Mar 01 2015

St. David’s Day and the Symbols of Wales

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St. David at Our Lady & Saint Non's Chapel

St. David at Our Lady & Saint Non’s Chapel

Pic: Wiki

St David of Wales or Dewi Sant, was a saint of the Celtic Church. He was the son of Sandde, Prince of Powys, and Non, daughter of a Chieftain of Menevia whose lands included the peninsula on which the little cathedral town of St David’s now stands. St David is thought to have been born near the present town of St David’s. The ruins of a small chapel dedicated to his mother, Non,  may be seen near St. David’s Cathedral.David became the Abbot of  St David’s and died on 1st March 589. A.D. An account of his life was written towards the end of the 11th century by Rhygyfarch, a monk at Llanbadarn Fawr near Aberystwyth.  Many miracles were attributed to him. One miracle often recounted is that once when Dewi was preaching to a crowd at Llandewi Brefi those on the outer edges could not hear, so he spread a handkerchief on the ground, and stood on it to preach, whereupon the ground rose  up beneath him, and all could hear.

March 1st , St David’s Day, is now the traditional day of the Welsh.  March 1 is the date given by Rhygyfarch for the death of Dewi Sant, was celebrated as a religious festival up until the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. In the 18th century it became a national festival among the Welsh, and continues as such to this day.

The Leek

According to legend, St David advised the Britons on the eve of a battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps so as to easily distinguish friend from foe. This helped to secure a great victory. Today Welsh people around the world wear leeks on St David’s Day. It is also a surviving tradition that soldiers in the Welsh regiments eat a raw leek on St David’s Day.
Leeks

Leeks

Pic: 247 Magazine

The Daffodil

Daffodils

Daffodils

Picture: Wiki

St David of Wales or Dewi Sant, was a saint of the Celtic Church. He was the son of Sandde, Prince of Powys, and Non, daughter of a Chieftain of Menevia whose lands included the peninsula on which the little cathedral town of St David’s now stands. St David is thought to have been born near the present town of St David’s. The ruins of a small chapel dedicated to his mother, Non, may be seen near St. David’s Cathedral.

David became the Abbot of St David’s and died on 1st March 589. A.D. An account of his life was written towards the end of the 11th century by Rhygyfarch, a monk at Llanbadarn Fawr near Aberystwyth. Many miracles were attributed to him. One miracle often recounted is that once when Dewi was preaching to a crowd at Llandewi Brefi those on the outer edges could not hear, so he spread a handkerchief on the ground, and stood on it to preach, whereupon the ground rose up beneath him, and all could hear. [source]

The Welsh for leek (the original national emblem) is Cenhinen, while the Welsh for daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr. Over the years they became confused until the daffodil was adopted as a second emblem of Wales.

The Harp

The harp is regarded as the national instrument of Wales. By the end of the 18th century, the triple harp – so called because it had three rows of strings – was widely known as the Welsh harp on account of its popularity in Wales. The harp has been used through the ages as an accompaniment to folk-singing and dancing and as a solo instrument. HRH Prince Charles appoints a Welsh Royal Harpist on a scholarship programme annually. Past Royal harpists include Catrin Finch.
Catrin Finch, now a world famous harpist, began playing the instrument age five

Catrin Finch, now a world famous harpist, began playing the instrument age five

Pic: The Telegraph

The Prince of Wales Feathers

Prince of Wales Feathers "Ich Dien"

Prince of Wales Feathers

Pic: Cornwall Railway

The Crest of three ostrich plumes and the motto “Ich Dien” (I serve) were adopted by Edward the Black Prince at the Battle of Crecy. Edward became Prince of Wales in 1343, and was a popular leader – so much so that thousands of Welshmen joined him to fight in the French wars. In fact, a quarter of Edward’s troops were composed of Welsh archers and spearmen. The crest is used today in royal heraldry and the feathers still adorn the badge of the National Rugby Union team of Wales.

The Red Dragon

It took until 1959 for the Welsh national flag to be officially unfurled for the first time. The significance of the dragon in Welsh culture is believed to date back to Arthurian legend when Merlin had a vision of a red dragon (representing native Britons) fighting a white dragon (the Saxon invaders). The use of green and white refer to the colours of the House of Tudor, the 15th century royal family of Welsh origin. The red dragon won the battle, just in case you were wondering…

The Welsh Flag

The Welsh Flag

Other symbols that are often associated with Wales are the world famous Welsh Male Voice Choirs, made famous after the 450-strong South Wales Choral Union of Aberdare won The National Music Union Brass And Choral Event in consecutive years during the 1870s. The red kite, a distinctive bird of prey, was voted the most popular bird among the Welsh people in 2007. The Welsh Lovespoon, a handcrafted gift traditionally made from a solid block of wood was originally a courting gift to a young lady to show her family that the man courting her was a skilled craftsman. The last and perhaps most famous things associated with Wales is its language – a unique and precious linguistic treasure.

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Sep 25 2014

Beneath the Waters of Llyn Coch – a new film of an old tale!

