Celticsprite’s Blog


Celtic Symbolism : Mother-Right
July 28, 2011, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism
I share with you this interesting blog by Sobeit on “Mother-Right” as previously posted on “In the Mists of Avalon” … all rights reserved by the author.

“They bound themselves by the sun and moon that the possession of Pictish kingdom …… should be held by right of the female rather than that of male progeny to the end of the world.”
____ Geoffrey Keating, Fonus Feasa ar Eirinn
In our times, a reconsideration of the role and status of women has brought us into new relationship with mother-right, with a proper acknowledgment, of the gifts of the feminine. For men and women this has been a rediscovery of a secret inheritance, for our connection with the mother-country of the soul has been fractured. Our society has been (and for the most part still is) patriarchal: things are ordered from the masculine point of view, generally for the benefit and enhancement of masculine privileges. That which partakes of the feminine has been marginalized and neglected – including not only the lives of women but also feminine side of male nature.
A whole new way of living and valuing things comes into focus when we consider the mother-right. The hidden side of our nature, then side that intuits rather than reasons, the part that views things from the inside out rather than from the outside in, can come into play when mother-right is allowed to function normally. This does not mean switching a patriarchy for a matriarchy, for each of these extremes is as unbalanced as the other. Rather, it means allowing the side of our society and individuality that has been recessive to take its rightful place. The recognition of the feminine quietly acknowledges the intrinsically royal nature of mother-right, which speaks as sovereign from the depths of the mother-country – a land that still wants to be fully rediscovered and restored.

“Meditate upon the feminine within your life. Revisit the mother-country of the soul where the feminine’s holy and regal nature is recognized.”
[From: The Celtic Spirit by Caitlin Matthews]

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Celtic Symbolism: The Belief on Natal Lunar Fertile Phases
July 21, 2011, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism
As I have already discussed on my previous post, celts had a strong belief on the influence of the moon on births, germinations, and blossoms.

Mother Earth and Mother Goddess are female conceptions, deities of “motherhood, fertility, creation”, with correspondig Moon Goddesses like Rhiannon, Arianrhod, and even Ceridwenn.

This welsh goddess, owner of the cauldron of inspiration and rebirth, is one of the goddesses most often found in neo-pagan rituals. Although the myth can found three female archetypes (maiden, mother and crone) is related mainly to the “witch”, which represents the Waning Moon in the lunar cycle.

Among the elements commonly associated with their representations is the cauldron and a big sow or white javelin. The cauldron is a symbol of the feminine principle, as the chalice or the cave and is commonly associated with the uterus, as well as processes of transformation and rebirth. The pig is a symbol of fertility and sensuality. It is considered a patron goddess of the cycles of life, death and rebirth, as well as inspiration, creativity and divination.

Let us just recall the Sheela-Na-Gig character, modern scholars believe these statues and images to be related to fertility rites sacred to men and women.

Thousands of years ago,women were revered for their life-giving powers-their vagina being “the portal through which a child enters the world” (E.O. James, religious historian, The Chalice and the Blade). It was believed that once a person dies they can return to life by being reborn through the vagina.

Blood was a symbol of life, therefore the female’s menstrual cycle was mysterious and sacred. Arcaeologists have discovered ancient Cro-Magnon burial sites in France, where, around the skeletal remains, are cowrie shells covered in red ocher, a symbol of the vagina and menstral blood, so the deceased could be revitialized by the woman’s life giving blood.

“The information about menstruation among the Celts is very scarce. An image of the mythic tale “The Tain” shows the goddess Medbh creating lakes and ponds with their body fluids. I tend to believe that menstrual blood was used, as later medical texts establish a correspondence between the water of the cosmos and human blood. Anyway, this is not corroborated. (See two books by Bruce Lincoln, “Myth, Cosmos, and Society” and “Death, War, and Sacrifice”). “
(Quote from the Museum of Menstruation: http://www.mum.org/religcel.htm)

Nightlighting and the moon
The word “menstruation” is etymologically related to “moon”. The terms “menstruation” and “menses” are derived from the Latin mensis (month), which in turn relates to the Greek “mene” (moon) and to the roots of the English words “month” and “moon”.

Some authors believe women in traditional societies without nightlighting ovulated with the full moon and menstruated with the new moon, and one author documents the controversial attempts to use the association to improve the Rhythm Method of regulating conception.

A few studies in both humans and other animals have found that artificial light at night does influence the menstrual cycle in humans and the estrus cycle in mice (cycles are more regular in the absence of artificial light at night). It has also been suggested that bright light exposure in the morning promotes more regular cycles. One author has suggested that sensitivity of women’s cycles to nightlighting is caused by nutritional deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals.

