Friday, 11 July 2014

Quote in relation to Fairies on the Hunt

The fairies often go out hunting. In the calm summer evening the faint sound of tiny horns, the baying of hounds, the galloping of horses, the cracking of whips, and the shouts of the hunters may be distinctly heard, whilst their rapid motion through the air occasions a noise resembling the loud humming of bees when swarming from a hive.” 
 
—  Excerpt From: Wood-Martin, W. G. (William Gregory), 1847-1917. “Traces of the elder faiths of Ireland; a folklore sketch; a handbook of Irish pre-Christian traditions.” London, New York and Bombay : Longmans, Green, and co., 1902. (via sachairimaccaba)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

To Watch

I have added some videos to my "to be watched" list:

  • Lá Fhéile Bríde – Detailing the lore and traditions associated with the festival that marks the first flourish of Spring
  • Là na Caillich – The Day of the Cailleach in Scotland, which falls on March 25th and marks the beginning of the Cailleach’s rest period, until she reawakens in winter
  • Bealtaine – Focusing on the traditions and customs of the festival of Summer
  • Midsummer: Áine and Grian – Introducing the Midsummer traditions in Ireland, and the issue of solar deities in Gaelic tradition
  • Midsummer: Manannán mac Lir – Taking a look at the Midsummer tradition of “paying the rent to Manannán mac Lir, which originates on the Isle of Man

Monday, 7 July 2014

Quote on Libations

A libation of some of the thick new milk given by a cow after calving, if poured on the ground, more especially in the interior of a rath or fort, is supposed to appease the anger of the offended fairies. Before drinking, a peasant will in many cases, spill a small portion of the draught on the earth, as a complimentary libation to the good people.
—  Excerpt From: Wood-Martin, W. G. (William Gregory), 1847-1917. “Traces of the elder faiths of Ireland; a folklore sketch; a handbook of Irish pre-Christian traditions.” (via spiritualbrainstorms)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Quotation regarding the Morrigan

At first glance the fertility aspect of the Morrigan does not seem as evident. It is an essential part of her character, however. Celtic goddesses combine destructive characteristics with those of nurturing, sexual power, and fertility. Although the juxtaposition seems strange, there is logic in it. Since the goddess is to preserve the tuath, she must be able to protect it in war as well as to provide it with the fruits of the earth, and increase both its cattle and people.” 
 
  Clark, Rosalind. “Aspects of the Morrigan in Early Irish Literature.” Irish University Review 17.2 (Autumn 1987): 228-229, JSTOR. (via diary-of-demosthenes).

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Waves of Manannán mac Lir, the Irish God of the Sea


Author:  Charles W. MacQuarrie
ISBN:
1907945296 / 9781907945298



Why did I read it?  I was searching out a reasonably priced copy of "The Biography of the Irish God of the Sea from the Voyage of Bran (700 A.D.) to Finnegans Wake (1939): The Waves of Manannán" by Charles W. MacQuarrie when I stumbled upon this children's book by the Isle of Man based publishers, Lily Publications Limited.   Given there are few books out there for children on the Irish myths - most are out of print and hard to come by - I thought I should like to read it.


What's it about? This collection of stories about Manannán mac Lir has been translated and freely adapted by the author with the intention of being suitable for children. In these stories Manannán serves as a tester, and a teacher to the mortals he encounters. Sometimes he appears as a nobleman, and sometimes as a churl; sometimes he imparts his wisdom gently, and sometimes gingerly; sometimes he teaches philosophy, and sometimes good manners, but he always seems to have the best interests of civilization at heart.

What did I like?  Although this collection is aimed at children, I found it difficult to discern which age group.   The book is a very quick read, containing four tales, along with intermittent illustrations in the form of watercolours.  It took me less than an hour to read all 54 pages, even with distractions. The stories are heavily condensed, and easily digestible on the whole.  

What didn't I like?  There is a mix of English dialects within the text: American, English, and Irish, and I found this somewhat jarring, along with some obvious editorial mistakes, and strange, seemingly out-of-place sentences, which might be the result of translation issues(?).   I also struggled with one or two words in the text, though I fortunately had an online dictionary nearby.   Two, consecutive tales where Manannán meets Finn may have parents answering some awkward questions about how Finn can end up dead in the first story, but walking in the forest on the next page, in the next tale as though nothing has happened.

Would I recommend it? Yes.  It's a rarity.  However, I do so with the caveat of not knowing for which age group the material is suitable.

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Single, pagan and resident in the UK?

