The Gods

Deity of the Day for October 30 – Cernunnos

Deity of the Day

Cernunnos

 

Cernunnos is a Celtic god associated with sexuality, fertility, the hunt, and the underworld. He was worshipped by the iron age Celts all across Europe as late as the first century CE, and his worship must have begun centuries before that.

Cernunnos is a Romanized name meaning “Horned One.” The name is most likely derived from “cornu,” the Latin word for horn. The Romans had a habit of changing local names to fit the Roman pattern: most Roman names end in “us.” Thus “Cernunnos” was probably the new Romanised name given by the Gauls to all their very old horned gods, in which case its use may have been widespread through out Gaul after it became a Roman province.

The images of Cernunnos are unusually consistent. He is usually portrayed as a mature man with long hair. He is usually bearded, although the most well known image of him on the Gundestrup Cauldron features him clean-shaven. His main attribute is his horns, those of a stag. He wears a torc (an ornate neck-ring worn by the Celts to denote nobility). He often carries other torcs in his hands or hanging from his horns. He is usually portrayed seated and cross-legged, in the meditative or shamanic position.

Cernunnos is nearly always portrayed with animals, in particular the stag. Less often he is associated with other beasts, including bulls, dogs and rats. He is also frequently associated with a unique beast that seems to belong only to him: a serpent with the horns of a ram. The serpent was commonly associated with death and the otherworld, and is hence described as cthonic. Cernunnos carries it in his left hand, and in his right he carries a torc, the Celtic symbol of nobility, the symbol of having been initiated into that special state.

It is frequently mentioned how major a god Cernunnos was in the Celtic pantheon. However, this is based on artwork, not literary sources. There is, in fact, only one known actual mention of Cernunnos in history – his name is inscribed above the head and shoulders of a stag-horned figure from ancient Gaul. The presumption of his widespread cult comes from the multitude of images similar to this monument. The named Gaulish figure is of a balding, bearded, elderly god. Other depictions identified as Cernunnos display a variety of ages.

Lord of the Hunt

Always bearing the horns of a stag, Cernunnos is identified with the hunted, which in turn identifies him as hunter as well – shamanistic practices across the world bear witness to the concept that in order to catch your prey, you must identify in spirit with the prey.

God of Sexuality, Fertility, and Abundance

Stags are sexually aggressive creatures, and the antlers can certainly be considered phallic, marking Cernunnos as a god of fertility and abundance. This aspect is represented in other symbolism as well: cornucopiae, fruit, grain and coins.

Lord of the Underworld

Along with knowledge, the serpent is also a frequent symbol of death. The cycle of hunter and hunted of course intimately revolves around death and life from death. As Herne the Hunter, generally considered to be the British Celtic version the same figure, he is the leader of the Wild Hunt.

 

 

Source:
WikiPagan

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Deity of the Day for October 28th is Geb, Egyptian God of Earth

Deity of the Day

 

Geb,

Egyptian God of Earth

 

Perhaps the best known activity of Shu and Tefnut was to give birth to two children, Geb and Nut; Shu was then responsible for separating the two and creating fro them the earth and sky. Geb was the god of the earth. The coffin Texts told of Ra’s boredom the chief god complained he had been too long at leisure, and had grown weary of it:” If the earth were alive,”Ra thought, “it would cheer my heart and enliven my bosom.” so the earth was created both to make Ra’s life more interesting and to give him a place to rest when he became weary.

 

The usual depiction of Geb was as a male figure wearing on his head either the white crown of Lower Egypt or a goose. The goose was his sign and he was known in the Book of the Dead as the Great Cackler.
Since he was the god of the earth, which was known as “the house of Geb,” he was involved with life on the surface and with death beneath. On the earth’s surface he was responsible for trees,plants and seeds that put their roots into his soil. Beneath the ground he was responsible for dead bodies buried in tombs. Since he was intimate with the dead, he was shown in many papyri as one of the gods sitting in judgment when the heart of the deceased was weighed on the scales before Anubis and Thoth .

On one occasion Ra called Geb before him to complain that the snakes of the earth were causing him trouble. As they came from Geb’s territory, they were his responsibility, and Geb was ordered to keep a watch over the snakes and inform the other gods of their plans and activities. Ra promised Geb help in this matter, in the form of spells and charms for people intelligent enough to make use of them to draw the snakes out if their holes in the earth. The assumption must be that Geb did as he was commanded since nothing else seems to have been said on the subject.

