Category Archives: faery lore

Gougane Barra

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Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

Gougane Barra (Gugán Barra)
* Macroom, County Cork, Ireland *
Article by Thomas Baurley, Archaeologist – Technogypsie Productions www.technogypsie.com © 2013 – all rights reserved.

Gougane Barra is a enlightening niche of history nestled in the woods within a lake along Ireland’s southwestern countryside. Gougane Barra means “The Rock of Barra.” Barra refers to Saint Finbarr, the patron Saint of Cork. My first visit was at night which was magically radiant. I look forward to the opportunity to visit the site during the day. This is the home of the hallowed shrine of Saint Finbarr and his oratory. The church resides on a small island in the lake. Next to the church are the historic ruins of St. Finbarr’s monastery and contains ancient prayer cells with remarkably ancient stations of the cross. The original monastery dates to the 6th century C.E. (common era) The original monastery can no longer be found. Behind the chapel are ruins that some purport to be the original monastery, but they were built in the 17th century. They consist of four stone walls surrounding a large wooden cross dotted with a series of prayer cells within which have crosses inscribed. These cells were built in 1700 by Reverend Denis O’Mahony who retired here dedicated to God. During Cromwell’s torment of Ireland, the possession of this land fell out of the O’Leary families hands and fell into ruin. It then passed to the Townsend family and used for farmland. This is the location by Christian myth that Saint Finbarr came to and communed with God, seeing the surrounding mountains as his personal cloister, and the lake mirroring God’s grandeur. It is here he built stone cells to commemorate his hermitage and commune with Deity. It has ever since been a backdrop for art, painting, photography, poetry, and spirituality. From here Saint Finbarr traveled along the Lee River to become the first Bishop and founder of Cork and its church. Saint Finbarr passed away at Cloyne in 633 C.E. His feast day is celebrated in his honor on September 25th. On site is also a Holy Well and Wishing Tree.

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Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

The church (also called the oratory) is of modern construct and design with infamous stained glass windows. Here pilgrims visit frequently, especially on September 25th, the feast day of Saint Finbarr. During Ireland’s Penal history, pilgrims came to Gougane Barra for Mass and is why there are numerous mass rounds in the area.
When we eloped in South Carolina we had plans of coming back to this church to get married at officially for our family and friends as it was always a dream wedding location for my wife. Alas though, an unexpected wee one changed our plans for that. It is however one of the most famous locations in Cork County to get married at

The Gougane Barra Lake formed in a rock basin that was carved out during the ice age with depths upward of 12 meters. The surrounding hills are made of old red sandstone. The park today is approximately 142 hectares in size. It was virtually without trees until 1938 when it was re-forested with Sitka Spruce, Lodgepole Pine, and Japanese Larch. The area now stands forested. The forested and bog areas are abundant with purple moor grass, bog mosses, cotton grasses, sedges, rushes, fox’s cabbage, butterworths, lichens, and sundews. The area is home to the otter, badgers, brown rat, fox, rabbit, field mice, pigmy shrew, pine marten, coal tit, wren, robins, wood pigeons, blackbirds, chiffchaff, willow warbler, pied wagtail, gray wagtail, dock dove, cuckoo, thrush, starlings, red buntings, cormorants, herons, moorhens, and swan.

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Gougane Barra, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland

Alot of legends surround Saint Finbarr, Gougane Barra, and its lake. It was here in the lake that Saint Finbarr chased off Lú, Gougane Barra Dragon. A dragon or a sea monster like Nessie, the legends vary in their descriptions. The creature’s expulsion is believed to be the source of the large channel that is now the River Lee flowing west to the sea at Cork City. A little sea monster is memorialized in the hedge along the isle’s road. Saint Finbarr was also believed to have been led by an angel from the source of the river Lee at his monastic site to its marshy mouth where he built a monastery “out of which grew the Sea and the City of Cork”. By placing the monastery here it made the River Lee to be the symbol of Cork City and Cork County. Legends tell of him going to Rome on a Pilgrimage and upon his return met Saint David who lent him a horse that miraculously helped him cross the channel. He was aided by Saint Brendan who signaled him in navigation during his voyage east. Some say Pope Gregory was going to make Saint Finbarr pope but didn’t because he was deterred by a vision. When Finbarr returned to Ireland, God created a miraculous flow of oil from the ground, sending him up into heaven and consecrating him as a Bishop. It was also told that he was visited by Saint Laserian and two monks who sat with him under a hazel talking about religion. They asked him for a sign that God was with him, in reply of which, Saint Finbarr prayed and the spring catkins on the bush above them fell off, grew into nuts, ripened, and poured them into their laps. The day he died and his body was moved to Cloyne, the sun failed to shine for a fortnight.

The fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place near here where he was thrown off a cliff by a Pooka. Some believe because of legends such as these, inspire other drunken pilgrims to come t the site in the dark leading to disruption, vandalism, injury, and death. According to Thomas Crofton Croker in his book “Fairy legends and traditions of the south of Ireland” that “in deed this fact was so notorious that the Catholic clergy in the south of Ireland publicly forbade the customary pilgrimage on the 24th of June to the Lake of Gougane Barra as it presented an annual scene of drunkenness, riot, and debauchery too shocking for description.

How to get here: Located 5 kilometers west of Ballingeary on the R584 roadway to Bantry just at the Pass of Keimaneigh. Follow posted signs.

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Binne’s Cairn: The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Woods, Cork, Ireland

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Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

The Giant’s Grave: Binne’s Cairn
* Curraghbinny Woods, County Cork, Munster, Ireland * Latitude: 51°48’41.35″ * Longitude: -8°17’52.72″ *

Atop the summit of Curraghbinny Hill in Curraghbinny Forest Recreation Area lies a mound of giant stones/ cairn that is locally called “The Giant’s Grave”. The grave overlooks Cork Harbour. It was excavated by an archaeological team in 1932 by archaeologist Sean P. O’Riordan. During this excavation, a large circle of giant boulders were uncovered beneath a spread of stones. Within the cairn was an arc of smaller stones closer to the center. In the center of the monument was a heap of stone and clay. That is all found within the cairn. Nearby however were found cattle teeth, cattle bone, charcoal, cremated human bone, a small bronze ring, and two collections of water-rolled pebbles imported from elsewhere. The cremated human bone found nearby was carbon dated roughly to be 4,000 years old. No one knows the exact date of the cairn, but it is estimate to be Bronze Age (2000 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E.). The name of the woods “Curraghbinny” in Irish is “Corra Binne” named after the legendary giant called Binne. It is believed that this cairn is his burial chamber atop the hill (called a “Corra” in Irish). The stone most likely was deposited naturally during the Ice Age 20,000 years ago. The Giant’s Stone in Crosshaven went missing after the slob in the town center was filled in and was recently recovered and brought back to be displayed in the middle of Crosshaven.

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Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

The legend of the Giant named Binne
According to Robert Day who told the tale in 1892 about a giant named Mahain who threw two stones from Monkstown landing in Ringaskiddy and the other in Crosshaven. It is believed this was the Giant named Binne. Another local tale tells a similar tale, but this time the Giant was called Binne, and lived locally in Currabinny. He was the giant who cast the stones into Crosshaven years ago. The stone apparently has a set of fingerprints embedded into the stone leading viewers of it to believe they belonged to a giant.

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Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

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Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells: St. Abban’s Well and St. Gobnait’s Well

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Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Wells
* Tobar Ghobnatan * Ballyvourney (a.k.a. Baile Bhuirne), County Cork, Ireland *

1ST WELL: ST. ABBAN’S WELL OR ST. GOBNAIT’S WELL

As you drive up to the Tobar Ghobnatan Statue, Well, Hut, Grave, Church ruins and yard, you will see on your right a wrought iron archway with the letters spelling “HOLY WELL” along its top. Another sign labels it as the “Tobar Ghobnatan Holy Well”. When I walked through this archway, I immediately spied a 3/4 large ring of mushrooms known as a Fairy Ring. I had to walk around it 9 times to see if a gateway to the land of Fae would appear. Magical as the site was, alas, no gateway appeared that I was aware of. A short walk down the path you will find the well at the base of a wishing tree. The tree is covered with rags or clouties as well as many other trinkets placed there or tied to the branches as offerings and prayers. These are often cleaned up and removed by the church occasionally some say online. The well has steps down into it, but can often be difficult to access without crawling on your knees to get at the magical waters. There are two taps nearby where one can retrieve the water. This well is believed to be a lot older than the Christian occupation and creation of this monastic site, probably as a Fairy Well or Pagan Shrine. Today visitors claim it is either St. Abban’s Well and/or St. Gobnait’s Well. From the Cult followings, I would think it has more to do with St. Gobnait than St. Abban even though technically I’ve read it is primarily called St. Abban’s Well. The Other well is up the hill by St. Gobnait’s Hut and Statue. It’s unclear which Saint claimed which Pagan well when they took the land.

