Celticsprite’s Blog

Celtic Poems: A Lover’s Quarrel Among the Fairies
February 25, 2013, 6:07 pm
Filed under: Celtic Poems, Faerie Lore

A moonlight moor. Fairies leading a child.

Male Fairies: Do not fear us, earthly maid!
We will lead you hand in hand
By the willows in the glade,
By the gorse on the high land,

By the pasture where the lambs
Shall awake with lonely bleat,
Shivering closer to their dams
From the rustling of our feet.

You will with the banshee chat,
And will find her good at heart,
Sitting on a warm smooth mat
In the green hill’s inmost part.

We will bring a crown of gold
Bending humbly every knee,
Now thy great white doll to hold —
Oh, so happy would we be!

Ah it is so very big,
And we are so very small!
So we dance a fairy jig
To the fiddle’s rise and fall.

Yonder see the fairy girls
All their jealousy display,
Lift their chins and toss their curls,
Lift their chins and turn away.

See you, brother, Cranberry Fruit —
He! ho! ho! the merry blade! —
Hugs and pets and pats yon newt,
Teasing every wilful maid.

Girl Fairies: Lead they one with foolish care,
Deafening us with idle sound —
One whose breathing shakes the air,
One whose footfall shakes the ground.

Come you, Coltsfoot, Mousetail, come!
Come I know where, far away,
Owls there be whom age makes numb;
Come and tease them till the day.

Puffed like puff-balls on a tree,
Scoff they at the modern earth —
Ah! how large mice used to be
In their days of youthful mirth!

Come, beside a sandy lake,
Feed a fire with stems of grass;
Roasting berries steam and shake —
Talking hours swiftly pass!

Long before the morning fire
Wake the larks upon the green.
Yonder foolish ones will tire
Of their tall, new-fangled queen.

They will lead her home again
To the orchard-circled farm;
At the house of weary men
Raise the door-pin with alarm,

And come kneeling on one knee,
While we shake our heads and scold
This their wanton treachery,
And our slaves be as of old.

(c) William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Faerie Lore: "Fairies Or No Fairies"
January 23, 2013, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore

