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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Author Topic: Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions  (Read 2944 times)
Crissy Herrell
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« Reply #75 on: February 20, 2009, 01:08:18 pm »

Andrew Lang, referring to Cupid and Psyche, equally applicable to other superstitions, observes, "We explain the separation of the lovers as the result of breaking a taboo, or one of etiquette, binding among men and women as well as between men and fairies."

Witchcraft--the conscious or unconscious exercise of a power peculiar to some persons, in greater or lesser degree, of controlling little-heeded or understood laws of nature--was ever common in Ireland. Witches were Pitags, Buitseachs, or Taut-ags. These had the mark, or "Seal of the Devil," in reddening skin, which would retain for hours an indentation upon it. Recently, it has been ascertained by a philosopher, that a sensitiveness in certain individuals exists even beyond their bodies, so that they suffer without being actually touched.

In a tradition respecting Conn of the Hundred Battles, the hero Eogan was told by three women that he should be slain in the coming fight. Upon his asking their names, they replied, "Our names are Ah, Lann:, and Leana; we are daughters of Trodan the Magician." A witch, who sought to rescue a hero surrounded by foes, induced the tribesmen to leave him and attack some rocks, which they were hypnotized to believe were armed soldiery. The witches tied knots in a string, and breathed on them with a curse upon the object of their hateful incantation. Some persons, however, were clever enough, when finding such a charmed string, to undo the knots, and so prevent the calamity. The Koran contains a prayer for delivery "from the mischief of women blowing on knots."

Incantations were common in Ireland. A story in Erse--Pandyeen O'Kelly--has a man riding aloft on a besom. A giant blew a young man to a distant Rath, and sent him into a heavy sleep A giant got from a little green man a black cap--like Jack-the-Giant-Killer's Cap of

p. 85

Darkness, and gave it to the King of Ireland's son, that he might be invisible at his leisure.

Other superstitious traditions, more or less hypnotic, may be mentioned. A thimble was given by a fairy to a young man to serve as a boat. A large white cat declared herself a woman three hundred years old. Riding on fairy horses, carrying off princesses through the air, using swords that gave light, sending weasels to bring money, turning into flying beetles, forcing into magic sleep, and even restoring youth, were some of the wonders, A black dog was said to be a hag's father. Adepts could turn into vultures, swans, wolves, &c. But, according to Hyde's Folk Lore, witches could be released by masses. A hag or witch was a gwrack in Celtic Welsh.

Sir George Grey, in his New Zealand narratives, has several instances of enchantment, like those of Irish times. One old woman, by her spells, held a boat so that it could not be launched. Again, "Early in the morning Kua performed incantations, by which he kept all the people in the cave in a profound sleep." A sorcerer baked food in an enchanted oven to kill a party. Of another, "He smote his hands on the threshold of the house, and every soul in it was dead."

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