Natal Lunar Fertile Phases

What does this phenomena mean? …Simply as this, moon can trigger ovulation and bring on fertililty at any time during the menstrual cycle – including before, during and just after your period.

The natal lunar fertile phase was re-discovered by Czech psychiatrist Dr Eugene Jonas in the 1950’s. His interests in astrology led him to ancient writings which stated that “women are fertile during a certain phase of the moon”… But which phase of the moon?

Through further research, study and calculation he discovered that the lunar phase at which a woman was fertile depended on the relationship between the sun and the moon at the moment she was born.

You are fertile at that time of your cycle when the moon is at the same lunar phase as when you were born.

How is your Lunar Phase calculated?

The term Lunar Phase refers to the angle between the sun and the moon. When the sun and moon are conjunct or at 0 degrees this is a New Moon. when they are opposing each other or 180 degrees this is a Full moon and all other positions in between as shown in the diagram below.

Each individual is born under a particular moon or lunar Phase.

Each month when the moon returns to this same position (as it was at your birth) it can trigger your body to spontaneously ovulate even if this time occurs outside your normal midcycle fertile time.

Now it may not always do this, BUT THE POTENTIAL IS THERE.

In order to know on which Luna Phase you were born, there are a few tools around on the web that will give you some idea of your lunar phase, for example this site has a lunar phase calculator.

Related Sources:

http://mythmaiden.com/celtic.htm
http://philosophytree-breanne.blogspot.com/search?q=fertility
http://www.menstruation.com.au/menstrualproducts/basiclunar.html



Celtic Symbolism: "Fertility Believes and Rites"
I will draw my attention today on an aspect much related to the Moon himself, “Fertility”.

There are some interesting believes and rites to discuss about, a passionate subject as life itself.

Goddesses

Arianrhod was the Welsh goddess of beauty, fertility and reincarnation. She was also known as a sky goddess, Keeper of the Silver Wheel of Stars and her ship carried dead warriors to Emania (Moon-land).

Anu was the Irish goddess of plenty and Mother Earth as well as the deity of cattle, health, fertility, prosperity and comfort.

Feel free to find out more information on my previous related post

Animals

Animals were held in reverence by the Celts because they displayed many of the attributes such as strength, fertility, etc. that the Celts prized.

The Serpent or Snake represents the cyclic nature of life due to the annual shedding ot its skin. It is a phallic symbol, a symbol of the Triple Goddess and of the earth mysteries. It is important to the Druids, and is found on much old Celtic jewelry. Snakes represented the procreative ability of both genders and the mystery of both physical and metaphysical procreation. Druid’s were also known as “Adders” and it’s possible that the story of St. Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes refers to the Druids.

The Horse was sacred to many Goddesses. They were linked to the night, the moon, myster and magick. Nightmares, a name which is derived from that of the female horse, were thought by the Celts to be brought by a visiting horses Goddess such as Epona or Mare. In most Celtic myths the horses are black or white.

The Stag associated to ‘The Horned One’, Cernunnos is depicted with ram horns or antlers. His most famous depiction is on the Gundestrap cauldron, where he is the main figure and has exaggerated antlers that recall the Scythian stag art. As a god of fertility and wild animals, his nature and name suggest a link to the Hittite Karhuhas.
The antlers of the stag are compared to tree-branches and thus may represent fertility. Since they are shed and re-grown every year, they may also symbolise rejuvenation and rebirth. Cernunnos, the Celtic Horned God, was depicted with the antlers of a stag; he is said to be a god of fertility and plenty, and to be the Lord of the Beasts. According to some, his antlers symbolise a radiation of heavenly light. Images of stags were supposedly used to symbolise Cernunnos in non-human form.

Trees

For centuries, the Celts also embraced another symbol of nature in its ability to produce fertility – the Hazel tree. Celts of ancient times are said to have believed that string together hazelnuts around doorways and in rooms would bring fertility to couples and abundant life to their offspring. Celts believed in the power of nature, and thus trees were seen as symbols of life-giving energy.

Rings produced by Celtic cultures often feature Pine cones. As art, this depiction of nature is effective, but they also represent an icon for fertility because of the similarity in appearance between a pine comb and a woman’s womb.

The habit of adding a sprig of Furze bloom in a bridal bouquet is thought to allude to this, the all-year-round blossom being a symbol of continuous fertility.

