churchyard

Yew Tree in St Cynog’s Churchyard

Pic: Mail Online

A tiny village is believed to be home to Britain’s oldest tree – a yew that first took took root more than 5,000 years ago reports the Mail Online. The majestic yew that lives in in a Welsh churchyard was 3,000 years old when Jesus Christ was born, according to tree ageing experts. Experts have run tests on the tree in the St Cynog’s churchyard at Defynnog near Sennybridge, Powys, including DNA and ring-dating. The species is common across European churchyards because its evergreen leaves and longevity is a symbol of Christ’s transcendence of death.

There are hundreds of ancient yew trees dating back at least 600 years across Britain, but the 60-foot-wide giant at St Cynog’s is believed to be the most ancient.
Tree ageing expert Janis Fry, 64, who has studied yews for more than 40 years, said:

I’m convinced this is the oldest tree in Europe. It was planted on the north side of the ancient burial mound which is now the churchyard, probably in honour of a neolithic chieftain.

It is so old that it has split into two halves – one 40ft (12 metres) wide and the other 20 ft (6 metres) wide. Its DNA has been tested by the Forestry Institute and its ring count is 120 per inch which makes it [more than] 5,000 years old.

The Yew: How a Sacred Pagan Symbol was adopted by the Church

Yews were potent symbols of death too – particularly in ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt – because of their toxic leaves and red berries. The yew is found in churchyards across Europe because the early Church often took over existing religious buildings as it converted and took over pagan regions. But the tree has since become a strong Christian symbol – its long life and evergreen leaves now represent Christ’s transcendence of death in his resurrection. The yew’s leaves also bear a resemblance to palm leaves and were commonly used on Palm Sunday for Easter rituals. Indeed some ancient British folklore has even hinted that Christ was crucified on a yew tree.
Druids Collecting Mistletoe illustration

Druids Collecting Mistletoe illustration

Pic: Mail Online

Another, less magical reason for their existence in churchyards is that poisonous yews were actively planted by the local parish to discourage farmers from letting their cattle graze on burial grounds.

Church in Wales property services chief Alex Glanville said:

Yew trees have survived in Wales better than anywhere else because of our wet climate and lower light levels.

Protecting the Yew Trees

St Cynog's Churchyard

St Cynog’s Churchyard

Pic: Mail Online

The Church in Wales has now launched a campaign to protect the yew trees in their churchyards. It is sending out certificates to parishes and communities which have some of the oldest yews – giving information on where to get the best advice for managing and making the most of them. Mr Glanville said:

It is time we celebrated these amazing trees and the communities that have cared for them down the centuries.

Read more on the Mail Online website: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2683383/Europes-oldest-yew-tree-discovered-Welsh-churchyard-FIVE-THOUSAND-years-old.html#ixzz3EJTtKgUX

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Sep 07 2014

Celtic Scottish Sweat Lodge/Sauna saved and re-built

Moving Stone at Bressay
Pic: Bronze Age Bressay
News at the Scotsman.com reports that a Bronze Age structure thought to have been used as a sauna has been saved from destruction by the sea after a team of archaeologists moved the entire find to a safer location. The building, which dates from between 1500BC and 1200BC, was unearthed on the Shetland island of Bressay eight years ago. It was found in the heart of the Burnt Mound at Cruester, a Bronze Age site on the coast of Bressay facing Lerwick.

But earlier this summer (2008), because of the increased threat of coastal erosion, local historians joined archaeologists to launch a campaign to save the building and to move it somewhere safer. A third of the mound had already been lost to sea erosion.

The central structure was carefully dismantled and each stone numbered before being moved to a site a mile way next to Bressay Heritage Centre.

And today (23/8/2008), following the completion of the unusual removal scheme, the Bronze Age building will be officially opened at its new location by Tavish Scott, the MSP for Shetland. Douglas Coutts, the project officer with Bressay History Group, said the structure was one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in the Northern Isles.

The building was hidden in a mound of burnt stones and is thought to have been used for feasts, baths or even saunas.

