R, ruis, the dwarf elder in Ogham. The rochat, or rook; ruadh, blood red; November 26 to December 23.

RA, RÉ, space, time, relating to raon, a field, a road, a plain, the sky. “A moon-title” having many variants as Ur, Er and Ara. In Scotland a surviving form from pagan times is MoUrie, the “Greater Moon.” This is sometimes combined as Mourie. In the Christian era this designation was attached to the Irish monk named Maol Runha (640-722 A.D.) who founded the monastery at Applecross on the Rosshire coast. Here he is buried and travellers take earth from his grave to ensure their safe passage into the hinterlands. In those parts all oaths used to be made in his name, and his name appears in many place names. In 1678 Hector Mackenzie travelled to Saint Mouries Isle (now Isle Maree) in Loch Maree hoping to benefit Christine Mackenzie who was “sick and valetudinaire.” It is recorded that he and his sons, and a grandson, sacrificed a bull to forward their interest. In 1695 the records of the local Presbytery make it clear that the locals were still putting down bulls on the feast day of the saint (August 25) and practising “other idolatrous habits” including necromancy. See ré. RABHART, a tall tale, senseless exaggerated tales, "the tides of spring." talk, hilariously

RADH. Affirming, expresing, saying, adage, proverb, word,

noise, assertion, speech, an exprewssion of an intentionto act; obs. Past aff. of abair, I have said; still used as pt. Pr. I say, I affirm, utter, express. Thus in a combined form samhradh, “confirming summer,” “Summer’s voice.” RAGALLACH. A king of Connaught whose death at the hands of his own child was foretold by a druid. Hoping to avoid his fate the king ordered his infant daughter to be placed in a bag and given to a swineherd to destroy. The compassionate servant left the child on the doorstep of a woman who raised her as her own daughter. At maturity the daughter became one of Ragallach’s concubines and fulfilled the prophecy. The historic king bearing this name (645 A.D.) was assassinated by an unrelated male killer. RAID, a for of rad or rod, road, theway, path, track, ditch, seaware cast on shore, the foaming sea beating on the shore, foam, scarify, comne up throughthe ground, blade; rodaih, coarse-featured, ruddy, dark, rotten, smelly, shrunken, rough, forteward; rodair, a wayfaring man. Raide, cunning, slyness; raideachas, boastful, speech, arrogant language, aqrrogance, excesssive pride, slaying, a trial of skill; but raideil, inventive, cunning, and raid, or raidean, a judge, ranking soldier, arbitration, decision, appeal,, entreaty, threat, threatening, good-will, competition; also a quarter of the year; raidheach, prone to making threats; similar to raic, boastfulness and raicheach, A Queen. See next. RAIDSACH, chief witch, after raidse, idle talk, prattling, verbose, garrulous. raidis, witchcraft, witchery, enchantment. Raidhmheas, a dream, romance; raidhmheasach, fabulous account; raidbreach, prayer, supplication, petition, request; raidse, a prattler, idle talker; raidseachas, witchery, enchantment. RAIGEACH MANACH, a tonsured monk. The druids had heads shaven in the front from ear to ear. Christian monks had the top shaven in a circular pattern. The druids and Culdee clerics had their heads shave at the front from ear-to-ear.

RAITHEACH, REITHEACH, covenanting, affiancing (Sutherlandshire, Scotland). See latter spelling as well as the related raith and rath. RAITH, a quarter of the year, see raid, above, MIr. raithe, Skr. rtu, a season of the year, a time appointed for worship, thus raitheach since contracts were considered cemented by the gods at these times. RAMACHDAIR, a coarse individual, cf. ramair, a blockhead, ramhlair, a humorous, noisy, boisterous fellow, related to Eng. rambler. RANN, a division or portion, a quatrain, a stave, verse, a charm, confers with the English run. Alliterative poetry; poetry that flows. Ran-dan, a drunken spree, characterized by singing. Note ranndair, a murmuring, complaining sound. Cy. rhan, OBry. rannou. Eng. rant. I am putting you under spells and crosses, And under nine constraints of the walking wandering sidh mothers (the Befind, the three weird sisters) That every lamb weaker and more misguided than yourself May take from your head and your ear And from your livelihood, Unless...(here is inserted the demand of the baobh). (Tales Until Dawn, p. 28, trans. from Gaelic). RAON, a field, plain, road, OIr. roe, a plain, a place for easy travel, Lat. rus, the Eng. room, ON. rein, a strip of land. RAONULL, MG. Raghnall, Ronald, Ir.Ragnall, from ON. Rögnvaldr, ruler from the gods, ruler of the counsel. Hence Reginald, Reynold, M’ Raonuill, Mac-ranald, Clanranald.

RASAICHE, ras, shrub, underwood + ach, obs. Bank or mound; a mound-dweller, a gypsy, rambler, particularly a travelling woman, more specifically a roving lewd individual. Rasdach, churlish, impolite, a churl; rasdair, satiated. RÀTH, obs. artificial mound, fortress, town, Royal seat, cleared land, a fern, residence; currently, a circle, a raft; a surety or bond, cf. Last. rata, a surety before the gods, MEng. road. Eng. ratify. A place of refuge in law, rathach, obs, a hough. New Brunswick historian Donald S. Johnson has concluded that Hy-Brazil was a complete abstraction, an island having no basis in reality. He explains the circular configuration as matching that of the Promised Land of the Saints, as mentioned in Saint Brendan’s Navigatio. Actually, there is no such suggestion that land was round although it does seem to have had an east-west river like that shown on ylla de Brazill as it is represented on a Catalan map of the year 1660. Johnson presumes that Brendan’s Isle was circular since the men of his expedition walked for fifteen days at its coast finding “no beginning or end.” He says that the walked in a circle and compares Hy-Brazil’s single bissecting river with Biblical “rivers of life,” concluding that a circle is a “fitting symbol” for the Christian Promised Land named New Jerusalem.” Like most historians Johnson has decided that Celtic mythology is based on a Greek model, but the circle was never a Christian symbol. It does symbolize a regenerate earth but it honours the elemental gods, and not the Lord God. It is absolutely pagan in its original intention, so much so that the early Irish missionaries negated it where they saw it on standing stones. They did this by inscribing the Christian cross over it. The so called “Celtic-crosses,” are nothing of the sort. These derivatives of the tradition of the aboriginal cromlechs are still sometimes referred to as the “alien Greek stones,” in Gaelic. The circle is endemic to pagan theology representing the concept of renewability and