Still from Beneath the Waters of Llyn Coch

Still from Beneath the Waters of Llyn Coch

Pic: Star Now

‘Beneath the Waters of Llyn Coch’ is a short film based on the ‘Fairy Bride’ legend associated with the lake ‘Llyn Coch’ is a short film of a Welsh legend of love found, lost and found again. Being made now (2013), it is co-produced by and stars Rebecca-Clare Evans, pictured left, and is directed by Natalie Smith. You can follow the progress of the film on their Facebook.

A young farmer ‘Talfryn’ had heard of the old Welsh folk tales of another magical land beneath the waters of Llyn Coch but never did he imagine such things could be real, until one morning whilst fishing he sees a vision of a small man in the middle of the lake on a wooden ladder.

Talfryn becomes infatuated with the lake visiting daily but doesn’t see anything as magical as he did that day. What he doesn’t realise is, he was also being watched from beneath the waters.

The fairy princess of the lake falls in love with the farmer. Breaking her people’s rules, she allows Talfryn to see her, he instantly falls in love but he doesn’t understand why she wont tell him her name or even come out of the waters to talk to him.

After a visit from his neighbor Mrs Williams, he reluctantly confides in her thinking she will laugh at him as did his fellow farmers, to his surprise Mrs Williams believes in the old folk tale and further more tells him secrets on how to catch the fairy maiden.

Why and how does Mrs Williams know so much about the magical kingdom? Do Talfryn and the Fairy princess live happily ever after?

We can’t wait for this film! The beautiful Welsh folk song, Dacw ‘Nghariad, is an ancient song and the writer is sadly unknown.  Eve Goodman, the singer of this wonderful song, has kindly told us that she has written a brand new song for the Film, called Fairy Call, but it is, as yet, unreleased!

We’ll keep you posted as more develops!

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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.

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Originally posted 2013-03-23 14:11:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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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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You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Amazon or by clicking the image to the right.

CMP App on Amazon

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Sep 07 2014

Heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones pledges new laws for Welsh speakers

Celtic Myth Podshow
Pic: Alun Ffred Jones
The Daily Post reports that Heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones yesterday pledged new laws and rights for Welsh speakers to halt a continuing threat to the future of the language.

The Arfon AM told the Plaid conference he was privileged to hold responsibility for what “defines us as a nation”.

He warned that the Welsh language will ‘shrivel further and die’ unless its speakers were free to use it in all aspects of life.

Mr Jones is now in charge of the delayed Assembly bid to Westminster for legal powers which could mean a statutory commissioner to oversee new rights and equality for Welsh. He said:

It is not a relic which exists independently of anything else. Unless it’s an integral part of all the activities of Government and beyond, we have failed.

But he told delegates in Aberystwyth a discussion was still needed to persuade people to use the language, “not an argument as if someone on one side has all the answers”.

Mr Jones said that culture, heritage, the arts and sport were essential to define Wales as a nation.

Read the full story at the Welsh Daily Post.

Originally posted 2008-10-05 21:16:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

The Cailleach, or Hag of Winter by Stuart McHardy

The Cailleach

The Cailleach

Pic: Picture Source

The Hag of Winter is known in Scotland and Ireland as The Cailleach, of which Cailich is variant, though there are many more stories and place names associated with her in the latter, as was pointed out by the great folklorist Katherine Briggs over fifty years ago.The idea that The Cailleach was imported into Scotland from Ireland is another instance of reality contradicting accepted notions. If the Cailleach did in fact originate in Ireland why do we in Scotland have so many more stories of her?

Her name in Gaelic means the hooded, or veiled one and after Christianity arrived became the accepted term for a nun. This has led to an interesting situation where confusion arises between a figure who was part of ancient Mother Goddess belief and Christian nuns. In ancient belief she was particularly known for spreading the harsh weather of winter and for living on mountain tops.

Within oral tradition people told the stories of their mythology and legend within their own environment and thus there are Cailleach stories and placenames in much of Highland Scotland, and in many of the Hebridean islands. On the east of Scotland where the Scots language developed parallel to Gaelic she is known as the Carlin, who is sometimes known as the Queen of the Witches.

While the idea of Cailleach meaning nun is a simple reflection of the hooded wimples nuns wore in terms of the original Cailleach the idea of hooding or veiling has another meaning. A mountain top wreathed in cloud can be considered veiled. Local weather lore throughout Scotland, and still extant in some parts, is full of references to cloudy summits having a ‘cap’ on – and this would appear to contain the same idea.

Mountains on which she was said to have lived include Ben Nevis, Ben Wyvis, Ben Breac, Ben Cruachan, the Paps of Jura, Schiehallion and Lochnagar has its Allt-na-Cailleach, a burn, and Caistel Caillich, her castle. And there is of course Beinn na Caillich in Knoydart and another in Skye. These are all high prominent hills, particularly Ben Nevis, the highest point on the British Isles.

