Celtic Myth Podshow News

Bringing the Tales and Stories of the Ancient Celts to your Fireside

The Legend of Lucky White Heather

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Ossian is the narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson from 1760. Macpherson claimed to have collected word-of-mouth material in Scots Gaelic, said to be from ancient sources, and that the work was his translation of that material. Ossian is based on Oisín, son of Finn or Fionn mac Cumhaill, anglicised to Finn McCool, a legendary bard who is a character in Irish mythology.

Contemporary critics were divided in their view of the work’s authenticity, but the consensus since is that Macpherson framed the poems himself, based on old folk tales he had collected, and that “Ossian” is, in the words of Thomas Curley,

“the most successful literary falsehood in modern history.”

But Macpherson’s fame was crowned by his burial among the literary giants in Westminster Abbey, and W.P. Ker, in the Cambridge History of English Literature, observes that “all Macpherson’s craft as a philological imposter would have been nothing without his literary skill.

Why White Heather is Lucky

Here is his tale about why white heather is considered lucky:

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Mythology Isn’t What It Used To Be

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Special Guest blogger, John Prytz gives us a stimulating and refreshing view on Mythology as he explores the links between the stories of our ancestors and historical events. How many of the stories that we consider to be imaginative and false because they are labelled ‘Mythology’ are actually based on a historic actuality?

Let’s see what John has to say:

Mythology is to my mind a combination of two things, neither fictional. Firstly, mythology is often IMHO an art form trying to interpret the unknown and the unexplainable in terms of, or in a context, you can understand. So, to the ancients, UFOs became aerial and often fiery chariots or winged rocks or enormous birds; extraterrestrials were turned into ‘gods’ and fantastic creatures like the Cyclops; hybrids like the Minotaur were just the product of some sort of weird but understandable sexual relationship, in this case between Pasiphae (the wife of King Minos), and the Cretan Bull (of the sea), instead of a product of genetic engineering.

Mythology is often just an embellishment of history

Secondly, mythology is often just the embellishment of history. I’ve stated before and I’ll state again that while Ivory Tower scholars all accept the ‘fact’ and know that all mythology is pure fiction, I start with the opposite point of view – mythology is a reflection of real events and real characters unless proven to be otherwise.

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Scottish and Cornish dramas rate high in the Game of TV Clones

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Poldark

Poldark is a British drama television series that was first broadcast on BBC One on 8 March 2015. The eight-part series, based on the first two Poldark novels by Winston Graham, tells the story of Ross Poldark who returns to his Cornish tin mines after spending three years in the army to avoid charges of smuggling, leaving behind his sweetheart Elizabeth. On his return, having fought in the American War of Independence, he finds his father dead, his estate in ruins and Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis. In need of help, he takes on a new kitchen maid, Demelza, after rescuing her from a beating, bringing him into conflict with hostile locals.

Read on for more about our Scottish and Cornish dramas…

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Game of Clones: how the pretenders measure up” was written by Thomas Batten, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 7th April 2015 11.00 UTC

When Game of Thrones returns for its fifth season on Sunday, it will be entering a situation not unlike the one Ripley encounters in Alien: Resurrection, when she stumbles into that laboratory filled with tanks containing multiple bloated, twisted clones of herself.

The cable landscape is packed with GoT homunculi, these imitations less about flattering the original than grabbing some of its audience. The checklist of clichés they employ is a long one and includes an old-time setting, convoluted plotting, graphic sexuality and violence, an overwhelmingly bleak view of humanity, and classically trained actors reciting gibberish dialogue.

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Magical, Mystical and Sacred Sites for a day out with myths and legends

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Magical, Mystical and Sacred Sites across the UK

Somerset's Cadbury Castle, Leland's Camelot

Somerset’s Cadbury Castle, Leland’s Camelot

We are proud to bring you an article by Guardian reporter, Kevin Rushby about the many sacred sites within the United Kingdom that you can visit and explore. From Cadair Idris in Wales to St. Nectan’s Glen at Tintagel in Cornwall and from the magical Robin Lythe’s Cave in East Yorkshire to the Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye you will never be short of somewhere mysterious, magical and wondrous to experience the ancient magic of our Sacred Land.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “UK days out with myths and legends” was written by Kevin Rushby, for The Guardian on Tuesday 31st March 2015 10.30 UTC

Magic mountain

Cadair Idris, Snowdonia, Gwynedd (OS Explorer OL23)

The joy of the 893-metre Cadair Idris is that it looks like a proper mountain but is actually a fairly easy walk, guaranteed to make everyone feel tough and strong without too much effort. That’s if you do the Pony Path, at least, which begins at the Ty-Nant car park on the north side of the mountain. The Minffordd and Fox’s paths are a little more demanding, especially the latter.

Legend associates the peak with Arthur, although it could also be a Welsh prince by that name who fought an Irish army here in the seventh century. Either way it is a place of deep magic, prone to visitations by infernal hunting dogs that snaffle you off to the underworld.