In Neo-Pagan practice and visitations of the site, the well is circled either three times clockwise, or in a trio set of three times three. It is conducted clockwise to gain something, pay tribute to the well, or to weave a certain kind of magic. It is done counter-clockwise to unwind something, to banish something, or to undo a spell, curse, or action. It is common then to make an offering to the well or tree. The participant then goes to the well, collects water, offers it back to the earth, then either takes a sip of the magical waters or splashes it on their face. It is common to fill a bottle with the magic waters to take home. A bin of empty clean water bottles is located along one of the rock walls for those who forgot to bring a bottle. This well is very common location for seamen to collect water from to bring to their boats used for safe passage during their expeditions. In Christian/Catholic observation of the rounds, the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, and the Glorias are spoken at each of the stations. At this station, they do a decade of the rosary and drink the water from the Well. According to the stations, the rounds, or the turas, this is station 10: St. Abban’s Well. Every year on the 11th of February, the parish priest would bring out a 13th century wooden statue of St. Gobnait upon which pilgrims would measure a ribbon against the statue and wrap it around the figure, then take the ribbon home to use for healing magic.

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Next to the well is a large tree called a Wishing Tree which is part of any number of such trees found on this monastic site. Covering this particular tree are offerings to St. Gobniat (and the ancestral water spirits or Naiads of this well) in the form of rags (clouties/clooties – pieces of cloth tied around its branches), prayers, trinkets, tokens, pictures, charms, and/or a variety of personal effects from under garments, hair ties, belts, shoes, rings, jewelry, toys, prayer cards, or other effects. The belief behind pieces of cloth are that they are to get rid of an illness and once the cloth decays so will the illness. It is a concept of leaving something behind of themselves or their loved ones in need of healing.

Along the stone wall and around the well is an assortment of cups, jars, and/or bottles that someone can use to gather water from the well for drinking and/or blessing. As far as I know, the well water is not tested or certified, so drinking from such is at one’s own risk. Anything can get into these public wells and a variety of items from coins, pins, and garbage are sometime found thrown into them. When I visited there was a large bin of washed out plastic bottles for visitors to fill up with holy well water and take with them.

SECOND WELL: ST. GOBNAIT’S WELL (or ST. ABBAN’S WELL)

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Again, like the well above, no one is clear on who claimed this Fairy Well, but it seems to be primarily associated with Saint Gobnait since it is located in front of her house, hut, or kitchen. Both wells are part of the pilgrimage and rounds regardless. In Christian/Catholic observation of the rounds, the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, and the Glorias are spoken at each of the stations. At this station, they do a decade of the rosary and drink the water from the Well.
To complete the pilgrimage the pilgrim walks down the road to St Gobnait’s well (Station 10). The pilgrim recites 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Mary’s and 7 Gloria, one decade of the rosary and drinks the water from the well. Like many holy wells in Ireland St Gobnait’s well is associate with a rag tree and there is a tradition of leaving votive offerings at this tree. Below is a photo of the tree taken when I last visited here in 2006, as you can see is covered rags and bead and tokens left be pilgrims. I think it looks quiet lovely. Since my last visit most of these offering have been removed but a few are still to be found. This well seems a bit questionable as to the safety of the water, but is still one apparently drunken from. This well in in front of the round circular stone hut north of the statue called the “House of St. Gobnait” or the “St. Ghobnatan’s Kitchen”. Earlier evidence suggests that the site was an early pre-Medieval to Medieval bronze and iron working site which operated out of this hut. Evidence for this comes from iron slag, a crucible, and other metal working artifacts found during the excavation of the site. With evidence that the wells were Pagan shrines pre-dating Christianity combined with the metalworking has led some rumors to run wild that it could be the metal working site of the Tuatha Dé Danann’s Smith known as Goibnui who share phonetic similarities to the name of Saint Gobnait. There is no evidence found to this ‘hunch’ someone probably weaved online in a blog, but it does add a sense of urban lore to the site that would make it an exciting tidbit of mythos. (Especially since there really exists no solid evidence of any of the Tuatha Dé Danann legend site locations except folklore) In this hut, pilgrims etch a cross into the stones atop this well as well as the entrance stones in the hut during their turas.

BOTH WELLS:

Both of the wells are named after the Matron Saint of Ballyvourney and sacred Bee-Keeping mistress, Saint Ghobnatan (a.k.a. Saint Gobnait) of the holy pilgrimage site and monastic settlement known as “Tobar Ghobnatan“. This is the legendary home of St. Gobnait/Ghobnatan. It is located a kilometer south of the village of Ballyvourney where her church Móin Mór (a.k.a. Bairnech) was built. There are two holy wells at this site, both of which are believed to pre-date St. Abban and Gobnait’s arrival to the land, most likely Pagan shrines or Fairy wells. Today these wells are called “St. Abban’s Well” (most likely ‘FIRST WELL’) and “St. Gobnait’s Well” (most likely ‘SECOND WELL’).

There are several wells throughout Ireland (and other countries) dedicated to Saint Gobnait. There exists a dry well known as St. Debora, Deriola, or Abigails Well that is north of Ballyagran in a high field on the left of the road to Castletown which is believed to be the original Saint Gobnait’s Well. It is currently dry. Legends run wild of a white stag that can be seen at this well especially during February 11th, the Feast day of Saint Gobnait. There are other wells and shrines such as the church site in County Kerry at Dunquin that has a well near Dungarvan in Waterford.

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Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions and Research Services: Technogypsie.com. © 2013: All rights reserved.

Article on the Church, Shrine, Graveyard, and Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=14339. Article on the Holy Well found at http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=7591. Article on the Tobar Ghobnatan Wishing Trees, Saint Ghobnatan, and Tobar Ghobnatan cross etchings.

How to get here: Drive West from Macroom to Kerry on the N22. As you pass through Ballymakerry (Baile Mhic Ire), you will pass a church on your right-hand side and will take the first left hand turn after the church that has a sign post. Follow the road 400 meters and you will see the first (and main) holy well on the right. You’ll need to go up the hill a bit for parking as it is a very narrow road. Take the next right hand road (near where you can park by a graveyard) up the hill to see the other holy well, statue, hut, church ruins, and main graveyard. There is also a modernized porta-toilet in this parking lot so you don’t have to use the bushes. The GPS coordinates are: 79: W 1967 7688. Longitude: 9° 10′ 5″ W, Latitude: 51° 56′ 18″ N.

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Icelandic Wonders Museum

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Icelandic Wonders Museum
* Hafnargotu 9 * 825 Stokkseyri * + 354 483 1202 * info@icelandicwonders.com * http://www.icelandicwonders.com/ *

As a enthusiast about folklore and faerie lore I was very excited to hear that Iceland had a Elves and Trolls museum. Ventured in we did to find a collection of the legends and lore of Icelandic unseen people. It is dedicated to Trolls, Elves, and the Northern Lights. Within a maze of rooms within a very large 1200 meter square warehouse is a tour through the faerie world as a glimpse of how the elves and hidden folk live, as well as learning about the Northern Lights. At $24 / 1,500-kr) equivalent entrance fee for an adult it is extremely over-priced. It probably is only appreciated by someone who is an avid fan of such things, a complete rip-off for the general public. Its attached next to the Ghost Center which is even less interesting than the Troll museum. You wander through the Troll cave and learning about these giants, hang out in a special room dedicated to Northern Lights, and end at the Souvenir Shop. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Hill of Uisneach

The Hill of Uisneach / Cnoc Uisnigh or Ushnagh, in the heart of County Westmeath, is a 182 meter high sacred hill that was once considered to be the absolute center of Ireland. Located along the northern side of R390, and 8 kilometers east of Ballymore, next to the village of Loughanavally – it is a pivotal connection of four adjacent townlands – Ushnagh Hill, Mweelra, Rathnew, and Kellybrook; and is the meeting point of the provincial borders of Leinster, Munster, Connacht, Ulster and Midhe. (Midhe was the once separate 5th province) and by so being, has been called the “omphalos” or “mystical navel of Ireland” atop which rests the Cat stone, the Ail na Míreann or “stone of divisions”. (The actual geographic center of Ireland is near the western shore of Lough Ree to the west). The site was seen as the tromping grounds of the tutelary Goddess Ériu who is seen as the personification of Ireland and is where she legendarily met the invading Milesians and the poet Amergin, after much debate, agreed to give the country her name. The site was most famous for the lighting of the Beltane fires and Druidic ceremonies, of which has been reconstructed with Irelands infamous Festival of Fires Celebration. According to the Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of the Takings of Ireland) the first fire was lit here by the Nemedian Druid Mide and ever since, a fire was lit here during the feast of Beltane which supposedly can be seen from the Hill of Tara. According to legend, when those at Tara saw the fires lit at Uisneach, they would light the fires on Tara. According to the Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that the stones of Stonehenge were brought to Britain from the Hill of Uisneach. Some say the hill is also Riba or Raiba that was identified by Ptolemy (Ptolemaeus), the Egyptian/Greek astronomer when he wrote Geographia in 140 C.E. The site is rather large, spread out over two square kilometers including holy wells, wells, enclosures, barrows, megalithic tomb, and two ancient roads.

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Staurolite: Fairy crosses/stones

We often have a large selection of faerie crosses in our found treasures collection you can obtain from us, view them here: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/shop/?s=faerie+cross.

Fairy Stone / Fairy Cross / Staurolite

Localities: Fairy Stone State Park, Virginia, USA; North Georgia, USA; Little Falls, Minnesota, USA; Taos, New Mexico, USA; Switzerland; Russia; Australia; Brazil; France; Italy; Scotland.

Description: Popular to its folklore and legends, this stone has a State Park in Virginia named after it as it is home to its namesake “fairy stones”. It is also the official stone of the state of Georgia in the USA. Most commonly shaped like Celtic crosses or the St. Andrew’s cross, as an “X” or as a “T” shaped Roman cross, and square Maltese crosses. Color of the Staurolite varies to the region it comes from but can be dark brow, brownish black, grey, or reddish brown.

