Celticsprite’s Blog

Celtic Culture: "Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches"
July 26, 2012, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Celtic Culture, Memorable Data

I am pleased to share with you this awesome online legacy from Scotland. 

For anyone interested on stories, songs, music, poetry and factual information of Scotland, you’ll find out and awesome collection of over 26,000 oral recordings made in Scotland and further afield, from the 1930s onwards.
As stated on it’s official site ,the collaborative project Tobar an Dualchais has been set up to preserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online several thousand hours of Gaelic and Scots recordings. This website contains a wealth of material such as folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, traditions, stories and other information. The material has been collected from all over Scotland and beyond from the 1930s onwards.
The recordings come from the School of Scottish Studies (University of Edinburgh), BBC Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland‘s Canna Collection.
Please note that not all material from the School of Scottish Studies Archives is available on the website.
Examples from these collections include
  • Stories recorded by John Lorne Campbell on wax cylinders in 1937
  • Folklore collected all over Scotland by Calum Maclean in the 1950s
  • Scots songs recorded by Hamish Henderson from travelling people in the 1960s
  • Conversations recorded on Radio nan Gàidheal
Certainly it is always rewarding to discover sites like Tobar an Dualchais  which not only preserve rich oral heritage but spread it widely, making it available for educational and personal use for future generations.

Divinations for the Mystery Moon ((7-18-12 to 8-17-12)
July 20, 2012, 4:22 pm
Filed under: Lunar Calendar, Meditation and Healing

This is a time for Gathering

This moon is frequently known as the Harvest Moon. This name is a reference to the harvest time in both our physical gardens and in our personal perspectives.

Just as the first fruits and grains of our physical gardens may be ripe enough to enjoy at this time, so too with our spiritual harvests. This first gathering of the ffullness to come is mirrored in dream work, meditation, divination, which may be viewed as a similar preparation for the harvest of the spirit which will sustain life through the inevitable barron seasons which will follow.

This moon will also host Lammas, (the Feast of Bread), a cross quarter day celebrating the first harvest on August 1st.

It is at this time that King Harvest arrives in the fields to fell the first sheaves which will be preserved to ensure the survival of the hearth, home and clan. It was traditional at this time to bake small honeyed loaves in the shapes of the god and goddess and offer them in thanks for a successful harvest. This tradition may not have changed so much over the years. Reach back into your childhood. Tell me…. who was the “Gingerbread Man”? Could he have been a surviving vestige of this ancient tradition?

Whether you know this as the Hazel moon, or the Meadow moon… the Hay moon or the Harvest moon, you will know this moon as the one in which you may begin to turn your thoughts to personal “seeds” of development in your own life. This is the time to assess the growth and development of these “seedlings” to see if they are ready for a more personal harvest

And if they are as ripe and fully developed as you wish them to be… then this is the time for a first harvest… a first taste of all the joys and blessings to come.

Sheesh! When the hot rays of the Summer Sun are baking you to a toasty tan and you can hear the snap, crackle, and pop of the ice cubes swimming in a gentle pool of beverage-of-your-choice, why oh why would ya wanna work up a spiritual sweat meditating on the impending death of the Summer? Well this is why, Wookie, because the wheel of the year turns at the same pace as it always has and always will, and we can crawl or dance to that pace, as we choose, but the wheel will sweep us along with it like it or no!

OK, I will admit that it’s hard to get into the spirit of meditation on future decline when the sizzle has barely left the last of the Fourth of July sparklers and there are still cold frosty beverages left in the cooler, but think on this… You have grown a lot since we had one of these little chats. Wouldn’t it be a shame to waste any part of all that growth by missing the beginning of the harvest? So, lean back in that lawn chair, and play with the warm wet circles under your glass while I tell you what the tarot has to say for each astrological sign at this turn of the wheel.

Related Source:
(all rights reserved by the author and reposted under her kind permission)

Lunar Calendar: The Harvest Moon (July 18th to August 17th)
July 20, 2012, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Lunar Calendar, Meditation and Healing

This is a time for Gathering.

In the calendar system we have provided as an example, this moon is frequently known as the the Harvest Moon. This name refers to the harvest time in both our physical gardens and in our personal perspectives. This is represented in both the physical harvests of energy that was expended in growth and spiritual harvests of the insights and in the meditations which will sustain both the body and the spirit during the coming winter months.

In many other belief systems there are already time-honored traditions for the establishment of a calendar. We have encluded a few examples here for you to consider.

