Archive for the 'Celtic Christianity' Category

Mar 31 2015

New Mabinogion Show, Episode 40, ‘Betrayal in the Nursery’ is now available for you to listen to!

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Pic: Celtic Myth Podshow
The latest episode in the First Branch of the Mabinogi – Betrayal in the Nursery – is now out and available for you to download or listen to.  This is part 11 of the First Branch of the Mabinogion. Doubt begins to enter the minds of the people of Dyfed as their Lord and his Lady show no signs of producing an heir. The High Council of Druids put pressure on Pwyll to divorce his Fairy Bride and take a more ‘fruitful’ woman to his bed! Sadly, in an unexpected twist they are overtaken be events of unspeakable horror!


Damh the Bard’s new album, Sabbat!

We’re proud to announce the release of Damh the Bard’s fabulous new  studio album, Sabbat. After 18 months in the making, this album is launched today and we’re lucky enough to bring you two fantastic songs from it to celebrate its launch. As you can see, Damh is just as chuffed as we are with this album (if not more!). A superb collection of mythic music that shows his talent and style are really developing. This album has to rank among his very best! Well done, Damh!
Damh the Bard and his new album, Sabbat

Damh the Bard and his new album, ‘Sabbat’

Pic: Damh on Facebook

How to Listen

The Episode is available for subscribers on the feed, or you can download it or listen to it from our Episodes page. You’ll also be able to listen on Stitcher! You can find the Shownotes for this episode in the Shownotes section. 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.

We hope you enjoy it and wish you many blessings :D

Gary & Ruthie x x x

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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 Amazon or by clicking the image to the right.

CMP App on Amazon

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.

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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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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 Amazon or by clicking the image to the right.

CMP App on Amazon

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.

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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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Aug 11 2014

King Arthur at Parliament No.12 – King Arthur carried in a barge to Avillon attended by Queens


King Arthur in the Barge
Pic: Explore Parliament
As King Arthur lay dying he commanded his knight Sir Bedivere to take his sword Excalibur and throw it into the nearby lake. This is the 12th part in our series of animated/audio stories of King Arthur based on artwork found around the Houses of Parliament, courtesy of a wonderful Virtual Tour found at explore-parliament.net. We highly recommend you go to the Explore Parliament site to watch/hear the presentation about this artwork.

As King Arthur lay dying he commanded his knight Sir Bedivere to take his sword Excalibur and throw it into the nearby lake. As he did so, an arm rose up out of the water and caught the sword, then vanished back under the water once more. King Arthur then commanded Sir Bedivere to take him down to the lakeside

And when they were at the waterside, even fast by the bank hoved a little barge, with many fair ladies in it… Now put me into the barge, said the king: and so he did softly. And there received him three queens with great mourning, and so they set him down, and in one of their laps king Arthur laid his head.
Malory.

And then the barge carrying the ladies and King Arthur sailed off into the mist, never to be seen again. The next day a hermit told Sir Bedivere that a number of ladies had brought a dead body to him, and asked him to bury it for them. The body was said to have been that of King Arthur.

[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 2012-10-29 07:23:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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May 03 2014

Wales History Month Starts Today

The Welsh Dragon

The Welsh Dragon

Pic: Wales Online

Today, WalesOnline, in association with Cadw, launches Welsh History Month. Every day for the next four weeks, leading academics and historians from History Research Wales will ask, what is the most significant object in our past? Here, David Anderson, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, wonders if it’s the meaning we attach to objects that gives them their importance. Go to the Wales Online site to read the full article. David says:

If you had to select one object of particular significance to you, what would it be? The photograph of a loved one? The book that changed your thinking? The four-leaved clover you found and preserved when you were a child? The sampler your grandmother sewed?

If you had to choose one object of significance from Wales’s past, what would it be? A miner’s lamp? A Welsh Bible? A painting of a Welsh landscape? A suffragette banner? A Celtic cross? A photograph of a village choir? An early manuscript of the Mabinogion?

It is the meaning we attach to objects that gives them their significance. A few years ago, one museum invited members of the public to contribute images of their favourite objects to its website. Some wonderful stories emerged.

One woman submitted an image of a letter in her possession. This had been written during World War Two by her father, a newly married soldier, to his young wife back at home. The letter was not delivered.

After the War, the soldier returned home, and the couple had two daughters. The girls grew up and left home. The couple grew old. The husband died. The wife married again and moved away. The street where they had lived was demolished.

