okay buckle up for the gaelic creation myth because it’s a wild ride
This is my interpretation of the Gaelic myth of creation which is hopefully of interest to some of you, so please take the time to read I promise it’s worth it!
Okay so in the beginning the world was primal chaos and everything was volcanoes and sulphur etc.. then from space/heaven? comes a trickle of water, which turns into a stream, and turns the earth green and fresh and the volcanoes become mountains and the sky turns blue. This water is Danu, the divine waters, and is the mother goddess. Where the divine waters reach earth, there grows a giant oak tree called Bíle, and from the oak grows two acorns. Each acorn falls to the ground and one becomes The Dagda (the good god, the father etc.) and the other becomes Brigid (the mother, the wise one, and mother of healing, knowledge, poetry and craftsmanship). The Dagda and Brigid divert the divine waters east and this becomes the Danube, on which they create four great cities, which are populated with the children of the Dagda and Brigid, and are known as the Children of Danu.
Brigid explains to her children that true knowledge can only come from the feet of Danu, the mother goddess, and those that learned from her would worship Bíle the sacred oak. They weren’t allowed to say his name though and called him draoi for oak, and these worshippers become the druids. Also the Children of Danu in each city held a sacred artefact and one was the Stone of Destiny (which is very important and you’ll know what I mean if you’re scottish, if you’re not look it up), there was also a magic sword and spear and a sort of cornucopia cauldron they used to feed everyone. Then eventually Brigid calls them all to her and says they have to travel west to Inisfáil, the island of destiny. Which I’m pretty sure is Great Britain or Ireland.
Ok so as well as the divine waters of Danu, there is also Domnu who is her evil sister who has created a race called the children of Domnu who are Bad and they live in underwater cities in the ocean or something. Basically they already live in Inisfáil and the children of Danu have to turf them out. Also I’m going to call the Children of Domnu the Fomorii, and the children of Danu just the Danu from hereon out because it takes a while to type. Okay so the Danu take the artefacts/treasures with them and go to Inisfàil, and have to fight the Firblog (who are some other weird race idk where they came from) and the Danu win but their leader/king Nuada loses a hand, and his hand gets replaced with a silver one and so he gets called Argetlámh from now on (silver hand, also anyone that’s familiar with the Inheritance cycle just knows). The god that gives him the new hand is Dian Cécht the god of medicine/healing. But apparently there’s a rule that you cant be king if you have a blemish, so Argetlámh cant be king and instead they decide to live under the Fomorii king Bres (the Fomorii are the evil ones so that’s not a good plan at all) on the condition that they can force him to abdicate if he fucks up too much. Also Dian Cécht the god of medicine marries Ethne who is the daughter of the foremost Fomorii warrior, Balor of the one eye (who is a giant cyclops). Basically it all goes to shit and the Danu have to live under the Fomorii who are Evil so everyone is having a shit time and the Danu are basically slaves, and this lasts for three years.
Okay so Dian Cécht and Ethne have two kids, Miach and Airmid, and these guys make Argetlámh a new hand which is actually flesh so he can be king again cause it technically doesn’t count as a blemish? Also Dian Cécht kills his son, Miach for like showing him up or something, so its just his daughter Airmid left. Anyway Argetlámh becomes king of the Danu again and they go to war with the Fomorii. So now we are in the middle of a huge battle, its Samhain (Hallowe’en for you plebs, and the Celtic/druidic new year), and a bunch of death and destruction gods like the Mórrígán have turned up to watch and wail despairingly and stuff.
So the Danu seem to not be dying and have unlimited weapons, and the king of the Fomorii (Bres) is very suspicious. He sends his son Ruadan (lovin it because my name is Ruadan basically) to go find out wtf is going on over there. Ruadan discovers that the carpenter, smith and bronze worker gods are just forging new weapons like madmen, and Dian Cécht and his daughter Airmid have set up a nifty little well of healing and are just resurrecting every fallen warrior. Ruadan stabs the smith god with a javelin and the smith god kills him before going to be healed in the magic well, so that was a DUMBASS IDEA RUADAN (however relatable). The Fomorii sing in despair and stuff, and then some other come and fill in the magic well with stones so now they cant use it and the Danu are mortal.
Now the battle continues only this time the Danu actually die. Elsewhere on the battlefield Argetlámh fights Balor the giant evil cyclops. Argetlámh loses (sad reacts only) and Balor kills his wife too just for good measure (she was the personification of battle and goddess of warriors and shieldmaidens and sounds absolutely awesome). Argetlámh’s replacement then shows up, he is called Lugh Lámhfada and is both the grandson of the god of speech, Cainte, and is himself all-wise and all-knowing, so go Lugh! Lugh goes and finds Balor and shoots his giant evil one eye out with a slingshot, and the crowd goes wild! Now the Danu are reinvigorated and press forward, beating back the Fomorii. ‘It is said that more Fomorii were killed on the plain of battle than there were stars in the sky, grains of sand on the seashore, or snow-flakes in winter.’ So the Danu are doing great! Now ya boi Lugh walks up to the evil King Bres, who immediately starts begging for his life. Lugh lets him live in return for Bres telling the Danu what time of year to plough, sow and harvest (because idk that was the one thing they didn’t already know).
So the battle was won, the Fomorii were pushed back into their undersea fortress, and the Danu got to live on Inisfáil and be its protectors and gods and goddesses of goodness and light and stuff. BUT, evil Domnu set a curse upon the Danu, that one day everything would go to shit and the plants and animals would die and judges will make unjust laws and people will lose their honour and integrity and furries will happen and stuff. And it happened! A new race appeared on Inisfáil and they were the Children of Míl (who were the Gaels and ancestors of modern Celtic peoples) and they were awful and everything Domnu said they would be. The Danu went into hiding in the hills and became known as the sídhe (færies to you plebs) and the great invincible god Lugh, all-wise and all-knowing and everything, became lost. The new religion of the cross twisted him and forgot him and he is only remembered today as Lugh-chromain, the leprechaun.
My Scottish partner and I have discovered that we know two wildly different traditional tunes for Away in a Manger. Scottish people know the version based on the tune written by Scottish national poet and slut Robert Burns, Flow Gently, Sweet Afton, while others know the tune as Cradle Song. Do you have international friends? Find out which version of the tune you know!