Celtic mythology

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Heith
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Celtic mythology

Postby Heith » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:23 am

My interest has naturally started to tilt towards the Celts, of which I confess to know very little. It's actually a little bit strange that it took so long for the interest to surface as I was excepting this much earlier as the connections with the Norse beliefs surely are there. Perhaps my general enthusiasm towards the monarch history of the British isles plays a part in this as I've been watching quite many documentaries in the past few days & confess to know more of the Tudor era than of the entire history of my own country, which is a little bit shameful I guess. (Surely my current CIV V leader- Boudicca, also plays a part in that the Celts are in my mind as I can't seem to be able to find the optimal way of playing her)

I'm putting up Jiva - sign in hopes that you could point me to some good documentaries on the subject of Celtic mythology, or if not mythology, then any documentary that is worth watching. I sadly am so behind in my work that I can't do any reading at the moment, so I've to watch a lot of documentaries which allows me to learn by listening whilst I work. So videos of lectures work also!
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby RaktaZoci » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:57 pm

I wouldn't see so much as in mythology, but I am surely also interested in the history of The Isles. We have been in many occasions talking about the stone circles and their origins, purpose of usage etc.

I read some time ago from a science magazine (some time=several years) about a stone circle in England. A much smaller one than Stonehenge, but still an outstanding land mark. Some geologists had been studying the stones and noticed that the type of stone the circle was formed of was not to be found anywhere in a 100 km radius. So, they started speculating how the stones might have gotten there, by boat or what mean. Still seems mysterious though, and really interesting, in my opinion..
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Heith
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby Heith » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:57 pm

RaktaZoci wrote:I wouldn't see so much as in mythology, but I am surely also interested in the history of The Isles.
Yep, from the little I know, there was a thriving culture already very early. Apparently the population of the neolithic era was as high as during the Elizabethan (or perhaps I confuse here and it was Victorian?) era. Also I've heard that it was not the Romans who built a vast number of roads in Europe, but the Celts. A proof of the advancement of the culture in the isles may be found in Orkney- an entire Neolithic village (Skara Brae), very well preserved and quite splendidly equipped.

I am most interested of the mythology, as it certainly helps to understand the lives and mindsets of cultures. Also, it is most useful when doing comparative research which I often must due to certain gaps in the recorded lore of the Norse mythology. For example Morrigan is a very interesting figure- compare to Louhi, Freyja etc.
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Jiva
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby Jiva » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:04 am

Heith wrote:I'm putting up Jiva - sign in hopes that you could point me to some good documentaries on the subject of Celtic mythology, or if not mythology, then any documentary that is worth watching. I sadly am so behind in my work that I can't do any reading at the moment, so I've to watch a lot of documentaries which allows me to learn by listening whilst I work. So videos of lectures work also!
Unfortunately I only know the tiniest amount about Celtic stuff. The little I know is mostly due to living in Wales for four years and the odd bit of comparative mythology, mostly from Dumézil. The primary texts for Welsh mythology are collections called the Mabinogion and the Book of Taliesin. I’ve never read either, although I’d like to, but am vaguely familiar with the first book of the Mabinogion due to discussions with friends. Of Irish, French etc. stuff I can confidently say I know nothing other than random names from song titles :P.

I figured the BBC would have a few things on the Celts, including one ingeniously called The Celts that I think can be found on Youtube in its entirety. There are also series called ‘A History of Ancient Britain’ and ‘How the Celts Saved Britain’ if you want extra background watching/listening. N.B. I haven’t watched any of these so they could all be terrible :lol:.

RaktaZoci wrote:I wouldn't see so much as in mythology, but I am surely also interested in the history of The Isles. We have been in many occasions talking about the stone circles and their origins, purpose of usage etc.

I read some time ago from a science magazine (some time=several years) about a stone circle in England. A much smaller one than Stonehenge, but still an outstanding land mark. Some geologists had been studying the stones and noticed that the type of stone the circle was formed of was not to be found anywhere in a 100 km radius. So, they started speculating how the stones might have gotten there, by boat or what mean. Still seems mysterious though, and really interesting, in my opinion..
Actually, there are quite a lot of henges laying around, although most weren’t made of stone. Because we don’t have any imagination the most recognised are all called things like Woodhenge or Seahenge. There used to be one within about 15-20 miles of where I live, that unfortunately got excavated for mining. After the mining finished they simply flooded the hole with water, added some animal species and created an artificial lake (although I guess you Finnish would call it a pond or something :lol:). The exact spot was somewhere I used to visit regularly with my friends to have BBQs and drink beer, although I only found out about the previous henge quite recently. It’s also somewhere I used to go when I had the time for night-time bike rides and swimming.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Heith
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby Heith » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:34 am

Thank you very much! I will look into these. Looks like I've, yet again, more books to add to my reading list :(
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby Jiva » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:03 pm

Well, anything to do with Welsh culture is usually aggressively promoted by the Welsh assembly, so I think at least a good quality translation of the Mabinogion is easily available for a few quid, especially if you have a Kindle (which I can't remember if you do).