Geology:Staurolite are a combination of silica, iron, and aluminum. A silicate mineral, with the Chemical formula of Fe2+2Al9O6(SiO4)4(O,OH)2, and a Strunz classification of 9.AF.30, possessing a monclinic prismatic crystal symmetry. It’s H-M symbol is (2/m), with a Space group of C 2/m, and a unit cell a = 7.86 Å, b = 16.6 Å, c = 5.65 Å; ? = 90.45°; Z=2. Coloring ranges from yellowish brown, rarely blue, dark reddish brown to blackish brown, pale golden yellow in thin sections with a subvitreous to resinous luster, white to gray streaks, transparent to opague diaphaneity. Specific gravity is 3.74 – 3.83 meas. 3.686 calc. Twinning is commonly as 60° twins, less common as 90° cruciform twins. Subconchoidal fracture, brittle tenacity, mosh scale hardness of 7-7.5. Common to have penetration twinning, or a characteristic cross-shape. It occurs with almandine garnet, micas, kyanite; as well as albite, biotite, and sillimanite in gneiss and schist of regional metamorphic rocks. It is only found in rocks once subjected to great heat and pressure. A rare mineral occurence in nature, it is only found in certain areas of the world in the fairy cross or celtic cross shapes. Each are unique and never are identical. True Staurolite crosses are hard enough to scratch glass.

Folklore: Named after the Greek word “Stauros” for “cross”, they are commonly known as “fairy stones” or “fairy crosses”. According to European and Christianity influenced Native American legend on the state park website, “hundreds of years before Chief Powhatan’s reign, the fairies were dancing around a magical spring of water, playing with naiads and wood nymphs, when a elfin messenger arrived from a city far away bringing the news of the death of Christ. When these creatures of the forest heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept, as their tears fell upon the earth they crystallized into beautiful crosses”. During the first meeting of John Smith and Pocahontas, it is said the Indian princess gave John Smith a good luck charm made out of a “fairy cross”. Legend has it that Richard the Lionheart used them during the crusades to heal the wounded. Some say these are the tears of the Cherokee who wept over the loss of their homeland during the exodus on the “Trail of Tears”. Others talk of an ancient race of mountain faeries who were dancing at their favorite meeting places, and upon finding out that the “Great Creator” had died, shed tears, so moved, were crushed in heart and cried, as they wept their tears crystallized into the “fairy crosses”. Others say that during the defeat of the Tuatha de Danann and other faerie races when they were forced under-ground to live in the hills, the faeries around the world shed tears, made of Iron to represent the Iron Age destroying their race, in the shapes of crosses as an omen of the peopling that would destroy the planet next.

    Ay the charms of the fairy stone make you blessed
    through the days of labor and nights of rest
    Where ever you stay, where ever you go,
    May the beautiful flowers of the good Fairies Grow.
    ~ Little Falls Minnesota web page

Well known that Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, Thomas A. Edison, Colonel Charles Lindbergh, and other prominent people carried one of these on their person(s).

Magical uses: For centuries these were believed to protect the wearer from sickness, accidents, disaster, and witchcraft. Used to find lost objects. Placed under the pillow to help induce lucid dreaming and astral travel. Used as amulets for good luck. Used to aid stress, anxiety, fear, considered soothing energy, and helpful with grounding. Many believe they embody an energy that will help you make contact with faeries or nature spirits. Some believe wearing the stones will help one stop smoking. Astrologically associated with Pisces. Associated with the base chakra. Healing qualities, good luck, rituals, protection, fever, defeat of malaria, stress, depression, addictive personality traits, time management, smoking cessation.

We often have a large selection of faerie crosses in our found treasures collection you can obtain from us, view them here: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/shop/?s=faerie+cross.

By Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions and Research Facility.

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Tiveragh Fairy Hill (Cushendall)

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The Tiveragh Fairy Hill
Cushendall, Northern Ireland

Legend and lore has it that this very broad sided hill with steep sides overlooking the small village of Cushendall in Northern Ireland is the gateway to Tir na nOg. A place very well known locally to be haunted by faeries, leprechauns, elves, and pixies … this giant hill is a natural fortress all in its own and easily seen to be claimed as a stronghold by the fae. Fairy tales mention many stories about it rising up on pillars during the twilight evening with glimmering meriment of faeries frolicking and dining. Many believe that the wee folk live in this hill that is accessed by a nearby cave. As the warning goes, if ye are mortal, regardless of how appeasing the faerie music may sound, if you wander within, you’ll never be seen again on this plane of existence. Time holds a whole different rhythm in Faerieworlds.

We however, of fae persuasion, did venture up the hill at the turn of twilight just as the sun was going down. We spied the hill with visions of faerie impressions while across the valley atop Ossian’s Grave – the Megalithic tomb believed to be the burial spot of the fabled poet and bard Oisin. Now Oisin was lured into fae, into Tir na nOg where he lived until he requested to return to the land of mortals to visit his family. Of course due to faerie time, he came back several hundred years later to find them all gone and deceased. He fell off his faerie steed and became a blind old man wandering these fields eventually dying. If the faerie tale is true, this would be the hill he would have rode out of and across the valley would have been his grave overlooking it … curiouser and curiouser. Midway along the way up the base of the hill is one of the most magnificent Faerie Thorn Trees I’ve ever encountered. As usual with these faerie hills, I always find a wee hole just big enough for the Victorian sized fae to enter within, usually lined with heavy rocks, making it look peculiarly like its a miniature mine rather than a animal hole. We climbed atop as the sun was going down, empowered by the feelings of the ancient ones. Archaeologically though, this may be a massive hillfort. I’m looking for those records and will post my findings here.

    On Tiv-ra Hill near Cushendall,
    I heard a commotion behind a wall,
    I stopped and looked over, and boys-o-boys!

    Now what do you think was making the noise?
    Twas a Hurley match – and may I choke -–
    It was two wee teams of the Fairy folk
    That was rippling’ and tearing’ and weltin’ away
    In the light of the moon was bright as day.

    And their playing pitch was hardly as big
    As my Uncle Barney’s potato rig;
    And me there watchin’ them puck and clout –
    At the back o’ the wall with my eyes stuck out.

    When all at once, like the squeal of a hare,
    A wee voice shouted, “Who’s that up there?””
    And a bit off a thing about nine – inch tall
    Came climbing up to the top of the wall.

    And he stood there; he stood about pot -size
    With his two wee fingers up at my eyes,
    And its God’s own truth that I’m speakin’ mind ye,
    “”Get out o’ that,” says he, “or I’ll blind ye!””

    Aye that’s what he said, “I’ll blind ye,” says he,
    And by Jing what he said was enough for me,
    Did I run? Aye surely; I didn’t miss -–
    And I haven’t seen Tiveragh from that to this.

    ~ H.Browne

    The Fairy Hill Tiveragh is a fairy hill and near to Cushendall,
    And nobody goes there at night, no nobody at all.
    The hill is small, the sides are steep.
    And I have heard it said That flickering lights go in and out While everyone’s in bed.
    And on the top two hawthorns grow, A white one and a red.
    ~ John Irvine Desmond

~ Yours truly, Leaf McGowan

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The Tree Leaves Oracle & Folk Fellowship

The Tree Leaves’ Oracle and Folk Fellowship
* www.treeleavesoracle.org * 1991 – Present * Livejournal Community * Facebook Group *

Founded in 1991 as an underground Neo-Pagan newsletter, evolving into an arts and crafts wandering business, “Tree Leaves” eventually mutated into a cooperative / collective of folk enthusiasts, folklorists, artists, musicians, religionists, and culturalists who seek to preserve folk and tree lore, culture, ways, religion, art, music, and beliefs. As a cooperative, members network together, share ideas, theories, concepts, art, techniques, and lore to help one another preserve traditions, knowledge, and beliefs that have been generated in the past, present, and future. Tree Leaves sprouted from an entity known as “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle”. (The Tree Leaves’ Oracle started as a community newsletter and grew into a journal. It became an organization, a store, a company, and was reduced back to a journal offered by the Folk Fellowship to it’s membership. From 2007-2008 it became a faerie and art store in historic Manitou Springs, Colorado.)

