M, muin, vine in the ogham.

Totems are mintan, the titmouse and the colour mbracht, tartaned or parti-coloured. Dates September 2 -29.

MAB, to stutter, lisp, stammer, a tassel, a fringe, abuse, vilify, reproach in anger, affront; mabag or babag, a short piece of yarn, a filthy female. mabach, entangled, confused, ravelled, fringed. Mab righan, Queen Mab, the Mhorrigan. Mabladh, hacking, maiming; she was a noted warriorgoddess. This legendary queen of the Tuatha daoine went to earth in western Ireland, beneath Cruachin, and was supposedly the sidh-spirit of sovereignty. In ancient times, the kings of Tara kept a house of virgins who tended the sacred fires of Briid (the bride). One of these was expected to yield her virginity to the Ard Righ, or High King, at each festival of Samhainn (May 1). This pagan rite was expected to rejuvenate the king, and the general fertility of the soil, men and cattle. No king could rule the Gaelic countryside without lying first at the side of "Mebd". It is suspected that the goddess that the king symbolically married was arachaic, pre-dating the Milesians and perhaps the Tuatha daoine. Katherine Scherman says that the Gaelic goddesses were mother-fertility figures, but also "agents of death". She describes all of them as "amorphous...of multiple personality...veiled in shadows", which is another way of saying that their stories are inextricably tangled. Badb, Mebd, or Maeve is closely linked with both Emain, Nemain, Emain Macha, or Macha, and Mhorrigan, Morrigan, or Morgan.

To put the situation concisely, these are a trinity, often represented under the single name Morrigan, a virgin goddess of youth. Her mature counterpart is Medb and her elder-form, the Macha. Morrigan corresponds with the summer-goddess, who the Scots called Samh, a lady who personifies the season they call samhradh, or summer. This goddess-spirit ended her reign on the last day of November, thus the festival called Samhainn (the fires on the hill of Samh). Her alter-ego is the Cailleach Bheur, or Winter Hag, another name for the Emain Macha, or Swift-moving One. She was also known as the Geamir, the Gamer or Huntress, and hence her season, the geamhradh, or winter. It is notable that "cailleach" currently describes a "frosted" or aged human woman, as well as an inhuman house-spirit, the mate of the bodach, who the English refer to as the brownie. MAC, obs. clear, pure, clean, as a verb, to bear, carry. Mac, son; mic, the plural, sons; macaibh, the dative plural form, also, the young of any animal species, poetically for a male animal. Also seen as mhac. Macadh, obs. bearing, carrying. See the next entry which relates. MACAIBH MOR, aibheil, huge; mor, great. A favourite giant in Gaelic folk tales. MACALAIDH, fostering a son. MAC A' LUIN, the sword of Fionn mac Cumail which fought of its own accord. 1 MAC-AN-TOISICH, Macintosh, son of the priest. In the wester Ross, whisky, from the fact that priests were involved in the manufacture. MAC, MHAC AOD, son of the day, son of hearth-fire, son of Aod (see separate entry), the Mackay. Also termed the Clan Morgan after the pagan goddess Mhorrigan.

1Tales

Until Dawn, pp.. 35-36.

MAC CÉCHT, mac May, a son of Ogma. After the death of Nuada of the Silver Hand at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, he and his two brothers took the body for burial to Grianan Aileach, on the Inishowen Peninsula. Here, arguing over the disposition of their father’s estates in Ireland, they sought the advice of a stranger named Ith. They came to suspect that this Milesian visitor was spotting the land for his own folk so they killed him. It was in revenge for thus killing that the Milesians sailed against Ireland, ultimately defeating the Tuatha daoine. During the invasion this lad was killed by Eremon, the son of King Mileus. He was a husband to Fodhla, one of the three goddesses who treated with the invaders to name the land after them (the others were Banabh and Eire). MAC CUILL. A son of Ogma and husband of Banbha, slain by the Milesian named Eber. See Mac Cecht. MAC DHUIBHSHITH, son of the black sigh, the Mac Phee. This clan lived on South Uist in the Hebrides and were said to have been anciently "in touch with the fairy-folk." They are related to the MacDuffies, whose name is a phonetic variant. The chief of the clan was resident at Colonsay, and island which afterwards passed to the Macdonalds and the Campbells, and finally to the MacNeills in the seventeenth century. It has also been suggested that their patriarchal ancestor was Dubhsidhe, who was Lector of Iona in 1164. If so they may have been related to the sacred clan later known as Mackinnon and were apparently Christians from a very early date. "On the other hand there are those who say the Macfies descend from a seal-woman." (The Hebridean Connection, p. 80) MAC GRÉINE. The son of Ogma, husband of the goddess Eire, whose name was given to Ireland in earlier times. He was slain by the Milesian druid named Amerigin. MAC MHAOLIN, “Son of the tonsured one,” the Macmillan. Pre-Reformation names were limited to those of ancient and royal blood, thus this name implies descent from a very

old monastic family. Unlike the Roman Catholics the Culdees were allowed to marry and reproduce. The Celtic tonsure was not the bald circle later approved by the Roman Catholic Church but the shaving of the whole front of the head from ear to ear, leaving everything from their back to grown untrammelled. MAC MOINCANTA. When Manann left Ireland in disgust after the election of Boabd Dearg as head of the Daoine sidh, Mac Moincanta took his place as ruler of the sighe at Meadha. In folklore this short-lived “king of the fairies” was supplanted by Fionbharr. MACNAS, sport, wantonness, festivity; the root mac, from the rear, son. Implies sexual "sports." Confers with the OIr. mhac, son. Ritual mating for the continued fertility of man, beast, and the land, was the root element of Quarter Day festivals.

MACHA, (mah-kha), machair, a plain, the Royston crow. Also, a third part of the triad goddess Bafinne. She is often defined as “Macha daughter of Aod the Red, wife to Neme, although she is also represented as married to Crundchu.” She alone governed the direction of future events. She was the crone who cut the threads of the spirits of men and the gods. She befriended Ulster and had her first residence at Emain Macha, but cursed the men of this province and afterwards became the patroness of Connaught. Here she was incarnate as Badb, Mebd or Maeve and fought an unsuccessful battle against King Conor and his hero Cúchullain. She also corresponds with Mhorrigan (the goddess of the past) and is represented in folklore as the Cailleach Bheurr or “Winter Hag,” the seeker after souls of the dead. Aside from her presence as myth,the reincarnate Macha represents the beginnings of record The eleventh century historian Tierna was astute in noticing that “All historical records of the Irish, prior to the reign of Cimbaoth (ca. 300 B.C.) are dubious.” Much which followed was equally so, but it certainly marked the beginning of some firm ground for history. This was the time of the founding of the northern kingdom called Ulaid, or Ulster and at its centre was Emain Macha, now represented by a few grassy ramparts near Ard Macha, now named Armagh. Emain is supposedly derived from eo, a bodkin and muin , the neck, hence “a brooch worn near the neck.” The old Irish brooches were large circular things of silver or bronze crossed by a long thorn-like pin, and they do resemble the circular ramparts of the old Celtic fortresses. Perhaps Macha wore one of these? It is said that she was the daughter of Aod ruairdh, the Ulster king, whose two brothers Dithorba and Cimbaoth succeeded him. “they agreed, in turn, to enjoy the sovereignty of Ireland.” Translated this meant they proposed to cohabit with Macha, who was technically

queen, but could not rule alone by the laws of the time. She declined their first advances and fought and killed Dithorba At last she forced Cimbaoth to accept her in a formal marriage. The five sons of Dithorba by an earlier marriage were put out by this and fled into Connacht where they plotted against Macha. Travelling on their trail the warrior-queen found them in a wooded region, where, wearied from a hunt, they were drinking and eating before an open fire. A master of disguise, or perhaps a shape-changer, the lady put on “her grimmest aspect.” Some have represented her disguise as that of an ancient crone, while others say she took on the looks of a war-goddess “red all over, with the terrible flashing eyes as powerful as death itself.” Whatever the case the brothers were individually taken by her powerlessness or her sinister beauty, and not recognizing her tried to lead her off into the woods for private parties. She overpowered them all by arms or magic, and returned with them as bound prisoners to Ulster. With the spear of her brooch she supposedly marked the circle of the first fortress of Emain Macha and set these captive princes at the work of masonry and earth-filling. She founded the legendary Emain Macha, the capitol of Ulster for six hundred years after her death. Macha's foster-son, Ugani-Mor (the Great) who succeeded her, led armies into Britain and some say his ambition took him to the Continent, where he conquered some of the Mediterranean lands. All of the present leading families of Ireland trace descent to Ugani Mor, the patriarch of royalty in three provinces of Ireland. This woman was the living model for the “goddess” named Macha, Emain Macha or Nemain . As we have already noted she was later reincarnate as the deer-like woman who went to live with the woodsman named Crundchu. When he wagered her in a race against the Ultonian horses this caused her to abandon Ulster for Connaught and place her curse for “nine times nine generations” upon the fighting

men of the north. The counterpart for the mature warriorqueen Baobd, was unquestionably Mebd, also known as Maeve, or May, the daughter of the high-king Eochaid Feidlech. She may also be remembered as Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster. secured Connaught as her principality December union. After that she made a Ailill of Leinster. Macha-dubh, the otter. the first wife of Leaving him she through a Maythird marriage to

MACHLAG, matrix, womb, belly, mating. Machlagach, uterine, bellyingmachuil, a spot or blemish MAC-MALLACHD, “son of curse,” The Devil. MAC-MIC, grandson. MACNAS, wantoness, sport, lasciviousness, machnasach, licentious, gay, festive, buxom. festivity;

MAC-RATHA, a prosperous or innately lucky fellow, godgifted. MAC-TALLA, son of rock; an Echo. The name given North America’s first all Gaelic periodical (Antigonish, Nova Scotia). MAELDUIN, mael + duin, miller, a maul, grinder + man. The voyages of Maelduin are found in the ms. entitled The Book of the Dun Cow (1100 A.D.) He was one of Celts supposed to have explored the Atlantic. In the process he landed upon the Island of Mill and nearby found "a grim looking mill" (a whirlpool). Here he interviewed the sea-giant in charge and was told, "Here comes to be ground all that men begrudge one another." The voyagers saw that this was a very busy place so they "sained" (crossed themselves) and sailed away. In their voyages the company saw the undersea realms of the Fomors: "They found themselves in a sea, thin like mist, that seemed as if it might not support their craft.

In the depths they saw a fortress, and a fair land beneath them. A monstrous beast lodged in a tree there with droves of cattle and an armed warrior beneath it. As they watched the beast foraged at will among the cattle, devouring them one by one.” Fearing they should fall through the mist-like sea-sky, Maelduin ordered that they should sail on. See imrama.

MAAG MOULACH, mag, powerful, great, lustful, a paw or claw, arable field, Productive; molach, hairy, rough, shaggy. The weregild of Tillochgorum, Scotland. Maag has correspondence with the Eng. Mab or Maeve, which is founded on the Gaelic Mebd who was one of the three bafinne. The Cailleach bheurr or “Winter Hag.” "One with the left hand, all over hairy." A creature invisible except as a forerunner of death and destruction. A boabh, similar to the male bodach described above. Alexander Macpherson noted frequent references to this banshee in Presbyterian Synod Records. Apparently attempts were made to verify or deny her existence but the researchers could not come to any

conclusion. They did interview two men who testified upon the Bible that they had seen her: "A young girl with her left hand all hairy." Magach, creeping, crawling, mocking. Magair, a jester, an ape, a stone, testicle. MAGA. The daughter of Aonghas Og she who wed a human named Ross the Red. Their son Fachtna married Ness. MAGH, a field, level, country, field of battle; mag-aoraidh, a field of worship. Confers with the early Celtic magos. This word is scattered all about France in compound word-names and is also commonly seen in Ireland. It is also buried within modern maps of countries that are no longer considered Celtic. Thus in Switzerland we find Uro-magus which has become Promasens. In the Rhineland there is Brocomagus, currently called Brumath, and in the Netherlands Nimègue. There are several variants on this last name in Lombardy and Austria. The nominative form of this word is the Gaelic Màigh, which corresponds with the English May. A bit of linguistic research reveals this lady as the tri-partite goddess often identified as Bridd but more accurately designated as Bas-finne, her parts being the goddesses Mhoriggan, Badb and Macha. She is sometimes given as the daughter and/or mate of the creator-god. MAGH DA CHEO , Plain of the Two Mists, also a synonym for lands in the west, the Otherworld. Significantly there are two major fog zones in the northwestern Atlantic. MAGH INDOG, INDOC, “Plain of the Sewer.” Features in Christian embellishments of the myth of Dead Lands in the west. Hell, Hades. In The Book of the Dun Cow Cúchullain was conjured back from the west by Saint Patrick to argue the merits of paganism against those of the new religion. Instead, the hero recounted his deeds in times long past and strongly suggested that the pagans who was present convert to Christianity. MAGH MELL, (Moy Mal), the Great Plain (of the sea). Sometimes said to be the site of Tir-nan-Og and the other

Fomorian undersea kingdoms. Certainly the location of the "Dead World" known as An Domhain. See also Maelduin. MAGH MON, “Plain of Sports,” Plain of Indolence; synonym for the Otherworld. According to tradition the first business of the gods after the creation of their homeland was the creation of playing fields. The patron of sports was Lugh, the sun/creator god, and the preoccupation of the gods was horsemanship and betting. MAGH TUIREADH, (Moy Tirra), Plain of Thunder, “Plain of Towers.” “Thor’s Plain.” The first battle fought here was between the Firbolge and the Tuatha daoine. The Daoine won but King Nuada lost his hand and his kingship. The second followed from this when Breas became king, was deposed and led the Fomorians against the Tuatha daoine. Here Nuada was slain, but Balor of the Evil Eye was brought down by Lugh and the day went to the warrior-magicians. The second battle was actually at a more northern location, the place being technically Ess Dara.. When it was over only three Fomorians remained in Ireland, the rest retreating into the Western Ocean. The four sea-giants continued to spoil the country of corn, milk and fruit “and whatever came from the sea,” until they too were driven away on a Samhain eve by Mhorrigan and Aonghas Og. The exact lands from which the Tuatha daoine came is unknown but they had no intention of returning there. Once they beached their vessels on the strands of ancient Ireland, they burned them so that they could not be used by the Firbolgs, or tempt them to retreat. This done they wrapped their host in an impenetrible black cloud and marched inland. When the Firbolgs became aware of their peril the Tuathans were entrenched on a mountain near the Plains of Sligo in the western province later called Connaught. The Firbolgs were conscious of their own numerical superiority, but disliked the tales of irrestible weapons, and did not immediately respond to demands for battle or capitulation. When the two armies were drawn up at Mag Tured (Moytura, on the Mayo-Galway border), the Firbolgs insisted that the

etiquette of war be observed. While the Tuathans shuffled impatiently, emissaries explained that time would be needed to sharpen swords and spears. On another day it was found that armour needed refurbishing, and weeks later, the Firbolgs insisted on time to refurbish their helmets. Not to be rushed into warfre, the dark curly-haired clansmen insisted on the perfection of their last wickerwork shield before they would march. In fairness, they observed that the Tuathans lacked the heavy spears that they carried and insisted that their enemies have time to equip themselves. On the other hand, the Firbolgs noted that they needed a few weeks to forge the light-weight swords preferrred by the Tuathans. Altogether, the Firbolgs managed tom keep the Tuatha daoine fuming and freting and impotent for a hundred and five days before any conflict took place. While the Tuathans were technologically superior it seemed that they lost the war known as trickery, but they did manage one point: As the Firbolgs had obvious numerical superiority, the Tuthans suggested that the armies should fight one-on-one, excluding the majority of Firbolgs. The latter were reluctant to go this far with the ethics of battle, but recognized the justice of the argument and agreed. When the battle came, it raged for four days. The Firbolgs seeing themselves cut down, arranged a truce and suggested that casulties be restricted by pitting 300 hundred men from each side against one another in the concluding fray. Some reporters said that the Firbolgs were absolutely "routed to the outermost isles of the sea," but it appears that the Tuathans gained a pyrrhic victory: "So bravely had the losing ones fought, and so sorely exhausted the De Dannan, that the latter, to end the struggle, were glad to leave to the Firbolgs that quarter of the Island wherein they fought (Connaught)."2 Scherman has another version of the fate of the
2

Macmanus, Ibid., p. 3.

Firbolgs: "The subordinate people retreated to the wild places of the south and east, the provinces of Munster and Leinster, to pursue a style of life simpler and rougher than that of the new aristocracy..." 3 Where they went is unimportant. A major event of the battle at southern Moytura was the slaying of the High King Eochaid, the Horseman of Heaven. He fought so notably he was incorporated as a god-spirit of the Tuatha daoine. Sreng, a fierce warrior of the Firbolg side had cut off the hand of the Tuathan king called Nuada. This was not an irreplacable member since the new race included Creidne a master of mechanical magic, who created a new articulated hand made of silver. Unfortunately, one of the laws of the Tuatha daoine excluded men with physical blemishes from holding leadership, any defect being seen as a weakening of the god-spirit of the king. Nuada was therefore forced into retirement with consequences which we will outline in the next chapter. As for the Firbolgs, those banished to the outer islands (presumably the Hebrides of Scotland) returned to the larger Island in the second century of the Christian era. Their chief was Angus, a leader of Clann Umor. They were given an unpleasant welcome in Ulster and eventually took the side of southerners under Queen Maeve of Connaught. For this, they were granted the seaboard of Galway and Clare and the Arran Isles. On Inishmore, one of these islands, they built Dun Angus, a notable redoubt whose dry-stone walls were up to twelve feet in thickness. The seaward wall of this fortress once overlooked a sheer cliff two hundred feet above the water, but much has eroded away. Nevertheless, it is still obvious that this holding place of the ancient Firbolgs once covered eleven acres of the Island. Among the Gaels the Pictii (Latin, painted ones) were termed the Cruithnians (wheat-eaters). They became confounded with the Firbolgs because they occupied common lands, were equally obscure in origins, and shared a
3

Katherine Scherman, Ibid, p. 260.

matriarchal system of government, with descent in the royal line according to female succession. According to legend, Crimthann in the interest of resettling these violent folk gave them Irish wives to take to Alba with them. This was done on condition that inheritance favour these women, and this became a hereditary condition among the Scottish Picts.

MAGOG & JAPHET. Partholon was a descendant of these sons of Adam. It must be understood that the transcribers of unwritten tradition were Christians, who wished to give the Hibernians the best possible geaneology. Whatever his background, Partholonan followed the example of the Biblical Cain and murdered his father Sera, hoping to inherit his kingdom. This is very reminiscent of the killing of the Oolathair by his sons and this portion of the tale may be a reinterpretation of that myth as Sera appears to be a form of the Gaelic siar or iar, the “west.” Note that none of the murderers inherited their fathers holdings but were all forced into exile. It was thus that Partholon and a number of close friends set sail upon the ocean and finally settled in Munster, Ireland, arriving singnificantly on the first day of May, which is to say beulteinne. It was sometimes claimed that this hero came from Spain, but it will be recalled that the Gaelic for this place is more correctly understood as a synonym for the “dead-lands,” which were understood to be placed in the western Atlantic.Some biographers insisted that Sera had a kingdom in Scythia but a ballad-sheet has Tul-tunna, the survivor of the flood sing these words: When Partholan came to the island From Greece in the Eastern Land, I welcomed him gaily to my land And feasted the whole of his band We think that this early Munster-man did not come

from the west and have T.W. Rolleston for support. He says: “The Celts as we have learned from Caesar, believed they were descended from the God of the Underworld, the God of the Dead. Partholan is said to have come from the West, where beyond the unsailed Atlantic, the Irish Fairyland...the Land of the Happy Dead, was placed. His father’s name was Sera (?the West?). He came with his queen Dealgnaid and twenty-four men and an equal number of female companions. He is recorded as having three legitimate sons, the eldest named Eber (the same name as one of the sons of Mil), and one “a hireling.” His other sons were Rudraihe (Roderick) and Laighhlinne (Lochlann), and an unnamed by referred to as “the hireling.” When Rudhraidhe died his was buried by his father in a place which erupted water from the gravesite, and this flood continued creating the modern Loch Rudraidhe. The first record of fornication in Ireland was followed by a second. The queen was “ignored” by her husband and while he was away on a journey she had an affair with a household servant named Todga. When the leader returned he forgave his mate, noting that he was not blameless and had been wrong in leaving her without company. When the Partholonians arrived in ancient Eiru it was a wilderness embracing three huge lakes and nine rivers on a single plain. The persistence of these numbers in druid magic dates from these early observations. The new men on the land are said to have hunted the plain, set up the first hostels, and cleared the land for agriculture. The old tales insist that the Farlanders had two ploughmen in their retinue and that these men were equipped with four working oxen and ploughs with iron blades. These men were not long in place before they met the sea-roving Fomorians, This race emerges again and again in the Book of Invasions and they are hardly ever represented as a “civilzed race,”an epitaph which Donnelly gives them in his book Atlantis the Antediluvian World. They did come with “sixty ships and a strong army” as this writer

suggested, but they did not kill Partholon and they failed to defeat his people as he suggests. Some of the Irish claim descent from the sea-folk of the underwater kingdoms, and perhaps Ignatius Donnelly is one of these! A greater number of Irish have taken the other court, e.g. Katherine Scherman: “In Partholan’s time these savages lived on costal islands, and fought against Partholan’s race although equipped with but “one foot, one hand and one eye.” Some men said that these intruders were shape-changers, cannibals often observed to have the heads of animals (probably because they wore the hides of their totem animals), Strangers always have an uncanny appearance! This historian thought that the Fomors were probably some faint racial memory of Mesolithic man, a stone-bearing creature “who crept round the edges of the country catching what food he could with his rude weaopons and eking out a static existence...presenting his infelicitous countenance and his paltry resistence to more progressive successors.” We shall soon see that that the Fomorians were not all that ineffectual although Partholon did meet and defeat these hordes who were led by Cichol Grinchenghos (the Footless). The Farlanders actually fell prey to the first plague in Ireland after they had gathered for some unstated purpose near the Old Plain called Senmag. Tallaght, on the west slope of Dublin mountain is notorious as the actual site of the death of nine thousand men and women, the descendants of the original settlers. It is claimed that they all expired within a week and those who survived gave them a mass burial. One can see tumuli on the hillside which seem to support theis myth. In the year 774 A.D. the king of Leinster gave this place to Christian monks for a monastery, but even less remains of their monastery. This place was much too close to a very good harbour, which the viking Norse preferred when they came to establish a settlement at Dublin.

