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Give me Gods of tobacco and thunder, of black smoke and leather. Gods that smell like rain but taste like whiskey. Gods of dark skies, cold nights and warm firelight. Gods of charred bones and wet soil and the sound of antlers colliding. Gods of hooves and thorns. Gods of pine forests and wild dogs. Sharp claws, all teeth, no apologies. Gods of anything that frightens you and everything that comforts you. 

Give them blood and flesh and they will give you a smile and a favour. If they want to.

A New White Supremacist Tactic…

So, lately I’ve seen a few people asking if other folks considered “the Celts” part of “the Norse.” Like this:

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At first, I honestly thought this was borne out of simple ignorance. I’m really trying to work on my patience lately, reminding myself of all the ignorant things I’ve thought, said, and done over the years. Im also trying to remember my compassion. It used to be at the forefront of everything, but it’s been beaten and shrouded by rage and anger the last few years. I’m not so good at remembering it all the time, but I’m trying.

I also thought about this being tied confusion on the history of Northern and Northwest Europe. Admittedly it can be weird. People don’t know that “Viking” is a profession, not a culture. Or that the Normans weren’t a subset of French, but the descendants of Norse Vikings, Franks, and Gallo-Romans after Viking raids; their name stems from words literally just meaning “Norseman.” Or that the Bretons of contemporary Brittany speak a Celtic language, Brezhoneg. Or that the Gauls didn’t speak a singular language and were largely absorbed into the Roman Empire to various degrees before the Franks came to power in France. Or even that there are 5 official languages in Spain with another dozen dialects present. This is especially true of folks from the US, but you see it from people all over.

That said, Morgan Daimler pointed out an excellent point: this is an intentional blurring of the lines between Celtic cultures and Norse cultures as a way of easing in on claiming Celtic cultures for white supremacists. And according to another friend, Stephen McN@llen—the founder and head of the racist af AFA—is rumored to have held a blot to “welcome the Celtic gods to Valhalla,” which is just a whole nother bag of WTF. All of this leads me to the idea that the questions I’m seeing are coming from people who’ve been exposed to these ideas already. They’re trying to understand and are reaching out. So, I say all this to say that we’ve got yet another thing to combat. We can’t cede ground to the bigots, the historical revisionists, the white nationalists. So be aware and try to remember why people are asking these questions!

Celtic Deities: The Dagda (Dagdha)

The Dagda, the High King of the Tuatha Danann, is often likened to the Germanic God, Odin. Why? Because He is known also as Eochu or Eochaid Ollathair, which translate to “horseman, great father” or “all-father”. 

The Dagda is shown to be a father-figure, chieftain and a druid, and he is oft associated with masculinity, fertility, agriculture, wisdom and magick. He is depicted as a very large man who dons a hooded cloak and carries with him a club named, “Lorg Mór” that is imbued with magick. “Lorg Mór” can kill instantly with one end, and give life to the dead with the other.
The Dagda also carries a cauldron known as the “coire ansic” that is never empty and a powerful magick harp known as “uaithne” that has the ability to control the emotions of man, and change the seasons.

  • Abode: Bru na Bóinne
  • Weapon: Lorg Mór (club)
  • Other Items: Uaithne (the harp) and coire ansic (cauldron)
  • Battles Fought: Cath Maige Tuired
  • Consort(s): Ethniu, The Morrígan, Boann
  • Parents: Elatha and Danu
  • Children: Óengus, Bodb Derg, Cermait, Midir, Brigid
The lack of rigid boundaries between humans and animals in Celtic religion and mythology is demonstrated above all by shape-shifting or metamorphosis, the power of supernatural beings to change form. The world of the vernacular Welsh and Irish tradition is redolent with enchanted animals who were once in human form, and divinities who could transform themselves back and forth between human and animal shape. The Irish war-goddesses frequently indulged in shape-changing. Both the Morrigan and the Badbh appeared to warriors as crows or ravens. When the Morrigan encounters Cu Chulainn, she is in the form of a young noblewoman, but when he spurns her, she changes to an eel, a wolf and a hornless red heifer in quick succession. These Irish goddesses also habitually changed between the forms of young girl and old hag.

