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Celtic Radio Community > The Celts > Celtic Mythology

Posted by: barddas 12-Jun-2003, 11:59 AM
pawnman quote
* It fascinates me how much Celtic lore is lost on the masses, while people still talk about Thor, Zeus, etc... If only the Celts had managed to organize before the Romans had charged in, eh? *

It almost happened with Boudica. She almost drove them out. I read a good article about her/battle a few months back in Archeology magazine. I'll see if I can dig it up....

I also enjoy the similarities of Cernnunos, Herne the Hunter and that of Robin Hood

Tag. The ball has started rollin'.... smile.gif

Posted by: pawnman 12-Jun-2003, 12:06 PM
I can't say I'm a real scholar myself. So far, I'm halfway through one book of celtic mythology (the one my sig is taken from). I did read one that sounded strangely similar to the trials of Hercules. Three brothers had to pay a "death price", and the stuff they had to get included the apples from the hesperides and so on...

Posted by: barddas 12-Jun-2003, 12:19 PM
QUOTE (pawnman @ Jun 12 2003, 07:06 PM)
I can't say I'm a real scholar myself.

Nor am I. I just like to read and look info up on the net and TLC, History Channel and so on. That's what this is for, sharing the stories and myths.....And learning a little on the way...

The only thing about the Romans invading as far as the lore to the masses goes. There really wasn 't much of a written language at that time( I believe) . There was the Ogham system but I'm not sure how prevelent that was during that time period?

Posted by: barddas 12-Jun-2003, 12:22 PM
OH!!!! Just thought of a great book! It's called "The Life and Death of A Druid Prince". It's an Archeology study of a body they found in a bog in England. Around the time of the Roman invasion. He was so well perserved that he still had his eyes!!!!! AWESOME BOOK, and mystery, and look at the druidic religion!!
LOVE this book!

OOPPS I forgot to mention that he was a sacrifice and tossed into the bog some 2000 years ago!!!!

Posted by: pawnman 12-Jun-2003, 12:24 PM
I think I've heard of that book. I also saw one at Barnes and Noble about how the Celts saved civilization. I guess the Irish and Scottish maintained alot of the written history during the dark ages. At least, that's what I remember about the book. I should have bought it...

Posted by: Keltic 12-Jun-2003, 01:20 PM
You have to be extremely careful about what to believe when reading about the Celts. Besides the archaeological finds, a large part of what we know is from the writings of the Greeks and Romans who weren't exactly unbiased recorders of history. A lot of the books on the market today are heavily influenced by the new age movement and they are written as though they are known fact and not theory and they come with questionable bibliographies.

Posted by: pawnman 12-Jun-2003, 01:25 PM
I know, but where else are you going to get any information? I figure since I get so much practice filtering bias out of the daily news, maybe I can work out what's true and what's roman propaganda (not that I really mind the Romans too much - I took four years of Latin in high school). Still, I am upset that the Celts got so thouroughly washed out of history.

Posted by: barddas 12-Jun-2003, 02:04 PM
Very true Keltic! Good point! That's why I read a lot of Archeology stuff. Less bias, and a broader point of view.

Posted by: barddas 12-Jun-2003, 02:06 PM
So, where do we start from here?

Posted by: pawnman 12-Jun-2003, 02:15 PM
Good question. I read a good one about the Children of Danu, who were turned into swans by their wicked step-mother. The king forbid anyone to kill a swan in all of Ireland. Is that still in effect?

Posted by: barddas 12-Jun-2003, 02:18 PM
I'm not sure. I did see LOTS of swans while I was over there a few weeks back.That didn't even pop into my head. I was just So amazed I had made it there FINALLY!!!!

So, tell me more of this... tell me the story... I know that was it in a nut shell but lets make this fun. smile.gif unsure.gif

Posted by: pawnman 12-Jun-2003, 02:28 PM
I'm not sure I remember the whole thing off the top of my head, certainly not the names...
Anyway, one king had married the other kings daughter. The daughter was one of three sisters, who represented winter, spring, and summer (I don't know where fall was, but she wasn't mentioned). Anyway, they had four kids (2 boys, 2 girls), then she died. He took one of the other sisters as his next wife, but she died too. Then he took the last one. She was jealous and asked the servants to kill the kids. When the servants wouldn't, she turned them into swans and cursed them to swim for 900 years in three different (and dismal) lakes (300 years apiece). When the kids finally returned, they were old and gray, and the rest of their people had been driven under the hills (the sidhe). Finally, a kindly old man dug graves for them (at their request) while they sang their last song. Rumor has it this is where we get swan song from.

