- July 5, 2020 at 11:16 am #11353
The Wren is known as Drui-en or the Druid Bird in Irish Gaelic. In Welsh Dryw means both Druid and wren. In Manx Dreain from druai dryw means the Druid’s bird, which is exactly the same as the Irish Gaelic meaning. In folklore the wren is associated with lightning, which would connect it with the thunder god Taranis. Llew Llaw Gyffes wins his name by striking a wren.
From Wikipedia: “In the Isle of Man, the hunting of the wren is associated with an ancient enchantress or ‘queen of the fairies’ (or goddess) named ‘Tehi Tegi’ which translates to something like ‘beautiful gatherer’ in Brythonic (the Manx spoke Brythonic before they switched to Gaelic). Tehi Tegi was so beautiful that all the men of the Island followed her around in hope of marrying her, and neglected their homes and fields. Tehi Tegi led her suitors to the river and then drowned them. She was confronted, but turned into a wren and escaped. She was banished from the Island but returns once a year, when she is hunted.”
Interestingly Llew Llaw Gyffes figures again in Robert Graves’s The White Goddess as one of a pair of hero figures as a variant of the Holly King/Oak King pairing, Llew’s opposite being Gronw Pebr, his love rival who cheated with Bloduwedd. Other notable pairs from Graves include Lugh and Balor and Gawain and the Green Knight. See also James Frazer The Golden Bough Chapter 28 The Killing Of The Tree Spirit in the section The Battle Of Summer And Winter. A bit of a shame in some ways as these connections cast some doubt on the authenticity of this particular tradition, although it makes for a good story.July 5, 2020 at 5:39 pm #11357
In being a druid it is important not to let intellectual discourse come between you and what you simply believe about the celtic otherworld. You need to live your beliefs and be sure of them. Over intellectualizing on everything stops people from seeing the otherwold, and experiencing the spirit in trees and the energy flowing throughout the land. Also, druids who don’t believe in the Celtic otherworld or the energy of the spirit become sick, because they are turning their backs on the truth of the druid relationship with nature. I say dance with the hawtorn and oak spirits and the spirit of the hill. Most of all, magic and faeries are real, as are the Celtic gods and goddesses, and real druids need to not be warped by the views of modern culture, who dismiss the whole idea of real druidry, and offer only medication to the real druids. So, it is really important for druids to be firm in their beliefs, and a wish washy, catma approach will not cut it, and will only leave the druid, sick, spiritual, and physically. Live your beliefs. Take strength and find peace in the druid way of life. Because neo paganism is not druidry. Druidry is much deeper, and do not be afraid or turned away by the wantabes. We as druids live a magical live and are very close to the Celtic Otherword. And we can find peace and strength and healing in that only if we are absolutely strong in our beliefs as druids.July 5, 2020 at 7:42 pm #11358
However, I did get some bear spray today to carry with me when I am walking in the VA state parks because we have black bears here and they can maul you and also climb trees. It is best not to upset the black bears, and not run, because then you become prey.
You certainly don’t want to get on the wrong side of a bear!
Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly given its powerful nature and spirit, the word for bear in some Northern European language seems to have been a taboo/avoidance word, the “real” word being substituted by another one. A tradition of taboo words has existed among fisherfolk around the British Isles and Ireland right up until the present day and the words for some animals in Celtic languages might suggest a taboo word. The Germanic words for bear, including the English word, basically mean “the brown one”, the Scots Gaelic word for bear is mathan and although Irish Gaelic today seems to use béar, there is also the word mathúin from Old Irish mathgamain and math – possibly the “good one”. I think there’s also an Old Irish word for bear that means the “honey desirer” – another euphemism perhaps. The possible connections between bears and Arthur is also interesting given the Proto-Celtic *arto (bear). Welsh, Cornish and Breton don’t seem to have these euphemisms for the bear.
The words for hare also seem to be euphemisms and the Cornish word scovarnak, basically means “the long-eared one” – the same euphemism that fishermen use up to the present day since you must never mention hares, or rabbits, while on a boat! I believe the Shetland and Orkney Islands had a strong tradition of this right up until recent times. The reasons for the taboo are complex and today are probably seen just as superstitious ways of avoiding bad luck, but I think there may be a lot more to it than that. If we can trust Roman writers, the hare was mentioned as a sacred animal among the Britons. An old West Country tradition is that you should always salute a hare, doff your hat and thank him if you come across one, similar to how lone magpies should be saluted too. Another animal that I feel may have taboo connected to it is the otter, the Celtic words used today basically meaning “water hound” and the modern Welsh, Cornish and Breton words for wolf may not be Indo-European at all as their etymologies may be substrate. There’s a lot here to ponder.
In being a druid it is important not to let intellectual discourse come between you and what you simply believe about the celtic otherworld. You need to live your beliefs and be sure of them. Over intellectualizing on everything stops people from seeing the otherwold, and experiencing the spirit in trees and the energy flowing throughout the land.