Such hills attract weather – clouds cluster round them before spreading out over surrounding countryside which could be interpreted as the Goddess spreading the weather out. Her role in bringing on winter includes a tale of her riding out from Ben Nevis with eight sister hags to hammer the frost into the ground. This grouping of nine mythological or legendary females is extremely widespread both within and outside Scotland and I have looked at it in detail elsewhere (McHardy 2003). The Cailleach is also in many places credited with creating the landscape – hills, islands etc. This is one of the basic ideas of mythology – it explains the physical world in human terms and is therefore probably truly ancient indeed. Most of the Cailleach place names in the Highlands are up high and some, like on Lochnagar are part of a cluster of significant place names and specific physical markers – the massif has two clear breast shaped peaks, Meikle Pap and Little Pap, Such peaks appear to have been the focus for various kinds of spiritual or sacral belief and activity in the far past. We shall consider this later.

The Corryvreckan Whirlpool

Earlier we looked at the story of the Cailleach washing her plaid in the Corryvreckan whirlpool between Jura and Scarba. Whirlpools are one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring sights in nature. These magnificent spinning cauldrons are formed where tides crash or sea water is forced into narrow vortices.The Corryvreckan is one of only seven major whirlpools in the world. These magnificent examples of nature in the raw have long held a particular place in the human psyche, and have myths and legends associated with them that seem to come from the edge of time.
Corryvreckan Whirlpool

Corryvreckan Whirlpool

Pic: Russ Baum, Wiki Commons

The Gulf of Corryvreckan is over 300 feet deep but when the whirlpool is at full power the depth of the water is less than a hundred feet. The particular cause of this awesome power is a subterranean spike, called An Cailleach, off the coast of Scarba which causes the great Atlantic waves to form into a giant vortex and create the Corryvreckan whirlpool.

It is a dangerous place and local fishermen and sailors have a wealth of stories of its dangers. Even on calm days the swell of the Corryvreckan can be several feet. The effect of the whirlpool is quite dramatic. For hour after hour when the Atlantic comes in great spirals of water are thrown into the advancing tide.

The spirals start with waves shooting up form a relatively flat surface with a great booming sound. When the whirlpool is at its wildest at the beginning of winter the sounds can be heard twenty miles away and more. The spirals thrown into the advancing Atlantic tide are just like those we find carved on megalithic sites in many parts of Europe and it is not difficult to imagine the awe that this wonder of nature aroused in the hearts and minds of our ancestors. The fact that the spike that creates the whirlpool is called An Cailleach is clearly linked it to the ancient mythological explanation of the first snow fall we considered earlier. And through the Cailleach and her plaid the story links to Ben Nevis. Here we have the most dramatic geophysical event in Europe and Britain’s highest mountain linked in ancient story through the person of the Cailleach. As we shall see the mountain range to the south of Ben Nevis, the Mamores, part of the area said to be covered by her plaid, also carry a link to the old beliefs in a Mother Goddess.

The Cailleach and Deer

Traditionally the red deer of the mountains were known as the cattle of the Cailleach. A story from as recently as 1773 occurs in Scrope’s Days of Deer-stalking, p198ff. In this two hunters set out south from Braemar in search of red deer. They headed over towards the forest of Atholl and were overtaken by a snowstorm coming from the north which soon cleared. They managed to find some deer and shot and wounded a hind. They were trailing her by the blood-drops in the snow when the snow returned, but this time much stronger. Luckily they had their plaids with them and managed to find a shelter in the lee of some rocks where they settled down to pass the night, eating the oatcakes and drinking the whisky they had brought with them. Come the morning things were little better and thoughts of deer were replaced by the need to concentrate on one thing, survival. The wind was still blowing from the north and with the visibility no more than a few yards they could do little other than keep the wind at their backs, as they struggled on. Unknown to them the wind began to veer to the east and keeping it at their backs meant they were heading west instead of south. There were no landmarks visible to help them at all.

By nightfall their provisions were running out and they were facing another night sheltering among rocks when they saw an old sheiling bothy ahead of them. These were the traditional summer dwellings for the lads and lasses who went to the high pastures with the cattle and they expected it to be deserted. It would provide them with much needed shelter.

The Blue Hag

The Blue Hag

Pic: Picture Source

Just as they came near, to their great surprise the door opened and there stood an old woman of wild and haggard appearance who beckoned them in, told them she had been expecting them and that their supper and beds were ready. They were astounded at this but went in to the bothy. There they sat as the old woman, crooning a song in a language they could not recognise poured out soup for them.