In the Celtic Tree Calendar the name of this moon is Coll (Hazel) which runs from August 5th through September 1st.

The Runic Calendar of Nordic traditions, (which is governed by half months rather than full months), divides this moon of the year by Ur (Primal Strength) from July 14th through July 28th, and Thorn (Defense) from July 29th through August 12th.

The Goddess Calendar names this moon of the year after Kerea and runs from July 11th through August 8th.

This moon is often known as the Meadow Moon, the Hay Moon, or the Harvest Moon and refers to the harvest which will bring energy for achieving future fullness and success. The preservation of the fruits of this harvest is mirrored in dream work, meditation, divination, which may be viewed as a similar preparation for the harvest of the spirit which will sustain life through the inevitable cold days to come.

During this moon Odin is said to have found release from the world tree “Yggdrasil” where he hung for nine days and nights attaining sacred knowlege of the runes. Today Runestones are a reminder of the blessings of the sacred union of knowledge and the cost for obtaining it.

This moon is host to Lammas, (the Feast of Bread), a cross quarter day celebrating the first harvest. It is at this time that King Harvest arrives in the fields to fell the first sheaves which will be preserved to ensure the survival of the hearth, home and clan. It is traditional at this time to bake a loaf in the shape of the goddess and offer it in thanks for a successful harvest.

So, with all this information to guide you, it may be that you can view this first of three moons that focus on matters of harvest as an opportunity to focus on matters that you too should be harvesting in your life. Whatever personal “seeds” you planted for this year should be assessed now to see if they are “ripe” enough to harvest.

Related Source:
(all rights reserved by the author and reposted under her kind permission)

Áine: The Irish Sun and Moon Goddess
July 19, 2012, 12:01 am
Filed under: Celtic Celebrations, Celtic Goddess, Celtic Symbolism

Áine (Irish for “brightness, glow, joy, radiance; splendour, glory, fame”) (Irish pronunciation: [ˈaːnʲə] ) is an Irish goddess of summer, wealth and sovereignty.)She is associated with midsummer and the sun and the moon, and is sometimes represented by a red mare, which lead us to associate her with the belief in the Goddess Epona and Rigantona, regarding her Moon Goddess aspect She is the Mother Goddess associated to fertily and is the Maiden aspect of a Triple Goddess.
Her solar associations, refer to her mainly with the morning light and the dawn of the year, quite evident in traditional beliefs, that depicts her as the wife or daughter of of the sea god Manannán mac Lir.,  noticing that at each and every dawn “she rises up from bed” (the Sea).
She is the daughter of Egobail, the sister of Aillen and/or Fennen, and is claimed as an ancestor by multiple Irish families. As the goddess of love and fertility, she had command over crops and animals and is also associated with agriculture. 
About seven miles from Áine’s hill, Cnoc Áine (Knockainy) in County Limerick, is the hill of the goddess Grian, Cnoc Gréine. Grian (literally, “sun”) is believed to be either the sister of Áine, In County Limerick, this pre-Christian belief on the Goddess was transmogrified ad she is now remembered as Queen of the fairies. It is said that she even sometimes took animal form, as a red mare, in order to walk among her people.
Many stories sprung up around the belief that Aine often turned herself into a fairy in order to mate with mortal men. This was oftentimes done by enchantment rather than by mutual consent. Spellbound by the goddess, these men were said to do whatever she commanded.
In any case, Aine was quite popular with the Irish people. In fact, her fame spread so far that it eventually reached the Western Isles of Scotland.  During summer time people lit torches of hay upon her hill of Cnoc Aine, carried them around the hill in a counterclockwise direction, and conveyed them home, bearing them aloft through their fields, while they waved the blessed fire over livestock and crops. 
Another of Áine’s manifestations, or possibly “Macha in disguise”.Due to Áine’s connection with midsummer rites, involving fire and the blessing of the land, recorded as recently as 1879. it is possible that Áine and Grian may share a dual-goddess, seasonal function (such as seen in the Gaelic myths of the Cailleach and Brighid) with the two sisters representing the “two suns” of the year: Áine representing the light half of the year and the bright summer sun (an ghrian mhór), and Grian the dark half of the year and the pale winter sun (an ghrian bheag).
She is also associated with sites such as Toberanna (Irish: Tobar Áine), County Tyrone; Dunany (Irish: Dun Áine), County Louth; Lissan (Irish: Lios Áine), County Londonderry; and Cnoc Áinenear Teelin, County Donegal.
In early tales she is associated with the semi-mythological King of Munster, Ailill Aulom, who is said to have “ravished” her, an affair ending in Áine biting off his ear – hence “Aulom”, meaning “one-eared”. By maiming him this way, Áine rendered him unfit to be King, thereby taking away the power of sovereignty.The descendants of Aulom, the Eóganachta, claim Áine as an ancestor.
In other tales Áine is the wife of Gearoid Iarla. Rather than having a consensual marriage, he rapes her (thought to be based on the story of Ailill Aulom), and she exacts her revenge by either changing him into a goose, killing him, or both. Thus the FitzGeralds also claim an association with Áine; despite the French-Norman origins of the clan, the FitzGeralds would become known for being “More Irish than the Irish themselves.”
Áine is sometimes mistakenly equated with Danu as her name bears a superficial resemblance to Anu. “Aynia”, reputedly the most powerful fairy in Ulster, may be a variant of the same figure.
Lough Gur is strongly associated with fertility. According to local legend, every seven years the lake decreases revealing a wonderful tree of Another World that has the power to rejuvenate the whole earth.
She was worshiped at the Summer Solstice, Not surprisingly, Aine is also linked with the fertility of the land. Because of her associations with fire and water, she was also associated with healing. It was believed that she regulated the vital spark of life’s fire, which, like the sun’s daily traversal of the sky, circulated through the body every 24 hours. If bloodletting occurred on her sacred days, which were the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday prior to Lughnasadh, it was thought the sacred life spark would flow from the body and the patient would die.
Aine is therefore associated with both the life-giving sun itself, and the sun’s power in the human body, through which the spark was thought to travel by means of the blood. These folkloric remains point to the fact that in days past there must have been a full, rich tradition of healing in which Aine – as the spark of life, the sun-spark within the blood – played a significant part. 

