Celticsprite’s Blog

Three Triskele Brooches
July 15, 2013, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Celtic Jewellery, Celtic Symbolism

Greetings to you all!… I would like to share with you this awesome review previously posted by my friend Esmeralda on her lovely site Esmeralda’s Cumbrian History. (All rights reserved by the author and reposted under her kind permission) © Diane McIlmoyle 

Triskele brooch from Brough. Copyright British Museum
Triskele brooch from Brough. Copyright British Museum
Today I present for your delectation three lovely bronze brooches, all of which were unearthed at Brough in eastern Cumbria. They are officially ‘romano-British’1 which means that they date to the four hundred years after the roman invasion; but archaeology suggests that they are the products of a bronze workshop on this site in the 2nd century CE2.
Brough is a signficant historical and archaeological site. When we look at a modern map, we assume that the main route into Cumbria has always been the M6 but this isn’t the case. The north-south route, despite its roman road (the A6, more or less), was not as significant as you might think. When the railway line was cut parallel to the A6 in the 1870s, engineers had to make 14 tunnels and 22 viaducts just to get the gradient under 1 in 100 and thereby traversable by the latest in high-powered travel at the time, the steam train. The more practical route for centuries –millennia, perhaps – was the Stainmore Pass, or, was we know it, the A66.
The romans built the fort of Verteris here, with a substantial vicus and bath house. Unfortunately, William Rufus agreed with the romans on the tactical usefulness of the position and built his own castle smack-bang on top of the roman one at the end of the 11th century, destroying most of the castle’s remains in the process.

Triskele brooch from Brough. Copyright British Museum
Triskele brooch from Brough. Copyright British Museum

All three brooches feature what we shall, for convenience, describe as a triskele pattern. Three-fold circular patterns are a motif often seen in Europe from prehistory through to the late anglo-saxon period. An early example is the 3,000-year-old carvings on the entrance stone to Newgrange in Ireland – a magical place aligned so that the first rays of the rising sun enter the main chamber at the midwinter solstice – albeit these examples are a continuous circle; if you were drawing it, the last stroke of your pencil would join up with the first.

The triskele designs from Brough are of two types; the most damaged is reminiscent of the Isle of Man logo, with three ‘legs’ joined at a central point. The other two consist of three curving lines that nestle against each other but do not actually touch.
The first triskele brooch picture here – whether by distinction or accident of catalogueing! – is categorised by the British Museum as La Tène, and has a distinctly snake-like appearance.
The second example was both tinned and enamelled, so it would have been silver in appearance, with coloured additions.

The third example is the most damaged, and the ‘true’ triskele as the three ‘arms’ are joined at the centre.We have no historical source for the meaning of the triskele symbol, despite its long popularity. It may have been popular with celtic peoples but it was in use long before they adopted it.

At the Newgrange burial chamber, it’s easy to imagine that its version of the triskele, with no beginning and no end, was about eternal life. Celtic culture was fond of triplicity in many forms, with examples of matronae, or triple mother goddesses, found throughout western Europe during the roman empire. There may have been triple gods, too; Teutates (tribal father), Esus and Taranis (thunderer)3 were associated with 1st century celts, and genii cuculatti (hooded spirits) tend to be portrayed in threes in Britain in the period in which the brooches were made. These were followed (in written form, at least) by the triple forms of the Irish Brigid and Morrigan.

Triskele brooch from Brough. Copyright British Museum
Triskele brooch from Brough. Copyright British Museum

It’s possible that triplicity has meant different things to different peoples, just as it does today. There are many who would say that it represents land, sea and sky; earth, air and water; maiden, mother and crone; mind, body and soul. It has also been adopted as a representation of the christian holy trinity. There are even a couple of incidences of it being used for nefarious purposes which I shan’t spell out here for fear of the effect on Google.

There’s always the possibility, of course, that it was just an attractive bit design but we 21st-century folks can’t resist adding ‘ritual’ meaning to them. Until we find the 1800-year-old bronze-worker’s manual, we’re just guessing.
© Diane McIlmoyle 15.07.13
  1. See the British Museum’s entry. Please note all three pictures are the British Museum’s copyright.
  2. See the Scheduled Ancient Monument details.
  3. The 1st-century roman writer, Lucan, mentioned these three as gods requiring sacrifices, and it’s often been taken to mean that they are three aspects of one god. He doesn’t actually spell this out, though, so they may not be.

