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Celtic Magic

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Elspeth

Ghillie Dhu

The Celtic Umbrella covers many branches, from Druids, Indo-European links, Reconstructionist Celts,  Celtic Wicca and lots of colourful theories about connections to other Pantheons. There are some interesting discussions to be had.

In this group we can look into them, discuss what we know, question what we don't, and maybe put forward a few theories if we wish to.

Besides, Celtic Magic is a beautiful, mysterious Path, that's for sure :-)

So let's celebrate it!

Please feel free to post Discussions.

You can also request Pages, if you'd rather have articles set to the side, so they don't become lost among the wall posts.

Oh on the wall - post away - socialise or post graphics if you want to. Don't be shy.

Say hello.

Location: In West Wood.
Members: 27
Latest Activity: on Friday

Discussion Forum

The Celts...overview.

Started by Ghillie Dhu. Last reply by Linda M. Jul 14. 1 Reply

CelticThis is a brief overview of the Celts and their spiritual beliefs.  Most people think of Ireland when they hear the word “Celtic”.  However, the Celts were groups of tribal people who inhabited…Continue

Celtic Spirituality 3

Started by Ghillie Dhu. Last reply by Elspeth Jul 14. 1 Reply

 FATHER SEÁN ÓLAOIRE, PHD  …Continue

Celtic Spirituality 2

Started by Ghillie Dhu Jul 13. 0 Replies

(A) IntroductionCultures either meet or they clash.  And the clash can be a war among equals or a ravaging of the weaker by the stronger.  This latter typically results in colonization and…Continue

Celtic Spirituality

Started by Ghillie Dhu Jul 13. 0 Replies

Around the time that Lao Tzu and Confucius were plying their trade in China; when Mahavira and the Buddha were teaching in India; when Zoroaster was preaching in Persia; and Jeremiah was the prophet…Continue

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Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 7:02am

My foos won’t move. I feel as old as yonder elm. A tale told of Shaun or She. All Livia’s daughter’ sons. Dark hawks hear us, night, Night, My ho head halls. I feel as heavy as younger stone. Tell me of John or Shaun. Who were Shem and Shaun the living sons and daughters of ? Night now. Tell me a tale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of , the hithering and thithering waters of Night.

Finally in the Arthurian vision not everyone, but many Celtic Scholars, trace Morrigan and her two sisters here called Macha and Modron, to Morgan le Fay. She was the most beautiful of nine sisters, living on the Isle of Avalon. She was Fata Morgana.

In the Arthurian Book of the Days on the 13th of December ( a beautiful cycle and weaving of the Arthur tales, Lancelot also suffers at the hands of Morrigan ( Morgain, Morgan?) le Fay in the Valley of No Return, where he must face trials and tests in the shape of dragons and spectral knights, a wall of fire and a gigantic knight with an ax. In the same volume Morrigan plots to murder Arthur, and give his power to Accolon of Gaul, and she almost succeeds in this, since she had given Accolon Excaliber, but during the battle he loses control of it and the sword flies back to Arthur. So in an overview of the tales, Morrigan is a villainess and uses illusion to try to destroy Arthur although she fails. And yet the thirtieth of December according to the same source,

King Arthur awoke from his long sleep in which there were many fevered dreams, and he rose and looked about him. Deep bowered and fair, the green landscape stretched about him on all sides. Sweet apple trees grew by the banks of a shallow stream, and white blossoms was upon them like snow. But though the season should have been winter, the air was balmy and soft, and above, in the sky, the sun and moon shown forth together, and there were stars. Then Arthur knew that he was in Avalon, the region of the Summer Stars, where rain and snow fall not, and where the great ones of the world await a call to arms. Smiling, Arthur stretched his muscles and set off to walk by the stream, listening for the murmur that would tell him that the Round table was met again amid the trees.

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 7:01am

We should also note that the stories of Goll and Finn are not all alike, that in some, Finn does not kill Goll and in others Goll rescues Finn from the three hags of winter (Morrigan again.) And often in the tales, Goll is the more sympathetic figure, sensitive towards his wife, and tragic, while Finn’s temperamental bent is to great rage. Morrigan, I think is hidden like Goll. Finn is the bright edge of the sword, reason, and heroism.
Three phantom spirits come out of the Kreshcorran, Devilish, three unsightly mouths, (long lips down to the knees.) Six unclosing white eyes, six twisting legs under them, three warlike swords, three shields, three spears.