Then one day a nearby barn was knocked down. A bag of undelivered post was discovered hidden behind a wall. One night, not long after, there was a knock on the door of the wife’s new home. The Royal Mail had traced her and, sixty years after it was sent from the battlefield, she received the letter written by her first husband to her younger self. She opened it, and at once her world turned upside down.

Amgueddfa Cymru – the National Museum of Wales

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales has seven sites spread across different parts of Wales. These include the National Slate Museum in Llanberis, the National Wool Museum in Drefach, the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, the National Roman Legion Museum in Carleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, and National Museum Cardiff. All have strong connections with their communities.

But no museum is as loved by so many people across Wales as St Fagans. Here the most precious objects are not necessarily treasures of great financial value, but the ordinary homes and objects once owned by someone’s aunt or grandparents, and taken to the museum from a place maybe only five or ten miles from where you live.

Over the next few years, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Welsh Government, St Fagans will be developed to become the National Museum of History for Wales. For the first time, the nation will have a museum which brings together archaeological and historical collections from the earliest Neanderthal remains, dating to 230,000 BC, to the present.

St Fagans reminds us that culture is a living process, and that everyday objects, as much as great works of art, have the power to evoke memories, and to move and inspire us.

The past is all around us, in fields and beside the road, in town squares and in our own homes, should we choose to look. It is the foundation for our lives.

A critical understanding of how history is made by attributing meaning to this past, and how it may be used (or mis-used) in the present, is vital if we are to make informed choices about our future as a nation.

David Anderson is director-general of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

Read the full article on the Wales Online website.

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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 2013-04-27 12:10:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Mar 25 2014

The Story ”Cath Almaine” as a Window on Early Christian Ireland


Early Irish Man
Pic: Irish Tribes
Thanks to the Irish Tribes website, specialists in Irish Genealogy, for this article exploring the story of the ‘Cath Almaine’  or ‘The Battle of Allen’ and what it shows us about early Ireland. the story of this battle is fascinating and reveals much about the early Christian celtic traditions. They begin with:-

The Story

 

Cath Almaine” or ”The Battle of Allen” is a story written in Middle Irish which was composed some time after 950 A.D. based on a battle which was fought in 722 A.D.  In that year, the High-King Fergal mac Máele Dúin demanded the bóramha or ”cattle-tribute” from the Laighin.  The Laighin and their king Murchad mac Brain refused.

The High-King called on Conn’s Half (i.e., on the Uí Néill, the Airghialla, and the Connachta) to come together to invade Leinster.  But, according to the story, the warriors of the North were reluctant.  They said that they should wait to see what Donn Bó would do, the young man who was best in Ireland for the composition of lays, the telling of stories, the harnessing of horses, the riveting of spears, and the plaiting of hair.  But Donn Bó didn’t get permission from his mother to go on this hosting until she got a promise from Máel mac Failbe, coarb of St. Colm Cille, that Donn Bó would return to her safe and sound.

The host of Conn’s Half entered Leinster.  The host insulted Áedán, a leper in Cluain Dubhail.  Áedán said that God would avenge him upon the Uí Néill forever.  Donn Bó became terribly discouraged.  He refused to sing or recite for Fergal that night, but he promised that he would sing a song for him the next night no matter where they might be.

St. Brighid Appears

The hosts came together on December 11, 722 at the Hill of Almhaine, Co. Kildare.  St. Brighid showed herself over the hosts for the sake of the Laighin and St. Colm Cille showed himself above the hosts for the sake of the Uí Néill.  Brighid won the day.  The battle was broken on the Uí Néill.  Fergal mac Máele Dúin was killed along with thousands of others on the Uí Néill side.  Many of them were beheaded, including Donn Bó.  That night while the Laighin were celebrating, the Laighin warrior Báethgalach went out to the field of slaughter.  There in the dark, he heard the head of Donn Bó singing sweetly for Fergal in fulfillment of his promise.  At last, through a miracle of Colm Cille, the head of Donn Bó was placed back on his neck and he came home safe and sound to his mother.

A Window on Early Christian Ireland

For a good part of the ancient beliefs, norms, relationships, and rituals found in the story called “Cath Almaine”, we can find corroboration in various fields such as archeology, DNA research, and European history. Let’s look at some of these cultural characteristics, particularly those which are corroborated by new research.