Loreena Mc Kennitt: Ticket demands prompt second São Paulo show Due to overwhelming demand !
July 12, 2013, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Loreena McKennitt
Loreena McKennitt Community - Update

July 11, 2013
Loreena McKennitt Community - Update Ticket demands prompt second São Paulo show

Due to overwhelming demand for tickets to Loreena’s Oct. 31 performance in São Paulo, Brazil a second show has now been scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 21:30. The added performance will also take place at Credicard Hall, one of the largest entertainment venues in the country. As members of the Loreena McKennitt Community, you will have the usual pre-sale opportunities beginning Sunday July 14 at 00:01 AM BRT through Loreena’s website.

Tickets for the general public go on sale a week later on July 23. Prices range from R$300 to R$600.  The two São Paulo shows are part of Loreena’s first Latin American Tour, which kicks off in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Oct. 25 and includes performances in Brazil’s Porto Alegre on Oct. 27 and Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 29.

During the tour, Loreena will be accompanied by musicians Ian Harper on pipes, Brian Hughes on electric and acoustic guitars, oud and Celtic bouzouki, Ben Grossman on hurdy gurdy, accordion and percussion, Caroline Lavelle on cello and vocal, Rick Lazaar on drums and percussion, Hugh Marsh on violin, and Dudley Philips on double bass.

My New Ebook: "Tangerine Illusions" is now available for FREE DOWNLOAD
July 11, 2013, 1:13 pm
Filed under: Celtic Ebooks

I am glad to share with you my new Ebook which is now available for FREE DOWNLOAD at SMASHWORDS.

It was almost 40 years ago when I wrote this short fantasy/sci-fi story… By those days I used to listen very oftenly ambient and new age music in search of new sounds and styles.“Tangerine Dream” has been my favourite band since then;and with their surreal-sounding name they fortunately still keep on creating brilliant compositions throughout all these years. It was during the listening to a couple of emblematic albums “Rubycon”, and “Ricochet”, recorded both in 1975 with the legendary Virgin Label, that these stories began to evolve in my mind, as
a result perhaps of a sheer perception of the images and energies conveyed through their music.
I think it is time to share with you this story written down in the 70’s on a portable typewritter, and transcribed today digitally retaining still their primeval spirit like an aged liquour.

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"O Cego Andante" por Pablo Quintana
July 11, 2013, 1:29 am
Filed under: Leyendas del Camino, Música del Camino

Hay una gran variedad de cantigas y romances de ciego recogidas a lo largo de todo el Camino y no sólo en las cercanías de la Catedral de Santiago; melodías incorporadas tradicionalmente y a veces con historias populares e incluso con letras derivadas de cánticos religiosos.

Hablábamos en un reciente posteo acerca de Florencio de Fontaneira… y vale la pena compartir con Uds tab el trabajo de un renombrado músico asturiano como es Pablo Quintana, cuyo trabajo quedó registrado en un disco de la serie Recolleitas editado por el Sello Ruada; en donde había recogido en directo las canciones del último ciego cantor que vivió en el país: Florencio da Fontaneira. Quintana también recogió una parte de su trabajo en varios vídeos editados por la Xunta de Galicia (uno de ellos dedicado, por ejemplo, a la técnica tradicional de tocar la gaita) y en programas de radio ya desaparecidos como A garmalleira .

Todo esta labor la comenzó Quintana en su aldea natal, situada en las cercanías del pueblo asturiano de Taramundi, en donde desde la adolescencia comenzó a interesarse por la cultura tradicional. A partir de ahí, este músico inició una actividad de recogida y grabación que lo ha convertido en uno de los mayores especialistas de etnografía musical que existen en Galicia. Este trabajo lo compaginó con actuaciones constantes por toda la geografía gallega, en donde frecuentemente estaba acompañado por músicos de la calidad de Michel Canadá o Bernardo Martínez, componente de otro grupo mítico de música tradicional como Doa.

La música que acompaña al presente video pertenece a su álbum “O Cego Andante”.
El arpista gallego Emilio Cao, registró una preciosa version en su legendario álbum “A Lenda da Pedra do Destiño” editado por el sello Guimbarda. Un sello muy comprometido con la música de raíz en la década de los ’70.