Cold and hungry as they were still they realised that something uncanny was happening and were reluctant to begin eating. She told them that she herself had the power over the weather as they sat there petrified. She held up a rope with three knots in it and these are the words she said as given by Scrope:

‘If I lowse the first [knot], there shall blaw a fair wind, such as the deer stalker may wish; if I lowse the second, a stronger blast shall sweep o’er the hills; and if I lowse the third, sic a storm will brak out, as neither man nor beast can thole; and the blast shall yowl down the corries and the glens, and the pines shall faw crashin into the torrents, and this bare arm shall guide the course o the storm, as I sit on my throne of Cairn-Gower, on the tap o Ben-y-Gloe. Weel did ye ken my pouer the day, when the wind was cauld and dedly, and all was dimmed in snaw – and ye see that ye was expect it here, and ye hae brought nae venison; but if ye mean to thrive, ye maun place a fat hart, or a yeld [barren] hind in the braes o’ Atholl, by Fraser’s cairn, at midnight, the first Monday in every month, while the season lasts. If ye neglect this my biddin, foul will befaw ye, and the fate of Walter o Rhuairm shall owertak ye; ye shall surely perish in the waste; the raven shall croak yer dirge; and yer bones shall be pickit by the eagle.

The hunters gave their word to do as she asked , ate and fell asleep, waking in the morning in a deserted bothy with no sign of the old woman. The storm had ceased and they made their way off the hill.

This is clearly the Cailleach herself. And the knotted string links her to the various wise women the length and breadth of Scotland who used to sell winds to sailors into the nineteenth century. Scrope tells the story as if he believes it happened but it is reminiscent of ancient beliefs regarding the Cailleach. The are many locations throughout Scotland where she is closley associated with the red deer and it was suggested in the 1930s that there was a deer-goddess cult and that there might have been deer-priestesses.

elen_of_the_ways

Elen of The Ways

Pic: Picture Source

Again this is something I have looked at elsewhere (McHardy 2003) and it is worth noting that many Pictish symbol stones have deer carved on them. Some are deer heads which look like masks and there are some grounds for thinking that there may indeed have been deer-priestesses in Scotland, perhaps performing rites like the one that still continues at Abbot’s Bromley in Staffordshire in England. It is thought by many to be a survival of pagan practice. The dressing in deer skins, antlers etc has been interpreted as being linked to shape-shifting, something which occurs amongst various female groups in traditional lore

Modern thinking is that this is further linked to the practices of shamanism in which the practitioner ‘becomes’ another being to undertake a spirit journey. This type of belief is widespread and also very ancient. The Paps of Jura have already been mentioned and on the side of one of them is the Sgriob na Caillich, her furrow or score which she made down the side of Ben an Oir. Jura is famous for its population of red deer and the island’s name means Deer Isle and comes from the Norse.

Another aspect of the importance of the deer motif appears in some of the stories of the great Gaelic hero Finn MacCoul, many stories of which have been found in Western Scotland. His original name was Demne, which some have interpreted as meaning little deer, his first wife, Sadv, was changed into a deer by a malevolent Druid and it was pursuing her in this form that Finn found his son Oisin, whose name means fawn. Given the number and spread of the Finn MacCoul stories they were clearly important to all the Gaelic-speaking people and this deer symbolism at their very heart underlines the importance of the deer as a symbol in ancient belief in Scotland.

From Quest for the Nine Maidens

The Cailleach is strongly associated with mountains. Bear in mind that before the growth of major cities people were more aware of their natural environment. They would have observed mountains as the points around which changes in the weather originated. An early meaning of Cailleach means the veiled one. This meaning of veiled led to the term becoming the word for a nun in modern Gaelic. If you watch the clouds gather around Scottish mountains at almost any time of the year you will see this idea made remarkably explicit in the landscape. And not just Scottish mountains …

Just as the Cailleach is veiled so is the mountain she inhabits. The Cailleach is strongly associated with Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles and notable for its dramatic and ever-changing weather patterns.

The Corryvreckan, the remarkable whirlpool on the west coast of Scotland between the islands of Scarba and Jura, is said to be where the Cailleach washed her plaid (traditional garment of the Highlands, generally tartan) in late autumn and then spread it out over the mountains to dry.

As she was the oldest creature her plaid was pure white: so the story explains both the period of heaviest activity of the whirlpool and the first serious snow fall of the year. The Cailleach is also said to have created Scotland by dropping a creel full of peat and rocks. F. Marian McNeill tells us in The Silver Bough:

The Cailleach is the genius of winter and the enemy of growth. Her chief seat is Ben Nevis. She ushers in winter by washing her great plaid in the whirlpool of Corryvreckan [Coire Bhreacain = the Cauldron of the Plaid]. Before the washing, it is said, the roar of a coming tempest is heard by people on the coast for a distance of twenty miles, for a period of three days until the cauldron boils. When the washing is over, the plaid of old Scotland is virgin white.’ [2 p.20]Here the Cailleach’s cauldron is the whirlpool of the Corryvreckan. The cauldron is associated with other Nine Maidens groups in other areas. Surviving folklore also refers to this whirlpool as being the breath of the Goddess beneath the waves.Only since humans have achieved space flight has it become known that the oceans contain eddies, up to 20 kilometres across, which circulate warm surface water into the depths thus releasing life-sustaining nutrients. Cailleach

Cailleach Pic Source

This gives the motif of the whirlpool as the cauldron of the Mother Goddess a whole new level of meaning. Mythology explains the physical universe and its attributes in human terms. Such material can often contain sophisticated observations and insights. In order to give lore and tradition the strongest possibility of being remembered, and ensuring the moral lessons as well as its practical applications would be appreciated, tradition bearers would present their material within the environment familiar to their listeners. This accounts for the widespread instances of names in the Scottish landscape like Allt na Cailleach (Stream of the Old Woman), a name that can be interpreted as originally meaning the stream of the Goddess. The Cailleach’s relation to the physical world, to seasonal change and to weather, shows we are dealing with a fundamental mythological statement.