Posted by: barddas 12-Jun-2003, 02:47 PM
Very nice. Thank you. I will be posting something by weeks end. AHHHHH

Posted by: barddas 13-Jun-2003, 08:04 AM
I remembered this story it's not "celtic" per say but it does make for a cool story. Some associate Herne with the Celtic god Cernnunos. Which is represented as a man with stag antlers and roaming the forest. Also the mention of the oak,one of the sacred trees to the druids.

'Herne' was one of the keepers of the 'Forest of Windsor' in the reign of 'King Richard II' and known for his great hunting and woodcraft skills. Whilst King Richard favoured Herne his fellow hunters it is said hated him and plotted to cause Herne's downfall.

One day the royal party were out on a hunt the king was nearly killed when attacked by a stag. Herne stepped in to help the king taking the main blow and fell to the floor. He seemed to be dead. Suddenly a dark figure appeared amongst the party and announced himself as 'Philip Urswick'. He then proceeded to inform the king that for a reward he would cure Herne.

After cutting the head off the stag and binding it to Herne's head, the party took Herne to Urswick's own hut which was located on 'Bagshot Heath'. Urswick vowed that he would take great care of Herne. King Richard then announced that if Herne recovered he would promote Herne to be the chief keeper.

Unbeknown to the king the other hunters were later in contact with Urswick and told him of their loathing for the favoured keeper announcing that they were disappointed that he had not died in the incident. Urswick promised the hunters revenge but only if his first wish and the reward was granted. He told them that Herne would recover but would loose all his hunting skills. Satisfied with his answer, the hunters agreed.

Keeping his promise to the king it seemed, Urswick soon had Herne returned to court whereupon he was promoted to chief keeper. Herne seemed to have recovered thoroughly until it became apparent that his hunting skills had disappeared. The king was extremely disappointed with Herne revoked the promotion. It is said that this is the reason why Herne, being so grieved by the king's actions, hanged himself from an Oak tree in Windsor forest. His body disappeared under suspicious circumstances.

Urswick did not reveal the charm that he had cast upon Herne to the king. A new chief hunter was appointed but he too, once promoted, lost his skill. The same happened to his successor too. Urswick was asked to remove the charm. Before making any agreement, Urswick informed the hunters that they would have to meet him at the Oak. Once there they would be told what had to be done to dispel the charm.

The group of hunters arrived at the Oak as asked and after waiting a short time Urswick appeared. He told the them that Herne's death was on each of them and that horses and hounds should be brought to the oak the next night. Agreeing they made preparations and returned to the forest. On reaching the Oak Herne appeared on a horse and told them to follow him to another area of the forest. Herne took the party to a Beech tree and whilst there Urswick suddenly appeared out of the tree covered in flames. Herne had summoned Urswick to appear. Urswick then made the party swear an oath to Herne that they would form a band of hunters with Herne as their leader to dispel the charm.
Urswick's promise had been satisfied and the hunters became a faithful if not loving band of men loyal to Herne. For many nights the group would raid the forest taking deer until very few were left. King Richard came to learn of their pursuits, and decided to make a visit to he oak. He was angry and desired revenge upon the men.

Once there Herne appeared to the king and learnt of his anger. Herne listened and said that if the king wished him to leave the forest, taking his power with him, the king would have to agree to a request. Doubtless Herne wanted revenge upon his enemies who had desired his death. The king agreed to his request, and the group of men were hanged. Herne was then never seen again.

It is reputed though that Herne returned and reigned supreme, taking control of the forest of Windsor for eight years after the death of King Richard.

Many versions of the Herne legend exist. Some say that Herne hanged himself after committing a terrible crime, whilst another tells of a forest demon that takes on his appearance. The demon is said to place stag horns on its head haunting the forest still trying to convince keepers that it is Herne and that they should sell their souls to him.

Posted by: barddas 13-Jun-2003, 02:34 PM
Here's a site that has a bit more on the Herne myth.

Posted by: free2Bme 14-Jun-2003, 08:36 AM
Here is another good website about Celtic Mythology:

Posted by: FloweroftheWest 14-Jun-2003, 03:28 PM
Ey, fascinating topic and nice stories! I heard about Herne too in Robin Hood, years ago, in that superb tv series that was all over the world.