MAIDE-DOICHIOLL, “the stick of inhospitality.” A white wand placed across doorways when people were dining or engaged in matters which required privacy. Inns used this means of declaring a full house. MAIDSEAR MOR, a changeling, maidsear, a major from English models; mor, great. The Daoine sidh, having a small genetic stock, plundered the "human" population for wetnurses, day labourers and breeders. It was said that unbaptized infants and pregnant women were preferred for their exchanges. To disguise the pilfering of people, the sithe left behind a shape-changed member of their own race, typically a decrepit elder of their own race. Where such was not available, the sithe sometimes substituted their own children, reclaiming them at some later date. Sometimes the pseudo-child would appear to sicken and die, while the real baby was raised as one of the sigh. In other instances, in spite of the close similarity in form, the exchange might be noted because the "child" appeared wizened, or sickly, or fretful, or displayed an unnatural appetite for food. In such cases, the changeling was abandoned or made to reveal itself when approached with a hot branding iron. The changeling also fled when placed in the intertidal zone of the ocean. When the replacement retreated the true baby was likely to be found in a basket at the door. MAIGH, the month of May, obs. pleasant, agreeable. MAIGHDEAN, a maiden, possibly from AS. maegden. last handfull of corn cut from the land. Considered a lucky omen if done before Samhain, otherwise the sheaf cut war an cailleach, the “Old Woman.” The cutter of this heaf; a virgin, maid, maiden. Supports for a spinning wheel. maighdeanas, the maidenhead. maighdean-buaine, the last corn cut. maighdean-chuain, a mermaid. A May-lady, one of the main actors in the ritual sex of May Day, typically a virgin. Confers with the Gaelic Mhorrigan, which is essentially the same word. She is of course Badb or Mebd who Shakespeare borrowed as his model for the literary

creation called Maeve, the Queen of the May. In ancient Ireland the Ard-Righ, or “High King” at Tara, held tenure only on promise of annual couplings with the virgins from Lugh's mound, from the hill called Brugh-na-Boyne. His public failure was considered a sign that he lost favour with Lugh/ Aonghas the god of love. In that event, he was rather unpleasantly "retired" and his ashes scattered on the fields so that his spirit could be returned to his people. Consumption of this treated grain invariably "impregnated" some "fortunate" woman after the next harvest. The rebirth of the spirit of Lugh was revealed to the woman in a vision or a dream. It will also be noted that Lugh's virgins were considered to be of the race known as the Daoine sidh; thus the little people, the magicians of the earth, were annually reunited with the Milesian race which supplanted them. MAIGHDEAN CHUAIN, maiden of the ocean, mermaid. MAIGHDEAN MARA, maiden of the sea, a sea-trow of the female sex, a mermaid, muir, the sea, gen. mora, Latin mare, English mere, a lake. MAIGHDEAN BUIN, the Meddling Maiden. Buin is a common nickname for the Winter Hag. This word implies possession, belonging to (the maiden); buin, to meddle, interfere, tear away from, set apart. It was thought that the spirit of Samh or the "maidhdean" (maiden) was literally embodied in the "kern" (corn, horn or harvest grain). While the corn might be spirited it was seen that it could not over-winter in northern climates and had to be cut down. The spirits of the corn were assumed to flee before the reapers, the queen of the corn being finally entrapped in the last standing sheath. The honour of cutting down the Samh fell to a person whose destiny was to find marriage before the following harvest. The last sheath was itself called the "maidhdeanbuin" (the violated or shorn maiden) if cut before the night of Samhuin; if after, it was the Cailleach Bheur, or Winter Hag. The defoliation of a maiden meant that it was acquired by the household of the cutter, and this

was considered a good omen for the farm; but having to board the Hag was thought to presage a bitter winter for the community and very bad luck for the person responsible for the cutting. Not unnaturally, a lot of subterfuge went on in attempts to acquire the maiden and avoid getting the hag. In either case the sheath, embodying the "spirit of the corn" was made up into a doll which hung on the kitchen wall until the spring planting. It was then baked into a loaf and fed to ploughmen and his horses, both of whose droppings in the field, returned the spirit to the soil. It then spread through the crops and entered people, impregnating females who gave birth to new embodiments of the queen of the corn. The chief event of Samhain Eve was the "samhnagan", or fire of Samh, which noted the end of Samh's ride, winter beginning of the first day of Samhainn, or November. While there were agricultural rites attached to this date. the harvest in Ireland and Scotland was usually in the barns by this time, leading to the conclusion that the first pagan rites honoured some imperative of a herding rather than a food gathering race. Sir George James Fraser has suggestive that mark was originally the time when the herds were returned to their winter byres from the upland meadows.

MAIGHDEAN UAINE, A green maiden or banshee. The banshee is sometimes said to stand in a middle position between the sighe and mortal men, since she is often said to have been “a mortal placed under an enchantment that gives her a fairy nature.” In the Highlands she is sometimes called the glaistig, or “grey-green-monster,” and here she is observed as a panlike creature, beautifully human from the waist up, a female goat from there down. To hide this deformity she wears a long green shift and is thus known as the maighdeann uaine, or “Green Maiden.” In life the Green Lady, or banshee, was usually a woman of high scruples and

honourable position if less than perfect morality. After death she haunted the house, or castle, that she supervised in life, and in death wandered the corridors and by-ways, often putting things in order. When any great fortune or misadventure was about to befall a household she let forth cries of joy or lamentation. This was the torman mulaid, a cry which could be of unearthly sweetness and melancholy. Hugh Miller speaks of the Green Lady of Banffshire, “tall and slim and wholly attired in green, with her face wrapped up in the hood of her mantle, who haunted the grounds of the castle wherrre she had once been mistress.” Another of this kind is tied to Ardblair, “a property given to the Blairs by William of Lyon.” Stonehaven also has a Green Lady, in fact “Green Ladies are so common that people (in Scotland) have become quite accustomed to them, remarking only, “There she goes again.”” MAIGHEACH, MHAIGHICHE, (myuch), EIr mil + maige, beast of the plain, a hare, a shape-changed witch. The hare, the cock and the goose were identified by Caesar as the prime animals in Celtic cult-rites. One of the animals preferred for shape-change. MAIGHISTER. master, the May Lord, the King of Tara at the time of Milesian rule. Confers with the English mayor and magician. Connected with the Latin magister. In former times, the reign of the High-King was limited in time. Whether he failed or not at public sex, he was ritually eliminated on the battlefield by his next of kin if any physical weakness revealed a loss of god-spirit. He was later thought reborn, as Lugh incarnate, in some branch of his extended family. The master was often a magician since he often rose to power through promotion within the druidic class. As time passed, certain very cagey kings began the habit of creating substitute "monarchs" to "go to earth" on their behalf at the time of the fire festivals. At first, close relatives, who were thought to share his god-spirit, were sacrificed; but as the concept of the clann developed

(and all people were seen as relatives of the king) the druid-priests became less selective, substituting blood in quantity where quality was not to be had. The May-Lord and Lady became publicly entwined at the Beltane and Samhain, and their actions were thought to inspire general fertility (partly by example) in men, beasts and crops. MAIGHRE, very finely woven cloth. In some locales the weaver's loom was referred to as an beairt, a spider's web, and weavers were known for their beairteas or wealth. The best, and most closely woven cloth, supposedly came from the looms of the Daoine sidh, and they sometimes gave bits to humans as a special sign of a relationship (note the "fairy-flag" of the MacLeods). In other instances it was exchanged for a needed product or service. MAILE, obs. Ancient funeral pyre, mala, a husk or shell of anything. It was thought that the spirit could best be returned to the land, from which it had come, by being reduced to “earth.” MAINNE, name given each of the seven sons of Mhorrigan. They were outlawed from Ireland but periodically raided the place and took part in the ambush of King Conaire Mor. The Mhorrigan herself was pictured as sexually voracious and her sons were said to be seven in number, all named Maine, a word related to An Domhain, the Deep, and to Maigh, May, one of the names given their mother, The Gaelic mainne, has the sense of a place where one is delayed, hence a residence; thus do-mainne, the residence of Don. Mainisdir, or monastery, is from this source. The sons Maine Andoe (the Swift); Maine Athairamail (the Fatherlike); Maine Gaib Uile (the Furious); Maine Mathairamail (the Mother-like); Maine Mingor (the Dutiful); Maine Milscothach (of a Thousand Shadows); Maine Morgor (of the Blue-green Sea) and Maine Mo Epirt. A nasty bunch they responded to their mother’s call to march against the north in the Táin war. They were exiled to England by King Conaire Mor and

joined the one-eyed king of that land and Conaire's three dissident sons in a military effort that ended in his death. As noted the word mainne is nothing more than a form of maigh. The latter is connected with the obsolete magh, great, from which the modern magh, a wide expanse of land, a plain. Also related is mag, a ridge of arable land, a lazy bed, a paw, or hand. This last word circles back on the Cailleach who is also known as Mag Molloch, the One with the Hairy Hand. As the human testicles are hairy they are magairlean, the great, powerful things, the source of increase. From this last maghar, “things that hang down,” or fish bait. This word is also wrapped into maigheach, a hare, literally “a beast of the great plain,” and an appropriate symbol of sexual increase. In this family of words we also find maigean, a child just beginning to walk, a fat one, a little man. These essentially Celtic words resurface in the Anglo-Saxon tongue as maeg, where it also means strength, power or force. The English words may and main can be shown to confer in meaning but this use is now obsolete except in the expression, “with might and main.” This word also has the connotation of a broad expanse, and was used to designate both mainland and the main or high sea. The State of Maine and the Spanish Main are two examples of this employment. The word may also denote the chief centre of interest, desire or ambition, and is related to the Latin magus, a magician; manus, hand; and magister, from which magistrate and master. There is also the Anglo-Saxon maegden, which is the source of the word maiden. The word magicus passed from the Latins to the French to the English to become magic. Maineas, mistake or blunder, mainidb, madness, rage, folly. MAIRT, DI-, (je maarsch), Tuesday; genitive singular of mart, cow, market-day." The mairt is a beef animal as opposed to the bo or milk cow. The killing of the sacrificial mairt was first described by Pliny. "After due preparations are made for a sacrifice and a feast has been made under the oak tree, they hail it as a universal healer and bring to the spot two white bulls whose horns have been bound before. A priest then climbs the tree and with a gold sickle

cuts the mistletoe upon it which is caught in a white cloth. They then kill the animals praying that god may cause all to prosper..." It is possible that this day may have once been set aside for similar rites, but more recently it has been a time for local markets, at which the herder offered the meat of the mairt.Tuesday is a good day to get married, or for setting the warp in the loom, or shearing, which means cutting the corn, not the sheep. The Devil cannot touch what is done on Tuesday." (CM, p. 162). When Breas and his Fomorian allies were defeated by the Tuatha daoine he made entreaties for his life and was refused until he promised that he would reveal information which would allow his conquerors to “plough, and sow and reap” successful crops. His advice was this: “Let the ploughing be on a Tuesday, and the casting of seed on a Tuesday, and the reaping on a Tuesday.” Lugh felt that this information was adequate to allow the release of Breas. MAL, rent, tax, obs. King, prince, champion, soldier, poet. All individuals having a levy on the common folk; MIR. mal from AS mal, tribute-money. Confers with Eng. blackmail. Mala, a money bag. Rent was taken at the quarter-days. Malach, a heavy load, malairt, business. Mal-sluagh, a host or army. And see the next. MALLACHD, a curse, oath, imprecation; obs. to grow mild (the effect of all this?) from Latin, maledictio. Malc, to putrefy. A spell intended to produce blight or disease in crops, cattle or men. MANADH, an omen, a sign of luck, Also, chance, luck, an omen, a sign, the Owl, an apparition, incantation, enchantment, a lot. EIr. mana, perhaps from the sea-god Manan mac Ler, the sea-people being noted for their ability at fore-tellings. AS. manian, to warn or exhort, Latin moneo, warn, advise. Manadaireachd, foreboding, predicting, forete;;ing. MANACH, monk, a foreteller, manachainn, monastery. An

isolated place like those preferred by Manan mac Ler. MANANN, MANAN, MANAUN MAC LER, (Manaunan), a god, also Manannán, literally “the son of the Sea.” Teut. Mannus (according to Tacitus), the Skr. Manu, the “law-giver.” Connected with the Island of Man, thus the EIr. Inis Manann. a genitive from Mana, the Lat. Mona. The Manx form is Manninagh, the Cy. Manau. This is the English man, a male human. See entries above; leir, far-sighted, altogether, complete, a single entity, an "eye." According to Manx tradition the first ruler of their island, the Isle of Man, was Mannanan-Beg-mac-y-Leirr, ""who kept the land under mist with his necromancy." At least one Manx historian has identified this ardrigh as King Finian of Scotland. Although Ler was immortal, Manann mac Ler was not, and this Fomorian sea-giant is now said to lie in a thirty-foot grave outside Peat Castle. Here his barrow served as the centre of pagan cult activities until the middle of the nineteenth century. Until 1910, his adherents used to appear annually to bless the fishing fleet. This is almost certainly the Gaelic Manann mac Ler who sometimes occupied Castle Manan in Ulster. Although the sea-god lived partly on land he said that his true kingdom was "a happy plain with a profusion of rose coloured flowers, through which sea horses scamper in summer. Speckled salmon leap among the clouds of the sea in that place." It is known that he was lord of Tir-nan-Og, the Land of the Young, an island in the western Atlantic and that he had dominion over An Domhain, “The Deep,” the place of keeping for the unvirtuous dead. Once a year, at the season called mid-winter Manann sailed his magical ship the “Wavesweeper” to pick up souls of all the dead for transport to one of these two realms. His places were offlimits to humans while alive, thus Manann was a master of illusion keeping the west uninhabited by cloaking it in mist, surrounding it with icebergs or moving it below the surface of the ocean when required. Manann and his wife Taillte

were foster parents to the Tuathan-Milesian hero Lugh, and the sea-giant loaned him his sword and his own white seastallion to lead the battle against the Fomorians. In late mythology Cúchullain was pursued by Manann's wife Fand but they were separated by sea-god who shook his cloak of invisibility between them so that they might never meet in any reincarnation of their spirits. See Ler. MANNIN, the island of Man, G. Manninagh, the Manx people. G. Gailek, the language which they spoke. EIr. Inis Manann, the Isle of Man, early Cy. Manau, Latin, Mona, the EIr. god-name Manannan mac Lir, Skr. Manu, the “Law-giver.” Teut. Mannus, Eng. a man. In one tale Cúchullain and his friends landed there, and penetrating a wilderness to the centre, they found a pit swarming with venomous serpents. In the legends of the world serpents represent not only the sea-folk but their vast hordes of treasure. The adventurers fended off these creatures but were soon attached by an army of frogs, strangely equipped with birdlike beaks. As they fought these animals they turned into bird-headed dragons, like those on the prows of the Old Norse longships. The Hibernians prevailed and carried off three magic crows and a marvellous cauldron which on command with overflow with gold and silver or an inexhaustible supply of porridge mixed with meat. The mariners harnessed the crows (befinds) to pull their vessel back to the west and Ireland. At the last moment the gods who guarded this place conjured up a storm and wrecked the ship. Cúchullain and his companions were by then within sight of the shores of their homeland and were able to swim to shore, but they lost all the treasures of that magical land. Here the Isle of Man is represented as the magical counterpart of the western kingdom of An Domhain. MANARAN, MANRAN, a necromancer or a conjurer, manas, strength, power. mannainn, fool, sin, manna, bad, naughty, mannar, obs. loosening of constraints, evil. MAOIL DUBH, maol, brow, bald, barren, bleak; the “black-

browed hill.” The place of a waterfall in Cean Loch Gilp, Lochgilphead, Scotland, the residence of a powerful river spirit. When the people of Kintyre were returning home from their successful war against Prince Charles they paused here and the hindmost man fought a “a tererible being.” When he overcame the beast he was able to extract a favour from it. He chose “the speechless art” over “artless speech” and became a successful blacksmith, a posessor of witchr=craft and the evil-eye. MAOLMOIRE, servant of the sea-born, servant of Mary, Myles, Lat. Milo from miles, a soldier. The patriarch of the Milesians, the final invaders of Ireland. MAOR-SELIGE, game-keeper, maor, an official, baron, gravedigger; often a minor actor in officialdom. The English mayor, an official + silly. From the last the family name Seely. The original game-keeper was An Cailleach bheurr, “the Winter Hag,” or Macha, the weathered form of the Bafinn. MARBHADAIREAN. It was formerly held that food in the stomach was processed by small living creatures who were thus named. MARBHPHAISG, the death-shroud, gave clothes, marb, dead, lifeless, marble-like, Marbhphaisg ort! A useful curse, “A death-shroud upn you!” The wish for a catastrophic and fatal end. MARC, horse. Norse marr, the Eng. mare. The Celts were horsemen, a fact revealed in the naming of their creatorgod as Eochaid oolathir, the “Horseman of the Heavens.” The horse-goddess is supposed to have been imported to Britain from the Continent during the period of Roman activity in both places. The Irish goddess Macha was of this type since she raced on her husband’s wager against the kings stallions and won. Mebd and Mhorrigan were her alter-egos, and their connection with horses are mentioned elsewhere. Other mythological characters show horsy-aspects, note:

Lair Dearg, the “Red Mare;” and Etain Echraide, the “Horserider,” the latter a mate to Midir, a god of the Underworld. Similarly, the god-hero Cuchulainn had two totem-horses, born at his nativity, whose life-lines were bound to his. MARRACH, enchanted castle, thicket used to entrap wild cattle. Root mar, to deceive. Such places were often said hidden behind magical thorn trees. Similar cover protected the side-hills of the sighe. MART, March, Tuesday, time for farm work, busiest time of the year, in great haste, seed time, a cow, a beef cow., cattle of any description. Notice that all the Gaelic months were moveable, depending upon the arrival of “suitable” weather. The Old Saxon Mart which is honoured in some parts of Gaeldom, came mid-way through the current month of March. The first Tuesday of sewing , or butchering, was the day entitled an Mart. In agricultural districts the month was sited after the snows, approximately April 12 to May 1. Ir. marta, Sc. mart, a cow killed and salted for use in the winter. Martach, having many cows; martair, a crippled animal or person. Thus Martain, the lowland Scot. Martinmas in summer, (July 4) and Martinmas in Winter, (about Nov 11), the former being the day that corresponds with the English Whitsunday, which the Christians said was the “translation day for St. Martin.” The later day was thought appropriate for the ritual and practical killing of the mart. The time of a minor fire-festival, sometimes considered a continuation of Samhain, or, at least, the Samhain as displaced by the corrections in the Gregorian calendar several centuries ago. The root may be marbh, to die. The pagan festivities probably centred on the killing of an ox or even a human representative of the king. In later days the Christians said that the holiday was named for St. Martin of Lourdes (France). In popular lore he was embodied in the form of an ox and cut up and eaten on the annual anniversary of his day.