Much of Geb’s fame lay in the children he fathered , since his offspring were to become the next generation of powerful gods. he and Nut produced, as we have seen, Osiris, Isis , Seth , and Nephthys, the gods who were to rule over the earth, skies , and underworld. A hymn to Osiris described the manner in which Geb turned over the rule of the earth to his son: Geb ” assigned to ( the leadership of the lands for the good of affairs. he put this land in his hand, its water, its air, its verdure , all its herds , all things that fly, all things that flutter, its reptiles , its game if the desert, legally conveyed to the son of Nut. ” later , when Osiris was confronted by enemies and in serious trouble, his father came to his aid.

The Pyramid Texts tell us that Geb put his foot on the head of Osiris’ enemy , who then retreated2a . Another document placed Geb in the conflict between Horus ( his grandson ) and Seth ( his son). he tried ti separate his warring heirs and assigned Upper Egypt to Seth and Lower Egypt to Horus, but he made it clear in a speech before the Great Ennead that he was giving the choice territory ti Horus because he was the son of Geb’s first-born and therefore very dear to him.

Geb and Nut were accorded no temple of their own, though Geb was apportioned parts of major temples, such as the one a Dendera. Most likely he was chiefly worshiped at Heliopolis where he was the ground in which the temple to Ra was built. In the Tutankhamun collection at the Egyptian Museum, there is gilded wooden statue of Geb that had been placed in the tomb to protect the Boy-King.

 

Source:

Ancient Egypt

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Deity of the Day for October 25th is Ninurta

Deity of the Day

Ninurta

 

Ninurta (Nin Ur: Lord of the Earth/Plough) in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology was the god of Lagash, identified with Ningirsu with whom he may always have been identical. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity.

In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the deity Ninhursag.

Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur: Sharur is capable of speech in the Sumerian legend “Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta” and can take the form of a winged lion and may represent an archetype for the later Shedu.

In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû); a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny which Enlil requires to maintain his rule. Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes” (the Warrior Dragon, the Palm Tree King, Lord Saman-ana, the Bison-beast, the Mermaid, the Seven-headed Snake, the Six-headed Wild Ram), and despoils them of valuable items (Gypsum, Strong Copper, the Magilum boat [1]), and finally Anzû is killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet to his father, Enlil.

The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.

The cult of Ninurta can be traced back to the oldest period of Sumerian history. In the inscriptions found at Lagash he appears under his name Ningirsu, “the lord of Girsu”, Girsu being the name of a city where he was considered the patron deity.

Ninurta appears in a double capacity in the epithets bestowed on him, and in the hymns and incantations addressed to him. On the one hand he is a farmer and a healing god who releases humans from sickness and the power of demons; on the other he is the god of the South Wind as the son of Enlil, displacing his mother Ninlil who was earlier held to be the goddess of the South Wind. Enlil’s brother, Enki, was portrayed as Ninurta’s mentor from whom Ninurta was entrusted several powerful Mes, including the Deluge.

He remained popular under the Assyrians: two kings of Assyria bore the name Tukulti-Ninurta. Ashurnasirpal II (883—859 BCE) built him a temple in the capital city of Calah (now Nimrud). In Assyria, Ninurta was worshipped along with Aššur and Mulissu.

In the late neo-Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused Ninurta’s character with that of Nergal. The two gods were often invoked together, and spoken of as if they were one divinity.

In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek harvest-god Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their fertility-god Saturn.

From: Wiki

The god Ninurta has been described in the handbooks of mythology as the warrior god and the god of hunting, and sometimes his role as the patron of agriculture has been emphasised in the scholarly literature. These are important aspects of Ninurta and the definitions are correct. The god Ninurta is a very complex figure and in the present paper I will deal with his aspect as scribe and the god of wisdom, a role which has not been much discussed so far. Ninurta is the city-god of Nippur, the city of letters, where more than 80% of all known Sumerian literary compositions have been found (Gibson 1993). It seems inevitable that scribal activity in the city must have been patronized by some god of the city. Ninurta is a suitable candidate for this role. There is some evidence which confirms that Ninurta is a god patronizing scribal activities. In later Babylonia, the god of scribal arts was Marduk’s son Nabu. In my paper I will claim that the relationship between Marduk and Nabu was modelled on the relationship between Enlil and Ninurta and Nabu’s role as the scribe among the gods was the inheritance of Ninurta.

A Sumerian myth Ninurta’s journey to Eridu describes Ninurta’s acquisition of powers in Abzu and he determines the fates together with An in assembly (see Reisman 1971). This myth is an etiological myth. Eridu housed the god of wisdom Ea and his abode Abzu was mythical source of the divine wisdom. According to my view this Ninurta’s journey to Eridu was an etiology how Ninurta obtained his wisdom among the other powers for the benefit of the land. In Babylonia, Ninurta’s successor Nabû lived in Borsippa, where his temple Ezida had a by-name bīt ţuppi “the tablet house”. Ninurta’s connection with the Tablet of Destinies is attested in the poorly preserved Sumerian myth “Ninurta and the Turtle”.

