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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Author Topic: Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions  (Read 4380 times)
Crissy Herrell
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« Reply #120 on: February 20, 2009, 01:28:13 pm »

Even at the funeral, in Temora, we have only, "Loud at once from the hundred bards rose the song of the tomb."

He lived in the age of Christianity. Hear the challenge of the wild Northmen--"Are the gods of the Christians as great as Loda (Odin) of the Lochlins?" Dr. Donald Clark fancied that in Ossian's day the people had lost faith in their old Druidic religion, but had not then embraced Christianity.

The remarks of Dr. H. Waddell are entitled to careful attention. Referring to Ossian, he says--

"All local gods, to him, were objects of ridicule. He recognized the Deity, if he could be said to recognize Him at all, as an omnipresent vital essence, everywhere diffused in the world, or centred for a lifetime in heroes. He himself, his kindred, his forefathers, and the human race at large, were dependent solely on the atmosphere; their souls were identified with the air, heaven was their natural home, earth their temporary residence, and fire the element of purification, or the bright path to immortality for them when the hour of dissolution came.--The incremation of Malvina's remains, on the principle of transmutation, and escape from dark, perishable clay to luminous and immortal ether, is a beautiful illustration of this."

After all, one is constrained to admit with Ernest Rhys--"I for one am quite prepared to believe in a Druidic residue, after you have stripped all that is mediæval and Biblical from the poems of Taliesin." So it is with Ossian, or other bards of Irish origin. With all that has been accumulating of a mediæval character, from the hands of supposed transcribers and translators, there yet remains something of the primeval barbaric conception of religion in the grand old tales of Erin.

In the Bardic story of the Battle of Gabhra we read--"I return my thanks to the gods."

p. 134

This led N. O'Kearney to observe--"From this passage it is evident that the pure monotheism of the Druids had dwindled down into a vulgar polytheism, previous to the date of the Fenian era. Historians assert that Tighernmas was the first monarch who introduced polytheism, and that a great multitude of people were struck dead. on the worship of strange gods. The sun, moon, stars, elements, and many animals that were adored by the Egyptians, were introduced as deities."

Jocelin, an interesting romancer, speaking of Legasius, son of King Neal, tells the reader that "he swore by an idol called Ceaneroithi, or the head of all the gods, because he was believed by the foolish people to give answers."

A periodical called the Harp of Erin, which appeared in 1818, has the following argument from an old tradition:--"That the Ancient Irish were not idolaters, we have sufficient evidence to convince any person who is possessed of common understanding. We are informed that Tighernmas, the King, was the first who paid divine honors to an idol, and that having been struck by lightning, his death was considered as a judgment. Surely, if idolatry had been a common practice of the people, their bards and history would neither have represented the act of the monarch as a crime, nor his death punishment from heaven for the offence."

The quotations from Bardic chronicles and poems, made by Prof. Rhys and others, would not sanction the views of the Harp of Erin. Their Nuada, Diarmait, Conchobar, &c, were assuredly sun-deities Rhys says of the last named, "Conchobar was doubtless not a man, his sister Dechtere, the mother of Cuchulainn, is called a goddess. He was known in the Book of the Dun as Diaalmaide, or

p. 135

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