The Celts make a fascinating people, I think, and they are very often seen in the wrong picture. They have had a high culture, valued storytellers and musicians and a highly developped art as we know through many finds throughout Europe. If I remember what I read years ago right, the Celts as such don't exist as one people. It's rather a group of tribes that happen to have the same types of languages. There are two "strings" of Celtic languages, p-celtic (languages such as Breton and Welsh) and q-celtic (Gaidhlig and Gailge, as weel as Manx Gaidhlig). Anyhow, if ye go looking for sources of Celtic origins, Martin Helm suggests one of the Russian Rivers, i have forgotten which one it was lol, might have been the Lena.

But as to literature on Celts i can recommend John Rhys "Celtic Britain" published by "Senate", a good read for a history and archeology book. On celtic mythology is "Celtic Myths and Legends" by T. W. Roleston worth a read, it tells ye about the true origins of the myths in history and gives ye insight into the legends themselves as they are told today. Just a good read without any background information (except in the short but excellent introduction) are Frank Delaney's "Legends of the Celts", which tells the most popular legends that have come through the times out of Wales, Ireland, Brittany and Cornwall. Happy reading! ph34r.gif cool.gif

Posted by: pawnman 14-Jun-2003, 03:45 PM
Just a follow up to that story about the swans:
They were the children of Lir, god of the ocean, who married one of Bodb Dearg's threee foster daughter's. Bodb Dearg was the son of Dagda and king of the Danu. Lir first married Aobh, the daughter representing spring, who bore him his children. When she died, he married Aoife, the autumn. She was the one who cursed the children. The third daughter, Niamh, was not at all involved. Aoife's punishment was to take the form of a crow with blood dripping from it's beak, the symbol of Macha, Bdb, and Memain, the three forms of Morrigan, goddess of war, death, and slaughter.
The children were named Fionnghuala, Aodh ("fair-shouldered" and "fire", the daughters) and Fiachra and Conn ("Battle-king" and "wisdom", the sons).

Posted by: pawnman 14-Jun-2003, 08:30 PM
Oh, a little more history for you: Bodb Dearg was the king of the Danu, whom the Celts regarded as the native gods to the British Isles, while Lir was a member of the Mil, who were seen as invaders. I'm not sure how this works out historically, but there you have it (Just like my sig says, the Children of Mil basically drove out the Children of Danu)

Posted by: RavenWing 17-Jun-2003, 08:59 AM
The similarities you were referring to is exactly why I had so much trouble with religion. I was an anthropology major in college and I cam to realize that they were all the same with different names. I finally came to the decision to follow the religion that my ancestors followed.

BTW - I have been looking for some text on how the Roman Catholic Church took the image of Kernunnos and used it as the image of the Devil. I remember reading something similar about St. Bran is actually Kernnunos. If anyone know sof anything on this subject, I'd greatly appreciate it.

P.S. - If any comments I made in this post offend anyone, please accept my apologies in advance. Ia mnot trying to stir up a religious debate. smile.gif

Posted by: barddas 17-Jun-2003, 09:54 AM
The Irish Saint Brigid has been linked to the Goddess Brigid. When the church came to Ireland there was an eternal flame that was kept by women, to the goddess Bridid. After the Church arrived, they built a convent on/ near the site. They kept the flame burning to the Saint Brigid.( the flame was then kept by only the nuns) From what I remember reading there is no real proof that the Saint Brigid ever exisisted. It is believed that the goddess was transformd to "saint" to make the transition to Christianity easier...

The old Pagan festival of Imbolc or Brigids fire was Feb. 1st. Now it is known as St. Brigids day....

It happens all over if you look for it. The old transformed into the new....

At least that is what I have seen, and read

Posted by: RavenWing 17-Jun-2003, 11:58 AM
QUOTE (barddas @ Jun 17 2003, 04:54 PM)
The Irish Saint Brigid has been linked to the Goddess Brigid. When the church came to Ireland there was an eternal flame that was kept by women, to the goddess Bridid. After the Church arrived, they built a convent on/ near the site. They kept the flame burning to the Saint Brigid.( the flame was then kept by only the nuns) From what I remember reading there is no real proof that the Saint Brigid ever exisisted. It is believed that the goddess was transformd to "saint" to make the transition to Christianity easier...

The old Pagan festival of Imbolc or Brigids fire was Feb. 1st. Now it is known as St. Brigids day....

