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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in celtic mythology
Each-Uisge (Water-Horse): Be Cautious, Be Aware

Throughout the lands surrounding the North Sea, stories abound of dreaded lake monsters who lurk below the surface. These tales describe many of the monsters as “water-horses.” This beast resembles a seal with two sets of flippers, a long neck and a small head. People usually divide “water-horses” into two types – the long-necked Nessie and the maned Each-Uisge. While Nessie of Loch Ness is more benign, the Each-Uisge, also of Scotland, is more sinister. Haunting lakes and lochs, this shapeshifter kills and eats unwary humans (leaving only the liver). The Each-Uisge usually lures people by pretending to be a docile horse.

 From ancient times, the Each-Uisge has filled people with dread and fear. The Picts depicted Him in all his ferocity their pictographs. The Romans recorded deadly sightings of this beast during their time in Britain. Described as a glistening black horse with a greenish patina, the Each-Uisge would appear on the roadside as a tame horse. Seeing relief, the weary traveler would mount Him, only to find themselves firmly affixed to the beast’s back. After that, the “horse” would quickly trot off. When the Each-Uisge smelled water nearby, He would race into the lake drowning the unfortunate victim.

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This May I was blessed to be asked to teach at a wonderful event at Dunderry Park in County Meath in Ireland. 'Animystics' was a two day event that wove together various Celtic traditions and earth based practices to really deepen our connection to the earth and our own souls. My session was all about connecting with tree spirits, and the tradition of the Bile, or sacred tree, clan totem and representative of the world tree in the Celtic Traditions. Standing there, in a field on a beautiful May morning, I was struck again by how such simple acts as breathing and being present to nature can restore our balance, and by extension our connection to our own sovereignty, our own souls, and the soul of the earth Herself. Dunderry is just a few miles from the hill of Tara, said to be the ancient seat of the semi- mythical high kings of Ireland, and I felt the ancient ancestors, with their passionate love of the land reach out to us, to remember, and honour Her again as a way to restore ourselves in these often troubled times.

Tara is such a special place, a wide green hill that overlooks a vast and verdant landscape. On a clear day it is said you can see all of Ireland from it's summit. Once an Iron Age hill fort, it is also home to a Neolithic burial mound, 'the mound of the hostages', granting access to the womb of the earth, the realm of the sidhe, and the Lia Fáil, or Stone of Destiny, said to have been brought from the otherworldly city of Falias by the Tuatha de Danann, the Irish gods. The Lia Fáil is said to cry out when the rightful king stands upon it. Once it stood beside the mound, but now it stands sentry a little further off, overlooking the wide plains below. Whether this solitary monolith was truly the ancient mythical stone will always be up for debate, but standing there touching its weathered grey sides, sensing the endless generations that have come here, and used this as the touchstone, the still and central point to anchor their spiritual and earthly selves together, to find that link to sovereignty in a world that tries to take so much soul and so much power from us, is always a healing and humbling moment.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
[Today, we sit down with Juli D. Revezzo. Author of short stories, novellas, and novels, Revezzo is an eclectic Celtic Pagan who favors both the dark and creepy and the sweet and romantic in her tales. Here, she discusses how her spiritual path influences her writing, the writing process itself, and her latest fantasy and mystery publications.]
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_DRUIDWARRIORSHEART3flatcopy.jpg
 
BookMusings: If you could correct any common misconception about modern Paganism/polytheism, what would it be?
 
Juli D. Revezzo: I'd think I'd say that we all have the same belief. We don't, of course. 
 
BM: How do you describe your personal spiritual path? Do you follow a particular tradition, or are you more eclectic in your practices?
 
JDR: It's a little Celtic in nature, but mostly it's centered around my writing ... I guess you could call it bardic though more in an open to the muses kind of way than any strict Celtic bardic tradition. Although I wouldn't call myself a recon, I am a lore lover. 

BM: How much do your spiritual beliefs and practices inform your writing? Do you find yourself including the Deities or heroes you honor, or basing your characters’ experiences and practices off your own?
 
JDR: Some. In the case of my Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, I'd say the lore I've studied formed the basis of the overall stories. Particularly as pertains to Ruth and Stacy's battles in the CSC books, they are directly based on the myth of the Second Battle of Mag Turied (a battle fought between the Tuatha Dé Danann and their enemy Balor). 
 
BM: Your Celtic Stewards Chronicles focuses on a family responsible for the protection of sacred land, specifically Ruth (in the sixteenth century) and Stacy (in the twenty-first century). How thoroughly did you plot out the characters’ genealogy, and do you plan to tell the stories of any of Stacy’s other ancestors?
 
JDR: Their genealogy goes back more than 70,000 years. As Aaron (the hero of the first book, Passion's Sacred Dance) says there have been many battles, and many the heroines don't even know about; while they do try to keep records, some are just simply lost.
 