The structure comprises a series of dry-stone, walled cells, connected by two corridors. At the end of one corridor is a hearth cell, thought to have been used for heating stones, and at the other end is a tank sunk into the ground which is almost two metres long, more than a metre wide, and half a metre deep.

Burnt Mound at Cruester,  at Bressay
Pic:Bronze Age Bressay

Mr Coutts said:

Burnt mounds don’t usually consist of very much more than a hearth and a tank and a heap of burnt stones. But in Shetland, we seem to have much more complex structures with little rooms or cells leading off from a main passageway which connects the hearth and tank.

He added:

 

We think these cells may have originally been roofed over in a beehive shape. One theory is that these structures may have been used for cooking meat or tanning hides. But it is possible they could have raised steam by heating the water and that these little cells could have been used as saunas.

Tom Dawson, a researcher at St Andrews University who also worked on the removal project, said coastal erosion was threatening thousands of archaeological sites around Scotland.

 

The local group here came up with a novel idea for dealing with the problem. It is great to have had the chance to give new life to this particular site and make it accessible to future generations, while also learning something new, not just about Cruester, but about burnt mounds in general.

This structure is important in world terms. There are thousands of burnt mounds in Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia but only a handful are known to have structures within them.

Mr Scott praised the partnership between the local history group and outside archaeological bodies.

He said:

This exhibition will be a great asset for visitors to Bressay and local people. The more we understand about the past, the better informed we are about the future.

[Source]

Look out tomorrow for more details on how the re-construction of the Burnt Mound is helping Education in 2009.

Originally posted 2009-12-29 08:30:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

He’s Big, Blue, and the Red-Headed Defender of the Clans! Saltire! Scotland’s First Superhero!

Saltire: Invasion

Saltire: Invasion

Pic: Saltire

You’ve heard of Captain America, the enhanced Super-Soldier who became the symbol of American patriotism and you may even have heard of Captain Britain, whose power derived in part from Merlyn and the mystical sword, Excalibur and who embodies the spirit of British patriotism but it’s now time to doff your cowls and pull on your capes, as the Superhero Spirit of the Ancient Clans becomes embodied in the Big, Blue form of Saltire! He embodies both the concepts of ancient mysticism along with all of the drama, power and heroism that you expect from any of today’s cinematic Superheroes. Saltire is an archetypal Golden Age comic book hero – the sort we see on our Movie screens today, and not the complex and often dark, anti-hero type that seem to dominate today’s comic book world. He is a Hero for a nation – a symbol to stand by, perhaps ideal for a time when Scotland is seeking its own individuality and independence again.
With John Ferguson as the writer, art by Tony Julskaer and Gary Welsh, the new graphic novel Saltire by DiamondSteel Comics hits the streets with twice the impact of those massive blue fists striking the legions of the Roman army as they threaten to cross onto Scottish lands. The first book is in two parts Saltire: Invasion – that tells of the coming of the Romans and Saltire’s role in driving them back and Saltire: Inception that gives us his origin story. In between the two we are treated to some beautiful concept art as well as some stand-alone colour pieces that are a pure luxury to see. His enemies are not just the ill-fated and mysterious 9th Legion of Rome, but the summoned Avatar or a Roman God! We even see the big, blue hand stretching as far as the Imperial throne of Rome to shake it up a bit.
Saltire in Action

Saltire in Action

Pic: Saltire

A Magical Blend of Celtic Mythology and Pseudo-History

Saltire and Swords

Saltire and Swords

Pic: Saltire

The creator, John Ferguson, describes Big Blue as

an immortal being created thousands of years ago to protect Scotland and its people. He’s big, he’s blue and he’s ginger. He has Scottish values but he’s a traditional comic book superhero with a variety of super villains to contend with as the story progresses, a Scottish competitor to Batman and Spiderman if you like.