It happens all over if you look for it. The old transformed into the new....

At least that is what I have seen, and read

Yeah, they did that to a lot of the native religions. Catholic mass is so similar to Druidic rituals also. When I realized that was when I started to get disillusioned.

Posted by: pawnman 18-Jun-2003, 09:58 AM
Christians took alot of the old Celtic and Germanic traditions. Easter eggs used to be decorated and hung on trees as a prayer for fertile land in spring. Christmas trees were decorated to appease the gods during hard winters. Garland (I'm told) came from the Germanic tribes, who used to disembowl their enemies and hang the intestines as a warning. Mistletoe was regarded by the Druids to be sacred because it grew without touching the ground.

Posted by: free2Bme 18-Jun-2003, 12:08 PM
QUOTE (pawnman @ Jun 18 2003, 12:58 PM)
Garland (I'm told) came from the Germanic tribes, who used to disembowl their enemies and hang the intestines as a warning.


I could have gone all day without knowing that!

Yes Christianity took all of the pagan traditions and built them into their own religion - it was the same when the Jesuit Priests came to the New World and "converted" all of the Native Tribes to Christianity - i.e. kill all the adults, then raise the children in "orphanages" so that they can be thoroughly indoctrinated.

I believe in God, a power greater than myself, but I don't believe in organized religion.

Posted by: Aon_Daonna 18-Jun-2003, 12:14 PM
What do you think the whole easter fest is?? *grins*
It's actually the days to honor epona, the horse goddess (celtic)..
The holy trinity (father, son, holy spirit [or however that is called in english]) is actually a imitation of the celtic trinity (Cernunnos, Morrigú and one other) and the holiness of the number 3 in itself.

I could go on, but I think I'd bore everybody to death wink.gif

I'm not a believing person and I don't know all the english words that play a role in christian religion, so excuse my careless wording of those things. It's mostly because I don't know better.

Posted by: barddas 18-Jun-2003, 12:14 PM
It's such a shame too. All of the culture of so many different peoples lost forever.... Whatever religion it is, it normally has a basic similarity...

I hate to see my friends that live on the rez. But that is THIER land. it's all they have left. They just now are being able to speak thier own languages in some of the schools ......

Not to mention the loss of thier Native religion too....

From what I am told the younger people on the Rez' are starting to go back to the native ways a bit more....

I know this is not Celtic Mythology, but it does/has happened to every area of the world just about....
sorry for getting on a soapbox...LOL!
back on topic..sorry

Posted by: Aon_Daonna 18-Jun-2003, 01:07 PM
I think it belongs here like anything else =)

My heart breaks when I see another old house being torn down or abandoned. But things go. I think it were the Inka who completely extinguished the Tolteks in Mexico?
Just today we should create an awareness of all these things that save our own cultural diversity.

Posted by: pawnman 20-Jun-2003, 09:37 AM
I agree with holding on to cultural diversity. Only problem is, most religions make a big deal out of converting other people to your religion. So, many of the ancient traditions are lost, passed down in a bastardized form, or forgotten altogether. Sad.

Posted by: RavenWing 20-Jun-2003, 09:53 AM
It is very sad. I just don't understand how someone can think that they are so right, that those who do not agree must die. (Physically as well as culturally)

Posted by: pawnman 20-Jun-2003, 10:36 AM
Great. Now I'm all depressed. Back to the pub!

Posted by: RavenWing 23-Jun-2003, 12:21 PM

*follows pawnman into the pub*

Posted by: barddas 23-Jun-2003, 12:26 PM
Geeez, sorry guys. I'll pry the brain for other stories....

Posted by: RavenWing 24-Jun-2003, 05:52 AM
Oh, that's ok!

Posted by: pawnman 24-Jun-2003, 10:08 AM
I'm trying to get through that book of mythology, but between work and school I don't have lots of free time...OK, OK, maybe I'd get more reading done if I could put down Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven for ten minutes at a go. Anyway, there's some good stories in there, divided by Island (stories from Ireland, stories from Scotland, etc...) I really reccomend the book. I don't have a real scholarly background to judge this guys work, but from an entertainment aspect it's great. The title and author are in my siggy.