It goes together with the tooth mother, the devouring goddess who chases Tailesin and devours him, and then gives birth to him. Being killed and devoured means entering the life cycle again, transported by a woman. Maybe the enemy of a hero is female realism, survival, death, devouring, madness, and decline with age. Heroic canons often do not include real moral dilemmas which no rulebook will settle: guilts that can never be mended; the unconscious parts and spirits of the mind; enchantment and survival needs; passage through cauldrons (stomach and uterus) to make life.

The Anna Liva Plurabella section in Finnegan’s Wake is a modern reconstruction of Morrigan. It starts with the demand to describe the river Livey. One overhears a blend of voices, describing the enchanting effects of human beauty, the nature of women, voices from Celtic Epics, woven together like threads from the Book of Kells. Irreverent-reverent history, and at the end at the Ford we hear the Bean Nighe, doing Ireland’s wash as the images of female archetypes wash, haunted, down into the night:

Ireland sober is Ireland stiff. Lord help you Maria full of Grease, the load is with me.

They mention Finn MacCool and state that Anne was Liva is and Plurabella is to be. The washerwomen bring unconsciousness in which stories fade from person into trees and stones:

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 6:50am

We know that the banshee were shape shifters, and that they appear in Finnegan’s Wake, washing the laundry of Ireland as it grows dark (the Anna Liva Plurabella section is the Morrigan section). In early Celtic writing Morrigan, and her two war goddess sisters, could appear in the form of crows. Madness and Violence, Badb and Neiman were her sisters. She is tri-part and terrifying in the battle between Fin and Goll. One of Finn’s Captains rides a warhorse named Badb which is grey and black and has wings, so it’s like the hooded Royston or scarecrow, which most often devoured the dead in the British Isles. Its head is hooded like an executioner. Morrigan is defending Ireland, her three parts scream ‘KRAA  KRA’, a sky ripping croak. Finn’s army has long horns which sound like calling ravens.

For the red mouthed Badh will cry around the house
For bodies it will be solicitous
Pale Badbs shall sheik
Badbs will be over the breasts of men.

-from Bruiden Da Choca.

Notice this however: crows do not make people dead, they eat and transform bodies. Morrigan is not death itself, she is the keeper of death, and she is frightening. Sometimes enemies ran because of the fearful and magical appearance of the army.

In Ireland Morrigu (another name for Morrigan) and Badbs meld and can both take on the features of a human hag. This is the old age aspect of the Goddess. It has been theorized by some that it is men who most fear and sometimes disrespect older women. She represents the loss of power and finitude of lifespan, a realization not easy even for Finn. She represents her own power, reincarnation, rebirth and a point of view (wisdom in age) which can’t be banished.

Over his head is shrieking
a lean hag, quickly hopping
Over the points of weapons and shields.
She is the gray haired Morrigu

-Annals of Leinster

Dusk grey cloud feathers and the gloss of midnight awaited Goll’s sunset army as he retreated into the arms of the terrible mother.

She has been called the Irish Kali, eating and being eaten. There is some similarity, she is frightening, She and her sisters can join into a horrible ring through which a warrior might disappear, one full of teeth and hair. But notice this parallel: Goll has another name, Crom Dubh. In Ireland Finn (the light) lives on one side of the Island and Crom or Goll ( maybe the God of Connan the Barbarian brought up from India or Summer) lives on the other. He is the dark spirit, the hidden who carried the corn mother on his shoulders. This has to do with the way of the light, the balance of the light and dark, and the sinking of the year. Goll sinks like the old sun into the ocean.