Any attempt to trace examples of this shape-shifting tradition in the archaeological record must be speculative. But there are instances of semi-zoomorphic, semi-human divine images; the horned gods and Cernunnos, the antlered deity, spring to mind as possible shape-shifters. Iron Age coins struck by Gaulish and British tribes, showing a huge raven perched on a horse, may reflect the Insular tradition of the raven-goddesses.

—  “Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend” by Miranda J. Green
i will kindle the fire,
as brigid would.
i will stoke
the flames of rebellion;
speak justice
into the smoldering air;
coax life
from the dying earth.
i will forge a new world,
as brigid would. 
-
let me open my arms to those in need.
let me walk in love, morning by morning.
her sparks in the night shall light the way.
—  prayer for a better world

Invocation to Brighid
Brighid, Thou Exalted Lady,
Bríd, Brig, Bride, Brigit, Brigantia,
Sainted One, Foster-Mother of the Christ and all who came before,
You Who keep watch at the sacred fires.
Healer, smith, poet; midwife, keener, shaper, transformer.
Across miles and across aeons
Your children call.
Beloved Brighid, arise.
In the secret cave of this dark night, light the fire of spring.
Lady Most High, Muime, Fire of Creation,
Well-Keeper, Mother of the Isles, Living Oak, Aid-Woman,
Forger of Souls:
On gentle wings, carried by flame,
Heed our cries and be with us this Imbolc eve.
Arise from betwixt us, each fire feeding the other,
Spread your mantle over this reaching circle of spirits.
Bring to our souls nourishing milk,
To our hearths, wood and heat,
To our heads, the bright flame of clarity,
To our hearts, clear water and soothing herbs,
To our hands, strength and resilience to shape and be shaped.
Under Your branches, before Your forge,
In the water of Your well, in the solace of Your hearth,
We await You.
Arrive and be welcomed.
O tar isteach, tá céad fáilte romhat, a bhean uasail!
O enter, you are a hundred times welcome, noble Lady!

Art and invocation are both mine, and the work is dedicated to Her.

Celtic Deities: Óengus/Aengus

Óengus is a God of Love, Youth and Poetic Inspiration. He is the son of The Dagda and Boann, and was said to live at Brú na Bóinne.

Óengus’ father, The Dagda, had an affair with Boann, the river Goddess who was the wife of Nechtan. To disguise Boann’s pregnancy, The Dagda stilled the Sun for 9 months so that Óengus was conceived, gestated and born in one day.
Midir became Óengus’ foster father.

  • Abode(s): Brú na Bóinne.

  • Weapons: Moralltach, Beagalltach, Gáe Buide, Gáe Derg.
  • Animals: Swans.
  • Consorts: Etain, Caer Ibormeith.
  • Parents: The Dagda & Boann  (Midir acted as a foster father).
  • Siblings: Oghma an Cermait.
  • Children: Diarmuid Ua Duibhne (foster son).

When he came of age, Óengus dispossessed The Dagda of his home, Brú na Bóinne (an area of the Boyne River Valley that contains the passage tombs Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth). He arrived at his father’s home after The Dagda had shared out his land amongst his children, and none was left for Óengus so he asked whether he could instead dwell in Brú na Bóinne for “a day and a night”, - to this, The Dagda agreed.
Now, bear in mind that the Irish language has no indefinite article, so “a day and a night” is equal to “day and night”, which covers all time, therefore enabling Óengus to take permanent possession of Brú na Bóinne.

Tales of Óengus:

Óengus also killed Lugh Lámhfada’s (yes, Lugh as in Lughnasadh) poet for lying about his brother, Oghma an Cermait. The poet claimed that Oghma was embroiled in an affair with one of Lugh’s wives.

In the “Tale of Two Pails”, a sidhe woman, foster daughter of Óengus, became lost and wound up in the company of St. Patrick where she was then converted to Christianity. Unable to win her back, Óengus left and eventually, consumed by grief, she died.

Óengus fell in love with a girl who appeared in his dreams. His mother, Boann, Goddess of the river Boyne and a cow Goddess who’s milk formed the Milky Way (known as Bealach na Bó Finne, - the White Cow’s Way - in Irish), searched the whole of Ireland for a year. The Dadga did the same. It was the King, Bodb Dearg who finally found the girl after a further year of searching.