A.  Donn Bó and his Hair

…is uad bud ferr rann espa ocus ríg-scéla for doman. Is é bud ferr do glés ech ocus do innsma shleg ocus d’fhige fholt. (1)

…is é ba fhearr ar an domhain do laoithe a chumadh agus rí-scéalta a insint.  Is é ba fhearr do chapaill a ghléasadh, sleánna a inseamú, agus folt a thrilseánú.

… he was the best in the world in composing lays and telling royal stories.  He was the best at harnessing horses, rivetting spears, and plaiting hair.

We can see from these lines that the Gaeil had significant interest in the appearance of their hair in the early Christian period. We now have definite evidence that such interest came down from the centuries before Christ.

Specifically, a human sacrifice was found in 2003 in a bog in Clonycavan, Co. Meath. According to radiocarbon dating done on this “Clonycavan Man”, he was alive at some time between 392 BC and 201 B.C. During his lifetime, he gave much attention to his hair and he used a kind of hair-gel made from plant oil and resin imported from SE Europe.

We know that the human head was important in the religion and ritual of the Celts as the seat of the soul.  It is easy to understand, therefore, that hair and its appearance were also important.

There were others in Europe in the Iron Age who were interested in hair-plaiting and hair-styles. In 1948, “Osterby Man” was found in a bog near Osterby, Germany. He was a warrior of the Suebi, a warrior of the Germanic tribe mentioned by Tacitus and renowned for the ‘Swabian Knot’ in their hair. “Osterby Man” was alive about the first century after Christ.

B.  Connachta, Uí Néill, Airghialla, and DNA

Ba trom trá la Fergal sin .i. Laigin do nemchomall a n-gellta fris, co rofhuacrad sluaiged dírecra dímór uad for Leith Chuinn .i. for Eogan ocus for Conall ocus for Airgiallaib ocus Mide … do thobach na bórama.  (2)

Ba throm le Fergal é sin, .i. nár chomhlíon Laighin a ngeall leis, agus d’fhógair sé slógadh ollmhór ar Leath Chuinn, .i. ar Chinéal Eoghain agus ar Chinéal Chonaill agus ar Airghialla agus Mhíde …  chun an Bhóramha a thobhach.

That was onerous to Fergal, i.e., that the Laighin did not fulfill their promise to him, and he called on Conn’s Half for a great hosting, i.e., on the Cinéal eoghain and Cinéal Chonaill and the Airghialla and Míde… to levy the Bóramha.

In this sentence, we can see reference to the “official genealogy” of the Dál Chuinn created by the seanchaidhthe of the Uí Néill which claims that the Connachta, Uí Néill In Tuaiscirt (with Cinéal Chonaill and Cinéal Eoghain among them), Clann Choirpre mhic Néill (which is not mentioned in this sentence), Mide (.i. Uí Néill in Deiscirt), and Airghialla, descend from Conn Chéadchathach.

In 2006, geneticists at Trinity College, Dublin, suggested that most of the Uí Néill descend from someone who lived some 1700 years ago and that person was the “most fecund” man in the history of Ireland.  Many immediately assumed that this was Niall Naoighiallach.

Between 2006 and 2009, it was confirmed that most of the Uí Néill and Connachta descend from one common ancestor.  In those studies, the geneticists had plenty of DNA samples from the Uí Bhriúin and the Uí Fhiachrach, but it was difficult to find DNA samples from the Uí Ailella and the Uí Fergusa.  In Fergus’ case, only the Síl Fergusa Cháecháin descend from him.

In the genealogies, as we know, Eochu Mugmedón was the common ancestor of the Connachta and Uí Néill. But it is also possible that this common DNA comes down from an ancestor of Eochu, unknown or legendary (e.g. Muiredach Tírech, Fiachu Sraiptine, Cairbre Lifechair, 7rl.).

The Uí Ruairc are an important exception. We expect from Seanchas that they would descend from the Uí Bhriúin, but they have a distinct DNA ‘haplogroup'; i.e., they do not descend from the Uí Bhriúin.  Also, despite the official genealogies of the Uí Néill (and as predicted by T.F. O’Rahilly and other scholars), there is no blood relationship between the Airghialla and the Connachta.  And as Byrne shows with the following verse (written in a text of Féineachas in the 8th Century), there was no consanguinity either between Dal Chuinn (i.e., the Féini) and the Ulaidh, or between the Dal Chuinn and the Laighin:

Batar trí prímcheinéla i nHére, .i. Féini 7 Ulaith 7 Gáilni .i. Laigin.   (3)

Bhí trí phríomhchinéal in Éirinn, .i. Féini agus Ulaidh agus Gáilni, .i. Laighin.