Ninurta’s wisdom and his passion for the scribal arts are attested in his epithets. In Lugale he is called “the very wise” (gal-zu, ln. 152) and “gifted with broad wisdom” (gíštu-dagal, ln. 153). When Ninurta blocked the powerful waters threatening the land by means of stones in the epic, he is described to have applied his great wisdom and cleverness on the situation (347ff.). The Standard Babylonian epic of Anzu describes how Ninurta took hold of the Tablet of Destinies in the battle against Anzu who had stolen it. The possession of the Tablet of Destinies was also an important characteristic of Babylonian Nabu in his capacity as the god of scribal arts. We know that the Anzu epic existed already in an Old Babylonian version which told the same story. So I feel confident to claim that as the holder of the Tablet of Destinies, Ninurta precedes Nabu.

In the Standard Babylonian version, after Ninurta’s triumph over Anzu the great gods entrust to Ninurta a divine secret. By seeing the sign of Ninurta’s victory, Dagan rejoices, summons all the gods and says to them: “The mighty one has outroared Anzu in his mountain … Let him stand with the gods his brethren, that he may hear the secret lore, [let him hear] the secret lore of the gods” (III 26.30-31). The knowledge of the secret lore (pirištu) is an award which was not promised to Ninurta by the mother goddess before he went to the battle, but attested in the other sources. Ninurta was called šēmi pirišti “who has heard the secret” (Lugale 153, še-uraš), or bēl pirišti “the master of the secret lore” (see van Dijk 1983: 6). Among the mystical names which are given to Ninurta in the epilogue of the Anzu epic is E-Ibbi-Anu (III, 133) which is explained as ‘Master of the Secret Lore’ (bēl pirišti – en ad.hal).

There exists a remarkable inconsistency in the Anzu epic in regard to who is Ninurta’s father: throughout in the epic it is Enlil who is called the father of Ninurta (I 208, II 19.22) until in II 101 it is surprisingly Ea (cf. SAA Anzu III 159)! Marduk or Enlil and Ea/ Enki also alternate as fathers of Nabû, the Babylonian god of scribal arts (Pomponio 1978: 161-6. Thus the Epic of Anzu offers enough evidence that Ninurta was a wise god who controls the tablet of destinies and this must be related to his role as the god of the scribal arts. The Babylonian god Nabû has taken over these roles to which Sumerian Ninurta of Nippur was the ancestor.

Ninurta’s wisdom is probably connected with his swiftness. Ninurta’s victory over his enemies was celebrated in the first millennium rituals by a cultic footrace. Swiftness celebrated in these rituals originates with the swiftness of attack by which Ninurta defeated the enemies, but it is also swiftness in understanding. Ninurta is like a victorious king on the military operation who realizes quickly the intentions of enemy and how to vanquish them. The swifter computer the better it is as we all know.

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Deity of the Day for October 22 – Herne the Hunter

Deity of the Day

Herne the Hunter

 

The Man Behind the Myth:

Although Herne is seen as an aspect of Cernunnos, the Horned God, in the Berkshire region of England there is actually a story behind the legend. According to folklore, Herne was a huntsman employed by King Richard II. In one version of the story, other men became jealous of his status and accused him of poaching on the King’s land. Falsely charged with treason, Herne became an outcast among his former friends. Finally, in despair, he hung himself from an oak tree which later became known as Herne’s Oak.

In another variation of the legend, Herne was fatally wounded while saving King Richard from a charging stag. He was miraculously cured by a magician who tied the antlers of the dead stag to Herne’s head. As payment for bringing him back to life, the magician claimed Herne’s skill in forestry. Doomed to live without his beloved hunt, Herne fled to the forest, and hanged himself, again from the oak tree. However, every night he rides once more leading a spectral hunt, chasing the game of Windsor Forest.

Shakespeare Gives a Nod:

In The Merry Wives of Windsor, the Bard himself pays tribute to the ghost of Herne, wandering Windsor Forest:

There is an old tale goes that Herne the Hunter,
Some time a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv’d, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.

Herne as an Aspect of Cernunnos:

In Margaret Murray’s 1931 book, God of the Witches, she posits that Herne is a manifestation of Cernunnos, the Celtic horned god. Because he is found only in Berkshire, and not in the rest of the Windsor Forest area, Herne is considered a “localized” god — and could indeed be the Berkshire interpretation of Cernunnos.

