Celtic Myth Podshow News

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

Category: Ireland (Page 1 of 3)

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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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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Damn Slaugh, a Dark Fairy by Tetsugem28

Biddy Early – Ireland’s magical lady from Clare


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Bridget Ellen Early (known as Biddy Early) was a traditional Irish herbalist who helped her neighbours. She acted against the wishes of the local tenant farmer landlords and Catholic priests and was accused of witchcraft. Born in 1798 in Faha, Kilanena, Biddy O’Connor was the daughter of a poor farming family. At sixteen, she was sent to Feakle to work as a servant girl and later to Kilbarron to work for a doctor Dunne. It was necessary for Biddy to go in to service at such a young age so as to help her family survive in such hard times.

It was in Kilbarron that she married one Pat O’Malley, and the couple had one child, a daughter. Pat was to die however after a few short years of marriage.
Her second husband was a Tom Flannery from Carrowroe, who sadly died when their only child Tom was only eight years old.

First Story of her Magical Powers

It was about the time of this husband’s death that the first story of Biddy’s magical powers occurs. Biddy being unable to pay the rent to the local landlord because of her husbands’ death and the expense of rearing her young son, was served with an eviction notice.

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The Morrigan

Ravens in Celtic Mythology


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Ravens figure heavily in Celtic mythology and legend. They were linked to darkness and death – especially the death of warriors in battle. Celtic war goddesses often took the form of a raven. In “The Dream of Rhonabwy”, the knight Owein battles King Arthur in a dream world assisted by ravens. Some tales suggest that the great King Arthur himself was turned in to a raven upon his death.

Rhonabwy is the most literary of the medieval Welsh prose tales. It may have also been the last written. A colophon at the end declares that no one is able to recite the work in full without a book, the level of detail being too much for the memory to handle. The comment suggests it was not popular with storytellers, though this was more likely due to its position as a literary tale rather than a traditional one.

The frame story tells that Madog sends Rhonabwy and two companions to find the prince’s rebellious brother Iorwerth. One night during the pursuit they seek shelter with Heilyn the Red, but find his house filthy and his beds full of fleas. Lying down on a yellow ox-skin, Rhonabwy experiences a vision of Arthur and his time.

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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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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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Bear Bone Shows Humans Populated Ireland 2500 Years Earlier Than Realised

A remarkable archaeological discovery in a Co. Clare cave has pushed back the date of human existence in Ireland by 2,500 years. This discovery re-writes Irish archaeology and adds an entirely new chapter to human colonisation of the island – moving Ireland’s story into a new era.

Radiocarbon dating of a butchered brown bear bone, which had been stored in a cardboard box at the National Museum of Ireland for almost 100 years, has established that humans were on the island of Ireland some 12,500 years ago –2,500 earlier than previously believed reports Colm for Irish Archaeology.

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Saint Patrick’s Life – the facts and the stories

Saint Patrick (ca. 390-460) is revered as patron of Ireland and, of course, he has come to be associated with parades and a lot of mischief associated with alcohol. No one would prohibit the Irish their day. Mayor Richard Daley used to say,

in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish or wishes they were.

But let’s leave some of that malarkey aside as unworthy of his dignity. In lives of the saints, Patrick is called the Enlightener of Ireland and we are right to praise his memory says Father Gabriel Rochelle in the Las Cruces Sun-News.

But was Saint Patrick Irish?

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Inaugural Lafayette Celtic Festival features blend of Celtic and Cajun music

Crawfish and Guinness, whiskey and cook-offs, Irish and Cajun music — what do they have in common asks the Acadiana Advocate? The answer lies deep in the heart of Cajun country this weekend as Lafayette prepares to host the inaugural Celtic Bayou Festival. The Lafayette Celtic Festival celebrates all aspects of Celtic and Irish American culture as well as the rich Acadian culture of Louisiana.

The festival will take place Friday and Saturday at Warehouse on 535 Garfield St. in Lafayette. According to husband and wife team Tony and Sheila Davoren, the creative forces behind the festival, Lafayette’s enthusiasm for world music makes it the perfect venue. Sheila Davoren said:

The cultures are similar — the music, the dancing, the storytelling and the sheer joy of life — so our festival has a modern twist, and incorporates both traditions.

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Is Bardsey Island the mystical Island of Avalon?

An apple found nowhere else in the world has been discovered growing on a Welsh holy island. The variety of apple – believed to date back to the 13th Century when it was grown by monks – was spotted on remote Bardsey Island.

Wales displays two prominent peninsulas: Llyn in the North and Pembroke in the South. Between them is the broad sweep of Cardigan Bay. Two miles out to sea off the tip of the Llyn Peninsula lies Bardsey Island (Welsh name Ynys Enlli).

Bardsey Island has long been associated with religious activity. Pre-Roman Celts visited the island to pray and often to die on this most western isle as they followed the setting sun. During early Christian times Bardsey Island was a place of pilgrimage. There is a pilgrim’s route along the North Wales coast with a string of churches built along the way. Indeed three trips to Bardsey was considered equal to a pilgrimage to Rome. Anybody buried on Bardsey was guaranteed eternal salvation.

Dr Joan Morgan – one of the world’s leading experts on apples – said the apple was the only one of its variety in the world.

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