He was born of the union between the Clans of the North, the Clans of the South and a Fey representative of the powers of Light and Darkness – Princes of the Otherworld! John has woven a unique blend of traditional mythology, modern cultural nationalism and the Heroic Ideal represented by classic Golden Age superheroes into Saltire, the personification of Scotland’s Stone of Destiny.

Whether or not you could count some of the more traditional heroes of Scottish Mythology, such as Finn McCool, as Scotland’s first Superheroes is really a moot point as they were the heroes from a different time and less likely to ‘leap tall buildings in a single bound’ or meet whatever scale you match a modern Superhero up to. Saltire’s passes all of the tests of our time and stands tall and proud (and blue) as the embodiment of the Spirit of Scotland’s Clans, its’ Otherworldly Spirit and History as well as the hopes for its future. Every bit the equal of a Captain America or Captain Britain!

Wielding twin Claymores made from indestructible, meteoric Diamond Steel, and dressed in trews and leg-wraps, our big, blue and hairy Defender is an imposing living, visual image of the Saltire symbol on Scotland’s flag – known as Saint Andrew’s Cross. A powerful cast comprised of the powerful and unique defenders of the 12 Clans – Scotland’s own version of the ancient 12 Tribes perhaps? – and united by the High Shaman promise great character development for the future.
Flag of Scotland

Flag of Scotland

Pic: Wiki

Saltire himself is accompanied by the earth-bound representatives of the Light and Dark Fey – the Dark Unicorn, Caledon and the Dragon of Light, Nathir who dwells within the waters of Loch Ness.

What may come in the future for Scotland’s National Superhero?

Like the ‘Once and Future King’, Arthur, who will awaken from his mystical sleep to defend the shores of Britain from her invaders, so will Saltire burst anew into life to defend the Clans and the Peace of the Land north of the Wall!

The Immortals

The Immortals

Pic: Saltire

So, anytime, from his Inception to our modern-day World we could see Big Blue leap into action. The story has started with the attempted invasion by the Romans and we are anxiously awaiting Book 3 of the Saga, Saltire: Annihilation, to see where the story goes. We were given a real treat with the beautiful artwork and presentation of the first two books bound as a single volume (also in hardback), and can only hope that such high standards continue. The characters are, obviously, only just starting out so I’m eager to see how the relationships pan out, especially with the mysterious and beautiful Fey lady, Eilys, who possesses the gift of foresight but cannot set foot upon the Earth. The Big Screen has seen the Big Green figure of the Hulk cause massive property damage; it has seen Big Red, Hellboy, fight against the unseen legions of the demonic and supernatural and maybe, just maybe, in the future we’ll see Big Blue being summoned from the Stone of Destiny to swing his Diamond Steel blades on the Silver Screen? Well, we can dream…

You can find out all about Saltire, John Ferguson and his team as well as where to get hold of the Graphic Novel on their website at http://www.diamondsteelcomics.com or track them down on Facebook (for some amazing reviews and artwork) or follow them on Twitter!

Remember keep it Big, Blue, and Ginger!

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

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You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Handster at http://www.handster.com/celtic_myth.html or by using the QR code opposite. It’s also found on the Opera Marketplace in the US.

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Originally posted 2014-01-16 04:31:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Update on Saving Newgrange: A New Hope?


Proposed Slane Bypass
Pic: Save Newgrange
Vincent Salafia of Save Newgrange tells us that the Irish Times has reported that new consultations are being ordered to discuss the Slane Bypass that is threatening the ancient home of Angus Og, the Brugh na Boyne – the monument that is now called Newgrange.

Click on the image to the left to see the detail.

The Irish Times reports:

A NEW round of public consultations on controversial plans for a dual-carriageway bypass of Slane, Co Meath, has been ordered by An Bord Pleanála, with October 15th set as the closing date. A public notice advertising the new round of consultations was published recently in national newspapers. The original consultation period closed on February 25th last.

An Bord Pleanála had sought additional information from Meath County Council on the road scheme, including whether an alternative route running to the west of Slane had been examined. The current proposal, which is being advanced on behalf of the National Roads Authority (NRA), would run to the east of Slane, some 500 metres from the boundary of Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site.

