Legend of the Blarney Stone

 

 

Legend of the Blarney Stone
Blarney Castle, Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland * Phone: 00 353 21 4385252 * http://www.blarneycastle.ie/
One of Ireland’s most valuable and mesmerizing mythical collections is the infamous Blarney Stone. Called “Cloch na Blarnan” in Irish, it is the legendary stone for the gift of gab. “Blarney” means “Clever, Flattering, or coaxing talk”. The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone that is built within the battlements of Blarney Castle, locaed approximately 8 kilometers from Cork, Ireland. It is believed that whoever kisses the stone is endowed with the gift of gab, great eloquence, or the skill at flattery. It allows the gifted to impart the ability to deceive without offending. Its not an easy task to kiss the stone, as one needs to be held upside down atop a drop of a tall tower to reach the kissing spot. The stone became part of the tower in 1446 and has become one of Ireland’s most notable tourist sites.

Where does the stone come from? There are many myths and legends surrounding the stone and its origins, the earliest of which involves the Goddess Clíodhna. It is believed that the Castle’s builder, Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, was in a lawsuit and sought out Clíodhna for her assistance. She told him to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and as he did, he gained eloquence and won the court case. Flabberghasted by this magical event he took the stone and added to the castle’s stones. Many believe that it was a piece of the Stone of Scone. Others believe it to be the rock that Moses struck with his staff to produce water for the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Others believe it to be the stone that Jacob used as a pillow and was later brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. It is said that it then became the Lia Fail, or ‘Fatal Stone’ and was used as an oracular throne of the Irish kings. Some say its the Stone of Ezel which David hid behind on Jonathan’s advice while fleeing King Saul and brought to Ireland during the Crusades. Others believe it to be the rock pillow used by St. Columba of Iona on his deathbead. Some believe that the stone was first presented to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 to recognize his support in the Battle of Bannockburn. Some say that the stone was previously in Ireland then taken to Scotland and brought back to Ireland in 1314. It is also said that during the time of Queen Elizabeth I, Dermot McCarthy, had been required to surrender his fortress to the Queen as proof of his loyalty. He told her he would be delighted to do so, but something always happened at the last moment to prevent his surrender. Many believe this was the charm of the Blarney Stone in effect. The Queen replied to this as “Odds bodikins, more Blarney talk!”

Kissing the Stone has been performed by literally ‘millions of people’ in the world, including world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen. Kissing the stone is kissing all of these people by proxy, and by the magical law of contact – gaining the gift of gab that all these people possess. Its not an easy kiss and its important for the lips to touch the bluestone. This quest involves ascending to the castle’s peak, leaning over backwards on the parapet’s edge, entrusting a stranger (Castle guard) with your life by holding on to you. Today, safety wrought-iron guide rails and protective crossbars help prevent death or serious injury. Prior to these installations, the kisser was in danger of serious life risk as they were grasped by their ankles and dangled from the plummet. According to the Sherlock Holmes radio dramatization in “The Adventure of the Blarney Stone” (March 18, 1946) reported a man attempting the kiss plummeting to his death – but determined to be a murder as his boots had been greased before the attempt. The cautious and germ phoebic consider the Blarney Stone to be the most unhygienic tourist attraction in the world, as ranked as such by Tripadvisor.com in 2009. When I attended, I watched the guards use antiseptic wipes after every kiss and had hand sanitizer on the spot. Urban legends are amiss that claim locals go up to the Blarney stone at night and piss on it. Of course, anyone who has ever been to the Blarney stone, knowing the tight and tiny ascension up the treacherous tower (that is locked after hours and guarded) that even with breaching security and risking royal criminal punishment, would have to be damn good aim to hit the Blarney stone. Much of the urban legend comes from the incident in the film “Fight Club” where the narrator urinates on the Blarney Stone during his visit to Ireland as his first act of vandalism.

 

    ‘Tis there’s the stone that whoever kisses
    He never misses to grow eloquent;
    ‘Tis he may clamber to a lady’s chamber, Or become a member of Parliament.
    “A noble spouter he’ll sure turn out, or An out and outer to be let alone;
    Don’t try to hinder him, or to bewilder him, For he is a pilgrim from the Blarney stone.”

 

Many nation’s around the world have attempted to obtain the Blarney Stone. There are quite a few imposters out and about. The one and true stone is in the Blarney Castle. According to a tradition at Texas Tech University, a stone fragment on display since 1939 outside the old Electrical Engineering Building claims to be a missing piece of the Blarney Stone.

One can kiss the stone from monday thru saturday, 9 am to 6:30 pm in September and May, 9 am to 7 pm from June through August, and 9 am to sundown from October to April. On sundays, kissing can commence from 9 am to 5:30 pm during the summer, and 9 am to sundown during the winter.