The Book of Taliesin is actually contained withing The Four Ancient Books of Wales, which I also found for a few pounds, although as it's published by Forgotten Books the quality will almost certainly be terrible with loads of errors etc.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Heith
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby Heith » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:28 am

Jiva wrote:Well, anything to do with Welsh culture is usually aggressively promoted by the Welsh assembly, so I think at least a good quality translation of the Mabinogion is easily available for a few quid, especially if you have a Kindle (which I can't remember if you do).

The Book of Taliesin is actually contained withing The Four Ancient Books of Wales, which I also found for a few pounds, although as it's published by Forgotten Books the quality will almost certainly be terrible with loads of errors etc.
I've to look if I can locate a nice copy with beautiful illustrations. Nope, no Kindle here.

EDIT: Mabinogion illustrations by Alan Lee seem wonderful!
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Heith
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby Heith » Sat May 23, 2015 12:00 pm

Here a copy from wikipedia:

Geraldus Cambrensis recorded a ceremony among the Irish:

There is in a northern and remote part of Ulster, among the Kenelcunil, a certain tribe which is wont to install a king over itself by an excessively savage and abominable ritual. In the presence of all the people of this land in one place, a white mare is brought into their midst. Thereupon he who is to be elevated, not to a prince but to a beast, not to a king but to an outlaw, steps forward in beastly fashion and exhibits his bestiality. Right thereafter the mare is killed and boiled piecemeal in water, and in the same water a bath is prepared for him. He gets into the bath and eats of the flesh that is brought to him, with his people standing around and sharing it with him. He also imbibes the broth in which he is bathed, not from any vessel, nor with his hand, but only with his mouth. When this is done right according to such unrighteous ritual, his rule and sovereignty are consecrated.


which confused me as I am almost certain to have read of a somewhat similar horse cult thing, except I seem to recall the horse in question to be a stallion & some kind of shady erotic scene to take place in which case I would think the acting human to be female. From what I've read about horse sacrifice in Iceland, they would match one stallion against the other & the winning stallion would be sacrificed to Gods (as it was the best there was to offer), and the second best was used to breeding. Of course mares do not fight one another, so it's difficult to egg them on and see which one wins.

I'm a little bit at loss with the quote from wiki, as I wonder why the mare would be killed- how does this establish the king's rule? Has this something to do with the goddess Epona to whom Rhiannon of the Mabinogi seems to be linked?

If we understand Epona and the aforementioned Rhiannon to be linked to fertility, does the quote from wiki perhaps describe a king's rule over earth's fertility? Or does eating the mare's flesh indicate somehow eating Epona and incorporating her into the king? In Rhiannon's tale she does marry the king, but he must chase her first on horseback. I did not find a mention whether or not she would ride a mare, merely that the horse was white. I do remember reading that Scandinavian priests rode mares though (again source unconfirmed).

I'm very much a novice when it comes to Celtic things but as this parallels so close to Scandinavian things which (I think) I read, I am very confused.
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby Cerastes » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:45 pm

I feel drawn to Celtic mythology very much as it was always closely connected to nature.
In the „Dreiländereck“ where Germany, France and Switzerland border each other is the so called „Belchen-System“ (probably named after the Celtic god Belenus). It is a formation of five small and mid-sized mountains with the same name. The Celts were the ones who gave the mountains their name. Their priests and teachers and the druids, have used the more favorable summits as a calendar and worshiped them as holy mountains. The geometric arrangement of these mountains shows regularities that are on a timetable, but also shows how interesting the relationship between the position of the sun and the calendar days is. For example, if you climp “Alcance's Belchen” at summer solstice, the sun rises over the 27 kilometers northeast, slightly higher “Little Belchen” (1272 meters) and at the winter solitice it rises over the 88 kilometers away south-east located “Swiss Belchen” (1099 meters).
One of those five Belchen mountains is in the Black Forst region and I spent quite a lot of time around it as a child. It's a very magical place.
“Granny Weatherwax was not lost. She wasn't the kind of person who ever became lost. It was just that, at the moment, while she knew exactly where SHE was, she didn't know the position of anywhere else.”
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Re: Celtic mythology

Postby Smaragd » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:58 pm

I'm quite fascinated by mythologies that are able to evolve come new influences, especially if there's attempts to join the hands so to speak. For example I've been fascinated by the legends of King Arthur and how the symbols of Christianity are integrated in it. The unearthing of this topic pointed me to find out some of the Celtic roots of the legend. So atleast partly it's a ground where Celtic myths meet Christianity, which seems to not be a rare union when it comes to the Celts. Interested to find out more. I'll have to find that BBC documentary from the 80's somewhere.

Thank you all for sharing these interesting pits of knowledge!

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