Indeed, but we also need to make sure we don’t fill our heads with erroneous notions that could show us up for lacking knowledge. In the golden age of the bards of Ireland and Wales, no bard worth their salts would have been taken seriously had they got stuff wrong either. I don’t think traditions and ideas have to be old to be good nor are old ideas necessarily good because they are old, but it is important to get to the truth in terms of clarity – our motto is “the truth against the world”, let’s not forget that. Unfortunately, so much has been written about druids and druidry over the last few hundred years that it’s very often difficult to sort out what is genuine lore and what is someone’s speculation based on whatever the personal bias or political/religious fashion of the time was and of course, today, there has been a lot of commercialisation of “Celtic” culture too. As you allude to, the best way is your own revelation through your interaction with the universe and nature and I think that’s really the time when you have to empty the glass of all your notions and ideas, whatever they may be, so as to let the awen fill it again.
/|\July 6, 2020 at 3:32 am #11359
The World Tree
One of the things a druid must be able to do is climb the world tree. This tree may be an oak or an ash. The tree and the leaves are in the other dimension, the other world. No one is a druid unless they can climb the world tree. Now, it is important to have an intention before you enter the otherworld. And in all magic you must have a clear intention, not just a catma, or a wishy washy exploration. This is real magic that the druids are involved in. So you ned to leave your over intellectualization behind, to enter this realm. It is not for tourists. So, you must have a clear intention of why you are going there. Note, there are guardians to these realms and they can keep you out. One one the goddesses who has a key to this realm, and who can let you travel there is Rhiannon. She may carry you there on her white horses. The tree can also be decended into the lower realms which are realms of light. And I also want to talk about another thing that a real druid must understand. Giants represent a frozen way of life. This frozen take on life, like and intellectual view, may work for a while, but it will eventually lead to death and disease. The giants of society are societies’ set views, and addictions. They will work for a while but must eventually be cut up to free the addicted soul.July 6, 2020 at 3:45 am #11360
Dear Dowgri, the truth against the world means to me that we know the truth about the spiritual world being interwoven with ours. I think it is of most importance that a druid have confidence in the Celtic Otherworld, and the strength and healing that is found with a relationship with nature and the Celtic Gods and goddesses. We are spirit with bodies, and bodies with spirit. I found a tulip popular in the woods today and put my hand on it and experienced a great healing force. This was the axis tree in the forest, and was connected to the lower realm and the upper heaven stars. All the the way to Arianhod’s crystal palace, the spiral castle. WE as humans evolved to be able to communicate with plant spirits and trees and animals and have that ability, but the giant of society has lied to us and told us that we never had that ability. This idea of a disconnection from nature served man well for many years and allowed him to destroy the world for profit, but the giant must be killed now. we are part of the spirit world and have the ability to travel in it. The doors of perception must be cleansed in order to see the truth. In ogham the oak is duir meaning door in Gaelic, a door to the otherworld.
July 6, 2020 at 2:16 pm #11363
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Startree.
Is Lugh the same as Llew?July 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm #11364
Is Lugh the same as Llew?
Generally, Llew is considered equivalent to Gaelic Lugh and the Gaulish and Celtiberian Lugus and, it has been suggested, perhaps Lancelot of Arthurian legend (albeit far more tentatively).
/|\July 6, 2020 at 4:39 pm #11366
Llew is Welsh and Lugh is Irish; if they are the same then I have difficulty in telling how, as their stories are very different. It is more clear to me that Lugh is a god as he comes from the Tuatha De Danaan; with Llew this is less clear to me, although his story could be said to be that of a sacrificed Sun God who is then reborn. Lugh could be said to be representative of the Sun as well, in a different aspect. These are my feelings.July 7, 2020 at 12:39 pm #11374
There are differences, but there are also some similarities. Irish Lugh Lámfada (Long Arm) and Welsh Lleu Llaw Gyffes (Skilful Hand) have similar epithets and Irish Lugh is also Samildánach and Ioldánach (Skilled in Many Arts) as well as being Maicnia (The Young Warrior); this last name is reminiscent of the young Welsh Lleu and his battle to be recognised as a warrior, perhaps. Both figures have unusual births and they are both connected to ideas of triplicity and are seen as skilful masters of the arts. Linguistically, I think there are some serious problems with deriving either Lugh or Lleu one way or the other from Irish or Welsh (as loanwords). Nevertheless, I think there’s a strong likelihood that both characters are descended from an earlier figure, perhaps akin to the Gaulish and Celtiberian Lugus, which might explain the similarities, but also the differences given that we are talking about hundreds of years and a relatively wide geographical distance between them.
/|\July 8, 2020 at 9:53 am #11384
Do you think that there was some kind of connection between the Irish and the Welsh? Obviously the Celtic connection, but was there something else going on? There are differences her but there are also too many similarities; surely something was happening there. Lugh and Llew are both connected to the Sun, or to rebirth, or to harvest. They are basically fertility deities.July 8, 2020 at 11:30 am #11387
Do you think that there was some kind of connection between the Irish and the Welsh? Obviously the Celtic connection, but was there something else going on? There are differences her but there are also too many similarities; surely something was happening there. Lugh and Llew are both connected to the Sun, or to rebirth, or to harvest. They are basically fertility deities.