 

 

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Faerie Trees

 


Fairy Tree, the Curraugh, Kildare, Ireland

Faerie Trees
United Kingdom and Ireland

Faerie trees are mythical hotspots of otherworldly and/or faerie activity. Faerie trees are seen as the haunts of Faeries. They are fiercely protected by the Fae. It is believed that any human foolish enough to pass by a host-tree late at night will find their arms bruised or pinched by small faerie fingers. Three thorn trees growing closely together are especially potent. Thorn trees hung with ribbons or rags are good gifts to faeries of the tree. Faerie trees are most associated with the Oak, Ash, and Thorn. Sometimes it is associated with the Rowan tree. Others claim its the Elder, Blackthorn, Hazel, and/or Alder. The trees most twisted together are the most notorious of faerie trees – and this is common amongst the Elder. If two thorns and an elder are found together it warns of great danger as do Oak, Ash, and Thorn. In the British Isles, the Rowan is believed to protect one from witchcraft and enchantment. Its berries opposite its stalk display tiny five pointed stars or pentagrams which are notable protective symbols. Color red, as in the flavor of the berry, is also seen as a protection against enchantment. The tree is believed to afford protection to the dwellings by which it grew and often people would take branches of the tree to be carried for personal protection from witchcraft. The belief in them go back to classical mythology, whereas legends tell us that ‘Hebe’, the Goddess of youth, once dispensed rejuvenating ambrosia to the Gods from her magical chalice. When she lost this cup to demons, the Gods sent an eagle to recover the cup. The feathers and drops of blood which the eagle bled in the fight, fell to the earth, whereas each one of them turned into a Rowan tree – the legendary Faerie Tree. It is because of this it is believed that the Rowan derived the shape of its leaves from eagle’s feathers and its berries look like the droplets of blood. The Rowan is also prominent in Norse mythology as being the tree from where the first woman was made. The Mountain Ash were also associated as Faerie Trees which are the most well-known of the Rowan. The wood of the Rowan is often used for staves, wands, divining rods, and walking sticks. Berries are often used to make alcoholic drinks.


The Curraugh, Kildare, Ireland

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Knocknashee

 
“Knocknashee”, legendary ” Hill of the Faeries”

County Sligo, Ireland
Knocknashee is known as the legendary “Hill of the Faeries” and is one of Ireland’s seven most sacred hills. The name comes from the Irish “knock” (cnoc) meaning “hill” and “shee” meaning “fairy”. Its older name is Mullinabreena or “Fairy Palace”. The hill fort is located near Lavagh, Ballymote, and rises 900 feet high with a flat top, green and lush, with a diameter of a square mile. Oddly, unlike any other hill in the area, it has absolutely no heather. At its base stands the ruins of Court Abbey and its 90 foot high tower that was built in the 15th century by the O’Haras for the Franciscans. This legendary “Hill of the Fairy Mansion or Palace” as “Mullinabreena” or “Knocknashee” is a sacred site for Faeries and those who worship or believe in them being the mythical headquarters or high court of the Fae. Geologically the hill is a 276 m Marilyn located in the Ox Mountains of County Sligo, Ireland with the River Moy at its foot. It consists of a limestone top with shales underlying the lower slopes. The hill is culturally rich with archaeology as it was discovered to be a hilltop fort in 1988 during a Office of Public Works aerial survey of the county with the observbation of the remains of limestone ramparts containing cairns, burial chambers, and hutsites on its top. The fort is 700 meters long and 320 meters wide, enclosed by two earth and stone ramparts covering an area of 53 acres. There are two cairns, the remains of over 30 circular house sites, and two earth/stone ramparts. The hill has a panoramic view of the Connacht plains. The lower exposures of the hill show irregularly bedded limestone with a diverse fauna of colonial and solitary corals, with very well preserved fossils in silica that were deposited some 340 million years ago. Hilltop is covered with a thin peat. A popular play was made in tribute of the hill called “Knocknashee” by the Irish playwright Deirdre Kinahan in 2002. A traditional Irish song was also named after the hill called “The Hills of Knocknashee” with “The River Moy so gently flows from there unto the sea. Farewell to you, farewell to all from the hill of Knocknashee”.
Directions: Knocknashee is a table-top plateau 7 kilometres NEN of Tobercurry. From Tobercurry take the N17 north for 5 kilometres to Carrowclare then take a left to a T-Junction then a right about 1/2 kilometre on your left is a farm house ask here for permission to climb the hill. Portal Tombs around Knocknasee: http://www.irishmegaliths.org.uk/sligo.htm

 
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Gilligan’s World

 

 

Gillighans World
* Tel / Fax 00 353 (0)71 30286 / 00 353 (0)71 84100 * Mobile 087 6811690 / 087 6780831 * e-mail gillighans@eircom.net * Registered Office: Baroncourt, Kilmacowen, Ballysadare, County Sligo * Sligo, Ireland *

Gilligan’s World is a hidden little Faerie theme park, farm, and botanical gardens in the heart of Sligo County in the rolling countryside at the base of the famed Tuatha de Danaan battle mound, the “Knocknashee” the Legendary “Hill of the Faeries”, one of Irelands 7 sacred hills. Mainly centered around children, the park can be a bit of fun for adults and kids alike, especially for those in the faerie persuasion. This little magical kingdom was created by the Baronness of Leyny, the Lady Melody Urquhart (Ph.D) as a faerie habitat to capture the true spirit of Ireland and its mythological/archaeological past. In 1993, she left fame and fortune behind in England as a choreographer / producer / director/ and owner of a finishing school in order to build this sanctuary. Attracted to the Knocknashee, the Mullinabreena, the Hill of the Fairy Mansion or Palace. Complete with miniature model villages, enchanted glades, streams, botanical gardens, a petting zoo, snack shop, gift shop, library, restrooms, car park, picnic areas, and an inn. Streams, forests, wildlife ponds, an aquatic cave, play facilities, with games, quizzes, and puzzles to achieve. The staff is well educated about faerie lore and history. Great place for the kids, schools, coach tours, birthday parties, family groups, and overseas tourists. It has a stone tunnel entrance, with dolmen, an amphitheater, lush green lawns, and inspiration for the wild, wacky, kitch, artistic, imaginative, and fantasy. Its open 7 days a week, Easter through September from 12 to 6 pm on mondays thru fridays, 2 pm to 7 pm on saturdays and sundays. While very kitchy and centered around children, as an adult with a faerie fascination, I enjoyed the park very much – and hope to go back to actually explore the actual Knocknashee. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