This does not appear to be a Christian activity and the same may be said for the taking of blood from the dead animal to be spattered at the four corners of each home as a protective against witchcraft. In addition, it was traditional to smear the blood on the forehead of every participant in the Mart. In Ireland, this day demanded the eating of roast goose, the omission of this rite, leading to a lack of this meat through the rest of the year. The Mart was also taken as the appropriate time to butcher animals and offer the carcasses for trade or sale. As the business of taking in crops was at an end. and there was usually a surplus of food, beggars were fed on this date. The new wine was usually ripe by now and sampling was a requirement of the pagan fire-festival. In Britain drunkenness is still sometimes referred to as "St. Martin's evil." Fishing was not allowed on the Mart it being expected that rebellious souls would first meet the "horseman of the waves" (the sons of Manann) and thus invite storm. No wheeled vehicles (such as those used by the winter soulcollectors) were allowed passage in this time for fear of bringing on hunger and depravation during the winter months. In Germany and Scandinavia men drank the new brew from the bragacups, ship shaped vessels of great capacity. Here harvest-cakes were set out to honour Odin, and he or the Dagda may be the prototype of the Mart, who was annually cut down for the general good of the community. Then again, the descendant god may be Lugh or Lokki for Martin's Summer is the name given the "dog days"(which we call Indian Summer), the last weeks of warm sultry weather before winter. If this warmth occurs in October, the designation is often St. Luke's Summer, or Little Summer of St. Luke. If it happens about the end of November it is typically referred to as Samhain Summer; if after this date, Mart summer, or Saint Martin's Summer. Notice that the Gaelic Samhuinn may actually correspond precisely with the Day of the Mart as a result of

an adjustment of the calendar in the sixteenth century. At that time, eleven days were removed from September, with some people following the new mode and others the old way of reckoning time. It will be observed that the "Mart in Winter" (Nov. 11) falls precisely eleven days beyond the Samhain,, just as the "Mart in Summer" comes eleven days after the Beltane (May 1). There are similar confusions with the Lugnasad and the Imbolg, or Bridd's Day, and with supplementary holidays attached to the English QuarterDays. Compare this with the lore surrounding milk-cows, viz. bo, Boann, etc. An Aran islander has said: “The custom was that on the 11th of November they would have a sheep and they blessed it. St. Martin’s Day was a special day, they killed a foul, maybe a cock or a hen. It was the custom to cook it then. Some people wouldn’t spin that day, as Blessed Martin was killed by some type of engine or machine. People wouldn’t use any sort of a machine with a wheel on it.” 4 MATH-CAILLEACH. “The Good Old Woman,” math. Precedes and aspirates the noun, obs. noble, heroic; presently good; a nick-name for “Small-pox” (Cape Breton Island). Presumably used to avoid offending the spirit of this disease. See following. MATHA MAC UMOTR, “Hero,” the chief druid to King Laoghaire of Ireland in the fifth century. Before the Christian missionaries arrived this man predicted that: "One shall arrive here, having his head shaven in a circle, bearing a crooked staff, and his table shall be in the eastern part of his home; and he shall sing forth wickedness, and all his household shall answer. When this man cometh he will surely overturn our altars, seduce the people and bring them after him. Further, he will free the slaves and magnify kindred of low degree, and shall subdue personally the kings that oppose him, and his doctrine shall reign forever after." When a individual of this description, and twenty four companions, arrived on the Wicklow coast in 432 the locals Donohoe, Shapel village, on Inisheer, as quoted by Bernadette Campbell in the Magazine “Am Braighe,” p. 8, August, 1994.
4Bridget

slightingly referred to him as Padruig because of his unassuming appearance, but he came to be called Saint Patrick. The druids and the king were worried enough to attempt to assassinate the newcomer, but he eluded them using the "magic" of the Christian God. MATHGAMAN, The patriarch of the land folk is spoken of as Mathgaman, from math, a bear, good, forgiving, tame; combined with gamhainn, (the French gamin) a year old animal or stirk. It is thought that the word may compare with the Welsh madawg, a fox, and that it may appear in the Gaullish names Matugenos, Matuus and Teutomatus. Note that this last brings us full circle to the god Teus the Gaelic Hu. This last word becomes the Welsh huan, the sun. Hence, mathgaman, the “bear-god.” The high-bear is of course mathair, the Welsh modryb, the Latin mater, the Norse móthir, our word mother. In Welsh myth the patriarch of all the land gods was said to be Mathonwy. Please note the corresponding Brythonic “god” Artair who seems to derive from arto-s, a bear. From him we have clann M’Artair, the Mac-arthurs. This shadowy figure, who may be cognate with Don himself, gave rise to the Gaelic goddess Danu, who the Welsh labelled as Dòn. Her brother was also named Math, creating another element of confusion with the parent-gods. Fortunately Math proper had no offspring, but Danu, sometimes called Anu, Boann, Boyne or Dana married Bil, the Mouth (of Death) creating the hierarchy of land-gods for the people known as the Tuatha daoine, literally, the folk of Danu. Bil, whose holiday was the Beultuinne (fires of Beul) was the son of Mangan, a “brother” to Mathgaman. Beul (pronounced beahl), or Bile, or Bil, who the Welsh called Beli, and the Gauls Bele, was informally the Dagda, the daddy or father of the deagh, the good ones, or the gods. In Irish myths the sons of this Union were Ogma of the Honeyed Tongue, the god of politicians and tricksters; Aonghas Og, the Young and Choice One, the god of love; and

Lugh, god of the sun, and Nuada, god of the moon. A daughter was Bridd, or Bride, who the Christians preferred to name Saint Brigit or Brigid. There were, of course, many extramarital children, the most fearsome the multi-headed Macha who had a heart made of ice. In Welsh myth the genealogy is more complex, the children being noted as Gwydion, the slayer of Pryderi, the keeper of the gates of the dark land; Arianrod, a dawngoddess; Gilvaethwy; Ameethon, god of agriculture; Govannan, the smith-god (who is noted as the Goban saor in Irish myth); Nudd or Lludd, the sky-god; Pendaron, a goddess and the “twins” Nynniaw and Peibaw. In these lines we find Gwydion the defender of men and the gods against the dark lords. He married his sister Arianrod, giving us Nwyvre, Dylan and Llew or Llaw, the last being cognate with the Gaelic sun-god Lugh. This being the case Lugh of The Long Arm is a third generation god. The sun-god may correspond somewhat with the second-generation Llud, who is a sky-god. His son was Gwy, warder of Hades sometimes called Avalon, “an island of the west.” To confuse the issue, Pendarun a sister to Lugh, married the god the Welsh called Llyr, giving rise to the House of Llyr , the Gaelic House of Ler. Thus it is clear that the sea gods and the land gods were one race rather than separate entities as Tuathan mythology sometimes suggested. See next entry. MATHANACH, Matheson, MG. Matgamna, the Ir. Mahon, “bear.” M’Mhathan resembles M’Mhata, Mathew-son, as opposed to Matheson. Math was a progenitor of the House of Don. MATHGEN, the druid to the Tuatha daoine who promised to “throw down all the mountains of Ireland upon the Fomor” when the two races contested for ownership of the Emerald Isle. MEABH. Mebd, Maebd or Maeve, also Badb or Baobh; a spirit within the triad goddess Bafinn and the prototype for the

Gaelic baobh or witch. Meabhal, obs. fraud, deceit, perfidy, shame, reproach, meabhra, obs. a fiction, a lie, meabhrach, cheerful, merry, pleasant. She was the model for the English May Queen and Shakespeare's Queen Maeve. She was the mature warrior-goddess, A virgin-goddess reincarnate, as opposed to her “sisters, ”the Samh or Mhorrigan. Of summer and the Macha, or Winter-Hag of the winter-season. The Gaelic kings anciently assumed power, and held it, as a result of their annual bonding with her at the Samhain. She was often reincarnate in warrior-queens, and appeared to service the king at Tara in the virgin maidens of the Daoine sidh, who emerged from the hollow hill of the Brughna-Boyne. The archaic Mebd, or Badb, was thus the queen of sovereignty, with whom every king of Tara had to couple. Her first encounter was with the god-giant Dagda, patriarch of the Tuatha daoine. When they mated it was said that their legs were planted on the two sides of the river Boyne, and that their frenzy created earthquakes throughout the land. That was not a happy union for the offspring was Mecha, a monster quite like the world-worm fathered by Lokki. Later the renewed "maiden" invested the Dagda's "son" Lugh, and after that all monarchs down to the Christian era. She was believed incarnate in the semihistoric Mebd of Connacht (Connaught), the lady who instigated the southern war with Ulster. Like Odin, Mebd had informants, but these were squirrels or magical songbirds, rather than the two dark ravens of the Norse god. In Gaelic mythology Mebd was the raven, or a wolf or any number of wild animals, since she was the consummate Fomorian shape-changer. The Ulster warrior Cethern described her as, "A tall, fair, long-faced woman with soft features...She had a head of yellow hair and two golden birds on her shoulders. She wore a purple cloak folded about her, with five hand's breaths of gold on her back. She carried a light stinging, sharp-edged lance in her hand, and an iron sword in the woman's grip, held over her head. She was massive..." and once declared, "the hardest woman warrior in the world." One of six daughters

of the high-king of Ireland, Mebd herself boasted: "I outdid all the others in grace and giving and in battle and warlike conduct." As a neophyte she led fifteen hundred soldiers and an equal number of freeborn men. When King Conor of Ulster proved unequal to her sexual demands she left him for King Ailill of Leincester, but even then kept a young man named Fergas as her lover. It has been suggested that those men who lusted after the queen lost two-thirds of their strength to her by simply gazing upon her. Her lover was no ordinary stud, since it was claimed that "his nose, his mouth and his penis were each seven fingers long and his scrotum the size of a flour sack." While he was parted from Mebd, Fergas required seven women per night to keep him happy. At that Mebd said quite openly that she never took any man unless there was a replacement standing in his shadow, and her quota ran to thirty men per month. King Ailill was patient with all this, saying simply, "I know all about queens and women. I lay first fault straight at women's own sweet swellings and loving lust." For her part Mebd said: ""were my husband a coward , it would be unfit for us to be mated, for I by myself have broken battles, and it would be a reproach should my husband be less full of life than myself, and no sin that we are equally bold. Should he be jealous, that would not suit me...Ailill thou art not a sluggard...but it is to me than compensation is due for a man dependant upon my sovereignty is exactly what thou art!" The war between the north and the south was supposedly fought over misappropriated livestock, but the base cause seems to have been King Conor’s preference for Mebd's sister Ethne (literally, sweet kernal of the nut). In her repeated attempts to seduce the northern hero Cuchullain, Mebd seemed to be seeking sexual vengeance, and her wrath was even more aroused by this warriors repeated rejections. Although Ulster drove back the invaders, Mebd finally overcame Cuchullain with her black

arts. A mortal-goddess she was finally killed by a missile from the sling of one of Conor's sons. Maeve's Lump, on a mountaintop one thousand feet above Sligo Plain in Connaught is rumoured to be her current resting place. From sea-level it looks like a pimple on a hill, but close-up it looms as a pile of loose stones fifty feet in height and two hundred feet in diameter. Around it are satellite tombs, smaller rock piles and stone circles. It is unlikely that the historic Mebd is buried here since this pile dates the same time as Newgrange (about 2500 B.C.) and is considered to be a product of the Neolithic forerunners of the Celts. It is an impressive artifact and it may be that the original inhabitant was the primeval Mebd, the first form of the mother-destroyer. MEAMNA, MEANMNA, spirit, will, desire, strength, OIr. menme, from the root men, to think, Skr. manman, the Latin mens, the mind. English mean, mind, etc. The skull cage was considered the site of a physical construct which housed an invisible ghost or spirit which responded to the god-spirit or "breath of life." It kept the blood-spirit, resident in the heart from following a completely emotional path. Thus the centre of clear thought and reason. MEAS, fruit, acorns, "fruit of the forest." In Gaul it was said that the druids ate acorns to gain prophetic powers. Note that acorns constituted one of the fruits born on the mythological sacred yew Eo Mugna. See separate note under this heading. MEASARRAS ALBH, direct measurement; allaban, wandering. reasoning, measarras,

MEASARRAS BRIOSG, reasoning following upon subsequent steps. See above MEAMNA, spirit, will, root men, think, mind; Skr. manman, mind, thought. A physical being thought to be stationed in

the head. This creature wandered during bouts of heavy passion, during sleep and in severe illnesses. MEANMAINN, MEANHUINN, an itch prognosticating news or an omen. Usually having reference to good news or the arrival of a wanted visitor (Sutherlandshire). "Gifted" individuals were supposed able to project their primary souls upon their befinne, and bring back information from the past, present or future, through the sensory apparati of this invisible spirit. As a rule the cowalker channelled information through the eyes as foresight, hindsight or farsight, but a few people sensed coming events through touch; thus, "Somebody would say, rubbing his lips, "Indeed it is the itch of a kiss (or the itch of a dram) I feel today." And there was indeed an itch on his lips at the time. And somebody else would say, "Indeed I am going to shake the hand of a stranger today." "And how do you mean that?" "Oh, there is an itch in the palm of my right hand." And another man would say, "And what does it mean that a person's eye is quivering."... "It is good news when the right, and not so good when the left." And another might say, "Lord, how hot my ear is." "Oh, well then, that's good enough...when the heat is in the right ear they are making talk about you and it is probably not very good. But when the great heat is on your left ear, they are making excuses for you." (Tales Until Dawn, pp. 209-210). MEBD, MAEVE, MEABH, May Eve, “Drunk Woman.” The reincarnate warrior goddess, a third part of the Bafinn . It can be argued that she was the most engaging character in the Táin , for her antagonist Cuchullain, the “Hound of Ulster,” was predictably heroic. While Mebd was his equal in beauty and ferocity she betrayed unusual appetites and an unpredictable lack of fair play, to the extent that she might be called an anti-heroine. This mature queen of the Celts was very unlike the youthful raven- black Mhorrigan: A warrior who was lucky enough to escape Mebd’s attack described her as “A tall, fair, long-faced woman with soft features. She had a head of corn-yellow hair, and wore a purple cloak with five hands width of gold upon the

shoulders. She carried a light, stinging, sharp-edged sword in her hand and held an iron sword in a woman’s grip aloft over her head. A massive figure...” For her own part Mebd said that she was “the last and haughtiest” of the six daughters of the high queen. “I always outdid them all in grace and giving and in battle and warlike combat.” Moreover, she had charge of a battalion of fifteen hundred mercenaries and an equal number of freeborn men. While her dominion was peopled by some of Milesian blood, the west of Ireland was largely a retreat for those whose ancestors had been Firbolgs, Tuathans or Fomorians. The problem of the brown bull arose from a domestic squabble in which the queen and her consort were comparing their earthly worth. Ailill pointed out the fact that his personal possessions included the red bull called Finnebenach. the best of its breed in the land. Mebd, in a huff, went to her steward and asked if there was a better animal in Ireland, and he said there was; “...the Brown Bull of Cuailgne that belongs to Dara, who lives in Ulster.” Mebd attempted to hire stud services but the drunken steward made a bad impression when he visited Dara’s complex. As a result Mebd was forced to make a foray into Ulster to take the animal. Ferdiad, the former friend of Cuchullain was now Mebd’s lover, but he would have marched against Ulster without this alliance, for he longed for vengeance because of the death of Deirdre and the sons of Uisna. Here it should be noted that the bull represented strength, virility and divine kingship. Druids bent on divination ate the flesh of the white bull “from the sea,” drank its blood and slept within its hide. Their dreams were taken as an absolute reflection of coming events, for it was said that the hide would tighten upon the body of a false magic-worker, crushing the life from his body. The west of Ireland was always equated with the Otherworld that lay further toward the sun, and the advance of Mebd’s army may be read as the on fall of night and the forces of darkness. It was said that the two great “bulls”

of Ireland had originally been swineherds serving the kings of the Tuatha daoine. “They had been successively turned into two ravens, two serpents, two human warriors, two demons, two animalcule, and finally fallen into the bodies of these two kine.” Those who gathered on the Connaught side were extraordinary: “the seven sons Maines. all sons of Aillil and Mebd, each with his retinue; Cet and Anluan , the sons of Maga with thirty hundreds of armed men; the yellow-haired Ferdiad with his company of Firbolgs; the boisterous Fomors who delighted in war and in strong ale. There came also Mebd’s men from Leinster, so difficult to control they were broken into small companies and dispersed among the others. Then there was Cor mac Conaire and Fergus mac Roi, and all the other exiles from Ulster, those who had revolted against the northern king for his duplicity with the sons of Uisna. Before hostilities commenced Mebd went to her chief druid and asked what might be the outcome of war and he was enigmatic saying only that she would survive all battles. On the way back from this meeting, she met an apparition from the side. “a young maiden with yellow tresses that fell below her knees,clan all over in a mantle of green and holding a shuttle of gold for weaving upon the loom.” This was clearly a form of the Bafinn, one of the weavers of fate, and when questioned, she admitted being involved with “weaving the hosts together for the foray into Ulster.” Mebd asked what material emerged and the maiden replied, “All the fabric of the future is becrimsoned.” Mebd was surprised at this answer for her spies had already told her that the warriors of Ulster were disabled by pains resembling childbirth. When she asked who would reduce her host she was told: “I see a man of small stature, but the hero’s light is on his brown, a stripling young and modest, but a dragon in battle, by him your slain will lie thickly.” Notwithstanding, Mebd thought the foretellings sufficiently positive to proceed.

While this was happening, Cúchullain sent his mortal father Sualtam to Emain Macha to rouse the troops. To block the progress of Mebd’s host Cúchullain journeyed south to Ardcullin and enacted magic at the standing-stone. At first none of the southern druids could undo this magic and Mebd’s army of 54,000 men were forced to encamp in a sleet storm. When this geise came unravelled Cúchullain killed four men at the edge of the host and impaled their heads on a four-forked pole. Again this was taken as a device requiring counter-magic, and again some time elapsed before the pole could be extracted from the ground. “By these devices Cúchullain delayed the invaders until the men of Ulster had recovered from their debility.” In all of the earliest encounters Cúchullain was an unseen killer, a guerilla, slaying men by twos and threes. In one notable instance he killed a squirrel and a pet bird with his sling while they sat on Mebd’s shoulders. Afterwards, as the host moved closer to Ulster Cúchullain was seized by the riastradh, a “battle frenzy,” usually said to have been brought on by drinking blood and other more active ingredients. In this condition the boyhero was seen as “a fearsome and multi-formed creature such as had never been known before.” This “frenzy” may have involved the magic of disguise as well as that of ventriloquism for it is said that the sound of his voice “like that of a lion” came from all quarters, while his head was surrounded by “a blaze of light.” At that, Cúchullain made no attempt to harry the host provided that they made no advances and sent one warrior against him at a time. Tiring of this game, Mebd sent Natchtantal into combat, and taking a third of her army went by another route on a sudden foray into Ulster, penetrating as far as the northern coast at Dunseverick. There the keeper of the Brown Bull had taken refuge, and the raiders captured him and all the herds of the north, driving them south in full view of Cúchullain as they returned. Cúchullain killed the

leader of the escort for the cattle but had no means of taking back the Brown Bull. The supposed object of the war having been obtained it might be suspected that Mebd would withdraw in triumph, but she smarted under the failure to kill Cúchullain and sent twenty warriors against him at a time. He somehow kept them at bay. In the midst of this operation a curious incident took place: A young woman came to Cúchullain explaining that she was the daughter of a king, and attracted by tales of his exploits, had come to offer him her love. Tired from overexertion, Cúchullain put her off saying he had no interest in women as things stood. Thus the woman “clad in the mantle of many colours,” rewarded his rudeness saying, “It will go hard with you for this act. When you do battle again I shall be the eel about thy feet in the ford.” Her chariot then carried her into the distance, where he saw her fly away as a crow. Immediately, the hero knew that he had rejected the love and help of the redoubtable Mhorrigan. When Cúchullain fought next against Loch, the Mhorrigan appeared as his supernatural enemy. At one point she came charging at him in the form of a white heifer with red ears, but he turned her aside, blinding one of her eyes with the cast of his dart. She then came swimming up the river as a black eel, that attempted to upset him. While he was driving her off Loch was able to wound him. Again she attacked as her totem, the grey wolf, and again he was wounded, although he drove her off. At this his battle fury took hold, and he drove the gae bolg up against Loch “splitting his heart in two.” The Mhorrigan was nearly killed by these efforts, but so was Cúchullain, whose further duties at the Pass of Ulster had to be assumed by his father, the god named Lugh. With Lugh there fought one hundred and fifty boys of Ulster, those in their puberty, not afflicted by the curse of Macha. Three times they drove back the southern host, but were at last slain. Cúchulainn awoke from his wounds to see this carnage, and “drove furiously round and round the host, and

as he passed “the demons, goblins, and wild things of Eriu all echoed his taunts.” In the uproar, the host thought that many men had descended upon them and fell to killing one another in the confusion of the moment. It was said that six score and ten princes were lost to Mebd as well as horse, women and wolf-dogs and common men without number. Here again, it is said that Lugh fought on at the side of his son. Cuchullain was now faced with the magic of the druids of clann Cailtlin and with battle against his former comrade Ferdiad, but he survived both encounters. In the meantime the Ulster druids were able to lift the curse of Macha and the hosts of Conchobar marched southward to relieve the long-suffering hero. “And Conchobar’s army fell upon eight scores of men in Meath, who were carrying away a great booty of women-captives, and they slew all. Mebd was forced to fall back towards the south but stood at last on the Plain of Garach in Meath. There she personally led three charges amidst the Ulstermen, but even so the men of Munster and those of Leinster retreated leaving the Connaught men alone in battle. and these were routed into their own country. Cúchullain even rode down the seemingly invincible Mebd, but finding her cowering under her chariot said, “I am not wont to slay unarmed women.” He went further, protecting her from his own forces until she safely crossed the Shannon at Athlone. Thus Ailill and Mebd were forced to respect a peace that lasted for seven years. Mebd felt obligated to Cúchulllain for her life, but had a black hate for him because of the dishonour his bravery had settled on her. She sought vengeance and south the widow of the druid Catlain , whose family Cúchullain had slain. Pregnant at her husband’s death, this woman had given birth to three misshapen children, three boys and three girls, “all mischievous, hideous, poisonous, born for evil.” Mebd hoping to use them sent them to learn the black arts of Alba. “And even further they travelled acquiring lore, so

that they came back mighty in their craft, well able to be loosed against Cuchullain. Aside from these foes, Cúchullain had enemies in Erc mac Cairbre, whose father he had killed in battle, and Lewy son of Cu Roi, the one time king of Munster. Mebd sent secret messages to all these folk, and they waited until the monthly curse of Macha again brought down the Ulstermen, and then marched to the Plain of Murthemney. There the new host encamped and the children of Catalin took hooded thistles and puff-balls and leaves and made them into the semblance of marching men, and Cúchulainn fought this fairy-host. Sickened and wearied from mock-battle he was forced to seek the healing house in a solitary northern glen. While he recuperated, the druids filled the air with signs of war and loss, with flames and smoke and cries and wailings “and goblin chatter and the sounds of trumpets of horns failing on the wind.” A daughter of the Catalin then put on the form of Cúchullain’s nurse and bade the hero rise up to defend Ulster. “And the Mhorrigan came and sat at no great distance croaking of war and slaughter.” Cúchullain was convinced and rising from his sickbed, called his charioteer to harness his horses and make read. Lost amidst phantoms the hero fought his way to the fortress of Emain Macha, which seemed to be aflame, but when he arrived it had suffered on damage and his wife Emer was unhurt. Nevertheless he departed for the south convinced that war was upon the land. At the ford upon the plain of Emain he saw the kneeling washerwoman, “a young raven-haired maiden, weeping and wailing, and she washed bloody clothes which he saw to be his own.” It was soon after that Cúchulainn was tricked by three old hags (the Bas-finn) into eating dog-meat, which was his geis. Doomed to death by these omens of the Mhorrigan/Baobd/Macha , Cuchullain nevertheless extracted a heavy toll of death from his enemies before he died with his back to the pillar-stone, and the black crow plucked out his eyes.

