Reply To: Alban Elfed, the festival of the elves

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum Alban Elfed, the festival of the elves Reply To: Alban Elfed, the festival of the elves


    history is fine for academia but it just does not get you into druidville.

    I’m afraid I’d have to beg to differ; if that were true, then why did druids and bards spend so many years of training learning the history, lore, law and genealogies of their respective peoples? The druids were most likely judges, and you can’t be a judge without a knowledge of your tribe’s legal history, can you? That’s just for starters. Secondly, the power of words and the secret use of words is alluded to in Celtic mythology and I think we’re on shaky ground if we start to contradict the actual writings or handed-down lore of the Celtic peoples themselves.

    As for the Celtic otherworld and the fairies. In a strictly Celtic context, I’m not sure what fairies are supposed to be. If we want to talk about the Aos Sí, the Spyryson, the Piskies, the Bucca, the Tylwyth Teg, then it’s a bit easier. The trouble is, a lot of fairy lore was actually concocted during the Celtic Revival of the 19th and early 20th centuries and very often it doesn’t really correspond to the older lore in the Celtic countries themselves. Across the various Celtic literatures and mythologies, the otherworld varies in time and from place to place, usually it’s more of a reflection of the world in which the writers found themselves, but where everything is bigger, better, more perfect and so on. So, every place had an otherworld, but there didn’t seem be “the” otherworld.

    In terms of a Celtic creation myth, there is none that has come down to us. That’s not to say that there wasn’t one – absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but on the other hand, what would be the point of a creation myth to a culture that believed in reincarnation and held a cyclical and inter-dimensional view of the universe?

    I think the reason that the Celts did not write down anything

    The trouble here is that many Celtic peoples did write stuff down and we have a fair, if not enormous, amount of Celtic texts from very ancient times, including texts that reference magic, divinity and so on. In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, Cú Chulainn cuts an ogham into hoops and staves to leave a message. Outside of mythology, Caesar sent his messages in Greek, not Latin, so as to avoid their being intercepted and understood by the Gauls and it is also noted that, when they wanted to, they wrote using Greek letters – a fact which is attested to by archaeological discoveries. This suggests that they may have been a little more literate than they have been credited as being.