Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Solar Ship Symbols at New Grange, Brittany and Sweden

The Ship Symbol at New Grange
Another remarkable and, as far as Ireland goes, unusual figure is found sculptured in the west recess at New Grange. It has been interpreted by various critics as a mason's mark, a piece of Phoenician writing, a group of numerals, and finally (and no doubt correctly) by Mr. George Coffey as a rude representation of a ship with men on board and uplifted sail. It is noticeable that just above it is a small circle, forming, apparently, part of the design. Another example occurs at Dowth.

Solar Ship (with Sail?) from New Grange, Ireland

The significance of this marking, as we shall see, is possibly very great. It has been discovered that on certain stones in the tumulus of Locmariaker, in Brittany there occur a number of very similar figures, one of them showing the circle in much the same relative position as at New Grange. The axe, an Egyptian hieroglyph for godhead and a well-known magical emblem, is also represented on this stone. Again, in a brochure by Dr. Oscar Montelius on the rock-sculptures of Sweden we find a reproduction (also given in Du Chaillu's “Viking Age”) of a rude rock-carving showing a number of ships with men on board, and the circle quartered by a cross—unmistakably a solar emblem—just above one of them. That these ships (which, like the Irish example, are often so summarily represented as to be mere symbols which no one could identifiy as a ship were the clue not given by other and more elaborate representations) were drawn so frequently in conjunction with the solar disk merely for amusement or for a purely decorative object seems to me most [pg 73] improbable. In the days of the megalithic folk a sepulchral monument, the very focus of religious ideas, would hardly have been covered with idle and meaningless scrawls. “Man,” as Sir J. Simpson has well said, “has ever conjoined together things sacred and things sepulchral.” Nor do these scrawls, in the majority of instances, show any glimmering of a decorative intention. But if they had a symbolic intention, what is it that they symbolise?
Solar Ship from Loc mariaker, Brittany
(After Ferguson)

Solar Ship from Hallande, Sweden

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Coming of Lugh and the Fomorians