The figure of the Cailleach in Gaelic tradition is paralleled in Scots tradition by the Gyre Carlin, also often portrayed as a winter hag and linked to the traditions of the witches which survive in many areas. Donald Mackenzie in Egyptian Myth and Legend writes:

One of the many versions of the Scottish Hag story makes her the chief of eight big old women or witches. This group of nine suggests Ptah and his eight earth gnomes, the nine mothers of Heimdal the Norse god and the Ennead of Heliopolis. [xxxviii]

Nine Maidens

Nine Maidens

Pic Source

In this association of the Cailleach with a group of nine she is one of the nine whereas most of our Bride references are to Bride and nine others. Mackenzie goes further and compares this group to the nine mothers of Heimdall in Norse myth and the Ennead of Heliopolis in Egypt. He makes the point, ‘ A people seldom remember their early history, but they rarely forget their tribal beliefs … ‘.).

This is a particularly relevant statement for Scotland where Celtic-speaking warrior tribes were in existence till 250 years ago and had in many ways retained many of the characteristics of Iron Age society.

More support for the Scottish provenance of Bride in Scotland comes from John Leslie who writes in his 16th Century Historie of Scotland:

The Scottis, Peychtes, Britanis, Inglismen & Irishmen with sik veneratione in ilk place have honoured S Brigida, that innumerable kirkes erected to God, amang them ale, to her, ye sal se; yie and mae to her than to ony of the rest: the Irland men contendes that her haly body thay have with thame in that toune quhilke thay cal Dun, in quhilke place the body of thair Apostle S. Patrik is keipet. our cuntrey men ascrynes the same Glore unto thame, quha thinkes, that hitherto thay have honouret it in the Chanrie of Abernethie, & richtlie have done thay think. [1p.229]

The Scots, Picts, Britons, Englishmen and Irishmen with such veneration in every place have honoured St Brigid, that innumerable churches erected to God, among them all, to her, you shall see; yes and more to her than to any of the rest The Irish people contend that her holy body they have with them in that town which they call Dun, in which place the body of their Apostle St Patrick is kept. Our countrymen ascribe the same Glory unto themselves, who think, that hitherto they have honoured it in the Chanadry of Abernethy and have done so rightly to their own thinking.[translation]

In referring to the different tribal confederations/kingdoms of Dark Age Northern Britain, he is differentiating between Britons and Englishmen. By Britons he appears to mean the P-Celtic people of the kingdom of Strathclyde, and possibly the people of Manau Gododdin, known to the Romans as the VotCeini and inhabiting the lands from East Lothian to possibly as far as the headwaters of the Forth. He is making it clear that St Brigid was known to both the P and Q-Celtic tribes and to the Germanic speaking peoples in what we now call Scotland. This supports of the idea of Bride being indigenous to Scotland and clearly points to a cult of St Bridget among Christians in Scotland in the pre-Reformation period. The belief that Brigid is buried at Abernethy in no way precludes the her Irish provenance, but, taken together with the other evidence, this appears to be part of a continuum of belief which was indigenous to Scotland.

For more information about this writer, storyteller, folklorist, historian lecturer, musician and poet, please see Stuart’s Website at
www.stuartmchardy.wordpress.com

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 2012-12-16 08:36:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

9 responses so far

Sep 07 2014

Whiskey Poteen and Faeries


The distilled spirit Whiskey has been associated with Scotland and Ireland for Hundreds of years. Whiskey is brewed in both countries and regularly drunk in homes and Pubs. In Ireland Whiskey is often drunk as a “chaser” to Irish Stout, and an Irish Coffee made with Irish Whiskey and fresh cream is a drink not to be missed.

The earliest record of distilling Whiskey in Scotland appeared in the Exchequer Rolls as long ago as 1494.

“Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make “aqua vitae”-water of Life (Latin)

This was sufficient to produce almost 1500 bottles. By this time distilling was almost certainly an established practise among the Scottish peoples.

According to Legend St Patrick introduced distilling to Ireland in the fifth century AD. It is believed that the secrets of the distilling process were introduced to Scotland some 1500 years ago when settlers from Ireland began to populate the west coast of Scotland which they named Dalriada – which is now Argyll.

Known as “Usque Baugh” in Scotland and “Uisce Beatha” in Ireland, in both languages the names translate as “Water of Life”. Whiskey was commonly made in monasteries, and chiefly used for medicinal purposes, being prescribed for the preservation of health, and a general cure-all. There were monastic distilleries in Ireland in the late-12th century.