The Mhorrigan did not remain incarnate much beyond her nemesis,and her human counterpart, the queen Mebd , had no easy life in what remained of her eighty-eight years. Her lover Fergus was slain by king Ailill when he discovered the younger man bathing in a lake with his wife. Ailill was in turn slain by Conal of the Victories, and Mebd retired to Inis Clothrann (now known as Quaker’s Island) in Loch Ryve. Here she continued the practise of bathing each morning, and here Forbai the son of Conchobar discovered her “and shot her with a bullet from his sling, so that she was smote in the centre of her forehead and fell dead.” In discussing the matter of warrior-queens Antonia Fraser noticed that such these strong-willed Bronze Age queens were no fable, but she thinks that “the status of women as a whole was not superior to that of men.” “The existence of these spirited and respected individuals represents a state of affairs which is a far cry from the dreams of true matriarchy and matrilineal succession, the evidence for which is “very dubious,” and “best consigned to the large corpus of myths (i.e. fables) surrounding Celtic society.” The ravenous raven was the totem of Medb or Maeve. In folklore she was one of the sidh, who lived "under the hollow hills". is mentioned by name in the tale called "The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel". At the entrance of this guest-house King Conaire went to meet a giantess who reeled off her various names, including Samhainn (the time at which the events were said to have taken place) and Badb. Conaire knew that The Badb was a banshee of misfortune, and one of the forms of Morrigan. In addition, he was under a "geis", or magical proscription that denied him from admitting any woman into his hostel after sunset. He was forced to do so, when The Badb impugned his hospitality, but the result was bloodshed, and she appeared to him as a black bird as he lay dying. Queen Medb's taste for blood is also seen in the

peculiar mating customs of her people. At the Samhainn, men converged on Cruachain, her royal capital, to woo the maidens of the land. For each successful suitor carried away from the city, one of his clan had to secretly select and slay a substitute for the goddess. Each maiden was an embodiment of this territorial deity whose goodwill was needed as a prior ritual to intercourse. Medb herself said that she "never had one man in her bed, without another waiting in his shadow." The Queen is known to have had thirty lovers, and Rutherford suggests that they were sacrificial victims. Remembering the troubles that King Arthur had with Queen Guinevere reminds one that the Welsh Morgwyn (Gwen of the Sea), is a form of Morgan. Supposing Guinevere was a territorial goddess helps in understanding her various sexual liaisons, and illustrates the fact that all divine kings had a need to keep an eye on their divine spouse. See Meabh. MEBD LETH DEARG, of the “Red Side,” the daughter of Conán of Cuala, a queen of Leinster. She was the local goddess of sovereignty who the kings of that realm had to marry to be legitimate. She had fifty foster children in addition to those from her own loins, and”founded many tribes and nations.” Although she had numerous affairs she was regenerated as a virgin so that she could become wife to nine high-kings, including Conn of the Hundred Battles, Conn’s son Art, and Art’s son Cormac in the short list. Corresponds with the Cailleach bheurr, or “Winter Hag.” MECHI, MECHE, MEICHE, MACHI. The illegitimate son of Dagda and Mhorrigan, goddess of battles. He was slain by mac Cécht because it was prophesied that he was certain to bring disaster to Ireland. Some said that he had several heads, but he was, at least, born with three hearts, each the seed for a serpent, which when born would devastate the land. After Mechi was killed the three hearts were removed and burned and their ashes scattered on the waters of the river Barrow. It was said that this caused the death of plant and animal life within the river. These serpents are reminiscent of the Norse “World Worm” born to the giantess

Anngurboda by Lokki. MEIRBH, spiritless, the same root as marbh, dead. Similar to the Eng. marble. MEIRNEAL, Merlin, a hawk, perhaps conferring with the Old Norse Ve, their god of the wind. Meirle, a thief. The Cymric Myrddin. Rolleston equates Merlin with Nudd or Lludd, who confers with the Gaelic Nuada of the Silver Hand, but the latter is certainly a moon-deity and the former a sun-god. It is more certain that ancient Britain was entitled Clais Meirneal, “Merlin's Enclosure (his fortified place)” and that men travelled there not to gape at Stonehenge but to observe "the source of the winds between the worlds," a cave located southwest of this latter-day tourist attraction, itself one of the wonders of the old stone-age world. Merlin's cavern has been described as "a close neither of iron nor steel nor timber nor stone, none of these exactly, but plain air, done by enchantment so strong that it may never be undone by any means while the world endures." There is a tradition that Merlin actually created Stonehenge, rafting the elements through the air from quarries in western England. At the last, Merlin came down from the sky upon Bardsley Island (Wales) and with nine attendant bards went into retirement, taking with him the Thirteen Treasures of Britain," thenceforth lost to men." In some versions of his myth it is said that he was magically imprisoned by his girl-friend Vivienne, "sleep being the bond forged against him." With his imprisonment the location of Merlin's "cave of the winds" was also lost to men. This god was later an important character in the Arthurian romances. In mythology this bird is considered malevolent, note for example Mossad mac Maen, who reared a giant hawk which wasted Ireland. MEURAN SITH, “fingers mak, great, might; sith, poisonous plant which remedy, the active of the sidh,” meur, a finger from a “fairy.” The woodland foxglove, a in controlled doese is a cardiac ingredient being digitalis. The

Highlanders useed it to treat fever and skin complaints. MEURBHEILEACHD, moirbhull. a marvel; meur, a finger; beil, meil, to grind, meile, a hand-mill, to move the fingers in a motion similar to that seen in hand-grinding. A druidic miracle observed to follow such movements. “The priests of Beil was the men they called Druids, the miracles which they pretended to perform were called meurbheileachd (beil-fingering)...” John Dewar as quoted by J.F. Campbell. MHORGHA, MORGHA, MORGAN, mor+righa, mor, large, grast in rank, important; righan, queen. Morgantach, obs., magificent. morganaileach, boastful. The morgha is the folk-descendent of the Celtic Cailleasch bheurr, the original Mhorgan or Mhorrigan corresponding with Samh, the alter-ego of the winter hag. This goddess was described as a perpetual virgin, one who lay annually, at Samhuinn, with the kings of Tara, thus ensuring their divine right of kingship. In the medieval romances, she was described as Morgan Le Fay the half sister of Arthur. Morgan and Arthur shared the European carrion-crow as their familiar. Like her "sisters" Mebd or Maeve (May Eve) and Macha, Mhorrigan was the daughter of a chief of the Tuatha daoine. This triad composed the Celtic "befind", "those who predict the future and endow it with good or doubtful gifts." In this they were exact counterparts of the Norse Norns, the three witches of past, present and future, who promised Macbeth his fate in Shakespeare's play. Latter day befinds were sidh assigned by the gods to serve as the familiars of mortal men. As such, they could be invisible but often took the form of the crow, the totem-animal of the siol, “seed” of Morgan, also known as Clan Mackay. In the myths of the Gaels, the Mhorrigan was also known as the "bean-nighe" (washer-woman) from her habit of frequenting highland streams where she washed blood from the garments of those fated to die. Note that when she made such appearances she was always shape-changed into a hag and wore red clothing.

Corresponds with the English “white” or “witch” woman. In Canada, this raven-haired sidh, with the blood red pupils and webbed fingers and toes (all revealing her Fomorian ancestry) is know as the keener, caney (Gaelic "caoine", a shriek) or caney-caller from her habit of announcing the approaching death of an enemy or any member of her clan. These are the creatures better known as banshees, those of the sidh who attached themselves "to families of the old Milesian lines, who are known by the "O'", "Mc" or "Mac" which they prefixed to their names." The keeners of Maritime Canada were sometimes identified with roving swamp lights and on Morden Mountain, near Auburn Nova Scotia, Helen Creighton found an Irish family possessed of a wailing corpse-cart follower. Elaborating, Creighton explained that "In the Irish tradition the banshee was supposed to wail when a member of a certain family (e.g O'Keefes or O'Sullivans) died. Her wail was quite distinct from the mourning cries of near relatives or of the (human "keeners" who were in olden days called upon to mourn a dead person." Creighton has also recounted the case of an unnamed wireless operator who was drowned while rowing across Hawk Inlet, near Clarke's Harbour, Nova Scotia. At the wireless station, other workers were bedeviled by "a steady shrill noise" whose source was never found. This continued without ceasing until the body was recovered from the sea. At the turn of the century, a Scot named James MacDonald insisted that "The mhorag as a rule shows herself on Loch Morar (Scotland) when a member of a certain clan (Clan Morgan?) is to die...She reassembles herself on the surface of the lake in three portions, one a figure of death, another a coffin, the third an open grave." See next. MHORGUINN, MG form of Morgan. OG. Morgunn, gen. Morcunt, Cy. Morgan, OBry. Morcant; mori-cantos, “sea-fire,” the root being knd,, kindle, as in connadh, the Lat. candeo, to shine, our source for candle. The stem word relates to Aoidh, which, see. Disassembled as: mhorr, “great;” combined with

“rig,” queen and possibly Anu. The first word confers with muir, “the sea,” thus her name may also be translated as “sea-queen.” Her name is sometimes represented in Gaelic as Mórrigán or Mórrigú but it is not unknown in the mythology of other lands, being represented in English as Morgan. In the ancient lands of the Bas-breton this lady was known all along the coast as the Korrigan or Korrigwen and in Cornwall as the Horridgwen. In Italy this sea-deity was Fata Morgana, “who is perhaps a personification of Fortune, a being of a higher order (of supernatural).” The Morgain of the Near East has even been philologically tied with the Arabic Merjan Peri, “equally celebrated all over the (Far) East.” The ancient pagan goddess Mhorigann, “the sea-born,” a “daughter” of the Dagda.. The Gaelic mermaid. See entry immediately above. MIALLADH, bad fortune, "overridden with lice." In ancient times all bad luck was considered an unwanted visitation of the gods or their representatives. MIATH, earlier Miaiat, L. Maeatae, Cy. Maead, Mayad, William Watson says the name is comparable with the ECeltic. gaisatai, “spearman,” from the Gaullish gaesum. These folk were not originally a tribe but mercenaries, of various nationalities. The word may compare with the Ir. Magnatai who are mentioned by Ptolemy. The Romans regarded this tribe as one of two principal enemies in the north of Britain. “The Maeatae dwell close to the wall which divides the island into two parts and the Caledonians are next ti them.” There is no way of being certain whether this reference was to Hadrians Wall or Antonine’s Wall, but Di Cassius writes as if there was only one, and there is evidence that the more northern wall was in disrepair by his time. If so, these folk lived between the walls, while the Caledonians were north between the Forth and the Clyde. MICHEIL NAM BUADH, “Michael the Virtuous,” the Christian replacement for Lugh of the Long Arm. According to some tales St. Michael took possession of Lugh’s sword of creation when the Christians gained control of Britain. His

festival was September 29 and was situated to pre-empt the Samhuinn. Like Eochaid Oolathair, the pagan creator god, St. Michael was the patron of horses and horse-racing and in the islands a part of his holiday was the oda, the Old Norse, odaidh, or “horse fights.” Like Eochaid and Manann mac Ler, Michael was always represented as riding a milk-white steed (sea-serpent). This is an overt sexual symbol since Manann frequently “rode” his mate Fand, “The White Wave of the Sea.” Like the Fomors, St. Michael carried a three-pronged spear in his right hand (they carried theirs in the left) His shield was three cornered and equal sided. It is noted that “theft of horse was never condemned” on this day, although the animal was expected to be eventually returned unharmed. By tradition horses were “borrowed” the night before the races. The races were bare-back affairs, and contestants were not allowed saddles or bridles or spurs, but urged the animals on with sea-weed whips. The men carried their sweethearts behind them on horseback, and afterwards exchanged small presents with them, the women being sure to give their men some of the carrots obtained at Domhnach curran (which, see). Married men could take part in the “circuits,” which were run sun-wise in Christian times, but were expected to confiscate someone else’s wife for the ride. The procession was usually three times about some local landmark; a firehill, standing-stone or Celtic cross. Those who distinguished themselves in the races received small awards which were counted for more than a golden plate. At a communal fire, very like that on the Quarter-Day, an unblemished white lamb was slain and eaten and the bannock known as Struan Micheil (see separate note) was shared. In the course of events there was always a cavalcade about the graves of ancestors, athletic contests, races, betting, and an evening dance. MIDACH, MIACH. A Tuatha daoine physician, the son of the “leech” Diancecht. He was the better physician being able

to replace Nuada’s silver hand with regenerated flesh and blood. He is also said to have transplanted the eye of a cat in a human recipient. The older physician grew jealous of his son and murdered him scattering his collection of healing herbs. From his grave their sprung a number of useful medicinal plants including one supposed to give almost eternal life. His sister Airmid gathered them and categorized them according to their use but Diancecht finding her work shook the cloak on which they were placed negating her work and hiding the secrets of their use. The descendants of these druids, limited as they were by Diancecht's vandalism, were known on the Continent for their grasp of botany and herbal healing. The Gaelic physicians used their herbs orally and in medicinal baths and were also skilled in surgery, conducting operations that ranged from stitching a wound, to Caesarian sections and trepanning of the brain-cavity. They understood the importance of clean running water, cleanliness and fresh air to the healing process, and physicians were obliged by the laws of their order to build their workshops over a running stream. They were also required to have doors facing the four quarters of the earth to allow cross-ventilation of the sickroom. While the descendants of this clan were usually involved with the healing arts, they were sometimes hired to invoke evil spirits that might invade the body of an enemy producing some hideous malaise, which might range from boils, to ulcers, through falling hair, to drivelling insanity. MIDE. central, middle, (Mee), the ancient province now known as Meath, Ireland. In the days of the Ulster Cycle, Ireland had only four provinces, Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. Even then the word for province, cóiceda, a fifth, suggested there had been an earlier central province at the hub of geography. A province called Mide was reestablished in the time of King Tuathal Teachtmhair (the Acceptable), 130-160 AD. He named it as the as a territory

of the High Kings, and it survives at present as Counties Meath and Westmeath; thus the expression, “Royal Meath.” Somewhat like the Norse Misgarth or “Middle Earth” the world reserved for the use of men. MIDER, MIDIR (Meeth-er), one of the sons of Dagda, the patriarch of the Daoine sidh. Sometimes entitled Mider the Proud from his splendid appearance. He dwelt at Slieve Callary with his wife Fuamnach, and eventually took a second wife named Etain the Fair. Fuamnach jealous of the beauty of her rival turned her into a butterfly and blew her out of her underworld keep on a blast of air. She fell into the Brugh na Boyne of the god Aonghas, who recognized her in spite of her altered form. Unable to break Fuamnach's spell, he was able to restore her at night, when he took her as a lover. Her refuge was eventually discovered by Fuamnach who again blew up a magic wind that carried her to the palace of an Ulster chieftain named Etar. There she fell into the drinking-cup of Etar’s wife, and the lady having swallowed the sigh was forced to bear her as a reincarnate mortal child, Etain could remember nothing of her past history and so married Eochy the high-king at Tara. Mider rediscovered Etain and made a partially successful attempt to woo her, but she would only agree to rejoin Mider if her husband agreed. While this appeared an impossible impediment, Mider managed to talk King Eochy into playing a board-game with the forfeit unstated. Having lost the game Eochy learned that Mider claimed a kiss from Etain. The kiss went beyond mere familiarity as the pair floated into the air and shape-changed into white swans that retreated to Mider’s underground palace. Not knowing where his wife had been taken Eochy had his druid fashion three wands of yew overwritten with ogham characters, and by throwing them was able to determine that she was within the sidh-mound of Bri-Leith. The king and his forces went there and after nine years of digging ravaged the hill and regained their lost queen. She returned to the world of men, bore Eochy a daughter, and remained with him for the remaining ten years of his life.

MIL, MILE (mee-leh), milidh, champion, mill, destroy, mel, crush, mil-each. war-horse, milanta, stately, pompous, of military bearing. Mile, a thousand, thus a host. The King of the Milesians while they were resident in Spain. He came to regard Hibernia (Ireland) as the "Isle of Destiny" for his people, but did not live to see the invasion, which took place under the leadership of his nine sons. We are almost in touch with “true history” when we come to the Milesians, but there is a good deal of uncertainty regarding the time of their invasion, If antiquarians represent a greater authority than others then the sixteenth century scholar, named O’Flaherty, says the Milesians arrived about the year 1000 B.C. at about the time that the Biblical Solomon was ascending his throne. Victorian historians liked later dates up to and including the year 200 B.C., but the latest trend has been in the direction of an earlier origin for the invasion, Donnelly suggesting 1700 B.C. An unknown Greek writer quoted by Plutarch (ca. 12O A.D.) This individual said that “The Land of the Dead” was the place of origins for the Gauls, and that these lands were thought to lie “in the western extremity of Great Britain (i.e. Ireland).” It was rumoured that this place was cut off from the world of men by an impassable wall. On the northern coast of Gaul, says the reporter there was once a group of mariners whose only business was ferrying the dead from the continent to their resting place somewhere in the west. The mariners claimed they were awakened, in the night, by whisperings from offshore, and that they then went to the strand where they found the dark ships anchored. These they attested were not the craft of any known people and the pilots and were invisible. These men awaited the loading of equally invisible passengers who sank the ships to the gunwales. Those who hired aboard these ships said that the vessels made the other shore in a single hour, where it took m,any hours for a normal craft to reach Britain under sail. At the Otherworld, “passengers”

were not seen to disembark, but the ships lightened and rose in the water as a voice was heard intoning the names of new arrivals, presumably now added to the population of the Dead Lands. On the return voyage the vessel was also seen to be similarly loaded and emptied. The voyage always took place at midnight and often at a quarter day, for by the laws of nature, these appeared to be the times when the fabric of otherness faded, and the land of the living became open to the land of the dead, and vice versa. It was this invariable way of things that allowed Ith the grandfather of Mil to perceive the wealth of Eiru from a tower “at the centre of winter.” He resolved to go there and embarked at last with ninety warriors, and took land at Corcadyna in the south-west of Ireland. On landing,Ith discovered that the Tuathan king, Neit had just been killed in a battle with the Fomorians. His sons were at Aileach, in County Donegal, trying to equitably divide their inheritance. At first the three kings-apparent were suspicious of the motives of the newcomer, but seeing him as a rational man, asked him to help settle their differences. Equivocating, Ith suggested that they divide this country “rich in fruit and honey, wheat and fish, and temperate in climate” according to “the laws of justice.” The three kings could not be happy with this judgement and the little talk about the goodness of Eiru led them to suspect that the visitor had a hidden agenda. His companions on the voyage afterwards recovered Ith’s body and transported to back to “Spain.” Here the children of Mil ostensibly plotted revenge, but seem actually to have decided on an invasion of Ireland based on the reports of its wealth. As noted elsewhere this entire story may have been a fabrication, as the people of the land of Ith or Bith (Munster) later insisted that they were unrelated to any of the Milesians. Whatever their rationale, the thirty-six chieftains of Milesia put together a equal number of sailing craft. In the old accounts it is claimed that the forces of Mil

(which did not include the now dead patriarch) arrived on Thursday, 17th, on the seventeenth day of the dark moon, the first day of May, anciently termed the beulteinne. Soon after landing, the Milesian host advanced on the main city of Tara, where they found the three Tuathan kings awaiting them. The invaders immediately demanded unconditional surrender, and the Tuatha daoine seem to be disposed to comply, but they did ask that the host withdraw for three days so that they could consider how to bring about a surrender. The poet Amergin agreed that this was a proper request and so the Milesian fleet withdrew to a distance of nine waves from the shore. No sooner were they anchored than a mysterious mist tightened about their ships and a storm came up,, all raised by the sorcerers of the Tuathans. The winds soon dragged the shipped into deep water and they were dispersed to in the Irish Sea. A man was sent aloft to see if the storm was natural, and before he fell to his death from the rigging was able to shout out: “There is no storm aloft.” At this Amerigin began to chant a counter-spell and the winds dropped. The Milesians were thus able to point their prows to the shore but one of the Milesian lords, a man named Eber Donn, fell into a berserker rage against the Tuathans and his tempest reinvigorated the one at sea, with the result that most of the ships went down. The remainder of them found their way into the estuary of the Boyne, while a few more landed in the southwest of the island. The first engagement was in the high mountains of Slieve Mish in Kerry, the other at Telltown. Some say that the three queens of the Tuathans bargained away the land in exchange for a promise that the Milesians would name the countryside after them, and indeed it is still called Eiru, Banbha or Fodhla in Gaelic. Others claim that the three ladies and their husbands were killed in battle. Whatever the situation, the last of the mythic invaders had broached Irish shores and entered upon their sovereignty of the lands.