The Windsor Forest area has a heavy Saxon influence. One of the gods honored by the original settlers of the region was Odin, who also hung at one point from a tree. Odin was also known for riding through the sky on a Wild Hunt of his own.

Lord of the Forest:

Around Berkshire, Herne is depicted wearing the antlers of a great stag. He is the god of the wild hunt, of the game in the forest. Herne’s antlers connect him to the deer, which was given a position of great honor — after all, killing a single stag could mean the difference between survival and starvation, so this was a powerful thing indeed.

Herne was considered a divine hunter, and was seen on his wild hunts carrying a great horn and a wooden bow, riding a mighty black horse and accompanied by a pack of baying hounds. Mortals who get in the way of the Wild Hunt are swept up in it, and often taken away by Herne, destined to ride with him for eternity. He’s seen as a harbinger of bad omen, especially to the royal family. According to local legend, Herne only appears in Windsor Forest when needed, such as in times of national crisis.

 

Source:

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Deity of the Day for October 19th – Taliesin

Deity of the Day

Taliesin

The Tale of Taliesin
Once there was a witch named Ceridwen, and she had two children. The one, her daughter, was as beautiful a child as you could ever hope to see; the other, her son Morfran, was so ugly, ill-favored and stupid that he sickened everyone who saw him.Ceridwen was grieved that Morfran was so horrible, and resolved by her magic arts to make him into such a great bard that no-one would mind his ugliness. She began to cast a great spell. Many were the plants that she cast into her cauldron, many the incantations said over it. An old blind man named Morda was set to keep the fires burning beneath it, assisted by a young boy, Gwion.The Cauldron of Wisdom and Inspiration must be kept boiling for a year and a day, and then the first three drops from it would impart ultimate knowledge to the one who drank them. But the rest of the liquid would be deadly poison.

Long labored Ceridwen, roaming far to find the rare and exotic herbs she required, and so it chanced that she fell asleep on the last day of the spell. The boy Gwion was stirring the brew when three drops flew out onto his thumb, and they were scalding hot, so that he thrust it into his mouth to stop the burning. Instantly, he had the wisdom and inspiration of ages, and the first thing that occurred to him was that Ceridwen would be very angry.

He ran away from the house of Ceridwen, but all too soon he heard the fury of her pursuit. Using his new magical powers, he turned himself into a hare. She turned into a greyhound bitch, and gained ever more on him. He came to a river, and quick as thinking became a fish. She became an otter. He leapt from the water, and in the middle of his leap became a bird of the air. The witch Ceridwen became a hawk. In desperation, he looked down and saw a pile of wheat. He dived, landed, and as it scattered he turned into a single grain. Then she landed and became a hen, and pecked at the grain until she had swallowed Gwion.

Soon after, Ceridwen found herself with child, though she had lain with no man. When she realized that the baby was Gwion, she resolved to kill it, and Morfran wanted her to also, in revenge for his not becoming a bard. In due course, the babe was born, and Morfran would have slaughtered him on the spot, but the mother said no, because it was the most beautiful child ever seen. But she took him and, sewing him in a bag, set him adrift on the ocean.

Now there was at that time in Gwynedd, a lord named Gwyddno Garanhir, who had a son, Elphin, that was reckoned the most unlucky man alive. There was a weir on Gwyddno’s land that had always had a huge catch of salmon in it on May Eve, so Gwyddno resolved to let Elphin have it to help turn his luck.

So it was that on May Eve, Elphin and two of his father’s men went to the weir. Net after net he pulled, but there were no fish.

“Why, you’ve turned the luck of the weir,” they growled.
“Just wait,” said Elphin, “I haven’t finished yet. There might still be something…”
There were no fish. But just as they were about to go, Elphin noticed something caught on a pole of the weir. He waded out and brought it back.
“More bad luck,” grumbled the men.
“There may be a treasure inside,” Elphin replied as he carefully slit open the greased leather bag he held.
To his very great astonishment, he saw the forehead of a baby, so white and beautiful that it seemed to shine.
“A radiant brow!” he exclaimed. (tal iesin in Welsh.)
“Yes, Taliesin, that will do well enough,” said the baby.
Elphin was so surprised he nearly dropped it. The men muttered and made the sign against evil.

He put the child in front of him on the horse and they rode for home. While they rode, Elphin’s thoughts were gloomy, as he realized they still had no salmon. But the babe in front of him spoke, saying

“Fair Elphin, cease your lament!
Swearing profits no-one.
It is not evil to hope
Nor does any man see what supports him,
Not an empty treasure is the prayer of Cynllo,
Nor does God break his promise.
No catch in Gwyddno’s weir
Was ever as good as tonight’s.