The Coming of Lugh and the Fomorians

        A new figure now comes into the myth, no other than Lugh son of Kian, the Sun-god par excellence of all Celtica, whose name we can still identify in many historic sites on the Continent. To explain his appearance we must desert for a moment the ancient manuscript authorities, which are here incomplete, and have to be supplemented by a folk-tale which was fortunately discovered and taken down orally so late as the nineteenth century by the great Irish antiquary, O'Donovan. In this folk-tale the names of Balor and his daughter Ethlinn (the latter in the form “Ethnea”) are preserved, as well as those of some other mythical personages, but that of the father of Lugh is faintly echoed in MacKineely; Lugh's own name is forgotten, and the death of Balor is given in a manner inconsistent with the ancient myth. In the story as I give it here the antique names and mythical outline are preserved, but are supplemented where required from the folk-tale, omitting from the latter those modern features which are not reconcilable with the myth.
     The story, then, goes that Balor, the Fomorian king, heard in a Druidic prophecy that he would be slain by his grandson. His only child was an infant daughter named Ethlinn. To avert the doom he, like Acrisios, father of Danae, in the Greek myth, had her imprisoned in a high tower which he caused to be built on a precipitous headland, the Tor Mōr, in Tory Island. He placed the girl in charge of twelve matrons, who were strictly charged to prevent her from ever seeing the face of man, or even learning that there were any beings of a different sex from her own. In this seclusion Ethlinn grew up—as all sequestered princesses do—into a maiden of surpassing beauty.
Now it happened that there were on the mainland three brothers, namely, Kian, Sawan, and Goban the Smith, the great armourer and artificer of Irish myth, who corresponds to Wayland Smith in Germanic legend. Kian had a magical cow, whose milk was so abundant that every one longed to possess her, and he had to keep her strictly under protection.
Balor determined to possess himself of this cow. One day Kian and Sawan had come to the forge to have some weapons made for them, bringing fine steel for that purpose. Kian went into the forge, leaving Sawan in charge of the cow. Balor now appeared on the scene, taking on himself the form of a little redheaded boy, and told Sawan that he had overheard the brothers inside the forge concocting a plan for using all the fine steel for their own swords, leaving but common metal for that of Sawan. The latter, in a great rage, gave the cow's halter to the boy and rushed into the forge to put a stop to this nefarious scheme. Balor immediately carried off the cow, and dragged her across the sea to Tory Island.
Kian now determined to avenge himself on Balor, and to this end sought the advice of a Druidess named Birōg. Dressing himself in woman's garb, he was wafted by magical spells across the sea, where Birōg, who accompanied him, represented to Ethlinn's guardians that they were two noble ladies cast upon the shore in escaping from an abductor, and begged for shelter. They were admitted; Kian found means to have access to the Princess Ethlinn while the matrons were laid by Birōg under the spell of an enchanted slumber, and when they awoke Kian and the Druidess had vanished as they came. But Ethlinn had given Kian her love, and soon her guardians found that she was with child. Fearing Balor's wrath, the matrons persuaded her that the whole transaction was but a dream, and said nothing about it; but in due time Ethlinn was delivered of three sons at a birth.
News of this event came to Balor, and in anger and fear he commanded the three infants to be drowned in a whirlpool off the Irish coast. The messenger who was charged with this command rolled up the children in a sheet, but in carrying them to the appointed place the pin of the sheet came loose, and one of the children dropped out and fell into a little bay, called to this day Port na Delig, or the Haven of the Pin. The other two [pg 112] were duly drowned, and the servant reported his mission accomplished.
But the child who had fallen into the bay was guarded by the Druidess, who wafted it to the home of its father, Kian, and Kian gave it in fosterage to his brother the smith, who taught the child his own trade and made it skilled in every manner of craft and handiwork. This child was Lugh. When he was grown to a youth the Danaans placed him in charge of Duach, “The Dark,” king of the Great Plain (Fairyland, or the “Land of the Living,” which is also the Land of the Dead), and here he dwelt till he reached manhood.
Lugh was, of course, the appointed redeemer of the Danaan people from their servitude. His coming is narrated in a story which brings out the solar attributes of universal power, and shows him, like Apollo, as the presiding deity of all human knowledge and of all artistic and medicinal skill. He came, it is told, to take service with Nuada of the Silver Hand, and when the doorkeeper at the royal palace of Tara asked him what he could do, he answered that he was a carpenter.
We are in no need of a carpenter,” said the doorkeeper; “we have an excellent one in Luchta son of Luchad.” “I am a smith too,” said Lugh. “We have a master-smith,” said the doorkeeper, “already.” “Then I am a warrior,” said Lugh. “We do not need one,” said the doorkeeper, “while we have Ogma.” Lugh goes on to name all the occupations and arts he can think of—he is a poet, a harper, a man of science, a physician, a spencer, and so forth, always receiving the answer that a man of supreme accomplishment in that art is already installed at the court of Nuada. “Then ask the King,” said Lugh, “if he has in his service any one man who is accomplished in every one of these arts, and if he have, I shall stay here no [pg 113] longer, nor seek to enter his palace.” Upon this Lugh is received, and the surname Ildánach is conferred upon him, meaning “The All-Craftsman,” Prince of all the Sciences; while another name that he commonly bore was Lugh Lamfada, or Lugh of the Long Arm. We are reminded here, as de Jubainville points out, of the Gaulish god whom Caesar identifies with Mercury, “inventor of all the arts,” and to whom the Gauls put up many statues. The Irish myth supplements this information and tells us the Celtic name of this deity.
When Lugh came from the Land of the Living he brought with him many magical gifts. There was the Boat of Mananan, son of Lir the Sea God, which knew a man's thoughts and would travel whithersoever he would, and the Horse of Mananan, that could go alike over land and sea, and a terrible sword named Fragarach (“The Answerer”), that could cut through any mail. So equipped, he appeared one day before an assembly of the Danaan chiefs who were met to pay their tribute to the envoys of the Fomorian oppressors; and when the Danaans saw him, they felt, it is said, as if they beheld the rising of the sun on a dry summer's day. Instead of paying the tribute, they, under Lugh's leadership, attacked the Fomorians, all of whom were slain but nine men, and these were sent back to tell Balor that the Danaans defied him and would pay no tribute henceforward. Balor then made him ready for battle, and bade his captains, when they had subdued the Danaans, make fast the island by cables to their ships and tow it far northward to the Fomorian regions of ice and gloom, where it would trouble them no longer.

Lugh, Ireland, Balor, Fomorians,

under Lugh's leadership, attacked the Fomorians, all of whom were slain but nine men, and these were sent back to tell Balor that the Danaans defied him and would pay no tribute henceforward

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Danaan and Fomorian Battle of Moytura

Danaan and Fomorian Battle of Moytura

The Second Battle of Moytura took place on a plain in the north of Co. Sligo, which is remarkable for the number of sepulchral monuments still scattered over it. The first battle, of course, was that which the Danaans had waged with the Firbolgs, and the Moytura there referred to was much further south, in Co. Mayo. The battle with the Fomorians is related with an astounding wealth of marvellous incident. The craftsmen of the Danaans, Goban the smith, Credné the artificer (or goldsmith), and Luchta the carpenter, keep repairing the broken weapons of the Danaans with magical speed—three blows of Goban's hammer make a spear or sword, Luchta flings a handle at it and it sticks on at once, and Credné jerks the rivets at it with his tongs as fast as he makes them and they fly into their places. The wounded are healed by the magical pig-skin. The plain resounds with the clamour of battle:
“Fearful indeed was the thunder which rolled over the battlefield; the shouts of the warriors, the breaking of the shields, the flashing and clashing of the swords, of the straight, ivory-hilted swords, the music and harmony of the ‘belly-darts’ and the sighing and winging of the spears and lances.”