reincarnation. It is no accident that the Celtic holy wells were built with circular stone walls in imitation of the shape of the original “Cauldron of Life and Rebirth.” It was generally supposed that this life-source was purloined by the Tuathan “gods” from the sea-kingdom when they followed the giants there after their defeat in Ireland. This “Kettle of the Deep,” was eventually buried at the geographic centre of Gaeldom where it became the astralgenius of Ireland. Cup-and-ring markings are frequently seen on megalithic monuments such as the cromlechs of Ireland and Scotland. These are essentially cup-shaped hollows gouged out of the stone, frequently seen surrounded by engraved concentric circles. From the internal cup, a single radial line is often seen drawn to a point outside the circumference of the outermost circle. Occasionally a system of cup are seen joined by a number of these lines, but most often they simply end beyond the outside ring. These enigmatic designs, “upon which no light has been thrown,” are found on vertical and horizontal surfaces in Great Britain, Brittany, and as far east as India, where they are termed mahadeos, “great gods.” The fact that they are engraved upon stones which the Irish call Cromm-leace corroborates this idea, Cromm, being the dark-god, corresponding with the creator-god Don. A leac is a flagstone, the word being similar to our English “plank.” T. W. Rolleston has noted European examples which are “richly decorated and accurately drawn,” and he thinks they may represent “diagrams or plans of megalithic structures.” He observes the fact that the central hollows may represent burial chambers and the circles, surrounding standing stones, fosses or ramparts of earth. The penetrating avenues would then represent doorways by which priests moved to and from some interior holy spot or shrine. More symbolically, we think the interior represents a place of rebirth as well as that of death. In cross-section, these rings have the look of the human male and female reproductive organs in action, and the standing-stones upon which they are engraved are more generally taken to be phallic symbols. Something of pagan

Celtic theology is embedded in the sixteenth century Cymric work known as the Barddas. While it is “contaminated” by Christian beliefs, Rollestan says that it does “speak of an independent philosophic system.” Not surprisingly this “druidic” system supposes antagonistic forces, that of Hu, or God, which is constructive in intent and result, and that of Cythrawl (corresponding with Cromm) the principle of destruction and chaos. Organized life was thought to have arise at the will of the creator-god, who created the primal substance of the universe as minute indivisible particles each a microcosm of the primal god-force. The innermost circle from which all else sprang was called Annwn in the Welsh language, and this confers linguistically with An Domhain, “The Deep.” It was thought that this innermost place was one of primal life forms all struggling to evolve out of chaos. Those entities that succeeded were considered to move to an outer ring of being where life was more “purified” having attained triumph over darkness and evil. The third ring of being is termed Infinity, a place inhabited by god alone. It is predicted that “all shall attain to the circle of Gwnfyd (White light) at the last.” In Celtic societies, the mortal god-king, and his queen, were seen as the “fountain” and the “well” of regenerative spirit, thus their place at the centre of the community, within a holy circle which conferred with “The Cauldron of the Deep.” Stone fortifications were largely “ring-forts,” the largest representing the belly of Danu or Domnu, smaller ones being microcosms of the larger, all relating back to the one source of life within the deep-ocean. There are currently ruins of ring-forts numbering “from thirty to thousand individual structures,” in Ireland alone. The expressions "lios" and "ràth" are usually applied to earthen forts as opposed to "cathair" and "caiseal", which are of stone. O’Riordain notes that the simplest ring-fort consists of a circular space surrounded by a bank and a fosse, the former built by piling up the debris obtained from

digging up the latter. Ràth originally referred to the enclosing earthen bank and lios to the open space between this and the dwelling places within, but the word ràth is now used to identify fortifications which are round, in short, earthen-ring forts. It is generally held that these embankments had no military significance although they may have saved cattle from the wolves. It is possible, of course, that wooden palisades might once have been erected upon the "rath." The ring-forts vary greatly in size, and their remains range from 50 feet in diameter to about 400 feet. Examples of large, multi-circled raths are uncommon but they do exist and being sited on high land are referred to as hillforts. Examination of artifacts associated with these ringed structures shows that some are pre-Celtic dating back to the Bronze Age. Some of the stone circles, formerly regarded as ritual sites, have recently shown evidence of past habitation, and it is now known that the uprights were placed as a framework for building banks of rubble, sod and earth. In some cases wooden posts had the function of these upright stones and in these cases all that remains is circular plug-holes to indicate this style of construction. It is assumed some of ring-forts were defensive in intent, but many have “one slight bank and a shallow fosse,” whose security must have been theological rather than military in intent. See following. RÀTH. after a song; a western Circle, the mariner dismembered by the mer-people female of their kind lulled him to sleep with her not uncommon fate for interlopers on the great ocean.