The appeals board also sought alternative designs for a new bridge over the river Boyne, noting that the cable-stayed bridge originally proposed would be visible from the World Heritage Site. It also wanted the council to produce more detailed archaeological and geophysical reports on investigations of 44 archaeological sites that would be affected by the original scheme.

The information was sought “in order to clarify certain points in the environmental impact statement [EIS] and assist the board’s assessment of the likely effects on the environment” of the road. This followed complaints to An Bord Pleanála by the Save Newgrange group, former attorney general John Rogers SC and leading archaeologist Prof George Eogan that the EIS was flawed.

Save Newgrange spokesman Vincent Salafia said:

“We will be waging an international campaign over the next month, particularly in Northern Ireland, to get as many objections as possible filed with An Bord Pleanála.”

Save Newgrange

Irish Times

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Descripition Page.


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Originally posted 2010-09-20 12:16:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Bronze Age site discovered over a decade ago in Shinewater area to rival Flag-Fen!


Video: Eastbourne Live

As well as being one of the most beautiful parks in Eastbourne, underneath the park, hidden from view, is the largest bronze age village to be discovered in Europe. It is believed that the village is built on a huge oak platform covering 500m.sq. and coming of this platform are a number of causeways going towards the Downs and Hastings, these causeways alone are unusual because it would normally be just mud tracks leading to a village, but in the case of these causeways they are massive, up to 8m wide. This implies that this village was of huge importance, perhaps as a dock or a large farming area.

A tiny fraction of the platform was discovered while excavating for the lake and in this small section all sorts of pottery and artefacts were found including the Sickle you can see below. Another amazing coincidence about the site is that everything is extremely well preserved. Not only are we finding pottery and metal but also the wood and even material used over 3000 years ago. The magnitude of this find cannot not be over stated, so why aren’t they excavating the site and finding out more about the site?  [source]

British Archaeology, December 1995 – New Flag Fen-like site found in East Sussex

A large Late Bronze Age ceremonial and occupation site, preserved in waterlogged deposits and similar in some respects to the famous Bronze Age site at Flag Fen, has been found near Eastbourne in East Sussex.

As at Flag Fen, the Eastbourne site consists of a large wooden platform connected to a long wooden causeway running across what was formerly a marshy lake. A number of bronze artefacts have been found, seemingly thrown from the platform as votive offerings into the marsh.

The platform appears to have been the site of a small settlement. At least two clay hearths were found on the platform, surrounded by a mass of occupation evidence such as butchered animal bones and pottery. The pottery seems to date the settlement provisionally to c 800-600BC – later than Flag Fen, which flourished from c 1400-900BC.

Both the platform and causeway lay originally on the surface of the marsh, supported by a complex arrangement of oak posts. The posts had been driven into the underlying clay and peat, but also rose up above the causeway and platform, possibly to mark the line of the causeway (which ran for at least 1km across the marsh), and also perhaps as a structural base for buildings on the platform. The platform itself, 80m wide and at least 50m long, consisted of a solid timber base covered in brushwood and rush matting, with a surface layer of gravel.

The bronze artefacts found in the surrounding peat included a palstave (or unsocketed axe), two socketed axes, a chisel head and a sickle. The sickle was excavated complete with its intact wooden handle, and all the other objects except the palstave retained traces of wood. The excavators from East Sussex County Council have so far only excavated a small area, and many more bronze artefacts are expected as work continues next year. One of the socketed axes was found in near-mint condition, and still retained a sharp cutting edge. Its style suggests it came from north-west continental Europe, indicating some form of long-distance trade or gift-exchange. Some amber beads and part of a shale bracelet were also found.

The skeleton of an infant was discovered at the site, but it was not in situ, and at present it is unclear whether the skeleton represents an ordinary child burial, or a foundation deposit or some other kind of ritual burial. Human bones from at least three adults have also been found.