After a great slaughter at the edge of iron weapons, the somewhat jaundiced poet Amergin was called upon to make an “honourable division” of the lands of Eiru. In the world’s best example of technical justice he deeded all the sunlit lands to the Milesians and gave the Tuatha daoine control of all the natural caverns of the earth and islands “beyond the horizon” in the north and western seas. As it turned out these latter properties were no mean piece of real estate. Amergin might not have been so quick with his judgement if he had known the actual extent of caves and weems and man-made souterrains in Ireland. Archaeologists have suggested that these structures, probably pre-dating Tuathan control, were frequently occupied by men from a very early date. Sean O”Riordin notes that: “Only a small proportion of souterrains are known, and it is not possible to give any estimate of their number. The total must be very large...” (1942). In response to this the Tuathans assembled at the mouth of the Boyne under the chairmanship of the Fomorian Manann mac Ler, a sea-god who had always had a soft spot for the kin of his foster-son Lugh. The Dagda his kingship because of the defeat and an election brought Boabd Dearg, the “Red Crow” to leadership. Manann offered the defeated people cloaks of invisibility to help them avoid detection by the Milesians, and promised those who wished refuge in the western lands of the Atlantic. Some of the Tuathans elected to join their former Fomorian enemies in those lands but others fled to Alba (Scotland) and its islands. The remaining survivors at first tried to co-exist with the invaders, but the Milesians noticed their skill at the arts and their conspicuous wealth, and placed the best craftsmen in bondage, and created laws prohibiting the Tuathans from having any part in politics or other highly remunerative jobs. To make matters more difficult they levied heavy taxes and insisted that the conquered people remain out of sight. In the end large-scale movements of the Tuathans were limited to the quarter

days while individuals were only allowed freedom of movement in the night hours. These restrictions forced the Tuathans into the remote countryside where they took up the more menial occupations. These fugitives were only seen as shadows moving through the twilight by successive generations of Milesians. As a result of the seemingly magical skills the Tuathans had at avoiding detection, they became known as the Dei terreni, the “gods of the earth,” residents of the “hollow hills,” the descendants of powerful deities.Wealthy beyond reason or belief they were seen as having fairy palaces within the earth, and there held revels in unending sunshine, nourished by magical meat and an unending source of ale, both of which imparted undying youth and beauty and near immortality. From these places they occasionally emerged to mingle with men in acts of love or war. The original concept was one of a heroic race, whose gods were admissible in the Milesian pantheon. In the latter days, under the influence of Christianity, they were at first disparaged, being referred to as the Daoine sidh, the “sidehill folk,” or as the Tuatha athach, the “people of the wind.” Notice that the latter word athach is a synonym for “giant,” thus, an “imaginary people.” These “rent-payers,” sometimes entitled “rent-payers to hell,” actually were a mix of all the earlier peoples who had become subject at one time or another. Each of these made notable, but futile, attempts to regain power and property in historic times. The Tuathans, “ground down by rents and compulsory toil,” overthrew the Milesian king under the leadership of Cabri Cinn Cait, the “Cat-Headed,” in the first century before Christ, and he ruled through five years when there was “but one acorn on the stalk.” At his death, his son Morann, recognizing the fact that the goddess of earth had attached herself to the Milesian line, refused the crown. This allowed the ascension of Feradach Finn-feactnach, whose reign was equally unhappy. In the reign of the next

Milesian, the Tuathans again banded together and resumed power for twenty more years. Tuathal Feachtmar, “the Desired” was the next Milesian to get the upper hand, but he had to fight 133 battles against the “little people.” In the end he did break the tribes of the north and scattered them so widely they were never again a force in Irish history. The sigh never quiet perished, but among present-day inhabitants they are quiet creatures of the imagination, who infrequently trouble the affairs of men. The Milesians were left with only two sons of Mil when Ireland was first conquered. There had been eight, but Bith had fallen from the mast, and Donn and his other brothers had been drowned in storms at sea. This left Eber Finn and Eremon, who approached Amergin for a judgement concerning the portions of property they should hold. The druid-poet declared that since Eremon was the oldest he should first rule all the lands passing them at death to his younger brother. Eber would not submit to this arrangement and thus the Irish “troubles” commenced nearly 4,000 years ago. At first Eremon agreed to keeping the peace by dividing the land into northern and southern halves, the division line running “from the Boyne to the Waves of Cleena.” The northern half was deeded to Eremon with a small northeastern corner granted to the children of a lost brother named Ir. This was the land first invaded by the Norse, and encounters with this tribe caused the whole island to be called Irlande. The south was the land of Eber, excepting a southwestern part of Munster which was given to a cousin named Lughaid because he was the son of Ith or Bith. This settlement held for a single year, but in that time Eber’s wife began to politic for possession of Tara which was within the northern bounds. This “quarrel between women” concerning “the pleasantest of all Irish hills,” led to war between their husbands in which Eber was defeated and the sovereignty settled upon Eremon. See next. MIL. gen, meala, honey. mild, milbhir, mild beer. mead. mil-

bhriathrach, mild words, sweet-nothings. mileachadh, benumbing. milliudh, having a blasting eye (like that of Balor), fascinating, millteach, destructive. Sweet but dangerous. The reign of the game-keeper, or Cailleach followed that of the Maidhdean (maiden), who was sometimes referred to as the Samh. This summer moon-maiden corresponded with the ancient goddess Morrigan, while the winter hag was Macha. The rites of Samhainn commenced in Gaelic communities with the celebration of the cern (corn, or horn) which the English named the harvest home. In Gaelic communities the earliest harvest were taken during the first week of August, when the festival of Lugh, called the Lugnasad (and currently Lammas), was celebrated. The last fruits were gathered at harvest home, which was also named a feast to mark the end of work in the fields. The harvest home originally embraced magical religious rites which were widespread in all of Europe. As the time of taking the final harvest varied from one year to the next, this was a "moveable feast" whose date ranged from mid October through mid-November, with Samhain falling before or after the rites. In every case, the kirn involved the creation of a rude figure constructed from the last of the grain crop (a survival being the "kitchen witches" sold in kitchen specialty shops). This god-figure was paraded home in front of the last load to come home from the fields amidst singing, shouting and surreptitious drinking. The kern doll, kern maiden or Gaelic "maidhdeanbuain", literally "the shorn or defrocked maiden" was identified as the goddess-spirit of the cern, a female relieved of her virginity by a kern-king, such as the ancient horned-god Cernu, who the Romans called Cernunnos. Sometimes, a pair of harvesters was dressed in grain and ribbons, as a living personification of long dead deities. In the earliest times, it can be guessed that these kernpeople were paired off and encouraged to indulge in ritual sex followed by a "bone-fire" and the return of the male

spirit to the land. While impregnation of "the land" was required at Beltainn to bring on a successful season for crops and animals, it was also needed at Samhainn so that the "spirit of the land" could overwinter. In some English communities the harvest home was described as the mell, while herding villages practised parallel rites which they referred to as the hookey, or hockey, after the hooks used in tending animals. Early harvests usually spoke of abundance while late harvests were regarded as unlucky; hence, there were numerous superstitions related to "taking the maiden". The symbolism of the cern could not have been more explicit, the "shorn maiden" being cut down with a horn-shaped sickle or scythe. It was claimed that the kern-spirit or spirits fled before the reapers, the queen of their kind being finally cornered in a remote field. Highland reapers contested one another to get this maiden, and tried all sorts of diversions to secure the last sheaf. Some bundled a small uncut portion away beneath a sod of earth coming back to cut it at a later date. Local handling of the maiden varied. In a few places the sexual nature of the act was most explicit, the final sheaf being termed the maidenhead, or more simply the head. Where the pagan rites were more hidden it was called the "clyack", another word for sheath. In Scotland, the maiden often fell , in a nice bit of symbolism, to the sickle of the youngest girl on the field, who was assumed to be a virgin. MILLEADH NOT BATH ADH, destroying entity, spoiler. This phrase encapsulates the Tuathan attitude toward the Milesian invaders of Ireland (ca 250 B.C.) MILUCRA, the youthful Aoine once admitted that she had no interest in white-haired men and her sister Milucra saw this as a means of having the hero Fionn mac Cumhail for herself. The Fiann were at the hunt at this time. They came upon a doe near the Hill of Allen, and ran it northwards until it was forced onto Slievenamon, the “Holy Hill,” a focal point of Tuathan magic, a place very similar to Hugh’s Hill in legendary lore. Fionn alone saw the doe disappear into

the mountain-side, and it was he who encountered the weeping lady of the mountain. She claimed to have lost a golden ring in a nearby lake and asked Fionn to find it for her. He tried and at last succeeded, at which the lady plunged into the lake and disappeared. Fionn then saw that the waters had been magically charged agianst him for his youth had fled, and he was so feeble and ancient that his hounds failed to recognize him. When the chase party caught up with Fionn his voice was so weakened he could barely whisper his identity. Fionn said he thought he recognized the perpetuator of his misfortune as Milucra of Slievegallion. The Fiann, therefore, placed their leader on a litter and carried him to that side, where they began to dig. Like others before them, they eventually penetrated the gates of the Otherworld, where they were met by a maiden carrying a drinking horn of red gold. She was Aoine, the goddess of love and youth, and the first from the cup restored him, but left his hair white. It is said that Fionn’s hair colour would have been returned with another sip, but he was content to be young again and turned away with prematurely grey hair. At Slievegallion there is an antique standing stone on the mountain-top, which the locals used to avoid as the dwelling place of the Baobd or “Witch” of the Lake. Although the place was not often visited a mysterious beaten path, worn by inhuman feet, is still seen to lead from the lake-side up the mountain to the standing-stone. MINIFIN, "delicate and white", ghosts, superstition. MIOBHADH, ill-used (by the weather). Control of the weather was considered the major magic of the Daoine sidh. MIOLCACH, a clown, a flatterer, miolan, a lie. MIONN, an oath, imprecation, vow, curse, skull, crown, diadem, EIr. mind, an oath, a diadem; anciently swearing by the name of a god. More recently, utilizing the "swearing relics" of a Christian saint. OHG. menni, a neck ornament,

AS. mene, a neck chain, a symbol of authority on which oaths were taken. Among the Celts the neck ornament was a partial circle of precious metal (a "torc") worn with the opening at the front. This explains why the Gaels felt that the Christian clerical collar was worn "backwards." MIOSACH, fairy flax, purging flax, EIr. miosach, monthly. A menstrual pad, proposed for human use by the Daoine sidh; probably a species of cotton sedge. Natural Kotex. Mios, moon, less often, The Moon, fuil mios, menstrual courses. MIRE, pastime, wanton behaviour, flirting, Ir. sport, madness. Related to mear, our word merry. AS. merge, EIr. mer, insane. Allied with the G. mearachd, error, wandering in purpose. The Eng. marr, originally to stumble, OIr. meraige, a fool, a Quarter Day “monarch.” OBr. mergidhaam, I am silly. MISG, drunkenness, EIr. mid, gen. mead, the English mead MITHEAR, weak, crazy; mithlean, sport, playfulness. Mith, a humble person. MOD, court, trial, meeting, from the ON mod. a townmeeting, English moot, meet. The earth was once considered an inspirited being its power points being high land. Sacred spots were scattered all about the countryside each being considered a reflection of the prime rise of land. In Ireland that place was Hugh’s Hill which stood at the boundaries of the ancient provinces. In Scotland it was the Moot Hill at Scone. Scone was the capital of the kingdom, and the Lord Lyon King of Arms still identifies the Moot Hill as “the constitutional centre of Scotland.” This, in spite of the fact that political power has moved elsewhere. In the elder days the King was crowned here and each chieftain brought with him from his own district some of his own mod soil which he stood upon while swearing allegiance. At the individual mods assemblies were held, religious rites performed, laws made, and judgements passed.

MODOMNOC. A member of Clann O’Neill, this sixth-century monk was a student under Saint David of Wales. His specialty was beekeeping, and when he returned to Ireland bees followed his ship. They were, it is claimed, “the gifted race of Ireland’s bees.” MOGAIRE, a mocker, a jester, a clown, a ritual victim of the Quarter-Day. The English mocker. The major male participant at the Beltane and Samhain had to have a twisted sense of humour since he was destined to die in the concluding hours of ritual. For some time before his departure he had all the prerogatives of the monarch, and thus had no compulsions against levelling his ire against all who offended him. Having nothing to lose, he often made light of the king and his closest advisors, thereby providing the rest of the community with an escape valve for the considerable feelings of hostility that were bound to exist in a day when power was very unevenly distributed. MOID, vow, EIr. moit, Cy. mun, AS. mund, Latin, manus, hand. A promise made at the raising of the right hand. Among the Gaels the right hand often appears in heraldry where a clan wishes to make the point that it represents legitimate descent, where there are pretenders to power. If a left hand is preferred pagan attachments are suspect. MOILEAN MOIRE, MORAG, “Lugh’s bannock,” The plump child, lump, heap, fatling of; Sarah, Mary, the sea. Ultimately, there is reference to the pagan Mhorrigan. The Lugnasad bannock persisted into La Feill Moire, the “Feast of Mary,” which fell on August 15, two days later than the pagan feast, Old Style. On the morning of this day people plucked fresh grains, which were placed on a rock to dry. These were husked by hand, winnowed, ground, and kneaded on a sheep-skin into bannock. This was roasted before a fire of rowan and other sacred woods. The husbandman broke bannock for his family and doled it out by age, chanting a rann to the Christian “goddess” as he did so. After going three times around the fire he put embers of the fire into a pot to be carried three times about his home in a sunward

direction. Sometimes he protected his flocks and field with a similar rite. MOL, unsolicited praise; compare with mollachd, a curse, the northern form is mallachd. It was generally held that those who praised in this fashion were not friends but enemies seeking a favour or advantage through magic. "The Power of Evil should not be allowed to hear praise of any person or beast. A man was one day ploughing with a pair of horses in Barra when a Uist man came by praising them very much, asking where he was likely to get such horses; and they chatted in a friendly manner together for some minutes. The Uist man then went his way... but had not been gone long when both horses fell down as if dead... It was evidently the work of the Evil Eye, and the Barra man followed the other and upbraided him bitterly. The Uist man declared himself innocent in intention, but said that his "friend" should find them all right on his return, as in fact he did." Thus praise is seen as a dangerous commodity even if damage is not intended. "If a person praises your ox, or your ass, or anything that is yours, be sure to say (in response):- "Wet your eye, " which if kindly disposed he will perform literally (thus reversing any effect of the evil-eye)... If a person should praise a child or beast, you should praise what he praises, only in more extravagant terms... If you commend the size or appearance of your child, you should use some such formula as, "God bless it, how big it is!" (Celtic Monthly, p. 162). In the highlands any comment concerning children was thought proper if suffixed with the words, "may their number increase." Similarly, upon counting out animals in a field or pen it was more than polite to end with, "Let not my tongue or eye rest heavily upon them." MOLACH, rough, hairy, the Irish-born missionary better known as Molloch and also called Lugaid, one of the first Christian missionaries to the Highlands of Scotland and the Hebrides, where his name is still invoked against the threat of madness. See also Maag molach.

MOLLACHD, MALLACHD, a curse. The first spelling is used in northern Scotland. The English malediction, harm created with mere words. Resembles malc. putrefy, decay and mel, to grind down. In 1886 John and Ann-Margaret Henderson of Kilchoan in Arnamurchan were at odds with the shire and his landlord over matters of taxation and land rent. An eviction party was led by one of the McColls, who stood watching as the pair and their six children were removed to "an old tent." "It was as Ann-Margaret was being taken from her cottage that she pointed her finger at McColl and laid a curse upon him... she prophesied "bad cess" to him and said that he would soon die and when he was dead and buried the very grass would not grow on his grave, but only docks and nettles." This all took place as promised and "when grass was sown on his grave it withered and died and in its place grew ugly dock leaves and nettles. His relatives weeded it again and again and planted more grass seed, but still the weeds crawled over the grave. The ground was dug over, cleared and covered with new turf but it was no use, the docks and nettles returned even more strongly." (Scots Magazine, Aug. 1982, p. 541). MOLTRAD. The wedder-folk. A tribal or sept name with the suffix rad, collective feminine. Mol, hairy, rough, bushy. MONACH MOR, The “Great Curser;” monachd, a curse, an experienced druid or magician. One given this name ruled the island of Tile nd was an ancestor of Clan MacLeod. Mollachd is a northern Gaelic form of mallachd, Oir. maldacht, the Eng. malediction. MONAR, diminutive person or thing. Monaran, a mote; munar, a trifle, a trifling person, one of the Daoine sidh. MONGFHINN, MONGFIND, mountain woman, the daughter of Fidach of Munster and wife of High King Eoachaid Muigmedon (358 - 366 AD). The hostile and bitter stepmother of Niall of the Nine Hostages, she made several attempts on his life. She died by accidentally taking poison she had prepared for him. As her death was at the Samhain, this Festival was

sometimes alternately referred to as the Festival of Mongfhinn, and her evil shade is still said to stalk the southern countryside at this time when she preyed upon children. MONGÅN. The son of Manan mac Ler by the queen of Dal n Riadi, Scotland. He married Dubh Lacha but once promised a ”friend” named Brandubh anything he desired. He wanted Mongán’s wife and under the ancient laws of hospitality promises were inviolate. The poor man was forced to surrender his mate but was a shape-changer because of his father’s heritage. He called at the castle of Brandubh in the guise of a travelling druid and slept with his wife under his rival’s roof. Eventually he returned in the guise of a young king accompanied by a very beautiful woman. Since this lady whose name was Cuimne carried a love charm Brandubh found her irresistible and gladly traded Dubh Lacha away. When the two reunited lovers were far away the charm faded and the replacement was seen to be an ugly hag. MOR, great, Cy. mawr, Cor. maur, Br. meur, Gaul. maro, OHG, mari, famed, ON. moerr, famous, Latin, merus, English mere. Confers with G. muir, the sea. Often seen as a combined word, e.g. Mhorri-gan.

