One of the most underappreciated things in the world is most certainly Irish mythology and folklore and to see it showing up in one of my favourite manga of all time is a dream come true. lemme break it down.
1. skellig island
heres a picture of skellig island, right well guess what? Skellig is most certainly named after the skellig Islands of ireland. The Skellig Islands are a pair of rocky islands of whick Skellig Michael is most famous. It was settled by christian monks and to this day is dotted with the remains of cells and stone buildings
Also you’ll notice the spiral covered rocks well those spiral patterns were synonymous with celtic tradition. Its called the triskele and it was a major part of celtic paganism and celtic christianity where it could represent the trinity.
This is a picture of the triskele in Newgrange tomb in Ireland, fun fact Newgrange predates the pyramids of Giza by several centuries. (3200 bce).
2. fairies and Danann
One of the major parts of Irish folk-history are the five invasions. These invasions describe the major settlements of people onto Ireland and were passed on orally before being transcribed by christian monks. In mythology the fourth invasion was led by the Tuatha dé Danann, who became the Gaelic Irish pantheon. Instantly you can see the connection, the namesake of all the gods of Ireland is a character in berserk.
Ireland also has an extensive Fairy culture, now when you hear fairy you might imagine the likes of Tinkerbell from peter pan but in Irish folklore almost all of the supernatural spirits were called fairies. There were exstensive amounts of warding techniques and some families continued using them as late as the 50s and 60s. creatures such as the Dullahan, leprechauns, changelings and Banshee all count as Irish fairies, The Tuatha Dé Danann are also counted as faries and its believed that when the monks of ireland wrote of Fairy kings or queens they’d actually be writing about God of Irish mythology and simply refused to call them gods.
Berserk features a lot of extra-planar shenanigans and the witch’s village on Skellig is comparable to the gaelic concept of otherworld. The people who lived in Otherworld included the Aos Sí (meaning people of the mounds), they were said to live in bountiful kingdoms under the hills of Ireland. In these kingdoms time always worked differently, in tales such as Oisín i dTír na nÓg, a couple of years in the land of youth would be a couple of centuries in Ireland, but I’m familiar with a tale where a man is taken prisoner into the underground until he is busted out. when he returns he has a basket of harvest fruits because he had been in otherworld for half a year, but he returns to his Halloween party with none the wiser as to why he was gone for a while.
Like believe what you want but there does seem to be a certain trend of trying to claim an oppressed identity in a way that has no bearing on history or reality in general.
Several times I’ve seen people who have come up with this sort of reconstructed Celtic pagan belief system claiming they have faced historical oppression from Christians - including those in the Celtic nations. Not only does this show a complete lack of nuanced understanding of how Christianity spread through places like Scotland and Ireland, but it seems massively backwards when you are someone who’s adopted a (probably inaccurate, pieced together) approximation to a pre-Christian Celtic belief system by choice and you’re claiming historical oppression from the very people who’s ancestors held these beliefs.
Here’s a little preview of the build I’m doing for the LonCruich Clan Circle Fort. Admittedly, I’ve taken a lot of direct inspiration from @historicalsimslife ‘s Circle Fort for her History Challenge. I also use a TON of her wonderful cc, so ode to Annika!
The culture I’m creating in and around North Keep is based on many qualities of pre-Christian Celtic and Nordic cultures, thus using the concept of circle forts for the clans of the North.
Considering the horrific past of marginalization, religious oppression, and blatant cultural appropriation between Christianity and Irish/Celtic paganism, wouldnt that mark paganism as a closed religion and practice? Considering the obliteration of most pre-Christian influenced traditional practice and cultural heritage, wouldnt blending multiple beliefs into the pagan lifestyle without proper respects being paid to the source of it all be considered continued cultural appropriation? -IVY
It sounds like you’re talking specifically about the Celtic paganisms rather than paganism as a whole, so I’m interpreting your question as, “Considering the horrific past of oppression between Christianity and Irish/Celtic polytheisms, shouldn’t those polytheisms be closed practices?”
We generally don’t answer questions about cultural appropriation
anymore but this question has a lot going on in it and, to be
fair, I don’t think we’ve talked about why the Celtic polytheisms are
open practices, considering their histories.
Defining a couple terms first:
“Celtic” polytheism includes Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man (Gaelic), Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, and the Cumbric peoples (Brythonic), and Gaul (Gaulish, obviously).
“Polytheism” is just a descriptor for a certain type of religious belief. People who call themselves polytheists tend towards a more reconstructionist-inspired attitude.
