Celtic Myth Podshow News

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

Category: Bronze Age (Page 1 of 2)

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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Grove of trees

Andraste – The Patron Warrior Goddess of Boudicca and the Iceni tribe


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Andraste

Andraste

Andraste – The Warrior Goddess

Andraste is a warrior goddess, the goddess of victory, of ravens and of battles, similar in many ways to the Irish war goddess Morrigan. Her name is thought to mean “the invincible one” or “she who has not fallen”.  It is told that her presence was evoked on the eve of battle to curry favour.

As a Goddess of divination, she was probably called upon to divine the outcome of battles and war.

She was was venerated in woodland groves throughout Southern Britain and there is told of a sacred grove dedicated to Andraste somewhere in Epping Forest. Her symbol is the hare.  (This could be a misunderstanding of a form of divination using Hares – See quote from Dio Cassius)

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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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Women of the Celts: the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod – Bad Mother or Mythic Goddess?

We’re very proud to bring you an article by Claire Hamilton about the famous Welsh Goddess. She says:

Arianrhod was a Welsh Goddess who lived on an island off the west coast of Wales. At the centre of her castle was a turning glass tower, which contained the mystical Seat of Poetic Inspiration. Her name Arianrhod means ‘starry wheel’.

She is obviously a very powerful Celtic Goddess even though she apparently completely disgraces herself as a mother within her story.

The Story of the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod

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Irish Bog Body – 4,000 Year-old Cold Case

We’ve just re-watched a fascinating Documentary called “4,000 Year-old Cold Case: the Body in the Bog”. The program was originally shown in December 2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03js0gf) and documents the discovery of Cashel Man. The new Bog Body, originally thought to date to approx. 300 B.C.E. was later discovered to be about 4,000 years old – which makes it the oldest preserved body of its kind in the world!

In typical ‘Bones’ fashion, they brought in a forensic anthropologist as well as a coroner and tried to determine whether the body had died from natural causes or a violent death, which he had. Ned Kelly of the National Museum of Ireland was brought in to help. Ned is a veteran archaeologist, and has previously investigated some of Ireland’s most famous bog bodies. The interesting thing that the program brought out is that there is a significant difference between the way that the Irish Bog Bodies were killed and those found in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe (with the exception of some parts of England).

Bog Body slain with overkill

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Most complete Bronze Age wheel to date found at Must Farm near Peterborough

The largest and best-preserved Bronze Age wheel in Britain has been uncovered at Must Farm, a site described as Peterborough’s Pompeii. The wheel will Inset images: Excavation of Bronze Age Wheel at Must Farm one metre in diameter, with hub clearly visible, extend our understanding of early technologies and transport systems.

Archaeologists working at Must Farm, a Bronze Age site near Peterborough, have uncovered a 3,000-year-old wheel, the first and largest complete example ever to be discovered in Britain.   The find, which will broaden our understanding of Late Bronze Age life, is the latest from a settlement described as Peterborough’s Pompeii. The large wooden round houses, built on stilts, plunged into a river after a dramatic fire 3,000 years ago.

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Review of New Law to protect Historic Environment in Wales

A new law to protect historic monuments and buildings in Wales was passed by the National Assembly for Wales on 1st May 2015.

The Historic Environment (Wales) Bill gives local authorities powers to make owners carry out repairs if they damage monuments.

Battlefields, prehistoric settlements and place names will also be recorded.

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Brigid from Goddesses and Heroines By Patricia Monaghan

Probably the clearest example of the survival of an early goddess into Christian times is Brigid (pronounced “breed”), the great triple goddess of the Celtic Irish who appeared as Brigantia in England, Bride in Scotland, and Brigandu in Celtic France.

So entrenched was the devotion of the Irish to their goddess that the Christians “converted” her along with her people, calling her Bridget, the human daughter of a Druid, and claiming she was baptized by the great patriarch St. Patrick himself. Bridget took religious vows, the story went on, and was canonized after her death by her adoptive church, which then allowed the saint a curious list of attributes, coincidentally identical to those of the earlier goddess.

The Christian Bridget, for instance, was said to have had the power to appoint the bishops of her area, a strange role for an abbess, made stranger by her requirement that her bishops also be practicing goldsmiths. The ancient Brigid, however, was in one of her three forms the goddess of smithcraft. Brigid also ruled poetry and inspiration, carrying for this purpose a famous caldron; her third identity was as a goddess of healing and medicine. Not surprisingly, the Christian Bridget was invoked both as a muse and as a healer, continuing the traditions of the goddess.

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Fairy tales origins are thousands of years old, researchers say

Fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast can be traced back thousands of years, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, reported BBC News

Using techniques normally employed by biologists, academics studied links between stories from around the world and found some had prehistoric roots.

They found some tales were older than the earliest literary records, with one dating back to the Bronze Age.

The stories had been thought to date back to the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Durham University anthropologist Dr Jamie Tehrani, said Jack and the Beanstalk was rooted in a group of stories classified as The Boy Who Stole Ogre’s Treasure, and could be traced back to when Eastern and Western Indo-European languages split more than 5,000 years ago.

Analysis showed Beauty And The Beast and Rumpelstiltskin to be about 4,000 years old.

And a folk tale called The Smith And The Devil, about a blacksmith selling his soul in a pact with the Devil in order to gain supernatural abilities, was estimated to go back 6,000 years to the Bronze Age.

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