The spirit’s perceived medicinal benefits were formally endorsed when, in Edinburgh in 1505, the Guild of Surgeon Barbers was granted a monopoly over the manufacture of “aqua vitae” – reflecting the practice of barbers undertaking minor medical procedures.

In 1661 all private distillation not specificlly licenced by state was outlawed. This law included Scottish and Irish moonshine. To evade the authorities many stills were set up in ancient cairns; burial chambers known as Faerie hills. Others took their equipment to islands in the middle of lakes, the better to see the authories coming.

Meanwhile the brewing of beer was becoming a major buisness. The English then introduced a penal law at the begining of the 18th century, that stopped breweries importing hops from anywhere but England, which mean’t that suppiers could charge whatever they liked. Higher taxes were levied on Irish beer exported to England, while English beer sold to Ireland got a reduced rate.

In response to these new laws the Irish, paricularly the poor began to distill more their own Moonshine (Poteen). It provided income for the distiller and solace for the community. In the face of their misfortunes the Irish poor had a continued appetite for music and dancing, their exuberance fueled by the sudden availabilty of Poteen.

In 1770, the Crown tried once more to clamp down on this spirited trade. By kingly writ of George III, the making of Poitin became illegal. With the flourish of a pen, most of the inhabitants of Eire became instant criminals.

Scotch whisky distilleries could become officially licensed in 1822 (re: licensed by the British government under the Illicit Disillation (Scotland) Act), many refused to do so simply because they felt they were being taxed against their will. The highlanders at this point were mostly gaelic speakers who kept out of the way of government agents and revenue collectors. As distillation was outlawed by the English government, “sheep dip” became slang for Scottish moonshine.

Folklore and Faeries

Leprechaun are frequently to be found in an intoxicated state, caused by home-brew Poteen. However they never become so drunk that the hand which holds the hammer becomes unsteady and their shoemaker’s work affected. Occasionally, especially after a wee bit too much Poteen, he will offer a human not only a drink but some of his treasure.

Poteen made in faerie hills was seen as magical. It was used as a cure for painfull rheumatic joints, one half cup given to the ill person morning and night was said to cure all ailments.

Poteen was said to especailly potent if a housewife left fresh cream and bread by the fairy mound at night and petitioned the faeries for a cure for illness, More often than not a cup of Poteen would be found outside the door,left by the faeries to heal the sick. Whiskey or Poteen made from water from faerie springs or wells also gave the spirit healing properties and was widely used by wise women in medicinal cures.

Be cautious about leaving Faeries your own whisky or Poteen…Traditionally faeries love alcohol, but can become rowdy and dangerous when drinking.

Drinking Whiskey on a Faerie Knoe in Scotland is said to call the faeries to you, and they’ll give you a wish in return for a sip of your whisky, Allow them too much and you’ll end up a permanent guest in Faerieland.

If you would like to know more about Whiskey, join our friends Jeff, Chip, & Michael at The Scotchcast as they discuss and taste “The Water of Life”

Source

Originally posted 2008-05-19 13:02:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Finnegan’s Wake – Whiskey inspired resurrection

Irish Music Forever.com tells us :Finnegan’s Wake is a raucous, irreverent song that tells the story of hod carrier Tim Finnegan who has a “love of the liquor”. So much so that to send him on his way each day he has a

“drop of the craythur every morn”.

This refers to whiskey, the drink that leads both to Finnegan’s downfall and his revival as we shall see.While working he falls from his ladder, breaks his skull and dies.
True to Irish tradition there is a wake and, again true to Irish tradition, there is plenty of crying, drinking and eventually, fighting.

Finnegan’s brunch leads to riot

The wake may begin with “tea and cake” but soon the mourners are on the whiskey punch and that’s when the trouble starts.

First it brings out the emotion as Biddy Malone begins to cry at the  sight of poor Tim Finnegan motionless on the bed. “Why did you die” she
wails.

The crying and whimpering is too much for Molly McGhee who tells Biddy the shut her gob.

Sprawling and punching – and that’s just the women

Mary Murphy enters the conversation and, perhaps trying to calm
things, suggests that Biddy may have been wrong about some point or
other – it’s not clear what.

Not that it matters because Biddy, overcome with emotion, was in no
mood for talking. Instead, she turned to Mary and

“fetched her a belt in the gob”.

Civil war at Finnegan’s Wake

Then the fighting really starts. “Twas woman to woman and man to man”as a form of civil war breaks out.

“Shillelagh law was all the rage”

and the strange thing is that everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

It would take something special to stop them but, of course, something very special is about to happen.

To find out more about this hilarious song and others visit Here

Happy St Patricks Day Everyone  :))

———————————

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 Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Wizzard-Media-Celtic-Myth-Podshow/dp/B004W8QR58 or by using the QR code opposite. Amazon Store QR

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 2012-03-17 12:56:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Theory says that King Arthur was buried on the Scottish Borders

St. Michael's & All Angels at Arthuret

St. Michael’s & All Angels at Arthuret

Pic: jnoblaylock

An American historian has discovered the burial place of Britain’s legendary King Arthur near the Scottish Border, a leading authority on royal lineage said, reported the Toledo Blade back in June 1990. Burke’s Peerage said Prof. Norma Goodrich, an expert on Arthurian legend, believes he was buried in the parish of Arthuret in northern England, not in Wales as Previously thought. It quoted Professor Goodrich as saying that the area once belonged to Scotland and is near Camboglana, where Arthur is said to have fought his last battle.

