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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, 01:29:26 pm »

stars, is distinguished by the crescent form, under which she usually presents herself to our notice. The god of night is distinguished from other gods by a crescent placed upon his forehead, and this crescent is transformed into the horns of the calf, the bull, or the goat. Hence, in the Prometheus of Æschylus, Io, the horned virgin, becomes, later on, a heifer; hence, in the Athenian fable, the conception of the Minotaur with the head of a bull; hence, in the Irish fable, the conception of the Fomoré with the goat's head;--and, upon the continent of Gaul, the numerous horned gods which now ornament the Salle of St. Germain Museum. For to render to these gods of the dead the worship they exact, it was necessary to immolate to them human lives."

We are told that Greeks poets and painters gave distinct characteristics to gods, as Phaeton, Apollo, and Hercules, originally the same. The ancient literature of Ireland lacks these well-defined contours.

The dual idea of good and bad gods, with good and bad tribes, corresponds with the Dasyu of India, who were both demons and the hostile tribes preceding the Aryans in that peninsula. The Irish triad is produced by the habit of using three synonyms to express the same mythological thought.

Lug, one of the Tuatha gods, nursed by the Queen of the Fir-Bolgs, is supposed to have introduced games, races, &c. His festival was August 1. It has been suggested that the festival on the same day, in honour of Augustus, was only a new form of a more ancient custom. Lug's mother was Ethniu, daughter of Balar, but his father was the god Dagda.

Balar Balebeimnech, "Balar of the strong blows," was said to have been killed by his grandson. He carried off the cow of the three brothers, smiths of the Tuatha. Balar

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was killed by Lug. He is sometimes called the son of the bull-faced god. Lug and he may be compared with Bellerophon and the Chimæra. A doublet of Balar is see in Tigernmas.

Cûchulainn, the son of Lug, was a deified hero. His remarkable adventures formed the subject of many bardic songs. Labraid, of the swift hand on the sword, was the King of Hades, the Irish Pluto. Being assisted against his foes by the mighty Cûchulainn, he presented the her with his sister-in-law, Fand, for a wife; and she returned with the warrior from Hades. But Cûchulainn paid other visits to the world of spirits, with a view of rescuing friend from Hades, and returning to Erin. He had the deity Lug for his father, and the goddess Dechtere for his mother. As an Apollo, he was beardless; yet, when re-born, he appeared with long hair (rays). He released a maiden changed into a swan, being the goddess of Dawn. N. O'Kearney, translator of the Conn-eda story, found that the Irish hero was so beloved, that people would not "swear an oath either by the sun, stars, or elements, except by the head of Conneda."

Nuada, the Welsh Nudd or Lludd, must not be confounded with Net, god of war. He is declared by Rhys "of the non-Celtic race in both Britain and Ireland; for an old inscription in the county of Kerry gives the name without a case-ending, and so marks it as a probably non-Celtic word." In his Celtic Britons the same writer notes another deity; speaking of "the sea god Nodens, who was of sufficient importance during the Roman occupation to have a temple built for him at Lydney, on the western side of the Severn, while the Irish formerly called the goddess of the Boyne his wife."

The Feast of Goibniu, which assured immortality to the Tuatha, consisted principally of beer, a more common

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