There were three primary kinships in Ireland, i.e., the Féini and Ulaidh and Gáilióin, i.e., the Laighin.

C.  The Human Head as a Trophy

Is ann-sin roráid Murchad mac Brain: “Do-bérainn carpat ceithre cumala ocus mo ech ocus m’errad don láech noragad isin n-ármach ocus do-bérad comartha chucainn as.”   “Ragat-sa,” ar Báethgalach …  (4)

Is ansin go ndúirt Murchad mac Brain:  “Do bhéarfainn carbad ceithre cumhal agus m’each agus mo chathéide don laoch a rachadh in áit an áir agus do bhéarfadh comhramh chugainn as.”  “Rachaidh mé,” ar Báethgalach…

Then Murchad mac Brain said:  “I would give a chariot worth four cumhal and my steed and my battle dress to the warrior who would go into the place of slaughter and who would bear a trophy to us out of it.”  “I will go,” said Báethgalach…

Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that we can find head-hunting or head-taking in virtually every early Irish story except in those of naomhsheanchas. (Even in the area of the Faith, we can see images of heads on churches as at Díseart Uí Dheághaidh.) There is corroboration for our head-taking among the Celts outside Ireland in accounts written by Poseidonius, Strabo, Livy, Ammianus, Diodorus Siculus, and others. Celts took the heads of famous commanders such as the Roman general Postumius and the Greek king Ptolemy Keraunos.

But in the story “Cath Almaine”, when the warrior Báethgalach said he would go out to bring back a trophy from the field of slaughter, Murchad mac Brain said nothing about a human head.  Based on newly-discovered remains in a Celtic sanctuary at Ribemont-sur-Ancre, France, we can imagine that the word “comartha” was non-specific, just as is the word ‘comhramh’ in Modern Irish and the word ‘trophy’ in English. In this  sanctuary, built around 260 B.C. in honor of a Celtic god and in memory of a battle in which tribes of the Belgii won a victory over Armorican tribes, the enclosure is crowded with row on row of hundreds of warriors, decapitated but still in their battle-armor.

D.  Pious Lepers

I did an electronic search in the annals for “clamh”, “lobhar”, “leper” and their variations. There is no reference to any leper in the Annals of Tigenach or the Annals of Loch Cé, but I found the following references in other annals.

1.  Annála Ríoghachta na hÉireann:

551.2   S. Neasan Lobhar d’écc.
551.2  Fuair Naomh Neasan an lobhar bás.
551.2  St. Neasan the leper died.

722. For this year, a summary of the story “Cath Almaine” was written in which we find reference to “the cow of the leper”, but Áedan the leper is not named.

2.  Annála Uladh:

A.D. 921.8  Indredh Aird Macha … o Gallaibh Atha Cliath, .i. o Gothbrith oa Imhair, cum suo exercitu, …  & na taigi aernaighi do anacal lais cona lucht de cheilibh De & di lobraibh…

A.D. 921.8  Invasion of Ard Macha … by the Foreigners of Áth Cliath, .i. by Gothfrith grandson of Ímar, with his army, … and the houses of prayer were spared by him with their culdees and of lepers…

A.D. 952.3  Cele clam & ancorita ..
A.D. 952.3  Fuair Céile, lobhar agus ancairít, bás…
A.D. 952.3  Céile, leper and anchorite, died…

3.  Annála Inse Fáil:

A.D. 556.1  Nistán leprosus obíit.
A.D. 556.1  Fuair Nistán (.i. “San Neasan”) bás.
A.D. 556.1  Nistán (St. Nessan) died.

4.  Annála Chonnacht:

A.D. 1232.9  Fachtna h. hAllgaith comarba Dromma Mucado & oificel h. Fiachrach, fer tigi aiged & lubra & leginn & lesaigti tiri & talman, in hoc anno quieuit.

A.D. 1232.9  Fachtna Ó hAllgaith, coarb of Drumacoo and Official of the Uí Fiachrach, who kept a guest-house and a leper-house and was (a man) of learning and a benefactor of the countryside, rested this year.

