Sconemac's, Celtic Characters, Myth, Folklore, Bibical and Real

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Scottish Highlands and Islands Partnership

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"CELTIC MYTHOLOGY AND FOLKLORE"

presented by Sconemac


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~~Celtic Page Three~~


CELTIC CHARACTERS - MYTHOLOGY, BIBICAL, REAL
AND FOLKLORE


ALBANACTUS -- REAL --The third son of Brutus after whom Albany or Scotland is named.

Andrew; The patron saint of Scotland. Brother of Simon Peter, and fisherman of Capernaum. He became an apostle and tradition says he was martyred in Achaia by being crucified on a decussated or saltire cross. He was said to have given the Pictish army a vision of this cross at the battle of Athelstoneford between King Angus of the Picts and King Athelstan of the Angles. However, it is fairly clear that Andrew was foisted upon Scotland as its patron when the old Celtic and Culdee centers of Dunkeld and Abernethy were superseded by the new bishopric of St. Andrew's. His feast day is 30th November

David/Dewi; [NOT MYTH-TRUE] (died 601); The patron of Wales. He was born in Cardiganshire and founded twelve monasteries from Croyland to Penbrokeshire, where the regime was particularly austere, after the celtic fashion. He was nicknamed "Aquaticus" after his habit of only drinking water. Although in Wales he is remembered on March 1st with leeks his symbol is actually the dove.


MYTHOLOGY:

ASSIPATTLE -- He was an idle, lie by the fire lad, which is how he recieved his name of 'Ash-pate'. He frequently boasted of the heroic exploits he could perform, hough there was little sign of these and no-one would believe his talk. However, when the muckle 'Mester Stoorworm' came to ravage the country it was Assipattle who defeated it with his wit and cunning. He went to sea in a small boat, with only his knife and a bucket of burning peats. As the great sea-monster swallowed him he cut a hole in it's liver and put the burning peats inside so that he was vomited out. The stoorworm subsequently perished, and Assipattle was wed to the kings daughter. This primal folk-hero was responsible for the creation of many northern islands because of his deed. [The Stoorworm vomited out it's teeth to form the islands of Orkney, Shetland and Faroe and in it's death throe's it's thrashing tail parted the land to for the Skaggerak between Norway and Sweden.]

BELACTUCADROS -- Celtic war god revered in northern Britain. The Romans associated him with their god Mars. His name means 'Fair Shining One' and he is the horned God of the north

BELTAINE -- The Celtic feast of May-Eve, celebrated on the evening of April 30th. It marked the beginning of summer, when livestock were let out of winter pasture to crop the new greeness of Spring. The word literally means The Fire of Bel' a deity related to Belinus. At this feast, all household fires were doused and rekindled from the new fire the druids built on this night.

BLESSED ISLANDS -- A group of otherwordly islands which lie west of Ireland, wherein the worthy dead and otherworldy folk live in the Celtic earthly paradise.

BODACH -- Literally, 'old man'. It was a Highland belief that the Bodach would creep down chimneys and steal naughty children, although in other parts it was considered to be a death warning spirit. It is interesting to notE that, unlike his likely counterpart, the Cailleach, the Bodach has no body of folklore or mythos to support it.

BRAHAN SEER -- (d 1577) Coinneach Odhar was a man who had the gift of sight into the future. His prophesies concerning the Battle of Culloden and the Highland Clearances and even the coming of the railways were all borne out, as was his series of prophesies concerning the Seaforth family. He informed the Countess of Seaforth that her husband was unfaithful to her and she had him hideously burned to death in a tar barrel, but not before he foretold the dying out of the Seaforth line, which would end with a man both deaf and dumb. This was indeed fulfilled

BROLLACHAN -- One of the most feared spirits of the Highlands because it was shapeless. Tradition has it that it could only speak two phrases, 'myself' and 'thyself'. It took the shape of whatever it sat upon but apart from that it had only a mouth and eyes

BROWNIES -- Domestic spirits in the form of small men in brown attire. They do the housework in return for a bowl of milk but they must never be offered any reward, else they are driven away. The Welsh version of them are the Bwca'.

CAILLEACH BHEUR -- A myth from the North West of Scotland. The blue faced hag who represents the season of Winter. She was reborn every Samhain (October 31) and caused the snow to fall. Her power was broken by the appearance of Brigit, as the spirit of Springtime every February and she laid aside her staff under a Holly bush and turned into stone at Beltaine (30 April). Her son was the God of Youth, Analogous to Mabon and Angus mac Og, whom she chased in endless Combat

CAOINEAG -- The Scottish version of the Banshee. It is said that she was heard wailing the night before the Massacre of Glencoe.