Faerie Lore: "The Long Defeat" by ashsilverlock
January 18, 2013, 5:56 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore
Elves!…which one of us haven’t ever been alured by the wonderful elven cosmogony created by the all time aclaimed author J R R Tolkien ?… I wasn’t able to prevent myself to share with you an excerpt of such interesting post from my Blogger friend ashsilverlock who carries a cute site called “Fabulous Realms”, on which explores the origins and source of such magical beings. (All rights reserved by the author).
Alan_Lee_illustration_GaladrielThe Elves of Middle Earth, also known as the Eldar, the Quendi and the Firstborn, stand at the absolute heart of Tolkien’s legendarium. Even though the word ‘Elf’ existed long before anyone heard of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, today the Elf is a very different creature because of Tolkien’s writings. The oldest and wisest people of Middle Earth, the Elves possess great nobility and power. They do not age, nor do they die, unless wounds, grief or some artifice of the Enemy takes hold of them and ends their existence. To other peoples they seem at once aged and ageless, possessing the lore and wisdom of experience, together with the joyful nature of youth. But above all, they are the only race never to have willingly served the Shadow. For they revel in the wonders of nature, the beauty of songs and tales, the glimmer of the stars, and the voice of the waters. But in their hearts, they also possess great sadness, knowing that all things pass, and that they cannot preserve them. It is this melancholic aspect of the Elves which makes them so central to Tolkien’s mythology, for they seem to encapsulate one of the major themes of his writing – the passing of ‘The Elder Days’, of a more enlightened and spiritual age, and the loss of its ideals in the face of the relentless rise of man and modernity. But this characteristic also links them with the Elves of folklore who, as depicted in fairy tales like The Elves and the Shoemaker, at first appear very different from Tolkien’s firstborn – smaller and more frivolous in every way. However, it is possible, however unlikely, to link the two conceptions of Elves, if one takes into account Tolkien’s explanation for their literal and metaphorical ‘dwindling’ – an explanation which involves them fighting the inevitable extinction of their species, better known as the ‘Long Defeat’. 
For this, however, we must go back to the very beginning, and Tolkien’s earliest inspirations for the children of Varda.
Tolkien’s Elves are derived in some part from an entirely novel solution to an old mythological problem. There was no doubt that a belief in Elves was widespread in European antiquity, however the words used about them seemed curiously contradictory. The Icelander Snorri Sturluson seemed aware of both ‘Light Elves’ (liosalfar) and ‘Dark Elves’ (dokkalfar), but he also recognised ‘Swart Elves’ (svartalfar), though the place they lived, Svartalfheim, was also the home of the Dwarves. Meanwhile Old English uses words like ‘Wood Elf’ (wuduaelf) and ‘Water Elf’ (woeteraelf). How are all these fragments to be reconciled? Are ‘Swart Elves’ the same as ‘Dark Elves’, and both perhaps the same as Dwarves? Tolkien, however, distinguishes the two species from each other perfectly clearly: the Dwarves are associated with mining, smith craft and a world underground, the Elves with beauty, allure, dancing and the woodland. The various types of Elf, meanwhile, are not separated merely by colour but by history. The ‘Light Elves’ are those who have seen the light of the Two Trees which preceded the sun and the moon, in Aman, or Valinor, the Undying Land in the West. The ‘Dark Elves’ are those who refused the journey and remained in Middle Earth, to which many of the Light Elves eventually returned, as exiles or as outcasts. The Dark Elves who remained in the woods of Beleriand are also, of course, naturally described as Wood Elves. Whilst it would only be natural, as time went by and memory became blurred, for men to be unsure whether such a character was once an Elf or a Dwarf, a main aim in Tolkien’s creations was always to ‘save the evidence’ i.e. to rescue his ancient sources from hasty modern accusations of vagueness or folly. Saving the evidence, moreover, generated story, which was a rather handy side effect!
The first of Tolkien’s published works in which the Elves are glimpsed is The Hobbit, although he had, as we now know, been creating an Elvish mythology for more than 20 years before then (in the string of tales which were to become The Silmarillion). In his 1937 novel, though, Tolkien used Elves sparingly, mentioning them only with reference to Elrond in chapter 3 (‘one of those people whose fathers came into the strange stories before the beginning of History’) and then in the long paragraph discussing the Wood Elves, High Elves, Light Elves, Deep Elves and Sea Elves in chapter 8. It is the Wood Elves who play the most prominent part in The Hobbit, of course, and Tolkien drew his immediate inspiration for them from a single passage in the Middle English romance Sir Orfeo. This contains a famous section in which Orfeo, wandering alone and crazy in the wilderness after his wife has been abducted by the King of Faerie, sees the fairies riding by to hunt, their horns blowing and their hounds barking. Similarly, the first sign Thorin and company have of the Elves in chapter 8 of The Hobbit is when they become aware of the dim blowing of horns in the wood and the sound of dogs baying far off. The basic idea is the same in both places: that of a mighty king pursuing his kingly activities in a world forever out of reach of strangers and trespassers in his domain. This is a common device in Tolkien’s fiction – he often took fragments of ancient literature, expanded on their intensely suggestive hints of further meaning, and made them into a coherent and consistent narrative (usually enhancing them with ideas both from his own mythology and from traditional fairy tale).
We encounter Wood Elves of a quite different sort in the Lothlorien chapter of Lord of the Rings. As with the realm of the Mirkwood Elves, the ‘magic’ of Lorien has many roots, but there is one thing about it which is highly traditional, while also in a way a strong re-interpretation and rationalization of tradition. There are many references to Elves in Old English and Old Norse, as well as modern English (belief in them seems to have lasted longer than is the case with any of the other non-human races of early native mythology), but one story which remains strongly consistent is that of the mortal going into Elfland – best known, perhaps, from the ballads of Thomas the Rhymer. The mortal enters, spends what seems to be a night, or three nights, in music and dancing. But when he comes out and returns home he is a stranger, everyone he once knew is dead and there is only a dim memory of the man lost underhill. Elvish time, it seems, flows far slower than human time. Similarly, the Fellowship ‘remained some days in Lothlorien, as far as they could tell or remember’. But when they come out Sam looks up at the moon and concludes that it is: ‘as if we had never stayed no time in the Elvish country’. Frodo agrees with him, and suggests that in Lothlorien they had entered a world beyond time. Legolas the Elf, however, offers a deeper explanation. For the Elves, he says: ‘the world moves, and it moves both very swift and very slow… The passing seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long stream’.
The interlude in Lothlorien brings to light another trait of Tolkien’s Elves – many if not most of them envisage defeat as a long-term prospect. Galadriel says ‘Through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat’. Elrond agrees, saying ‘I have seen three ages in the West of the world, and many defeats and many fruitless victories’. Although he later questions his own adjective ‘fruitless’, he still repeats that the victory long ago in which Sauron was overthrown but not destroyed ‘did not achieve its end’. In this he is perhaps justified, for if the entire, long history of Middle Earth shows us anything it is that good is attained only at vast expense, while evil recuperates almost at will. It is made abundantly clear that even the destruction of the One Ring and the final overthrow of Sauron will conform to the general pattern of ‘fruitlessness’. The Ring’s destruction, says Galadriel, will mean that her ring (and Gandalf’s and Elrond’s) will all lose their power, so that Lothlorien ‘fades’ and the Elves ‘dwindle’, to be replaced by modernity and the dominion of men. By ‘dwindle’ Galadriel may mean that the Elves will physically shrink in size (perhaps to become the tiny creatures of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and popular imagination). Or they may ‘dwindle’ in number – or something else altogether may happen to them.
Feel free to read the whole origial post on  “Fabulous Realms”