BM: While Ruth lives in sixteenth century Catholic Ireland, she and her family secretly honor the ancient Gods and Goddesses. Ruth is worried that she will be accused of witchcraft, despite the family’s friendship with the local priest. Is there evidence of the worship of the Old Gods in sixteenth century Ireland? Were there witchcraft trials there, too, like there were on the Continent?
 
JDR: Evidence of pagan worship? Well, there is the ever present belief in the fair folk, and the remaining stone monuments. But don't you suspect there was some worship of the gods going on, despite what the church hoped? :)
 
Were there witchcraft trials in Ireland? Oh, yes. According to Irish Witchcraft and Demonology by St. John D. Seymour, there were at least examinations of accusations of witchcraft, from the 13th century up through the 19th. In chapter three he lists a statute from 1586 says: "1. That if any person or persons after the end of three months next, and immediately after the end of the last session of this present parliament, shall use, practise, or exercise any witchcraft, enchauntment, charme, or sorcery, whereby any person shall happen to be killed or destroied, that then as well any such offender or offenders in invocations and conjurations, as is aforesaid, their aydors or councelors . . . being of the said offences lawfully convicted and attainted, shall suffer paines of death as a felon or felons." I just fudged the history a little and moved the possibility of it up 73 years to give my heroine Ruth something  else to worry about. :) Not that she needs much more, what with the war and the harshad warriors and monsters wandering around, and Balor out to get her.  That's the great thing about fantasy writing: You can sorta kinda get away with playing with timelines. :)
 
BM: What sort of research went into the Celtic Stewards Chronicles? Lots of trips to the library? Hours surfing the web? Piles of books on your desk?
 
JDR: This book took me roughly two and a half years to write -- just to get the first draft correct enough to send to my beta readers. I made many  trips to the library and spent hours surfing [the internet]. I read through lots of "life in the middle ages" type books, lots of web pages. I have a whole word document full of links I referred to. All fun! :) Also picked the brains of some friends who study the era and some who'd been to Ireland. I even learned how to knit! :)
 
BM: Murder Upon a Midnight Clear centers around psychic witch and police detective, Helene Collias. Please tell me you plan to return to Holly and tell more stories about Helene. Pretty please?
 
JDR: Funny you should I ask, as I do have a story rolling around in my brain that, if nothing else, might take place just outside Holly. Helene and I just haven't found the right crime for her to wrap her head around, yet. 
 
BM: Bicycle Requiem is described as a “zombie novelette.” It is also super creepy. Where the heck did you get the idea for this story?
 
JDR: From time to time, unfortunately, you hear stories about these kinds of hit and run accidents on the news. One day I was emailing back and forth with a fellow horror writer and somehow the little girl just popped into my head. I figure there must've been one of those news stories running on tv in the background. She didn't appear quite as creepily as she does to poor Teddy, but there she was.
 
BM: Many of your stories straddle the line between fantasy and horror. What do you find so appealing about those genres, separately and together?
 
JDR: I've always been in love with fantasy, mystical, magical stories, which are always so much more intriguing to me. I love the layers of meaning you can work into a fantasy story that you can't quite get elsewhere. The darker stories ... that was my brother's fault. He always loved horror stories, and I guess some of that bled into the mix, particularly where the heroine of my Antique Magic series is concerned.
 
BM: Where can curious readers find your books?
 
JDR: They can visit my site at: http://julidrevezzo.com/ and find all of my books, as well as my blog. As for retail sites, my books and stories are at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, and Createspace. Some are in the Amazon-exclusive Kindle Unlimited program, but not all.
 
BM: You have self-published a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, in both digital and print format. What advice can you offer other writers who are considering the self-publishing route?
 
JDR: Proofread. Get your books as clean as you possibly can. Nevermind worrying about what other readers will say, I say think of it this way: You want to put out something you'll be able to look back on and be proud of, not something you wish you'd never released. If it takes an extra copy or an extra few weeks to re-read over it, what's the harm?
 
Also, get a good cover. Have a look at the covers in your genre and make notes of what works for you and trust your cover artist. If she says, "Hey that girl shouldn't be in polar fleece" when your book is set in Medieval France, she's probably right. :)
 
Also, read, study. You can write all you want, too. All of it is a part of the learning process, but I think I'd hold back on publishing until you're confident you've got all the bugs out of whatever manuscript it is that you're thinking of publishing. Think of it not only as a little (emphasis on little) money in your pocket, but your legacy. On the other hand, the editing has to stop one day; don't waste so much time editing that one book that you never write another, and never send anything out.
 
BM: What other projects are you working on?
 
JDR: 2015 was a pretty productive year for me, in terms of getting first drafts down. Right now, I am working on getting the follow up to Druid Warrior's Heart out to beta readers. I just released my first steampunk Victorian romance so I'm busy trying to get my marketing ducks in a row for that, and meanwhile, I've got the follow up to my short Gothic supernatural story House of Cards about ready to release here. Possibly for a Beltaine release or somewhere thereabouts, if the gods are kind. Also, I'm getting to work on some edits for the next installment in my Antique Magic series.
 
