Deity of the Day for Thursday, September 17th is Ogma, Celtic God

Deity of the Day

Ogma

Celtic God

 

In Irish-Celtic myth, Ogma is the god of eloquence and learning. He is the son of the goddess Danu and the god Dagda, and one of the foremost members of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He is the reputed inventor of the ancient Ogham alphabet which is used in the earliest Irish writings.

In the final battle at Mag Tuireadh he managed to take away the sword of the king of the Fomorians, but had to pay with his life for this feat. His Celtic equivalent is Ogmios.

Ogma or Oghma is a character from Irish mythology. A member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, he is often considered a deity and may be related to the Gaulish god Ogmios.

He fights in the first battle of Mag Tuired, when the Tuatha Dé take Ireland from the Fir Bolg. Under the reign of Bres, when the Tuatha Dé are reduced to servitude, Ogma is forced to carry firewood, but nonetheless is the only one of the Tuatha Dé who proves his athletic and martial prowess in contests before the king. When Bres is overthrown and Nuadu restored, Ogma is his champion. His position is threatened by the arrival of Lugh at the court, so Ogma challenges him by lifting and hurling a great flagstone, which normally required eighty oxen to move it, out of Tara, but Lugh answers the challenge by hurling it back. When Nuadu hands command of the Battle of Mag Tuired to Lugh, Ogma becomes Lugh’s champion, and promises to repel the Fomorian king, Indech, and his bodyguard, and to defeat a third of the enemy. During the battle he finds Orna, the sword of the Fomorian king Tethra, which recounts the deeds done with it when unsheathed. During the battle Ogma and Indech fall in single combat, although there is some confusion in the texts as in Cath Maige Tuired Ogma, Lugh and the Dagda pursue the Fomorians after the battle to recover the harp of Uaitne, the Dagda’s harper.

He often appears as a triad with Lugh and the Dagda, who are sometimes collectively known as the trí dée dána or three gods of skill, although that designation is elsewhere applied to other groups of characters. His father is Elatha and his mother is usually given as Ethliu, sometimes as Étaín. His sons include Delbaeth and Tuireann. He is said to have invented the Ogham alphabet, which is named after him.

Scholars of Celtic mythology have proposed that Ogma represents the vestiges of an ancient Celtic god. By virtue of his battle prowess and invention of Ogham, he is compared with Ogmios, a Gaulish deity associated with eloquence and equated with Herakles. J. A. MacCulloch compares Ogma’s epithet grianainech (sun-face) with Lucian’s description of the “smiling face” of Ogmios, and suggests Ogma’s position as champion of the Tuatha Dé Danann may derive “from the primitive custom of rousing the warriors’ emotions by eloquent speeches before a battle”, although this is hardly supported by the texts. Scholars such Rudolf Thurneysen and Anton van Hamel dispute any link between Ogma and Ogmios.

*
A Proto-Indo-European root *og-mo– ‘furrow, track, incised line’ may be the origin of the stem of the name. In addition, Proto-Celtic had a causative verbal suffix *-ej– ~ *-īj-. A hypothetical Proto-Celtic *Ogm-īj-o-sogm-. This agent noun would therefore mean ‘furrow-maker, incisor’ and may have had a metaphorical sense of ‘impresser.’ therefore looks very much like an agent noun derived from a verb formed by the addition of this causative suffix to the stem *

The Irish god of writing, eloquence and poetry. Ogma was credited of being inventor of the Celtic writing systems that the Druids used for their magic. These scripts were known as Ogham.

Ogma was the son of Dagda and the goddess Danu. Some other writers say that Ogma and Dagda were brothers; in this version they were the sons of Eithne. Ogma had also being called the son of Elatha, the king of the Fomorians.

Ogma was one the seven champions in the First Battle of Moytura (Mag Tuired), but when Bres became the king of Tuatha dé Danann, Ogma was degraded into working on humiliating manual job of gathering firewood.
When Lugh went to Nuada, asking for a place to serve the king, Ogma seemed to be Nuada’s foremost fighter. During the second battle of Moytura, Ogma had killed one of the Fomorian leaders, named Indech, the son of Domnu.

Ogma had married Etain, the daughter of Dian Cécht. Ogma had a son named Caipre. Some say that he was the father of MacCuill, MacCecht and MacGrené (MacGrene), the three Danann kings who ruled Ireland, during the Milesian invasion, though other say that Neit was their father.
To the Celtic Gauls he was called Ogmios. According to both Gallic and Irish myths Ogma was a warrior god, depicted as a wrinkled old man, wearing lion’s skin cloak, carrying a bow and club. The Romans considered Ogmios as the Celtic equivalent of Hercules (Greek Heracles). They also depicting Ogimos as holding people chained to his tongue by their ears, to indicate he was the god of eloquence and poetry.