When “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle” started out as a Tallahassee Florida publication in 1991 it very quickly shifted into a nomadic arts/crafts/oils/ and herbal sachets nomadic peddling business founded at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon that same year. In 1993 a not-for-profit special-interest group was formed for the study of folklore and the offering of folk artist networking as a avenue for drum circles, talent shows, classes, and discussion groups. This special-interest group became known as “The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship”. Tree Leaves soon took off on it’s own and escaped the financial support of “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle”. In fact, as the “The Tree Leaves Oracle, Inc.” collapsed as a corporation, the Folk Fellowship was still holding activities and networking several hundred enthusiasts of folk culture (and a membership base of a couple hundred). The Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship was officially born and founded as a separate entity in November of 1995 with conceptual activities sprouting in 1994. Through membership dues and support, the fellowship offered it’s collective a bi-annual journal called The “Tree Leaves’ Oracle”, a quarterly newsletter known as “Tree Talk”, an annual membership directory, a web site, and a board of Directors and volunteers who actively organized activities, events, and question/answer support for those seeking answers about folk culture. Because of difficulties with volunteer support, The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship closed it’s person-to-person activities and community support on September 1st of 1998. By October 1, 1998 Tree Leaves had mutated into a internet organization that operated on a strictly cyber-basis. (although Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship forest groups still held activities in their local areas) The official organization stopped holding events, printing paper publications, and no longer offered telephone or person-to-person guidance & support. After careful consideration of the expenses involved in becoming a non-profit tax-exempt organization, Tree Leaves decided to remain not-for-profit and allow other organizations to donate support and funding for it’s operation and existence. The journal, website and former newsletters were shortly made available for free online. Their folk journal is sporadically still published online for free viewing by anyone with internet access. From 1998 to 2000, Tree Leaves was adopted by the research and design firm known as “Leafworks, Inc.” (a company now defunct). From the death of Leafworks, Tree Leaves operated under the wings of Wandering Leaf Designs. Reproduction of all cyber published materials was available for a nominal printing or reproduction cost through copyright held by Wandering Leaf, LLC. (now defunct)

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Vampires / Vampyres


St. Michan’s Church Crypt, Dublin, Ireland
legendary inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Vampires
A creature of lore, legend, folktale, and myth that is believed to be an undead human (human brought back from the dead) that either feeds on the blood or life force of living humans in order to survive. There is much controversy in the folkloric record on whether vampires either drank blood or just fed off the life energy of others. Some believe that “blood” is the best representation of “life essence” and is therefore what vampires need to survive. Vampires are mentioned and recorded in numerous cultures around the world, described in history as old as man him/herself. Older parallels of similar creatures in legend, such as the Old Russian “????? (Upir’)” seem to date much earlier at 1047 C.E. mentioned in a colophon in a manuscript of the Book of Psalms written by a priest who transcribed the book from Glagolitic to Cyrillic for the Novgorodian Prince Volodymyr Yaroslavovych calling him “Upir” Likhyi which translates to “Wicked or Foul Vampire”. Local and associated Pagan mythology suggests there was Pagan worship from the 11-13th centuries of “upyri”. There is mention of similar creatures throughout history in Greek mythology, Mesopotamian lore, Hebrew records, and Roman stories placing demons and spirits who fed on the life force of humans perhaps being the earliest vampires. Numerous world mythologies described demonic entities or Deities who drank blood of humans including Sekhmet, Lilith, and Kali. The Persians were the first to describe having blood drinking demons. Greek/Roman mythology spoke of the Empusae, the Lamia, the striges, the Gello, the strix, and the Goddess Hecate as demonic blood drinkers.

The documented case of Elizabeth Bathory who killed over 600 of her servants and bathed in their blood led to the reputation of her being a vampire. Same as with Vlad the Impaler of Count Dracula mythology of Transylvania who would impale his victims alive on upright stakes and would eat dinner while watching them suffer and slide down the poles in shrieks of torment. The Istrian (Croatia) 1672 legend of Giure Grando, a peasant who died in 1656, but was believed to have risen from the grave to drink the blood of the villagers and sexually harass his widow became a vampire-like legend. He was stopped by having a stake driven through his heart and then beheaded by the local village leader. Shortly after this legend, during the 18th century, a frenzy of vampire sighting in Eastern Europe went rampant including some notorious vampire hunting in Prussia (1721), Habsburg Monarchy (1725-1734), and the tales of Peter Logojowitz and Arnold Paole in Serbia.

Arnold Paole was a soldier who was attacked by a vampire. A few years later he became a farmer that died during harvest of his hay crop. He was buried and believed by the local villagers to be rising from the grave feeding off of them. The documented case of Plogojowitz, of a man who died at 62 only to return from the grave asking his son for food. Upon being turned down, the son was found dead the next day. Plogojowitz apparently had killed him as well as various neighbours by draining their blood. The Serbian tale of Sava Savanovic told of a man who lived in a local watermill that would kill the millers and drink their blood. This tale led to the creation of the 1973 Serbian horror film called “Leptirica”.

The term itself as “vampire” however was not utilized until the early 18th century during a time when vampire hysteria was rampant. The first use of the term “Vampire” came from a 1734 travelogue titled “Travels of Three English Gentlemen” published in the 1745 Harleian Miscellany according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The English term “Vampire” may have come from the french term “Vampyre” or the German term “Vampir”. These terms may have derived into the Serbian “??????/vampir”. During the early 18th century tales of vampires throughout Eastern Europe became rampant. Vampires were often associated as revenants of evil beings, suicide vicims, or witches; or from malevolent spirits possessing a corpse or being bitten by a vampire. It was during this time that the hysteria caused individuals, families, and communities to dig up the graves of suspected vampires and them mutilating the corpses, staking them, or conducting rites of exorcism. In 1718, after Austria gained control of northern Serbia and Oltenia, officials recorded local practices of exhuming bodies and “killing the undead”. Official recording of these practices from 1725 to 1732 led to widespread publicity of vampires. It was from this that led to many of the original vampire myths we have today that described vampires as either being in the form of a human, as a resurreced rotting corpse, or a demon-like creature roaming at night. Much of the hysteria was similar to the Witch Craze of the Inquisition. Neighbours would accuse the recently deceased for diseases, deaths, plagues, and tragedies that cursed the local village. Scholars at the time were steadfast that Vampires did not exist attributing the incidents to premature burials, rabies, or religion. However, the well-respected theologian and scholar Dom Augustine Calmet composed a 1746 treatise with reports claiming vampires did indeed exist. This was supported by Voltaire who claimed vampires were corpses who went out of their graves at night to suck the blood of the living, either at their throats or stomaches, after which they would return to the cemetery. This would lead the victim to wane, pale, and fall into consumption while the vampire would bloat, become fat, rosy, and become rejuvenated. They were disputed by Gerard van Swieten and the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria who passed laws prohibiting exhumation and desecration of bodies ending the vampire epidemics in Austria.

The “18th Century Vampire Controversy” or “Hysteria” gave birth to many fabricated myths and legends that lent stories about blood suckers evolving to the image we imagine of today when we think of “vampire”. Many of these images today come from writers, authors, and film. John Polidori’s 1819 novella “The Vampyre”, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel “Dracula”, and the film “Nosferatu” are the main culprits for much of today’s image of a vampire, especially the pointed teeth, the sleeping in daylight, the drinking of blood, and sensitivity to sunlight. Stoker based much of his imagery and lore from former mythology of demons, faeries, and werewolves that he fit into the fears of late Victorian patriarchy. His book gave birth to a trend of vampire fandom that has lasted for over 100 years and still flourishing.

From Europe the vampire craze spread to parts of New England in the Americas, particularly Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut. Paranoia and hysteria went rampant in the same manner as Eastern Europe’s 18th century Vampire Controversy. Documentation of cases with families accusing vampirism being the cause of the plague of consumption that devastated their communities. Families would dig up their dead to remove the hearts of suspected vampires. A very popular documented case was of the 1892 Rhode Island incident of Mercy Brown who died at age 19 of consumption, believed to be a vampire returning from the grave and feeding on her family and neighbours, was dug up by her father, had her heart cut out and burnt to ashes, only to be fed to her dying brother in attempts to save him from the rotting disease.


St. Michan’s Church Crypt, Dublin, Ireland
legendary inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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Faerie or Elven Stars (Septagram/Heptagram)

Faery Star

Elven Star
or
Faerie Star

[originally posted 1987 on geocities; posted on faeid.com from 1991-2000; updated 2/7/2011. Current home location: http://www.technogypsie.com/faeid/elvenstar.html. ]

Seven Pointed Stars, called “Faerie or Elven Stars” represent a gift from Faerie to humans to bridge the understanding between the Mortal human realm and that of Faerieland. The 7 pointed star is known as a gateway symbol, a Gate or entrance between our world and that of Faery, the Otherworld. Each point on the star represents a gateway or path of the Higher Self to prepare one for entrance into Faery. It is also known as a septagram, Heptagram, or “7 pointed star”. It is also a representation of those who believe in Faeries, consider themselves to be Fae, or blessed by the Fae. Originating from Faerie faiths, alchemy, and ceremonial magickal groups – the Faerie Star has been adopted by many old and newer faiths, including some brands of modern day Witchcraft / Wicca such as the Faerie Tradition, Blue Star Wicca, many Otherkin groups (especially Elves), The Silver Elves, Faeidism, Aleister Crowley’s Order of the Silver Star, the Pleidians, and some New Age Cults. It’s first documented use was in the Kabbalah, then with Aleister Crowley, the Ordo Templi Orientis as the Star of Babalon, and by Alchemists to represent the 7 planets and 7 elements of the Universe. Christianity has even used the star to represent the seven days of creation, to ward off evil, etc. It has been found in the Former Georgian Coat of Arms (1918-1921; 1991-2004). The Cherokee Nation has incorporated the symbol into various bands of the Cherokee Nation. Many police entities use the 7 pointed star on their badges, including the Navajo Nation Police. It is employed in the Flag of Australia having 5 heptagrams and one pentagram to depict the Southern Cross constellation and the Commonwealth Star.