Those are all my "varying stages of editing" projects, I'm just trying to organize the release dates, really. And (yes, I am not done with the list!)  I'm also working on plotting what I hope will be the fourth installment in the Celtic Stewards Chronicles. It looks like 2016 is going to be all about releases, but who knows? I never can tell what else my muse will throw at me. :) She's like a raven with shiny stuff, sometimes. 
 
***
 
Druid Warrior's Heart (Celtic Stewards Chronicles, Book two) -- available at Amazon.

Passion's Sacred Dance (Celtic Stewards Chronicles, Book one) (PNR) -- available at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and Createspace.

Changeling's Crown 
-- (New Adult PNR)--available at Amazon
Barnes and NobleSmashwords, and Createspace.

The Antique Magic series -- available at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords 
 and in paperback from Amazon.
 
Murder Upon a Midnight Clear -- available at Amazon.
 

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Anytime! I'm always happy to provide a space for Pagan authors.
  • Juli D. Revezzo
    Juli D. Revezzo says #
    Thanks for hosting me today, Rebecca! I enjoyed our little chat.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I ask myself this as I peruse internet articles based on scholarly attention to the tales preserved by Irish monks.  Long geneologies are reeled off of the early Irish residents, some gods, some mortal.  Ireland was inhabited relatively late in human history - perhaps only as little as 9,000 years.  While modern Ireland exported her residents, the earliest inhabitants of Ireland were all 'blow ins' - that nickname given to incomers not indigenous to Ireland. In the earliest days, Ireland had no indigenous population other than the juniper and elk, bear and bilberry.  Recent DNA studies indicate that today's Irish population is closely related to Britons and Scots, with a strong injection to the gene pool from the Iberian peninsula.

So, too, the goddess Danu may not be properly a 'Celt', even as she is venerated as a Celtic deity. She may have originated on the Indian subcontinent and simply moved westward.  It is suggested that her name is echoed in the rivers Danube and Don (one in Russia, another in Yorkshire), but linguists and philogists might dispute any true connection with rivers or Tuatha dé Danaan to Danu at all.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The hag, or the cailleach as she is called in Scotland and Ireland, has been much in mind this past year.  Partly this is because I am getting into stride with my own inner, physical and emotional, crone.  But in the way that these things happen,the micro is just a reflection of the macro world. I am increasingly called to address the hag goddess and to evangelize acknowledging this dark side of the divine feminine.

I am reminded that everyone loves the springtime maiden aspect of Brighid. They revel in the bounty of the maternal Brighid.  But little is written about the encounter with the fierce hag aspect of Brighid.  The gloves are off with Her; She is well capable of giving you the proverbial Zen shove and bitch slap if She is ignored.  Shortly before I turned fifty I cried out for Brighid to get me out of somewhere.  In the manner of 'be careful for what you ask for' she complied. What came was a tidal wave of painful change, a demolition of my ego, a period of depression requiring medication, and a recalibration of everything I thought about loss and power. It transformed Everything. But it also set me on the path that I reckon She wanted me to take but that I had resisted. (The ego is often the enemy of our highest good.) I actually prefer the life that Brighid forged for me out of the ashes and pig iron leftovers, but the transformation was a scorcher. But, like the goddess Brighid herself in Ireland's culture, I survived.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Oops, typo: "but had not know Her name of Cailleach" should have read "but had not know Her BY THE name of Cailleach until about a
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Bee, omg, once again, you and I seem to be thinking about similar stuff. Since your blog shares your experiences with Cailleach so

Last New Moon, we explored the spirit-filled world of the polytheistic Celtic-speaking tribes. Of course, this is the same spirit-filled world we inhabit today, whether we currently live in one of the modern Celtic nations or are the far-flung biological or spiritual descendants of the ancient Celts, living in many other countries around the world. The call of these ancient traditions runs deep, as attested by the more than 22,000 people who viewed The Three Cauldrons blog last month!

Think about it... all of those people, on some level, are your tribe. In the wake of the industrial revolution and the information age, we enjoy many conveniences, but also suffer tremendously from a lack of connection. We hunger for community, tribe, elders, and connection with nature and spirit. This hunger for connection boils down to one word: Relationship. Why else are we on the internet looking for like-minded souls? Seeking peers, friends and colleagues, looking for common ground, support and inspiration, we reach out into the etheric web, and are sometimes rewarded with connection.

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There is no clean land in all of Ireland, no fields not blood-soaked nor polluted by tears and death, for the Great War had raged across the land for ages. The war and its reasons, the dead and their Kings,  their celebrated champions no longer matter. One royal husband slain and the victor wed, and Tailtiu, still Queen of Ireland, never took part in the fighting.

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