If so, and you are a member of Facebook, a new group where you can mingle has just been started, a break-away from a rather successful, and fun international group for single pagans.   If it follows in its international parent's footsteps, UK Pagan Dating will be a sociable group rather than just a hook-up and/or dating site, i.e. there is not a lot of pressure to find "the one", but to mingle and get to know other singles, perhaps even meet up at various events.

The UK Pagan Dating group is not linked, or affiliated in any way to any dating sites, and there is no fee, or payment to be made.  Just turn up, have fun, and play nice.

So, if you are, or know someone who is single (or even in a relationship but perhaps poly-amorous), and a member of Facebook, and living in the United Kingdom, though I imagine anyone in the Republic of Ireland would also be very welcome, consider the UK Pagan Dating

The more the merrier!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Quote on Manannán mac Lir

Greatest of all the water spirits, the sea god, Manannan mac Lir, has occasionally appeared, usually on some errand of mercy on the coast of Co. Mayo and he, or his son (or double), Oirbsen, of Loch Oirbsen (Loch Corrib), on the coast of Galway Bay. He has sometimes come to warn of the approach of a storm.

No doubt the pagan ancestors of the shore dwellers, worshipped him of old; and his reverence lingered when his. godhead was forgotten. The people live by the gifts of the sea, its fish, timber and seaweed, so naturally the gracious side of the-god was most felt, but there are also suggestions that his fierce cruelty was once felt. Anything that falls into the sea should not be retrieved : a hat blows off and Aran boatmen have refused to go after it.

A curious ceremony where young men naked on horseback are driven into Galway Bay and for some time kept from coming to land is very suggestive of a symbolic sacrifice. I am told that this has been in use near Spiddal, to. the west of Galway, in very recent years. Some fifty years ago I heard from Lord Kilannin that his father and others had to go to the rescue of some shipwrecked men whom the peasantry would neither help nor permit to land.

His relatives were eagerly warned of the disasters to which they might be liable for saving anyone from the sea.  

~ Journal of Folklore (via echtrai).

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Quote on Irish Fairy Lore

"If an oat-cake be baked and left for the next day it should have a piece broken out of it, and should not remain whole, because if the fairies came in the night and saw a whole cake they would surely take it, but they would not touch a broken one, or take your leavings."

"This has now come to be applied to all cakes. Many of the old people used to leave potatoes ready cooked and pieces of bread for them of a night. In the morning these were given to the fowls and never eaten by the people of the house, because since it is, as it were, the spiritual part of the food that is taken, it would not be known whether the fairies had touched it."

"If milk be spilt no annoyance should be expressed, but you should say: "There’s a dry heart waiting for it," since the Good People may have been Awanting it, and caused it to be spilt."

"Should one come out of a house at night whilst eating, a portion should be thrown on the ground for the fairies"


Folklore Journal, notes on Irish fairy lore. (via charlottesarahrichards)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Feeling Foolish

For two weeks' now we have been talking about being "ready" in Gàidhlig class.  It wasn't until Thursday evening I realised it was also the word for sunwise, oft-used in pagan circles, deiseil.

I can only suppose that when people constantly mispronounce something, and you get used to hearing it mispronounced, that when you encounter it in its language of origin (albeit with a slightly different meaning), you may not recognise it right away.   The fact its often spelt differently in pagan circles didn't help either.  I just felt so foolish when I finally made the connection.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Pictish Stone Puzzle

Gamers and interested parties are being asked by Scotland’s national museum to utilise their technical skills to piece together over 3,000 fragments depicting the Cross on a Pictish slab.

The the first of its kind in the archaeological world, project sees participants using a 3D programme developed by a Scottish technology firm to try to solve the mystery of the Hilton of Cadboll Stone.  Experts believe people who play computer games are more adept at manipulating objects on screen.

The stone, which stood on a chapel site in Tain in Easter Ross was carved around 800AD, after the Picts converted to Christianity, in order to celebrate their new religion.  Over time the stone endured a number of accidents, until it was knocked over and broken, and the bottom portion was lost.   It is also believed to have been vandalised more than once during the time of the Reformation in the 16th century.

Excavations of the chapel site uncovered the upright base in the ground and more than 3,000 scattered fragments of the face of a cross. 

The hope is that gamers, and interested parties will be able to piece together the jigsaw to give experts a chance to interpret and decipher the stone’s elaborate symbols and carvings.

Maxwell said: “We need techy-savvy people who have the mindset and understanding of how to work with 3D objects which are a form of virtual reality in space. It’s that puzzle-solving mind we need.

She said there had been one previous attempt to piece all the fragments together but that it soon became obvious that such a task needed manpower and specialist skills – now possible due to new computer technology.

You can read more of the article at The Scotsman, and take part in solving the puzzle.

If you want to participate in finding the solution, you can do so at the Pictish Puzzle website.