Óengus travelled to the lake of the Dragon’s Mouth and there he found 150 girls chained in pairs. Among them was his girl, Caer Ibormeith. Caer and the others would take on the form of swans for 1 whole year, every second Samhain. Óengus was told that if he could identify Caer in swan form, he could have her hand in marriage. Instead, he turned himself into a swan and the pair flew away, singing a beautiful song that would put all who listened to sleep for 3 days and 3 nights.

He owned a sword named Moralltach, the Great Fury, given to him by Manannan mac Lir. This, he gave to his foster son, Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, along with another sword named Beagalltach, the Little Fury. He also gave him two spears of great power: Gáe Buide and Gáe Derg.  When the young man died, Óengus took his body back to Brú na Bóinne where he breathed life into it whenever he wished to speak to Diarmuid. 

In other legends, Óengus was able to repair broken bodies and return life to them.

Celtic Deities Series [2/101]

Gaelpol Nighttime Prayer

I pray to Brighid, and give thanks for being a light in my life.

I pray to Flidais, and give thanks for the animals in my life and for nature.

I pray to Lugh, and give thanks for the skills you have given me.

I pray to Manannan Mac Lir, and give thanks for your protection and cloaking.

I pray to the Dagda, Nuada, and Ogma, and give thanks for making me a warrior.

I pray to Airmed, Miach, and Dian Cecht, and give thanks for your healing touches.

I pray to Aine and Grianne, and give thanks for helping me shine like the sun.

I pray to Na Morrigna, the sisters of war, for making me fierce and brave.

I pray to the gods, the fair folk, and the ancestors: be with me throughout this night

Earth, Sea, Sky Meditation

If you’re anything like me, you know the frustration of trying to transition into a trance state, or making it across the hedge.  As someone who deals with a lot of stress and anxiety, it’s extremely difficult to get my mind to shut up and focus.  On one particularly stressful day, I came up with this great way of focusing on breathing within a Celtic/Gaelic worldview (because I grew frustrated that all of the breathing/focusing exercises I came across were from Buddhist or new age practices).
As many of us know, the trinity of land, sea, and sky is important in Gaelic tradition, so these are the three elements or realms that I used to create focus and relax the mind and body.

This meditation is unusual because it starts on an exhale.  Take a deep breath, get into a comfortable position and begin:

Exhale: Feel your body sink into the earth and become grounded
Inhale: Feel the sea fill your body, let it swell up within you
Hold: Feel the sky lift you, you become weightless
(Repeat)

You can do these breaths in counts of 3, or 4, or whatever you feel comfortable with.  As in: “Exhale… 2… 3… 4… Inhale… 2… 3… 4… Hold… 2… 3… 4… Exhale….” and so on.  The words above are simply a guide to how to make your body feel as you breathe, you may give yourself mental instruction like this, or just let your body feel each realm.  I usually recommend starting out with mental instruction and slowly weaning yourself off of it until you’re just relying on feeling.  This is a good way to slowly ease yourself away from daily consciousness and into a trance-like state.

As mentioned above, this is meant to be used as a transition, and not a full meditation in itself.  Once you feel yourself relax and slip into the right form of consciousness, you may begin your journey/spirit/deity work or whatever you are doing.  Or, like me, you can use it as a calming technique for those anxiety filled stressful moments.

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I thought that this would be a cool project for a Manannán shrine. 

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From the video description:

This is the beautiful air Port na bPúcaí (The Music of the Fairies) from the Blasket Islands. It was said that islanders heard a mystical music and, thinking it was disquieted spirits, they made this air using the notes they heard in an attempt to placate the unhappy ghosts.

Recent thinking suggests that they were, in fact, listening to whale-song reverberating through the canvas hulls of their boats. In the mid 1990s I went rooting through some cassettes of whale song and there in the middle of the Orca (Killer Whale) section I heard the opening notes of Port na bPúcaí!