Author: Agaliha

Lughnasadh


Lammas/Lugnasadh Comments
Lughnasadh

 

The Celtic harvest festival on August 1st takes its name from the Irish god Lugh, one of the chief gods of the Tuatha De Danann, giving us Lughnasadh in Ireland, Lunasdál in Scotland, and Laa Luanys in the Isle of Man. (In Wales, this time is known simply as Gwl Awst, the August Feast.)

Lugh dedicated this festival to his foster-mother, Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg, who died from exhaustion after clearing a great forest so that the land could be cultivated. When the men of Ireland gathered at her death-bed, she told them to hold funeral games in her honor. As long as they were held, she prophesied Ireland would not be without song. Tailtiu’s name is from Old Celtic Talantiu, “The Great One of the Earth,” suggesting she may originally have been a personification of the land itself, like so many Irish goddesses. In fact, Lughnasadh has an older name, Brón Trogain, which refers to the painful labor of childbirth. For at this time of year, the earth gives birth to her first fruits so that her children might live.
Tailtiu gives her name to Teltown in County Meath, where the festival was traditionally held in early Ireland. It evolved into a great tribal assembly, attended by the High King, where legal agreements were made, political problems discussed, and huge sporting contests were held on the scale of an early Olympic Games. Artists and entertainers displayed their talents, traders came from far and wide to sell food, farm animals, fine crafts and clothing, and there was much storytelling, music, and high-spirited revelry, according to a medieval eye-witness account:

“Trumpets, harps, hollow-throated horns, pipers, timpanists, unwearied…fiddlers, gleemen, bone-players and bag-pipers, a rude crowd, noisy, profane, roaring and shouting.”
This was also an occasion for handfasting, or trial marriages. Young men and women lined up on either side of a wooden gate in a high wall, in which a hole was carved, large enough for a hand. One by one, girl and boy would grasp a hand in the hole, without being able to see who was on the other side. They were now married, and could live together for year and day to see if it worked out. If not, the couple returned to next year’s gathering and officially separated by standing back to back and walking away from each other.
Throughout the centuries, the grandeur of Teltown dwindled away, but all over Ireland, right up to the middle of this century, country-people have celebrated the harvest at revels, wakes, and fairs – and some still continue today in the liveliest manner. It was usually celebrated on the nearest Sunday to August 1st, so that a whole day could be set aside from work. In later times, the festival of Lughnasadh was christianized as Lammas, from the Anglo-Saxon, hlaf-mas, “Loaf-Mass,” but in rural areas, it was often remembered as “Bilberry Sunday,” for this was the day to climb the nearest “Lughnasadh Hill” and gather the earth’s freely-given gifts of the little black berries, which they might wear as special garlands or gather in baskets to take home for jam.
As of old, people sang and danced jigs and reels to the music of melodeons, fiddles and flutes, and held uproarious sporting contests and races. In some places, a woman-or an effigy of one-was crowned with summer flowers and seated on a throne, with garlands strewn at her feet. Dancers whirled around her, touching her garlands or pulling off a ribbon for good luck. In this way, perhaps, the ancient goddess of the harvest was still remembered with honor.

Lammas Footnote

1587725pgrg7w67pq
“Lug or Lugh (modern Irish Lú) is an Irish deity represented in mythological texts as a hero and High King of the distant past. He is known by the epithets Lámhfhada (meaning “long arm” or “long hand”, or “left hand”), for his skill with a spear or sling, Ildánach (“skilled in many arts”), Samhildánach (“Equally skilled in many arts”), Lonnbeimnech (“fierce striker” or perhaps “sword-shouter”) and Macnia (“boy hero”), and by the matronymic mac Ethlenn or mac Ethnenn (“son of Ethliu or Ethniu”). He is a reflex of the pan-Celtic god Lugus, and his Welsh counterpart is Lleu Llaw Gyffes, “The Bright One with the Strong Hand”. As a young man Lugh travels to Tara to join the court of king Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The doorkeeper will not let him in unless he has a skill with which to serve the king. He offers his services as a wright, a smith, a champion, a swordsman, a harpist, a hero, a poet and historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman, but each time is rejected as the Tuatha Dé Danann already have someone with that skill. But when Lugh asks if they have anyone with all those skills simultaneously, the doorkeeper has to admit defeat, and Lugh joins the court and is appointed Chief Ollam of Ireland. He wins a flagstone-throwing contest against Ogma, the champion, and entertains the court with his harp. The Tuatha Dé are at that time oppressed by the Fomorians, and Lugh is amazed how meekly they accept this. Nuada wonders if this young man could lead them to freedom. Lugh is given command over the Tuatha Dé, and he begins making preparations for war. Lugh’s sling rod was the rainbow and the Milky Way which was called “Lugh’s Chain”. He also had a magic spear (named Areadbhar), which, unlike the rod-sling, he had no need to wield since it was alive and thirsted so for blood that only by steeping its head in a sleeping-draught of pounded fresh poppy seeds could it be kept at rest. When battle was near, it was drawn out; then it roared and struggled against its thongs, fire flashed from it, and it tore through the ranks of the enemy once slipped from the leash, never tired of slaying. Lugh is also assisted by a magic hound.”

