Celtic Myth Podshow News

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

Deirdre

Sour: A New Irish Myth Novel By Alan Walsh

DeirdreA superb Guest post by Irish author Alan Walsh about his fabulous new novel Sour

My novel, Sour, is a retelling of the old Irish myth, Deirdre of the Sorrows. It takes the old tale and reimagines it in a modern, Irish small town, with the old heroes and characters from all four cycles of Irish mythology recast as bizarre modern locals. Fionn McCumhaill and the Fianna, for example, are a gang of youths, drinking beer and playing video games , who dabble in local matters. Cuchullain is a traveller and retired fighter, bossed by his wife Emer in their small caravan.

The tale is told by a supernatural personage, a Puca, and pretty much every scene is peopled with modern versions of the old characters. Stories like Deirdre’s are treated with a certain kind of reverence here in Ireland. When they’re staged, there’s rarely any experimentation, any fun had or anything new.

They’re still thought of as something very important to what it is to be Irish, perhaps for being something only really reclaimed in the last century with the Country’s republic. I felt, when writing Sour, that there was a huge amount of respect to be paid to the story and that the best way to do that was to recast elements to appeal to a modern readership and look at the eternal themes in a way to appeal to today’s reader; the plight of a young woman in a man’s world, young people trying to assert themselves and emigration, certainly an eternal Irish theme.

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A Roman brooch found at Llangefni

1,500-year-old Ancient Cemetery found on Anglesey


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Archaeologists digging on the site of a new road in Anglesey have unearthed an ancient cemetery and a 1,500-year-old “time capsule” reported the BBC Wales News. Some 48 early medieval graves have been discovered on the Llangefni link road site.

The “cist” graves each hold several bodies, alongside jewellery and French pottery. Iwan Parry, of Archaeoleg Brython Archaeology, said:

This is a fantastic find of national importance. A cemetery like this, where there is such good preservation, is like finding a time capsule left by a community almost 1,500 years ago.

The manner of how the remains have been preserved is amazing.

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Pentre Ifan - the Womb of Cerridwen

Welsh Goddesses in the Landscape of Wales


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We are very proud to have permission to bring you this article by Cherryl Straffon from Goddess Alive about the ladies from the Mabinogion and their place in the Welsh Landscape. She says:

Welsh myth and legend is replete with Goddess figures. As recorded in The Mabinogi and other early Welsh texts, the stories of Welsh Goddesses like Rhiannon, Branwen/ Bronwen, Arianrhod, Blodeuwedd and Cerridwen have echoed down through the ages, and their tales are just as relevant today (see for example ‘Arianrhod’ by Claire Hamilton.) Given their importance to the early Celts in Wales it would not be surprising to find traces of them in the Welsh landscape, where a number of natural features are named after them. Arianrhod can be found at Caer Arianrhod, a rock 1.2km/¾mile off the west coast of North Wales.

It is all that remains of the land where the Goddess and her women attendants dwelt in a story from the Fourth branch of The Mabinogi. Her son was called Dylan, who became a sea God, and in Claire’s words, she was “a very powerful Goddess, guardian of the Seat of Poetic Inspiration and linked with the sea, the moon and the stars”. Her land was eventually inundated and all the inhabitants were drowned, but this may be later patriarchal disapproval of a free and independent Goddess-woman who shared her land with other women and had powerful magic powers.

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Apocalypse Kernow! Cornish-speakers speechless at Westminster cuts


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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Apocalypse Kernow! Cornish-speakers speechless at Westminster cuts” was written by Laura Snapes, for The Guardian on Friday 6th May 2016 10.11 UTC

Cornwall has harsh words for David Cameron in a language that he is no longer willing to support. Westminster has slashed the annual £150,000 budget for the Cornish language, without explanation and with immediate effect. Ed Rowe, AKA comedian Kernow King, calls the PM an “omgyjer glusek”, or “sticky w**ker”. But when it is estimated that fewer than 500 people speak Cornish fluently, and (at time of writing) fewer than 6,000 people have signed a petition asking the government to reconsider, the effects of the cuts aren’t immediately clear.

Steve Double, Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, says he can’t see how Cornwall council could have spent £650,000 it has received over the past four years, and that the language is not a priority for his electorate. But campaigners such as Loveday Jenkin, who chairs the Cornish Language Fellowship, argue that great value was extracted from the tiny sum. Core staff at Cornwall council facilitated volunteer groups, who translate road signs and documentation for the council and local businesses. Maga Kernow, the Cornish Language Partnership, offers educational resources and training. Pensans primary school, in Penzance, has been teaching Cornish since 2005, which wouldn’t have been possible without Maga, says the school’s Sarah Crummay.