5.  Chronicon Scotorum:

A.D. 557   Nessan leprosus quieuit.
A.D. 557  Nessan (.i. San Neasan) rested.

As we see above, there is a close link between lepers and Christianity in the Annals.

E. Brigid and Colm Cille making war on each other

The monasteries (and saints) made war on each other often enough in the early Christian period. For example, in the Annals of Ulster:

A.D. 760.8  Bellum hitir muintir Clono 7 Biroir i mMoin Choisse Blae.  (5)

A.D. 760.8 Cath idir manistir Chluain Mhic Nóis agus manistir Bhiorra i Móin Choise Blae

A.D. 760.8 a battle between the monastery of Clonmacnoise and the monastery of Birr in Móin Choise Blae

A.D. 764.6  Bellum Arggamain inter familiam Cluana Mocu Nois 7 Dearmaighe ubi ceciderunt Diarmait Dub m. Domnaill 7 Dighlach m. Duib Liss 7 .cc. uiri de familia Dermaige.  Bresal m. Murchada uictor exstetit com familia Cluana.  (6)

A.D. 764.6  Cath Argamain idir familia Chluain Mhic Nóis agus (mainistir Choilm Cille ag) Darú inar thit Diarmait Dub mac Domnaill agus Dighlach mac Duib Liss agus 200 fear saor de familia Dharú.  Tháinig Bresal mac Murchada agus familia Chluain Mhic Nóis as an gcath mar bhuaiteoirí.

A.D. 764.6  The Battle of Argamain between the family of Clonmacnoise and (the monastery of Colm Cille) at Durrow in which fell Diarmait Dub mac Domhnail and Dighlach mac Duib Liss and 200 free men of the family of Durrow.  Bresal mac Murchada and the family of Clonmacnoise came out of the battle as victors.

And it was said that Colm Cille made war for the sake of Cinéal Chonaill through the ages each time the Uí Dhomhnaill brought his Cathach into battle with them.

Summary

“Cath Almaine” is a wonderfully rich story, filled with the world-view (. i. ‘weltanschauung’) of the Gaeil.  With improvement in areas like archaeology and DNA research almost every day, I expect we will learn more about this story and its ancient beliefs, practices, relationships, and rituals in the coming years.

_____________

1   Cath Almaine, edited by Pádraig Ó Riain,   Baile Átha Cliath: Institiúid Ard-Léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath, 1978.
Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition (CELT), paragraph 3 on http://celt.ucc.ie/published/G302022/index.html .  I am
grateful to Professor Tomás Ó Cathasaigh for his translation “The Battle of Allen”, Coursepack,   Celtic E-  114,
Early Irish Historical Tales, Spring Term, 2011
2   Cath Almaine, edited by Pádraig Ó Riain, CELT edition, paragraph 2
3   Byrne, p. 106
4   Cath Almaine, edited by Pádraig Ó Riain, CELT edition, paragraph 15
5   Annals of Ulster, edited by Seán Mac Airt and Gearóid Mac Niocaill, Part 1.  Baile Átha Cliath:
Institiúid Ard-Léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath, 1983.  p. 214
6   Ibid., p. 216

 

With thanks to Gerald Kelly for his research. We are a little confused as to the freedom to use this piece as it is listed here as a “Free Article” and here as written permission needed. We have chosen the route most obvious to spread the word of Mr. Kelly’s research, but if he should wish that this article be withdrawn we will most happily do so and apologise for any misunderstanding or inconvenience caused.

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Originally posted 2011-09-22 08:31:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Mar 17 2014

The Lorica of St. Patrick or St. Patrick’s Breastplate

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St. Patrick's Breastplate

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Pic: Faerie Factoid

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate is a Christian hymn whose original Old Irish lyrics were traditionally attributed to Saint Patrick during his Irish ministry in the 5th century; however, it was probably actually written later, in the 8th century.

It is written in the style of a druidic incantation for protection on a journey. It is part of the Liber Hymnorum, a collection of hymns found in two manuscripts kept in Dublin. This beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as “St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate”, is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. It’s fascinating to compare the structure of this prayer with many of the incantations found in the Carmina Gadelica as well as many of the meditations and rituals seen in Druidry, Wicca and Ceremonial Magic today.