RÀTHCROGAN, RATHCHROGAN. One of the largest raths of ancient times was that held by Queen Mebd and her consort Ailill, which was called Rath Cruachan or Rathcrogan. Its outer circle encompassed numerous other fortresses, and the place was still used in 645 A.D., when the Connaught

king Ragalach was assassinated on its grounds. In times past Connaught, Ireland, was alternately called Cruachan from the fame of this residence of the semi-mythic goddess-queen. Notice the implications of the word crogan , a drink of blood taken to inspire the bloodfury which the Norse called the berserker-rage. Rathcrogan has the further sense of “penfold of the banshee,” or “death-maiden.” “The manner of the house was this: There were seven companies in it from the fire to the wall. all round the house. Every (circular) compartment had a face of bronze. The whole was composed of beautifully carved yew wood. Three strips of bronze were laid in at the door of each compartment. The house from here out was built of pine. A covering of oak shingles was what it had externally. Sixteen windows were in it, each with a shutter of bronze, and bars of bronze were made to close each shutter. Ailill and Mebd’s compartment was at the centre of the house and it had a doorway front of silver and gold. There was a wide band of silver on the side of it that rose to the ridge of the house, and reached all around it from one side of the door to the other.” It is said that “the place was surrounded by five concentric ramps, three of which may still be seen.” Confers with the next. RÀTH CRUACHAN, the famous western royal-residence of the witch-queen Mebd and her consort Ailill in County Connaught. As we have seen, access to the west usually involved an imrama. While the water route was the most commonly used we have noted souterrains, which offered immediate “temporal displacement” from one world to the other. The most famous cave-entrance was Ràth Cruachan, the “Fortress of the Hip, or Hump,” which was once the personal property of Mebd. The name Cruachan was frequently given as an alternate name for Connacht province, and the old hill itself was described by Christian scribes as the “Gate of Hell.” The fact that the hill is also termed Ràthcróghan ties it more firmly to the old warrior queen, for the word cró is

Gaelic for a animal killing pen, blood, death, or a passageway (for example, the eye of a needle). Note also the fact that the Scottish word “cro” indicates “the weregild (i.e. banshee) of the various individuals in the Scoto-Celtic Kingdom, from the king on downwards.” The ending gann indicated something which is “hurtful.” “The arms of the guests were hung above the arms of all other persons in that house." This ràth was of dry masonry with a wall thirteen feet thick at the base, surrounded by five concentric ramps, three of which may still be seen. Mebd also possessed an eastern residence termed Ràth Mebd, situated in County Meath. Notice that "Many examples of souterrains (underground dwellings) occur in connection with forts...In some cases they are completely enclosed by the forts...(however) not every fort contains a souterrain and not all souterrains are enclosed in or connected with forts. "The site of this fortress remains as a huge ruin three miles north-west of Tulsk, County Rothcommon. It is a circular site about an acre in extent, surrounded by so many other structures, it has been described as “a town of fortresses.” Ràth Cruachan was still in use as the royal capital of the province in 645 A.D. when king Ragallach was assassinated there. The cavern of Cruach was not an easy entrance for there were guardians, some of which emerged into the world of men. One of these was Aillén, a malevolent Otherworld monster who used to come out of the cave at the unbinding season of Samhain. A pyromaniacal dreag , or dragon, he lulled the defenders of Tara to sleep with sea-music and then consumed them, often leaving their residences in fiery ruin. This went on until Fionn mac Cumhail opposed his music by pressing the blade of his magic spear to his forehead. He then drove off the beast and then beheaded it. Airtiech was another supernatural resident of Cruachan. He had three daughters who once assumed the shape of werewolves and raided the countryside in every direction.

The warrior Cas Corach played music to enchant them and convinced them that they should assume human form to have a better grasp of the melodies. When they shape-changed, the hero threw his spear at them, impaled all three at once, and beheaded them. With this reputation it is not surprising that men had to be bribed to enter the Hill of Cruach. Ailill of Connaught regularly offered a prize of a gold-hilted sword to any man who would go to the gallows just outside the rath and encircle the foot of a dead captive on the gallows with a withe or band of willow twigs. This device then became as effective as a silver bough in gaining admission to the Otherworld. Several warriors went out on the Samhain to try this stunt but none but Nera followed through to the end of the adventure. As Nera was placing the withe, the corpse spoke asking that he be taken down and given a drink. Nera obeyed carrying the dead man half slung over a shoulder. The pair found the first house they approached surrounded by flames, and a second encircled by a broad moat filled with water, so they moved on. At a third house the dead man was offered three cups of water. The dead man spat out the third cup at the people who had offered him hospitality and its poison killed them on the spot. Nera then carried the corpse back to the gallows as instructed. Returning to Ráth Cruachan, this gillie saw Mebd’s palace aflame and saw beheaded corpses scattered on the ground. It appeared that Fomorian invaders had used the opening of the “eye” that was the Cave of Cruachan to do what damage they could in the world of men. Nera followed this crew through the veil before it closed at dawn and on the other side became the “guest” in a sidh of the Otherworld. Here he was ordered to carry firewood and lodged with a female of the species. They became lovers and the sigh-woman informed him that what he had seen of the destruction of the rath was a possible future rather than an event, and that it could be forestalled by escaping to the east and destroying the entrance. Nera therefore took his wife and child back through Cruachan and told king Ailill

