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Breandán 
Posted: 06-Jun-2009, 03:36 PM
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QUOTE (Aaediwen @ 07-Mar-2005, 02:54 PM)
Here, you are getting into where the line between real history and mythology is blurred to the point of non-existance. The Thutha de Danann were the original inhabitants of Ireland. It is they who became the Celtic gods and goddesses (Rhiannon, Brighid, Kerridwen, Bel, etc...). Where they came from is unknown. I've even heard it said that perhaps they were Atlantian evacuees. I would recommend reading the story of Brighid's Mantle at some point.

According to Celtic mythology, they were eventually replaced as a power in the isles, by the followers of Finn MacCoul (known as the Finnians). The Thutha de Danann, however, continued on. more likely known as na Sidhe, the fae. It is believed that the inhabitants of Ireland even today are descendants from the Thutha de Danann and the Finnians.

With the comming of Christianity, many of the Celtic deities became Catholic saints (St. Brigit). But what is real and what is no more than a bardic tale is unknown. I've read stories of Rhiannon where she is prtrayed as a goddess, and I've also read the first book of the Mabinogion where she is a very real person who is wife to Dyfed. Where she comes from is unknown, but he meets her when she passes on the road below while he is sitting on the hill of Tara. What I've heard of Lugh places him as a very skilled man. Daughter of an unwitting (and as of his birth very ticked off) Arianrhod.

There is more too wink.gif

Just so we have this straight, the Tuatha De Danann, according to the Lebor Gabála Érenn and other texts, were one of a number of invading groups. According to the pseudo-historical text (greatly influenced by Christianity) there were the group that arrived with Cessair (who is described as the granddaughter of the biblical Noah), then the people of Partholon, the people of Nemed, the Fir Bolg (who were descendents of Nemed), and the Tuatha De Danann (also descendents of Nemed, but instructed in the "heathen arts") who were said to come from the "Northern Isles of the world". Finally, the Milesians (ancestors of the modern Gaels) invaded and conquered Ireland from the Tuatha De Danann. The Tuatha De Danann are described as made up of gods and un-gods (people of art, and your husbandmen or laborers) and a deal was struck with the Milesians that they would take the "lower half" of Ireland (underground) and the Milesians the "upper half".

The Tuatha De Danann are most undoubtedly the old Gods of Ireland, but you were wrong in including Rhiannon, Kerridwen, and Bel as they are not Irish gods (but Welsh), whilst the Tuatha De Danann refer specifically to the gods of Ireland. And there are no indications that they are from Atlantis (a Greek, not Celtic, myth).

Finn mac Cumhail never led anybody called the "Finnians", though he did lead a group of roaming warriors called the Fianna. Though other than the arrival of members of the Tuatha De Danann in the stories of the Fianna, there is nothing to suggest he ever replaced them, or whatever you are trying to say. And na Sidhe actually means "the mound" in Irish, refering to the mounds that the Tuatha De Danann are said to have inhabited.

As for the Gods and Goddesses being represented in the Tales as human-like and such, there is a very different understanding of deity within Celtic cultures than in Greco-Roman or modern monotheistic cultures and therefore human-like qualities are not entirely an mere mix-up of what is real and what is fantasy. No doubt Christian scribes had a role in SOME, but certainly not all, the "demotion" of divinity amongst Celtic deities.
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Breandán 
Posted: 06-Jun-2009, 03:41 PM
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QUOTE (Eiric @ 11-May-2005, 10:17 AM)
Being what ye call Neo-Druid I have to tell you that we try to practise the sabbats etcetera in the Old traditoinal way, but as you say, much is gone and we have to sort of create a new druidism. I'm an ovate, the first step in becoming a druid, and therefor I cannot say that you're right or not, but being a neo-druid means studying Celtic history, culture, old Gaulish, the celtic languages, religion, mythology, and on and on and on...

Though I must note that from what I have seen amongst Neo-Druids, they have no problem with practicing 8 so-called "sabbats". Only four of which are definately Celtic, the other four being Germanic (excluding Midsummer, when some Manx paid rent to Mananann, and there were also celebrations at Knock Aine, I believe).
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LibraryJim 
Posted: 06-Jun-2009, 04:47 PM
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QUOTE (Druid_of_Ark @ 11-Dec-2007, 10:07 PM)
My Dear CelticRose, there are many that practice Modern Druidry but alas the Ancient forms of the  faith were wiped out when the Christians invaded and used their Loving God to convert people...of course those that did not convert to their God of love were quickly tortured to death.

Um ... no.

In fact Ireland is perhaps one of the ONLY countries where mass, national conversion was accomplished WITHOUT the shedding of blood. The historical records (what few there are) show that from the time of Patrick, the people of Ireland, and this included the Druids, were quick to peacefully convert to the 'new religion'.

The only real violence associated with the Celtic Christians occurred thanks to the Viking Invasions, when whole towns were massacred, villages and monasteries burned, and so much history lost when the books were destroyed.