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 6:48am

In Newgrange, Ireland, is her grand megalithic tomb-shrine. Within it are three stone cells, three stone basins, engravings of triple snake spirals, coils, arcs and brow ridges. Her signs appear on spindle whirls, altars, sacrificial vessels, vases, pebbles, and pendants. She is the chevron and V, the inverted triangle, the earth element. She is the triple source of power needed to regenerate cycles, to take one from life to death and from death to life. Figurines often pair sprouting seed and vulvas, fish in the ocean, and the female body as a passageway. Vultures and owls are associated with her; spirals, crows and ravens; lunar circles and snake coils. Female figures lock to form circles, fairy rings, and circles de fees. Her followers do energetic ring dances, dangerous to an intruder who tries to break in. Her circles transmit energy by the increased powers of stone, water, and mound of circling motion. She is the moon’s three phases, maiden, nymph and crone; the moon, new, waxing and old. She is the source of life giving, death and transformation, regeneration and renewing. Marie Gimbutas, the emeritus professor of European Archaeology - who has written extensively on her artefacts - believes that knowledge of her can lead the world towards a sexually equalitarian, non-violent, and earth-centred future.

Some writers claim that she did not have a consort, others that her consort was the horned god. It seems at least that if there were other gods they did not subordinate her in the beginning. This changed as the Celtic lands became less agrarian, and more dependent on a warrior class for survival. Robert Graves describes an aspectual division of the goddess into many kinds of females and powers as analogous to the battle of the trees, in which powers divided among the seasons, each one dominant at a certain time. Joseph Campbell and other Jungians might argue that the Copper Age understanding of Morrigan was a form of monotheism. I think there is another perspective that might also be taken by many Druids, that whatever enters this life to pull us out of Abred is fractured in our vision, and as we are spirits inside spirits, our visions are personal and come with our most meaningful experiences, and slip away when they are generalized too far. So we are polytheists, in this sense (I think both of these approaches are fruitful.) The female figures into which Morrigan is divided do not seem to be as powerful after the Amairgin invasion, at least in much of the literature which has been preserved. Often she is seen through the eyes of frightened men.

The Celtic Druid’s Years by John King claims that Samhain was the mating time between Dagda ( the great God) and Morrigan. Lugh might also have been a consort, of the Morrigan who shared Bran’s totem animal, but who could also be a bear, so this is one of her aspects. Another is that she was one of the Banshee or Bean Nighe. There is a saying among the Irish and highland Scots that a woman who dies in childbirth better not leave the laundry unfinished, or she will have to come back and wash it until the day of her natural death. Washers at the Ford, if they are seen by any human, someone is to die soon. Bean Nighe dresses in green and has red webbed feet (bird feet?), one nostril and one tooth. Very prominent long breasts fall from her chest and if you can grab and suck one, you will be granted any wish. You can ask her three questions and she will answer but then you must answer three from her, and if you lie it is too bad for you.

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 6:47am

Morrigan

by Honor Johnson

This article is about the Goddess Morrigan, whom archaeological evidence now tells us, dates back beyond the Copper age, and was the dominant Goddess of Europe called the Great Goddess. When I read the material about Morrigan, I suspected that there was more to her story, and that she was a transporter between life and death; a birth Goddess and a death Goddess in that she moved the soul through these cycles. Later writing seems to concentrate on her connection to death, but comes to view her, as warrior societies often do, in a way connected to their own needs (power, energy, enchantment and warfare). Some writing of course does not, she is seen as a healer, the protector of the land and the person who brings Arthur to power. I went through literary accounts of her to give a fuller picture of her, one that is I think more meaningful to many people, including myself.

Stone stelae with sculpted breasts have been discovered at Castelucio de Sauri, some with only breasts and a necklace as a marker. They date back to the Copper Age c.3000BC. In Spain, France, Portugal and England statues, menhirs and stone slabs frequently also display her eyes, her beak and sometimes her vulva. Parts of her seem hidden, then appearing, so as one looks at the pottery artefacts there is more and more of her to piece together. She is a bird goddess, an earth goddess, and her breasts not only nourish the living, they also regenerate the dead. Her breasts were believed to form the hills in County Kerry called Da Chich Annan (the paps of Anu). She is the Irish Morrigan, Goddess of Death and Guardian of the Dead. She has in these early Celtic representations, a bird’s head (often a crow, raven or vulture) and breasts, and on vessels depicting her there is a symbol for the number three. Sometimes three lines are connected and depict a triple energy that flows from her body, as she is giver and sustainer of life. Very early she is under stood to be a triple goddess, a shape shifter, a three part person. Her names are plentiful and sound like her original name.

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 6:37am

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 6:36am

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 6:36am

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 6:35am

Comment by Ghillie Dhu on March 28, 2018 at 6:34am

 

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