According to Pliny the Elder, the Celts considered the Mistletoe as a remedy for barrenness. Because mistletoe cannot grow in earth but has to parasitize a host tree, Celts believed the shrub to be a physical aspect of the tree that held its soul. Mistletoe was believed to be an aphrodisiac–to enhance fertility, an antidote for poisons and as a protection against evil spirits. Mistletoe was ritually cut from an oak tree with a golden sickle by the Druids of Celtic Europe on the sixth night after the winter solstice.
In winter, while all the leaves of the sacred Oak had fallen away, the mistletoe remained green; it was thought to contain the life of the tree.

Sacred Waters and Holly Wells


The sympathetic link between water and fertility led, as one might expect, to a number of wells gaining a reputation for curing childlessness. In Oxford, for example, Child’s Well “had vertue to make women that were barren to bring forth children” , while St.Agnes Well at Whitestaunton in Somerset gained fame when Henrietta, the wife of King Charles I, was rumored to have wished for a child there, and became pregnant soon after.

Sculpture

The well, therefore, was viewed as leading into the womb of the earth- mother herself, a concept graphically illustrated by the presence of the Sheela-Na-Gig in the vicinity of some holy wells in Ireland. This female “fertility figure”, carved in stone, stands with legs wide apart, holding open her vagina: close by stands the well – it, too, being an orifice from which life springs forth.

The vulva is the main door, the mysterious divide between life and nonlife. For more information on Sheela na Gigs, check out : SheelaNaGig.org

Festivals

Imbolc (an old Irish word) (February 1-2 (also known as the Festival of Lights) was sacred to the fertility goddess. The goddess usually associated with Imbolc was Brigid (Bridget, Brighid, Bringindo, Brigantia, Brigandu, Bride,) she is the Irish goddess of agriculture, fire, healing, inspiration, learning divination, occult knowledge, poetry, prophecy and smithcraft. The Celts often referred to her as a triple goddess Imbolc placed emphasis on the quickening of the year, the strengthening of Light that was beginning to pierce the winter’s bleakness and associated with the coming into milk of the ewes.

Beltaine, May 1 was to honor the god Bel (Belenus, Belinos, Beli Mawr). He was a god of life and death, cattle, crops, fire, healing, hot springs and prosperity and the festival was seen as a purification. It was a way of visualizing the Great Father who impregnates the Great Mother. The May Eve/May Day festival celebrated fertility and fire. This festival was also to encourage the sun in its annual cycle and to persuade it to return from its seasonal death.



"Valedhelven" : My collaboration with an artist from Faerie
July 20, 2011, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore, Memorable Data

Thanx to a stamp made for my deviantArt friend Elena Dudina, to whom I had already dedicated a post, I had the chance to enter the magical elven world of *Valedhelven , a world of fantasy, enchanted woods, and mystical ladies that gazed upon me while spying their beauties and silky hairs….

But it was one work in particular that allured me a lot… it was none other but her “Elven Beastmistress” artwork, a masterpiece that made me suddenly recall about the story of Gwenwyven, a celtic lady that wandered the paths of my imagination for long, a novel of my own never written yet…

It is no doubt that this is one of those moments when the creation finds the artist… and in this case it was a pleasure for me to discover such a nice female being called Ellen aka *Valedhelven whose friendship now I treasure a lot…

Click on the image to get full access to this magnificent piece along with the collaboration of mine.

But let me share with you some cool retrospective answers of this talented artist now, a very camera-shy girl who has never had any formal training in Photoshop (in her own words).

She currently lives in the Midwestern U.S., loves all things fantasy: Elves, Mermaids, Dragons… ! Adores the therapeutic value of creating new images, but loves the chance to make new friends and make people smile even more 🙂 Sometimes has a hard time juggling artwork and “real life” responsibilities, but does her best anyway.

A romantic girl who loves the rain: walking in it, swimming in it, gardening in it… “I love the smell of it and everything about it” (in her own words).

Short Self Questionary

1. What does your Deviant art name mean and why?
“Valedhelven” is a name I came up with many MANY years ago for a character I used to play when I was young and nerdy (nerdier…) and played D&D all the time – lol! It is an Elvish name (surprise, surprise) made up from parts I found in the back of the Lord of the Rings – Return of the King… “When I was your age, television was called ‘books…'” (and I will make a stamp for the first person who can name the movie that quote is from, and an extra surprise to the first one who bothers to look up what the Elvish parts of my name mean and tells me correctly…)

2.What are your top 3 favorite books series of books? (not mangas)
1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Belgariad by David Eddings
3. the Drow series by R.A. Salvatore

…although lately I have discovered the Amelia Peabody series and am having a ball reading them – something entirely new for me!

