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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Author Topic: Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions  (Read 4382 times)
Crissy Herrell
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« Reply #120 on: February 20, 2009, 01:28:39 pm »

Speaking swords occur in the Leb na huidre, as recorded in the Revue Celtique. Noticing the custom of bringing in the tongues of the slain as trophies, the Irish MS. Says--"And it is thus they ought to do that, and their swords on their thighs when they used to make the trophy, for their swords used to turn against them when they made a false trophy--for demons used to speak to them from their arms."

Spenser gives this narrative on the fabled power of the

p. 137

sword; saying, "So do the Irish at this day, when they go to battle, say certain prayers or charms to their swords, making a cross therewith upon the earth, and thrusting the points of their blades into the ground, thinking thereby to have the better success in fight. Also they use commonly to swear by their swords."

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The Fairies or Sides are often presented as deities. As the Tuatha were largely supernatural, and their spirits haunted the old spots, it is not surprising that these arrachta or spectres were reverenced by the Irish. Though St. Patrick drove many of them away, a number fled across Donegal Bay to the pagans of Senghleann. In St. Fiacc's Story of the Saint we are assured that the Irish used to worship the Sides.

"This Side worship," wrote Beirne Crowe, "had nothing to do with Druidism; in fact, was opposed to it, and must have preceded it in Ireland." They were deified mortals, anyhow, and capable, by intercourse with women, of producing heroes. But one was hardly justified in declaring that "the worship of these deities reaches back to the remotest antiquity, to at least a thousand years before the Druid appeared."

The Sides and the Druids are curiously opposed to each other in legends. The Side goddess, in the adventures of Condla Ruad, told Coud's Druid that Druidism had the grades conferred on it in the Great Land or Elysium. It was thought that their temples were the so-called Druidical monuments, especially New Grange. They were scattered all over Ireland.

By the Irish Mac Oc, King of the Fairies, living in a glass structure, is meant the young Sun. Rhys said the Story "doubtless belonged originally to Irish mythology before any Celts had settled in Ireland."

p. 138

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