“We have children from all over the world, and it’s lovely that everybody’s learning something about where they live. It’s a way of breaking down barriers, and it has cognitive and cultural benefits.”

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PRINCESS GWENLLIAN The Last Warrior Princess

The Main Battlefield Location

Maes Gwenllian (Gwenllian’s Field) is located a mile north of the town of Kidwelly in Carmarthenshire.

It’s the site of an ancient battlefield which changed the course of local history in South West Wales.

The name of the field commemorates the bravery of Princess Gwenllian, the wife of Prince Gruffudd ap Rhys.

Welsh Kingdom of Deheubarth

During the early part of it’s history Wales was divided into individual kingdoms, each ruled by a Prince. In 1136, the rulers of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth were Prince Gruffudd and his wife Princess Gwenllian.

Deheubarth was one of the strongest kingdoms in Wales. Its territories included Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Cardigan, Gower and the western parts of Swansea. The royal court of the kingdom was based at Dinefwr, near Llandeilo.

Norman Invasion

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SP42 2016 News Update Show – New CMP Episode


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We soar into 2016 with a Special News update Show to bring you all the latest News from the Celtic Myth Podshow team (that’s us, Gary & Ruthie!). In this show, you’ll also hear 6 amazing pieces of music and a small reading by Professor Roland Rotherham from his new book, Sacred Falls: Saint Nectan and the Legacy of the Dragon. The Professor is a renowned Arthurian scholar and has appeared on our Show before, We heard him give a lecture about the “Ladies of the Grail” in Special Episode No. 14. You can read all about it and listen to the show again by going to http://celticmythpodshow.com/ladiesofthegrail. We finish off with a Promo for The Mythology Podcast and hope to see you soon!

How to Listen to the News Update Show

The Episode is available for subscribers to the feed, in iTunes, or you can download it or listen to it from our Episodes page. You can also listen on your Mobile Device by getting hold of our App (see above). You can read more details about the current show in the Shownotes.

Subscribing?

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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iphoneYou 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.

CMP App on AmazonYou 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.
Windows Phone AppYou can now also find the Windows Phone App in the Windows Phone Store.
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.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream film with fairies from folklore


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The BBC is going to show a brand new interpretation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the end of May. It is going to feature the full effects resources of the Dr. Who team and some amazing CGI. The fairies (as you can see above) are not the wee, quaint little Victorian creatures of puff and silk that we may have previously seen. They are eldritch warriors and amoral lovers – and that is pretty much in line with how they were seen in Folklore!

Russel T. Davis, famous for his work on Doctor Who, has written a “bold and accessible” version of the Shakespearean play that may offend some of the Bard’s purist fans. Working alongside the special effects team responsible for Dr. Who, the team have put together some fairies that are quite disturbing and full of passions. This idea is much closer to traditional stories of fairy-lore, in which fairies are often quite capricious and violent.

When asked how he thought the purists would react, Russel said:

They will be perfectly happy. To be a Shakespeare purist means you’re in love with imagination and drama and truth and fun and honesty.

Really only idiots might have a problem with that. That’s what plays do they reinvent themselves constantly, for every generation, the next generation will do a new one and this is how they are meant to be done.

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Iron Age Man loved a nice bit of Swiss Cheese


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Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that production of Swiss Cheese dates back to prehistoric times, paving the way for such delicacies as Gruyere and Emmental reports Newcastle University.

An international team led by the University of York and Newcastle University looked at the composition of residues left on fragments of ceramic pots found at six sites in the Swiss Alps. The shards of pottery were known to date from Neolithic times to the Iron Age. The researchers found that the residue on those from the 1st millennium BC — the Iron Age — had the same chemical signatures associated with heating milk from animals such as cows, sheep and goats, as part of the cheesemaking process.

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From Cauldron to Grail in Celtic Mythology

The transformation from Cauldron to Grail is a theme that occurs throughout Celtic Mythology – from the Cauldrons of the Dagda and Cerridwen to the Holy Grail of King Arthur. In one part of the Mabinogion, which is the cycle of myths found in Welsh legend, Cerridwen brews up a potion in her magical cauldron to give to her son Afagddu (Morfran). She puts young Gwion in charge of guarding the cauldron, but three drops of the brew fall upon his finger, blessing him with the knowledge held within. Cerridwen pursues Gwion through a cycle of seasons until, in the form of a hen, she swallows Gwion, disguised as an ear of corn. Nine months later, she gives birth to Taliesin, the greatest of all the Welsh poets.