3. Name 3 of your favorite bands/singers
:cd: 1. The Corrs
:cd: 2. Celtic Woman
:cd: 3. Pat Benetar

A quote from Celtic Sprite :

My acknowledgments to you kind Ellen for this special joint-venture, let’s keep our paths into Faerie Land ☼



Faerie Lore : "Yallery Brown"
July 19, 2011, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore, Fairy Music
I have always been attracted by this singular fairy character.

The first time I saw an image of him was on the marvellous book “Faeries” (1979) by Brian Froud and Alan Lee…

“Yallery Brown” is a mischievous fairy-like nature spirit in an old Lincolnshire folk tale from England, which itself is usually named after the creature. You may always find him supposedly trapped or sleeping under a flat stone…so, watch out!

Hereby my fav. story ever as recounted by the famous Joseph Jacobs… on his book “More English Fairy Tales“, New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons; London (1894)
(Original featured drawing by John Dickson Batten)

“Yallery Brown”


ONCE upon a time, and a very good time it was, though it wasn’t in my time, nor in your time, nor anyone else’s time, there was a young lad of eighteen or so named Tom Tiver working on the Hall Farm. One Sunday he was walking across the west field ’twas a beautiful July night, warm and still and the air was full of little sounds as though the trees and grass were chattering to themselves. And all at once there came a bit ahead of him the pitifullest greetings ever he heard, sob, sobbing, like a bairn spent with fear, and nigh heart-broken; breaking off into a moan and then rising again in a long whimpering wailing that made him feel sick to hark to it. He began to look everywhere for the poor creature. ‘It must be Sally Bratton’s child,’ he thought to himself; ‘she was always a flighty thing, and never looked after it. Like as not, she’s flaunting about the lanes, and has clean forgot the babby.’ But though he looked and looked, he could see naught. And presently the whimpering got louder and stronger in the quietness, and he thought he could make out words of some sort. He hearkened with all his ears, and the sorry thing was saying words all mixed up with sobbing —

‘Ooh! the stone, the great big stone! ooh! the stones on top!’

Naturally he wondered where the stone might be, and he looked again, and there by the hedge bottom was a great flat stone, nigh buried in the mools, and hid in the cotted grass and weeds. One of the stones was called the ‘Strangers’ Table’. However, down he fell on his knee-bones by that stone, and hearkened again. Clearer than ever, but tired and spent with greeting came the little sobbing voice — ‘Ooh! ooh! the stone, the stone on top.’ He was gey, and misliking to meddle with the thing, but he couldn’t stand the whimpering babby, and he tore like mad at the stone, till he felt it lifting from the mools, and all at once it came with a sough out o’ the damp earth and the tangled grass and growing things. And there in the hole lay a tiddy thing on its back, blinking up at the moon and at him. ‘Twas no bigger than a year-old baby, but it had long cotted hair and beard, twisted round and round its body so that you couldn’t see its clothes; and the hair was all yaller and shining and silky, like a bairn’s; but the face of it was old and as if ’twere hundreds of years since ’twas young and smooth. Just a heap of wrinkles, and two bright black eyne in the midst, set in a lot of shining yaller hair; and the skin was the colour of the fresh-turned earth in the spring — brown as brown could be, and its bare hands and feet were brown like the face of it. The greeting had stopped, but the tears were standing on its cheek, and the tiddy thing looked mazed like in the moonshine and the night air.

The creature’s eyne got used like to the moonlight, and presently he looked up in Tom’s face as bold as ever was; ‘Tom,’ says he, ‘thou’rt a good lad!’ as cool as thou can think, says he, ‘Tom, thou’rt a good lad!’ and his voice was soft and high and piping like a little bird twittering.

Tom touched his hat, and began to think what he ought to say. ‘Houts!’ says the thing again, ‘thou needn’t be feared o’ me; thou’st done me a better turn than thou know’st, my lad, and I’ll do as much for thee.’ Tom couldn’t speak yet, but he thought, ‘Lord! for sure ’tis a bogle!’

‘No!’ says he as quick as quick, ‘I am no bogle, but ye’d best not ask me what I be; anyways I be a good friend o’ thine.’ Tom’s very knee-bones struck, for certainly an ordinary body couldn’t have known what he’d been thinking to himself, but he looked so kind like, and spoke so fair, that he made bold to get out, a bit quavery like –‘Might I be axing to know your honour’s name?’

‘H’m,’ says he, pulling his beard; ‘as for that’ — and he thought a bit — ‘aye so,’ he went on at last, ‘Yallery Brown thou mayst call me, Yallery Brown; ’tis my nature seest thou, and as for a name ’twill do as any other. Yallery Brown, Tom, Yallery Brown’s thy friend, my lad.’

