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

Tag: Celtic Mythology (Page 1 of 2)

First Harvest Lugh

Lugh and the Festival of Lughnasadh – “the binding duty of Lugh”

First Harvest Lugh

First Harvest

The great wheel of the year turns again on the evening of July 31st to August 1st, with the Celtic festival of Lughnasadh, “the binding duty of Lugh ” as the last in the cycle of the four seasons of the Celtic world.

This feast marks the beginning of Autumn or Fall, and the harvesting season – crops were harvested in August, fruit in September around the Autumn equinox and meat in October before Samhain/Halloween. The ‘first fruits’ of the harvest were crops.

Lugh Lámhfhada

Lugh Lammas fair Eastbourne

Lammas Fair – Eastbourne

Lughnasadh is named after the Celtic Sun God Lugh, ‘The Bright or Shining One’, God of the Harvest. He also presides over the arts and sciences, and as such he was called Lugh the Il-Dana, ‘Master of All Crafts’, or Samildanach, ‘he of the many gifts’. He was expert smith, craftsman, harpist, poet, sorcerer, physician, chess player and warrior.

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Bonfire

Oíche Shamhna Feast – An Introduction to Irish Iron Age Food

Bonfire - Iron Age Food

As a Págánacht each holy day is a time to reflect on our Iron Age ancestors and what their lives may have been like when they sat around their hearth or bonfire and celebrated their sacred times of the season.

The Iron Age Irish (700 BCE – 400CE) didn’t have the luxuries of the modern kitchen with the ceramic top stove and built in microwaves. Much of their time was spent out amongst the rest of their tribes, partaking in a three day festival of celebration and preparation for the new season. In the time of Samhain preparation was particularly important because they were at the end of the harvest period and entering the winter where food needed to be stored and cattle slaughtered for meat that would be salted and kept to sustain them through the winter.

Today, we do have the many modern luxuries afforded us by the technology we are blessed to have. There are some that may choose to celebrate this time in the way the ancestors did by breaking out their hearth fire and their cauldrons to cook. I have all the respect in the world for that practice and hope to one day be able to do it myself, but as a practical pagan in a modern world, that isn’t always feasible. My modern conveniences make my busy life much easier and I love my slow cooker, microwave and stove, so what can I do to truly connect to this time of year in a way my ancestors did? The simple answer? Food.

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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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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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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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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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Sunken City of Ys

Sunken Cities of Celtic Legend – Ys (Brittany)

Ys

Sunken City of 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

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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Earth Goddess

Reigniting the Divine Feminine through Celtic Stories and Traditions


Latest Episode!

The Ancient Practice of Marrying the Land

Earth Goddess - Divine Feminine

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; the Divine Feminine 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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