Celtic Mythology

I’ve been looking for a while now but I’m struggling finding good sources. Does anyone have good book recomendations? I feel a strong connection to the Morrigan and Brighid if that helps at all. But I’m mostly just looking for more of the myths in general.

Thanks!

The Morrígan
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Pronunciation
- More-ih-gone

Titles -  Mórrígan (“great queen”), also known as Morrígu, Morríghan or Mór-ríoghain

Goddess of - fate, especially with foretelling doom and death in battle. Life, death, prophecy, wisdom, protection, fear, sovereignty, rebirth, sorcery

Race -  Tuatha De Danann

Family -
Consorts: Dagda 

Symbols -  Crows, Ravens, cows, wolves, swords, spears

Description - The Morrígan is often described as a trio of individuals, all sisters, called ‘the three Morrígna’. Although membership of the triad varies, the most common combination in modern sources is Badb, Macha and Nemain. However the primary sources indicate a more likely triad of Badb, Macha and Anand  

 Sometimes she appears as one of three sisters, the daughters of Ernmas: Morrígan, Badb and Macha. Sometimes the trinity consists of Badb, Macha and Anand, collectively known as the Morrígna. However, the Morrígan can also appear alone and her name is sometimes used interchangeably with Badb

Badb: A war Goddess associated with battle, destruction, and death and often appeared over battle as a hooded crow, or ran alongside warriors disguised as a grey-red wolf. Badb was connected to rebirth as a watcher of the cauldron of regeneration in the Otherworld. She was also a Witch and a sorceress, and a Prophetess who foresaw the future.

Macha:
The root word “mag” translated means field, plain or pasture. This name connects and gives Macha power over the sacred land and horses, representing wealth, power and symbolizing the elite warriors. She was also connected to fertility by the land and horses, and cursed the male Red Branch warrior to suffer nine days of birth pangs when forced to run a race. As part of the trinity, she rained down fire and blood on her enemies.

Nemain
: Her name translates to panic, frenzy or venomous. Also a deity of battle, death and destruction, she appeared as a carrion crow. Neiman was a prophetess and her battle cries meant death would soon follow. By shrieking furiously, she intimidated, panicked and confused soldiers on the battle field into dying of fright or mistaking their own comrades for enemies. This aspect connects to the role of Banshee.   

Notable Legends -  
In the Ulster Cycle, Táin Bó Regamna (The Cattle Raid of Regamain), which is a body of Irish mythology, Morrigan appears to the hero Cuchulainn (whom she has appeared to in different guises) and he finds her stealing one of his cows, yet he does not recognize her and becomes angry and insults her. Shape-shifting into a crow, he now recognizes her and acknowledges he would not have insulted her had he known, yet she prophesizes his death in battle which came to pass.

Morrigan also appears to Cuchulainn as a young woman (or hag, depending on the version) and offers him her love, and her aid in the battle, but he rejects her offer. In response she intervenes in his next combat, first in the form of an eel who trips him, then as a wolf who stampedes cattle across the ford, and finally as a white, red-eared heifer leading the stampede, just as she had warned in their previous encounter. (White and red animals were very symbolic of the otherworld and the sidhe)

In the Cath Maige Tuireadh, on Samhain Morrigan has an encounter with the Dagda (High King of the Tuatha De Dannan) before the battle against the Fomorians. When he meets her she is washing battle clothes while standing with one foot on either side of the river Unius and they mate. She then promises to summon the magicians of Ireland to cast spells on behalf of the Tuatha De Dannan and to destroy Indech, the Fomorian king.

Her role was to not only be a symbol of imminent death, but to also influence the outcome of war. Most often she did this by appearing as a crow flying overhead and would either inspire fear or courage in the hearts of the warriors. In some cases, she is written to have appeared in visions to those who are destined to die in battle by washing their bloody armor. In this specific role, she is also given the role of foretelling imminent death with a particular emphasis on the individual.[31] There are also a few rare accounts where she would join in the battle itself as a warrior and show her favouritism in a more direct manner.