‘Thankee, master,’ says Tom, quite meek like.

‘And now,’ he says, ‘I’m in a hurry tonight, but tell me quick, what’ll I do far thee? Wilt have a wife? I can give thee the finest lass in the town. Wilt be rich? I’ll give thee gold as much as thou can carry. Or wilt have help wi’ thy work? Only say the word.’

Tom scratched his head. ‘Well, as for a wife, I have no hankering after such; they’re but bothersome bodies, and I have women folk at home as’ll mend my clouts; and for gold that’s as may be, but for work, there, I can’t abide work, and if thou’lt give me a helpin’ hand in it I’ll thank –‘

‘Stop,’ says he, quick as lightning. ‘I’ll help thee and welcome, but if ever thou sayest that to me — if ever thou thankest me, see’st thou, thou’lt never see me more. Mind that now; I want no thanks, I’ll have no thanks’; and he stampt his tiddy foot on the earth and looked as wicked as a raging bull.

‘Mind that now, great lump that thou be,’ he went on, calming down a bit, ‘and if ever thou need’st help, or get’st into trouble, call on me and just say, “Yallery Brown, come from the mools, I want thee!” and I’ll be wi’ thee at once; and now,’ says he, picking a dandelion puff, ‘good night to thee’, and he blowed it up, and it all came into Tom’s eyne and ears. Soon as Tom could see again the tiddy creature was gone, and but for the stone on end and the hole at his feet, he’d have thought he’d been dreaming.

Well, Tom went home and to bed; and by the morning he’d nigh forgot all about it. But when he went to the work, there was none to do! All was done already, the horses seen to, the stables cleaned out, everything in its proper place, and he’d nothing to do but sit with his hands in his pockets. And so it went on day after day, all the work done by Yallery Brown, and better done, too, than he could have done it himself. And if the master gave him more work, he sat down, and the work did itself, the singeing irons, or the broom, or what not, set to, and with ne’er a hand put to it would get through in no time. For he never saw Yallery Brown in daylight; only in the darklins he saw him hopping about, like a Will-o-th’-wyke without his lanthorn.

At first ’twas mighty fine for Tom; he’d naught to do and good pay for it; but by and by things began to grow vicey-varsy. If the work was done for Tom, ’twas undone for the other lads; if his buckets were filled, theirs were upset; if his tools were sharpened, theirs were blunted and spoiled; if his horses were clean as daisies, theirs were splashed with muck, and so on; day in and day out, ’twas the same. And the lads saw Yallery Brown flitting about o’ nights, and they saw the things working without hands o’ days, and they saw that Tom’s work was done for him, and theirs undone for them; and naturally they began to look shy on him, and they wouldn’t speak or come nigh him, and they carried tales to the master and so things went from bad to worse.

For Tom could do nothing himself; the brooms wouldn’t stay in his hand, the plough ran away from him, the hoe kept out of his grip. He thought that he’d do his own work after all, so that Yallery Brown would leave him and his neighbours alone. But he couldn’t — true as death he couldn’t. He could only sit by and look on, and have the cold shoulder turned on him, while the unnatural thing was meddling with the others, and working for him.

At last, things got so bad that the master gave Tom the sack, and if he hadn’t, all the rest of the lads would have sacked him, for they swore they’d not stay on the same garth with Tom. Well, naturally Tom felt bad; ’twas a very good place, and good pay too; and he was fair mad with Yallery Brown, as’d got him into such a trouble. So Tom shook his fist in the air and called out as loud as he could, ‘Yallery Brown, come from the mools; thou scamp, I want thee!’

You’ll scarce believe it, but he’d hardly brought out the words but he felt something tweaking his leg behind, while he jumped with the smart of it; and soon as he looked down, there was the tiddy thing, with his shining hair, and wrinkled face, and wicked glinting black eyne.

Tom was in a fine rage, and he would have liked to have kicked him, but ’twas no good, there wasn’t enough of it to get his boot against; but he said, ‘Look here, master, I’ll thank thee to leave me alone after this, dost hear? I want none of thy help, and I’ll have naught more to do with thee — see now.’

The horrid thing broke into a screeching laugh, and pointed its brown finger at Tom. ‘Ho, ho, Tom!’ says he. ‘Thou’st thanked me, my lad, and I told thee not, I told thee not!’

‘I don’t want thy help, I tell thee,’ Tom yelled at him — ‘I only want never to see thee again, and to have naught more to do with ‘ee –thou can go.’