what the future might hold for him and his kingdom. Ailill reacted by sending Ferghas mac Roth out to destroy the sidh , and the warriors did more, taking great plunder from its treasure house. These valuables included the crown of king Brion, one of the three wonders of ancient Ireland. The Echtra Nerai is obviously pagan but the tale from which it derives is no later than the eighth century. RATH DORCHA, the moon in wane; a bad time for most transactions. RATHAD SIBH, beauty spot, rathad, road; sibh, of the wee folk. An invisible mark of favour placed on humans who were related to the sigh or who happened to be in their favour. This mark, which was only perceived by the opposite sex, made the individual irresistibly attractive. Thus Grianne was draw to Diarmuid to the disadvantage of both. RÉ. the moon, the Moon personified, luna, life, existence, duration, a space of time, same as righ and ri, denoting Royalty; presumed from the Celtic root revi, Skr. ravi, the sun. A form of the Gaelic ra, space, time, raon, a field, a plain, a road, EIr. roen, Lat. rus, Eng. room, Norse rein, a strip of land. Note the Egyptian sun-god Ra or Re. From this we have the Scottish province of Moray. See Mourie. REABH, a wile or trick, reabhair, a subtle individual, reabhradh, besporting, as a pack of boys from the Ir. reabhach, a mountebank, a devil, the Devil, EIr. rebrad, boys at play, sport. Similar to the English rabble. REABHACH, The Devil, mountebank, trickster, wicked fellow; reabhair, a crafty fellow. REILIG, relics. crypt, burying-ground, relic. From a devil, a



RÉIM, dominion, power, course, order. See Ré, the moon-

goddess. REITEACH, REITEACHADH, the eye-stone, from reidh, smooth, well-ordered; reit, concord, conciliation, that which smooths the way. 1. A device used to remove foreign matter from the eye: "we have two eyestones in Cape Breton -an item so rare and so long out of use it no longer seems to be remembered in Scotland...John Tom Urquhart of Skir Dhu first told us of the eyestone. Later, we met John A. Wilkie of Sugar Loaf. He showed us his eyestone... The eyestone was not originally found in Scotland. They all seem to have come from the far east. They are the colour of flesh and about the size of half a pea. They are said to be the tip of a conch shell. The eyestone is alive, and has to eat - and both men said they kept theirs in an inch and a half of sugar (John A. uses brown). John Tom sometimes feeds his a little rum and he changes the sugar every two or three years. When the highland settlers came to Cape Breton, they brought the eyestone with them. (It) is passed along from father to son...the eyestone would be used to get a splinter out of a man's eye...the eyestone could retrieve other things as well. John A. said, "I was sawing wood at Bay St. Lawrence. I got sawdust in my eye and in the evening it got to be sore. And I said to me, "You better go where the eyestone is tonight." I went and they put me to bed with it. Put it in my eye. And you couldn't notice it. The size of it you'd think it would bother - but it didn't. I woke up and my eye was clear." Both eyestones we've seen have a tiny dot the centre of a perfect whorl - and when placed in vinegar (for cleaning) one or two bubbles would come out that hole. The patient must sit still or lie down while the eyestone does its work. This is simply so that it will not get lost. In the eye, the eyestone would move around the eyeball searching for the speck. When it comes out it would have the speck, and the eye would be clear." (Down North, pp. 5051). Years ago it was a common insult to say that a person

was "two mean to feed an eyestone (see eyesheein)." 2. Espousal to marriage, a ceremony which was also a kind of "smoothing over;" the taking of irritants from the situation. It was formerly held before the banns of marriage were posted and was considered as necessary as the wedding feast. It was "ag obair reitach," working at clearing, the correct way of asking a girls hand in marriage. The last reitach in Cape Breton is believed to have occurred in the 1920's. Reitachs were never held on Fridays (originally in consideration of the fact that this was Frigga's day, a preferred time for Norse invasions). The bridegroom-to-be and an older friend would come to the household of the intended. The father, if he possessed a normal intellect would no what was about, but following the rules of the rite would make no outright mention of marriage. Instead the visitors would pretend that they had come to buy a cow or a horse or a boat, and everything said was double entendre. The prospective groom did very little talking as the father and his representative got down to the real business of the evening. As a matter of form the father was obligated to offer the hand of other daughters, particularly if they happened to be old and ugly. There was always a chance that the swain's bargainer would unwittingly ask for the wrong girl. All but the intended sat at a table loaded with food; she was kept from the room while the representative described the prospects good characteristics and assured the family of his love for the girl. When a bargain was finally struck and the arrangements for a wedding had been made, the girl was permitted to join them..Liquor was then placed on the table and the feast begun. In many instances, especially in pioneer communities, this was the first time the couple had met, and often the contract was broken before the wedding took place. Some young men were too persistent to let their looks prevent the union and often sent a reitach party to

abduct the girl, often with the connivance of her family. In one of these cases, where a young Cape Bretoner was "taken by surprise" she "cried her eyes out that night. But I heard her relating the story after to the women, and she said, after all that discontent we had eight children together, and do you know I never let one of them sleep between my husband and myself." (Down North, pp. 59-60). RELIG, grave, burying-place, church, crypt. Stone chest for bones of the dead. REUL. star, reul na madra, 0r reul an iuchar, the dog=star. REUL-GHRIGLEACHAN, constellation, a group of stars, often the Pleiades. "...on the third level of Cosmic event, the rising of Pleiades, the winter stars, heralds the supremacy of night over day, the dark half ruled by the realms of the moon. In the three days preceding the Samhain month the Sun God Lugh, who was maimed at Lughnassadh, dies by the hand of his Tanist (his other self) who is the Lord of misrule. Lugh passes through the boundaries of the worlds on the first day of Samhain. His Tanist is a niggardly King and though he shines brightly in the winter skies he gives nothing of his warmth to the land. He cannot warm the north wind which is the breath of the Crone, Cailleach Bheare. In this we see the ageless battle between the light and dark, the forces of growth and decay, life and death, but never good and evil. Between these two great balanced realms of Sun and Moon lies the ordered universe which sustains all life in this realm. The cyclic harmony of seasonal dominance of these realms means on our level that neither Life nor Death can everhold permanent sway.” (S.McSkimming Dalriada Magazine, 1992.) REULTAIR. REULADAIR, an astrologer. Reultaras, astrology; sometimes astronomy. RIADA, RIATA, riad, obs., hang, crucify, currently a crack or split in wood, suggesting divisions of land. The ancestor to