Moytura, Ireland, battle, Firbolgs, Mayo, Fomorians
Second Battle of Moytura took place on a plain in the north of Co. Sligo with the Fomorians

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Coming of the People of Dana to Ireland

The Coming of the People of Dana to Ireland

    We now come to by far the most interesting and important of the mythical invaders and colonizers of Ireland, the People of Dana. The name, Tuatha De Danann, means literally “the folk of the god whose mother is Dana.” Dana also sometimes bears another name, that of Brigit, a goddess held in much honour by pagan Ireland, whose attributes are in a great measure transferred in legend to the Christian St. Brigit of the sixth century. Her name is also found in Gaulish inscriptions as “Brigindo,” and occurs in several British inscriptions as “Brigantia.” She was the daughter of the supreme head of the People of Dana, the god Dagda, “The Good.” She had three sons, who are said to have had in common one only son, named Ecne—that is to say, “Knowledge,” or “Poetry.”Ecne, then, may be said to be the god whose mother was Dana, and the race to whom she gave her name are the clearest representatives we have in Irish myths of the powers of Light and Knowledge. It will be remembered that alone among all these mythical races Tuan mac Carell gave to the People of Dana the name of “gods.” Yet it is not as gods that they appear in the form in which Irish legends about them have now come down to us. Christian influences reduced them to the rank of fairies or identified them with the fallen angels. They were conquered by the Milesians, who are conceived as an entirely human race, and who had all sorts of relations of love and war with them until quite recent times. Yet even in the later legends a certain splendour and exaltation appears to invest the People of Dana, recalling the high estate from which they had been dethroned.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The First Battle of Moytura Between the Firbolgs and the Tuath De Danaans

The First Battle of Moytura Between the Firbolgs and the Tuath De Danaans

   The Firbolgs, however, were not impressed with the superiority of the Danaans, and decided to refuse their offer. The battle was joined on the Plain of Moytura, in the south of Co. Mayo, near the spot now called Cong. The Firbolgs were led by their king, mac Erc, and the Danaans by Nuada of the Silver Hand, who got his name from an incident in this battle. His hand, it is said, was cut off in the fight, and one of the skillful artificers who abounded in the ranks of the Danaans made him a new one of silver. By their magical and healing arts the Danaans gained the victory, and the Firbolg king was slain. But a reasonable agreement followed: the Firbolgs were allotted the province of Connacht for their territory, while the Danaans took the rest of Ireland. So late as the seventeenth century the annalist Mac Firbis discovered that many of the inhabitants of Connacht traced their descent to these same Firbolgs. Probably they were a veritable historic race, and the conflict between them and the People of Dana may be a piece of actual history invested with some of the features of a myth.
Firbolgs, Tuath De Danaans, Moytura, battle,
Description of the battle between the Firbolgs and the Tuath De Danaans on the plain of Moytura

Ancient Rome and Fairies

Ancient Rome and Fairies

On Greek vases the human soul is depicted as a pygmy issuing from the body through the mouth; and this conception existed among Romans and Teutons. Like their predecessors the Egyptians, the Greeks also often represented the soul as a small winged human figure, and Romans, in turn, imagined the soul as a fairy with butterfly wings. These ideas reappear in mediaeval reliefs and pictures wherein the soul is shown as a child or little naked man going out of the dying person’s mouth and, according to Cædmon, who was educated by Celtic teachers, angels are small and beautiful—quite like good fairies.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Egyptians and the Fairy Faith

Egyptians and the Fairy Faith and Its Influence of the Celts

Book of[Pg 240] the Dead, the Ba, which like the Ka is one of the many separable parts of the soul, is represented as a very little man with wings and bird-like body.

