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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, 01:29:10 pm »

As the Revue Celtique contains a wealth of learning pertaining to the mythology of Ireland, some information from that work may be here placed before the reader.

Badb, one of the Irish goddesses of war) had three sisters, Neman, Macha, and Morrigan or Morrigu. These are described as Furies, able to confound armies; even though assuming but the form of a crow. Hennessey thought these three were separate beings: "the attributes of Neman being those of a being who confounded her victims with madness, whilst Morrigu incited to deeds of valour, or planned strife and battle, and Macha revelled amidst the bodies of the slain." Badb was the daughter, also, of the mythical Tuatha King Ernmas. She inspired fear, so as to produce lunacy.

Standish O'Grady, in his critical and philosophical History of Ireland, adduces evidence of the useful labours of the early Irish gods, whom he detects under the assumed names of heroes. Parthalon was he who cleared from forest the plain of the Liffey. The Dagda Mor drove back the sea from Murthemney, forming the district now known as the Louth. Lu taught men first to ride on horses. Creidené first discovered and smelted gold in Ireland.

When the old original gods of Ireland were driven out by a younger and more vigorous set of divinities, they retired to Tir-na-n-og, the land of the young; or to Tirna-m-beo, land of life; or to Tir-na-Fomorah.

The temple of Ned, the war god, was near the Foyle. According to O'Grady, "The Dagda Mor was a divine title given to a hero named Eocaidh, who lived many centuries before the birth of Christ, and in the depths of

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the pre-historic ages he was the mortal scion or ward of an elder god, Elathan." He considered the Mor Reega, or great Queen, even more important than the Dagda Mor. She was connected with wealth, fertility, and war. She could transform herself into a water serpent, &c.

Then there is Dana, who became Brigit, mother of the three gods, Brian, Inchar or Incharba, and Inchair. Though the daughter of Dagda or good god, King of the Tuatha, she was wife to Bress, King of the Fomoré. As goddess of literature, it was fitting that Ecné, poetry or knowledge, should be her descendant.

The old form of the goddess Brigit is thought to have been Brigentis. Four inscriptions to her have been found on the east of Ireland. The god Brian was formerly Brênos.

The writings of Arbois de Jubainville, in the Cours de la littérature Celtique, have been justly admired. As he regarded the stories concerning the migration of early races, and the narratives of heroes and heroines, as having a mythological side, his views of Irish gods are interesting.

When Parthalon arrived in Ireland, the country was far from complete in form. At Mag Itha he had a battle with Cichol Gri-cenchos. The word cenchos, without feet, suggested Vitra, the Vedic god of evil, who possessed neither feet nor hands. He was assisted by men with only one foot and one hand, like Aja Ekapad, the one-footed, and Vyamsa, the shoulderless demon, of the Hindoo Vedas. Parthalon, by that victory, freed Ireland from foreign Fomoré. All his race, 5000, were struck dead by the gods in one day. So was the Silver Age destroyed by the anger of Jupiter against Niobe.

The chronicler had no record of years, but of days. Parthalon arrived on the first of May, the festival of the god of death, Beltené, ancestor of the human race. In

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older Erse MSS. he is described as the son of that deity. He gained the shore in Kenmare river, opposite the setting sun, where dead Celts recovered their lives.

The god Dagda, Dago-devo-s, the good god, yet King of the Tuatha de Danaans, was the Zeus or Ormazd of Irish mythology. The Danaans, or people of God, were, like the Devas of India, gods of the day, light, and life. The Fomoré, their enemies, represent the Titans of Greek story, whose chief Bress, Balar, or Tethra, was identical with the Persian Ahriman, the Vedic Yama, or even Varuna.

The Fomoré are, says Jubainville, "the gods of the dead, of night, and of storms." On the other hand, the Tuatha "are the gods of life, of day, and of the sun, constituting another group, the less ancient of the gods, if we believe the doctrine of Celts; for, following the Celtic theory, night preceded day."

The Fomorian gods of earth and night were spoken of by the Christian chroniclers as pirates ravaging the coast. But the Book of Invasions simply mentions their arrival by sea. They must have been monsters, for a work treating of them had for its title the History of Monsters. Even Geraldus Cambrensis translated Fomoré by Gigantibus.

Among the stories told of them was the one giving some Fomorians but one foot and one hand, while others were goat-headed. The tale told of their Kings exacting the tribute of two-thirds of corn and milk, and two out of three children born in a family, reminds us of the Greek Minotaur. The Fomoré seem to belong to the beginning of all things, since no Irish legend knows of anything before their coming.

Our French author, who had much to report on solar gods, has the following remarks upon the lunar deity:--

"The queen of night is the moon, which, among the

p. 143

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