The thing only laughed and screeched and mocked, as long as Tom went on swearing, but so soon as his breath gave out — ‘Tom, my lad,’ he said with a grin, ‘I’ll tell ‘ee summat, Tom. True’s true I’ll never help thee again, and call as thou wilt, thou’lt never see me after today; but I never said that I’d leave thee alone, Tom, and I never will, my lad! I was nice and safe under the stone, Tom, and could do no harm; but thou let me out thyself, and thou can’t put me back again! I would have been thy friend and worked for thee if thou had been wise; but since thou bee’st no more than a born fool I’ll give ‘ee no more than a born fool’s luck; and when all goes vicey-varsy, and everything agee — thou’lt mind that it’s Yallery Brown’s doing though m’appen thou doesn’t see him. Mark my words, will ‘ee?’

And he began to sing, dancing round Tom, like a bairn with his yellow hair, but looking older than ever with his grinning wrinkled bit of a face:

‘Work as thou will
Thou’lt never do well;
Work as thou mayst
Thou’ It never gain grist;
For harm and mischance and Yallery Brown
Thou’ st let out thyself from under the stone.’


Tom could never rightly mind what he said next. ‘Twas all cussing and calling down misfortune on him; but he was so mazed in fright that he could only stand there shaking all over, and staring down at the horrid thing; and if he’d gone on long, Tom would have tumbled down in a fit. But by and by, his yaller shining hair rose up in the air, and wrapt itself round him till he looked for all the world like a great dandelion puff; and it floated away on the wind over the wall and out o’ sight, with a parting skirl of wicked voice and sneering laugh.

And did it come true, sayst thou? My word! but it did, sure as death! He worked here and he worked there, and turned his hand to this and to that, but it always went agee, and ’twas all Yallery Brown’s doing. And the children died, and the crops rotted — the beasts never fatted, and nothing ever did well with him; and till he was dead and buried, and m’appen even afterwards, there was no end to Yallery Brown’s spite at him; day in and day out he used to hear him saying —

‘Work as thou will
Thou’ It never do well;
Work as thou mayst
Thou’ It never gain grist;
For harm and mischance and Yallery Brown
Thou’ st let out thyself from under the stone.’


Celtic Symbolism: "The Moon Goddess"
July 15, 2011, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism, Druidry
Most of you might probably be aware of the significance of our “Mother Goddess”, basically a term used to refer to a deity who represents “motherhood, fertility, creation”. Concepts also present on many of the “Triple Godesses”, “Death, Birth and Beauty”,”Girl, Wife, and Widow”, and the most contemporary contribution (according to Ronald Hutton), the concept of a Triple Goddess with “Maiden, Mother and Crone” aspects and lunar symbology was Robert Graves‘s contribution to modern paganism.
“Triple Goddess” symbol of waxing, full and waning moon,
representing the aspects of Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
As a symbol of the cosmic cycles
it is also a representation of the process of
life and death, reincarnation and rebirth.

Many different goddesses have represented motherhood in one way or another, and some have been associated with the birth of humanity as a whole. Others have represented the fertility of the earth, but how about the “Moon Goddesses” then?

On this subject let me make some comments on “Arianrhod” and “Rhiannon” the two Moon Goddess for us the Celts.

Arianrhod

Goddess of the moon and stars. Is the Celtic Goddess of “Fertility, Rebirth, and the Weaving of Cosmic Time and Fate”.

The name “Arianrhod” (from the Welsh arian, “silver,” and rhod, “wheel”) .Alternatively, the earliest form of the name may have been Aranrot, in which case the first part of the name would be related to “Aran.”

Her name has been translated as “Silver-Wheel”, a symbol that represents the ever-turning wheel of the year.

Rhiannon

Rhiannon is associated to a “Goddess of fertility”, and also to the moon, night, and death. Her name means ‘Night Queen’. She is associated with horses and has otherworldly birds in her posession.

Some also associate her to the Irish “Macha” and the Gaulish “Epona“, the “Horse Goddess”; but I guess it is because of it’s relation with the horse as depicted on the welsh Mabinogion, which does not present Rhiannon as anything other than human.

She is probably a reflex of the Celtic Great Queen goddess Rigantona

Rhiannon thus bears the stamp of two important Gaulish cults: that of the “Horse Goddess” Epona on one hand; and Matrona, the “Great Mother”, on the other. Rigantona ‘Great Queen’, as Rhiannon would have been known in Romano-British times, is best considered a local variant of this composite figure.