CATH SITH>(Cat of the Sidhe - a fairy cat) -- Highlanders believed that the Cath Sith was a transformed witch not a fairy. The King of this otherworldly company of cats was called Big Ears and he would appear to answer questions, set by a diner engaged in taghairm - the roasting of a cat over a fire. [There are many myths surrouding cats all over the British Isles. [Caithness is named after the clan of the Catti or Cat People]

CEASG -- The Scottish Mermaid. Her body was that of a maiden while her tail was that of a young salmon. She was able to grant three wishes if captured and could only be overcome by the destruction of her soul which was kept elsewhere usually in an object or a creature.

CRODHMARA -- These a Scottish fairy cattle that give three times as much milk as normal cattle.

CU SITH -- The fairy dog which was usually green in colour and the size of a young bullock. It was normally only recognised by it's great paw prints, after it had passed by in mud or snow, but if encountered it was extremely dangerous.

DANU; The ancestress of the Tuatha de Danaan. So antique is her legend that no stories have survived. She is analogous with Anu and may survive in BlackAnnis.

DAOINE SIDHE -- The people of the Sidhe or hollow hills. he inhabitants of the Otherworld who, like the faries, live behind the world of men but sometimes co-exist peacefully with them. There is a long tradition that the ancient gods and heroes entered the sidhe and lived there. As with other inner-world peoples they are referred to euphemistically as 'the Gentry' or 'the Good People'.

DIWRNACH/DYRNWCH -- The possessor of the magic cauldron which would not boil the food of a coward. He is variously described as the steward of the King of Ireland and also as a giant. The finding of this cauldron is the subject of the early welsh poem Preiddeu Annwn and is also described in Culhwch and Olwen.

DUBH -- She was the druidess who, on discovering that her husband had another wife, drowned her rival. Her husband then cast at her with his sling and she fell into a pool which was called Dubhlinn or Dublin. The romans called it Nigratherma - literally the Black Pool but perhaps a more ancient name for Dublin is Baile Ath Cliath or the Town of the Ford of the Hurdles.

EACH UISGE -- The Water-Horse which haunts lochs in Scotland and appears like a sleek pony, offering it's back to anyone to be ridden. It then plunges back into the water with it's prey.

EOSTRE -- Anglo-saxon goddess of Spring, worshipped at festivals all over Britain. She gave her name to Easter and some of the present folk customs performed at that time may be traced to her cult.

EPONA -- Although her cult was more widespread in Europe, Epona, the goddess of Horsemen and animals found a special place in Britain with her mythos appearing in stories of Rhiannon and Macha. She is depicted as a woman, semi-naked seated on a throne while two foals feed from her lap, echoing the frequent appearance of twins in stories conected with her. She was adopted by the Romans who observed her feast on December 18th. She was a favourite with cavalry regiments, especially those stationed in low countries. Grooms decorated her shrines, to be found in every stable, with garlands of roses. One of her symbols is the key which unlocks the Underworld.

FERRISHYN -- The Manx name for the Fairy host. Their hearing was omniscient and for this reason people would speak very carefully or quietly about them.

FFLUR -- Nearly all traces of Fflur's legend have been lost. Her name meaning flower establishes her as one of the Flower Maidens of British Mythology - Blanaid, Guinevere, Blodeuwedd. She was beloved of Caswallawn, but was carried off by Julius Cesear, according to the meager evidence of the "Triads". Caswallawn's quest in search of her, even to the gates of Rome, suggests that Fflur may indeed be one of the many faces oF Sovereignty.

FINGAL, Fionn mac Cumhal -- is sometimes called this in Gaelic Scotland. The name also derived some popularity from the bogus epic 'Ossian' written by MacPherson in the late eighteenth century drawing on oral stories about the Fianna. James MacPherson fabricated a set of romantic Celtic Poems which impressed and fired Europe into a reconsideration of Celtic culture, though his work was soon discovered to be a fake.

FIR CHLIS -- The Nimble men or Merry Dancers were the names given by Scottish Highlanders for the Aurora Borealis. They were considered to be the souls of fallen angels whose descent had been arrested before they reached earthly realms, though their glory was considered due to the blood spilt in battles between their rival clans

FUATH -- These malicious Scottish spirits were found near water both inland and on the sea. Fuaths were thought to be the parents of Brollachans.


Presented by
Nancy MacCorkill, F.S.A.Scot
Author, Poet
Historian of the Ancient Clans of Scotland
Constant Researcher of the Celt



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