The same opinions regarding the human soul prevailed among ancient peoples highly civilized, i. e. the Egyptians and Greeks, and may have thence directly influenced Celtic tradition. Thus, in bas-relief on the Egyptian temple of Dêr el Bahri, Queen Hatshepsû Rāmaka is making offerings of perfume to the gods, while just behind her stands her Ka (soul) as a pygmy so little that the crown of its head is just on a level with her waist.The Ka is usually represented as about half the size of an ordinary man. In the Book of[Pg 240] the Dead, the Ba, which like the Ka is one of the many separable parts of the soul, is represented as a very little man with wings and bird-like body.

The Coming of the Irish Firbolgs to Ireland

The Coming of the Irish Firbolgs to Ireland

    Who were the Firbolgs, and what did they represent in Irish legend? The name appears to mean “Men of the Bags,” and a legend was in later times invented to account for it. It was said that after settling in Greece they were oppressed by the people of that country, who set them to carry earth from the fertile valleys up to the rocky hills, so as to make arable ground of the latter. They did their task by means of leather bags; but at last, growing weary of the oppression, they made boats or coracles out of their bags, and set sail in them for Ireland. Nennius, however, says they came from Spain, for according to him all the various races that inhabited Ireland came originally from Spain; and “Spain” with him is a rationalistic rendering of the Celtic words designating the Land of the Dead. They came in three groups, the Fir-Bolg, the Fir-Domnan, and the Galioin, who are all generally designated as Firbolgs. They play no great part in Irish mythical history, and a certain character of servility and inferiority appears to attach to them throughout.
One of their kings, Eoch mac Erc, took in marriage Taltiu, or Telta, daughter of the King of the “Great Plain” (the Land of the Dead). Telta had a palace at the place now called after her, Telltown (properly Teltin). There she died, and there, even in mediæval Ireland, a great annual assembly or fair was held in her honour.

The migration of the Firbolgs to Ireland from Spain

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Description of the First Meeting Between the Mythological Danaans and the Firbolgs

Description of the First Meeting Between the Mythological Danaans and the Firbolgs

The Irish Danaans and the Firbolgs
They were wafted into the land in a magic cloud, making their first appearance in Western Connacht. When the cloud cleared away, the Firbolgs discovered them in a camp which they had already fortified at Moyrein.
The Firbolgs now sent out one of their warriors, named Sreng, to interview the mysterious new-comers; and the People of Dana, on their side, sent a warrior named Bres to represent them. The two ambassadors examined each other's weapons with great interest. The spears of the Danaans, we are told, were light and sharp-pointed; those of the Firbolgs were heavy and blunt. To contrast the power of science with that of brute force is here the evident intention of the legend, and we are reminded of the Greek myth of the struggle of the Olympian deities with the Titans.
Bres proposed to the Firbolg that the two races should divide Ireland equally between them, and join to defend it against all comers for the future. They then exchanged weapons and returned each to his own camp.
Irish, Danaans, Firbolgs,

Description of the first meeting between the mythological Danaans and the Firbolgs

The Bible, Witches and Disembodied Spirits

The Bible, Witches and Disembodied Spirits

The Bible, then so frequently the last court of appeal in such matters, was found to sustain such theories about witches in the classical example of the Witch of Endor and Saul; and the idea of witchcraft in Europe and America came to be based—as it probably always had been in pagan times—on the theory that living persons could control or be controlled by disembodied spirits for evil ends. Hence all black magicians, and what are now known as ‘spirit mediums’, were made liable by law to the death penalty.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lost Kingdom of the Fairies in Cornwall, England and the Ohio Valley Sun Temples

Sacred Hilltops and Sun Temples of the Fairy Race in Corwall, England and the Ohio Valley

Sun Temple (Henge) in England was the abode of the fairy race.

There are ruined British antiquities whose builders are long forgotten, strange prehistoric circular sun-temples, crowning the hill tops, mysterious underground passageways, and crosses probably pre-Christian. Everywhere are the records of the mighty past of this thrice-holy Druid land of sunset. There are weird legends of the lost kingdom of the Fairies. Legends of Phoenician Amorites, who came for tin; legends of gods and of giants, of pixies and of fairies.

Hilltop, Sun Temple, (henge) at Mounds State Park that included caves and subterranean passageways. Is it by chance that fairies have been witnessed at this location?
But there in that most southern and western corner of the Isle of Britain, the Sacred Fires themselves still burn on the divine hill-tops, though smothered in the hearts of its children.  He looks upon cromlech and dolmen, upon ancient caves of initiation, and upon the graves of his prehistoric ancestors, and vaguely feels, but does not know, why his land is so holy, is so permeated by an indefinable magic; for he has lost his ancestral mystic touch with the unseen—he is ‘educated’ and ‘civilized’. 

Map map shows the bottom of the bluff below the Sun Temple complex at Mounds State Park, Anderson, Indiana. Is this where the fairies dwell?