Faerie Star :

  1. Power, Personal Will, Determination, Prosperity, Justice, the Gate.
  2. Unconditional Love, Wisdom, Growth, Friendship, Healing.
  3. Knowledge, Intelligence, Creativity, Sexuality, Awakening.
  4. Harmony, Tranquility, Blessings, Love.
  5. Powers of Mind and Science, Balance, Dexterity.
  6. Devotion, Honesty, justice, Healing.
  7. Magick, Success, the Gaian Hypothesis.

Meditation:

Meditations on the Seven-Pointed Star
Draw line from 1 to 6 (1 = The Sun (prosperity, justice, the Gate) )
6 to 4 (6 – Wind Spirits (justice, healing) )
4 to 2 (4 – Magic (Goddess bless, love))
2 to 7 (2 – Tree Spirits (friendship and healing) )
7 to 5 (7 – Success (Gaian Hypothesis))
5 to 3 (5 – the Gateway (balance/entering Faeryland) )
3 to 1 (3 – Water Spirits (creativity, sexuality, Awakening) )

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The Eight Fold Path

© 1986-1990; 1990-2000; 2001-2010; 2011: Technogypsie.com/Treeleavesoracle.org/Leaf McGowan. Edited and adapted earlier versions for use in training a magical apprentice rite/workshop on Monday, 16 August 2010. No portion of this text may be copied or reproduced without permission from author: technogypsie@gmail.com.

The Eightfold Path to Altered States of Consciousness

In Ritual or spellcraft, the ritualist/magician/witch/Druid needs to incorporate the altered states of consciousness in order to tap into a higher consciousness and the field of energy from which to do magical workings. This is also the method utilized for connecting with otherworldly entities on their levels of existence – whether that be the otherworld, the faerie world, the spirit realm, ancestral realm, or Realm of Deities. The more elements that can be implemented for altered consciousness from the 8 fold path, the stronger your altered state of consciousness will become, and the stronger, more dramatic, and serious the working will be. Including all 8 forms of the Eight Fold Path will ensure complete success with your working – however, sometimes it is not logistically possible to include all 8.

By mastering your state of consciousness at will with intent helps focalize the energy and controls the magical current, opening communication with Deity and entities, and finding successful results. Altering one’s consciousness is not always safe, so one needs to be aware of what they are doing, the process by which they are operating within, and what methodology they utilize to achieve various results. It is the means to achieving Prana, Mana, or the Magical Life Force.

1. MEDITATION OR TRANCE

“Path of Breath” – The first of the Eightfold Path is accomplished by altering state of consciousness through specific forms of breathing. This is often achieved by emptying the mind, embracing a state of stillness, encompassing a state of serenity, and inducing a state of tranquility. Implementation of visualization, focused thought, projection, intention, concentration of intention, and trance work are all elements of this path. The highest point in the first path is projection of the astral body.

2. RITUAL/CHANTS/SPELLS/CHARMS

The second of the the Eightfold Path is the creation of sacred space and by doing deliberate intentional activities imbued with symbology, meaning, and projection. By creating a space in which to do the sacred, you achieve altering a point in time, space, and continuum. When you utilize symbols, spells, chants, tools, amulets, talismans, and mantras – it creates focus, rhythm, rhyme, replication, and circulates the energy achieved within and without.

3. RHYTHM, MUSIC, AND DANCE

The third of the Eightfold Path is by incorporating rhythmic repetitive motions, dancing, drumming, or music making. Dancing repetitively or wildly, ecstatically, or frantic rhythmic moving or motion of the body, spirit, and/or soul creates trance-like states, altered states of consciousness, and chemical/physical changes in the body, mind, and spirit. Circle dances, spiral dances, cone of power raising, drum circle dances, etc. will circulate, build up, and propel energy within and without.

4. ASCETIC PATH: FASTING, DEPRIVATION, PURIFICATION

The fourth of the Eightfold Path is accomplished by placing the physical body into an extreme state of deprivation, deprival, or change of environment from the usual comfort zone. This can include fasting, sensory deprivation, purification ordeals, etc. Some physical environments that can induce these atmospheres are sweat lodges, saunas, hot springs, isolation tanks, and/or pure darkness. By deprivation, the physical and mental body will react with its own energy fields creating visions, omens, oracles, prophecies, and hallucinations. The mind will generate images, ideas, thoughts, and processes that will assist the body to survive or transition.

5. IMBIBING SACRED PLANTS, “SPIRITS”, OR ALTEROGENS

The fifth of the Eightfold Path is communing with Spirits or entities that can include a “chemical” nature that poisons or possesses the physical body and mental state of the brain. Utilizing the “Spirits” or entities of plants and substances to chemically alter the mind/body into a state of consciousness. Drugs, alcohol, ethnobotanical plants with shamanic side effects are common instruments for this alteration. This path is onne of the most notorious instant methods for altering the state of consciousness, especially when one has difficultly doing it by means of their physical body without the introduction of a separate substance/spirit into the body. One needs to have a good relationship (or develop one) with the plant or spirit in question. Every plant, alcohol, or drug has a “spirit” – this is why alcohol is often referred to as “spirits”. It has a consciousness and by blending together that spirit with yours, will alter the state to the consciousness one seeks. This can include food and drink – as anything entering into the body alters its chemical and biological state. Cakes and Ale, Waters of Life, hosts, Body & Blood of Christ, sacrements, etc are common found types of this path in most religions. This can also include incense, oils, scents, and fragrances that can alter one’s being by the senses. Read my article on “Spirits” of Alcohol here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=1080.

6. PATH OF THE FLESH / SEX

The sixth path is the Path of the Flesh or Sexual Magic / Tantra / Love / Lust. The utilization of “sexual energy” as a means to open one’s self to the spirits. Sexual energy, generated alone or with a partner, raises the strongest forms of magical power, contact with prana, mana, the akh, the ba, the ka, and instantly alters the state of consciousness by a natural means of chemicals with reaction in the body that can even overpower the fifth path of the plant or altergen. This is accomplished with masturbation, Sexual thought, Sexual play or stimulation, Intercourse and/or interaction with others that can introduce this state instantly. This is often accomplished in ritual with Sex Magic, The Great Rite, Tantra, etc. The rituals of love and lust can also tap this energy and be embraced to alter the state of consciousness with which to connect to spirits, Deities, the Otherworld, and prana.

7. PATH OF ORDEALS/PAIN

The seventh path is by going through an ordeal, a tragedy, embracing or experiencing pain or physical/emotional trauma. This, like chemicals or spirits, sex or deprivation, chemically and physically alters the mind, body, and spirit and launches a state of altered consciousness. By embracing this altered state – it becomes easier to focus that manifestation of power into projected will to focus on what is willed to be achieved. The intentional or careful use of pain to place the body into an altered state of consciousness is the most common ordeal one can manifest. Pain and endurance, trials, or challenges will effect change in state sometimes as powerfully equal as the path of the flesh or sex. This is often done in ritual or ceremony by means of flagellation, BDSM, tattooing, blood-runes carved into the flesh, the Sundance, cutting, wounding, or self infliction.

8. POSSESSION/EVOCATION/PATH OF THE HORSE

The final path of the Eight is Possession, Evocation, or allowing oneself to be ridden like a horse. This is the intentional act of permitting direct spirit-possession to bring Deities or spirts into the body for a short period of time. This can also be the most dangerous form of altering one’s consciousness. Some individuals are wired to do this, others are not. Much study and focus must be achieved before embracing this method.

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Prana, Mana, The Life Force

Spirit Force, Life Force, The Force, Mana, Prana, Spiritual Energy

Many see this as the all creating and destroying eternal force in the universe from which all life – whether biological or spirit comes from or departs to. Some call it the Creator, some see it as above any Creator or God/desses. Some call it a Supreme Being, others call it the Universe. Some call it “Energy” while others call it “Magic”. Some give it a consciousness while others see it as a energy field. Every religion, cult, belief system, form of spirituality and even alternative medicinal practices embrace and address it. It is seen as a variety of phenomena that is observed or experienced by some observers in a particular faith, spirituality, or religion. It is seen as the “energy” that is the life force that flows within and between all things. It is Life. It is the “breath of life”. It is seen as the continuum that unites body with the mind and spirit. It is what makes a animal be “alive”, or a plant “grow”, or a lightning bolt scream across the sky. It is the force behind gravity, science, and magic. Some see it as “vitality” or “vitalism”, “subtle bodies”, “qi”, “prana”, “mana”, or “kundalini”. Some say you can see this energy force as “vibrations”, “rays of light”, “fields”, or “auras”. It is the web of life that connects all life together. PRANA is the Sanskrit term for “vital life”. It comes from the roots “pra” meaning “to fill” and Latin “plenus” meaning “full”. It is seen as one of the five organs of vitality or sensation, as “breath”, “speech”, “sight”, “hearing”, and “thought”. It is the notion of the vital life sustaining force of all life and vital energy. Mana as a Oceanic term for the impersonal force or quality that lives within animals and inanimate objects. It is seen as the “stuff of which magic is formed” as well as the substance from which souls are made.