Lugh – Wikipedia

Deity of the Day for June 14th – Lugh (Celtic God)

Deity of the Day

Lugh

Master of Skills

 

Patron of the Arts:

Similar to the Roman god Mercury, Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. There are countless inscriptions and statues dedicated to Lugh, and Julius Caesar himself commented on this god’s importance to the Celtic people. Although he was not a war god in the same sense as the Roman Mars, Lugh was considered a warrior because to the Celts, skill on the battlefield was a highly valued ability.

In Ireland, which was never invaded by Roman troops, Lugh is called sam ildanach, meaning he was skilled in many arts simultaneously.

Lugh Enters the Hall of Tara:

In one famous legend, Lugh arrives at Tara, the hall of the high kings of Ireland. The guard at the door tells him that only one person will be admitted with a particular skill — one blacksmith, one wheelwright, one bard, etc. Lugh enumerates all the great things he can do, and each time the guard says, “Sorry, we’ve already got someone here who can do that.” Finally Lugh asks, “Ah, but do you have anyone here who can do them ALL?” At last, Lugh was allowed entrance to Tara.

The Book of Invasions:

Much of the early history of Ireland is recorded in the Book of Invasions, which recounts the many times Ireland was conquered by foreign enemies. According to this chronicle, Lugh was the grandson of one of the Fomorians, a monstrous race that were the enemy of the Tuatha De Danann. Lugh’s grandfather, Balor of the Evil Eye, had been told he would be murdered by a grandson, so he imprisoned his only daughter in a cave.

One of the Tuatha seduced her, and she gave birth to triplets. Balor drowned two of them, but Lugh survived and was raised by a smith. He later led the Tuatha in battle, and indeed killed Balor.

Roman Influence:

Julius Caesar believed that most cultures worshipped the same gods and simply called them by different names. In his Gallic War essays, he enumerates the popular deities of the Gauls and refers to them by what he saw as a corresponding Roman name. Thus, references made to Mercury actually are attributed to a god Caesar also calls Lugus — Lugh. This god’s cult was centered in Lugundum, which later became Lyon, France. His festival on August 1 was selected as the day of the Feast of Augustus, by Caesar’s successor, Octavian Augustus Caesar, and it was the most important holiday in all of Gaul.

Weapons and War:

Although not specifically a war god, Lugh was known as a skilled warrior. His weapons included a mighty magic spear, which was so bloodthirsty that it often tried to fight without its owner. According to Irish myth, in battle, the spear flashed fire and tore through the enemy ranks unchecked. In parts of Ireland, when a thunderstorm rolls in, the locals say that Lugh and Balor are sparring – thus giving Lugh one more role, as a god of storms.

The Many Aspects of Lugh:

According to Peter Beresford Ellis, the Celts held smithcraft in high regard. War was a way of life, and smiths were considered to have magical gifts — after all, they were able to master the element of Fire, and mold the metals of the earth using their strength and skill. Yet in Caesar’s writings, there are no references to a Celtic equivalent of Vulcan, the Roman smith god.

In early Irish mythology, the smith is called Goibhniu, and is accompanied by two brothers to create a triple god-form. The three craftsmen make weaponry and carry out repairs on Lugh’s behalf as the entire host of the Tuatha De Danann prepares for war. In a later Irish tradition, the smith god is seen as a master mason or a great builder. In some legends, Goibhniu is Lugh’s uncle who saves him from Balor and the monstrous Formorians.

One God, Many Names

The Celts had many gods and goddesses, due in part to the fact that each tribe had its own patron deities, and within a region there might be gods associated with particular locations or landmarks. For example, a god who watched over a particular river or mountain might only be recognized by the tribes who lived in that area. Lugh was fairly versatile, and was honored nearly universally by the Celts. The Gaulish Lugos is connected to the Irish Lugh, who in turn is connected to the Welsh Llew Llaw Gyffes.

Celebrating the Harvest of Grain

The Book of Invasions tells us that Lugh came to be associated with grain in Celtic mythology after he held an harvest fair in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. This day became August 1, and that date ties in with the first grain harvest in agricultural societies in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, in Irish Gaelic, the word for August is lunasa. Lugh is honored with corn, grains, bread, and other symbols of the harvest. This holiday was called Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NA-sah). Later, in Christian England the date was called Lammas, after the Saxon phrase hlaf maesse, or “loaf mass.”