The Cauldron of Knowledge

Cerridwen’s magical cauldron held a potion that granted knowledge and inspiration — however, it had to be brewed for a year and a day to reach its potency. Because of her wisdom, Cerridwen is often granted the status of Crone, which in turn equates her with the darker aspect of the Triple Goddess (as envisaged in modern paganism). As a goddess of the Underworld, Cerridwen is often symbolized by a white sow, which represents both her fecundity and fertility and her strength as a mother. She is both the Mother and the Crone; many modern Pagans honour Cerridwen for her close association to the full moon.

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The Legend of St George and the Dragon

By tradition in England, 23 April is the day for a red rose in the button hole, the national flower. However, unlike other countries, England does not celebrate it like Americans celebrate 4 July with fireworks. In fact, you are more likely to see big St Patrick parades in England celebrating Ireland’s National Day, more than you would see any sign of St George’s Day being celebrated.

For most people in England St George’s Day is just another ordinary working day.

Despite the fact that St. George has been the patron saint of England since the 14th century, only one in five people know that St. George’s Day falls on 23 April.

More than a quarter of people living in England do not even know who their patron saint is!

St. George is the patron saint of England. His emblem, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England, and part of the British flag. St George’s emblem was adopted by Richard The Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century. The king’s soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle.

Who was the real St George and what did he do to become England’s patron saint?

St George was a brave Roman soldier who protested against the Romans’ torture of Christians and died for his beliefs. The popularity of St George in England stems from the time of the early Crusades when it is said that the Normans saw him in a vision and were victorious.

The Legend of St. George and the Dragon

St. George traveled for many months by land and sea until he came to Libya. Here he met a poor hermit who told him that everyone in that land was in great distress, for a dragon had long ravaged the country. The old man said:

Every day, he demands the sacrifice of a beautiful maiden and now all the young girls have been killed. The king’s daughter alone remains, and unless we can find a knight who can slay the dragon she will be sacrificed tomorrow. The king of Egypt will give his daughter in marriage to the champion who overcomes this terrible monster.

When St. George heard this story, he was determined to try and save the princess, so he rested that night in the hermit’s hut, and at daybreak set out to the valley where the dragon lived. When he drew near he saw a little procession of women, headed by a beautiful girl dressed in pure Arabian silk. The princess Sabra was being led by her attendants to the place of death. The knight spurred his horse and overtook the ladies. He comforted them with brave words and persuaded the princess to return to the palace. Then he entered the valley.

As soon as the dragon saw him it rushed from its cave, roaring with a sound louder than thunder. Its head was immense and its tail fifty feet long. But St. George was not afraid. He struck the monster with his spear, hoping he would wound it.

The dragon’s scales were so hard that the spear broke into a thousand pieces. and St. George fell from his horse. Fortunately he rolled under an enchanted orange tree against which poison could not prevail, so that the venomous dragon was unable to hurt him. Within a few minutes he had recovered his strength and was able to fight again.

He smote the beast with his sword, but the dragon poured poison on him and his armour split in two. Once more he refreshed himself from the orange tree and then, with his sword in his hand, he rushed at the dragon and pierced it under the wing where there were no scales, so that it fell dead at his feet.

The Real St George

Saint George is popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry, but actually he wasn’t English at all. Very little is known about the man who became St George.

Quick Facts about St George

  • Born in Turkey (in Cappadocia)
  • Lived in 3rd century
  • His parents were Christian
  • Became a Roman soldier
  • Protested against Rome’s persecution of Christians
  • Imprisoned and tortured, but stayed true to his faith
  • Beheaded at Lydda in Palestine
  • St. George is believed to have been born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) in the year A.D. 270. He was a Christian. At the age of seventeen he joined the Roman army and soon became renowned for his bravery. He served under a pagan Emperor but never forgot his Christian faith.

When the pagan Emperor Diocletian started persecuting Christians, St. George pleaded with the Emperor to spare their lives. However, St. George’s pleas fell on deaf ears and it is thought that the Emperor Diocletian tried to make St. George deny his faith in Christ, by torturing him. St George showed incredible courage and faith and was finally beheaded near Lydda in Palestine on 23 April, 303.

In 1222, the Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be St George’s Day and he replaced St Edmund the Martyr as England’s patron saint in the 14th century. In 1415, April 23 was made a national feast day.

Patron Saint

St George is patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia,, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Pomorie, Qormi, Lod and Moscow.

St George is also patron saint of scouts, soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis.

 

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iphoneYou 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.

CMP App on AmazonYou 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.
Windows Phone AppYou can now also find the Windows Phone App in the Windows Phone Store.
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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