Posted by: Lady Elaine Knox 01-Jul-2003, 04:13 PM
Here's some gods and goddesses of Celtic mythology:
Belatucadrus/ fair shining one
Cocidius/hunter, equal to Roman god Mars
Condatis/ god of 2 bodies of water in Tyne Tees part of Northern Britian
Coventina/ goddess of healing
Cuda/ mother goddess
Latis/goddess of water and beer ( horray beer!)
Matres Domesticae/ 3 mothers combined of the homeland
Mogons/god of Northern Britian, great one
Nodens/ god of healing
Sulis/ goddess of healing over hot springs in Aquae Sulis (Bath)
Gods of Gaul:
Abnoba/goddess of the hunt
Andraste/goddess of victory
Belenus/god of light
Borvo/god of healing
Cernunnos/ god of fertility and animals," the horned one"
Damona/goddess of fertility and healing "divine cow"
Epona/goddess of horses
Esus/god of war
Nantosuelta/goddess of nature
Nehalennia/goddess of the sea
Ogmios/god of knowledge
Sucellus/god of forest " good striker" a hammer god
Taranis/ the thunderer many more...but alas...that comes later wink.gif

Posted by: Keltic 01-Jul-2003, 09:50 PM
Just out of interest, where did you see that Nehalennia was a Celtic goddess? I have seen this once in the notes of a company offering porcelain jewellery. I searched far and wide and found reference of her as a germanic goddess. Information can also be found at the following website:

Posted by: Lady Elaine Knox 03-Jul-2003, 04:38 PM
wink.gif ..just some inside sources in husband's great uncle is somewhat of a Celtic scholar and did extensive research on gods/goddesses of Gaul and Celtic lore. LOL..he's the old man at the pub that at first annoys you to death then ya realize he knows what he speaks of. I still don't know where he got the info from..he refuses to tell me yet. Says he'll write it down to passed to me in his will. Od man but quite smart on history of the Celts.

Posted by: barddas 28-Jul-2003, 09:17 AM
Lugh -
The God Lugh is the God of Light or the harvest, His festival, on August 1st, is called Lughnasadh. He is reputed to be the divine father of Cú Chúlainn whom he conceived with Dechtire when he carried her away to his palace beneath Brugh na Boinne.
The god Lugh is worshipped in Irish Tradition as a deity of the sun. This connection with the sun may explain his name (it means "shining one"), and it also may account for the attributes that he displays: he is handsome, perpetually youthful, and has a tremendous energy and vitality. This energy manifests itself especially in the number of skills he has mastered. In fact, there was a tale that related Lugh's myriad abilities at arts and crafts.
He was known as Ildánach which means master of all arts and crafts. As told in the Battle of Magh Tuiredh, Lugh travelled to Tara, then the palace of the King Nuada, and arrived during a tremendous feast for the royal court. Lugh was greeted at the door by the keeper of the gate, and was immediately asked what talent he had - for it was a tradition there that only those who had a special or unique ability could enter the palace. The god offered his reply: "I am a wright". In response, the gate keeper said: "We already have a wright. Your services are not needed here". Still, Lugh, not to be so easily dismissed, continued: "I am a smith". Again, the guard retorted that the court had a smith that was quite adequate; but the god was not to be dissuaded. In short order, he noted that he was also a champion, a harper, a hero, a poet, an historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman. To this list, the gate keeper merely nodded his head, and stated matter of factly that all of these various trades were represented in the court by other members of the Tuatha de Danaan. "Ah, but you do have an individual who possesses all of these skills simultaneously?", was Lugh's clever and inspired reply. The guard was forced to admit his defeat, and so Lugh was allowed to enter and join the festivities

Posted by: Shadows 28-Jul-2003, 10:33 AM
One must stop and look at the similarities between the Germanic, Norse and Celtic deities... all the foundations for these gods took place way before written history and the simularities, at least to me, point to a common ground somewhere in the past .

Posted by: barddas 28-Jul-2003, 11:32 AM
I will agree with that. Just with invasions on the Islands ( IE - Ireland, Britain, and the other small islands....) You can see it in the art work, and building structures as well. The Vikings had come to the Isles for many, many years. And eventually merged with the native peoples and the influences can be seen ....It would only seem right that eventually that religions would meld too.

Look at Rome. They stole/borrowed their gods from the Greeks....

Posted by: barddas 28-Jul-2003, 01:04 PM
Some might find this site of interest..

Posted by: Shadows 28-Jul-2003, 01:21 PM
That is very close to my point !!
Now if only we could unravel the mysteries around the thinks they be the shamans of the time...