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Niamh

Niamh

“Niamh of the lovely hair” was the daughter of the Irish Sea God, Manannon Mac Lir. She was the Queen of the Tir na n-Og, the mythological race of Faeries who lived in the Land of the Eternal Youth. She would ride on her Faerie steed “Embarr” across the waves to the West Coast of Ireland quite often. On one of these trips, she met members of the warrior group known as the Fianna. One of the warriors, a bard named Oisin, she came to have a liking for. He fell for her with love at first sight. She quickly took him on her horse with her back to Tir na n-Og. She was most notorious for having been the Faerie princess who lured off the great Bard Oisin to Faerieland where they were married and she had hoped he would have been fine residing at in the Land of the Eternal Youth. After three years in Faerie, He grew weary and tired, missing his family, and asked to return to his land to see them. She set him off on the same white magical steed that she brought him to the land of Faerie on, the horse “Embarr” (means “Imagination”) and warned for him not to step foot off his horse when he returns to the human world. He discovered three years in Faerie was three hundred years in Human. He accidentally fell off Embarr when he was trying to help some farmers move a big stone, and Embarr ran home, across the waves. Poor Oisin immediately became a blind old man to wander Ireland searching for his family and his Niamh. He could never find the entrance to Tir na n-Og again. Niamh waited and waited for him, but Oisin never returned. She had become pregnant with his daughter, Plur na mBan, a beautiful Faerie princess known as “The Flower of the Lady”. After many years, Niamh went back to the mortal world to search Ireland high and low for her sweet Oisin. She was too late, Oisin had died and disappeared forever. His tomb somewhere up in Northern Ireland near the Giant’s Causeway. During her wanders searching for Oisin, she met the Faeries of Brittany who invited her to join them. She didn’t, but rather sent them a magical moving picture of herself. This upset the Brittany Faeries who placed her in a deep wood where she wandered for a long time with a light on her forehead eternally lost. After she discovered her escape, she experienced great disappointment and anger with the Brittany Fae, and returned to Tir na n-Og, presumably casting a magic spell that took all of the Brittany’s faerie children with her in revenge.

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Lost Girl: Season 1

Lost Girl: Season 1
(Television NR: Showcase, 2010)
Creator: M.A. Lovretta. Starring: Anna Silk, Kris Holden-Ried and Ksenia Solo; and many others.


Its an expose of the Faerie world hidden within the human world where the season follows on the sensual charismatic Bo who never really felt at home with the humans tortured by not being able to experience love with them as she drains them to death during sex. She soon discovers she is a Succubus and is not alone, but in a world of the Genus Fae and without a tribe. She’s pushed to choose a tribe with the Dark Fae or the Light Fae, and decides to stay neutral. She becomes a renegade and teams up with a gothy girl human sidekick who becomes an investigator for the abnormal while figuring out who Bo’s mom is and her faerie origins. Falling in love with a Lycanthrope, at ends with the Morrigan, fighting off various species of Fae while keeping things secret from the human world. Full of mythology and faerie lore blended into the modern human world … this is a treasure and an action packed series. A must see for any faerie enthusiast. Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Season 1:

  • Episode 1: It’s a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World (September 2010)
  • Episode 2: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Fae (19 September 2010)
  • Episode 3: Oh Kappa, My Kappa (26 September 2010)
  • Episode 4: Faetal Attraction (3 October 2010)
  • Episode 5: Dead Lucky (17 October 2010)
  • Episode 6: Food for Thought (24 October 2010)
  • Episode 7: ArachnoFaebia (31 October 2010)
  • Episode 8: Vexed (7 November 2010)
  • Episode 9: Fae Day (14 November 2010)
  • Episode 10: The Mourning After (21 November 2010)
  • Episode 11: Faetal Justice (28 November 2010)
  • Episode 12: (Dis)Members Only (5 December 2010)
  • Episode 14: Blood Lines (12 December 2010)

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Ondine (PG-13: 2010)

Ondine (PG-13: 2010)

* Rated: 5 stars out of 5 * Starring: Colin Farrell … Syracuse; Alicja Bachleda … Ondine; Dervla Kirwan … Maura; Alison Barry … Annie; Marion O’Dwyer … Nurse – Dialysis; Tony Curran … Alex; and many more. * Director: Neil Jordan * http://www.ondinefilm.com/ *

A modern Irish lyrical faerie tale about a fisherman named Syracuse who pulls up a stunning woman in his net called “Ondine”. Her name means “She who came from the sea” and begins to believe his daughter’s theory that Ondine is a selchie or mermaid, a seal woman who in Celtic myth is believed to be able to become human by taking off her seal coat in order to pursue love with a human. They begin to treat Ondine like she is a selchie as many oddities in the situation, the events, and the tale is mystical and tragic. Whenever Ondine is aboard the fishing vessel and sings her siren song, his nets are filled with bounty. It becomes a torrid love affair that turns out to have an even crazier origin of truth. Beautifully woven tale embedded in myth. Brought tears to my eyes and edge of your seat excitement. Why can’t I pull up a beautiful selchie like that in my fishing nets? Amazing plot, storyline, and cinematography.

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Wishing Trees


Wishing Tree @ Brigid’s Well in Kildare, Ireland

Wishing Trees
“Wishing Trees” are very common throughout Ireland, England, and Scotland. They are usually individual trees upon which “folk magic”, “folk spells”, “faerie offerings”, or “prayers” are offered. Sometimes it is particular to a specific species, where the tree lives, or how it looks. Many times they are associated with faeries or a particular Deity. They are very common alongside sacred wells in Ireland and the UK. The practice usually involves petitions or offerings made to the tree, a nature spirit associated with the tree, a Saint, a God/dess, or the ancestors with a request for a wish to be fulfilled. Coin trees involve offering of coins to a particular tree. These are often hammered into an old trunk, branch, or small tree. Sometimes these are oaks, rowan trees, hawthorns, ash, or thorn trees. Some hawthornes serve for fertility magic such as a common one in Argyll, Scotland by the Ardmaddy House. Sometimes hundreds of coins are hammered into the bark and wood with the belief that a wish will be granted for each of the coins added. A similar one that is well known is by the sacred well of ST. Maree in Loch Maree, Gairloch, Scotland that has hundreds of coins hammered into it. Also all over the Yorkshire Dales, such as in the pictures shown here I took during a hike, are found with hundreds of coins offered to nature spirits and/or faeries for a granting of a wish. Clootie Wish Trees are found next to sacred wells throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. This involves the practice of tying a piece of cloth, often called “clouties”, “clooties”, or “cloughties” to ask for a answer to a prayer, a wish, and/or a petition. One of the most well known “wishing trees” is the Madron Well in Cornwall. With the Madron well, a sacred well of healing, it is believed that as the cloth rots, the ailment that one is seeking a cure for disappears. Even Charles Darwin recorded the finding of a “wishing tree” in his travels in Argentina called “Walleechu” which was treated by the local inhabitants as a Deity. It was festooned with offerings such as cigars, food, water, and cloth hung from the branches by bright strips of colored thread. Popular wishing trees in Hong Kong is the “Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree” near the “Tin Hau Temple” in Lam Tsu where paper tied to an orange and thrown up in the trees that stick will grant the petitioner a wish. The wishing tree next to Brigid’s Well in Kildare is a common tree for petitioning healing requests.


Penny offerings for good luck
and as gifts to the Fae

“Wishing Tree”
Yorkshire Dales, England

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Brigid’s Cross

Brighid’s Cross
* Kildare, Ireland *

Another blessed part of my pilgrimage to Brigid and Kildare was learning more about Brigid’s Cross. I had the pleasure of Faerie Moe as a guide, a local friend giving me the tour of Kildare and the sacred wells as well as giving me an on-hands explanation on how to weave a Brigid’s Cross. As a dedicant to the Goddess Brigid for over 20 years, in my early years i fumbled at making them, but never made anything as intricate and powerful as the crosses I saw at St. Brigid’s shrine and Sister Mary’s house. Amazing. Many say that the St. Brigid’s Cross, a.k.a. Cros Bríde, Crosóg Bríde or Bogha Bríde, is actually an Irish symbol of sun worship representing the sun in the center with rays of light coming from it in the shape of the arms of the Cross. Some say it represents a Brigid legend where in the story St. Brigid miraculously hung her wet clothes to dry on a sunbeam. It is also considered a Pagan sun wheel. They are traditionally made on February 1st for Lá Fhéile Bhríde (St. Brigid’s feast day). It is also a symbol of Ireland and its provinces. Ireland has four provinces, but in ancient Ireland there were five – an invisible one in the center of Ireland. To some, the Brigid’s cross represents the four provinces (in the modern standard design) and in the 5 handed cross like shown in these pictures, representing the 5 provinces. The arms represent North, South, East, West, and Center. The 5th Province, the invisible one, is the province of healing and reconciliation. Brigid’s Cross probably first appeared in Ireland between the 2nd century B.C.E. and the 2nd century C.E. It is a folk magic tradition of weaving together straw to create a equal-armed Celtic cross that represents the Goddess Brigid, or modern day St. Brigid. Taking rushes that are woven together into a swastica-like /Celtic cross-like ornament, with a central square and four spokes protruding from each corner of the square in opposing directions, that has some variations found in Celtic art both ancient and modern. Brigid’s cross appears often traditionally on February 1st, the eve of St. Brigid’s feast / Imbolc / or Candlemas. In some traditions, the Brideoga or Biddies, young virgin boys who would carry a churndash (post used to churn butter) that is dressed up as a woman or an effigy of St. Brigid, and would go door-to-door through their neighborhood collecting alms for the poor. While collecting alms, they would leave bundles of straw and rushes outside the homes that they visited. At nightfall, young virgin girls would pick them up and ask to be admitted to the homes in the name of Brigid and would weave the rushes into crosses. After traditional prayers and a meal at the homes, the crosses would be placed under the eaves in the house or in the outhouses and sometimes blessed with holy water. The leftover rushes would be woven into a girdle called a “crios” or a tie for cattle or sometimes as a Brid’s bed or mattress for the Saint. Just as cattle were traditionally led through holy lakes or doused in water from Brigid’s well, they were often led through uplifted arches of these girdles. The Brid’s bed or holy mattresses were often placed at specific sacred wells and believed to possess curative powers to counter barrenness and to protect families and animals from natural calamities, especially lightning and fire. Some see the Brigid’s cross as symbolic of the evolution of the Goddess into the Saint. The Brigid’s Cross magically is believed to protect a house where it hangs from evil and from fire. Because of this, it is often hung in kitchens.