“Fair Elphin, dry your cheeks!
Such sorrow does not become you,
Although you consider yourself cheated
Excessive sorrow gains nothing,
Nor will doubting God’s miracles.
Although I am small, I am skilful.
From the sea and the mountain,
From the river’s depth
God gives His gifts to the blessed.

“Elphin of the generous spirit,
Cowardly is your purpose,
You must not grieve so heavily.
Better are good than evil omens.
though I am weak and small,
Spumed with Dylan’s wave,
I shall be better for you
Than three hundred shares of salmon.

“Elphin of noble generosity,
Do not sorrow at your catch.
Though I am weak on the floor of my basket,
There are wonders on my tongue.
“While I am watching over you,
no great need will overcome you.
be mindful of the name of the Trinity
And none shall overcome you.”

“How can this be, that you, a babe, can talk?” marveled Elphin.
Again Taliesin replied with a poem.

“Firstly I was formed in the shape of a handsome man,
in the hall of Ceridwen in order to be refined.
Although small and modest in my behavior,
I was great in her lofty sanctuary.

“While I was held prisoner, sweet inspiration educated me
and laws were imparted to me in a speech which had no words;
but I had to flee from the angry, terrible hag
whose outcry was terrifying.

“Since then I have fled in the shape of a crow,
since then I have fled as a speedy frog,
since then I have fled with rage in my chains,
– a roe-buck in a dense thicket.

“I have fled in the shape of a raven of prophetic speech,
in the shape of a satirizing fox,
in the shape of a sure swift,
in the shape of a squirrel vainly hiding.

“I have fled in the shape of a red deer,
in the shape of iron in a fierce fire,
in the shape of a sword sowing death and disaster,
in the shape of a bull, relentlessly struggling.

“I have fled in the shape of a bristly boar in a ravine,
in the shape of a grain of wheat.
I have been taken by the talons of a bird of prey
which increased until it took the size of a foal.

“Floating like a boat in its waters,
I was thrown into a dark bag,
and on an endless sea, I was set adrift.

“Just as I was suffocating, I had a happy omen,
and the master of the Heavens brought me to liberty.”

By the time he finished, they had arrived at the court of Gwyddno.
Everyone crowded round to see how big the catch was. Elphin held up Taliesin for them all to see.
“What is that? Where is the catch?” asked Gwyddno.
“Here is the catch, father, see, I have caught a bard.”
“Well, what use is that? Don’t you have a good wife, who can bear you many strong sons of your own?”
“He will get more profit from me than the weir ever gave you,” said Taliesin.
“Can you speak, and you so small?” asked Gwyddno.
“Indeed, I am better able to answer than you are to question me.” claimed the baby.
Then Gwyddno asked him what else he had to say, and Taliesin replied with another poem. So Elphin rejoiced, that his luck had turned, and gave Taliesin to his wife to care for. She loved the baby very much, and time passed and he grew up.

The king of the land at that time was Maelgwn, a somewhat vain man who surrounded himself with toadies and fawning sycophants. The year that Taliesin turned thirteen, Elphin received a summons from the king, demanding his presence at the Christ Mass feast at midwinter. Elphin would much rather have stayed home with his wife and foster son, but as a dutiful subject (and a relative of the king besides) he went.

As they all sat around the high table, the other men vied with one another to see who could praise Maelgwn the most. Elphin was an honest man, and he couldn’t honestly say that the king’s bards were better or the queen a fairer woman, than those waiting at his home.
“What, so silent, Elphin? Can our loyal subject then find nothing to praise his king for?” said Maelgwn.
“Well, my lord,” said Elphin, “I would say that though I am not a king, yet my wife is as fair and as virtuous as any woman in the kingdom – and my bard the best in Gwynedd.”
“Insolence!” roared Maelgwn. “Throw him in our deepest dungeon! Let him be chained there until the falsity of his monstrous claim can be shown once and for all! And we think we know just how to do that…”

Taliesin was out skating. As he bent down to take the skates off, he glanced at a patch of ice, and fell into a trance, where he saw all that had befallen Elphin. When he woke, he rushed home to tell Elphin’s wife.

Maelgwn had a son named Rhun, a lecher so revolting that to be seen with him would tarnish a woman’s reputation beyond repair. This son he sent to Elphin’s home, to seduce his wife and show the falsity of his claim. When Rhun came to the gate, he was welcomed, if not warmly, then civilly, by young Taliesin. He showed the prince into the hall, where sat a woman dressed in finery, with rings upon her fingers and a golden torque.