The Cave entrance is still visible at the bottom of the bluff at Mounds State Park, directly below the Sun Temples. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fairy Procession at Irleands Ancient Tara

Fairy Procession at Irelands Ancient Henge of Tara

The Mystic ancient henge at Tara, now possessed by the Fairies
On the ancient Hill of Tara, from whose heights the High Kings once ruled all Ireland, from where the sacred fires in pagan days announced the annual resurrection of the sun, the Easter Tide, where the magic of Patrick prevailed over the magic of the Druids, and where the hosts of the Tuatha De Danann were wont to appear at the great Feast of Halloween, today the fairy-folk of modern times hold undisputed sovereignty. And from no point better than Tara, which thus was once the magical and political centre of the Sacred Island, could we begin our study of the Irish Fairy-Faith. Though the Hill has lain unplowed and deserted since the curses of Christian priests fell upon it, on the calm air of summer evenings, at the twilight hour, wondrous music still sounds over its slopes, and at night long, weird processions of silent fairy spirits march round its grass-grown raths and forts It is only men who fear the curse of the Christians; the fairy-folk regard it not.

The Dagda Mor was the father and chief of the People of Dana

The Dagda Mor was the father and chief of the People of Dana

     The Dagda Mōr was the father and chief of the People of Dana. A certain conception of vastness attaches to him and to his doings. In the Second Battle of Moytura his blows sweep down whole ranks of the enemy, and his spear, when he trails it on the march, draws a furrow in the ground like the fosse which marks the mearing of a province. An element of grotesque humour is present in some of the records about this deity. When the Fomorians give him food on his visit to their camp, the porridge and milk are poured into a great pit in the ground, and he eats it with a spoon big enough, it was said, for a man and a woman to lie together in it. With this spoon he scrapes the pit, when the porridge is done, and shovels earth and gravel unconcernedly down his throat. We have already seen that, like all the Danaans, he is a master of music, as well as of other magical endowments, and owns a harp which comes flying through the air at his call. “The tendency to attribute life to inanimate things is apparent in the Homeric literature, but exercises a very great influence in the mythology of this country. The living, fiery spear of Lugh; the magic ship of Mananan; the sword of Conary Mōr, which sang; Cuchulain's sword, which spoke; the Lia Fail, Stone of Destiny, which roared for joy beneath the feet of rightful kings; the waves of the ocean, roaring with rage and sorrow when such kings are in jeopardy; the waters of the Avon Dia, holding back for fear at the mighty duel between Cuchulain and Ferdia, are but a few out of many examples.”A legend of later times tells how once, at the death of a great scholar, all the books in Ireland fell from their shelves upon the floor.
Dagda Mor, Tuath De Danaans, Fomorians, magic
The Dagda Mōr was the father and chief of the People of Tuath De Danaan, he is a master of music, as well as of other magical endowments

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Celtic Tale of the Slaying of the Giant Balor is the Etymological Root of "Bleary Eyed."

The Death of Balor and the Fomorians
The Etymological Root of "Bleary Eyed."

The story of a stone or spear being thrown into the eye of the Fomorian Balor is the etymological root of "Bleary Eyed," or "Balors Eye."

     The Fomorians bring on their champion, Balor, before the glance of whose terrible eye Nuada of the Silver Hand and others of the Danaans go down. But Lugh, seizing an opportunity when the eyelid drooped through weariness, approached close to Balor, and as it began to lift once more he hurled into the eye a great stone which sank into the brain, and Balor lay dead, as the prophecy had foretold, at the hand of his grandson. The Fomorians were then totally routed, and it is not recorded that they ever again gained any authority or committed any extensive depredations in Ireland. Lugh, the Ildánach, was then enthroned in place of Nuada, and the myth of the victory of the solar hero over the powers of darkness and brute force is complete.

Balor, death, Fomorians, defeated, Ireland

Fairies Dwell Within West Virginia Bee Hive Tomb

Fairies Dwell Within West Virginia Bee Hive Tomb

Photo by Yoly Molina

Fairy Preserves.—‘A heap of stones in a field should not be disturbed, though needed for building—especially if they are part of an ancient tumulus. The fairies are said to live inside the pile, and to move the stones would be most unfortunate. If a house happens to be built on a fairy preserve, or in a fairy track, the occupants will have no luck. Everything will go wrong. Their animals will die, their children fall sick, and no end of trouble will come on them. When the house happens to have been built in a fairy track, the doors on the front and back, or the windows if they are in the line of the track, cannot be kept closed at night, for the fairies must march through.