Posted by: barddas 28-Jul-2003, 01:36 PM
I will agree with that too. But I believe their roll in society was a bit different than that of the Native American Shamanism.

Posted by: barddas 28-Jul-2003, 01:41 PM
I believe that they had a very large influence on the people of the time. Whether it be fear, law, respect whatever. But they obviously were held high regaurd, and a large influence on the culture. Other wise Rome would not have had them slaughtered, and the groves destoyed. If they were not a "leader" type....

Posted by: Shadows 28-Jul-2003, 02:03 PM
I will not argue your point! Shamanisim goes well beyond the Native Americans, the earliest shammans are of the far east. I think that the power and control over the common man was what caused the demise of these great teachers! It all can be pointed at fear of the unknown and the desire to destroy a culture that was greater then the one that was trying to conquer!

Posted by: barddas 28-Jul-2003, 02:50 PM
I found this site .... It has some quotes of Ceasar's on the Gauls ( Celts) And some other informative information

Posted by: Shadows 28-Jul-2003, 03:03 PM
QUOTE (barddas @ Jul 28 2003, 04:50 PM)
I found this site .... It has some quotes of Ceasar's on the Gauls ( Celts) And some other informative information

Good site lots of info! We also must remember that Gaul was what is now France, and part of the Germanic nations. This points to my original suggestion that Celts were a melting pot of beliefs and religions from the ages before written history.

Posted by: barddas 29-Jul-2003, 06:49 AM
I totally agree with that.
I was just saying that in the Isles there is a a hint of change after the vikings came in. A noticible merging of the two. In the way boats were built, to the way jewlery was made.

Posted by: Fionnghal 25-Aug-2003, 10:43 AM
Well, barddas suggested me to post this tale in the Celts forum, so here it is.
It's a traditional one from the Orkneys (islands full of stories from the sea and the Norwegians that colonised them). The seal body of the selkie was thought to contain a human soul, usually of a drowned person.
This version comes from W. Traill Dennison's 'The Goodman of Wastness' and G. F. Black's 'The Goodwife of Wastness', both of them recorded from natives of the Orkneys in the 19th and early 20th C.
At the end of this tale a friend added a verse from Strathnaver (from Alan Temperley's 'Tales of the North Coast').
Just to help you, 'buddo' means something like 'my dear'.
I hope you enjoy it!

