Celtic Myth Podshow News

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

Woman-warrior

Scáthach : The Mythical Scottish Warrior Woman of The Ulster Cycle


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Woman-warriorScáthach (Scottish Gaelic: Sgàthach an Eilean Sgitheanach), or Sgathaich, is a figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. She is a legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher who trains the famous Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat. According to legend, Scáthach, or Sgathach, lived some time in the centuries either side of 200BC.

Ancient Irish texts describe her homeland as Scotland ; she is especially associated with the Isle of Skye, where her residence Dún Scáith, or “Dun Sgathaich” (Fortress of Shadows), stands.

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Ys

Sunken Cities of Celtic Legend – Ys (Brittany)


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Ys

Ys

Drowned city of Brittany: Ker-Ys, the city of Ys

The legend of the wicked and drowned city of “Ys” is perhaps the most famous tale of Brittany’s folklore and popular culture.

There are many regional variations of the story across Brittany, however, the main storyline tells that in the early days of Christianity the city of Ys, orKer-Ys, was the richest trading port in the Atlantic.

Ships and merchants from south and north came to the Bay of Douarnenez in south-west Brittany to buy and sell luxury goods. The city was rich and lively, but it was also too much given to lust and sin as to arouse the ire of Breton Saint Gwenole, who foretold the city’s ruin.

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Witch Bottle

The Welsh Witch of Medieval History


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The History books tell us that the Welsh Witch was misunderstood and misrepresented commonly in the middle ages.

“The term witch has meant many things to many people over the years,” says Dr Kathleen Olsen of the University of Wales, Bangor.

“But for most of the Middle Ages the word really meant the local healer, someone who made poultices and medicines and perhaps had charms or spells for healing cattle and other farm animals.”

Be that as it may, the powers of darkness certainly had an appeal to some people.

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Druid's Egg

The Mystical Druid’s Egg: The Glain Neidr


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Druid's Egg

Druid’s Egg

Snakes, and especially the Adder, were very significant to the Druids. They represented the renovation of mankind – a symbolism that probably related to the apparent re-birth of snakes every time they shed their skins.

 

They were also kept by them and made important divinations and decisions based on their movements. One particular association is the Glain Neidr, which translates variously as ‘glass of the serpents’, snake-stone, adder’s stone or Druid’s egg – it was also known as Maen Magl. This was an amulet sacred to Druids in Wales, worn by them on a chain around the neck, that was supposed to possess many virtues.

It had many healing powers, and especially for ailments of the eye; it could ensure that the owner was victorious over his enemies; it allowed seeing of future events; it could be a powerful poison; in some circumstances it also gave diverse powers such as finding hidden treasure or making the wearer invisible.

Finding a Druid’s Egg

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Earth Goddess

Reigniting the Divine Feminine through Celtic Stories and Traditions


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The Ancient Practice of Marrying the Land

Earth Goddess

Earth Goddess

The native pre-Christian mythology of the Celtic nations which stretch along the Western Atlantic seaboard of Europe is highly women – centred. In our oldest stories, the creative, generative essence of the universe was female, not male; women represented the spiritual and moral axis of the world, and the power of men was predominantly social.

But the Celtic divine female was a long way from the remote, transcendent sky-deities we’ve grown used to in recent centuries here in the West: she had one foot in the Otherworld for sure, but she was firmly grounded and deeply rooted in place, indivisible from her distinctive, haunting landscapes.

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Xiaohe tomb complex

The Mysteries of the Chinese Celtic Xinjiang Mummies


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Cherchen Man,

Cherchen Man,

Solid as a warrior of the Caledonii tribe, the man’s hair is reddish brown flecked with grey, framing high cheekbones, a long nose, full lips and a ginger beard. When he lived three thousand years ago, he stood six feet tall, and was buried wearing a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. He looks like a Bronze Age European. In fact, he’s every inch a Celt. Even his DNA says so.

But this is no early Celt from central Scotland. This is the mummified corpse of Cherchen Man, unearthed from the scorched sands of the Taklamakan Desert in the far-flung region of Xinjiang in western China, and now housed in a new museum in the provincial capital of Urumqi. In the language spoken by the local Uighur people in Xinjiang, “Taklamakan” means: “You come in and never come out.”

Within a nondescript Bronze Age cemetery first discovered by Swedish archaeologists in 1934 and rediscovered by the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute in 2000, researchers have found the oldest and best-preserved mummies in the Tarim Basin area of China. Their skeletal remains, along with unprecedented artifacts, are helping solve the longstanding question of the origins of human settlement in a politically contested area of China.

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Michael Scotts View

Michael Scott – The Scottish Wizard


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The Borders of Scotland is an area steeped in folklore and fantastic stories of fairies and magical goings-on. One such tale is firmly based around a real historical personage – a remarkable man, whether or not you believe the more incredible stories about him. He is Michael Scott – the infamous Borders Wizard.

Through his studies of arcane books Michael is supposed to have tamed demonic forces to his will. His most famous act of wizardry was the reputed splitting of the Eildon Hills into the three peaks that we see today towering above the town of Melrose.

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Scathach

The Feminine in Early Irish Myth and Legend


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In early Irish mythology and legend, the feminine is quite dominant in the otherworld as well as on earth.

The land of Ireland and features of its landscape such as mountains, rivers and lakes were frequently associated with goddesses and other supernatural females.

Early Irish deities did not have specialised areas of influence like those of the Greeks and Romans, for instance.

The same Irish goddess could be a young woman or a hag, a mother or a virgin, a warrior or a seductive temptress, depending on the occasion.

In mythology, it was Ériu who gave her name to Ireland but the names of her two sister goddesses Banba and Fodla were also used.

Another trio of sister goddesses were all called Brigid and they were patrons of fertility, healing, smiths and poetry. They presided over a perpetual fire and the spring festival of Imbolc.

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Picts link to North Wales

Cartimandua, 1st century Celtic Queen of the Brigantes.


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Cartimandua ruled in her own right rather than through marriage. She did eventually marry, but later divorced her husband and ruled alone. Her name has been translated to mean “well-groomed” or “sleek pony” which may indicate that she was pleasing to the eye. She may have played a role in the events of the Mabinogion and be mentioned in the Welsh Triads…

Cartimandua Queen of the Brigantes

Many people know the story of Queen Boudicca’s rebellion against the Romans. Fewer people realise that West Yorkshire and much of northern Britain were also ruled by a queen. Her name was Cartimandua and she ruled over a loose association of clans and tribes called the Brigantes. Queen Cartimandua seems to have had pro-Roman views. Consequently relationships between the Romans and the Brigantes went well at first.

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Green faeries Islands

Green Fairy Islands of Wales


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Green faeries Islands

Faerie Island

A form of Welsh popular belief as to the whereabouts of fairy-land corresponds with the Avalon of the Arthurian legends. The green meadows of the sea, called in the triads Gwerddonau Lion, are the Green fairy islands of Wales.

Many extraordinary superstitions survive with regard to these islands.  They were supposed to be the abode of the souls of certain Druids, who, not holy enough to enter the heaven of the Christians, were still not wicked enough to be condemned to the tortures of Annwn, and so were accorded a place in this romantic sort of purgatorial paradise. In the fifth century a voyage was made, by the British king Gavran, in search of these enchanted islands; with his family he sailed away into the unknown waters, and was never heard of more.

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