Faerie Lore: Origin of the Water Fairies
January 2, 2013, 4:23 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore
On previous posts I have discussed about the celtic belief in lakes, rivers, and wells, believes later christianized and concealed under the characters of Saints deeds and sancutaries .I would like to share with you some quotations regarding water maidens from the book “British Goblins – Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions by Wirt Sikes – [1880] ” (Obtain this full work and many more backups by clicking here!)
White Water Fairy

In all these legends the student of comparative folk-lore traces the ancient mythology, however overlain with later details. The water-maidens of every land doubtless originally were the floating clouds of the sky, or the mists of the mountain. From this have come certain fair and fanciful creations with which Indo-European folk-lore teems, the most familiar of which are Undine, Melusina, Nausicaa, and the classic Muse. In Wales, as in other lands, the myth has many forms. The dispersion of dark clouds from the mountains, by the beams of the rising sun, or the morning breezes, is localized in tile legend of the Men of Ardudwy. These men make a raid on the maidens of the Vale of Clwyd, and are pursued and slaughtered by the latter’s fathers and brothers. The maidens thereupon cast themselves headlong into the lake, which is thenceforth called the Maidens Lake, or Llyn y Morwynion. In another legend, the river mist over the Cynwal is the spirit of a traitress who perished long ago in the lake. She had conspired with the sea-born pirates of the North (the ocean storms) to rob her Cambrian lord of his domains. She was defeated by the aid of a powerful enchanter (the sun), and fled up the river to the lake, accompanied by her maidens, who were drowned with her there. [‘Arch. Camb.,’ 4th Se., vii., 251]

As the mermaid superstition is seemingly absent in Wales, so there are no fairy tales of maidens who lure mortals to their doom beneath the water, as the Dracae did women and children, and as the Nymph of the Lurley did marriageable young men. But it is believed that there are several old Welsh families who are the descendants of the Gwragedd Annwn, as in the case of the Meddygon Myddfai. The familiar Welsh name of Morgan is sometimes thought to signify, ‘Born of the Sea.’ Certainly môr in Welsh means sea, and gân a birth. It is curious, too, that a mermaid is called in Basse Bretagne ‘Mary Morgan.’ But the class of stories in which a mortal marries a water-maiden is large, and while the local details smack of the soil, the general idea is so like in lands far remote from each other as to indicate a common origin in pre-historic times. In Wales, where the mountain lakes are numerous, gloomy, lonely, and yet lovely; where many of them, too, show traces of having been inhabited in ancient times by a race of lake-dwellers, whose pile-supported villages vanished ages ago; and where bread and cheese are as classic as beer and candles, these particulars are localized in the legend. In the Faro Islands, where the seal is a familiar yet ever-mysterious object, with its human-like eyes, and glossy skin, the wife of supernatural race is a transformed seal. She comes ashore every ninth night, sheds her skin, leaves it on the shore, and dances with her fairy companions. A mortal steals her sealskin dress, and when day breaks, and her companions return to their abode in the sea, compels her to remain and be his wife. Some day he offends her; she recovers her skin and plunges into the sea. In China, the superstition appears in a Lew-chewan legend mentioned by Dr. Dennys, [‘Folk-Lore of China,’ 99] which relates how a fairy in the guise of a beautiful woman is found bathing in a man’s well. He persuades her to marry him, and she remains with him for nine years, at the end of which time, despite the affection she has for their two children, she ‘glides upwards into a cloud’ and disappears.

