Celtic Myth Show News

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

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Manx Litfest 2016 celebrates Celtic Stories, Myths and Fairy Tales

Manx Litfest 2016Celtic literature will be celebrated with a night of storytelling, myths and fairy tales at Peel Masonic Club on Saturday, October 1 reports isleofman.com. The festival is striving to develop a strong Celtic influence through each Litfest, and this year, they welcome two fine Celtic writers to the festival, Dr. Sharon Blackie and Kevin MacNeil. The event – Celtic Stories, Myths and Fairy Tales – is part of Manx Litfest 2016 and is being sponsored by Isle of Man satellite firm ManSat Ltd.

It will feature visiting Celtic authors Dr Sharon Blackie and Kevin MacNeil, in conversation with lecturer Dr Catriona Mackie, along with readings of myths and poetry, with some live Celtic music for good measure.

The night marks an initiative by Manx Litfest to develop a Celtic theme within each festival. Other events within the six-day Litfest, which gets underway on Tuesday, September 27, include a talk on the life and writing of Sophia Morrison (2.00pm – House of Manannan – Thursday, September 29), a writing workshop being run by Sharon (now sold out) and an event on the afternoon of Friday, September 30 when Sharon will talk about her new book, If Women Rose Rooted (2.30pm at St John’s Mill).

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Salt and Bread

The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

Sin Eater - The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

Sin-Eater

The Tradition Of The Sin-Eater

In 18th, 19th and 20th Century Scotland, England, and some Welsh communities, families placed a piece of bread on the breasts of their recently passed loved ones.

That’s not the strange part — the families then hired someone to eat the bread, believing that the practice would somehow absolve the sins of the deceased.

Where did this strange ritual come from? 

Eating food at a funeral (or shortly thereafter) is not uncommon — large family dinners often follow the death of a loved one, while drinking has been a cornerstone of wakes for centuries.

Wake - The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

 Funeral Wake

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Daoine Sidhe - Irish Sidhe: Their Kin and Folklore

Irish Sidhe: Their Kin and Folklore

The Irish Sidhe, relatives of Arial and Puck have a weird attractiveness for the student of Irish folklore, for many reasons and especially because the traditions connected with them explain almost all those superstitious peculiarities which are observable among the Irish people.

It is the duty of the poet to express in rhythmical periods the aerial origin of what are sometimes called `those superstitions of the Irish,’ but for us it is only left to place before our readers in round everyday prose some few of the countless happy and poetic traits peculiar to our Irish Sidhe.

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Cantre'r Gwaelod - the Sunken Land or Lowland Hundred

4,000 year-old Deer antlers found off Welsh coast

A dear friend of ours pointed us to a discovery made during the Spring this year of a set of 4,000 year-old Red Deer antlers on a beach in Borth, Ceredigion in Wales. Recent storms have revealed a whole new section of the Sunken Lands in Cardigan Bay. From 5,000 year-old trees whose stumps have been preserved by the peat, to parts of a wattle walkway made of branches, sticks or logs that must have enabled people to cross the wet ground easily. Now a huge set of antlers, identified as belonging to a Red Deer, have been found found under 1 metre of water.

There’s an ancient folk tale about Cantre’r Gwaelod, or the Sunken Hundred, which was once a fertile land and township before it was lost beneath waves. It is believed that the land extended nearly 20 miles west of Cardigan Bay, but Cantre’r Gwaelod was lost to floods when, apparently, Mererid, the priestess of a fairy well had neglected her duties, resulting in the well overflowing.

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The Mythology of the Green Man and the Green Knight

The Significance of Green

Green has been known for untold ages as the colour of the fairy. Green was so universally recognised, as the colour of the fairy that many in Scotland refused to wear it as to do so would be to invite the anger of the fairy folk. “Greenies” and “greencoaties” were common euphemisms used in Britain for the fairy.

Green was a colour shunned by many as being associated with evil fairies and witches. But why green? Green is also associated with nature, with ripening life, with fertility and that is the reason.

Green was a colour shunned by many as being associated with evil fairies and witches. But why green? Green is also associated with nature, with ripening life, with fertility and that is the reason.