That’s an interesting and complex question. I think there are good reasons to believe that the respective mythologies of the Welsh and Irish influenced each other, whether this be because of a common origin or rather because of medieval influences is difficult to say. Given that the during the great age of the Celtic Saints, there were people going back and forth over the Irish Sea and also farther afield to Cornwall and Brittany quite a lot, I do think it’s plausible. Let’s not forget that these Celtic literatures were also part of a far wider group of literatures and the Celtic monasteries were great centres of learning in which the respective literatures of the Greek and Roman world would also have been studied too. As well as this, the Irish settled parts of Wales and Cornwall and there is a theory that Ogham might have actually developed in Britain among the Irish settlers and then been transported “back” over the Irish Sea; there are certainly a lot of Ogham stones in the western parts of Britain and these are the areas that coincide with this Irish settlement. I don’t think there are any in Brittany.
Whether Lugh and Lleu are solar divinities is a moot point. In the past it was a belief that pan-Celtic Lugus was derived from a word that would indicate bright light and thus the sun, now it isn’t so certain and various proposals have been offered including a god of oaths, which is interesting. Furthermore, an interpretation of the Roman interpretation of Celtic deities would appear to associate Lugus with Mercury and not with the sun. For me, the biggest issue is that it seems that Celtic belief-systems may have seen the sun as feminine and the moon as masculine, perhaps we should be looking for a sun goddess and not a god at all. It’s all very confusing and conflicting at the best of times, so there’s little that we can say definitively. Nonetheless, I’d say we should consider the following questions:
1. What does Lugus represent or mean in Celtiberian and Gaulish traditions?
2. Can we be sure that Lugh and Lleu are indeed “descended” from Lugus?
3. Can we be sure that Lugh and Lleu are actually “gods” in the Irish and Welsh literature?
4. To what extent might the medieval literatures influenced each other at more or less the same time?
5. To what extent can we ascribe similarities to a common origin rather than mere coincidence?
Anyway, I know that probably asks more questions that it answers, but I hope it helps.
July 8, 2020 at 4:15 pm #11393
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Dowrgi.
The cult of Lugh was a latecomer into Ireland, introduced by Gaulish or British refugees fleeing from the advancing Roman armies. The name Tailtiu is not Irish in origin but from the Welsh telediw, which means ‘well-formed’. Lugh is often described as a pan-Celtic deity and identified with the continental Lugus, Lud in England and Llew in Wales. His name is probably related to the Proto-Celtic *lug- meaning ‘oath’, and all the indications are that he was neither a god of agriculture nor the sun, as is often claimed. The central part of Lugh’s story is the
rivalry between him and his grandfather Balor and the battle for supremacy and kingship between the Tuatha de Danaan and the Formorians. The pattern of Lugh’s tale is a common mythic theme and begins with a prophecy that the grandson (or son) of the king will overthrow him.
Mason, Paul; Franklin, Anna . Lughnasa (The Eight Festivals Book 2) (Kindle Locations 311-313). Lear Books. Kindle Edition.July 8, 2020 at 4:31 pm #11394
It seems this festival was one where the people and kings swore oaths. It was a big time of gathering at Tara in Ireland.
All sorts of disputes were settled at this time, I guess because the weather allowed people to gather. It does not seem to be a harvest festival, as the harvest comes in a little later. It was more a time of bargains and settling disputes, maybe there was good old red neck Celtic fist fights, and people threatening each other with pointy sticks, this could also be a time when chieftains and kings were sworn in, and when the kings has sex with horses in front of the crowds. In this way the king could give fertility to the land and entertain everyone at the same time. After this the king was always known as the Horsefudger. Seems to not have a thing to do with the sun or farming. More like a time when the courts were in session and you could bargain for that horse that the king just had sex with, or argue over who had the right to have sex with who, or where the meets and bounds of land was. It was also a time when Celtic motorcycle gangs gathered to swear allegiance to their lord, thug, so they could enjoy being thugs and riding motorcycles and beating the stuffings out of anyone who insulted the chieftain or burnt a faery flag. Just good old Celtic fun, and you could also buy a pointy stick from the pointy stick salesman, because nothing will scare the hell out of the romans like a pointy stick.July 9, 2020 at 11:08 pm #11407Dave TheDruid-3X3Participant
Awens to All:
I usually Celebrate Lughnasad by going to the Japanese Powell Street Festival. But that is Cancelled due to Virus Lockdown.
So I have made an Open Invitation to all local Celtic Buddhists to come Visit the Buddhist Temple where I do my Volunteer Community Gardening.
On the Morning of Lughnasad, I will be at the Community Garden picking a Harvest of Herbs and Commemorating Lughnasad.
I may then go off Camping for around 2 or 3 Nights.
3X3July 10, 2020 at 10:18 am #11410
That sounds like a delightful idea. This is a good time to take care of our environment. Before the lockdown I was very neutral towards my environment, but now my attitude has changed. I think that this is a good thing. I might go outside at some point myself.
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