the Dal Riada of Ulster and Alba, the progenitor of the present-day Scots. In the fourth century there was famine in Munster and its ruler Conaire took his people north into Ulster. He first settled County Antrim where the kingdom of Dal Riada was established. Later he and his followers quarrelled and he crossed the Irish Sea into Scotland forming a second kingdom in Airer Ghaidheal or “Argyll.” The first colonies in this new place received military help from Tara in order to put down the neighbouring Picts. In the following century, a Munsterman, Lugaid mac Conn, fleeing from enemies, made himself the chief power in this new land. From his son came the ancestors of the lords of Argyle; the MacAllens, Campbells and the MacCallums. A hundred years further on Cabri Riata established kingdoms in both Ireland and Scotland. The Picts were not enamoured of any of this and would have driven the Scots from their land, except for the efforts of the high-king Niall of the Nine Hostages. The effect of all this was the establishment of a huge military presence in Alba by the sixth century, when it became an independent kingdom under Aedh ard-righ. For a time it was powerful enough to hold Antrim, in Ireland proper, as an appanage.

RIADH, a snare, hang, crucify; riadh-mhortair, a hired assassin; raidrananach, cast-off mistresss, an old maid. RIAGH, obs., religious, this is the same as riadh, above. obs. , cross, gallows; riaghail, rule, govern, reign, regulate, settle, order, direct, arrange. Riaghaire, the hangman, a scape-gallows, rogue. RIAGHLACH, obs., old maid, old woman. cast-off mistress. RIANBIND. A piper out of Sidh Breg, reputed to be one of the nine best in the world. The others musicians of note were: Bind, Robind, Nibe, Dibe, Dechrind, Umal, Cumal and Cialgrind.

RIASTARTHAE. RIASTRADH, battle fury. Inspired by drinking crógan. Riastadh, welt; reaistair, becoming turbulent or ungovernable, confuse, disturb, disorder, wander without purpose. See Cuchullain and crogan. RIATACH, wanton, illegitimate, illegitimacy, bastardy, cf. Eng. riot. immodest mirth,

RIBHINN. RIGHIANN, rib, ensnare, involve, steal one’s guest, a nymph, young lady, queen. Ir. rioghan, queen. EIr, rigan, a form of the masculine righ, king Properly righ-bhean, “woman-ruler.” Mhor-rigan is based upon this word. RIBEACH, rough, hairy, entangling, ensnaring, ragged, torn, cold. RIBEAG, hair, a hair-rope used for rock face lowering (after bird’s eggs). These were so valuable they often formed part of a bride’s dowry. RIBHEID, reed, a chanter,music, barb of a hook, herring-net, a magical entrapment. See next. RIBBINN, RIBBINNE, RIBBINNEABN, a nymph, one of the ribbinn-shith, a fairy; a maid, beautiful, a female, a young lady, Queen, serpent. Ribleach, an entaglement of the mind or body, knottiness. See next. RICHEAD. kingdom, richlean, a dwarf, richasan, carbunculus, having a knotty surface. RIDIR, RIGHDIERE, a knight, EIr. ritire, a rider from AS. ridere, a horseman, ridda, a knight. Germ. ritter. In a manuscript history of Clan Campbell (1828) it is said that the word is derived from righ + dei , god-king, but the word came to be applied to all virtuous warriors. This was the name used by Highlanders in mentioning the chiefs of Campbell, and the ruins of their castle, Eredin, was named Larach tai nan Righderin, the “ruins of the house of the

knights.” In folklore the word is reserved to kings having small power. RIDIRE RUADH, the “Red Riders,” seen by Conaire Mor as he approached Da Derga’s Hostel. This was the last of a number of geise broken just before the king met his final doom. The colour of their gear marked these men as visitors from the Otherworld. RIGH, a king, dress or enshroud a corpse, as an interjection: strange! OIr. ri; Cy. rhi; Gaul. rix; Lat. rex; Goth. reiks; Eng. rich; Skr. raj, our rajah. Appears in combined forms, and is feminized; thus Mhorrigan, mhor+rigan, “Great Queen.” This is the Gothic reika, “prince” and reiki, “kingdom” are similar to the Gaulish rix and rigon, It would seem difficult to prove which of these came first, and thus conclude as Padraic Colum has done that the Celtic people had “more advanced social and political forms.” Nevertheless, this was a widely held prejudice in Victorian-Edwardian Britain, and other words “of unquestioned Celtic origin” include the modern German reich, empire; amt, office; bann, an order; frei, free; geisel, hostage; erbe, inheritance; werth, worth; weih, sacred; magus, slave; hathu, battle; helith, hero (said to correspond with Celt); heer, army; sieg, victory; beute, booty, and so on. Where men, such as Hu Gardarn, became mortal-gods a different relationship was seen to exist between them and men. While the immortal gods were insensitive to flattery, sometimes called propitiation or worship, the priest-godking was open to all kinds of cajoling, threats, patronage and promises. Fraser has noted that our ancestors, "imagined that men may attain to godhood, not merely after their death, but in their lifetime, through the temporary possession of their whole nature by a great and powerful spirit. No class of the community benefited so much as kings by this belief in the possible incarnation of a god in human form." While this allowed the king a lot of leeway in bullying