According to Andrew Woodcock, East Sussex County Archaeologist (now retired – 2013), the presence of `foreign’ bronze, and the ritual deposition of artefacts, suggest this was an important site in the Bronze Age. It is also likely to prove an important site for modern archaeology, as one of only a handful of major waterlogged prehistoric sites currently known in the country with good preservation of organic remains. [source]

Water-logged site in danger if it dries out

Because of the nature of the site, the village has been trapped in-between two layers of clay in a layer that is very waterlogged. It is this water that is keeping everything well preserved. Think Mary Rose, this was preserved at the bottom of the sea and needs to be continually sprayed with water to stop it rotting away, now that it has been raised from the sea bed. Because of this waterlogged soil everything is being kept well preserved and there is no rush to get the site excavated, there is only a limited amount of money available for archaeological digs of the size needed to lift the village from the marsh and unfortunately there are more important digs that need to go ahead because the treasures they are hiding do stand a risk of disappearing for ever.
Shinewater Dig in Progress

Shinewater Dig in Progress

Pic: Shinewater Park

We are continually monitoring the water levels within the marsh and if it should ever start to dry out then money would be found to raise the village, until then we just have to be patient.

A late Bronze Age sickle was found at Shinewater Park, Sussex, England in 1995. A thoroughly researched conservation plan was required in order to meet the display conditions of the receiving museum and to meet the high standards required by the specialists involved in the treatment of this unique sickle.  [source]

 

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Handster at http://www.handster.com/celtic_myth.html or by using the QR code opposite. It’s also found on the Opera Marketplace as well as AppBrain in the US.

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2013-02-19 06:12:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Grace O’Malley the Dark Lady of Doona


The Meeting of Grace O’Malley and Queen Elizabeth 1st
Pic: Wiki Commons
Our many to thanks the Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area for allowing us to post this great article to share with our readers

She is known by many names: Grainne Mhaol (Bald Grace), Grainne Ui Mhaille (Grace of the Umhalls), Grania, the Dark Lady of Doona, Grace O’Malley, and Granuaile (Gran-oo-ale). She was a contemporary of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Edmund Spencer, Walter Raleigh, and Francis Drake. She was a mother, a pirate, and one of the many great women of Ireland.

Born c. 1530 into the O’Malley family, the hereditary lords of Umhall which included Clare Island, Inishturk, Inishbofin, Inishark and Caher, Grace married into two of the powerful families of Western Ireland, the O’Flaherty of West Connacht and the Burke of Clew Bay. Tradition has it that she is buried (1603) on Clare Island at the Abbey which bears the O’Malley coat-of-arms; Terra-Marique-Potens. Indeed a fitting family motto, for Grace was powerful on land and especially on the sea.

Granuaile’s life parallels the House of Tudor’s efforts to reconquer Ireland. She married Donal O’Flaherty in 1546 while in this same period of time Henry VIII was pressuring prominent Irish chieftains and Anglo-Irish lords to submit to the rule of the King’s Lord Debuty. The O’Flaherties and O’Malleys did not submit and, denied access to Galway Bay, they poached on merchant ships bound for Galway. They were so obstreperous that the Mayor and Council of Galway reported them to the English Council. Grace gave birth to three children during her marraige to Donal O’Flaherty and her warring husband died in battle in 1567.  Before this, another historically important woman, Elizabeth I, assume the throne of England (1558). In time, the paths of these two extraordinary women would cross.

Even as an O’Flaherty, Granuaile had maintained an independent force of 200 O’Malley men on land and sea. Characteristically, Grace treasured the sea and the O’Malley allies:

“I would rather have a ship full of Conroy and McAnally clans than a ship full of Gold.”

Tradition tells us that Grace’s forces maintained a series of forts on Clew Bay, Lough Mask and Lough Corrib which helped her through arms and signal fires to defend her castle in Lough Corrib against English soldiers. There, the story goes, she melted a lead roof to pour molten lead on her besiegers. Grania’s toughness is also revealed in the story about her sacking of Doona Castle where she punished the supporters on the MacMahons for slaying her lover.