“(Neo)paganism” generally refers to a specific modern religious movement starting in the 1700s, give or take some years. People who call themselves pagans tend to fall more in line with the characteristics of neopaganism, which has less interest in academic accuracy.
Exceptions for those last two bullet points abound and not everyone agrees in the first place. This is also coming from a hard polytheist, not a pagan, so consider that.
The original draft of this post was even longer and more rambling before I managed to cut it down. Basically, I understand Gaelic (which includes Irish) paganism/polytheism to be open because:
conversion to Christianity was generally peaceful and a choice, not forced; Christianity in and of itself wasn’t a primary tool of colonial crimes, so at that time religious marginalization wasn’t a thing;
when the invasions and hardcore oppressions began, polytheism had already been replaced by Christianity (albeit a unique form of it that’s actually really interesting);
the historical line of inheritance – that is, an unbroken exchange of religious traditions between generations – was broken;
(and we shouldn’t forget that once upon a time the Irish were involved in a slave trade too, it’s not like the pre-Christian Irish were cinnamon rolls too pure for this world);
recognized names of actual Irish pagans/polytheists as well as Irish cultural organizations have said that Irish polytheism is open with the caveat that respect is maintained for the still-living people.
However, there are definitely problematic aspects:
forgetting that the native cultures themselves are still very much alive;
using cliches and stereotypes that perpetuate social and political issues to one degree or another;
exploiting those cultures in such a way that takes income and opportunities away from the native people (e.g. American pagans going over to Ireland to conduct bullshit workshops, spreading misinformation while taking away jobs from actual Irish pagans, seriously, there is so much New Age and neopagan bullshit being touted as ~authentic Irish spirituality~).
So, yeah, the Irish and other Celtic polytheisms are open practices regardless of one’s ancestry or identity as long as effort is taken to avoid the spread of misinformation that perpetuates cultural harm, particularly for those cultures still living. Did that answer your question…?
Arthur : “What are they doing ?” Morgaine : “They’re praying to the Goddess for a good harvest.” Arthur : “The Goddess ? The one Father Cuthbert doesn’t like ?” Morgaine : “And now she’ll look after their seeds, and make them grow … all through spring.” Arthur : “So these people don’t like Jesus Christ ?” Morgaine : “Some of them do. But others still pray to the Goddess.” Arthur : “Can there be a God and a Goddess at the same time ?” Morgaine :”Of course. it’s just like having a father and a mother.“
To all the people saying Starbucks has a war on Christmas. Remember that the real war on Christmas was when Christians invaded celtic regions, stole and changed Yule (OG Christmas), and forced us to celebrate that instead. That’s right, Christmas is PAGAN.
I wear a silver triskele and Brighid’s Cross around my neck every day. The following conversation ensued at a nearby Publix today:
Cashier: Is that a tennis racket?
Me: What? Where?
Cashier: Around your neck.
Me: Oh no! It’s a triskele… (the Cross had gotten stuck in the triskele and it did look a lot like a tennis racket).
Cashier: What’s that?
Me: A Neolithic symbol. Often with Scottish or Irish meaning. It has a lot of different meanings.
Cashier: Like the Holy Trinity? I can see that with the three spirals…
Me: That is, uh, one of them, sure.
Cashier: That is a beautiful cross too. You must be a Celtic Christian! Is that it?! (She got like insanely excited about that prospect. The bagger, meanwhile, is trying not to roll her eyes at her co-worker.)
Me: No, actually…
Cashier: Oh, please just tell me you aren’t pagan or anything like that. My sister is one and I don’t let my kids see her. She’s obviously possessed by Satan.
Me: …that’s not how that works. If she was a Satan worshiper, she’d be a Satanist, not a pagan.
Cashier: They all end up in the same place!
Me: And what was my total?
Cashier: (gives me my total, I paid and started to gather my groceries) So.. what about it? Do you accept Jesus?
Me: Actually, I’m a polytheist if you have to know. But either way, I don’t have the time or patience to get into it nor would you really listen. So, I’ll just say No and Hail Satan! See you around, Christian lady.
I gave a maniacally laugh as I left, leaving the bagger in stitches and the cashier looking horrified. It might not have been the proper response but man, that was the fulfilling one.
Holy Island has a recorded history from the 6th century. It was an important center of Celtic Christianity under Saints Aidan of Lindisfarne, Cuthbert, Eadfrith of Lindisfarne and Eadberht of Lindisfarne. After Viking invasions and the Norman conquest of England a priory was reestablished. A small castle was built on the island in 1550. it is isolated, beautiful and a photographer’s dream.