The words were translated into English verse by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1889 and set to two traditional Irish tunes, St. Patrick and Deirdre. The hymn, also known by its opening line “I bind unto myself today”, is currently included in the Lutheran Service Book [Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod], English Hymnal, the Irish Church Hymnal and The Hymnal (1982) of the U.S. Episcopal Church. It is often sung during the celebration of the Feast of Saint Patrick on or near March 17, as well as on Trinity Sunday. In many churches it is unique among standard hymns because the variations in length and metre of verses mean that at least three different tunes must be used – different in the melody sung by the congregation.

The prayer known as “Faeth Fiada“, or the “Lorica of St. Patrick” (St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate) was first edited by Petrie in his “History of Tara”. Scripture references may include Ephesians 6:10-17 (“God’s shield to protect me … from snares of devils”).

The Most Commonly Heard Modern Version

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;

Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Swiftness of wind,

Depth of the sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s hand to guard me.

Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,

Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,

Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of Creation.

[source]

The literal translation from the old Irish text

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

[source]

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Mar 15 2014

Watch Chicago go Green on St. Patrick’s Day 2014

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Jet Propelled Leprechaun 2013

Jet Propelled Leprechaun 2013

Pic: Global Change-Makers

It’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day. Starting today. here’s a rundown from the Courier News of events this weekend to help everyone feel a little bit Irish. For those who don’t know about St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a holiday which celebrates Irish heritage and culture and the arrival of Christianity to the Emerald Isle. In Chicago, it’s an excuse to drink green beer, go to a pub, and pretend you’re Irish even if you aren’t.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Noon, March 15

chicagostpatsparade.com

Come at 10 a.m. to watch the Chicago River get dyed green, stay for the city’s official St. Patrick’s Day parade. The best place to watch the river getting dyed is at the intersection of Michigan Avenue, Wacker Drive and the river. This year’s grand marshal John McDonough, president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. The parade starts at Balbo and Columbus and proceeds north on Columbus to Monroe. The viewing stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain.

South Side Irish Parade

Noon, March 16

Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th streets, Chicago

The South Side Irish Parade is now a family-friendly event with a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol along the route, although some responsible pre-gaming in one of the watering holes along Western Avenue is not discouraged.

(773) 916-7757

southsideirishparade.org

The Chicago Stockyard Kilty band

The Chicago Stockyard Kilty band

Pic: South Side Irish Parade

Last year’s parade attracted 90 participants, from kilted bagpipers to rosy-cheeked dancers and even a pack of Irish Wolfhounds.

The day kicks off with a one-mile fun run called The Emerald Isle Mile.

Northwest Side Irish Parade

10 a.m. March 16

William J. Onahan School, 6634 W. Raven St.

northwestsideirish.org

The Northwest Irish Parade is a celebration of faith, family and heritage now in its 11th year. The parade includes face painting, balloons and features dancers from the Dillon-Gavin School of Dance. The official After Party starts at 1 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Recreation Center, 7211 W. Talcott Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $10 for 12 and over; children under 12 are $5. The party includes traditional corned beef and cabbage meal with live entertainment.

St. Patrick’s Festival

Irish American Heritage Center

Irish American Heritage Center

Pic: Irish American Heritage Center

March 15-17

Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave.

(773) 282-7035

Irish-american.org

The Irish American Heritage Center hosts three days of St. Patrick’s Day follies starting immediately after the city’s parade March 15. This annual family-friendly event includes traditional and contemporary Irish music, dance, food, children’s activities and an Arts and Craft Fair, with vendors selling Irish gifts. Tickets are $12-$15.

On March 16, stop in for a pint, live music, NCAA games on the large TV screens, darts and a limited traditional Irish menu. Hours are from 1 to 8 p.m. 21 and over only.

Come back March 17 for the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. The party runs from 12 to 10 p.m. and includes music, dance and face painting for children. There will be a mass at 11 a.m. $10 at the door; kids are free.

Shoreline Sightseeing River Cruise

March 15

Shorelinesightseeing.com/cruisestours/special-events/st-patricks-day-cruise

Last year, I took my family downtown to see the green Chicago River. It was a raw, grey day, we had to walk forever (not fun with young children) and on more than one occasion I had to cover the kids’ ears from hearing too much o’ the blarney.

Learn from my mistake and get an up-close view of the green Chicago River via a Shoreline Sightseeing Cruise.