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Ancient Irish King sacrificed to the Land for his people

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Eamonn Kelly, Keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, who has worked on all the major bog body finds, theorizes that the oldest Bog Body – Cashel Man, about 4,000 years old – met his end in a form of sacrifice reports Irish Central.

Early Bronze Age death means Cashel Man is the oldest Bog Body

Found in a bog in County Laois in 2011, the Cashel Man is the oldest found bog body. From the early Bronze Age, about 4,000 years ago, he is believed to be the oldest bog body anywhere in the world. He was found between territories and within sight of a hill where he may have been crowned king.

Cashel Man suffered violent injuries to his back and a sword or axe wound on his arm, but this level of violence is not unusual for bog bodies. Keeper of Irish Antiquities, Eamonn Kelly, who has worked on all the major bog body finds, theorizes that the bog bodies died violent deaths as a form of sacrifice. He explained to the BBC:

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The Tuatha de Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu

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The Tuatha de Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu, were one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland. The important manuscript ‘The Annals of the Four Masters’, records that they ruled Ireland from 1897 B.C. to 1700 B.C.

The arrival of the tribe in Ireland is the stuff of legend. They landed at the Connaught coastline and emerged from a great mist. It is speculated that they burned their boats to ensure that they settled down in their new land. The rulers of Ireland at the time were the Fir Bolg, led by Eochid son of Erc, who was, needless to say, unhappy about the new arrivals.

The Tuatha de Danann won the inevitable battle with the Fir Bolg but, out of respect for the manner in which they had fought, they allowed the Fir Bolg to remain in Connaught while the victors ruled the rest of Ireland.

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Excalibur – The Enchanted Sword of Arthurian legend

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The Name “Excalibur” was first used for King Arthur’s sword by the French Romancers. It was not the famous “Sword in the Stone” (which broke in battle), but a second sword acquired by the King through the intercession of his druidic advisor, Merddyn (Merlin). Worried that Arthur would fall in battle, Merlin took the King to a magical lake where a mysterious hand thrust itself up from the water, holding aloft a magnificent sword.

It was the Lady of the Lake offering Arthur a magic unbreakable blade, fashioned by an Avalonian elf smith, along with a scabbard which would protect him as long as he wore it.

Towards the end of his reign, during the troubled times of Medrod’s rebellion, Excalibur was stolen by Arthur’s wicked half-sister, Morgan le Fay. Though it was recovered, the scabbard was lost forever. Thus Arthur was mortally wounded at the Battle of Camlann. The King then instructed Bedwyr (or Girflet) to return Excalibur to the lake from whence it came.

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Merlin – Mystical Enchanter, Prophet and Advisor to King Arthur

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Merlin, enchanter and wise man in Arthurian legend and romance of the Middle Ages, linked with personages in ancient Celtic mythology (especially with Myrddin in Welsh tradition).

He appeared in Arthurian legend as an enigmatic figure, fluctuations and inconsistencies in his character being often dictated by the requirements of a particular narrative or by varying attitudes of suspicious regard toward magic and witchcraft.

Thus, treatments of Merlin reflect different stages in the development of Arthurian romance itself.

Geoffrey of Monmouth, in Historia regum Britanniae (1135–38), adapted a story, told by the Welsh antiquary Nennius (flourished c. 800), of a boy, Ambrosius, who had given advice to the legendary British king Vortigern. In Geoffrey’s account Merlin -Ambrosius figured as adviser to Uther Pendragon (King Arthur’s father) and afterward to Arthur himself.

Merlin – Advisor, Wildman and Prophet

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Roman Roads were actually built by the Celts, claims The Ancient Paths

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The myth of straight Roman roads has been exposed by a new book which claims the extraordinary engineering feats were the work of the Celts, writes The Telegraph back in 2013. The findings of Graham Robb, a biographer and historian, bring into question two millennia of thinking about Iron Age Britain and Europe and the stereotyped image of Celts as barbarous, superstitious tribes.

In reality the Druids, the Celt’s scientific and spiritual leaders, were some of the most intellectually advanced thinkers of their age, it is said, who developed the straight roads in the 4th Century BC, hundreds of years before the Italian army marched across the continent.

“They had their own road system on which the Romans later based theirs,”

Mr Robb said, adding that the roads were built in Britain from around the 1st Century BC.

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Scotland – Gaelic language school a victim of success

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PUPIL numbers at Glasgow Gaelic School are at an all-time high. But the popularity of the school has landed education bosses with a problem – they cannot find enough fluent Gaelic-speaking teachers. This year the secondary school has around 62 students on the roll but next year that number is set to rise to 100.
Over 70 children will enroll in the primary school next term.

Gaelic Language Schools

Glasgow was the first council to provide a dedicated Gaelic secondary school, recognised nationally as a ground breaking approach.

Margaret Doran, executive director of education and social work, admitted the shortage would hit lessons.

She said:

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