The Brigid’s cross is commonly woven on February 1st or 2nd, the date of Celtic Imbolc or Candlemas, a time to celebrate Brigid in her maiden form – the winter elder “cailleach” is reborn the maiden in her phase of collecting kindling for winter fires and warming the hearth for spring when she becomes young again. (After serving the winter as the aged woman still collecting kindling to keep the fire going to rejoice the flame for her rebirth) As the inventor of “caoineadh” or “keening”, from the mourning of her son Ruadán’s death, she inadvertently created the art form to keen. Some say this is tied into the creation of the Brigid’s cross. At this time when the night sky turns to the North star, the big dipper turns through the seasonal year, creating patterns in the sky that the Brigid cross is said to invoke. To tie into the warming for spring, Brigid is the fire keeper of the eternal flame always burning in Kildare, keeping the people of Ireland eternally warm. During her conversion to becoming a nun led to the practice of the Brigid’s cross, a craft many children and adults partake of weaving the kindling into a spiral form of the Brigid’s cross.

Here is a great web site with diagrams of the weave: http://www.fisheaters.com/stbrigidscross.html

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The Curraugh

The Curraugh
Near Kildare and Naas, Ireland

It is said that in 480 C.E. Saint Brighid came to the area to found a monastery in Kildare and had approached the King of Leinster and asked for land for the poor and on to which to build it. He laughed a her and told her that if she lay out her cloak, whatever space the cloak covers is hers to keep. She laid out her magical cloak and thus claimed almost 5,000 acres of land in County Kildare which is known as “The Curraugh” (a.k.a. “An Currach”). It is a flat open plain that is common land for the Irish. It is used for Army maneuvers, Irish Horse breeding / training, horse racing, sheep herding, and public recreation. Ireland’s largest Fen, the Pollardstown Fen is also located here. There are many rare species of plants that grow on the Curraugh so it is a hot spot for botanists and ecologists. The Curraugh also has a sandy soil that was formed after an esker deposited a sand load on it thereby creating excellent drainage characteristics. In early Irish history, the Curraugh was a central point for legends and lore for thousands of years. The hill north is called the “Almhain” or “Hill of Allen” where the mythical Fianna used as a meeting place. The Fenian tales talk of much mythology here. The Curraugh is littered with prehistoric ruins, ring burial-mounds, and the Race of the Black Pig which may have been an ancient cattleway. In 1234 C.E. Richard Marshal, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke lost a battle here against a group of men loyal to King Henry III of England, he was wounded, and died at his castle at Kilkenny the same year. The Curraugh was also a common site for the mustering of the armies of the Pale. They held a Rebellion in 1798 here that resulted in a massacre of 350 unarmed United Irishmen at Gibbet Rath. This location is now where the Curraugh Camp is hosted where the Irish Defense Forces train. On March 20, 1914 the Curraugh Camp saw an incident called the “Curragh Mutiny” while the Camp was the main base for the British Army in Ireland. As in 1912 the Liberal coalition British governmen of H. H. Asquith had just introduced the Third Home Rule Bill for Ireland which proposed the creation of an autonomous Irish Parliament in Dublin. Numerous Unionists objected to the inclusion of potential rule by the proposed Dublin Parliament and founded the Ulster Volunteers paramilitary group in 1912 to fight against the British government if necessary on this point. In 1913, Lord French and Henry Hughes Wilson with a number of senior officers expressed concerns to the government that the British Army would find it difficult to act against the Volunteers since they were all there to defend the British Empire. To combat this the Curraugh base commander Sir Arthur Paget was ordered by London’s War Office in March 1914 to start preparations to move troops to Ulster in order to deal with any violence there that might break out by occupying governmenet buildings and to repel any assaults by the Ulster Volunteers. He misinterpreted his orders from a precautionary deployment to meaning an immediate order to march against the Ulstermen. At this point he offered his officers the choice of resignation rather than fighting this battle. 57 out of 70 of the Officers, mostly Irish unionists resigned or accept dismissal rather than enforce the Home Rule Act of 1914. When Paget reported this to London. This caused Asquith’s Liberal Government to back down claiming an honest misunderstanding and the men were reinstated and the Army would not be used to enforce the Home Rule Act. A month later, the Northern Irish Ulster Volunteers covertly landed about 24,000 rifles at night in the “Larne gun-running” incident without discovery or arrest. This event led to Unionist confidence and the growing Irish separatist movement convincing nationalists they wouldn’t have Army support in Ireland which in turn increased nationalist support for the Irish Volunteers and a growing concern for an Irish Civil War. The Home Rule Act was dropped after the start of World War I. The plains were also used to film the battle scenes in the film “Braveheart”. A famous Irish song called “The Curraugh of Kildare” is dedicated to the plains.

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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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Donnelly’s Hollow, Giant Footsteps, and Circle Dancing

Donnolly’s Hollow, Giant Footsteps, and Circle Dances

The Curraugh, Kildare, Ireland

The Curraugh is speckled with natural bowl-shaped amphitheaters known to be dancing locations for Pagan and Christian groups. One of these is known as “Donnolly’s Hollow” where the Irish champion boxer Dan Donnelly defeated the English champion George Cooper in 1815. He was quite locally famous and the remains of his arm were shown until recently in the Hideou Pub in the nearby town of Kilcullen. Daniel Donnelly was born at the docks near Townsend Street in Dublin 1788 C.E. He was viewed by many to be a actual “Giant”. Over 6 foot tall his arms purportedly could touch his knees without him bending over. He was born into an Ireland that was suppressed with colonial oppression, acute agrarian poverty, and burning patriotism. He took on the carpenter trade and often frequented taverns where he was a legend for holding his own at hard drinking or hard hitting. A horse trainer from Maddenstown named Captain Kelly discovered him at a coffee shop brawl and upon recognizing his potential, lured him into boxing as a career. His first recorded fight took place on the Curraugh in 1814 against the famed Tom Hall. The fight drew an estimated 20,000 spectators and was won by Donnelly in 20 minutes. His second famous fight took place here in the Hollow against the mighty George Cooper. The spectators took meaning of that fight to epitomise the national struggle and championing their seemingly hopeless cause against the intransigent representatives of the Crown. Everyone crowded into the Curraugh to watch this spectacle and see history be made. The fight lasted 11 rounds with the first 3 involving Donnelly sledge-hammering blows upon the Englishman, though retook by Cooper until the 7th and 8th rounds when Donnelly’s strength and “giant” stature gave him the edge back striking at the head and temple and by round 11 knocked Cooper senseless, breaking his jaw-bone. The fight gave an enormous amount of spirit to the Irish. From 1815-1819 Donnelly lived a reckless life. When he was introduced to George IV, Prince Regent remarked “I am glad to meet the best man in Ireland” to which Donnelly replied “I’m not, your Royal Highness, but I’m the best in England.” This made a strong friendship with the Prince who later Knighted Donnelly. Donnelly died penniless at age 32 on February 18th, 1820. He had an enormous funeral, with thousands in attendance, his gloves carried on a silken cushion, and was laid to rest in Bully’s Acre, Kilmainham, Dublin. His corpse was then dug up and stolen by medical students which instigated riots amongst the Irish. His body was purchased by the Dublin Surgeon Hall who removed the right arm to study the muscle structure and respectfully reburied the body. Surgeon Hall then transported the arm to Scotland where it lay undisturbed until a roving circus purchased it for their “peep show”. Eventually it came into possession by Hugh ‘Texas’ McAlevey, a boxing fan and affluent Ulster bookmaker. When ‘Texas’ died, Tom Donnelly an affluent wine merchant and sportsman, procured the arm and presented it to the Hide-out pub in Kilcullen where it was displayed for roughly 43 years until Jim Byrne died. Eventually he believed the arm might be frightening off customers and then stored it in his attic. The arm made it back to Kilcullen in the 1950s. Upon Jim’s death, the pub was eventually sold. In 2005 it was sent for an exhibition called “Fighting Irishmen: A Celebration of the Celtic Warrior”. It was smuggled into America and became the centerpiece of the Fighting Irishmen Exhibit, Donnelly’s arm went on display at the Irish Arts Center in New York City, in the fall of 2006. The show traveled across New York to the South Street Seaport Museum in 2007. It was then displayed at the Boston College’s John J. Burns Library in 2008. The arm returned to Ireland in 2009 displayed at Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh. By 2010 it was exhibited at the Gaelic Athletic Association museum at Croke Park in Dublin.