Departures for the 90-minute cruise are before and after the city’s St. Patrick’s Day noontime parade March 15, and it includes a traditional Irish buffet with corned beef and cabbage and all the trimmings. You can even get an Irish coffee or a pint at the cash bar. Tickets are $49.

Suburbs

Naperville

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and St. Paddy’s Day 5K

March 15

Naperville

Wsirish.org

Everyone’s Irish at the 21st annual West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 15. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. from Naperville North High School at 899 N. Mill St. The parade continues south on Mill Street, east on Jefferson Avenue, south on Main Street and west on Water Street to the Municipal Center.

West Suburban Irish

West Suburban Irish

Pic: West Suburban Irish

All residents are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item to benefit the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Pantry.

The parade steps off immediately following the Rotary Club of Naperville/Sunrise St. Paddy’s Day 5K. The fun continues at Quigley’s Irish Pub after the parade. The parade will include nearly 100 entries comprised of marching bands, youth groups, local businesses, politicians and other groups.

Of course there will be traditional Irish trappings, like six different pipe and drum groups and two schools of Irish dancers, said West Suburban Irish president Chuck Corrigan.

At the end of the parade this year, we are going to have some interesting things. We will have the Aurora Area Shrine Club with their small cars and the Medinah Motor Corp, which is some Harley motorcycles that drive in precision units and do little tricks. We’ll also have Mongo Man from bd’s Mongolian Grill.

No matter the weather, the crowds are always enthusiastic, he said.

I think they enjoy getting outside. It feels like the kickoff to spring for a lot of folks.

The grand marshal is Mike Reilly, who serves on the Naperville Park Board and is a member of West Suburban Irish.

St. Charles St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Downtown St. Charles Parade

Downtown St. Charles Parade

Pic: Downtown St. Charles

March 15

Downtownstcharles.org/events/st-patricks-parade/

The St. Patrick’s Parade goes down Main Street (Route 64) at 2 p.m. and features Irish dancers, Irish music, floats and more. There will also be a Deck Out Your Lucky Dog contest; register at the tent in front of the Municipal Center between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Before that, come to the Arcada Theater for a St. Patrick’s Dance show at 10 a.m. Several local dance studios will perform.

East Dundee St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 15

Downtown East Dundee

Dundeestpats.com

There will be a celebratory fireworks show on March 14, and the parade is at 11 a.m. The grandstand is at Barrington Avenue and River Street. There will be bands, step dancers, stilt walkers, horses, cavalry, green footballs and an Irish Princess contest for 12-16-year-old girls living in Dundee Township. The FISH Food Pantry will be accepting food and cash donations during parade.

Irish Jig Jog 5K Race

March 15

St. Catherine of Siena, 845 W. Main St., West Dundee

Irishjigjog.com

The 10th Annual Irish Jig Jog kicks off at 8:30 a.m. March 15 at St. Catherine of Siena. The event includes breakfast, a beer tent, bagpipers, Irish dancing and a $10,000 Shamrock Raffle.

Irish Jig Jogging

Irish Jig Jogging

Pic: Irish Jig Jog

Shamrock Scramble

10-11 a.m. March 16

Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg

(847) 490-7020

Parkfun.com

Geared to the 6-and-under set, children can make a St. Patrick’s Day craft and have a snack before heading out into field of green clovers. Each clover includes a treat. Find a four-leaf clover and win a prize. Wear your best St. Patrick’s Day attire. Pre-registration is required by March 14. $5-$7.

This list of events has been sourced from the ‘Go Irish’ column of the Courier-News.

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Mar 13 2014

On the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day, did you know he’s in Parliament?

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St Patrick, St Brigit and St Columba

St Patrick, St Brigit and St Columba

Pic: Explore Parliament

St Patrick stands with his hands clasped. Behind him the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s earliest and holiest Christian sites. The word Banba written above his head is the Erse for Ireland. St Patrick is flanked by St Brigid, with an Irish harp at her feet, and St Columba, representing the North of Ireland.At his feet is a shield with the Red Hand of Ulster.

 

Unfortunate experiences with frescoes at the Palace of Westminster led the Fine Arts Commissioners to change their original plan, and commission mosaics for the four patron saints in the Central Lobby.

Interest in mosaics in the 19th Century had been growing, fuelled by the enthusiasm of Dr Salviati, the man responsible for restoring the mosaics at St Mark’s in Venice. (see below)

Saint Patrick in Ireland

Saint Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, he is the primary patron saint of the island along with Saints Brigit and Columba.