Scholars of mythology have nevertheless speculated that Rhiannon may euhemerize an earlier goddess of Celtic polytheism . Similar euhemerisms of pre-Christian deities can be found in other medieval Celtic literature, when Christian scribes and redactors may have felt uncomfortable writing about the powers of pagan gods. In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, for example, Macha and Morrígan appear as larger-than-life figures, but are never described as goddesses, very similar to the presentation of Rhiannon in the Mabinogion.

Proinsias Mac Cana states: “[Rhiannon] reincarnates the goddess of sovereignty who, in taking to her a spouse, thereby ordained him legitimate king of the territory which she personified”.According to Miranda Jane Green, “Rhiannon conforms to two archetypes of myth … a gracious, bountiful queen-goddess; and as the ‘wronged wife’, falsely accused of eating charlotte”.

Sources:

A quote from Celtic Sprite:
I am particularly thankful to Kothirat for depicting and perceiving so well our Goddess Rhiannon. My special gratitude to her.



Druidry: The Lunula Sacred Necklace
July 13, 2011, 5:11 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism, Druidry
As I quoted on my previous post regarding druidry’s Nature Worship of The Moon, The Sun, The Sea, and The Wind ; in early thought everything was a person, in the loose meaning then possessed by personality, and many such “persons” were worshipped–earth, sun, moon, sea, wind, etc.
This led later to more complete personification, and the sun or earth divinity or spirit was more or less separated from the sun or earth themselves.

Perhaps the most important object in nature to the early Celts as to most primitive folk was the moon. The phases of the moon were apparent before men observed the solstices and equinoxes, and they formed an easy method of measuring time. The Celtic year was at first lunar–Pliny speaks of the Celtic method of counting the beginning of months and years by the moon–and night was supposed to precede day.

The Lunula

But how about the “Lunula”, the “Sacred Necklace of Druids”? The Moon is also present here with an intrinsic meaning …a Sun/Moon Calculator or clock

“Lunula” (plural: lunulae) is the term used to describe a distinctive type of early Bronze Age necklace shaped like a crescent moon. Gold Lunula are found most commonly in Ireland, but there are moderate numbers in other parts of Europe as well, particularly Great Britain and Portugal.
Among those in this country, are a notable example, for its artistic quality, the two Lusitanian Silver Lunula found in 1912 in Chao de Lamas, a village in the parish of Lamas in Miranda do Corvo (district of Coimbra). They are dated to the second century C., and accompanied other parts of painstaking preparation, also of silver. Today, out in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid.

Although no lunula has been directly dated, from associations with other artefacts it is thought they were being made sometime in the period between 2200-2000BC (Needham 1996, 124). Less than two hundred gold lunulae are known and it is possible they were all the work of a handful of experts.

It is one of the best known of the early Irish gold styles as its shape does suggest the New Moon. There are two definite centers within its form, in a proportion of approximately two (inner) to three (outer) circumferences.

Examine this collar and you will find the fact that there are 11 sun-discs on each flanges (totally 22 discs on both), then count the elliptical bows of the collar, there are 7 elevated lines (representing 7 rays of light).

As you know, 22/7 is Pi or π (3.14、、、、、), mathematical proportion of circular and three dimensional geometry.

As I already discussed on “The Trinity of Number 3” ,three is sacred number for druids. Origin of “Temple or Shrine”, the triple aspect of ancient gods and goddesses, and the ancient triple spiral symbol, also known as the triskel.

Manufacture and Decoration

The ancient literature of Ireland contains many references to gold ornaments and payments of gold by weight. It is interesting to note that the tradition preserved in the Book of Leinster, a ms. of the twelfth century, refers the first smelting of gold in Ireland to a district in which gold has been found in considerable quantities in modern times. The Leinstermen, it is stated, were called “Lagenians of the gold,” because it was in their country that gold was first discovered in Erin. It is further stated that gold was first smelted for Tighearnmas, one of the earliest of the Milesian kings, in the forests standing on the east side of the River Liffey, by Iuchadan, a native of that district.

The “Lunula” was made by firstly hammering a piece of gold (or silver) into a flat sheet. The cresent shape was then cut out. Lunula were usually decorated with chevron (zig-zag) design using a technique called ‘Incision’ where the design was cut directly into the front of the metal using a sharp tool. The lunula was to be worn around the neck like a collar and tied at the back by twisting the wide paddles against each other. More tha 80 Lunula have been found in Ireland.