 

 

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Faerie Poop

 

 

Faerie Poop or Spittlebug mess

The legend has it that areas in the bushes and on plants where faeries take a leak, or take a poop, is left behind white foamy material. Of course these “Poop faeries” or “shit faeries” are not the urban “shit faerie” of modern urban legend. It actually is the defecation of the Spittlebug nymphs (though some say mealworms will cause it too). Spittlebugs love most plants, especially fruit bearers and fragrant herbs. What they leave behind doesn’t cause permanent damage to the plant unless in very high concentrations. The spittle is actually a protective covering that the nymph builds up around itself through its anus. It looks like white foam, a pile of bubbles, or a big gob of spit, or faerie shit. Spittlebugs look like leafhoppers that suck on plants by sucking out its sap. It produces a dollop of foam, a mix of slimy sugary insect excretions and air bubbles, enclosing a single spitlebug protecting it from dessication and predators like lacewings and ladybugs. Mealybug infestations can also appear on plants as tiny, soft-bodied insects surrounded by a fuzzy white mess around the stem and leaf nodes where the female mealy bugs hide their eggs that hatch in 10 days producing crawlers or nymphs where they relocate upon birth to another part of the plant and spend 4-8 weeks developing into adults.

Unless it’s a shit faerie that would oddly defecate on plants as their usual habit is to climb into human beds while they are asleep, shit in their mouths as a punishment for over endulging in alcohol – this explains why after heavy nights of drinking one awakes with a yucky taste in their mouths. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shit%20fairy. Though one could also say its the “Poop Faerie”, but then again, this critter isn’t known for pooping on plants, but again, on humans. They are reputedly derived from the Greek “Poopides Poop-a-lot-alous Nymphicacides” as a petite indigenous creature who is thinly related to the Tooth Fairy. It legendarily enters human residences and permeates the bedroom with a repulsive stink that lingers what seems forever. She apparently appears after the victim passes out after a long night of excessive consumption and riotous sex. Unlike the Shit Faerie, she waves her magic Shit-Stick to disperse a pasty white substance that imbues the victim’s mouth with a corrosive pungence. One can read more of this faerie at http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=poop%20fairy.

 

 

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Mermaids/Mermen

Mermaids and Mermen

A rich realm of characters in Faerie lore, Mermaids and Mermen have consumed popular myth through the ages – fantasy, entertainment, and imagery. Mermaids (and the male form “Mermen”) are a race of Faerie that consist of human-like mythological aquatic creatures that are depicted with a human head and torso attached to the tail of a fish. They are related to sirens, selchies, and sea nymphs. Their names come from the Old English root “Mere” for “Sea”, and “maid” for “woman”. Caribbean tales of mermaids appear as the Aycayia – with attributes similar to the Goddess Jagua and the hibiscus flower of the majagua tree. Voodoo lore speaks of the Lwa La Sirene who is lwa of wealth and beauty and the Orisha Yemaya. Other names are “Mami Wata” (Africa), “Jengu” (Cameroon), “Merrow” (Ireland/Scotland), “Rusalkas” (Russia/Ukraine), “Iara” (Brazil), “Oceanids, Nereids, Naiads” (Greek), “Sirena or Siyokoy” (Phillipines). In folktales, mermaids were similar to sirens in that they often sang to enchant passerbys, distracting them, and causing them to walk off the deck of their ships and ground their ships. Some horror tales depict mermaids squeezing the life out of drowning men or carrying them down to their underwater realms thereby drowning the men by either not realizing humans can’t breathe water or to drown them out of spite. The first mention in lore of Mermaids appeared around 1,000 B.C.E. in Assyria with the story of the Goddess Atargatis who accidentally killed her shepherd lover. To bring him back she jumped into a lake and transformed into a fish, but the waters wouldn’t conceal her divine beauty, thereby forcing her into the form of a ‘mermaid’ – human above he waist, fish below the waist. Around 546 B.C.E. the Milesian philosopher Anaximander stated that mankind came from an aquatic species and thereby from mer-folk. Greek legend places Alexander the Great’s sister Thessalonike as a mermaid upon her death. 2nd century C.E. Lucian of Samosata wrote about mermaids in the Syrian temples – notably Derketo and Hera Atargatis. Many Arabian Nights tales talk of Sea People such as Djullanar the sea-Girl or Abdullah the Merman who can breathe water, interbreed with humans, and create aquatic half-breeds. In the British Isles and Ireland, there are many tales of Mermaids and Mermen in local lore and legend – mainly from Fishermen (1800’s). Seeing them were considered an unlucky omen – foretelling disaster or provoking it. Some were described as monsters as large as 2,000 feet in size. It is believed that Mermaids can swim up rivers to freshwater lakes, and that they often appear as drowned victims when presenting themselves to humans they are attracted to. Some lore portrays mer-folk as helpful, teaching humankind cures for diseases. Claims of sightings range from British Columbia to Ireland to Java. In the 19th century, P.T. Barnum displayed in his taxidermy exhibit the “Fiji Mermaid” which was proven to be a hoax. There is a rare congenital disorder called the “Mermaid Syndrome” where a child is born with his/her legs fused together combined with reduced genitalia that occurs as often as conjoined twins (1 out of 100,000 births and usually fatal due to kidney and bladder complications).