MOR BRIDD, "The Great Bride." Also referred to as “Great Bride of the Horses.” It was once said that no man ruled the Gaelic realms unless he first married the goddess of the land. The first such marriage supposedly involved Lugh, the sun god, and Mebd, the earth goddess, whose youthful form was the reincarnate "bride" named Mhorrigan. In the old theology it was explained that the triad goddess, who became a hag during the winter months, was annually transformed by the sperm (sunlight) of the sun into a virgin queen. Morgan was known to the ancient continental Celts as Matrona. The matron has her fullest exposition in folklore as the "moerae" of Greece. Here again these demi-goddesses presided over the destiny of each new-born child. Again, they were a triad: Clotho, corresponding with Mhorrigan; Lachesis, with Badb or Mebd; and Atropos, Macha. The first spun the thread of life, the second goddess knit or wove it and the last cut it short when the job was finished. The Norns of Scandinavia had similar duties: "to warn

the gods of future evil, to bid them make good use of the present, and to teach them wholesome lessons from the past. They were personified as weavers rather than spinners, their loom being the sky. The threads of their weft were cord-like clouds, whose hues varied according to the nature of events due to occur. Black "threads" running from north to south, were interpreted by the scalds as omens of death. It was reputed that the sisters were not free to act but bound to the wishes of the Orolog, the keeper of hours.The moerae were said to be disfigured by their stitchcraft: crooked from bending over their work, with drooping eyelids caused by squinting under poor light as they worked through the nights as well as the days. Clotho stood, but Lachesis had an enormous bottom from sitting at her job. Atropos had huge pendulous lips and long teeth from her habit of breaking the thread of life in her mouth. The norn and the mor bridd were similarly characterized. As personifications of time these weird sisters were represented as varying in age, looks and temperament. Like the youthful mhorrigan, Verdhandi, goddess of the present was active, and fearless and stared without hesitation at all within her gaze. Urd was old and decrepit, continually gazing backward over her shoulder as if contemplating past events. Skuld , was closely veiled so that her interests could not be fathomed, but it was known that she perceived the future. The first two goddesses were usually considered beneficent guardians of order in the world, as they constructed the fabric of men's souls. When the work was near completion Skuld often evidenced the petulance of Morgan le Fay, angrily tearing the finished material to shreds, the remnants scattering on the wind as clouds in the sky. Like the befind the moerae were duty-bound to appear before men at the most important events of their lives. Thus they were seen to materialize, and sometimes prophecize, at births, marriages and deaths. In Greece, the individual guardians sent by these goddesses arrived on the third night after a baby's birth, to foretell his future, give

him advice and favour him with a birthmark such as the caul of luck. Great care was taken to prepare for their coming, the house being fully cleaned and the table laid with honey, bread and three white almonds. In some areas a few coins were laid out beside the food. The door was left open, a light left burning, and a decent quiet observed by the residents. Once the moerae pronounced the fate of an individual it was understood to be unchangeable. A similar ceremony was, until recently, conducted in Scotland on the eve of the arrival of "bridd" (bride). Here the revival of vegetation was named bride's day (February 1). THus, in the Hebrides, "the mistress and servants of each family take a sheaf of oats, and dress it up in woman's apparel, put it in a large basket and lay a wooden club by it. This they call briid's bed; and then mistress and servants cry three times, "Briid is come; briid is welcome." This they do just before going to bed and when they rise in the morning they look among the ashes, expecting to see the impression of briid's club there; which if they do, they reckon it a true presage of good fortune and the contrary an ill omen." This ceremony was clearly aimed at the spiritual revival of the cailleach bheur as a summer spirit like samh or "brigit". Fraser notes that some of the customs of this time of year were addressed to Saint Brigit, but he says she no other than Brigit, the Celtic goddess of fire and the crops. We know her as the daughter of Dagda, the sister of Lugh and Ogma, and hence a half-daughter of mhorrigan. In the far north, the Norns were consulted daily by Odin and the other gods, and they generally answered all questions although the answers were often of veiled meaning. These guardians of the gods and mankind would tell Odin nothing of his personal fate, but were lavish in gifting their favourites seldom failing to provided gifts on the anniversaries of important human events. The moerae were always invited to weddings, births and funerals, and women who were about to marry, or who were pregnant, visited their caves hoping to receive favour. Like the befind, these

fay were the last seen before a person died. The ancient Romans adopted the three fates as the "parcae", but unlike other Greek deities they did not thrive in Italy. Their descendants are loosely attached to that land and there are three fates who attend Christian homes at Epiphany. Like Santa Claus, they bear gifts for good children and punishment for others. They are the Befana, Maratega and Rododesa, little woman under five feet in height. The Maratega in ancient and brittle and can stretch its limbs to improbable lengths, while the Rododesa has the habit of budding candies from her fingertips. Best known is Befana who is most athletic, slipping down chimneys or through keylocks to reward good children with gifts. She leaves coal for bad boys and girls and is only visible on the final day of Yule, spending the rest of the year spinning within a chimney recess or some dark cavern. Similar spinning women are known all over Europe, those in Albania being called the "Mir" or wives of "Rica". These are the "Trois Maries" of Switzerland, the "Witte Wijven" of Holland, "Les Bonne Dames" of France and "Mutter Gode" of Germany. In addition to their other duties, the norns had to tend "yggdrasil", the tree of life, experience and knowledge, allowing none but Idun to pick the fruit, which was the source of the renewed youth of the gods. The norns also fed and tended two swans who inhabited their Urdar fountain, and from these pair are descended all the swans of our Middle Earth. At times, the norns are said to have visited our world in swan plumage, but more apropos, they came as mermaids, appearing before men to foretell the future and give sage advice. In Germany, the lady was termed the White Woman or "Bertha", who lived in a hollow hill in Thuringia, caring for the souls of unbaptized infants, emerging with them in the spring to water the newest flowers of the field. She spent some time among humans, being identified as the ancestress of Charlemagne and the entire imperial house of

Germany. She is frequently represented in medieval art being drawn or painted as a woman at a treadle wheel, one foot splayed from overwork. As matriarch of German royalty, the White Lady appeared in the palace after the fashion of the banshee, announcing death or some other family misfortune. This superstition was very firmly entrenched the last report of her visit appearing in a newspaper dated 1884. As "la reine pedanque" Bertha was noted as a spinner and patroness of all female work that had to do with manipulating thread. She was formerly see flitting through the streets during the twelve days of Yule, and was said to peer into every window to inspect the household spinning and weaving. Maidens who had been careful and industrious had no worry and might be rewarded with a gift of an extra fine distaff of flax or a basket full of threads of pure gold. Others found their flax soiled, and those who failed to bake a fruit cake in her honour might find themselves pushed before an irresistible wind and unceremoniously dumped into a mud slough. The Norse goddess "Ran" is very similar in character to all these others. She was the wife-sister of Hler, who was often depicted as a greedy, talon-clawed old man, who greedily pulled ships to the bottom of the sea. Her name translates as "robber" and she was as cruel, cunning, insatiable and greedy as the mhorrigan at her worst. In mermaid form, she lurked near dangerous rocks; there she spread her met and sang to men, enticing them to their doom. For this she was counted the sea-going equivalent of Hel, the land-goddess of death. Northern nations fancied that this creature entertained the drowned in her caves, a place where mead flowed as freely as in Valhalla. The goddess, like the crow-woman, lusted for sex and gold, and was sometimes called "the flame of the sea", because she used this metal to illuminate her halls. To protect

themselves from Ran's bad humour Norse seamen kept gold on their persons and set at least one coin beneath the mainmast of their ships, a practise followed to this day in Maritime Canada. The descendants of the Fomor and the Vana are known as the "ceasg" (sea-hags), the "daoine mara" or the "maighdean mara" in present day Scotland. A subspecies is the "fachan" a sea-sidh, or trow, identified by the fact that it has but one eye, hand and leg. These are, of course the "morgans" of Brittany, the "ben-varrey" of the Isle of Man, and the people called "merrows" or the "mara-warra" In Ireland. Keightley says there are no sea-sidh in that country comparable with the horse-like Scottish "kelpie" and their "ness", best exemplified by the Loch Ness monster. See entry immediately below. MORGAN, “Dogfish,” one of the kings of the Land Beneath the Waves, the husband of a monster woman named Coinchend, but the father of the beautiful Delbchaem. He was slain by Art when he journeyed to the undersea world seeking her love.

MORGAN, MORRIGAN, MHORRIGAN (mor-rig-ahn), one of the Bafinn triad of goddesses, the remaining two being Mebd and Macha. She was the youngest and most nubile and was the fate who represented the past. Her name combines mor, great, the sea; righ, queen, with gan,procreator. Like the others in her triad, Mhorrigan was said to be of mixed Tuathan and Fomorian blood and was often described as the mate/daughter of Don, the creator-sea-god; nevertheless it was this goddess who helped the human warrior-wizards remove the sea-giants from Britain. Today, Mhor is considered the equivalent of the English personal name Sarah while mhorair, describes a person who possesses "airgead", or silver, a nobleman. The sea was vast and important to all the Celtic islanders, and the word was extended, in to the Atlantic Ocean and the "moors" of England, Scotland and Ireland. In the Celtic tongue "muir" is the sea, and in Wales one who lives near the sea is a "morgant", a name also applied to an individual seaman or the seashore. The English word morass and the word mere (a lake) belong to this same family as does the defunct "moorburn", which describes a fire on the wastelands or an outbreak of bad temper. Marine, marsh, mermaid and merrow

are all related words suggesting that Mhorrigan was probably one of the Fomorian tribe, who came to land from the deep sea, establishing their principal base on Tory Island northwest of Ireland. Although her father was Fomorian her mother was said to be Ernmas of the Tuatha daoine (people of Danu). Returning from a reconnaissance of the Fomorian camp at Scetne, Ireland Dagda, the patriarch of land-gods is reported to have seen her for the first time among men: “On his way he saw the Battle Crow, the Morrigu washing herself in the river Unius of Connacht. One of her feet was at Ullad Echne, to the south of the water, and the other at Loscuinn, to the north of the water, and her hair was hanging in nine loosened locks. And she said to the Dagda, that she would bring the heart’s blood of Indech mac De Domnann (i.e. Don), he who had threatened the Dagda, to him, and give it up to the men of Ireland (in return for sexual favours). This was consummated as she wished and when the Cauldron of the Deep was purloined by Dagda from the undersea kingdom, it was placed for safe-keeping in the hands of Mhorrigan. After that, the sea-goddess settled at Tara where she kept her great cooking-spit, which held a shish-kebob of three different meats, one raw, one dressed and one buttered: “And the raw was dressed, the dressed not burned, and the butter unmelted in spite of the three being together on the one spit.” While it was often said that men who aspired to kingship at Tara had to mate with Mebd, this not entirely accurate as she represented a warrior-woman at the height of power, and the high-kings coupled with a fresh virgin-goddess. The aspect of newness and virginity was embodied in Mhorrigan, while Macha, the old crone, represented the final phase of the triad. Mhorrigan was then the Samh, or summer-goddess just as Macha was the winter-goddess. The rituals of Samhain were once thought essential for the conversion of the coldness of winter into the warmth of summer.

"At Samhain men from all over Ireland converged on Cruchain (in Connaught province) to woo a maiden. For each suitor, one of his people had to be slain, The maiden must be (represent) the territorial goddess whose goodwill is secured by these sacrifices." (Celtic Monthly, p. 111) These were not actually seen as "sacrifices," but as an important reshuffling of the life-force, and it should be noted that these annual deaths were in addition to that of the "king" whose body was "returned to earth" so that the crops, as well as the animals and men, that fed upon them might be "reinvigorated." While Mebd has been described as somewhat "horse-faced" and blonde, Mhorrigan is usually represented as a raven-tressed seductress. It is interesting that her descendants, the morgans, or mermaids, are often represented as having hair which is the colour of seaweed when seen in the depths, but this becomes a blinding flaxen colour in sunlight. While Mebd had small golden birds as her informants, the Mhorrigan, like Odin, fancied a coterie of ravens or hooded crows. Like Mebd and Macha, she was an accomplished shape-changer but preferred the wolf and crow-form over others. A perpetual virgin, renewed through magic, the Mhorrigan was very interested in the sex act as a means of bestowing or taking power; the flow being always toward the stronger party in the union. This explains why the Befinne would never keep a partner less spirited than herself, any other relationship leading to the death of the underspirited individual. It follows that Mhorrigan made every attempt to seduce her enemies especially where she felt they might be less spiritually potent than herself. Even with one of equal staying-power, a psychic union was formed which might mean that the enemy warrior might be unable to offer further opposition. It was with this in mind that Mhorrigan offered herself to Cúchullain in the guise of a human maid. As it happened the Ulster hero was too tired to perform and refused her a he explained. In a tiff, she left him and thereafter warred against him as he protected the ford at the border with Connaught. She appeared as a wolf , as hornless red heifer and as a water serpent in

isolated attempts to kill him, but he nearly finished her. Near death, she was forced to come to him seeking a boon, and in the end he granted it, sparing her life. Although her alter-ego, Mebd continued to war on against Cúchullain, Mhorrigan imparted some of her spirit to the Grey Mare, which was his friend and protector. She also became his befinne and banshee and passed through Emain Macha, breaking the axle of his chariot to warn him that his last battle was at hand. As with the latter day Morgans, and Mackays, she took the crow-form and perched upon the shoulder of Cúchullain to signal that his spirit had moved on. The Mhorrigan appeared as the Macha, at a later time when she travelled to Da Derga's Hostel to bring down King Conary: "As long as a weaver's beam were her two shins, which were as black as the surface of a stag-beetle. Her hair reached to her knees. Her mouth awry." When he admitted her against a personal "geis" he and his company became subject to events which led to their death. King Conory was the last of the line Etain and Eochy, who had defeated Mider, the king of the underworld. Conory was his great, great great-grandson, and it was thus that the Daoine sidh evened the score between the side-hill people and men. When Cúchullain was still a boy she appeared to him when he was in thrall to some external enchantment of an enemy. Thinking to arouse him she noted, “There is not the making of a hero in you, you lie enthraled at the feet of a mere shadow.” Enraged he sprung to his feet and threw his hurly-stick at the shadow clipping off its head. When King Conchobharr was attempting to raise the debilitated men of Ulster in the Tain wars, he bade his messenger go to the crow-woman seeking help for Cúchullain. She was always ambivalent toward him and argued with him as she was bringing cows down from the peak of her hill at Cruachan. In another instance, she assented to help Talchinem, a

druid to Conaire Mor, when he sought to steal a bull his wife had set her mind on having. She pilfered a cow from Odras, a female keeper in the household of the cow-chief Cormac Hua Cuined. Pursued to the Cave of Cruachan in the Hill of the Sidhe she caught Odras as slept and “sang songs over her until she was changed into a pool of water which is the source of the west branch of Slieve Buane. In the battle of Magh Rath she fluttered over the unfortunate Congal Claen in her bird shape so that he lost all sense of friend and foe. Again, at the battle of Cluantarbh she flew above the head of Murchadh mac Brian to his detriment. She showed herself, similarly, in the battle of Dunbolg taking the part of the southerners against Leinster, which had the support of the goddess known as Bridd. See also Aoine, who some identified as a daughter of Manann mac Ler, while others insisted she was simply a form of Mhorrigan. Note that she confers with Morgawr, the Cornish “Sea Giant.” said to live in the seas nearby, There were sightings of this monster in 1876: Two fishermen off Lizard Point described the creature as having, “a great head like an enormous seal (with a) long neck...The body was black and the head was grey and we saw a total length of about 22 feet... a bog rounded back (with) humps on the top.” Every north western land had its version of this óighea muir , or “sea-maiden,” who left descendants in the Anglo-Saxon mermaydes. In her book Somerset Folklore (1961) Miss Ruth Tongue has noted that the people of her coast related the morgan with the conger eel: “There was once a sea morgan with a beautiful face, and she’d sing on the autumn evenings and anyone heard her had to go, and they’d wade further out and further to reach her till the quicksands got them, and the conger eels had a feast. They always knew when the eels barked she would be about on the low tide...” The dwelling place of sea-morgans led to such names as that of the Glamorgan coast of Wales. Thomas Keightley says that the Breton korrigan had its counterpart in the creatures that the Romans called the

gallicenae, the “strangers of Sena (the Isle of Saints opposite Brest, France).” These were regarded as oracles of a Gallic god, living in the Mare Ofismician, the now called the English Channel. These were said to be nine virgin priestesses, “able to charm the winds, turn themselves into what animals they will,, cure wounds, and predict the future; but the last they will only do for those navigators who go to that island to consult with them.” Keightley thought that these ladies had “all the attributes of the Damoiselle de Lais de Marie du France.” One of this kind was wounded by Gugemar in the form of a doe, afterwards addressing him “with a human voice.” Another “loved Lanval, and carried him off to an island.” A third proposition Graelent, and he and his mistress crossed “a very deep and broad river” to arrive in her country. Like the Gaelic visitors from the Otherworld, the ladies of the lake appeared to visit their human lovers without being seen coming or going. Keightley says this matter may be resolved through a reading of Lai d’Ywence. The hero of that song is a shapechanger like these women, “a real man, but one capable of assuming the shape of a bird.” Note the resemblance to Lugh who was often seen flying the sky as a hawk or an eagle. Lanval’s mistress informed him that she was always available to him, although distance might separate them. He had merely to wish for her presence and, “I will presently come to you, All commands ready to do. No one but you will me see, Or hear the words that come from me.” Granlent’s paramour warned him: I shall love you trewely; But one thing I forbid straitlÿ You must not utter a word apérte Which might our love make discovérte. I will give unto you richlÿ Gold, silver, clothes and fee. Much love shall be between us two Night and day I’ll go to you:

You’ll see me come to you alwáy With me laugh and talk you may. You shall no comrades have to see, Or who shall know my privacy. Take care that you do not boast Of things by which I may be lost. Unfortunately, humans were always human, and never able to live by their pledges to these sea-morgans, so the ladies always felt it within their right to “travel on” to some new love when the oath of secrecy was inevitably broken. In relating the korrigans to the gallicenae, Keightley quoted an ancient Breton poem: “There are nine korrigen, who dance, with flowers in their hair, and in robes of white, round the far fountains, by the light of the full moon.” Speaking of the sea-woman and their sea-daughters, Keightley added that, “they draw down to their palaces of gold and crystal at the bottom of the sea, or of ponds, those who venture imprudently too near the edge of the water. Like the mermaids they sing and comb their golden hair.” In ancient Italy it was sometimes suggested that the Fata Morgana was not the ultimate authority in the affairs of men, but a spirit subject to the Demogorgone. Keightley says that this overlord of the witches was “a being unknown to classical mythology,” but we would guess that reference was made to the “demon gorgons,” the three fabled sisters of Greek mythology, who had snaky hair and faces that were so terrible they turned people to stone. According to Aristoto the Demogorgon had a temple in the Himalayan region, and here the Fates were summoned annually to give an account of their actions. “To get there they travelled through the air in various strange conveyances, and it is no easy matter to distinguish between their convention and a Sabbath of the Witches.” On the other hand, the people of the continental lowlands of northwestern Europe were as certain that the headquarters of the faee qui estoit appéllee Morgane was

“en Iysle des Zeelande,” which is to say “Zealand” or “Sealand.” In Ireland her palace was said to lie in the underground of Connaught province, but in Scotland it was more traditionally located within Coire-Bhrecain, or “Corryvreckan,” the famous whirlpool located between the northern end of Jura and the Isle of Scarba within the Inner Hebrides. The Island of Eigg, which lies in this same group (whose name is prohibited from polite speech) is also her property being properly spoken of as Eilean Nem mBan More, the “Island of Big Women.” Occasionally her residence was said to be within the largest hollow hill on the Island of Pomona, which is in the Orkneys. None of these lands may be counted as her place of origin, which is said to have been the beginning-gap known as An Domhain. The Mhorrigan’s parents are not often mentioned as she is an elemental of the water, and possibly the elemental Domnu, the feminine form of Donn. the creator-god. She is sometimes represented as the daughter or “wife” of Ler, Manann mac Ler, Lugh or the Dagda. but it appears that she stands beside each man-god, in turn, as his sovereignbride, the source of his temporary power. The Mhorrigan was the physical type of the Daoine mara, or “sea-folk,” and for this reason there was always a bit of fish in her native form. She was not as obviously finned, or scaled as the male of her species, but she did have a translucent skin, cod-fish like eyes with reflective red pupils, and a slight webbing of all her fingers and toes. Her hair was variously described as blond, red, or black, depending on whether it was seen in sunlight or beneath deep water. Some men who saw her said that her hair was actually the colour of rockweed. A consummate magician she never had to put up with natural deficiencies and could alter her form, or coloration, to suit circumstances. She had the ability to take any organic form, and could become a seal, a fish, a half-fish, a dog, cat or horse on a whim. In Ireland, the offspring of her

ocean matings were termed the múrivgach, the “seadaughters” or the mara-uara, the merrows, or mermen. In Scotland the males were the ceasg, or “hairy ones,” and the females the maighdean mara, or “sea-maidens.” In the northern islands they were termed sea-trows, or sea-trolls, after Old Norse models of language. The Mhorrigan and all her kind had a vast knowledge of history, and could use this as a base for predicting the future. They also possessed the ability known as far-sight and the blighting- or evil-eye. The Mhorrigan was also a channel for what the old Gaels termed anim or “spirit” (the word being linguistically attached to her name). The Celtic root of this word was amnion, that which “stirs” or causes motion, a word close to the Latin animus and our current word “animal.” It was believed that the Anu could add to the life force of an individual, or subtract from it, in the sexual act. It was said that a highly spirited individual could profit from such a union as the flow of energies was always in the direction of the individual having the greater potential energy. This explains why the Mhorrigan always insisted on mating with an individual who was at least her equal in terms of lust and endurance. The Mhorrigan could increase the life expectancy of a lover by simply kissing him or blowing upon his face, but these acts could attenuate the life of a older man or someone with low energy levels. She could also act indirectly by blowing her anim upon food or drink placed before a friend or an enemy. The Anglo-Saxon tribes of southern England eventually collided with the Celts and described the descendants of this sea-woman as the Blaec Annis. She was said to dwell within sloughs and backwaters emerging to abduct children or kill adults by blowing her fetid breath in their direction. Although the history of this goddess is incomplete it would appear that she allied herself with the Dagda when he and his sons invaded An Domhain. It was thus that she became a totem of the land-dwelling tribe known as the Tuatha daoine and left the Great Plain dispirited. Although she is often represented as the