An Ancient God for Modern Times

For many Pagans and Wiccans, Lugh is honored as the champion of artistry and skills. Many artisans, musicians, bards, and crafters invoke Lugh when they need assistance with creativity. Today Lugh is still honored at the time of harvest, not only as a god of grain but also as a god of late summer storms.

Even today, in Ireland many people celebrate Lughnasadh with dancing, song, and bonfires. The Catholic church also has set this date aside for a ritual blessing of farmers’ fields.

 

 

Source:

The Samhain Experience

The Samhain Experience

Author:   Crick   

My family roots begin in Ireland and were later relocated to Tennessee and amongst the Ozark mountains of Missouri. My personal experience with Traditional witchcraft began in 1960. As such I was raised to honor the four main sabbats, though we did observe the solstices and the equinoxes as minor events if you will.

To our family, Samhain (Oiche Shamhna) is the most important Sabbat of the year. Pronounced as “Sow-in by the Irish, as SAV-en by the Scottish and as SOW-een by the Welsh. It is exactly opposite Beltain on the Wheel of the year. It is reckoned when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio. Thus, Samhain lies exactly between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. And as such, it is known as a Cross Quarter day.

Samhain is also known as “Samhraidhreadh” which means “summers end”. This indicates that Samhain is the start of the Celtic “New Year”. The Celts were known to have divided the year into two seasons, consisting of summer and winter. The belief is that summer is governed by the Big Sun (the sun) and the winter is governed by what is known as the Little Sun (the moon) .

Samhain is one of the four Fire Festivals and is also known as “Trinoux Samonia.” Originally this Sabbat was celebrated for three days, the day before, the day of and the day after.

In modern times Samhain has become basically a one-day celebration. Neo Pagans tend to lose sight of the historical and spiritual significance of such an important day by combining their Christian beliefs with their newfound pagan beliefs and thus they often intermingle Halloween with Samhain. This corruption is explained away by parroting “it’s for the children”, though this special day is hardly one for children. I do not understand how Neo pagans can claim to understand the significance and energy of such a special time and yet allow their children to make a parody of such a spiritual experience, but then it is what it is.

Traditionally, Samhain is the day when the God symbolically dies and the Goddess is in mourning, though she knows that He will be reborn at Yule.

It is also the Third and Final Harvest, and as such, it is a time for preparing for the coming year. It is also known as the day of the Feast of the Roman Goddess “Pamona”.

Another interesting note is that Samhain is the day that the Tuatha De Danann realized their permanent victory over the Fomorians.

Since this is the time that the veil between Annwn (the Underworld) and our realm of existence, is at its thinnest, it is a time to honor and connect with our ancestors. To some Wiccan beliefs, this means direct descendants who have passed over. To those of us in the Celtic/Faery tradition, this would be the ancestral spirits and deity that resides within the earth.

One way to honor this day is “Fleadh nan Mairbh” (Feast of the Dead) . To do so, set an extra plate or two at the dinner table for visiting spirits. Another way is “Bannock Samhain” which entails setting out cakes and milk outside the door as an offering for passing spirits. This is also the time for the “Dumb Supper”, a meal served in silence in honor of those who have passed to the Summerland’s.

Remember, this is not a time of mourning, but rather of rejoicing and connecting with those that have gone before us. We do not conjure up these visitors in the manner that a medium would do. But rather we invite them to share the day/night with us.

This is also an excellent time for divination. Roasting nuts in the fire and bobbing for apples are a couple of examples of divination from olden times. Another traditional way is to set a shirt on a thorn bush near a stream and see what spirit comes along to fit it on. At which time you would make enquiries. This form of divination is called the shaking bush. As a spirit fills the shirt, it causes the bush to shake.

Some of the Celtic Deity that you may appeal to for assistance during divination are; Ogma, Rosmerta, Baile, Beli, Coventina, Badh, and Gwyn Ap Nuad, just to name a few.

The concept of the carved pumpkin came about from the belief that carving a scary face on the pumpkin and using it as a lantern as one walked at night would scare away evil spirits. Originally they were carved out of turnips.

There is an Irish legend about an Irish lad named Jack. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and then quickly carved a cross into the tree so that the devil could not get down. He then made a deal with the devil so that he would not go to hell upon passing. But when Jack did pass, not only was he barred from hell, but also he was barred from heaven as well because of the doings of his life on earth. Hence he was doomed to walk the earth carrying a lantern to light his way. Thus the Jack-O-Lantern was created.

A custom related to Samhain is to light a hearth fire on this day and to keep it lit until the first day of spring as a way of honoring one’s spiritual ancestors and deity. Originally, all hearth fires were extinguished on this day and then relit from the Druidic fire, which was lit at “Tlachhtga”. This particular fire represented the center of Ireland.