Related to Naiads and Undines.

More information:
Mermaids on the web: http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/mermaids/
Women of the Deep: A Light History of the Mermaid: http://members.cox.net/mermaid31/merhist.htm

Habitats: Mermaid Cove at Carrick-A-Rede in Antrim, Northern Ireland:

   

 

     

 

   

 

     


Mermaid Cove

 

   

Mermaid Cove 

     

 

Disney’s Animated Classic: The Little Mermaid
Throughout film and cartoons, the mythos of the mermaid has enchanted us all, including the popular character “Arial”, aka “The Little Mermaid”.

Family time at Disney’s California Adventure ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30907), Los Angeles, California. “A California Adventure” – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken April 8, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Family time at Disney’s California Adventure ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30907), Los Angeles, California. “A California Adventure” – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken April 8, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Family time at Disney’s California Adventure ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30907), Los Angeles, California. “A California Adventure” – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken April 8, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Family time at Disney’s California Adventure ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30907), Los Angeles, California. “A California Adventure” – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken April 8, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Newgrange

 

 

Newgrange:
Brú na Bóinne, Ireland
One of Ireland’s most infamous monuments and archaeological sites, Newgrange is amongst the Bru na Boinne World Heritage sites next to Knowth and Dowth. It is popular like Stonehenge with its Solstice astronomical line-ups and viewing of the sun as it appears through its portal. The monument is a large mound complex shaped like a giant kidney covering an area of about an acre of land and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones most of which are decorated by megalithic rock art. Newgrange is one of the best examples in Ireland and Western Europe of a passage grave or tomb. Constructed around 3200 BCE, this site is older than the Egyptian pyramids and a 1,000 years older than Stonehenge. Located along a elongated ridge on the Boyne River, five miles west of Drogheda, and close to the location where the Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690. Built entirely wih stone tools the Faerie Sidhe (folklore) or Passage Grave (Archaeology) is an impressive monument: The purpose of the monument is disputed greatly as there is no evidence that Newgrange was used as a repository for bodies, bones, burial artifacts or ash. Mythology tells us that the Tuatha Dé Danann, legendary first rulers of Ireland, built Newgrange as a burial place for their chief – the Dagda Mór with his three sons. The site is also believed to be where the hero Cúchulainn was conceived by his mother Dechtine. Also listed in mythology as a Faerie Mound, it was believed to have been the home of Oenghus, the God of Love. Other theories are that it was a place of worship for a “cult of he dead” or for astronomically-based faiths. Visitors can only access Newgrange via bus shuttle from the visitor center at Brú na Bóinne and those wishing to see the Winter Solstice sunrise light-up has to be awarded via lottery for the experience with a select few other lottery winners. A 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off the larger central chamber. Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat ‘basin stone’ which is where it is believed the bones of the dead were originally deposited. During the Winter Solstice, lights of the rising sun enters the roofbox – lighting up the passage, and shining onto the floor of the inner chamber – illuminating the room for 17 minutes. Megalithic Rock Art surrounds the monument with some world notable pieces such as the triskel carved on the entrance stone, Kerbstone 1 and 52. Other rock art carvings fit into one of ten categories, five of which are curvilinear (circles, spirals, arcs, serpentiniforms, and dot-in-circles), and the other five are rectilinear (chevrons, lozenges, radials, parallel lines and offsets). Intriguing archaeological finds were found throughout the site, including Roman coins, an iron wedge, and a stone phallus. It is believed to have taken 20 years to build with a work force dedicated all of those years full time of 300 individuals. Under the burial tomb theory, it is believed to have been sealed and closed for several millenia after which the local folklore and mythology of the faeries were believed to be assigned to the mound. The site was used for ritual purposes well into the Iron Age. The Passage tomb was re-discovered in 1699 when material for road building was being harvested from the mound. A large excavation of the mound took place in 1962 as well as the rebuilding of the original facade of sparkling white quartz stones found at the site. Newgrange has been compared to the Gavrinis passage tomb in Brittany for which it is very similar to. The Gavrinis cairn is 5,500 years old; 60 meters in diameter, and covers a passage and chamber that is lined with elaborately engraved stone. Newgrange is built of alternating layers of earth and stone with grass growing atop, and the front reconstructed facade is of flattish white quartz stone studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles covering the circumference.

 

 

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Brú na Bóinne

 

 

Brú na Bóinne
* aka “Palace of the Boyne” or “Bend of the Boyne” * Knowth/Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland * UNESCO World Heritage Site *
 

“Bru na Boinne” is the name of a Boyne River Valley section that is home to the World Heritage sites consisting of the Tumulus Sidhe known as “Knowth”, “Dowth”, and “Newgrange”. These monuments are the largest and one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe that consist of a complex of neolithic chamber tombs, standing stones, henges, and other prehistoric enclosures dating as early as 35th century B.C.E. (predating the Egyptian pyramids) The Palace is centrally the name for the visitor center that is home to a museum, cafe, interpretive displays, information center, and central shuttle bus location for visitors to get to Knowth and Newgrange. It is located in County Meath near the village of Donore along the south bank of the Boyne River. The large oval stones in the water feature are 330 million year old naturally occuring concretions that make the site a geological attraction as well. The Sidhe/Tumulus of Newgrange and Knowth are to the north of the Boyne. The site covers over 780 hectare acres with over 40 passage graves, prehistoric sites, hengestones, circles, and features as well as substantial Megalithic rock art. Each of the monuments  are on a ridge within the river bend, with Knowth and Newgrange containing stones re-used from earlier monuments at the site. The sites were visited repeatedly and re-used during various ages such as the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Medieval periods adding assortments of artifacts, features, and enclosures to the site throughout the years.   In addition to the famous tombs/tumulus of Knowth, Dowth, and Newgrange are also the ceremonial complexes known as Cloghalea Henge, Townleyhall passage grave, Monknewtown henge and ritual pond, and the Newgrange cursus.  Newgrange stands as the central mound of the Boyne Valley passage grave cemetery. Each of these three main tumulus sites have archaeo-astronomical significance and alignments. Newgrange and Dowth have Winter Solstice solar alignments, and Knowth has an Equinox solar alignment. The complex areas are surrounded on the south, west, and east by the Boyne river, and to the north by the Mattock river.
The River Boyne
The Goddess Boann

