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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in celtic mythology

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Elements: Deer and Spirit

The alchemy of spirit binds the other four elements together. The spark of spirit unites with the elements to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Without spirit, each element would remain inert. However, spirit does more than add spark, it also keeps the elements in balance so that none could harm us. Too much air destroys trees. Too much fire creates a lifeless world. Too much earth will suffocate us. Too much water floods us. In return, the four physical elements balance spirit. Too much spirit makes us insubstantial and ungrounded.

Deer (Red)
With his impressive rack of antlers, the red deer makes an awesome sight. His power and agility makes the red deer, a challenge to hunt. For that reason, the Europeans regarded him the “Lord of the Forest.” For many chieftains and kings, to bring him down was proof of their power. Because of his regal bearing and grandeur, the red deer became a part of European religions. Because of his connection with ancient lives, the red deer brings the old religions alive.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Cait Sith (Kellas Cat):Understanding Nonduality

 The Cait Sith of Scotland is a large black cat with dark green eyes, long ears and a white spot on her chest. If a person encountered the Cait Sith, they would hear a prophecy from Her. As a being from the Otherworld, She watches humans and reports on what She sees. In addition, the Cait Sith guards the secrets of the Otherworld. 

People should be wary of the Cait Sith for a number of reasons. First and foremost, She steals people’s souls from their bodies. In Scotland when a person died, the family would guard the body in a Feille Fadalach (late wake). The first thing, they did was to douse all the fires. Afterwards, they lit a fire far away from the body to entice the Cait Sith to its warmth. Catnip was also spread around there as well. To distract the Cait Sith, people played music, held wrestling matches, and told riddles.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Grainne, Sun Goddess/Winter Queen

In the ancient Celtic world the Goddess was the One who expressed Herself through the many. Grainne is such a one. She is a Solar Goddess, welcoming the rebirth of spring and the fullness of summer and the Winter Queen/Dark Goddess, nurturing seeds through winter. She is Aine’s sister or another aspect of Aine. She, like Aine, was honored at the summer solstice and the first grain harvest of early August with bonfires and torchlit processions on top of her sacred hill at Leinster, Ireland. Remnants of these festivals are still found in folk ritual today. 

Grainne is a part of the triple goddess formed by Herself and Her two sisters, Fenne and Aine. Both Grainne and Aine were beautiful, golden-haired goddesses who visited their fields and hilltops to protect and nurture the land, people and animals.

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1. Not listening to women is dumb, and sets you up for a world of pain. (Don't ignore the young female druid / seidhkona... you get the picture).

2. Stupidity (and hubris) are equal opportunity. It's Queen Maeve who ignores the warning from the wisewoman Fedelm. It's the men following her who compound it. It's Maeve's husband who insults her enough to make her start the war Fedelm knows will be a blood bath. And it's Cu Chulainn who keeps on going despite the goddess Morrigan placing herself directly in his path and warning him of his violent death.

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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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