Giant Footsteps

As Donnelly was seen as a “Giant” there is a long trail of giant footsteps in the ground going up the hill from his monument in Donnelly’s Hollow. This gives physical play with the legends of literal metaphorical super-humans who were believed to walk alot around the Curraugh. Throughout history, many Giants, Faeries, pilgrims, Celts, and Vikings left their marks on these Irish hills including legends like Cuchulainn and Brian Boru.

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Rock Close: Druid’s Cave and Circle

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Druids Cave and Circle
* The Rock Close * Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * http://www.blarneycastle.ie *

Right next to the Witch’s Stone and Kitchen is the Druid’s Circle and Sacrificial Altar that is believed to be a traditional Celtic stone circle that was once used by Druids who practiced on the grounds long ago. The Senior Druid Priest was reputed to have lived in the Druid’s cave. Nearby is the Faerie Glade, round the hill from the Witch’s Kitchen, underneath giant gunnera leaves and it is reputed to have lots of faeries. Across from the Faerie Glade is the Druid’s Circle.

Not much is known of these rock monuments, circles, and cave – but they are believed to be prehistoric dwellings and ritual sites. The Rock Close Dolmen is believed to be 4,000-5,000 years old. The Druid Circle and Cave are not officially dated nor is the Witches’ Kitchen. We do know that the castle owners in the early 1800’s landscaped around these features making the Rock Close as it is today with the myths and legends surrounding it. As Druidism in this era was word-of-mouth and oral traditions and no archaeological surveys, excavations, or artifacts – the guesses of the use of these remains are hypothetical and guess work. There is still little known about the ancient Druids even though the revivalistic Meso-Pagan and Neo-Pagan Druid faiths are very abundant today throughout the world. We do know the Druids were classed as “Bards”, “Ovates”, and “Druids” – all of whom shared similar functions albeit the Druids were the administrators and leaders, the Ovates the diviners and healers, and the Bards the story tellers, musicians, and keepers of the oral wisdom. Most of what we do know about the ancient Druids is from writings by Julius Caesar and the Romans, all biased from the enemy perspective. In that the Romans never really conquered or inhabitated Ireland like it did the rest of the Celtic world, there is no telling what the Irish Druids were up to outside of myths and legends found in the Mythological Cycle. There is a purported “sacrificial altar’ here that Blarney Castle labels as such, but it purely deduced from basic knowledge that Druids performed rituals that involved sacrifice in the ancient days.

The Echoe Ghost Hunters investigated this area in 2010-2011 and claimed very strong EMP’s were recorded in the area of the Witches’ Kitchen. Most of the lore in this area is centered around the Witch of Blarney.

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The Wishing Steps of Rock Close

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Wishing Steps

Wishing Steps
* The Rock Close * Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * http://www.blarneycastle.ie *

Onwards with the quest for charms and blessings, just after kissing the legendary Blarney Stone for the gift of gab we wandered into The Rock Close of Blarney Castle. It was time to visit the wiley old witch of Blarney for a endowment of wishes. The witch requires the wisher to walk backwards up and down the steps with their eyes closed without stopping for a moment or thinking of anything other than the wish – then that wish will come true within a year. Of course I did it, and those who know me can only guess what my wish was … The roughly hewn 21-24 limestone steps climb up through an archway of limestone rocks. The steps can be wet and very slippery. Legend states that the witch was forced to do these blessings on the steps as a way for her to pack for her firewood she uses in the Witches kitchen located at the top of the steps. It is believed that if you go up the stairs early in the morning you will see dying embers in the fire pit of the Witches’ Kitchen and Stone which is supposedly lit every night by the Blarney Castle Witch.

The witch supposedly grants the wish within a year’s time. Others say a “year and a day”. My wish came true in precisely a year and 2 months. On June 28, 2010 I wished to be united with my soul mate and twin flame that previous prophecies said I’d meet. I also always had dreams as a child I’d marry an Irish woman. A year later in 2011 I was supposed to go to Ireland but while in Scotland ran out of money and called to tell my Irish friends I wasn’t able to come for a visit. They asked if I was going to Burning Man to which I replied, “I couldn’t afford it”. They had a position open for me as staff in helping build the Celtic dragon effigy for Ireland at Burning Man, so I went. I had a theme camp set up called “Tir na nOg” and was a base camp for the Irish crew. The night of the Effigy burn, I was a fire guardian and while watching the perimeter, had a friend from Colorado come fire spin for the event and she needed a safety person – unable to assist as I was already tied up with the boundary, I looked around the audience and saw a woman dressed like a leprechaun who was sober – I asked her to assist and she did. Afterwards I invited her back to our Tir na nOg camp, fed her fairy food and drink, and we fell in love. It turned out she was from Ireland, via the Pacific Northwest after working a summer on Vancouver Island, and lived in Cork – a stone’s throw from the Blarney Witch. She was looking for other Irish to hang out with. I moved to Dublin with her, two months later at the Stone of Destiny was inspired to propose to her, and we soon after married and gave birth to a beautiful son. So every year we return to the Blarney Witch to thank her for playing cupid. In our experience, we believe the wishing steps work.

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Faerie Trees

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.


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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 – Faerie Park

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”. Carribean 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 – fortelling 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).

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

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The Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway:

near Bushmills, Northern Ireland
Tied into the legendary faerie lore with being created by Finn Mac Cool as a causeway to walk between Ireland and Scotland, the area is rich in myths and legends. A World Heritage site (UNESCO 1986), operated by the National Trust, the Giant’s Causeway consists of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that were caused by the result of a ancient volcanic eruption 50-60 million years ago. Intense volcanic activity caused highly fluid molten basalt to intrude through the chalk beds forming an extensive lava plateau. As the lava cooled quickly, contraction began with some in vertical directions that reduced the flow thickness, and horizontal contraction that was accommodated by cracking through the flow varying by lava speed forming the columns. In the heart of County Antrim on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland, the site is not very far from the infamous village of Bushmills. The site was discovered in 1693. It is considered to be the fourth natural wonder in the United Kingdom. Each of the hexagonal columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot onward into the sea where they surface again into Scotland. Some of the columns reach heights upwards of 36 feet high. Most of the columns are hexagonal, though some have four, five, seven, and eight sides. Areas of solidified lava in the cliffs are up to 28 meters thick in some places. The area is infamous for the columns, stepping stones, myths, legends, the Giant’s Boot, and the Organ, the Giant’s Eyes, the Shepherd’s Steps, the Honeycomb, the Giant’s Harp, the Chimney Stacks, the Giant’s Gate, the Camel’s Hump, as well as a panoramic seaside view and beaches. Rating 5 stars out of 5.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Giant’s blood pool:

 

 

Giant’s Boot:

 

 

 


 




 

 


 


The Organ:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 



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Finn McCool and the Giant’s Causeway

Finn McCool
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

The phenomenal World Heritage Site – “The Giant’s Causeway” is the legendary tromping ground of the Giant’s Finn McCool and Benandonner. The story has it that the Irish Giant Finn McCool who lived on these shores had a Scottish rival – a giant named Benandonner. When McCool started to build a causeway to Scotland in order to challenge Benandonner to a battle, all hell started to break loose across the Sea. When he completed the work, the causeway stretched from North Antrim to Staffa. Benandonner accepted the battle to walk over to Ireland and fight for supremacy. As Benandonner appeared over the horizon, Finn McCool realized in horror that he had taken on a rival much bigger than himself. Out of fear, he ran home to his wife Oonagh to trick Benandonner. Not wanting her husband to die, Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby and made him curl up in an enormous cradle. When Benandonner saw the sight of this huge “baby”, he took fright, as he suspected the father McCool would be humongous. He ran back across the causeway to Scotland, tearing up he causeway in his wake, supposedly losing his boot and cutting his foot enroute. Some say the red algae pools are from droplets of his bloody foot, and the boot is his that he lost.

Finn McCool was a mythical hunter-warrior of Irish Mythology, who was also supposedly the father to the poet Oisin. His name, Fionn or Finn means “fair”, “white”, or “bright”. As a giant, he was believed to have built the Giant’s Causeway as a stepping stones pathway to Scotland so that he wouldn’t get his feet wet. Apparently, he had also scooped up a part of Ireland to flight at his rival giant Benandonner, but missed, having it land in the Irish Sea – and it was this clump that became the Isle of Man, and a pebble became Rockall, the void becoming Lough Neagh. There is also a cave in Scotland, sharing the hexagonal basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, that is called Fingal’s Cave. Most of the legends of Finn as a giant come from Manx Folklore.


Benandonner’s blood pool


Benandonner’s Boot

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Newgrange


Newgrange:

Bru na Boinne, County Meath, 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 with 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 De Danann, legendary first rulers of Ireland, built Newgrange as a burial place for their chief – the Dagda Mor with his three sons. The site is also believed to be where the hero Cuchulainn 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. It is also believed to have been a burial site for Celtic Kings and a meeting place for Druids and Faeries. Legends state that t some otherworldly conditions, the Queen of the Faeries can be seen here with her subjects.

Visitors can only access Newgrange via bus shuttle from the visitor center at Bru na Boinne 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, serpentine forms, 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. Newgrange was found written about as a tumulus in a letter by Edward Lhwyd in December 15, 1699. The Annals of the Four Masters state that the Danes plundered Newgrange in 861. It has been said that during the first excavation, a large amount of treasures including ornaments and fictilia (earthenware objects) including a gold chain, two rings, a gold trocks, a bronze pin, and a small iron weapon were recovered.


 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Artifacts:

 



 

 


 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 


 

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