Ábreme a portiña, ábreme o postigo, dame do teu lenzo ¡ai meu ben! que veño ferido. Pois se vés ferido vés a mala hora, que as miñas portiñas ¡ai meu ben! non se abren agora. Miña nai esperte, nin tanto dormir, veña ouvir un cego ¡ai meu ben! cantar e tañir. E se il canta e pide dalle pan e viño, dille ó triste cego ¡ai meu ben! que siga o camiño. Non quero seu pan, nin quero seu viño, quero que Rosiña ¡ai meu ben! me ensine o camiño. Culle, ou Rosiña, a roca e o liño, vai co triste cego ¡ai meu ben! decirlle o camiño. Anda, ou Rosiña, máis outro pouquiño, son curto de vista ¡ai meu ben! non vexo o camiño. De condes e duques xa fun pretendida e agora dun cego ¡ai meu ben! véxome rendida. Eu non che son cego, nin Dios o permita, sonche o conde Alberto ¡ai meu ben! que te pretendía. Adeus miña casa, adeus meus quintais, adeus compañeiras ¡ai meu ben! para nunca máis.

Pasando por Fontaneira, recordamos a Florencio, O Cego dos Vilares
July 11, 2013, 1:03 am
Filed under: Música del Camino, Vídeos de Rutas

  Florencio, O Cego dos Vilares, Florencio López Álvarez, nació en Pin, concello de A Fonsagrada el 12 de abril de 1914, en el seno de una familia campesina y de ebanistas. Se quedó ciego de niño por causa de una viruela, desarrollando entonces portentosamente otras facultades, como el sentido de la orientación, asombrando a las gentes por su capacidad para recorrer los caminos, sabiendo ir y volver a todas partes pese a su ceguera. Para ganarse la vida un ciego solía tocar algún instrumento o cantar, y por ello tras pasar la enfermedad su padre la mandó a que aprendiese estas artes musicales de otro invidente, Xoán Santamarta. Como todos los músicos ciegos, Florencio disponía de una gran capacidad para aprender melodías de oído y posteriormente interpretarlas. Vivió en Fontaneira hasta los 14 años, cuando marcho a Os Vilares de Cubiledo, donde aprendió a ser buen violinista y cantador con ese otro ciego. Así se ganó el pan, yendo de pueblo en pueblo y de casa en casa cantando romances y coplas populares, muchas veces basadas en acontecimientos reales, acompañado por su hermano Pascario, que era copleiro o vendedor de coplas, llegando a ser una gran institución en toda la comarca da Fonsagrada, Baleira, y Ribeira de Piquín. A los 54 años volvió a A Fontaneira, donde falleció en 1986. Se recopilaron varias grabaciones originales de su buen hacer, llegando a conseguir notoria fama y reconocimiento al incluirse composiciones suyas en el disco “Recolleita”, junto con la de otros músicos gallegos.

Fue tremendamente querido en vida y la gente que le conoció le recuerda con grandísimo cariño, recordémosle también nosotros cuando pasemos por Fontaneira, emblemático pueblo del Camino Primitivo

July 10, 2013, 8:57 pm
Filed under: Galería de Fotos

Prácticamente TODO el itinerario del Camino Primitivo es un compendio de paisajes agrícolas y ganaderos alternando con espacios de bosques, es usual ver buenos rebaños de vacas que en algunos casos son enormes, tal que aquí, en Burgo de Negral, a unos 24 kilómetros al oeste de Lugo ciudad. Por aquí discurre la denominada Variante de la Calzada Romana, señalizada únicamente con flechas amarillas y un par de kilómetros escasos al norte del recorrido oficial señalizado con hitos jacobeos. Esta variante tiende a buscar un poco más de altura y está más al sol, mientras el otro trayecto discurre algo más por el fondo de los valles y de la sombra de bosques autóctonos. La calzada romana ahora se sigue mucho pues hay dos albergues al poco de comenzarla, en Castrelo, uno público y otro privado. Las dos se separan en San Romao da Retorta y vuelven a unirse en Ponte Ferreira (Mosteiro), unos diez kilómetros después, se trata de la Via XIX del Itinerario de Antonino, caminos que comunicaban todo el noroeste peninsular. Ambas alternativas son muy hermosas, recomendamos regresar en otra ocasión para conocer las dos opciones

July 10, 2013, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Galería de Fotos

El peregrino no solamente se deleita con los impresionantes paisajes y monumentos que jalonan la senda jacobea del Camino Primitivo. Tanto o más se puede extasiar en pequeños espacios y rincones emotivos y entrañables, o con la hermosa arquitectura popular. Un lugar realmente evocador es este, la pontella del Rego do Burgo, una gran laja de piedra a manera de puente, a la sombra de la vegetación de la ribera, yendo a la aldea de Sistelo de Abaixo, a unos kilómetros más al occidente de la ciudad de Lugo