The Selkie Wife

Few know the goodman of Wastness who lived alone on a small farm that stood above the sea. He dug and he sowed and he laboured all the hours of daylight to make the two ends meet; yet he remained just as poor as a corrie crisosag?a dry old beetle. He never even had time to take a wife.
?Och, there?s nae enough food to bind a body to a soul,? he?d say. ?I canna manage twa o? them.?
Well, it happened one day that the goodman of Wastness was down on the ebb when he was surprised to hear snatches of song, girlish laughter and low cheery voices. The sounds seemed to be coming from the seaward side of some rocks at the far end of the shore.
The goodman crept forward and waded swiftly to the rock; the sight that met his gaze made him catch his breath in sheer astonishment. For there below him on a rocky shelf, just above the water?s edge, he saw a group of young men and maidens as naked as the sunsplashed rocks. Never in all his years had he cast eyes on such lovely faces, such smooth skins and such graceful limbs.
?Selkies! That?s what they are,? he murmured to himself.
He?d heard stories of the selkies or seal folk who sometimes come ahore, cast aside their seal skins and play their happy games.
?Aye, I ken who y?are,? he thought, seeing their skins upon a nearby rock. ?And what if I tak a skin for masel??? he thought. ?It?d kep ma bed warm or be a plaid for ma back.?
So the goodman of Wastness crept down sunseen, dashed across the sand and snatched up a silvery skin before any of the selkies could move.
What a to-do! Each lovely creature made a rush for the rock to seize a skin; then, diving into the sea, they swam away as fast as they were able, pulling on their seal skins as they went.
In the meantime, the goodman made good his escape with the selkie skin under one arm. Before he had left the ebb, however, he heard footsteps padding after him over the sand and the sound of a lassie softly weeping. As he turned he saw a lovely lassie holding out her hands towards him; and ever and anon she cried,
?O bonnie man, if there?s ony mercy i? thee human breast, gae back me skin! I canno?, canno?, canno? live i? the sea without it. I canno?, canno?, canno? bide among me ain folk without me ain seal skin.?
The goodman?s heart was moved by her sobbing pleas. Yet even more his heart was pierced by a strange sensation he had never felt before. His heart that had never loved a woman was now conquered by the beauty of the sea-lass, and he did not want to lose her.
?I dinna intend to return yon selkie skin,? he said. ?Y?ll nae be awa to sea again, ma bonnie lass. Y?ll stay wi? me and be ma goodwife.?
He put his plaid around the weeping sea-lass and took her by the hand, leading her to his farm. Once there he wrapped her in a blanket and gave her supper of bannock cakes and hot brose porridge. While she was eating he stole out to the barn, folded up the skin and hid it on a beam beneath the roof, where she would never find it.
Poor lassie. After her supper she lay down upon a bed and wept the whole night through. Likewise the next day too. And through the week.
But there came a time when her tears dried up and there was nothing for it but to make the best of her new mortal life. Her goodman was fairly kind to her, if a mite unpolished in his ways. And she became a thrifty, frugal, kindly goodwife. She bore her goodman seven children, four boys and three lasses, and there were not bonnier bairns in all the isle: with large gentle brown eyes and smooth white skin.
Although she appeared fair happy, there always seemed to be a weight upon her heart, and many a sad, yearning glance did she cast towards the sea. Of an evening, when the day?s work was done, she would sometimes sit upon the sandy ebb, gazing out to sea, as if searching for someone amid the waves. And she taught her bairns many a strange a doleful song that touched the heart of all who chanced to catch their music on the wind.
Now it chanced one time, when the goodman of Wastness had taken his sons fishing in his boat and the goodwife had sent two lassies to the ebb to gather limpets and wilks, that the selkie wife and the youngest lass were sitting alone at home. No sooner had her goodman and the children left the house than the selkie wife was in and out of the cupboards, feeling all along the shelves, peering under beds and tables, rummaging in all the chests and boxes, sighing all the while.
?Whist, Mam,? her little lassie said, ?what is it that ye?re seekin???
?Och, ma peerie bairn,? her mother said, ?I?m leukan for a bonnie selkie skin your father once brought hame.?
?Wad it be soft and silvery wi? bonnie bruin spots?? the lassie asked.
?Aye, ma bonnie bairn, that it wad! D?ye ken where t?is?? her mother cried excitedly.
Says the lass,
?Maybe I ken whar it is. Aen day whin ye were a? oot, an? Ded thought I was sleepan i? the bed, he took a bonnie skin doon; he glowred at it a peerie minute, then laid it upon the beam in our old stane barn.?
The lassie had hardly finished speaking when her mother rushed from the house towards the old stone barn. In an instant she was standing on a box, feeling with trembling hands along the beams. At last, as her dusty fingers edged along a beam they touched something soft?her selkie skin! Pulling it down, she clasped it lovingly to her breast and ran back with it to the house.
?Fare ye well, ma peerie buddo,? said she to the lass. ?I must awa to ma ain hame.?
She ran across the heather to the cliff, hurried down the cliff path to the sea, pulled on her long-lost skin and, with a last wave to her daughters on the ebb, she plunged into the sea.
When she was already far out to sea, she saw the fishing boat with her husband and her four sons. For several moments she swam alongside as if trying to tell them something. They were puzzled by the friendly seal that swam so close, its head lifted above the waves, looking at them with its lovely gentle eyes shining with a gleam that mingled joy with sadness.
All of a sudden, with a painful cry of recognition, the goodman of Wastness snatched up his net and went to cast it in the water.
But it was too late. The seal had dived under the waves and was soon far, far away, swimming out to sea. And beside her there swam a selkie man, crying with delight. As the goodman stared he heard a faint cry across the waves,

?Goodman of Wastness, farewell to ye.
I liked ye well, ye were good to me.
But I love better my man of the sea.?

And that was the last he ever saw of his selkie wife.
Yet every now and then, in the mouth of the night, he heard the faint sound of singing on the wind; and these were the words the voices sang,

Cha chum tigh fiodh fiodha sinn,
Cha chum tigh fiodh sinn,
Cha chum tigh bhan na slatan ruinn,
Cha chum tigh Bhreatunn ruinn.

The wood-wooden houses won?t keep us,
The houses of wood won?t keep us,
The white slatted houses won?t hold us,
The house of Britain won?t confine us.

Posted by: ranger 09-Sep-2003, 09:49 PM
Is this a complete short story, or just an excerpt from a longer version? if it's a short story, can you get the collection anywhere in bookstores? Thanks, it was a beautiful story.