The Morrigan was such a powerful symbol of life and birth that the Celts believed she could revive their dead soldiers to fight once more. The severed heads on the battlefield were called the “Mast of Macha” (harvest of Macha). The ground was considered sacred after the battle, as the soldiers would leave until the next day so Morrigan could gather the souls undisturbed. As a scavenger bird, she was an omen of war (both as a symbol and with prophecy) feeding on bodies and gathering souls and terrorized armies into dying of fear with her frightful and shrieking cries.

Although speculated, Morrigan may have been the daughter of Delbaeth and Ernmas whom in the earliest copies of the Lebor Gabala Erenn (The Book of Invasions) had three daughters, named Badb, Macha, and Anand. In the Book of Leinster, Anand is also known as Morrigu, while in the Book of Fermoy version, Macha is identified with Morrigan. In addition, Morrigan may had been one of Dagda’s wives and had sons.

Sacred Associations - Carrion eating animals, specifically crows. Fog, shapeshifting, bloodlust and battle, white and red cows, mugwort, yew, willow, rivers. Obsidian, bloodstone, apples, rebirth, swords, sorcery, bones and skulls.

Holiday - Samhain, jan 7th feast of the morrigan.

Brighid, Dagda, Lugh, Morrighan

Gaelic Gods Asks Meme!
  • (because they don't get enough love)
  • Áine: When do you shine brightest?
  • Airmed: How do you like to help others?
  • Angus Óg: What was a positive memory you have from your childhood?
  • Badb: What gets you into a frenzy?
  • Boand: Tell us about someone you love?
  • Brés: When was a time you acted in a selfish way?
  • Brighid: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
  • The Cailleach: How do you feel about cold weather?
  • Cian: Is there a debt you still have yet to pay?
  • Clíodhna: Have you ever been betrayed?
  • An Dagda: What are you good at?
  • Danu: What is a controversy that you wish would just resolve already?
  • Dian Cecht: What is your relationship like to your parents?
  • Ériu: Where is "home" for you?
  • Flidais: How do you feel about the woods and forests?
  • Goibniu: What role do you play in your community?
  • Grian: When do you find time to be introspective?
  • Lír: How do you feel about the ocean and bodies of water?
  • Lugh: What are three different skills you have that you are proud of?
  • Macha: When have you struggled to be heard?
  • Manannán Mac Lír: What magical item do you wish you owned?
  • Méche: What do you think about the afterlife?
  • Miach: Have you ever surpassed your teacher?
  • The Mórrígan: If you had the ability to shapeshift between two forms, what would those two forms be?
  • Nemain: When was a time you were needlessly harsh?
  • Nuada: What qualities do you think make a great leader?
  • Ogma: How do you express yourself?
  • Scathach: What skills are you currently working on?
  • Tailtiu: What impact do you want to have on the world around you?
Tailtiu

It was a long time of studying before I came across this name.  Tailtiu, despite her importance, is rarely mentioned in texts on Irish and Celtic mythology.  I find this incredibly strange since there is an entire festival, celebrated by many different kind of pagans, surrounding her and her death and sacrifice: Lughnasadh.

Because of a lack of her story’s presence, I thought I would share what I know of her, and pass the torch on to others who wish to add their own knowledge and resources. So far, my knowledge of her is this:

Tailtiu was the daughter of a Spanish king.  She was married to Eochaid mac Eirc, the Fir Bolg high king of Ireland. I assume this marriage took place in order to create peace and good will between these two kingdoms, as is often the case.  This is where the story gets fuzzy for me.  I haven’t found any sources that describe what her life was like, living in a new land with new culture and customs.  She is also noted to be the foster mother of Lugh, but how did this come to be?
Her main story tells of the sacrifice she made to create farmland for the people of Ireland, but again, I cannot find any text that goes into detail about what happened.  We know that she work herself to exhaustion and died to clear the land so it could be farmed.  The holiday we know as Lughnasadh was a festival Lugh put together to honor Tailtiu and her sacrifice to the people of Ireland.

As a separate tidbit, Ireland used to hold a sporting event called the Tailteann Games, like an Irish Olympics, just like the festival Lugh created to honor his foster mother.  The games died out, but resurfaced in the 1920′s, after Ireland gained indepenence, in order to help create cultural pride and remembrance.

I would love to learn more about Tailtiu, so please if you have any information or resources to check out, please add them!