Another custom is to leave a candle in the window as a beacon for spirits to find their way home.

Samhain is a time for reflecting on the year just past and preparing for the coming year. One way to do this is to write the weaknesses and negative actions of the past year down on a piece of parchment. After a period of reflection/meditation, burn the parchment in the cauldron or hearth fire. In this way you are starting out fresh for the upcoming New Year.

– Some of the foods associated with Samhain are pork, corn, apples, pomegranates, pumpkin pie, and cider.
– The colors associated with this day are; red, orange, yellow, brown and black.
– For incense, you can try basil, lilac, clove, yarrow or frankincense.
– Some plants or herbs are apple trees, sage, mugwort (divination) , and gourds.
– Some crystals are onyx, carnelian, and obsidian.

It is my personal hope that Neo pagans will once again enjoy this unique time as it was meant to be celebrated and revered. There is much experience and an ethereal energy connected with Samhain if only one allows him/herself to open up to such a special experience. Halloween (All Saints day) is but a corruption of what used to be. Samhain is a revered occasion and time to connect with those who have gone before us. And with those others who walk a distinctly separate plane from this realm. May you have the inner strength and un-fettered desire to experience this event as it was meant to be…

The Magick Power of the Spoken Word

The Magick Power of the Spoken Word

Author:   Crick   

Since most folks who identify themselves as pagan these days came from other belief systems, I have to wonder about the awareness of some of the basic aspects of magick. One of these basic aspects is the power of the spoken word.

What, you may ask, in the spoken word carries power?

Well, think about it. When we do ritual we use the spoken word. When we do invocations and evocations we use the spoken word. When we cast magickal spells (energy work) we use the spoken word. And in fact, in some Circles folks enhance the spoken word by using what is known as the “God voice”. This is a technique where we draw a well of power from deep within our souls to forcefully convey the spoken word. This technique is similar to what a martial artist does when they draw their “chi” or “ki” forth.

For those who engage themselves in witchcraft, we use the spoken word to cast forth a curse or a blessing. I’m sure that other magickal paths probably do so as well, but I am writing from my own personal area of knowledge or comfort zone if you will.

And so obviously the spoken word contains a great deal of power within a magickal setting.

And the belief in the power of the spoken word is not confined to just the current New Age thinking, but is in fact an ancient and accepted tenet of magick.

One example in support of this belief, which can be found from times of old, is in the Lebor Gabala Erren (Book of Invasions).

As a rather brief background, during the first battle of the Magh Tuiredh, Nuada, the High King of the Tuatha De Danann lost his right arm in battle against the Fir Bolg warrior, Sreng mac Sengainn. The Tuatha De Danann had a code of honor in place that stated when a king became blemished he had to abdicate his position, for he was no longer considered fit to rule.

As a result, the half Tuatha De Danann, half Fomorian prince, Bres mac Elatha, was elevated to the position of High King. It was hoped that because of his mixed heritage that he would bring a lasting peace between the Danann and the Fomorians. However he turned out to be a very oppressive and spiteful king of the Tuatha De Danann.

After a short period of time, the Tuatha De Danann whom was suffering from the injustice of their High King turned to a trained Satirist named “Corbre“. The Druids of the time (and perhaps even to this day) had certain Druids who were trained in the magickal arts of the spoken word (satirists). By way of this magickal art they could inflict emotional, mental and even physical damage to their intended victims, regardless of their position in life.

As a result, Corbre was able to successfully inflict such damage on Bres, thus forcing him to abdicate his throne. While these events were taking place Nuada had his missing arm replaced with one made of silver by the Tuatha De Danann physician known as Dian Cecht. The son of Dian Cecht, “Miach” then transformed the silver arm back to flesh, thus allowing Nuada to regain his position as High King of Ireland.

And so as you can see from this proffered example, the spoken word does in fact have magickal powers. And if it can be used to bring down a High King of a noble race of Gods, how does this power affect the average person?

Many conversations these days almost always touch upon on how the world village is spiraling ever downwards. It is no secret that we are inundated by an ocean of negative energy which by all accounts is of our own making and is thus our problem to own.

I personally believe that much of this negative energy comes from the frequent and irresponsible use of the spoken word.

Think about it, how many times a day will you be the recipient of someone’s negative comments?

How many times in a day, a week, a month will you direct such negative energy at someone else?

And how often do folks stop and think, wow, perhaps I shouldn’t conjure up and direct such words of power without giving some thought as to the consequences of ones actions?

Judging from the ocean of negative energy that is choking the life out of society, I would presume that such careful considerations does not happen nearly enough.

The world village has descended to a level where instantaneous use of such a basic, yet powerful magickal tool is now the norm. For the most part, folks simply do not hesitate to vocalize a disparaging comment at someone else. Sending this negative energy out without any consideration of responsibility and/or awareness of what such energy, once manifested, might do to the recipient.