During the formation of Christianity nature was seen to exist for the pleasure and consumption of man. That nature should exist as an entity unto herself, with powers beyond man’s, was a thought that put fear into many.

Later, nature was viewed as evil and anything associated with nature was seen in a similar way. That green represented the power and fertile life of nature slowly came to be associated with evil, and thus Pagan, forms bent on the torment of mankind.

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Irusan - King of Cats

The King of Cats and Seanchan the Bard

King of the Cats

King of Cats

There is a legend preserved in Ossianic tradition of the encounter between Seanchan, the celebrated chief poet of Ireland, and the King of Cats, who dwelt in a cave near Clonmacnoise.

In ancient Ireland the men of learning were esteemed beyond all other classes; all the great ollaves and professors and poets held the very highest social position, and took precedence of the nobles, and ranked next to royalty.

The leading men amongst them lived luxuriously in the great Bardic House; and when they went abroad through the country they travelled with a train of minor bards, fifty or more, and were entertained and accommodated free of cost by the kings and chiefs, who considered themselves highly honoured by the presence of so distinguished a company at their court.

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Ripe Corn at Lughnasadh Harvest

The Celtic Fire Festival of Lughnasadh

Ripe Corn at Lughnasadh Harvest

Ripe Corn at Harvest

Lughnasadh or Lughnasa (pronounced LOO-nə-sə) Irish: Lúnasa; Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal; Manx: Luanistyn) is a Celtic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season that was historically observed throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Traditionally it was held on July 31 – August 1, or approximately halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. Lughnasadh is one of the four Celtic seasonal festivals; along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals, such as the English Lammas.

Lugh

Lugh

The festival is named after the god Lugh, and involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests (most notably the Tailteann Games), feasting, matchmaking, and trading. There were also visits to holy wells.

Lughnasadh customs persisted widely until the twentieth century. The custom of climbing hills and mountains at Lughnasadh has survived in some areas, although it has been re-cast as a Christian pilgrimage. Since the latter twentieth century, Celtic neopagans have observed Lughnasadh, or something based on it, as a religious holiday. In some places, elements of the festival have been revived as a cultural event.

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Reconstruction sketch showing a bird’s-eye view and side view of how the stilted settlement at Must Farm may have looked

Magical Superfine Textiles discovered at ‘Must Farm’ Dig

Cloth and Beads found at Must Farm & Representation of Iron age Clothing - superfine textiles

Cloth and Beads found at Must Farm & Representation of Iron age Clothing

Excavations at Must Farm, 50 kilometres north-west of Cambridge England, have unearthed the earliest examples of superfine textiles ever found in Britain – among the most finely-made Bronze Age fabrics ever discovered in Europe.

Finds include more than 100 fragments of textile, processed fibre and textile yarn – some of superfine quality, with some threads just 1/10 of a millimetre in diameter and some fabrics with 28 threads per centimetre, fine even by modern standards.

Most of the superfine textiles were made of linen, and hundreds of flax seeds have been found, some of which had been stored in containers. Timber fragments with delicate carpentry may be the remains of looms, and fired clay loom weights have been found.
Some of the fabrics had been folded, some in up to 10 layers. These may have been large garments, potentially up to 3 metres square – capes, cloaks, or drapes.

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Lough Neagh - sunken city?

Under Lough Neagh: Sunken Cities of Celtic Legend (Ireland)

Drowned Settlements of Ireland: Lough Neagh

Lough Neagh - sunken city?

Lough Neagh – sunken city?

Lough Neagh (Loch nEachach: the lake of Eochaidh or Eachaidh) is the largest freshwater lake in Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Folklore has it that Lough Neagh, a 29 km long and 18 km wide lake in county Armagh, Northern Ireland, occupies the site of a drowned city and that buildings may sometimes be seen through the water.

According to an old Irish legend, Lough Neagh was formed when Ireland’s legendary giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) scooped up a section of the land to throw at a fleeing Scottish rival that was fleeing Ulster by way of the Giants Causeway. He missed, and the chunk of earth landed in the Irish Sea, thus creating the Isle of Man and Lough Neagh.

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Woman-warrior - Scáthach

Scáthach: The Mythical Scottish Warrior Woman of The Ulster Cycle


Woman-warrior - ScáthachScáthach (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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