A grandiose River in Leinster, Ireland that runs a course of over 112 kilometers (70 miles) passing by the Brú na Bóinne complex and World Heritage site, by the ancient city of Trim, Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara, Navan, the Hill of Slane, Mellifont Abbey, and the medieval city of Drogheda. It starts at Trinity Well in Kildare and flows towards the Northeast through County Meath where it empties into the Irish Sea. The river is abundant with Salmon and trout that hosts much Irish mythology on the passage of knowledge down the river. The river is notorious for its historical, archaeological, and mythological connotations. Ptolemy drew out the river in his mapping of Ireland and he called it ????????? (Bououinda). According to Irish mythology, the river was created by the Goddess Boann and the river is named after her as well as representative of her. It is also the river where Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontan, the Salmon of Knowledge. It is also home to the infamous “Battle of the Boyne” which took place near Drogheda in 1690. The archaeological remains of a Viking ship was found in 2006 in the river bed near Drogheda.

 

 

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The Otherworld, The Underworld, The Sidhe


Otherworld Map

The Otherworld

From the dawn of religious thought there has been belief in an Underworld and/or an Otherworld. A place were we are trapped when we die disturbed or without resolution that sits upon our world, sometimes referred to as Limbo, Hades, The Waiting Place, and the Inbetween. Many believe in a Hell and a Heaven. Others believe in a Summerland. Others do not. Some believe in Reincarnation. But just about everyone has an opinion about where we go when we die. The Otherworld is one such place that many deduce is where human spirits reside after death. But its not just a place for ghosts and poltergeists, but is also often labelled as a place of residence for all of the undead and supernatural from zombies to vampires, from faeries to trolls, from Gods to Goddesses, and the elemental spirits of nature. Celtic mythology calls “The Otherworld” (Orbis Alia) as the “Realm of the Dead, the Home of the Deities, or the stronghold of other spirits, and the Mighty Sidhe.” Folklore depicts the Otherworld as existing over the western sea or underground such as in the Sidhe mounds of Ireland and the British Isles, or as a realm layered like a transparency over the world of the living but invisible to our physical sight. I’m more of an advocate to the belief that the Elemental and Faerie Realm, Realm of Deities, and the Land of the Dead are all ‘separate’ realms … layered on top of each other as transparency-like layers of an onion in the worlds within worlds that make up the cosmology of universes in which we live. The Irish described their Otherwold as being underground and sometimes on islands in the Western sea. I believe that they actually saw it as a separate realm from the land of Faeries and the Sidhe and scholars or folklorists not being very well versed in the different dimensions just lumped these worlds into one solitary world separate from the land of the living. There are many different references by the Irish to the these realms including Tir na mBeo (“the Land of the Living”), Mag Mell (“Delightful Plain”), and Tir na nog (“Land of the Young”), among other names. This is one of the reasons I believe the Irish truly believed them to be different places. Irish mythology talk of these places to be a country where the inhabitants never grew old, got sick, died, where they were eternally at peace and happiness, and one year of occupation in that realm would equate to 100 human years. The Greeks spoke of a similar place called the “Elysium” (Greek mythology). Of course the Greeks and the Irish may have a shared origin in ancient Proto-Indo-European religion, so that might make sense. There are many folktales in both of these cultures where a beautiful young woman often approaches the hero and sings to him of these happy lands often offering him an apple or the promise of her love in exchange for his assistance in battle. The myths have him following her for a journey over the sea and are never seen again. Mythological and folklore elements involve boats of glass, chariots, horses, food, drink, and lures of love. Sometimes the mortal man returns to the human realm to find his previous family and friends deceased for ages and while believing to have been gone for a few years were actually gone for hundreds of years. (ex: Tale of Oisin, Thomas the Rymer, Rip Van Winkle, Tale of Bran and Branwen, etc.) There are quests in the tales and a magical mist always seem to descend upon them. They are always changed and affected with their contact to the Otherworld. The means by which many of these individuals cross over from the human realm to the land of spirits or the dead are abundant in all of Indo-European folklore and stories. These seem to occur in liminal places, gateways, or on special days of the year. The Gaelic festival of Samhain (November 1st) as well as Beltane (May 1st) are believed to be dates when the boundaries between the worlds become even more permeable than usual, and visitors from both realms can travel inbetween the realms, sometimes on purpose other times accidentally. Folklore is obsessed with the concern about preventing the intrusion of spirits into the human world and the loss of humans to the Otherworlds. Many spells, charms, superstitions, and rituals exist through history to prevent the crossing over of humans and entities between these dimensions. Some believe that Irish folklore is a heaven of sorts. Interpreters of Irish poetry and story telling, claim the Otherworld is simply a land of paradise, happiness, and summer. I am of the opposite view that the realms those stories tell about is quite yet a completely different world than the land of the Dead. I believe that there is a land of Faeries (Sidhe, Faerieland or Faerieworld), a land of the Dead (Otherworld), a land of Demons (Underworld / Hades / Hell), a land of Deities (Summerland or Heaven). Land of the Dead is what I refer to when I discuss the Otherworld. Brittany sees this as an island someplace west of Great Britain. When the souls of the dead leave the human body, they go to the homes of fishermen and knock desperately on their doors for ferry to these islands. The fishermen would leave their homes and ferry the dead to these lands in ghostly ships called “Bag an Noz”. There are Christian beliefs on the British Isles that talk about a Galicia northern coastal village called ‘San Andres de Teixido’ where a little hermitage consecrated to Saint Andrew houses his bones. According to Tacitus this is where the ‘heavens, seas, and earth end’. It is believed by many that if you don’t visit this place when you are living, you must visit after you die in the form of a serpent or lizard, in order to take your journey to the land of the dead, according to words from Jesus to Andres. Many Spanish authors also claim that this is the starting place for the souls of the dead on their trip to the Other World. The Irish God of Gateways and of the Sea, Manannon Mac Lir, is often seen as a gatekeeper between these Isles of the Dead and the Lands of the Living. In modern fantasy, such as in the tales of the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” the gateway to the realms of the dead or the world of demons are referred to as “The Hellmouth”. This serves as a magical portal between the worlds. Supposedly as a place of increased supernatural energy and is a gate that attracts as a hot spot demons and other supernatural creatures. While completely created by the filmmakers, the concept is based off the gateways to the realm of the dead found in mythologies. The “Otherworld” as the “Spirit World” or “Land of the Dead” is seen as a habitation realm of spirits. The belief in spirits come from the theory that the Earth itself and all living things on the Earth have spirit counterparts that existed before the physical creation, and a living soul consists of a spirit body united with a physical body. The spirit existence is composed of organized and refined spirit matter that extends to all life, including plants, animals, and humans. Even the Christian bible refers to plant spirits as being created as spirits before they were created with physical bodies (Moses 3:5, 9). Under these beliefs, there are premortal and postmortal spirit worlds. Premortal spirits exist originally in “heaven” where monotheistic faiths believe their God lives. There is belief by many that the spirit after leaving the body from death, yet before resurrection, is taken by an angel or a reaper, to the home of God who gave them life, they are then often judged and/or assigned to a place of paradise or a place of hell and ‘outer darkness’. Postmortal spirits inhabit a world where they reside and converse together the same as what occurs in the human world. There is belief that they conduct similar activities, labor, and life as they did when they were living; it is a place where they learn and prepare for the next life as an extension of mortality. Those at unrest or unfinished with their mortal existence, often haunt or are trapped inbetween the human realm and the Otherworld or the Underworld.