Any reliable history of Ireland will tell this is true.

Try:
Alcock, Leslie
--Arthur’s Britain
(Pelican/Penguin Books, NY, NY. 1985)
An historical depiction of Britain from the 4th to the 7th Centuries, which includes sketches of Celtic life, mainly around Wales. Prof. Alcock focuses on the Arthurian legends and presents findings from the field of archeology, including the early effects of Christianity in the Isles. Illustrated with pictures of Celtic and British archeological relics.

Ashe, Geoffrey
Discovery of King Arthur
(Anchor Press, Doubleday, NY, NY. 1985)
More focused on the Arthurian Legend than Alcock, but has a wonderful chapter on “Saints, Bards and Heroes” that chronicles the early life and mythology of Wales. Unfortunately, most of this is presented as theory.

Cahil, Thomas
--How the Irish Saved Civilization
Cahil explores an aspect of Celtic culture that had until that time been almost completely ignored – that the literacy of a tiny island during the Dark Ages preserved and later re-introduced cultural works of literature at a time that these had largely disappeared on the continent.

Duncan, Anthony
--Elements of Celtic Christianity
(Element Books, Rockport MA. 1992)
Bare Bones history of Christianity in Celtic lands from pre-Patrick to the Norman Invasion. What distinguishes this from a dry history is the inclusion of the chapter called “Celtic Christianity – so what?” that calls for a Celtic Christian revival in modern spirituality:
“[Celtic Christianity] calls us back to what we are. It is a recall to reality…the spirituality of the Celt is the living of life with the head in the heart.”

MacManus, Seumas
--Story of the Irish Race
(Devin Adair Company, Old Greenwich, Conn. 1980)
Basically, the story of Irish civilization from the first Celts to come to Ireland though the Treaty that created the Irish Republic. Told with a Bard’s voice, 12 chapters are dedicated to Celtic Christianity and it’s impact on the development of Irish culture and legal systems. (Possibly out of print?)

Toulson, Shirley
--Celtic Alternative: Reminder of the Christianity We Lost
(Rider, London, England. 1987)
I discovered this book in a list of ‘other works’ in Ms. Toulson’s book “the Celtic Year” and found that it was not available in the U.S.! So I wrote Ms. Toulson and bought a copy directly from her. At only 150 pages, possibly one of the best ‘concise’ treatments of Celtic Christianity I’ve read. Ms. Toulson clearly feels that Celtic Christianity is “a picture of an open and balanced society which still has much to teach us of tolerance, persistence, and a tough but gentile kindness.”
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LibraryJim 
Posted: 06-Jun-2009, 04:49 PM
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By the way, that was taken from a list, an annotated bibliography, I did for a research project on Celtic Christianity a few years back.

--JE
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Breandán 
Posted: 08-Jun-2009, 11:47 AM
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Thank you! I missed that before.

Ireland was a rarity in how easily and peacefully it converted.
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Ainwyn 
Posted: 28-Sep-2009, 02:12 AM
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I also believe that the idea that Irish saints were converted from Irish gods is something that's being debated. I read this somewhere, and will need to go digging for wherever it was that I found this. Thought I'd mention it though, as it wasn't touched on. Can anyone shed any light on this, either way?
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Amergin 
Posted: 13-Dec-2009, 09:55 PM
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I am a Celtic Christian, and an aspiring bard. I seek knowledge of the old ways of the Celts, especially the Irish, and I pose an interesting conundrum.

I know that no reconstruction of ancient druidic belief or practices can claim to be authoritative, but I have been fascinated by the stories of Morgan Llewellyn, who seems to have an excellent grasp of the ancient times, in so many ways. This is especially evident in her books, The Bard, and Thew Druids.

I also realize that institutions have dramatically corrupted the Christianity of Jesus and the early disciples. In looking at what the Bible really teaches, as opposed to what organized religion may teach today, I find many areas of kinship with ancient Celts and Druids. I see some holes in their belief system, in that they see power and personality in so many aspects of nature, and yet fail to see the person who is the power behind it all, but I also see so much in common between anti-religious Christians such as I am, and those who lived so close to the nature world they could see the hand of the creator in every bush and tree.

I see many posts on this board decrying the intolerance of contemporary (and certainly Medieval) Christianity toward the druids and ancient Celts, but I wonder if anyone has ever really explored the common ground between ancient Christianity and Celtic spirituality? I see so much in common that is never acknowledged by either side, and it saddens me.

I've tried to read as much as I could on this forum before posing this question, but it wanders into so many areas, it is hard to find a common thread. So I seek the common ground between those who have a relationship with Christ, and those who commune with the nature He created; and I look for relationships with those who have a common quest. Are there any kindred spirits here?


--------------------
I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear: that roars for blood,
I am a salmon: in a pool,
I am a lure: from paradise,
I am a hill: where poets walk,
I am a boar: ruthless and red,
I am a breaker: threatening doom,
I am a tide: that drags to death,
I am an infant: who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen, arch?

I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.
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