his subjects, he was always in mortal peril when his powers were perceived to fail. An inaccurate weather prediction, inability to pursue a successful war, or obvious failings in health, might lead to a suspicion that the godpower had seeped away. Throughout northern Europe this led to instances of ritual murder, thus Iain Moncrieffe speaks of the Gaelic "sacrificial cult of the divine-king", which he explains "venerated the continuity of the embodied life force." More simply, members of the community took it upon themselves to kill kings who were seen to be in failing spirit. This was done benevolently since it was supposed that the god-spirit should be returned to the earth to be reborn in a more appropriate body. In those times, the mechanics of human reproduction were not well understood, and it was guessed that women were impregnated through the food that entered their bellies. If an entrapped god-spirit could be reduced to "earth" and the earth used to grow crops it was reasoned that the spirit might then be transferred through a grain into the womb of a woman, so that a god like Hu of Aod might be reborn. This belief led to the business of consigning bodies to funeral pyres, afterwards scattering the ashes on the fields where "corn" was grown. Collin de Plancey has noted that, "It was held, during the seventeenth century, that corpses, the ashes of animals and even the ashes of burned plants contained reproductive seeds; that a frog for example could engender other frogs even as it decayed and that ashes of roses produced new roses..." Among the Scots, even less spirited men were expected to undergo periodic reincarnations, and mothers-to-be looked for dreams so that they might correctly name the baby after its appropriate ancestor. Where dreams failed, the mothers consulted baobhs, or witches, whose hindsight was expected to reveal the necessary information. Until very recently, my own family has included a member known as Hugh in each generation. Within some tribes, the incarnate human gods served a specified period of years as king, it being thought canny to

kill him while he remained vigorous and capable of protecting his people and land. The Greek kings were limited to a tenure of eight years and certain of the Old Norse kings to nine, in order to reinvigorate the spirit of the land. Fraser has suggested that the ancient nine-year festivals at Upsala in Sweden included rites of human sacrifice, which at first may have included the king and his closest adherents. Olaf the Tree-Hewer, a King of Norway was sacrificed as a proxy for Odin during a famine in 710. Halfdan the Black, another king of this realm, was luckier until he fell through the ice in 863. The Old Norse historian Snorri Sturleson noted that "he had been the most prosperous of all kings. So greatly did men value him that all requested his body for burial in their various provinces. Eventually it was settled that the body be distributed in four places...and each party took away their own share and buried it. Being a subtle people, the Scots made no public display of their regicide, but simply arranged that their chief should be done in by a kinsman while his back was turned, sometimes in the heat of battle. Kings were not always willing partners to their own death and Aun, King of Sweden hit on the idea of offering his sons as substitutes. If the king was divine, it was considered that his offspring could be no less so, and should prove equally useful at returning some of the spirit of the god to the soil. Aun claimed he was led to this procedure through the divine inspiration of Odin, and afterwards put down one of his sons every nine years, and would have sacrificed his tenth heir, except that Swedes could not help noticing his diminished powers and selected him instead. Afterwards it was discovered that less important kin-folk or even unrelated deputies might serve as "kings for a day". In the last years of the fires, a condemned prisoner was substituted for the king's advisor and multiple sacrifices were made, perhaps on the basis of the idea that all men contained at least a spark of the "divine-flame" and that quantity might make up for a lack of quality. In the most benign clans, the place of the king was filled by a "mogaire" or mock king, who was given a short but happy reign

followed by a mock execution, the authority and the godspirit afterwards being reincarnated in the old king. Pretend deaths of a monarch survive in the activities of the English whitsuntide mummers, and in the Scottish goloshans or galatians. Also known as gysarts, guisers, or disguisers, the goloshans wore masks, since recognition "broke the luck". Each of the five or six travelling companions appeared on Samhainn eve wearing white sheets and a dunces caps, "casques of brown paper shaped like a mitre. They journeyed from house to house and put on a playlet couched in expressionless doggerel. In an 1815 version a character who identified himself as "The Admiral" used a wooden sword to cut down "King Galatians". In every version, the hero is revived by some equivalent of the mummer referred to as the "Doctor", who appears to be a latter-day druid. Once a fee has been set, the Doctor goes to work applying "Inky Pinkey, a little to his nose, a little to his toes." In Falkirk the elixir of life was called hoxycroxy, and in some places the resurrection occurred with the passes of a magic wand. To show that Galatians is a new-born monarch, the resurrected hero was afterwards called "jack". If these plays are based, as we suspect, on actual incidents of king-killing, the need for disguises is obvious! We have already mentioned the schizophrenic nature of divine kings, which is most clearly seen in the Old Norse God Tyr, Tiu, or Tue, who is also called Deo, Deu or the Deuce. This alter-ego, or second personality is still reflected in our own minor devils and the English Devil, who is the Anglo-Saxon Deoful, literally one full of the spirit of Tyr, the god of war. In his benign role Tyr was a god of the sky and martial courage but his berserker side was greatly feared. Odin and Uller present a similar ying-yang situation as do the Celtic boon-companions, Lugh and Ogma, the former a god of free love, horse-racing, gaming and war, the latter a straight- laced supporter of world-order, rather than chaos, the inventor of ogham, a cryptic "puzzlelanguage" favoured by Gaelic orators.