Even after Grace married again, to Richard Burke, she remained active on the seas. If she could not contract for cargo, her ships preyed on vessels off the coast of Mayo. Although Burke was powerful enough to be appointed the Mac William lochtar of Connacht in 1580 and Grace and he had a son Tibbot, Grace and Burke lived rather separate lives. In 1576, the Howth Castle story centering upon an insult to her was set into Irish legend. It seems when Grania sought to rest at Howth Castle from a trip to Dublin, the Castle gates were shut to her. She abducted a son of the lord and ransomed him for a promise to leave the gate open to visitors and to set an extra plate at every meal. These conditions are observed still today.

When Richard Burke died in 1583, Grace’s clashes with the English intensified. Sir William Sydney referred to her as

“a most notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland.”

She was arrested in 1584 as Governor Richard Bingham forcefully brought Connacht into the Tudor line. Her son Tibbot was held hostage to assure her good behavior, a common Elizabethan practice to pacify the chieftains and to Anglicize their sons. When Governor Bingham penetrated Grace’s sea domain and impounded her fleet, she went over his head to Queen Elizabeth for

” free liberty during her life to invade with sword and fire all your highness’ enemies.”

Tradition, and some history, says that Granuaile, the Queen of Connacht, met the Queen of England in September 1593, and gained most of her petitions by agreeing, in Elizabeth’s words,

“to fight in our quarrels with all the world.”

Sadly, in the great battle of Kinsale (1603) when Hugh O’Neill and Hugh Roe O’Donnell were defeated, Grace’s son Tibbot and other Mayo chiefs fought with the Queen’s forces.

In a man’s world, Granuaile developed her own power base contrary to Gaelic and English law. She was a woman of singular strength of character and for that became, along with Roisin Dubh and Caitleen Ni Houlihan, a poetic symbol for Ireland:

The gowns she wore was stained with gore all by a ruffian band
Her lips so sweet that monarchs kissed are now grown pale and wan
The tears of grief fell from her eyes each tear as large as hail
None could express the deep distress of poor old Granuaile.

(originally printed in 1988)

© Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Descripition Page.

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2010-06-09 08:04:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Coming soon: The Druid Isle

The Druid Isle
Pic: Llewellyn
Do you remember in SP06, our Yule Holiday Special for 2008 we presented a section of Priestess of the Forest for you? You can find the Shownotes for SP06 in the Shownotes section and have a look again. Priestess of the Forest is a novel set in the 3rd century about a Druid healer and a Fennid warrior written by Ellen Evert Hopman, an author well versed in American Druidism. Well, in April of 2010 she is preparing to release the sequel to this book called The Druid Isle.

The Druid Isle

The Druid Isle takes you into the world of Ethne, a Druid healer, and her warrior partner, Ruad. When their beautiful daughter Aífe undertakes training on a Druid island, she falls in love with Lucius, a handsome young man who has traded his priestly studies at a Christian monastery for the Druid life. But their love—and their beliefs—are threatened in the face of a lustful king and relentless Roman monks.

Set on a third-century island off the coast of Scotland, this instructional Celtic tale delves deeper into the spiritual mystery of the Druids and offers a fascinating look at the Romans, Gauls, and Britons.

Ellen Evert Hopman

Ellen Evert Hopman (Massachusetts) has been active in American Druidism since 1984. She is co-chief of the Order of the Whiteoak (Ord na Darach Gile), a popular author of Druidry-related titles, and a master herbalist. She teaches at the Grey School of Wizardry and has contributed to several Pagan journals.

You can find out more about Ellen and her work on her website at http://www.elleneverthopman.com.

Reviews

"Ellen has done it again. The Druid Isle grabs you right from the start. In it, we follow the story of Aife, a Pagan girl who lives with the forest Druids, and Lucius, a young Christian monk who turns Pagan. In my opinion, one of the best features of the book is the small bits of old lore from the Druids scattered throughout. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone’s library!"