“How delicious!” thought Rhun. “I’ll enjoy this, I can tell.”

She made him welcome and they supped together. Rhun poured cup after cup of wine for her, and foolishly she drank it all. Soon she was giggly and silly, and she assented to his request to withdraw with him to some place more private. Rhun waited until she fell asleep in a drunken stupor, then tried to remove the ring from her plump hand. It would not come off, so quick as lightning he cut the finger off, ring and all.

Laughing, he rode back to his father’s house. Maelgwn was delighted with his son’s performance. He called for Elphin to be brought forth.
“Well, cousin, how say you now? The prince Rhun has had your wife with her willing cooperation. Do you persist in your stupid claim that she is so very fair and virtuous?”
Elphin paled, and feared for his wife, for he did not really believe that any woman, let alone she, would lie with Rhun by choice.
“How do you know this, my king?” he asked.
“My son’s word is good enough for me – and should be for you, too.”
“I’m sorry, my king, but even the money-lenders ask for solid proof where the prince Rhun is concerned.”
The king growled, but the courtiers were, this once, murmuring in agreement with Elphin.
“Since that’s not enough for you, see here is her finger. Do you deny that this is her ring?”
Elphin looked closely at the severed digit.
“Indeed, my lord, it is her ring, but I do deny that it’s on her finger.”
“How so, knave?” roared the enraged monarch.
“For three reasons, my king. First, my wife is a small woman, and this ring sits loosely on her thumb, but it’s jammed so tightly on this finger that it won’t come off. Second, ever since I’ve known her, my wife has trimmed her nails every Sabbath Eve, and this nail hasn’t been trimmed this month, I’d say. Third, we keep servants for kneading bread dough – I certainly don’t require my lady wife to do it. And yet you see under this nail and in the creases of the finger, traces of the rye dough this hand was lately kneading. I fear that the prince has despoiled some innocent kitchen wench, but whoever it was, it wasn’t my wife.”

The court cowered before Maelgwn’s fury.
“You won’t get away from it that easily!” Maelgwn declared. “If your bard is so great, let him come and compete with ours. Now take him away, before we get tired of him.”
Hurriedly, the guards took Elphin back to the cell.

Taliesin was already seeing about provisions for the journey, while Elphin’s wife looked after the poor nine-fingered maidservant. He arrived at the court two days later, and slipped through the gates. He made his way to the throne room and sat in the corner. When the king’s bards filed in, he pouted his lips at them and played blerwm, blerwm on them, and the bards stood still and played blerwm, blerwm on their lips instead of praising Maelgwn. Maelgwn finally ordered a guard to strike Heinnin Fardd, his chief bard. This broke their trance enough that Heinnin Fardd could explain to Maelgwn that there was a devil in the form of a child who had cast a spell on them.

Then Maelgwn had Taliesin brought out, and questioned him.

“I have come to salvage Elphin’s honor and his freedom. Taliesin am I, primary chief bard to Elphin.

“Primary chief poet
Am I to Elphin.
And my native country
Is the place of the Summer Stars.
“John the Divine
Called me Merlin,
But all future kings
Shall call me Taliesin.

“I was nine full months
In the womb of Ceridwen.
Before that I was Gwion,
But now I am Taliesin.

“I was with my king
In the heavens
When Lucifer fell
Into the deepest hell.

“I carried the banner
Before Alexander.
I know the names of the stars
From the North to the South.

“I was in Caer Bedion
Tetragrammaton.
I accompanied Heon
To the vale of Hebron.

“I was in the canon
When Absalom was slain.
I was in Llys Don
Before the birth of Gwydion.

“I was patriarch
To Elijah and Enoch.
I was there at the crucifixion
Of the merciful Mabon.

“I was the foreman
At the construction of Nimrod’s Tower.
I was three times
In the prison of Arianrhod.

“I was in the ark
With Noah and Alpha
I witnessed the destruction
Of Sodom and Gomorrah.

“I was in Africa
Before the building of Rome.
I came here
To the remnant of Troy

“I was with the Lord
In the manger of the ass.
I upheld Moses
Through the water of Jordan.

“I was at the Cross
With Mary Magdalene.
I received the muse
From Ceridwen’s cauldron.

“I was a harping bard
To Deon of Lochlin.
I have gone hungry
For the Righteous One.

“I was at the White Mount
in the court of Cynfelyn.
In stocks and in fetters
For a year and a day.

“I was in the larder
In the land of the Trinity.
And no-one knows whether my body
Is flesh or fish.

“I was instructor
To the whole universe.
I shall be until the judgement
On the face of the Earth.

“I have sat in the perilous seat
Above Caer Sidi.
I shall continue to revolve
Between the three elements.