Now, as pagans, it is our responsibility to be aware of such a basic and yet powerful form of magick. It is our responsibility to use such power in a manner that is beneficial to both ourselves as individuals and to those around us.

We often pontificate about wanting to set a higher example by way of our spiritual pursuits and to make a difference in this worn out world of ours. Well, this is one basic way to do just that.

Just by being aware of the power of the spoken word and by applying such awareness and knowledge, we can stop just talking (sorry about the pun) about it and actually contribute some positive energy to a world village that is crying out for such a change.

By being keenly aware of what we say to others and how we say it, we are in effect taking some simple and yet effective steps towards setting a higher example for others to follow. By showing such responsibility, we are exhibiting an alternative to the self-centered, “it’s all about me” quagmire that our society has slipped into.

Of course as a simple Irish witch I realize that such an obvious and yet challenging change won’t happen overnight. But as a diehard optimist, I firmly believe that each journey begins with the first step. And who better to start such a journey then those who strive to understand and thus effectively use the magickal arts within their lives?

Isn’t this what individual responsibility is supposed to be all about?

Deity of the Day for August 10th – BILE

Bile

by Lisa Spindler
The Celtic god of light and healing, “Bel” means “shining one,” or in Irish Gaelic, the name “bile” translates to “sacred tree.” It is thought that the waters of Danu, the Irish All-Mother goddess, fed the oak and produced their son, The Dagda. As the Welsh Beli, he is the father of Arianrhod by Don.

Patron of sheep and cattle, Bel’s festival is Beltane, one of two main Celtic fire festivals. Beltane celebrates the return of life and fertility to the world — marking the beginning of Summer and the growing season. Taking place on April 30, Beltane also is sometimes referred to as “Cetsamhain” which means “opposite Samhain.” The word “Beltaine” literally means “bright” or “brilliant fire,” and refers to the bonfire lit by a presiding Druid in honor of Bile.

“Some believe this deity is the equivalent of Belatucadros, the consort of Belisama, another patroness of light, fire, the forge and crafts. Belatucadros, whose name means “fair shining one” or possibly “the fair slayer,” is the god of destruction and war and transports the dead to Danu’s “divine waters.” Celtic deities often reign over seemingly contradictory themes. In the case of Belatucadros, death was simply a pathway to rebirth in the Otherworld, thus linking the two themes together. However, according to Ross’s Pagan Celtic Britain, historically the worship of Belatucadros among the Celts was confined only the northwestern region of Britain and has never been associated with the festival of Beltane, healing or with a consort.

It has been suggested that the mythological king, Beli Mawr, in the story of Lludd and Llefelys in The Mabinogion, is a folk memory of this god. In Irish mythology, the great undertakings of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians — the original supernatural inhabitants of Eiru and their human conquerors, respectively — began at Beltane. The Milesians were led by Amairgen, son of Mil, in folklore reputed to be the first Druid.

Deity of the Day for August 7: Balor

Balor

by Micha F. Lindemans

In the Celtic-Irish mythology, Balor is the god of death and the king of the Fomorians, a race of giants. He was the son of Buarainech and the husband of Cethlenn. Balor had only one eye, which he kept closed because anything he looked at would die instantly.According to some prophesies, Balor would be killed by his own grandson. He locked his daughter Ethlinn in a crystal tower, to prevent her from getting pregnant. With the help of the druidess Birog, Cian of the Tuatha Dé Danann, managed to enter the tower and slept with Ethlinn. She gave birth to a son, but when Balor learned of his existence he threw him in the ocean. Birog saved the boy and gave him to the sea god Manannan mac Lir, where he was raised. The boy, named Lugh Lamhfada (Lugh of the Long Arm), became a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann and led them in the second battle at Mag Tuireadh.

In this second, and final battle, Balor killed King Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann with a glance from his eye. But when he opened his eye to kill his grandson Lugh, the latter managed to rip out Balor’s eye with a sling and Balor fell dead to the ground.

No. 4 Things to do for Lammas….

 

The Celtic God, Luga (Lugh, Long Hand), is noted for his high  level skills in many arts and crafts: smith, carpenter, bard, healer, herbalist, magician,  gamesman, spear throwing, military leadership, etc.  Get out your paintbrush.   Fix something in the yard or garden or home.  Tidy up the garden.   Create something, make something.  Start learning a new practical skill  or craft.  Clean your weapons and practice with the weapons.

Prayer to Lugh

Prayer to Lugh

Great Lugh!
Master of artisans, leader of craftsmen,
patron of smiths,
I call upon you and honor you this day.
You of the many skills and talents,
I ask you to shine upon me and
bless me with your gifts.
Give me strength in skill,
make my hands and mind deft,
shine light upon my talents.
O mighty Lugh,
I thank you for your blessings.