Mortal-gods who went "to earth" were expected to take the evil aspects of their personality with them. In Scotland this was managed through a rite formerly known as "burning, shooting" or "beating out the witches"; the baobhs or witches being personifications of the evil implicit in the divine spirit. On Samhainn eve, the devils of Scotland were smoked from the air by the "samhnagan", fires lit to reduce the "king" to ashes. In some places sharp objects, such as sycthes, sickles and swords were placed upright in the fields to impale falling witch-spirits. When firearms became available, they were shot off into the air with similar effect. Once the errant spirits which caused disease and ill-luck were down, they were herded together by disguised humans, who used switches to reunite them with god-representative. He was chased through the village on a spiritual clean-up, and made to round the communal fire three times, before being burned. Until he was actually put down, the god-king was the centre of festival rites which are still remembered. He was expected to draw all evil from the community before his death, and used to parade the countryside on that account. On what was formerly the last day of the year, Fraser says that, "it used to be customary, in the Highlands of Scotland, for a man to dress himself up in a cow's hide and thus attired go from house to house, attended by young fellows, each of them armed with a staff, to which a bit of raw hide was tied. Round each house the hide-clad man used to run thrice "deisal", that is according to the course of the sun, so as to keep the house on his right hand; while the others pursued him, beating the hide with their staves and thereby making a loud noise like the beating of a drum. In this disorderly procession they also struck the walls of the house. On being admitted, one of the party, standing within the threshold, pronounced a blessing on the family in these words: "May God bless the house and all that belongs to it, cattle, stones, and timbers! In plenty of meat, of bed and body clothes and health of men may it ever abound!" Then each of the party singed in the fire a little bit of the hide

which was tied to his staff; and having done so he applied the singed hide to the nose of every person and of every domestic animal belonging to the house. This was imagined to secure them from diseases and other misfortunes, particularly from witchcraft, throughout the ensuing year. The whole ceremony was called "calluinn" because of the great noise made in beating the hide. It was observed in the Hebrides, including St. Kilda, down to the second half of the eighteenth century at least, and it seems to have survived well into the nineteenth century." Moncrieffe identifies the old religion with medieval Scottish witchcraft and says that witchcraft and the dawn religion had a horned deities as their central figures. This is understandable when it is recalled that all clansmen thought of themselves as possessing totem animals, into which their souls could pass under certain conditions. These creatures continue to be represented in the heraldry and on the arms of Scots. The Anglo-Saxons sometimes thought of Woden as Herne the Hunter, the pursuer of the souls of dead men, who is represented as antlered deity. His personality is exactly that of the Celtic earth-god known as Cernu, either name being defined by the English words horn and corn. RIGHAIRLED. The fourteenth king of Ireland in the Milesian line of Eber and Eremeon. He is credited with introducing the war-chariot into Gaeldom. RIGH FHAIDH, royal prophet. A king who is a prophet. RIGH-NA-COILLE, “king of the forest,” the oak tree. RIGHINNEACHD, craftiness, kingly; neach. something. artificiality, court-talk, righ,

RIGH NA GEASAN MOR, the “King of the Great Enchantments,” the Quarter-Day “king.” Also, a king of the Daoine sidh at the time of the Milesian invasion of Ireland. See Baldar, etc.

RIGH-RATH, the Royal fortress or seat. RINNEL, from which rinn, ro+ind, having a “fore-point,” or sharpened end. A king whose reign saw the introduction of pointed weapons into the Gaeldom. ROANE, ron, pl. roin, seal. Perhaps from Teutonic models although the Anglo-Saxon hron indicates a whale. A member of the Daoine mara travelling in the form of the Lager seal. The highland version of the selkie of the northern islands and the morrigan of southern lands. The equivalent of the English merman and mermaid. "The Irish name is merrow and the legends told of them are similar to those of other countries." Descendants of the Fomorian sea-giants. The largest colonies of seal are found on the north shore of Sutherlandshire and sightings of the roane are still made in that region. The silkies commonly took the form of mermen or woman, but Nancy Arrowsmith says the roane always appeared as seals. Like others of the sea race, they came ashore in human form and even attended local festivals and markets without being noticed. Fishermen were not usually troubled by the sight of a male of this species, but the females were thought to be omens of changeable weather. Some said that her appearance indicated bad luck with the sea or the fishery. People who were thought to have drowned, but whose bodies were never found, were assumed to have been abducted to the undersea world where they lived in perpetual bondage. The Gaelic sea-people were under the command of Ler, the immortal god of the sea. Little is known of this elemental, but he seems to have been the Anglo-Saxon Aegir, a gaunt old man, with claw-like fingers, that grasped after the ships of men. His avocation was shared by his mate, the goddess Rann, who actually spread her magic net near dangerous rocks, enticing mariners there with promises of sexual or other favours. ROC. RUIC. Anything that causes entaglement, a fish-hook, entanglement, curl, wrinkle, pleat,, the species of seaweed sometimes called tangle, a skate (the fish), sunken, a seaweed covered rock, hollow impotent cough made by a