“There is a marvel in the world
Which I cannot reveal.”
“And all this makes you think you’re better than my bards,” sneered Maelgwn, “My bards, who have trained for twenty years.”
“They are as nothing beside me,” declared Taliesin.
“Well then, my lord,” said Heinnin Fardd, so as not to be left entirely out of the proceedings, “certainly a contest will decide the matter.”
“Why not? Me against all the king’s bards. The contest – to compose a poem on the wind.” Taliesin was serenely confident.
“Of course the king must judge,” fawned Heinnin Fardd. “Who better?”
“And this contest will take place in twenty minutes,” Maelgwn announced. (He was getting bored.)
“Twenty… my lord, I entreat you, I implore you, how can an epic be composed in -” Heinnin Fardd was desperate.
“Just do it, get on with it, I’m getting sick of this.”

Heinnin Fardd and the king’s bards huddled in the corner, consulting scrolls of rhymes and metaphors. Every so often, one let out a yelp of frustration. Taliesin lounged on the floor, laughing at their discomfiture.

When the time was up, the king’s bards stood in a line before the throne and bowed.
“O greatest of kings, hear our song.

Blerwm, blerwm,
blerwm, blerwm,
blerwm, blerwm,
blerwm, blerwm.”

“Knaves! Fools! Miserable swine! Was it for this that I paid you in gold and precious gems?” The court had never seen Maelgwn so angry. The bards groveled in the rushes. “Mighty king, it was not our fault! It’s that demon child.”

Taliesin, admittedly, was smirking in a most irritating fashion.
“So it’s my turn?” he asked. He stood up straight and began. While he sang, a great wind arose and buffeted the castle, shaking it to its foundations. Maelgwn was afraid, and he called for Elphin to be brought out.

As soon as Elphin was brought out, Taliesin stopped the wind, and sang a new song that caused Elphin’s chains to fall away from his ankles and wrists. Then he cried out to Elphin’s wife to enter the hall, and she held her hands up so that everyone could see that she had ten fingers. Maelgwn was angrier than ever.

“You think you’re so great. You’re nothing! I bet my horses are better than yours, anyway.”
Taliesin smiled and whispered to Elphin, “Take him up on it – I know how to make us win.”
“I accept, my king.”
“Then let there be a horse race.”

Elphin led the other two home. On the appointed day, they returned, leading a lame old horse. Maelgwn rubbed his hands in glee.

The horses started – Taliesin riding old Dobbin. As each horse of the king’s overtook him, he struck it on the rump with a holly twig, then let it fall. As the king’s horses got further and further ahead, no-one could understand why Taliesin was still smiling. He slowed down and dropped his cap – again, no-one knew why.

Old Dobbin reached half-way, and Taliesin stopped him for a rest. The king’s horses had long since passed them on the way back. Dobbin started back. As the king’s horses passed the discarded holly twigs that Taliesin had struck them with, they stopped, reared up on their hind legs, and began to dance. The whole court was in fits of ill-concealed laughter, except Maelgwn and Rhun.

Taliesin and Dobbin wandered past them to the finish line. Maelgwn saw no alternative to letting them go. On the way home, Taliesin bid Elphin stop where he had dropped his cap. He had some men dig a hole at the spot, and they dug up a great chest full of treasure.

“Truly, Taliesin, never could I regret the day I pulled you out from the weir,” said Elphin as they rode away.

FINIS

(It is said that afterwards, Taliesin went to the court of Arthur, where he was chief harper and adviser to the king.)

Taliesin is also the name of a town in the U.S.A., named after the bard by Frank Lloyd Wright.

 

by Jennifer Cochrane

Website: Encyclopedia Mythica

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Deities, The Gods | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Charge of the God


Days of the Week Comments=

The Charge of the God

 

Listen to the words of the Horned God,
 
 
The Guardian of all things wild and free, and Keeper of the Gates of Death, whose Call all must answer:
 
 
I am the fire within your heart… The yearning of your Soul. I am the Hunter of Knowledge and the Seeker of the Holy Quest; I who stand in the darkness of light; I am He whom you have called Death. I am the Consort and Mate of Her we adore, call forth to me.
 
 
Heed my call beloved ones, come unto me and learn the secrets of death and peace. I am the corn at harvest and the fruit on the trees. I am He who leads you home. Scourge and Flame, Blade and Blood these are mine and gifts to thee.
 
 
Call unto me in the forest wild and on hilltop bare and seek me in the Darkness Bright. I who have been called; Pan, Herne, Osiris , and Hades, speak to thee in thy search. Come dance and sing; come live and smile, for behold: this is my worship.
 