Posted by: Catriona 10-Sep-2003, 01:59 AM
QUOTE (ranger @ Sep 10 2003, 04:49 AM)
Is this a complete short story, or just an excerpt from a longer version? if it's a short story, can you get the collection anywhere in bookstores? Thanks, it was a beautiful story.

A good 'starter' book re myths and customs that I can recommend is

Scottish Myths & Customs by the publisher Collins.

Posted by: Aventar 02-Oct-2003, 04:30 PM
There was a series of movies done quite a few years ago in which they portray Robin Hood as being a chosen one of Hern. Hern plays a big part in those movies.


Posted by: Catriona 02-Oct-2003, 05:04 PM
QUOTE (Aventar @ Oct 2 2003, 11:30 PM)
There was a series of movies done quite a few years ago in which they portray Robin Hood as being a chosen one of Hern. Hern plays a big part in those movies.


Hello Aventar
But the legend of Robin Hood is not Celtic.... At best it is Anglo Saxon! Legend has it that he was based in Nottinghamshire - and Sherwood Forest is still there today... cool.gif

Posted by: 3Ravens 03-Oct-2003, 08:05 AM
Since when did the movies ever let truth get in the way of a good (or not so good) story?

Posted by: Arianrhod 17-Nov-2003, 08:31 AM
Excellent Point 3 !

The silkie story reminds me of the Water Horse one ..
I am sure a lot of Childrens Tales are just legend smile.gif

Here is the wee version of Arianrhod
She was the Welsh Godess of Don and the neice of Math,
King of Gwynedd ..
Math could sleep only if his feet were held in a Virgins lap,
and when Goewin, the Virgin who usally acted this part for him was raped by his nephew Gilvaethwy, it was suggested that Arianrhod should take her place.
Arianrhod had to step over Maths wand.
No sooner had she done so , then she gave birth to Dylan and Llue.
Gwydion , her brother , immediatey took charge of Liue and brought him up.
This did not prevent Arianhrod from placing a series of taboos on him..
including the sticture that he was to have no wife in the human race ..

The fairest woman in the world.. was conjured out of blossoms by the magics of Gwydion and Math, so that she could be the wife of Gwydions nephew Llue .
But she betrayed her husband for another man..and plotted his death.
When the guilty lovers struck him,Lleu, rose into the ear in the shape of an Eagle .
After a long time Gwydoin found him, turned him back into a human, and healed his wounds.

Sometimes known as Bridgit, was a Goddess of healing, and fertility who was belived to assest women in labor..
She seems to have been widly worshiped in Ireland and Brittain, where she was most likely known as BRIGANTIA ,
In Irish mythology , she was the wife of BRES , the half FOMORII god who breifly lead the TUATHA DE DANANN after the forst battel of Magh Tiureadh against the FIBOLG . Bres was handsome but oppresive, like all Fomorii, so his reign was short.
Bridgid , however bore him three sons.
She often appears as an alternative for her mother ANU. which suggests they were probably different asspects of the same Mother Goddess

St Bride , or St Brigit
One of Irelands patron staints, may have been a Preistess of the Goddess Bridid prior to her conversation into Christianty . It was said she was able to feed the animals with out reducing the avalible food for the people.,, and this also links her with Bridgid, who was celebrated at the Celtic festivle of Imbolc, on the first of February , at the same time the ewes came into milk ..

Taken from the Mythology Libary , Celtic Mythology

just a few of my faves,

In Service to the Dream,

Posted by: Aon_Daonna 10-Jan-2004, 03:23 PM
This is a website I stumbled across ages ago, just remembered it and thought I'd post it:
It's quite a comprehensive guide to personalities in Celtic Mythology

Posted by: balisodare 16-Feb-2004, 03:31 PM
I actually just had to due a paper on this subject....
The reason that not very much celtic myth/legend/etc. exists is because it was all passed on orally.

The Celts at this time memorized EVERYTHING!!
To ascend through the ranks of had to longer and longer poems in greater and greater quantities.

I even found a passage from Julius Caesar's writings remarking how these people, even though possessing a written language, still preferred that everything be memorized.

Eventually, during the many invasions and attempts to "re-culture" Ireland, these stories and epics were lost.

Therefore...when they try to do historical research today, it is VERY hard to find what was never written.

The Norse and Romans wrote down everything...hence our breadth of knowledge on the subject today.


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