The veil of mystery on Arthurian legend is at last slowly being lifted. The discovery of the burial place of Britain’s most famous monarch will definitely create a new editing task for all the history books of this island.

said Harold Brooks-Baker, publisher of Burke’s Peerage.

Scholars have worked for centuries to uncover the truth about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table who appear in a series of romances set in the sixth century. Mr. Brooks-Baker believes that the legend is not pure myth and that a monarch bearing a close resemblance to King Arthur existed.

Professor Goodrich, a fellow at Columbia University, traced King Arthur’s court of Camelot to the ruins of a Scottish castle two years ago (1988). Burke’s Peerage said that Professor Goodrich’s research, based on information correlated by the late Professor Nora Chadwick, showed that the name Arthuret, means “Arthur’s Head”.

The Journey to Avalon

In the Journey to Avalon: Final Discovery of King Arthur, the authors Chris Barber and David Pykitt seek to discover the true identity of Arthur, the sixth-century king of the Britons, as well as the locations of his courts and long-forgotten battle sites. In this controversial book, the authors reveal the secret of the mysterious Isle of Avalon and believe that Arthur’s resting place lies in a Breton church. As part of their journey of discovery, they examine Professor Goodrich’s theory of Arthur’s proposed Scottish burial at Arthuret. They say that in her book, King Arthur (1986), Dr. Goodrich claimed that Arthur was not only a Scottish King, but also the founder of Clan Campbell, and that he was born near Carlisle.
Journey to Avalon

Journey to Avalon

Pic: Barnes & Noble

She also believed that the Isle of Man was Avalon and that Arthur was buried on St. Patrick’s Isle. By 1990, she had changed her mind and believed that Arthur lies buried under the Church of St. Michael & All Saints at Arthuret, near Gretna Green. The authors also disagree that the town’s name of Arthuret also means “Arthur’s Head” claiming instead that it is derived from Arderydd (a name long familiar to students of Welsh Lore!). It is the site of a famous battle fought after the passing of Arthur.

The Patriotic Scotsman

It is relevant that Dr. Goodrich uses the works of W. F. Skene to great effect inorder to establish her King Arthur in Scotland. William Forbes Skene (1809-1892) was a patriotic Scotsman and it is therefore not surprising that he passionately wanted his hero, Arthur, to be a Scotsman. However, doubt has since been cast on Skene’s material, and he cannot now be considered a reliable source. The authors finish off by adding that Dr. Goodrich also utilizes the literary rather than the historical sources in order to arrive at her unstatisfactory conclusions. (Journey to Avalon).

In 1669, the rector wrote in the parish register: ‘Arthuret has its name from the famous King Arthur, King of the Ancient Britons, in whose time there was a battle fought here, probably on the moor of the same name.’ The battle took place in the 6th century and according to legend 80,000 were slain. A further battle involving Arthur’s mentor, Merlin, took place just north of Longtown, at Carwhinley. As a result of this battle Merlin is thought to have lost his mind, and wandered the forests for 40 years. Arthurian expert Dr Norma Goodrich has named Arthuret as the last resting place of the legendary monarch. [source]

The late Norma Goodrich, who sadly passed in 2006, believed she had traced the court of “Camelot” to the ruins of a Scottish castle near Ayr. According to information collated by the late Professor N. Chadwick of the University of Wales the name Arthuret means “Arthur’s Head”. This was deduced after studying 6th century Irish & French epics in which the hero’s head was generally buried with the face to the foe. A high point of land near the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in the parish of Arthuret is consecrated ground (Guardian Weekly 26th June 1990). In March 1319 Gilbert de Ebor[aco] is known to have been presented to the church at ‘Arturet’ which lay in the diocese of Carlisle. [C.P.R., March 1319, p. 318.] Christopher Saxton’s map of Westmoreland (1576) gives the name as ARTRUTHE which if phonetically spelled would sound more like “Arthur” (Christopher Saxton’s 16th Century Maps, William Ravenhill, Chatsworth Library, 1992).  [source]

 

———————————

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.

 

iphone

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.

You can now also find the Windows 8 Phone App in the Windows 8 Phone Store.

Windows 8 Phone App

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 2013-09-30 04:10:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

One response so far

Sep 07 2014

Dragon Symbols of the Celtic Druids, by Guest Tim Lazaro

Dragon Sculpture

Dragon Sculpture

Pic: elfentau

There is a certain cosmic sensibility to the myths and legends of the Celtic peoples. A sense of things being bigger than they seem. Power flows beneath the skin of the world to the Celtic mind, accessible along the path of dragons and the mouth of stones. It was the Druids who could see it, interpret it for their brother-Celts, follow the lines of power and show them where to build their villages and sanctified places.