Mythological Placenames

The Underworld

is often a realm that corresponds to what some refer to as ‘the Otherworld’. In the studies of religion and mythology, this is a generic term that applies to ‘the afterlife’ or any place where newly dead souls go. It is often seen as a nuetral or dystopic realm in the afterlife, instead of the Heaven or Hell so prophesized by the religion of Christianity. It is also believed to be by many as a realms that resides atop our own where the unrested / disturbed / or spirits reside until they can pass on to the land of the dead. To some it is a waiting place or a limbo. Others label the Underworld as Hell or Hades. The Underworld is referred to as Mctlan by the Aztec, Kurnugia by the Babylonians, Naraka or Niraya by the Buddhists, Annwn or Mag Mell by the Celts, Yum gan (??) by the Chinese, Aaru / Anubis / Duat / or Neter-khertet by the Egyptians, Toonela by the Estonians, Tuonela by the Finnish, Elysium / Asphodel Meadows / Hades / Tartaros by the Greeks, Sheol / Gehenna by the Hebrew, Naraka / Yamaloka by the Hindu, Uku Pacha by the Inca, Adlivun by the Inuit, Jahannam / Narr / Janna / Barzakh / Araf by the Islam, Yomi / Jigoku by the Japanese, “Ji-Ok” ?? ?? by the Koreans, Aizsaule by the Latvians, Hawaiki by the M?ori, Pellumawida / Degin / Wenuleufu / Ngullchenmaiwe by the Mapuche, Metnal / Xibalba by the Maya, Bulu / Burotu / Murimuria / Nabangatai / Tuma by the Melanesians, Gimle / Hel / Niflheim / Valhall / Vingolf by the Norse, Ekera by the Oromo, Kasanaan / Empiyerno by the Philippine, Avaika (and other names) by the Polynesians, Shipap by the Pueblo, Inferno / Avernus / Orcus / Hades / Pluto by the Romans, Podsvetie / Peklo / Nava by the Slavs, Dilmun / Kur / Irkalla by the Sumerians, Guinee by the Vodou, and Hiyoyoa by the Wagawaga. The Underworld is ruled by demons, spirits, veli, Cerberus, ghosts, and other supernatural guardians, as well as Baiame / Eingana by the Aboriginal, Allu / Anu / Anunnaku / Ereshkigal / Etemmu / Gallu / Humbaba / Mamitu / Nergal / Utnapishtim by the Akkadians, E Bukura e Dheut by the Albanians, Spandaramat by the Armenians, Mictlantecuhtli / Mictecacihuatl/ Chalmecacihuilt/ Chalmecatl by the Aztec, Erra / Nergal / Ninlil / Sursunabu / Ur-shanabi / Utnapishtim by the Babylonians, Batara Kala / Setesuyara by the Balinese, gNyan by the Bon, Yama / Emma-0- / Yanluo by the Buddhist, Mot by the Canaanites, Aed / Arawn / Cwn Annwn / Donn / Gwyn ap Nudd / Mannanon Mac Lire / Pwyll / Sluagh by the Celts, Gui / Yanluo by the Chinese, Demons / Devil / Satan / Lucifer by the Christians, Aken / Aker / Am-heh / Amunet / Ammit / Andjety / Anubis / Apep / Apis / Astennu / Ha / Imiut / Isis / Mehen / Naunet / Nehebkau / Nephthys / Nun / Nut / Osiris / Ptah / Seker / Thoth by the Egyptian, Jabru by the Elamites, Vanapagan by the Estonians, Charun / Culsu / Februus / Mania / Mantus / Nethuns / Tuchulcha / Vanth by the Etruscans, Kalma / Kipu-Tytti / Kivutar / Lovitar / Surma / Tuonen akka / Tuonetar / Tuoni / Vammatar by the Finnish, Cerberus / Charon / Hades / Keres / Persephone / Styx / Thanatos / Tartaros by the Greeks, Sasuleti by the Georgians, Ta’xet / Tia by the Haida, Yamaraja by the Hindu, Kachina by the Hopi, Ala by the Ibo, Supay / Vichama by the Incan, Dwi Shri / Ndara by the Indonesian, Pana / Sedna by the Inuit, Mala’ikah by Islam, Hisa-Me / Hotoke / Ika-Zuchi-no-Kami / Jikininki / Shiko-Me / Shiti Dama / Shi-Ryo / Yama by the Japanese, Dur by the Kassite, Preas Eyssaur by the Khmer, Veli / Velu mate / Zemes mate by the Latvian, Mot by the Levantine, Kalunga by the Lunda, Kewa by the Maori, Xibalba by the Maya, Egei / Ratumaibulu / Samulayo by the Melanesian, Chepi by the Narragansett, Estanatelhi by the Navajo, Mctanteot by the Niguiran, Garmr / Hel / Ran by the Norse, Angra Mainyu / Azhi Dahaka / Peri by the Persians, Bathala / Demonyo Demon / Lucifer / Dyablo Diablo / Satan / Diyos God by the Philippine, Horo by the Phoenicians, Men by the Phrygian, Hikuleo (and many others) by the Polynesians, Picullus by the Prussians, Iyatiku by the Pueblo, Cereberus / Dea Tacita / Dis Pater / Egestes / Fames / Inferi Dii / Larenta / Letum / Libitina / Mors / Orcus / Pluto / Proserpina / Viduus by the Romans, Dyavol / Satanaya by the Russians, Yambe-akka by the Saami, Amotken by the Salish, Chebeldei / Kul by the Siberians, Crnobog / Flins / Marzana / Nyia by the Slavs, Edimmu / Ekimmu, Urshanabi (and many others) by the Sumerians, Cur by the Tamil, Heros by the Thracian, Erlik by the Turkic, Baron Cimetiere / Baron La Croix / Baron Samedi / Ghede / Maman Brigitte / Marassa Jumeaux by the Vodoun, Tumudurere by the Wagawaga, Oya by the Yoruba, Nga by the Yurak, and Uhepono by the Zuni. [Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underworld”]Many believe the underworld is hidden within the depths of the Earth, some say the center of the Earth. According to Greek Mythology, it is the Kingdom of the Dead and ruled over by Hades (residing at the very depths) who is only concerned with increasing the population of the Underworld. It is surrounded by a series of rivers such as the Acheron (river of Woe), Cocytus (river of lamentation), Phlegethon (river of fire), the Styx (river of unbreakable oath), the Lethe (river of forgetfulness). Across the rivers lies the gate to the mortal realm which is guarded by Cerberus. Many believe the dead area ferried across the Acheron by Charon to Hermes who leads them to the gates. Only those who can afford fare, with coins placed on their lips or eyelids receive passage. The rest are trapped between the worlds. Once in the Underworld you cannot leave. At the Gates, those are judged by Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus who pass sentence – those who are good go to the Elysian Fields, the rest go through ordeals and often to the very depths of the Underworld. Many see the Underworld as an unpleasant realm of misery, death, despair, darkness, and shadow.

The Sidhe or the Lands of the Fae
Ireland and the British Isles talk of an underground dimension or lands across the western seas hidden by mists where the original inhabitants of Ireland now live. The Mighty Sidhe, the Tuatha De Danann, perhaps the Fomorians, were all driven to this Underworld by waves of invaders such as the Gaels who came from Spain led by chieftain Mil Espeine. It is believed they had no other choice but to take refuge under the sidhe which denotes ‘hills where the long barrows lay and which is used also to name a special kind of fairies in Ireland and in the Scottish Highlands, the daoine sidhe.’ There are believed to be Knocks (Irish cnoc) which are hollow hills inhabited by large communities of faeries often led by a Kind and/or Queen. The most common sites of which are located in Ireland and known as: Knockma (ruled by Finvarra of the Connaught fae); Knockany (ruled by Aine of the Munster Fae); and Newgrange in county Meath where the Angus og myth takes place and archaeological ruins still exist; and in Brittany the castro of Altamira led by Xana Mega, the Queen of the Fairies. Many believe that during certain times of the year, sidhe can be found by humans as the faeries can often be seen dancing under the moonlight. Others believe there are faerie gates or portals that connect these realms, from archways in trees, holes in stones, and fairie rings of mushrooms. The Sacred Isles of the Western Sea are known as Isles of Paradise where supernatural beings reside from Sirens, to Mer-folk, and the Lands of the Young. The waters surrounding these isles have magical properties. Sterile women perform rituals at La Lanzada Beach (Galicia) where nine successive waves wash over them to help them become pregnant in these lands. It is also on some of these Islands that the Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes reside. Anglesey (Min), located on the Northern Welsh Coast, is a sacred island of the druids of Britain; the Scilly islands, where archaeological remains of proto-historical temples have been found; and some of the Hebrides Islands, which were, in the Gaelic tradition, home of ghosts and demons: on one of them, Skye, the Irish hero Cuchulainn was educated by the war goddess Scathach. [wikipedia]