guardian of the Cauldron of the Deep, it is clear that she is the cauldron of regeneration, the source of balance between the world of living and dead things. Peter Ellis has said that she is “interchangeable with Macha, Badb and Nemain (Emain Macha),” but this is not entirely correct since the Mhorrigan was a source of constructive anim. The other ladies might act as a mhorrigane, but both were basically destructive elementals. It is really improper to label the Mhorrigan as embodying “all that was perverse and horrible among the supernatural powers.” Where the Mhorrigan was seen to commit any act of terrorism she was no longer the great renewable virgin but a “more mature”goddess. Nancy Arrowsmith is closer the truth in saying that the sea-folk “reflect the nature of the waters which they haunt.” At times the morgans could be as serene as the calmest waters of summer, seeking to delight, charm and accommodate anyone they happened to encounter. A few days later their summery looks could change, and under black clouds, they might become baobhe, dragging victims into the deep, sometimes devouring them. The summer occupations of the sea-folk were usually less likely to lead to violence than the things they did during the winter months. In the warm days they were seen lounging offshore, or on the headlands, singing, hair-combing, dancing and shape-changing so that they could attend the festivals of humans who lived near the seashore. At every time of the year the sea-people had charge of generating weather and brewing storms. They were considered responsible for upwellings, “tidal” waves, hurricanes, sea-cyclones, the trade winds, and when men were killed by these phenomena they had charge of their spirits which were taken into the undersea kingdom. At one time it was commonplace for ocean-going captains to placate the mer-folk with gifts thrown into the sea. In the process it was often said that the wreath or offering of food was donated “for the old cat,” who was, of

course, the Mhorrigan. Many verbal bouts ensued between sea-captains and mer-people, the winner being considered the individual who managed “the last word.” In situations of extreme danger, some seamen promised a son or daughter, or the next born, in exchange for help in overcoming a storm at sea. Fishermen also routinely tried to bargain with the sea-folk because the taking of fish, or the crossing of wide expanses of water, was though impossible without the complicity of these supernaturals. In Scottish folklore, the tale is told of a fisherman, who being unmarried, and without heirs, promised that he would surrender his son at the age of twenty to a sea morgan. Eventually he did marry and his wife gave birth to a son, who learning of his father’s bargain tried to escape his fate by journeying in parts away from his homeland. During his trip, the lad was constantly reminded of his destiny by the strange creatures who opposed him, two Fomorian giants, an old crone and the three-headed serpent of Loch Laidly (representing the triune goddess). In each case he was able to put down these monsters, and after saving the life of a local princess, acquired a her as a bride. The one thing that the Mhorrigan could never tolerate was a female competitor, so dead on the date of this young fellow’s twentieth birthday she appeared “without leave or asking” and “swallowed him whole.” This is a polite way of saying that the Mhorrigan was nubile and nearly irresistible as an object of lust. In polite versions of the tale, a sea serpent “ensnared” the youth and carried him down into the depths of the loch. The princess who went to retrieve her prince from the Otherworld, took the advice of “an old soothsayer” (druid) who remembered that mermaids were unable to resist beautiful music. She therefore took her harp to the shore and played upon it until the sea morgan surfaced. She then stopped her hand, at which the mistress of the seas asked her to “Play on!” She said she would but only after seeing that her husband was unharmed. To oblige the morgan thrust the captive man out of the

water until he was visible above the waist. The musician then continued, and the piece was so sentimental that the mhorrigan lost her grasp and the prince shape-changed himself into a falcon which broke free. In one of the variants of this tale the “sea-monster” regurgitated the man. Seeing that she had been tricked the morgan took the princess in place of the man who had escaped her grasp. The prince, in turn, consulted his druid, who assured him that there was only one way to overcome the morgan: “In the island that lies in the midst of the loch is the white footed hind (doe), and if she is caught there will spring out of her a hoodie (crow), and if she is caught, out of her will come a trout, and the trout containeth an egg, and here is encapsulated the soul of the sea-maiden, and it the egg is crushed she will die.” Now, there was no known way of crossing to Eilean Mhorrigan for the sea-maiden routinely sank each boat and raft that ventured upon the “loch” (a metaphor for the ocean). So it was that the prince decided to jump the gulf using his black stallion (a symbol of storm clouds ). On the island this prince called upon his magic black dog to track and bring down the doe. When the morgan shape-changed into a crow his totem falcon brought her down, and the trout was caught up by his magic otter. When the egg spewed from the trouts’s mouth, the prince put his foot upon it, and the witch cried out, “Break not the egg, and all that you ask will be given up to you!” The prince then demanded his wife, and having her in his arms stepped down soundly upon the egg. It was never said that Mhorrigan was an immortal. Having complicity in the death of the Oolathair, she was subject to numerous reincarnations, but her elemental spirit could not be destroyed and re-emerged time and again as the renewed virgin of summer. In one of her first appearances among men, Mhorrigan assisted the Tuatha daoine in routing the last of the Fomorian sea-giants. When these god-warrior-magicians were, in turn, defeated by the Milesians she found no compromise in giving herself to the heroes among the Milesian invaders. It has been suggested

that she was named Eriu when she and her sisters, Banbha and Foldha stood on the shores greeting these newcomers: “Welcome warriors,” she supposedly cried out, “to you who have come from afar this island shall henceforth belong, and from the setting to the rising of the sun, there is no better place than Ireland. Your race will be the most perfect the world has yet known.” As we have noted elsewhere the House of Donn was named after the death god, who was sometimes associated with the Dagda and Bilé. In current folklore Donn has the same weight as Ler, or the Norse god Hler, being commonly associated with shipwrecks and sea storms. In some folklore, he is represented as the son of Midir, god of the Underworld. More often he is confused (and understandably so) with the eldest of the eight sons of Mil. It was this man who was hospitably greeted by the three soveran goddesses of Ireland, and he reacted by “paying scant respect.” In this case, “scant respect” meant a little more that ignoring her, for elsewhere it is reported that “Eiru was overrun at Inver Sceni in Bantry Bay.” She survived long enough to predict the doom of prince Donn . The Milesians put to sea after this and Manann mac Ler caused a great storm to blow up against the invaders. In one version of events Donn lost his life while checking out the nature of this magic storm from the mainmast. Others state that he was killed attempting to make land, or on the land, and that his brothers agreed to his request that he be buried on an offshore island. Here the traditions of Donn og and Donn sean , “Old Don) become intermixed, for the Irish death god also had an offshore island entitled Tech Duinn, at the southwest of Ireland. In spite of this bad start, the Mhorrigan was always attracted to the newcomers, often with fatal effect. She was central to the Táin Bó Cuailgne, “the Cattle Raid of Cooley,” which is the most famous Gaelic epic. The first reference to it in written form is mentioned by Senchan Torpeist, the chief poet of Ireland, who died in the

year 647 A.D. Surviving texts date much later than this, perhaps as late as the eleventh or twelfth centuries, but essentially all describe the troubles that a Connaught queen named Mebd had while trying to capture the prized Brown Bull of Cuailgne, which was kept in Ulster province. She led a host of warriors against Ulster, whose warriors were rendered useless by “ a strange debility inflicted on them by the Macha. Only the youthful champion Cúchullain was unaffected by this “curse of child-bearing,”since he was in training in the Land of Shadows at the time of pronouncement. He defended the northern kingdom at the Ford of Ulster, until these men were relieved and able to come to his aid. As we will see, the Mhorrigan attempted to befriend Cúchullain while her two sisters fought against him. MORAG, another name for the Mhorrigan. Diarmuid was approached in a dream by this woman, who introduced herself as the sister of the king of Donn, the ruler of the Land Under Waves. “She was the one of the three colours the whiteness of snow, the redness of blood, and the blackness of the raven that drinks the blood that has flowed on the snow. She was graceful in her stature and graceful in all her movements,” When Fiann travelled to the Otherworld to assist Abartach , the king of Sorc, he was given magical assistance by Morag. In the battle neither army yielded until Diarmuid’s sword pierced the shield of Donn. With that done Abartach was declared the victor, and Fiann was led off to be introduced to Morag: “When the harps played Morag chanted a poem meant for Fiann alone, and remembering that he had once been a bard, Fiann returned the compliment. Then the sigh-woman turned to Fiann and said, enigmatically, “I shall be with you in Ireland!” Considering this promise, Fiann made no further demand on the king for his services, but Conan demanded the use of the mare of the ocean: “Put fourteen women of this realm on her back, and let your own mare, who is queen of this place, bear up in the rear where Liagan was forced to hold, then return us all to

our homeland.” The other fourteen who had been abducted cheered for this plan. The king of Sorca merely smiled and turned to Fiann saying, “Look now upon your men.” When he did as he was told, the Fionn were no longer in a strange land but on the wide beach below the hills of Kerry. The people of the west gone. There was no sign of the fourteen handmaidens, but Fiann found at his side Morag. “He lifted the woman on his shield so that she could see her new home. And with shouts and songs they all marched inland to Fiann’s house which was on the hill at Alma. The sigh-woman in this tale is sometimes named Tasgaidh, loosely translated as “Tasha,” but having the real-meaning of “a treasury,” or “depository for good things.” In any instance this story clearly represents another form of the rape of An Domhain, the treasure which was carried away being represented in this instance as the female spirit of the deep. Morag may also confer with another woman possessed by Fionn, namely Sadb, a daughter of Boabd Dearg. Her name translates as the “straying-” or “lounging-one.” She was supposedly shape-changed into a fawn by the “Dark Druid” for some unspecified offense. One day while Fionn was hunting near his home fortress he came across her in this form and kept her from being killed by hounds. That night she appeared to her rescuer in human form, and became his mistress. They lived happily for a while, but the Dark Druid hearing she had been released from her spell, pursued her and made certain that she had no further relations with Fionn. Fionn searched Ireland attempting to recover her, but at Ben Bulben came upon a naked boy reputedly raised by a doe. Fionn recognized him as his own son by Sabd and called him Oisin or “Little Fawn.” One can guess that the “Dark Druid” was Donn who tracked the lady for her duplicity in the battles of the Fiann with the king of the Land Under the Flood. MORAN, MORAIN, great number, multitude, many, a meadow, , the first day of May, heath rush, meadow saxifrage. MORANN, the chief judge and druid of Ulster at the time of

the Red Branch. He was born with a caul or “bag of waters” in place over his head. His “father” judging him to be of inhuman (i.e. Fomorian) blood, gave ordered that he should be drowned in the sea. It is now well-known that those who are “caul-born” cannot be drowned, but the servants attempted to carry out their orders. When they dropped the child into the ocean, the “birth-cap” split and the child spoke to the men asked that he be rescued. The troubled gilles did not dare return with the child so they took it to the door of the smith for fosterage. The craftsman raised the child and eventually returned it to the father. Morann’s most famous judgement was who should have charge of the education of Cuchulainn. The matter was referred to him when Conchobar mac Nessa’s druids could not settle the matter amongst themselves. Morann decreed that Sencha should teach the boy languages and rhetoric, that Fergus mac Roth should be responsible for teaching him gamesmanship and that Amergin would instruct him in all other matters. MÓR-ANOCH, great assembly, market-place, a great heath or moor. MÓR-FHLEADH, great feast. MÓR MUMAN. The daughter of Aod, thus a manifestation of the sun-goddess. A matriarchal queen of Munster who bore a child by her father. Hence the old text: “This Mughaim was his mother, he to her a brother.” She corresponds with Mhorrigan who was also said to have cohabited with her father. MORGHAN, gravel, shingles, a pebbly beach. See Mhorrigan. MORT, murder, from the Latin mors. death. MÓR UACH, UAICH, MURIVGACH, mor + uagneach, great and lonely. The Irish merrow, or sea-maiden, resembling the English mer-maid. All are descendant from the goddess Mhorrigan. To pass through the hostile ocean between its

deep-sea abode and the land, these sea-sidh wore the red cap known as the cohuleen driuth, without which they were deprived of the ability to travel the seas. The Fitzgeralds and the O'Sullivans were clans whose members were romantically involved with these remnant members of the once powerful Tuatha daoine. La Dame du Lac, who appears in the earliest prose romance concerning chivalry, which was printed in 1494: This tale commenced with the death of King Ban, who died watching his castle burn under the torch of his treacherous seneschal. His afflicted queen was forced to abandon her new-born infant at the edge of a lake while she attempted to minister to her dying husband. On her return to lake she discovered her child in the arms of a strange woman, who carried the child with her into the water. This was Viviane, La Dame Du Lac, who lived "en la marche de la petit Bretaigne." As we have said, Merlin came to know her intimately and taught her portions of his art. In consequence of this knowledge, she became one of the fay, who the Gaels termed sidh. The author of this particular romance says that, "the damsel who carried the young Lancelot to the lake was fay, and in those times all women were so called who were enchantresses, and there were many of them at that time, principally in Greater Britain. They knew the power and virtue of words, of stones and of herbs, by which they were kept in perpetual youth and beauty, and in riches as much as they desired." The lake itself was "feerie" an illusion made possible through the teaching of Merlin. The "lake" was actually a wooded hollow with "many fair houses and very rich...and this place was so secret and so concealed, that right difficult was it, for the semblance of the said lake covered it..." When Viviane's apprentice in magic and knighthood had completed his education he was presented at the court of King Arthur, where his subsequent history is well known. The "korr, korrid, korrig or korrigan" of Breton have

been identified with the "fee" of southern France and are not improbable cousins of the Welsh creature known as the "koridgwen", which must surely bear a relationship with the Irish mhorrigan? Thomas Keightley said that all of these corresponded with entirely human women, who were called the "gallicenae" among the people of ancient Gaul (France). Of them the Roman traveller Pomponius Mela wrote: "Sena in the British sea opposite the Ofismician coast, is remarkable for and oracle of the gallic God. Its priestesses, holy in perpetual virginity, are said to be nine in number, and are thought to be endowed with singular powers, so as to raise by their charms the winds and the seas, to turn themselves into what animals they will, to cure wounds and diseases incurable by others, to know and predict the future. but this they do only to navigators who go thither expressly to consult them." It is interesting that the Lady of Little Van Lake in Wales was also represented as having a keen interest in medicine. In Vita Merlini, (The Life of Merlin, 1150) Morgan was represented as living on an island with her eight sisters and tending herbs which were used to cure Arthur after his final battle, saving him from seemingly mortal injuries. The korid-gwyn was similarly assigned nine attendants. To this being the poet Taliesin entrusted a magic vase (or cauldron), the edges of which were adorned with sea-pearls and which contained the wondrous waters of bardic genius and of universal knowledge. In Gaelic folklore this cauldron of the deep was given by Arthur to his sister Morgan Le Fay. The korrigan, it was said, could "predict the future, assume any form, move from place to place with the rapidity of thought, and cure maladies by the aid of charms which they communicate to their favourites." These fee, or fayres, were no more than two feet in height but proportionate to adult humans rather than dwarfed. They dressed in a single white veil and seen at night, appeared to radiate a light which was very beautiful; "but by daylight their eyes appear red, their hair white, and their faces

wrinkled; hence they rarely let themselves be observed by day." Their favourite past time was singing, but they were never much given to dancing. They lived near the Breton springs. Their chief occupation seems to have been the combing of their long hair. One might suspect that they had access to the ale of the cauldron of the deep for at May eve they held a banquet at which they passed "a liquor, one drop of which would make one as wise as God himself." Unfortunately, few outlanders drank this brew as the korrigans vanished at any human intrusion. This is probably to the good as they had extreme halitosis, their breath being deadly. It is of note that the Black Annis of England and gwrach y rhibya of Wales are hags possessed of similar appearance and bad breath. Keightley has noticed that the korrigan were very similar to the elle (elf) maids of Scandinavia and the trolls of that northern land. They had the same aversion to Christian artifacts (eg bells) as the korrigan, had their chief holiday on May eve and May Day and could foretell events. The korrigan came equipped with a purse full of gold (obtained from her prophetic work), but if any human wrestles it from her it is found to contain nothing more than hair clippings and her scissors. The Bretons distinguished these from the sea-going mermaid, who they named the morgan (sea-woman) and morverc'h (sea-daughters). They saidthat these creatures captured people and carried them away to their palaces of gold and crystal at the bottom of the sea. Like the korrigans, the morgans sang and combed their hair which was crow black as they swam through the water, but a blinding red-yellow colour in sunlight. In the romance entitled Maugis d'Aygremont et de Vivian son Frere we again find in Perceforest a version of La Dame du Lac, who lived in a castle surrounded by a river over which lay a fog so persistent none could cross except as the lady allowed. Here Alexander the Great came to be cured of his wounds. While he stayed, he was entertained

and told that his lineage was the same as that of "le roi Artus". In this same romance we meet another character living "en lysle de Zelland" (off the coast of Denmark). Described as a "ancient jade" she is said to be "une faee qui estoit appellee Morgane." This Morgane was said to be on intimate terms with "un espirit Zephyr. This youth was taught "enchantemiens et des conjurations" along with the abc's of sex. Keightley declares that the amorous adventures of this rake in training "form one of the most interesting portions of the romance. The Zephyr of this story clearly corresponds with Sir Launcelot of the Lake. In Sir Launfal this same character is represented in metrical form by Thomas Chestre, who wrote during the reign of Henry VI of England. In Chestre's tale, Launcelot is represented as serving at the court of King Arthur until the arrival of Gwennere, daughter of Ryon, King of Ireland. Slighted by the lady, Launfal retired to a forest retreat. Here he encountered Dame Tryamour (another morgan) whose father was "king of Faerie". He soon found her naked body to rival "snow that snoweth in winter's day" and observed that (like the mermaids) "her haire shone as golde wire." As marks of affection this lady gave him her never-failing purse filled with gold and dismissed him, promising him additional favours provided he remained constant to her. Launfal now returned to court where he was able to present a much better image, one sufficient to catch the interest of Arthur's queen. In other versions the knight succumbed to her sexual wiles, but in this one he refused her advances and was sentenced to death on a trumped up charge of attempted rape. Before the execution ten five damsels arrived at the pyre on horseback and Launfal was rescued by his lady of the lake. A thirteenth century version of the Arthurian tale entitled "The Dream of Rhonabwy" introduced the Welsh Owein (Lancelot), who was represented as the son of a

mortal, King Urien, and the goddess Modron (who is obviously Mhorrigan). She has been equated with Matrona, a Celtic river-goddess whose domain extended from the Rhine to northern Italy. Owein's ancestry was revealed in his playing of the board game "gwddbwyll" (god battle) at the court of his patron, King Arthur. Owein and the King engaged in a "game" which appeared to operate at two levels, the more serious being a battle in the real world which corresponded with moves made on the board. In the former, Owein appeared to be supported by flights of battle-ravens, his mother's totem animal. In all of these versions of the Arthurian myth, Morgan le Fay is presented as the foster mother-lover of Sir Launcelot of the Lake and is not an unsympathetic character. All of that changed when Chretein de Troyes identified Morgan as Arthur's half sister and the mistress of Guingamor, lord of Avalon. In all later romances the lady tended to be more in common with the ancient Irish Mhorrigan. In Gawain And the Green Knight she is introduced as a wrinkled crone rather than a golden-haired lass, and Thomas Mallory was first to represent her as totally corrupt, a plotter against King Arthur and his throne. John Steinbeck started to interpret Malory in idiomatic English and he characterized Morgan as "dark, handsome, passionate, cruel and ambitious." In Malory's tale, Morgan fashioned a sword and sheath exactly like King Arthur's Excalibur. She then seduced Sir Accolon of Gaul arranging that he should kill Arthur while under her spell. Arthur was then misled in the woods and his sword changed for a dull-edged double. The true Excalibur was given to Accolon who used it against the king in a very unequal fight. Nyneve, elsewhere known as Viviane, watched the fray and released a "geisreg" which caused the real sword to fall from the traitor's hand and rush to that of the true owner. Arthur now overcame Accolan and learned that his sister plotted against him. Addressing his downed adversary, Arthur said: "I grant

you mercy because I know you were under a spell. I have honoured Morgan le Fay, my sister, and loved her better than my other kin. I trusted her more than my wife, although I knew well her jealousy and lust for flesh and power. I knew she practised the black arts, and now I have no mercy for her." Unaware that her plot had failed Morgan called for her husband's sword intending to send him to earth along with her brother. A maid-servant warned her son, Sir Ewain, and he confronted his mother while the sword was still raised over her victim. Acutely embarrassed, Morgan seemed to have a change of heart and foreswore the dark arts. When the sidh warned her that her attempt on Arthur had failed, Morgan went herself to intercept Arthur as he travelled back toward Camelot. She was unable to harm him but stole Excalibur's sheath, which had protective properties for the wearer. Accompanied by her men she disposed of this magic amulet in a nearby lake and hid from her pursuers by giving her party the aspect of standing-stones. Morgan then retreated to her own land of Gore where she strengthened her castles and towns, and armed and supplied them out of fear of her brother. Some mythologists consider the Tuatha daoine to have sprung from the Nemedians after they abandoned Ireland for the Mediterranean. Fleeing from the Fomorian wars, which reduced their numbers to thirty descendants of the pirate named Nemed, they scattered to Britain, and to southern and northern Greece. The latter settlers under Beotac settled the four northern islands of Falias (Fal Island), Gorias (Gor or the Triangular Island), Murias (Mur or Sea Island) and Findias (Fin Island). It is recorded that "Out of Falias was brought the Stone of Fal, which was in Tara. It used to roar under every king that would take legal possession of Ireland. Out of Gorias was brought the spear that Lugh had. From Findias came the spear of Nuada, another irresistible weapon. Out of Murias was brought Dagda's Cauldron from which no company departed unthankful." Morgan's land of Gore mauy have been the current Scottish shire of Moray,