Ross Co Westmeath is believed to be one of the best preserved examples. This collar has chevrons incised into the narrow upper part and an incised border around the edges part. (look at the top figure for it’s lunar/solar significance)

The most telling lunulae discovered were from Kerivoa, Brittany. Here three lunulae were discovered in the remains of a box with some sheet gold and a rod of gold. The rod had its terminals hammered flat in the manner of the lunuae. From this it is thought that Lunulae were made by hammering a rod of gold flat so it became sheet-like and fitted the desired shape.

Decoration was then applied by impressing designs with a stylus. The stylus used often leaves tell-tale impressions on the surface of the gold and it is thought that all the lunulae from Kerivoa, and another two from Saint-Potan, Brittany and Harlyn Bay, Cornwall were all made with the same tool. This suggests that all five lunulae were the work of one craftsperson and the contents of the Kerivoa box their tools of trade.

In 2010 the National Museum of Ireland discovered a find of early Bronze Age Irish Art. A pair of Gold Discs and a large lunula from Co Roscommon. Follow this link to learn more about this important discovery which made headline news.

Lunulæ now existing or known to have formerly existed:—

(as related by George Coffey)

IRELAND (62 at least).

County. No. Reference.
Donegal, 2 R.I.A. 1889: 20 (1). Trenta, Carrigans. R.I.A. 1909: 6 (1). Naran.
Londonderry, 2 R.I.A. W. 12 (1). R.I.A. (loan 1907: 7) (1).
Antrim, 3 Dublin Penny Journal, vol. iv, p. 295.
Down, 1 Castlereagh, Ulster Journal of Archæology, vol. ix, p. 46.
Tyrone, 3 Trillick, R.I.A. 1884: 495 (1). Carrickmore, R.I.A. 1900: 50 (1). Tartaraghan, Ulster Journal of Archæology, vol. ix, p. 47 (at Cecil, Augher) (1).
Mayo, 1 R.I.A. 1909.
Sligo, 1 Windele’s Miscellanea, p. 206.
Fermanagh, 1 Enniskillen (Day Coll.).
Monaghan, 1 Ballybay (Day Coll.).
Galway, 1 R.I.A. W. 10 (Sirr Coll.).
Roscommon, 2 Athlone, R.I.A. W. 5, and 1893: 4.
Cavan, 3 Newtown, R.I.A. 1884: 494 (1). Bailieborough (British Museum) (1). Lisanover, Bawnboy. 1910: 45 (1).
Westmeath, 2 Ross, R.I.A. 1896: 15 (1). Mullingar, 1884: 7 (1).
Kildare, 4 Dunfierth, R.I.A. W. 4, 8, 9, and 15.
Clare, 2 Porsoon Callan, R.I.A. 1877: 52 (1). Proc. R.I.A., vol. viii, p. 83 (1).
Tipperary, 1 Glengall (British Museum).
Kerry, 5 Banmore, R.I.A. R., 1755, 1756, 1757 (3): R.I.A., Killarney, W. 2 (1). Mangerton (Brit. Mus.) (1).
Cork 2 Ballycotton (Brit. Mus.) (1), and one or perhaps two in Mr. Cliborn’s scrap-book in R.I.A.

In addition to the foregoing there are 16 in the collection of the R.I.A. and 5 in the British Museum, and about 6 in private collections, which are known to have been found in Ireland, but of which the localities have not been recorded.

ENGLAND (4).

Cornwall, 4 Penzance (1), Padstow (2), Lesnewth (1) (Arch. Journ., vol. xxii, 276).

WALES (1).

Carnavonshire, 1 Llanllyfni (British Museum).

SCOTLAND (4).

Lanarkshire, 2 Southside near Coulter (Anderson, vol. i, p. 223).
Dumfriesshire, 1 Auchentaggart (Anderson, vol. i, p. 222).
Elginshire, 1 Fochabers (Cat. Nat. Mus., Scot., p. 210).

FRANCE (6).

Côtes du Nord, 1 Saint-Potan (Reinach, Revue Celtique, 1900, p. 95).
Manche, 3 Tourlaville (1), Valognes (1) (Reinach, R. C., 1900, p. 95).
Montebourg (1) (Cong. Arch. de France, 1905, p. 301).
Vendée, 2 Bourneau (1), Nesmy (1) (Reinach, R. C., 1900, p. 95).

BELGIUM (1).

Luxemburg, 1 Fauvillers (Cong. Arch. de France, 1905, p. 302).

DENMARK (2).

Zealand, 1 Grevinge (A. f. Anth. xix, 9).
Funen, 1 Skogshöierup (A. f. Anth. xix, 9).

image Fig. 54.—Map showing the Distribution of Lunulæ in Ireland and Europe.

GERMANY (1).

Hanover, 1 Schulenburg (Leine) Springe (1911).

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