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Ragnarok


Ragnarok

 

Ragnarok

“Ragnarok”, “Gotterdammerung”, or a.k.a. “Doom of the Gods” or “Final Destiny of the Gods” is the apocalypse in Norse mythology. Its an important event in the Norse canon. This event will be followed by the Fimbulvetr, or the “Winter of Winters”. These three winters will follow each other with no summer. This will be a time of conflicts and feuds between all people and inhabitants on Earth, and all morality is believed will disappear. The mythos discusses that the “wolf Skoll will devour the sun and his brother Hati will eat the moon, plunging the Earth into Darkness. The stars will vanish from the sky. the Fjalar cock will crow to the giants and the Gullinkambi cock will crow to the Gods. A third cock will awaken the dead. The Earth will shudder with earthquakes and every bond and fetter will burst. The wolf Fenrir will be released. The sea will rear up because Jormungand the Midgard Serpent will write in fury making his way to the lands. With every breath, he’ll stain the soil and skly with poison. The Naglfar ship will be freed from waves caused by the serpent, and the Hymir giant will lead the giants to the battlefield. The Realm of the dead will send a second ship with Loki as the helmsmen, off to the battle. The fire giants led by Surt will leave Muspell in the south to join forces against the Gods and scorch the Earth. Heimdall will sound his horn, calling the sons of Odin and heroes to the battle. From all corners of the world – the Gods, the Giants, the Dwarves, the Demons, and the Elves will ride towards the huge plain of Vigrid to fight the last battle. Odin will engage Fenrir in battle, and Thor will attack Jormungand. Thor will be victorious, but the poison will eventually kill him. Surt will seek out the swordless Freyr, who will succomb to the giant. The one-handed Tyr will fight the Garm and they will kill each other. Loki and Heimdall, will meet a final time, and both will die. The fight between Odin and Fenrir will rage for a long period until Odin gets seized and swallowed. Odin’s son Vidar will leap to kill the wolf. Surt will fling fire in every direction and the nine worlds will burn, killing all friends and foes. The earth will sink into the sea. After the doomsday, a new and idyllic world will arise from the sea and abundant with supplies. Some of the Gods will survive will others will be reborn. Wickedness and misery will be non-existent and Gods with men will live happily together. Two humans, Lif and Lifhrasir will survive by hiding in the wood Hoddmimis holt and will repopulate the Earth. The personified sun, Sol will have a daughter at least as beautiful as she and this daughter will follow the same path as her mother. ” This cosmic event is attested in the 13th century “Poetic Edda” from early traditional sources, and the “Prose Edda” written also in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. There are several archaeological objects that depict events from Ragnarok. These are (1) Thorwald’s Cross: a partially surviving rune stone erected on the Isle of Man, depicting a bearded human holding a spear down at a wolf, his right foot in its mouth, while a large bird sits at his shoulder. This dates between 940-1000 C.E. Its believed to depict Odin, with a raven or eagle at his shoulder, being consumed by Fenrir at Ragnarok. There is also a depiction of a large cross and another image parallel to it that some state is Christ triumphing over Satan. (2) Gosforth Cross: mid 11th century, from Cumbria, England that parallel’s Thorwald’s Cross combining Norse Pagan and Christian symbolism in a similar manner apparently combining scenes from Christian Judgement Day and the Pagan Ragnarok. (3) The Ledberg Stone. 11th century C.E. from Sweden and is similar to Thorwald’s Cross featuring a figure with his foot at the mouth of a four-legged beast, perhaps of Odin being devoured by Fenrir at Ragnarok. (4) The Skarpaker Ston. 11th c. C.E. from Sweden – father grieving his dead son used the same verse as in the Poetic Edda in the engraving translating to “Earth shall be riven and the over-heaven”.



Some correlations have been made between Ragnarok and the 9th century Old High German epic poem Muspilli about the Christian Last Judgement that states the world is to be consumed in flames. Other comparisons between Ragnarok and other Indo-European peoples depict a later evolution of a Proto Indo-European belief about a cosmic winter motif between the Norse Fimbulwinter, the Iranian Bundahishn, and Yima. Vidarr’s stride compared to Vishnu’s with a special shoe to tear apart the beastly wolf. Larger patterns drawn between final battle events in Indo-European cultures including the occurrence of a blind or semi-blind figure in the themes. Other theories about the volcanic events after the death of the Gods – the sun turning black, steam rising, flames touching the heavens – may be inspired by the volcanic eruptions on Iceland. Records of eruptions on Iceland bear strong similarities to the sequence of events described in Voluspa, especially the eruption at Laki that occurred in 1783.

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