A Mystery

The Celts are a mystery even now. They once ranged across the width and breadth of Europe, from the forests of Germany to the hills of Northern Italy. Their greatest concentration was perhaps in Scotland, Ireland and England.

The Celts of Great Britain are what many modern people think of when they hear the word ‘Celt’. But in truth, they were a people who spread from one end of ancient Europe to the other, and they left their mark stamped upon the face of the continent, though they themselves are gone now, for the most part.

Druids and Dragons

Druids and Celtic dragons, on the other hand, are more familiar to the modern mind. What do you think of, when you hear the term ‘druid’? A robed figure, mistletoe in one hand, a scythe in the other, standing over a stone slab and a screaming victim. Horror films have a lot to answer for in terms of our familiarity with the concept of the Druid. In reality, druids were the priests and seers of the Celts. Druids engaged the cosmic on a daily basis, pitting their knowledge against the raw force of the mystic energies which the Celts believed permeated their lands. They would pinpoint the best places to till the soil or carve stone or build a home, and show their people the places to best avoid. Too, they had a strange relationship with the concept of the dragon.

Dragons, while commonly thought of as fire-breathing marauders, were, to the Celts, indicators of places of great power. Where dragons trod, mystic energy flowed, and where they laired where invariably places of great sanctity and mystical harmony. While dragons were dangerous, they were also indicators of fertility, of life. ‘The Path of the Dragon’ was the Celtic term for ley lines. And ley lines, for the uninitiated, were the stretches of mystic power which criss-crossed the land. Druids hunted these lines, and made a ley lines map for their people, instructing them to build their temples and homes along the lines in order to harvest the energies.

Dragons, Druids and Celts are all inextricably linked by these bands of power. For the Celt, dragons, though deadly, and frightening, represented the continuation of life and health. They were omens of a good harvest, of a year of plenty. And the Druids were the ones who found the dragons and interpreted their meaning for a given group of Celts. For these ancient peoples, everything hummed and sparked with the lightning of the gods. Where dragons walked, the lightning was visible, and where Druids indicated, the lightning was controllable for the good of the Celtic people.

Tim Lazaro is a Celtic Symbols enthusiast. Visit All About Celtic Symbols for more expert advice on Dragons Celts and Druids [http://www.allaboutcelticsymbols.com/CelticMyth.xhtml] and more information you can use right now to gain insight into the mysteries of the ancient Celtic World.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2503264

———————————

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.

 

iphone

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.

You can now also find the Windows 8 Phone App in the Windows 8 Phone Store.

Windows 8 Phone App

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 2013-09-13 04:22:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Iron Age Coins in Town House Museum, King’s Lynn

Coins & Curator
Pic: EPD 24

Museum curator Tim Thorpe
with the gold stators

On the 14th October, back in 2005, EPD24 reported that an Iron Age hoard of gold coins were to be placed on display in the Town House Museum, King’s Lynn. I wonder whether they are still there? The report goes on to say:

They lay underground in their unusual hiding place as 2000 years of history were played out in the world above. But in 2003 this Iron Age hoard of gold coins finally came to light as part of Norfolk’s longest-running archaeological dig, at Sedgeford, near Hunstanton.

Now the public has the chance to view the much talked-about discovery, as the coins and the cow’s leg bone in which they were hidden have gone on display at the Town House Museum, King’s Lynn.

Now the public has the chance to view the much talked-about discovery, as the coins and the cow’s leg bone in which they were hidden have gone on display at the Town House Museum, King’s Lynn.

The annual summer excavation of a Saxon burial ground in the valley of the Heacham River has also uncovered evidence of an earlier, Iron Age settlement.

The hoard of 32 Gallo-Belgic E staters has been described as the most significant find since the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project (Sharp) began in 1996.

Twenty of the coins, depicting a stylised horse on one side, were hidden inside the bone.

 

Ambiani tribe of Gaul

 

They are believed to have been made by the Ambiani tribe of Gaul in northern France 2000 years ago, and there are two main theories about why they were buried.

One is that the owner, perhaps a mercenary who had been fighting the Romans in Gaul, had been paid in gold staters and decided to give a votive offering to the gods for his safe passage home.

Alternatively, he may have decided that his precious coins were too valuable to carry around, so hid them in the bone and buried them to be retrieved later. But he was then either killed or forgot where they were.

The hoard was declared treasure and recently acquired by King’s Lynn Museums for £4000, which was raised by the museums’ Friends and contributions from the Museums, Libraries and Archives/Victoria and Albert purchase grant fund and the Headley Trust.

It will become one of the star attractions when Lynn Museum re-opens next year after a £1m redevelopment but has gone on display at the Town House Museum in the meantime.

We thought it would be nice for people to see it – at least temporarily.

 

said area museums officer Robin Hanley.

It’s a very important discovery and it’s a really interesting story. It’s fantastic to have them in the collections and they’ve attracted an awful lot of interest.

 

Read the original article at EPD24.

Originally posted 2009-08-26 08:30:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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