Today We Honor The Goddess Danu

The Goddess Danu

As the mother of the gods, Danu has strong parallels with the Welsh literary figure (or goddess) Dôn, who is the mother figure of the medieval tales in the Mabinogion.

Danu was considered as the mythic mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Celtic tribes that first invaded Ireland. The Celts, also on the continent, had several goddesses, also of war. “Apart from these goddesses of war, there were other Amazonian figures who led armies into battle. Often they were also endowed with legendary sexual prowess…” “The Celts included the cult of the mother goddess in their rites, as archeological evidence testifies. Indeed, the Tuatha Dé were the descendants of the goddess Danu, and in some local instances, the ruler of the otherworld was a goddess, rather than a god, just as some folktales represented the otherworld as ‘the Land of Women’. Danu may be connected with Bridget, daughter of Kildare and of learning, culture and skills. She was known as Brigantia in northern England, and survived as St Bride in Christianity”

Deity of the Day for Sept. 27th is THE DAGDA

The Dagda

The Dagda (Proto-Celtic: *Dagodeiwos, Old Irish: Dag Dia, Modern Irish: Daghdha) is an important god of Irish mythology. The Dagda is a father-figure (he is also known as Eochaid(h) Ollathair, or “All-father”) and a protector of the tribe. In some texts his father is Elatha, in others his mother is Ethniu. Other texts say that his mother is Danu. The Dagda’s siblings include the gods Ogma and Lir.

The Dagda was a High King of the Tuatha Dé Danann after his predecessor Nuada was injured in battle. The Tuatha Dé Danann are the race of supernatural beings who conquered the Fomorians, who inhabited Ireland previously, prior to the coming of the Milesians. His lover was Boann and his daughter was Breg. Prior to the battle with the Fomorians, he coupled with the goddess of war, the Mórrígan, on Samhain in exchange for a plan of battle.

Despite his great power and prestige, the Dagda is sometimes depicted as oafish and crude, even comical, wearing a short, rough tunic that barely covers his rump, dragging his great penis on the ground.

The Dagda had an affair with Bóand, wife of Elcmar. In order to hide their affair, Dagda made the sun stand still for nine months; therefore their son, Óengus, was conceived, gestated and born in one day. He, along with Bóand, helped Óengus search for his love.

Whilst Aengus was away the Dagda shared out his land among his children, but Aengus returned to discover that nothing had been saved for him. Under the guidance of Lugh Aengus later tricked his father out of his home at the Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange). Aengus was instructed to ask his father if he could live in the Brú for láa ogus oidhche “(a) day and (a) night”, which in Irish is ambiguous, and could refer to either “a day and a night”, or “day and night”, which means for all time, and so Aengus took possession of the Brú permanently. In “The Wooing of Étaín”, on the other hand, Aengus uses the same ploy to trick Elcmar out of Brú na Bóinne, with the Dagda’s connivance.

The Dagda was also the father of Bodb Dearg, Cermait, Midir, Aine, and Brigit. He was the brother or father of Oghma, who is probably related to the Gaulish god Ogmios; Ogmios, depicted as an old man with a club, is one of the closest Gaulish parallels to the Dagda. Another Gaulish god who may be related to the Dagda is Sucellus, the striker, depicted with a hammer and cup.

He is credited with a seventy or eighty-year reign (depending on source) over the Tuatha Dé Danann, before dying at the Brú na Bóinne, finally succumbing to a wound inflicted by Cethlenn during the second battle of Magh Tuiredh.

Ancient Celtic Culture

Ancient Celtic Culture

by John Patrick Parle

 

The Celts on the main continent were largely ruled by the chieftain of their individual tribe–some chieftains were elected by the free men of the tribe for a limited term of office.

Here are some of the names of ancient Celtic chieftains, to get an idea of what the old Celtic names sounded like: Orgetorix, Sinorix, Dunmorix, Cartismandua (a woman), Prasutagus, Amborix, Clondicus, Luernios, Ariamnes, Adiatorix. (The “rix” ending to the Celtic name signified that the person was a supreme chieftain, perhaps over more than one tribe or over a large land area). Because there was no written Celtic language there, these types of personal names and the names of the tribes themselves are our best idea of what old Celtic words on the mainland of Europe sounded like. The great names of the Gaulish chieftain Vercingetorix and of Boadicea, the female chieftain of Celtic Briton, will come up later in our story.

