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Festivals in October

 
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:56 pm    Post subject: Festivals in October Reply with quote

The Frith or Augury was practised in the Western Highlands of Scotland.

The seer, fasting, bare-foot and with closed eyes, took an augury of the coming season by standing upon the threshold on the first day of the quarter, with one hand upon either door jamb.

When she opened her eyes, she took her augury from what kinds of animals met her gaze, their color, movement and kind foretold the frith.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject: October 5 Coffer depths Reply with quote

Three coffers whose depths are not known:

The coffers of the chieftain

The coffers of the church

The coffers of a privileged poet
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject: October 7 NG Reply with quote

In the Irish tree alphabet, the letter NG is represented by ngetal, or reeds.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:04 pm    Post subject: October 12 Ursa Minor Reply with quote

The constellation of the Great Bear, Ursa Minor is called in Gaelic, the Drag-bhoth, or Fiery House, which may be a kenning for a cauldron.

This is strengthened if we look to the name of the Polestar, which is called the Star of Knowledge, emblematic of the drops of inspiration wich spring from the cauldrons of Celtic traditions.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject: October 15 Cauldrons Reply with quote

Cauldrons are the major feature of many Celtic stories. They figure as objects of quest like the Cauldron of Annwn, which grants its food only to worthy warriors, or the Cauldron of Rebirth into which dead men can be put and revived, or the Cauldron of Knowledge which confers all wisdom.

Many cauldrons are said to emerge from lakes in legend, and archaeology bears out the fact that many votive cauldrons have been found deposited in lakes as part of ritual or funerary customs.

Three cauldrons of inspiration are said to reside within the body according to an Irish poetic texts, the position of which is reflected by each person's vitality, emotional responsiveness and intellectual capacity.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:13 pm    Post subject: October 18 STR Reply with quote

In the Irish tree alphabet, the letter STR is represented by straif or black thorn.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:17 pm    Post subject: October 21 Ceridwen Reply with quote

Ceridwen is the British goddess of inspiration. It is she who prepares a cauldron of knowledge, culled from the ingredients of every element and season, to compensate her ugly son Afagddu by giving him great knowledge in place of ugliness.

She set the boy Gwion to tend the caudlron, but he receives the knowledge intended for Afagddu by sucking up the liquor that splashes onto his hand.

Gwion escapes from Ceridwen's rage by turning into a hare, a fish, a bird, and a grain of wheat, but Ceridwen follows as greyhound an otter a hawk and a red hen who swallows the grain, conceiving Gwion as her child.

She gives birth to him and places him in a leather bag, giving him to the waters on May Eve.

Ceridwen, along with Arianrhod, appears frequently in poems of Taliesin as the Mistress of Awen (Inspiration) and of druidic initiation.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:20 pm    Post subject: October 22 Otherworld Reply with quote

The nature of the celtic otherworld is conveyed in the image of an apple tree which has a bird in its branches and a pig rooting about beneath it.

This image appears in the poems attributed to Myrddin in his madness, and in the Voyage of Maelduin.

The bird is the messenger of the soul, which can travel through the Celtic over-sea world, the pig is the messenger or shape of the soul through the Celtic underworld, and the apple tree distributes the fruit which feeds both body and soul.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:22 pm    Post subject: October 28 R Reply with quote

In the Irish tree alphabet, the letter R is represented by ruis, or elder.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:26 pm    Post subject: October 30 Divine Herdsman Reply with quote

The Divine Herdsman is an important figure in Celtic myth, who appears all over the Celtic world in local forms.

He appears as an initiatory figure or threshold guardian in many myths. He is called Custennin in the story of Culhwch and Olwen, where he has the role of foster father to Olwen; here his appearance is fearsomely titanic.

In Ireland, the Dagda frequently appears as a rustic, club carrying herdsman, the trail of whose club creates a magical barrier.

The druid Olc Aiche, appears as a well appointed herdsman who magically protects his son in law, Cormac against death.

The Divine Herdsman seems to be a figure who presides over the otherworldly feast and is a frequent mortal disguise for the gods who visit the realms of humankind.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:37 pm    Post subject: October 31 Samhain Reply with quote

The Morrighan is the Irish Goddess of Renewal' although she is more frequently called a Goddess of Battle, her role is more subtle than this.

The Morrighan is a triple aspected goddess, comprising Nemhain, Badbh and Macha. She often appears as a crow over battlefields scavenging the slain. The severed head of the Munster warrior, Fothad Canainne speaks of her thus...

About us on this field are
the bloody horrors of battle,
unspeakable are the guts that
the Morrigan is washing.
She has descended on as a gloomy guest,
hurling us into the fray.
She washes her many spoils,
laughing her dreadful twisted laughter.
She has thrown back her mane;
the heart in my former shape hates her.

However, she is also concerned with sexuality and fertility. She meets with the Dagda on Samhain eve and mates with him at the ford. Their meeting marks the coming together of the great formative powers of the Celtic world, since the end of the summer half of the year also marks the ending of the campaign season; when the Morrighan comes to mate with the Dagda, she lays aside her warring side and with the Father of the Gods, prepares the land for the germination and preparation of winter.

The Morrighan is associated with the Sheela na Gig, a common figure found carved, usually over the Western entrance to churches. She is usually shown as a hag with a gaping, mocking or smiling face, and with both hands opening her distended vulva. The Sheela represents the womb and tomb of life, the essential threshold between the worlds.

Now the doors between the worlds are open once again as we gather to celebrate Samhain, the end of summer, and to welcome the ancestral wisdom once again in the embrace of winter.
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