About Thormahlen Harps, Hear them played !
July 12, 2012, 1:29 am
Filed under: Celtic Harp, Celtic Instruments
I am flattered to share with you this awesome video about “Thormahlen Harps”. Settled in Oregon, USA, they are makers of  fine and  elegant lever harps available in five models to suit the needs of the player, including the beginning student, the therapeutic musician, the Irish player, the teacher and the professional entertainer. All harps have 34-36 strings with a warm, well defined bass and a brilliant, clear treble that will encourage your playing and enhance your sound. 

Here are some details about Thormahlen Harps and you can hear Sharon Thormahlen play the same tune on the 3 models of harps that we make (The Swan, The Cygnet and The Serenade), made out of a variety of woods (8 harps in all). For more information about our harps, visit http://www.thorharp.com

Here is a list of the harps played on the video clip
1.Maple Cygnet/Spruce, Folk Gut Strings
2.Bubinga Cygnet/redwood veneered Spruce, Folk Gut Strings
3.Koa Swan, Cedar veneered Spruce, Folk Gut Strings
4.Cherry Cygnet, Cedar veneered Spruce, Nylon Strings
5.Walnut Cygnet, Cedar, Folk Gut Strings
6.Cherry Swan, Spruce, Nylon Strings
7.Serenade, Mahogany, Nylon Strings
8.Maple Swan, Spruce, Nylon Strings

Suggested Albums : Robin Williamson – "Love Will Remain" (2012)
July 3, 2012, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Robin Williamson, Suggested Albums

“Robin Williamson” – Love Will Remain / New Release 180 Gram Vinyl LP + CD insert + booklet (Official Press)

After “Just Like The River And Other Songs With Guitar”, his last album with Quadrant Records, “Love Will Remain” is the second instalment from Robin Williamson, who offers his songs with the simple format of voice, acoustic guitar and other instruments played by himself. Williamson, an icon of British folk-rock, since in the sixties he revolutionized the scene as co-leader of the unique “The Incredible String Band”, now presents, in addition to ten songs on vinyl and CD, an approach to his paintings and a series of texts that includes both his thoughts and explanations on the creation of these paintings. Ten songs, seven of his own compositions and three covers among which we find The Band and Syd Barrett, making up the repertoire of this album, a work that is very personal, which largely takes us back to the personal and restless composer, closer to the aesthetics of the years immediately following the String Band than the deepened facet of traditional music in which the group plunged into after its split.

“Love Will Remain” kindly invites us to enter the universe of a singular and extremely unique artist, an artist whose influence has been openly acknowledged by some of the most important musicians of recent decades. The edition includes 180-gram vinyl, CD insert and booklet with large paintings and texts from this contemporary bard whose work continues to remain latent and timeless.

Feel free to listen some sample tracks on the Reverbnation Official Page