–Rev. Skip Ellison, Archdruid of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) and author of Ogham: The Secret Language of the Druids and The Solitary Druid: A Practitioner’s Guide

I’m looking forward to seeing this work and hope that we’re allowed to bring you a section from the follow-up to Priestess of the Forest!

Originally posted 2009-12-13 13:46:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

The Highland Games keep the Celtic Spirit alive

The wonderful thing about a mythology like that of the Celts is that it is still so vibrant and alive. Over the centuries it has matured, evolved and developed like a fine wine. The fruit from which it is made is a rare and beautiful specimen, but with the passage of time it has become a full-bodied vintage.

You can’t look at the Mythology in isolation. Take for example, the phenomenon of the Celtic festival that we find in modern times. The celebration of heritage, culture and the stories of myth has travelled all over the world following the path of the Celts as they explored and settled in far-off countries. Now it is no longer strange to find the Highland Games being celebrated in Tallahassee, at  the North Florida Fairgrounds – and celebrated with just as much joy as the Eisteddfod in Wales.

I find it wonderful that the Celtic Spirit can thrive and grow in this fashion and welcome each and every celebration.

We loved the previous location (Sunny Hill Farm on Roberts Road), said organizer Amy Ray. It was so picturesque. But we hope (moving to the fairgrounds) will be better for logistics.

We hope it’ll also allow us to go forward and grow and establish a more active Scottish presence in Tallahassee.

The local collective Celtic community is growing under the influence of such groups as the Tallahassee St. Andrew Society, Tallahassee Irish Society, various pipe bands and fiddle orchestras, and other organizations devoted to Celtic culture and heritage.

The presence of those groups will be felt at this year’s festival, along with visiting entertainers, vendors, genealogists and performers.

We’ll have the Wild Highlanders, a group that recreates the traditional fighting styles of Scottish Highlanders in mock battles and fights,” Ray said. “It’s quite a lively crowd, to say the least.

The festival proper starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and concludes with a ceilidh (pronounced “kay-lee”), a rip-roaring hoedown headlined by Celtic rock group Seven Nations.

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Originally posted 2008-04-18 09:49:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Proleek Dolmen Summer Solstice alignment

Pic: novopress Ancient dolmen in Louth points towards Slieve Gullion for Summer Solstice Sunset

It is known as the ‘Giant’s Load’ and, when you stand under the great capstone of Proleek Dolmen, it’s not difficult to see why. This huge boulder is reputed to weigh around 40 tonnes, yet it sits comfortably on top of three upright stones as if it was a sheet of paper and not a giant rock.

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Originally posted 2008-08-18 10:31:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

Bog Child
Pic: Amazon
A fascinating Celtic novel has just hit the Kindle as an electronic download. It is 1981, and 18-year-old Fergus lives on the border between Northern Ireland and the south. His older brother, Joe, a member of the Provisional IRA, is jailed at Long Kesh and joins a hunger strike. The family is traumatized, and Fergus does his best to comfort his mother and to convince Joe that his "sacrifice" for the cause is not worth it. Fergus has been pressured (blackmailed) to smuggle packages for the IRA, but wants nothing more than to leave Ireland and study to become a doctor. His life becomes even more complicated when he and his uncle discover the body of a young girl while pilfering peat.

It turns out to be 2000 years old. Thus begins a double narrative that involves a love story and a discussion of destiny and self-sacrifice. Fergus’s story includes his struggle to understand his brother’s actions and his growing love for the daughter of the archaeologist called in to investigate the Iron Age discovery. Interspersed is the story of Mel, the bog child, who makes the ultimate sacrifice to unite her people, and who finds love at the end of her life. The two narratives work beautifully together. The love story between Fergus and Cora is depicted with tenderness, and their adolescent sexuality is sensitively portrayed. Readers will come away with a strong sense of the time periods (especially of the "Troubles") through dialogue and action. This compelling read is lyrically written and contains authentic dialogue and challenging and involving moral issues. It’s a first, and a must-have purchase. Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2009-07-18 08:50:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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