"Leyendas Celtas de Galicia y Asturias" por Eliseo Mauas Pinto
June 15, 2012, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Celtic Culture, Faerie Lore, Memorable Data

Es un placer compartir con Uds esta edición digital en español de mi libro “Leyendas Celtas de Galicia y Asturias”. Podrán obtener una Descarga Gratis del mismo desde mi página en Smashwords.

Escribí este libro con el claro deseo de bucear en el inconsciente colectivo, no sólo recordando las leyendas que escuchaba y leia de niño sino también descubriendo paralelismos sorprendentes. Más que un trabajo teórico se trata de una invitación al descubrimiento de una tradición común, una identidad aún viva que no debe ser ajena a quienes son cultores de lo céltico y a quienes deseen descubrirla.

Con el presente trabajo los lectores podrán obtener una visión de los motivos y tipos folclóricos comunes tanto a Galicia como Asturias, gracias a un análisis de los sustratos célticos que imperan en ambas regiones hispanas.
A poco de cumplirse 25 años de la histórica edición en Asturias de mi libro “Leyendas Celtas de Galicia y Asturias” en lengua asturiana, celebro y comparto con todos  Uds la reciente edición digital del mismo pero ahora en su version original en castellano.
Recuerdo cuando comenzé en el año 1985 a difundir nuestra apreciada música y cultura celta en general, me habia propuesto varios proyectos. Uno de ellos era editar un libro especialmente dedicado a las leyendas celtas, pero no aquellas que tanto me habian cautivado como las de Irlanda y Escocia sino las mismas que escuchaba en reuniones de las colectividades gallegas y asturianas en Buenos Aires y que tanto me gustaba escuchar y sondear… especialmente las referidas al Trasgo y sus correrias domesticas.
Para el año 1987 ya habia comenzado a escribirlo mientras alternaba mis ensayos con Poitín con miras a grabar el histórico álbum homónimo editado en casete y primer registro dedicado enteramente a la música celta con melodias y arreglos originales. Ese mismo año mientras desde Argentina organizaba en conjunto con la Liga Celta de Asturias y La Hermandad Celta de Galicia una presentación ante la Liga Celta Internacional para el reconocimiento e inclusion de estos países como Naciones Celtas, (sólo logramos la condición de “status” como “países miembro” por no tener “lengua celta” según su Asamblea de ese mismo año) le hice el comentario de mi libro a Xesús Llopez Pacios quien por ese entonces presidia la Liga Celta de Asturias.

Gracias a su interés en el proyecto gestionó su edición en España y nada menos que en Lengua Asturiana, gracias a la incansable colaboración y traducción del músico y folcorista Daniel García de la Cuesta junto a Isidro Suarez Carballido. Sumando fondos del Principado de Asturias el libro vió  la luz en el mismo suelo que fraguó tan hermosas leyendas de Xanas, Trasgus y Cuelebres entre otras tantas.
Hoy me place hacerles saber que he decidido editar este trabajo en español. mi libro,  y publicarlo como un libro electrónico multi-formato vía el sitio de edición digital Smashwords.
Como les adelanté anteriormente, es un trabajo monográfico que he realizado sobre leyendas recopiladas de tradición oral en Galicia y Asturias.
El mismo esta enfocado en  las correspondencias existentes entre las leyendas gallegas y asturianas, tomando como base su estudio comparativo sobre motivos  y tipos folcóricos de tradición celta.Estudios que nos llevan a descubrir como una misma leyenda puede tener similares versiones en regiones celtas distintas como lo son Galicia, Irlanda, y Bretaña, como así también cruzar fronteras hacia otras ajenas como Castilla, en España
Curiosamente no he dado con otro libro de texto en el mercado editorial que haya estudiado o tenido un enfoque similar en este aspecto.
Para quienes les interese los invito a descargar una muestra gratuita de “Leyendas Celtas de Galicia y Asturias” desde este Enlace Directo a mi página del libro,donde podrán incluso leerlo en línea.
Un saludo a todos y espero les sea de gran aprendizaje!
Licencia de Creative Commons
Leyendas Celtas de Galicia y Asturias by Eliseo Mauas Pinto is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 3.0 Unported License.
Creado a partir de la obra en www.smashwords.com.