Classical writers said that the Celts were taller than the Romans, more muscular, had fair skin, and blonde hair was common. The Celts were known for their hospitality, but could be boastful and irritable. They were fond of feasting, were high-spirited, and in general liked excitement. Yet, in Rome, culturally sophisticated Cicero was able to become friends with a Celtic druid from Gaul named Diviciacus, and Cicero said that a Celtic leader from Galatia named Dejotarus was “gentle and honest.” The ancients said that the Celts liked to speak in riddles, and loved to exaggerate. Some Celtic tribes had a sense of wanderlust and were nomadic (often in response to threats from the outside), while others stayed put in farming communities.

The ancient Celts lived in scattered villages without fortified walls. In wartime, they would build hill forts for protection. Their homes were circular and made of wood with thatched domelike roofs. They had little furniture, and ate and drank out of earthen dishes and goblets. They slept on beds of straw.

Agriculture was a major activity of the Celts of old, with many of them owning private farmlands. They produced mostly wheat for bread. In fact, the ancient writers said that this was the main difference between the Celts and the Germanic tribes of the day, the latter of whom did little farming and consumed mostly meat and milk. Whereas the Celts grew crops, the Germanic barbarians then did little of this. The Celts were also large swinehearders (most of the meat they ate was ham and pork), and cattle was common for dairy products. They brewed beer, which they called “cervesia,” and added honey and cumin to beer, which they called “corma.” The Celts also appreciated wine and mead.

In terms of clothing, the Celtic women wore a simple long garment with a cloak. The men wore trousers (sometimes knee length), a sleeved tunic reaching the thigh, a cloak, and sandals or boots. A metal piece of jewelry for around the neck called a torc (torques) was quite popular. Clothing dyed in bright colors was common. Men wore droopy moustaches, sometimes beards, and often long hair, all of this in contrast to the contemporary Romans. Women enjoyed painting their bodies, and some tribes of Celtic warriors went into battle stark naked and painted all over in bright blue.

The basic social structure was threefold: the chieftain, the warrior aristocracy, and the freeman farmers. Woman had a lower place, but some women were able to attain the position of chieftain, which was unknown in other cultures of the period. Slavery was accepted, largely conquered peoples. Three other roles in Celtic society were quite important: the druid, the bard, and the artisan.

The bard was the chief poet of a clan or extended family. He was the keeper of the family or tribal oral history and entertained gatherings with epic tales of Celtic gods and heroes. He was a storyteller and a man of rhymes–a wordsmith. The Celtic bard, as did the Bard of Elizabethan times, tried the best he could to portray his benefactors as well as possible in laudable terms. Bards often sang their verse while playing a lyre (which in Ireland was eventually replaced by the harp). The artisan, who is often overlooked in books about the Celts, made all the wonderful metalwork, carvings, and tools for the tribe. The works of the ancient Celtic artisans exist today in museums all over Europe.

Deity of the Day for August 30 is NUADHU also NUD, NODENS, LUD.

NUADHU also NUD, NODENS, LUD.

“Nuadhu of the silver arm.” God of healing and water; his name suggests “wealth-bringer” and “cloud-maker.” At the first battle of Moytura, Nuadhu lost an arm, and Dian Cecht replaced it with a new one made out of silver. Because of this, Nuadhu was obliged to turn leadership of the Tuatha de’ Dannan over to Lug. People came to be healed at Nuadhu’s temple at Lydney, and small votive limbs made of silver have been found there.

Deity of the Day for July 27th is Manannan Mac Lir (Irish, Welsh)

Deity of the Day

Manannan Mac Lir (Irish, Welsh)

Celtic sea God. Guardian and protector of the blessed islands Arran and the Isle of Man. He is also thought to hold connections with the Tuatha De Danaan. The original crane bag belonged to Manannan, in this he would keep his coracle and the original hallows of Britain and after which Cormac quested. He is one of the Grail guardians along with Pryderi, and skilled in the art of shapeshifting; appearing in the forms of heron or crane. He is known too for the loving of women. Sometimes seen riding a sea chariot, he is not bound to the seas and has been associated with rivers, lakes and lochs… possibly even springs and wells. Water worship was hallowed to the Celts, and they would leave treasures and offerings in lakes, lochs etc. During the Roman conquests these were plundered and the waters sold. Therefore in more ways than one they robbed the Celts of their treasures. He dressed in a green cloak and a gold headband. A shape-shifter. Chief Irish sea god, equivalent of the Welsh Llyr. Son of the sea god Lir. At Arran he had a palace called Emhain of the Apple Trees. His swine, which constantly renewed themselves, were the chief food of the Tuatha De Danann and kept them from ageing. He had many famous weapons: two spears called Yellow Shaft and Red Javelin; swords called The Retaliator, Great Fury, and Little Fury. His boat was called Wave Sweeper, and his horse, Splendid Mane. He had magic armour that prevented wounds and could make the Tuatha invisible at will. God of the sea, navigators, storms, weather at sea, fertility, sailing, weather-forecasting, magic, arts, merchants and commerce, rebirth.