for that was aciently the place of "the seed of Morgan". While Arthur returned to Camelot nursing his rage, Morgan took up needlework, fashioning a cloak decorated with "flowers and curling leaves patterned in jewels, covered with preciousness and flashing colour. This she sent to Arthur by way of one of her ladies-in-waiting. In the presentation of this gift Morgan explained her evil actions as behaviour brought on after the invasion of her body by an evil spirit. Being honest and innocent, Arthur was ready to accept this lame excuse but Nyneve seized the cloak and flung it about the shoulders of the deliverywoman. Immediately the cloak contracted about her, her skin reddened and then blackened, and she fell to the floor as corrosive acids reduced her to ash. After that Arthur and Morgan became implacable foes, but in spite of her magic, the realm was finally forced through battle to a state of peace. In that tranquillity, Arthur sought use for his unoccupied knights and sent Lancelot and Sir Lyonel on a quest for adventure which brought further contact with Morgan. On the road, Lancelot was subjected to a great weariness and fell into an deep sleep. In this state he was discovered by Morgan's befind, "a huge and ancient raven" and then by a cavalcade that included The Queen of the Outer Isles (of Scotland), the Queen of North Galys (highland Scotland), The Queen of Eastland (eastern Scotland) and finally Morgan le Fay, Queen of Gore (presumably the north east). "Black of hair, of eye, of robe, and horse. Her cheeks the white of white rose, and her midnight cloak blacker for its points of ermine." The great raven, which had taken to the air, now dropped on the trappings of Morgan's horse and croaked "Dog!-Pig!-Death!-Pretty-Pretty-Lady!" Laughing at her familiar, Morgan threw the bird into the air and turn to her three sisters saying, "We have

received a titbit sisters, a honeyed plum for the eating!" Morgan guessed at first that Lancelot was spellbound but her magic told her otherwise. To make certain that her foe would remain calm, Morgan took a vial of "lactucarium, iridescent with age" from her kit bag and forced the sleeping knight to drink some. The three queens carried the recumbent ally of King Arthur to Maiden's Castle. Within its walls, each of the four woman vied for Lancelot as a sex-object. There red-haired queen of the Gaels promised him "the crucifixion of love". The goldenhaired queen of the sea isles dismissed this attraction suggesting the night would soon tire of "versatility in a rather simple activity." She promised him change and variety in the sex act; "I offer you everything in layers of contrast." The queen of the eastern moors promised Galahad a motherly love; "safety and warmth, praise for virtue and a gentle compassion for fault." Finally Morgan spoke: "My coven sisters offer you brightly coloured shreds of a whole garment; but I will give you power. If you want harlotry, it can be purchased. Admiration? - the world aches to kiss the backside of that vice. A crown? Power and a sharp knife will put that in your hands. Change? With power you can try on cities like hats and smash them when they tire you. After all what crime is there that does not seem a virtue in the hands of power. And is not virtue a variety of power? Philanthropy, good deeds, charity, these are mortgages on the currency of promised power. It is the one possession that does not flag or become tedious, there is never enough of it. My sisters offer cheese for mice with small needs. I offer a ladder to your brothers, the stars, from which you can view the anthill of men with contempt and amusement." In this speech Morgan le Fay was not playing the part of a politician, but spoke from sincere conviction. Sir Lancelot is said to have responded first by tracing the

image of a circle which he then crossed. an instinctive action against witchcraft. He then turned on the queens and noted that their bodies were artificial constructs created by the arts. Of Morgan he noted: "Once on a night I stood in an open window looking out. I saw red eyes, and into the torchlight came a great shewolf, who raised her head and looked into my eyes; her mouth and tongue were gouted with new blood. Hand me a spear I cried, but the man beside me warned, "It will do no good. That is Morgan le Fay giving service to the moon." At this Morgan threatened to turn her prisoner's legs to snakes but listened instead as he continued: "Children have no power to oppose their oppressors so they rant at their nurse, kick a dog instead of a big brother or pull wings from a fly naming it father. And then he creates his own world where he is king, an invisible being who flies and has all power. Most children make some peace with their imperfect world and work out compromises so they can live with out injury to themselves or other. The few who do not make peace become prisoners to their fantasy, some locked away as hopelessly insane. Those who are clever sometimes flesh out the dream with magic. Not being innately wise or kind a world of enchantment injures through poor design. When things work poorly in the elemental world the grown child flies into a familiar rage and destructive hate. There lies the fear, for bhoabhs and bhodachs are children, living in a world they have made, one governed by chaos rather than order. What is more frightening than a child with great power? A spear and a sword are full of menace, that is why knights who carry them are first taught pity, justice, mercy, and to withhold force till the last. You my ladies are unreal, crippled, vengeful children, and I your prisoner." At this, Lancelot was returned to prison but finally made his escape with the help of a serving girl. MOTHAN, (pronounced mo-an), the bog-violet or trailing

pearlwort (sagina procumbens). “It is used in promoting and conserving the happiness of the people, in securing love and in ensuring life, in bringing good and in warding away evil.” Gathered with the words: “I will pull the pearlwort, the plant that Christ ordained; no fear has it of fire-burning, or wars of fairy women.” More distantly the following incantation was preferred: “I pluck the gracious mothan as plucked the victorious king of the universe in his time. In the name of Bridd and the holy three, I in the field of red blood, in which all wrath and fury are quelled. This then the cause of all joy and gladness, the shield of the mighty one above me.” The plant was to be carried by the picker or placed on the lintel of the door to keep the slaugh, or “aerial host,” from entering and beguiling a member of the household. Placed on the right knee of a woman in labour it provided relief and defeated any attempts at changeling substitution by the sigh. It was placed on the bull’s hoof to promote fertility when he was “with” a cow. Milk was sained with it so that its toradh or inner spirit would not be taken away by magic. A cow with calf was similarly protected, and sometimes in the “silvering” of magic water the juice of the plant took the place of silver. This plant was also a love charm. The woman who provided it had to collect nine roots of the tiny plant while kneeling on her left knee. She fashioned a ring of it and placed it in the mouth of her supplicant with appropriate Gaelic incantations. If the girl could induce her loved one to kiss her with the charm in place, he became her bondsman. Love bent maidens sometimes rubbed it on their lips as an aphrodisiac. When used as a love-token nine roots of the mothan had to be woven together into a cuach or ring, and this was placed by design, or otherwise, in the mouth of the person who sought affection. Here it was made active by consecrating it, “in the name of the king of the sun, and the deity of the moon and stars, and in the name of the holy three (not necessarily the Trinity).” The charm was thus carried to the next meeting with the intended, and a kiss

sealed his or her fate “making him hencefast bondsman in everlasting cord.” The bog-violet was also carried by travellers as insurance against danger on the road. Red Roderick Carmichael of Lewis received one from a boabh as he was going to trial “and he got off although he was as guilty as the son of a sinner.” Consuming this plant was said to bring dreams about the location of folk taken into the side-hills by the sigh. MUC, OIr. mucc, a pig, sow, Cy. moch, pigs, Br. moc’h, pigs, any animal with a snout, French moucher, to blow the nose, Skr. muncati, to let loose with phlegm, wild things. The pig was the symbol and mythological ancestor of the Firbolge. Notice that when the Milesians invaded Ireland they said that all the hills had the look of “sow’s backs,” a reference to the continued existence and power of this race. The Tuatha daoine had never been able to thoroughly subjugate this earlier people and Queen Mebd’s encounter with pigs which jumped clear over both her and her stallion may be a reference to some unfortunate encounter with these guerillas. Even Manann suffered losses at the hands of swine: His hounds sought “a pig that was destroying the whole country, and making a desert of it.” The animals tracked it at last to a lake, but it turned on them and maimed or killed its tormentors. Afterwards the pig swam to the island in the lake which was afterwards called Mucinis, the lake being termed Loch Conn, the “Lake of the Hounds.” The vitality of these folk perhaps led to tales of Manann’s swine, which could be eaten on one day but invariably were seen completely reincarnate on the following morning. These creatures remind one of the Odin’s pet Sæhrimnir “the boar that always came to life in time for the next meal.” In the latter days The Firbolgs and Tuathans took liege to Manann and thus it was thought unwise to draw their attention by mentioning them by name. This was considered especially true of men travelling at sea. Men descended from the sea-giants often travelled with a pig tattooed on the left knee, believing that, “A pig on the knee brings good luck at sea.”

MUC DUBH, AN, the black pig, OIr. mucc, confers with the English mucous. A forerunner of death. A banshee. It was said that a sow approached men, and a male animal came before women who were doomed to death. Note entries immediately below. Those pursued by this death-ward were either adherents or descendants of the Firbolge. MUC BIORACH, a porpoise. Cow/calf with a snout. MUC DUIS, the eternal pig sought by the sons of Tuirill Biccreo: “Everyone whose side it should come upon was healed.” As their second task on behalf of Lugh the Sons of “Turenn” turned to the problem of gaining a magic pigskin. Here again, the muc, or wild boar which was sought, was a sun-symbol. Frey, the son of Niord was the Norse equivalent of Lugh, and his birth-gift from the dark elfs was Gullin-bristi, the “Golden-Bristled One,” another personification of the sun. Lugh himself was sometimes said to travel as a wild boar, and it was sometimes rumoured that the sun-chariot was hitched to a boar. The radiant bristles of the animal may have been considered symbolic of rays of sunlight, or of spikes of golden grain which were raised by the force of sunlight. Whatever the case, the boar represented Lugh’s agricultural interests, and his tearing up of the ground using his sharp tusk is considered to have suggested the plough to the first farmers. In historic times, the pig was so important to the first settlers of Bermuda, they featured it on their coinage. Settlers in eastern North America found it equally useful; they simply turned the animals loose to fend for themselves through the summer and shot them for food when they had become fat and uncontrollable. In some of the stories the pigskin sought by the Tureens is identified as the “Skin of Duis” or “Tuis,” who is the Germanic god more commonly identified as Tyr. As we have noted this skin had the property of healing injuries when placed upon them. If dipped in ordinary water from a stream it was seen to become wine. Tyr was said to be the son of Odin by a sea-

goddess. He appears to have no specific dwelling place but ranked next to Odin and Thor , a fact remembered in the name Tues-day. He was the principal, divinity of Ziusburg now called “Augsburg,” so perhaps the Tureens visited the Germanic tribes as the second of their labours. King Tuis greatly respected the art of the balladeer, and was pleased when the visitors offered him a praise-poem. Unfortunately the king did not feel this was sufficient justification for giving up the pig-skin, although he did agree to give the entertainers all the gold coinage which this skin could contain. With the skin filled to the brim, the Sons of Tureen turned on their host and fought their way out of his court. The battle ended when Brian seriously injured the king and escaped in the confusion that followed. In a forest-retreat the brothers made good use of the skin by laying it upon their various wounds. MUC MAHARA, great “phlegm blower,” a whale. MUC SHLANGHA, an animal described as having nine tusks in each jaw. The Fenian warrior Caoilte killed it and the men of the band feasted from it over a period of several hours. It had the reputation of preserving the health of those who ate its flesh, and it was observed to have a mildly intoxicating effect. By dawn the animal had completely reincarnated itself from the bones left over from the feast. MUCAG, “dog”-rose hip, from muc, above. A plant having medicinal virtues. MUICE MUCCA BALOR, “a boar of ghastly shape, of power, wherein the gorge is named. Of the breed of the swift agile swine that Balor the stout smiter kept.” They were killed by Fenian warriors. MUICE ESSACH, six pigs: “they were slaughtered every night and if their bones were kept without breaking or gnawing, they would survive alive every day.” The pigs of Manann mac Ler. See following entries for parallels.

MUICE GENTILUCHTA, “Lugh’s Pigs,” supernatural animals which came out of the cave of Cruachan, the Irish-Christian “Gates of Hell.” “Around whatever land they passed, there the ground was barren for seven years. When men tried to count them they would not stay, but would pass on into another territory. Therefore they were never numbered and they could not be killed. If they were shot at they disappeared from view, Once Mebd and Aillil determined to count them while they were in Magh Mucrime. While Mebd tried to assess them from her chariot, one of the pigs jumped over her head. Quickly she seized the animal but its leg came off in her hand and was seen attached to an empty skin. Then they all disappeared from sight and nobody knows where they travelled from there.” It has been guessed that these animals are metaphors for the Firbolge who were a severe trial to the Tuatha daoine. MUICE LUBADAN, the pigs possessed by Lubadan, a lord of the Otherworld. “They will last you till their dying day, every night they may be killed but within the watch will live again.” MUICE NA' MANANN MAC LER, pig, OIr. mucc, cf. the English muck and mucus, the "pigs of Manan mac Ler." At the investiture of the Tuatha daoine as adherents of the seagods Manan mac Ler gave them his "pigs", reincarnate animals who offered their flesh as food in the daylight hours and refleshed their stripped bones at night. Thus the Daoine sidh were guaranteed an unending source of food. We are reminded here of Odin's boar Saehrimnir, "a marvellous beast slain daily by the cook... although Odin's guests gorged themselves to the full, there was always meat for all. Moreover the supply was inexhaustible, for the boar always came to life again before the time of the next meal." Among the Anglo-Saxons, the pig was thought to contain some of the god-spirit of Woden, in fact the name "pig" is thought to be a dialectic form of bog or "god". Under this circumstance, most residents of Britain thought it unwise to mention the name pig, especially upon the open ocean.

MUILIDHEARTACH, a cailleach who travelled from Scotland to Ireland to participate in the final destruction of the Fenian warriors. Her appearance is like that of Macha: There were two great spears of battle at her sides, her face was blue-black, the sheen of coal and her tufted tooth was like rusted bone. In her head was a single pool-set eye, glinting swifter than a star in the winter sky. Upon her head she wore gnarled brushwood, clawed old aspen roots. MUIME, MUMU, MUMA, step-mother, nurse, EIr. mumme, the English mommie. From mud-s-mjâ, the “suckler.” Mud, to suck. Parallels the Latin mamma, and the German muhme, a mother’s sister. One of the four provinces of ancient Ireland, the modern designation being Mun-ster. The current ending is Norse relating to the goddess Ostara also known as Easter. Note that Munster only grudgingly recognized the authority of the High King at Tara. While the rest of the country claimed Milesian roots, this province claimed descent from Lugaid, the son of Ith, who had come to Ireland from Bregon, an island in the western Atlantic. They proudly claimed relationship with the Fomors of the House of Donn and noted that Tech Duin, the staging place of the dead, was located off their shores. The kings of this southern land even entitled themselves the “King of the World,” after the fashion of the rulers of An Domhain, the seat of the creator-god Don. MUIME CHROISD, the nurse-maid or foster mother to Christ. The root mord is mud, to suckle. The lady known in the English tongue as “St. Bride of the Isles (the western isles of Scotland).” The legend says that Bride, an island cowherder of noble birth was transported by angels from Iona to Bethlehem to become the nurse and foster-mother to Mary’s Christ-child. Thus in the islands, the pagan Bridd has devolved into Ban-chuideachaidh, the aid-woman of Mary. In childbirth island women used to call upon the Bride: “When all things go well, it indicates that Bride is friendly to the family; and when they go ill it is seen that she is offended.” Following the supposed action of Bride at the birth of Christ, the “aid-woman, ” present at a birth of other

children, dedicated the new-born to the Christian faith by letting three cold drops of sea-water fall upon its forehead. It has been noted that the province of Muime, or Munster, is frequently mentioned in the old tales as a primeval world, or beginning place. As a result, some part of each invading force entered Ireland through Munster, and the Christians were no exception. MUIR, the sea, especially the open or ocean-sea; the Atlantic. Br. mor, Gaul, mori, Latin mari, English mere, German meer. The Gaels who lived at the sea-side often admitted descent from the Fomorian sea-giants, thus the opinion that: "The sea is much more blessed than the land. A man will not be afraid to stay all night in a boat a few yards from the shore, when he would not stay for an hour alone in the dark on land. A priest told me that one day he was crossing the dangerous Minch (Strait) between Uist and Eriskay, on a dark night to visit some sick person. He asked the man who had fetched him where his companion, who was awaiting them, would be sheltering on the shore. Och, He won't be on the shore at all, by the Book! It is on the boat he will be, for it is well understood that the sea is holier than the land." MUIRCHOL, muir, ocean, open-sea; coll, destruction, skaith; collachail, boorish, from Ir. collach, or cullach, a boar; col, sin, wickedness, wrecking havoc. Many promontories on the sea have this name. The act of muirchol is considered to be piracy or wrecking. Thus Arida Muirchol, the “Capes of Seasins.” Once a Pictish name. Modern Gaelic murchan. MUIRDRIS, "sea-bramble." The kelpy of tangy of lowland Scotland. A shape-changer sometimes seen at sea as a horse, but capable of coming ashore in that form or as a human. Similar to the French lutin and the Manx shoopiltee. Those who attempted to ride this creature were at best dumped into a latrine or a muddy ditch. In sight of the ocean, this spirit was much more dangerous, often riding men into deep water and doom. It is claimed that the muirdris served as a weregild to some families trying to

dissuade them from entering the water where there was danger they might drown. They attempted to accomplish this by producing supernatural sounds or by creating "fetches" or balls of light that hovered over the water. If the individual in question was too simple-minded to take these clues, the sea-horse was likely to conclude that his "friend" was suicidally inclined. At this, he would attempt to make death as quick and clean as possible, and after the fact would consume all the body excepting the liver. MUIR UAINE, the “Green Sea,” the southern Atlantic, pointing to the productivity of these Gulf Stream waters. MUISEAN, the traditional enemy of Mankind, a mean sordid individual, from musach, nasty, Ir. Mosach, Cy. mws, stinking, Bry. mous, muck, dirty sea-grass, the Eng. mud. In the Gaelic situation it is undestood that physical power is a poor asset as it invariably fails. The Devil of this folklore is a gentlemanly scamp, always in mischief always attempting to gain an advantage over mortals, but often failing as he is a knave of poor intellect, often brought down by wise men and even by clerics. In this mythology it is contended that even the muisean “still ha’es a stake (in salvation).” MULART, dwarf, elder, a conical heap or mound. A “high mound.” Confers with ON. muli, a jutting crag, the Fr. mulon, a clump of dried grass. The Ir. form is mulabhurd or malabhur. Preferred sites for ritual magic. MUNGAN, the nearly mythical Saint Mungo, from munganachd, bullying; thus the Gaelic proverb "Like Mungo's work, it is never done." Kentigern was his actual name. Born in 573 A.D. he was an illegitimate child, his mother the Christian daughter of a pagan king, who discovering the religion of her lover ordered her put to death. She escaped and her child was adopted by a monk named Servus, who kept a school at Dumbarton. Here Kentigern endeared himself to the monks by raising their cook from the dead. But the scholastics were jealous of him and tried to bring him into disrepute

with his master. Once when a pet robin belonging to Severus was so roughly handled its head became detached, these others blamed the "accident" on Mungo, but he restored it to life. As a grown man he established his own monastery at Glasgow and travelled among the southern Picts preaching the Faith. He was banished from Scotland by a hostile king but returned in the reign of Rederech, who elected him bishop. Once when his monastery was without seeds at planting time, he sowed a bag of sand and wheat sprung up from it. On another occasion, when his workplace lacked a second hind to pull the plough, he captured a wolf and tamed it so that it did duty for him. His life story is little known but he is though to have been contemporary with St. Columba. MURIAS, muir + asg, sea + fish, murlach, the dogfish. One of the original northern islands where the Tuatha daoine tarried to learn the arts of magic. Corresponds with An Domhain since "Out of this place was brought the Dagda's cauldron.” No company ever went away from it unthankful." This was the “Cauldron of Regeneration,” purloined by the Dagda and his two sons. MUTH, MUTHADH, a change, an alteration, a difference from Latin muto. The Gaels have another word for death, this one implies an alteration in form, size or kind; shape-change, the high art of the Fomors. MURDDIN (mer-thin), muir + dinn, sea + press down upon. Merlin, the god of the upper air (see Meirneal). In the medieval romances, Merlin, the “hawk” or magician to King Arthur. MURNA, MORNA, Abundant. A descendant of Nuada and Ethlinn, the latter the daughter of Balor of the Evil Eye. Cumhail, the leader of the Fionn loved her, but her father Tadhg, the druid, refused permission for them to marry. They eloped, but the father persuaded Goll man Morna to kill Cumhail and assume leadership of the Fionn. He did as directed, but Morna fled into the wilderness where she bore

Cumhail’s son who was called Demna. The boy was fair in complexion and thus nicknamed Fionn (Fair) mac Cumhail. He revenged his father and took leadership of the Finna when they were at their most powerful. His mother eventually remarried a chieftain from Kerry. MURTAGH MAC ERC, “Murderous,” noted as the High King who sent the Lia Fail, or stone of Destiny to Dal Riada for the coronation of his brother Ferghas. When all was said and done, Ferghas refused to return this valuable relic, which was lost to Ireland.