 
You are my children and I am thy Father. On swift night wings it is I who lay you at the Mother’s feet to be reborn and to return again. 
 
 
Thou who thinks to seek me, know that I am the untamed wind, the fury of storm and passion in your Soul. Seek me with pride and humility, but seek me best with love and strength.
 
 
For this is my path, and I love not the weak and fearful. Hear my call on long Winter nights and we shall stand together guarding Her Earth as She sleeps. 
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Deity of the Day for Sept. 21 – Dionysus, God of the Vine

Deity of the Day

 Dionysus

Dionysus is the God of the Vine.
Dionysus’ name means “twice born” or “child of the double door.”
Many city-states outlawed the wild, orgiastic rites of Dionysus.
Dionysus’ Roman name is Bacchus.

He was the god of fertility and wine, later considered a patron of the arts. He invented wine and spread the art of tending grapes. He has a dual nature. On the one hand bringing joy and divine ecstasy. On the other brutal, unthinking, rage. Thus, reflecting both sides of wines nature. If he choses Dionysus can drive a man mad. No normal fetters can hold him or his followers.

Dionysus is the son of Zeus and Semele. He is the only god to have a mortal parent. Zeus came to Semele in the night, invisible, felt only as a divine presence. Semele was pleased to be a lover of a god, even though she did not know which one. Word soon got around and Hera quickly assumed who was responsible. Hera went to Semele in disguise and convinced her she should see her lover as he really was. When Zeus next came to her she made him promise to grant her one wish. She went so far as to make him swear on the River Styx that he would grant her request. Zeus was madly in love and agreed. She then asked him to show her his true form. Zeus, was unhappy, and knew what would happen but, having sworn he had no choice. He appeared in his true form and Semele was instantly burnt to a crisp by the sight of his glory. Zeus did manage to rescue Dionysus and stitched him into his thigh to hold him until he was ready to be born. His birth from Zeus alone conferred immortality upon him.

Dionysus problems with Hera were not yet over. She was still jealous and arranged for the Titans to kill him. The Titans ripped him into to pieces. However, Rhea brought him back to life. After this Zeus arranged for his protection and turned him over the mountain nymphs to be raised.

Dionysus wandered the world actively encouraging his cult. He was accompanied by the Maenads, wild women, flush with wine, shoulders draped with a fawn skin, carrying rods tipped with pine cones. While other gods had templaces the followers of Dionysus worshipped him in the woods. Here they might go into mad states where they would rip apart and eat raw any animal they came upon.

Dionysus is also one of the very few that was able to bring a dead person out of the underworld. Even though he had never seen Semele he was concerned for her. Eventually he journeyed into the underworld to find her. He faced down Thanatos and brought her back to Mount Olympus.

Dionysus became one of the most important gods in everyday life. He became associated with several key concepts. One was rebirth after death. Here his dismemberment by the Titans and return to life is symbolically echoed in tending vines, where the vines must be pruned back sharply, and then become dormant in winter for them to bear fruit. The other is the idea that under the influence of wine, one could feel possessed by a greater power. Unlike the other gods Dionysus was not only outside his believers but, also within them. At these times a man might be greater than himself and do works he otherwise could not.

The festival for Dionysus is in the spring when the leaves begin to reappear on the vine. It became one of the most important events of the year. It’s focus became the theater. Most of the great greek plays were initially written to be performed at the feast of Dionysus. All who took part writers, actors, spectators were regarded as sacred servants of Dionysus during the festival.

 

Source:
Greek Mythology.com

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The Horned One; The Harvest King


Autumn Comments & Graphics


THE HORNED ONE; THE HARVEST KING

The God speaks:

I am the radiant King of the Heavens, flooding the Earth with warmth and encouraging the hidden seed of creation to burst forth into manifestation. I lift My shining spear to light the lives of all beings and daily pour forth My gold upon the Earth, putting to flight the powers of darkness.

I am the master of the beasts wild and free. I run with the swift stag and soar as a sacred falcon against the simmering sky. The ancient woods and wild places emanate My powers and the birds of the air sing of My sanctity.

I am also the last harvest, offering up My grain and fruit beneath the sickle of time so that all may be nourished. For without planting there can be no harvest; without winter no spring.

Worship Me as the thousand-named Sun of creation, the spirit of the horned stag in the wild, the endless harvest. See in the yearly cycle of festivals My birth, death and rebirth – and know that such is the destiny of all creation.

I am the spark of life, the radiant Sun, the giver of peace and rest, and I send My rays of blessing to warm the hearts and strengthen the minds of all.

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Gods, The Sabbats | Leave a comment

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