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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, 01:31:05 pm »

The Bel-tor of Dartmoor, the Belenus of Gaul, the Beal of the Gaedhil, the Bali of India, the Belus obelisk of Pomona in Orkney, the Bealtien cake of Scotland, the Bel-eg, priest or learned one of Brittany, the Punic Bal--all take us outside of Ireland. But Camden declared the cromlech on Sliabh Greine, hill of the sun, was to Beli. As reported by J. J. Thomas--"The Irish expression 'Bal mhaith art'--May Bel be propitious to thee! or Bal dhia dhuit, the god Bal .to you! were deemed complimentary addresses to a stranger along the sequestered banks of the Suir, in the South of Ireland, about twenty-two years ago."

There can he no doubt about this Baal worship being connected with Phallicism. Devotion to generative powers preceded, perhaps, that to the sun, as the main cause of production in Nature; but the Baal development appeared later on in the so-called march of civilization. An increased fondness for ritual is generally taken for an evidence of refinement.

This Phallic exponent has been conspicuous in the Bal-fargha, or Bud, of the Island of Muidhr, off the coast of Sligo, represented as similar to the Mabody of Elephanta in India, where the argha was an especial object of worship, and which was seen by the writer, in Bombay, as still an object of religious devotion. There was on the Irish island a wall of large unmortared stones, some ten feet high, and of a rude circular form, having a low entrance. The Bud, or Linga, was surrounded by a parapet wall.

Innis Murra, an islet about three miles from the Sligo coast, has always been held sacred. In that, the area of this Bal-fargha, or argha, of rough stone-work, is 180 feet by 100, in its oval shape. To preserve its devotional character, three Roman Catholic chapels have been erected

p. 151

on the Isle. The holy ground is used as a cemetery; but the males are buried apart from the females. For some reason, a wooden image of St. Mobs is placed there for the regard of worshippers.

As is well known, the snake has been associated with amatory sentiments in nearly all countries, and has for thousands of years. been a favourite form of ornament with women. Now, opposite this island, once given up to sexual worship, the limestone coast has been worn into shapes often tortuous or serpentine. Tradition asserts that this is the spot where St. Patrick cast the snakes of Ireland into the sea; that is to say, in other words, that Christianity extirpated the libidinous deities.

Irish literature notices the presence of two religious sects once existing in the country; viz. those who adored fire, and those who adored water. The first were Baalites; the second Lirites. The Samhaisgs were of the one, and Swans of the other. O'Kearney, in his observations upon this peculiarity of the past, incidentally shows the antiquity of faction fights in Ireland; saying, "It is probable that very violent contentions were once carried on in the Island by the partizans of the rival religions, who were accustomed to meet, and decide their quarrels, at the place set apart for battles." In later and Christian times, when Ireland had a multitude of independent bishops, under no ecclesiastical supervision, disputes of a more or less theological kind are said by the ancient historians to have been settled by their followers in the same fashion.

As the population of Ireland is, perhaps, the most mixed, in racial descent, of any in the world, it is not surprising that this Island should exhibit a greater variety of religions, several of which have left their traces in the traditions and superstitions of out-of-the-way localities.

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