The dates of Patrick’s life cannot be fixed with certainty but, on a widespread interpretation, he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century.

 

He is generally credited with being the first bishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland.When he was about 16, he was captured from his home in Great Britain, and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family.

After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. In later life, he served as an ordained bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick Mosaic

St. Patrick Mosaic

Pic: Explore Parliament

Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on 17 March, the date of his death. It is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation; it is also a celebration of Ireland itself. [wiki]

The Mosaic in Parliament

Dr Salviati’s firm was then commissioned by the Fine Arts Commission to undertake the implementation of mosaics in Central Lobby – from the designs of Sir Edward Poynter (1836-1919). Saint George and Saint David were installed in 1869.

However, by the 1920’s the decoration of the Central Lobby had fallen into abeyance, and Dr Salviati had died. So the commission for the remaining two Patron Saints was awarded to Robert Anning Bell (1863-1933), who was also responsible for two large mosaics in St Stephen’s Hall. Bell worked on the spot, rather than in the studio, and the mosaics of Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick were finally unveiled in 1923.

See the animated film and explore more of Parliament’s art and architecture on the Explore Parliament website.

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Mar 11 2014

Highland Folklore: The Secret Commonwealth Revisited


Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania
Pic: Wiki
It is just over three hundred years since Robert Kirk, minister of Aberfoyle, died at the age of fifty two. But the question remains, did he really die or was he ‘taken’? Taken, that is, by the Good People, the elusive folk who lived under the earth in the green hills.The youngest and seventh son of James Kirk, Robert studied theology at St. Andrews and took his master’s degree at Edinburgh.

He became the minister of Balquidder and moved to Aberfoyle in 1685, having published a psalter in Gaelic the previous year. He had also been involved in preparing a Gaelic translation of the Bible.

We might expect a man of his background to have been a staunch supporter of established orthodoxy but this was no ordinary preacher. He recorded his thoughts in a manuscript dated 1691 entitled “The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies“.

Descriptions of the Faerie World

There is no mention of hell and damnation, just a fair and reasonable account of the unseen world. There is nothing sentimental in his writing, and those seers who had the ability to witness the people of peace regarded it as an affliction rather than a gift. The Tabhaiser, or Seer,

“is not terrified with their sight when he calls them, but seeing them in a surpryse (as often he does) frights him extreamly”.

These are clearly not the tinselled fairies of Victorian England but the wild and elemental spirits of nature.

Two ways of gaining the second sight are described. The first is to acquire a tedder (tether) of hair which has bound a corpse to the bier. With this wound round the waist one must stoop down and look back through the legs until a funeral passes. The alternative is to find an accomplished seer who will place his right foot over the candidate’s left and lay his hand upon his head. This confers the power to see and seems not unlike descriptions of admission to a witch coven.

Kirk’s account of the secret commonwealth combines the banal with the surreal. They live in houses underground that are large and fair, lit with lamps and fires but without fuel to sustain them. They may abduct mortal women to nurse their children. Their clothing and speech is that of the country they live in. Their life span is longer than ours, but eventually they die. They have rulers and laws but no discernible religion. Moreover, unlike us, they do not have a dense, material form but have, in Kirk’s words,

“Bodies of congealed Air”.

Every Quarter they travel to fresh lodgings, a reference perhaps to the elemental tides of the seasons.

It is possible that Kirk employed seers to give him information about the dark and silent world, just as Dr. Dee relied upon Edward Kelly a century before.

What really happened to Robert Kirk?

An odd story of what became of the minister of Aberfoyle remains. His successor, the Rev. Dr Grahame, describes how Robert Kirk was walking one day on a fairy hill. He collapsed and was taken for dead. After the funeral, his form was seen by a relative. The spectre urged him to go to their cousin Grahame of Duchray.

Kirk was, he explained, not dead but a captive in the elemental world. His widow was pregnant and he foretold that if Duchray came to the christening, he, Robert Kirk, would appear. Duchray must then throw his dirk over the head of the apparition. If this was done, Kirk would be freed.

Sure enough, the birth and the christening came. Grahame of Duchray was there, just as he had been bidden. During the ceremony the outline of the former minister could be seen. Duchray was so taken aback that he failed to throw the dirk. And the author of the Secret Commonwealth disappeared, never to be seen again

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Originally posted 2012-04-01 13:53:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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