person with something stuck in the throat, hoarse cry or voice, a rook, a retching sound. Also, the steward of the love-god Aonghas Og who had a son by the wife of Donn. The infuriated god crushed the child’s head between his legs but Roc used druidic arts to revive it as a huge boar (lacking ears and a tail). Roc charged the boar with following the career of Donn’s own son Diarmuid and it eventually gored and killed the hero. ROCABARRA, a largely invisible rock seen off the Hebrides of Scotland. It has been seen twice and its third appearance is expected to herald the end of the worlds of men and the gods. ROCAS, the rook, a crow, roc, the voice of a crow, from N. hrokr, AS. hróc, the English rook. Confers with G. ròc, a hoarse voice., Bry. roc’ha, to snore. After the steward of Aonghas Og. Roc had a illegitimate son by the wife of Don, the father of Diarmuid ua Duibhne. The angered husband broke the child over his knee, but Rocas touched it with his magic wand and it was reincarnated as an earless tailless boar. This was the boar that destroyed Diarmuid. A totem of all the sea-people. See snaithean. ROIN, ROINEAG, RIOINN, RIONNEAG, Ir. roine, a hair, especially the hair from a horse, Cy. rhawn, long coarse black hair, Bry. reun, a hair or bristle, Skr. roman, hair, cf. Ir. ruain, the hair from the tail of a horse or cow. Based on Rhiannon the dark-haired Welsh goddess who the Gaels called Samh or Mhorrigan. These hairs were considered to have magical properties. See snaithean. See romhan. In Romano-Gaul the goddess Epona, “divine Horse,” became the favourite with the Roman horse-legions. Her worship may have been introduced into Britain at the time of the invasions. At the least, her attributes became fused with those of Rhiannon and the Irish goddess Macha. Another Irish “goddess” who may be connected was Etain Echraide, “The Horse-ride,” the wife of Midir and of the king Eochaid Airem. There is a single enigmatic Gaelic verse that alludes

to the sacrifice of horses in ancient times. More recently we have record of the ritual killing of white mares in twelfth century Ireland. According to Giraldus Cambrensis, a white mare was then essential to inauguration of the chief of one clan in Ulster. This king appeared before his people on his hands and knees (like a stallion) and declared himself to be a horse. He then had ritual sex with the mare after which it was slaughtered and cooked. The king sat in a bath made of broth from the animal, and there ate the flesh and drank its body liquids. In this rite the mare represents fertility, a necessary virtue supposedly transferred to the king by this peculiar act. ROITHEACHTAIGH. The inventor of the wheel and the chariot. Literally, “the possessor of wheels.” Note that the sun was imagined to be a wheel that rolled daily across the heavens. The Gaullis god Taranis, who is the Gaelic Tar and the Old Norse Thor is sometimes pictured as a “wheel-god. An altar at Tullie House, Carlisle is decorated with a wheel on the left lateral face. Rice says that the presence of this wheel suggests dedication to “a native sky-god” rather than a Roman deity. In Chester this god is mentioned as Tanarus. Numerous votive wheels have been recovered throughout Britain and in the Welsh mabinogi mention is made of a god named Taran. In the Irish Tain one of the heroes is described as wearing a wheel-shaped broooch. When Elathu came to Ireland to mate with Eriu it is recorded that he had coic roith oir, “three wheels of gold” at his back. Thunder gods were smiths and tinkers and the movement of their carts in the upper air was equated with the roll of thunder. ROMHAN, wild talk, raving, the Eng. row and Roman (from their dark hair and evil dispositions?) See roin. Cf. Cy. rhamant, romance and the Ir. ramas from which the G. imrama, a sea-quest. RONAG, ROINAG, a hair, especially a horse hair, Cymric, rhawn, long coarse hair. Confers with ruain, hair of the tail of a cow, the English rowan. At the quarter-days saining rites were required. Old women gave special care to cattle

at these witching times, tying red or blue ribbons into their tails and saying their “words” over the udders. In order that cattle might retain their “virtues” a ball of cow’s hair, termed the ronag was put into the milk pail on the day in question , or at least by the following Thursday (Thor’s Day). See roin, above. RONG, the vital force, the spark of life, also a joining spar, a ladder; rongair, a lean person worn out from sexual activity. The passing of the sea-spirit to the land was to the detriment of the elder kingdoms. It is a tenant of magic that sexual activity bleeds away the spirit of the weaker partner, a fact noted when men cohabited with the sidh or the Fomors. After a single night “under the hill” or “west of the sun” it was noted that men and women invariably returned to their families drained of spirit so that they almost always weakened and died. The purloining of the kettle of life may represent the loss of the western gene pool of the “giants.” In the latter days, the magic peoples stole humans into their kingdom for it was said that they could not reproduce among their own kind. ROPAIN GORM, the little blue-green rope; the “blue clue” of witchcraft. “Into a kiln-pot throw a clue of blue wool. teased, carded and spun by yourself from the fleece of a male lamb. Keeping hold of one end of the thread begin to wind it off onto a fresh clue (bobbin). As you come near the end you will find an invisible hand has grasped the thread lying in the kiln. “Wha’ hands?” you must ask. Your lover will thereupon disclose his name.” Magic-makers kept these same blue clues, “balls of winded thread,” on their person at all times. On witch who went to the stake at Barhill supposedly called out not to be burned without her threadcharm, which she had left at home. She promised the crowd that if they would bring it to her she would reveal the secrets of her art. The clue was produced. She took one end of it and threw it in the air and after a few words “vanished in a moment.” ROSAI. An alternate name for the ollamh, or “professor” of

arts and crafts. Related to ros, knowledge. ROS GNATHSAIL, natural laws, ros, seed, flowing from knowledge; gnath, custom. Particularly those having to do with mechanics: the lever, the wheel and axle, the inclined plane, etc. The source of many magical effects. ROSAD, an evil spell, "standing before obstruction." ROSUALT, proud horse. A mighty sea monster cast ashore on the plain of Murrish in County Mayo. The sea-serpent is said to have lived for three years in its exposed position and its vomit killed fish and swamped the curraghs which happened to be at sea at these times. The third spasm ended with a pestilence that spread from four-footed creatures to many of the men in that place. ROTACH, rough weather, a hand rattle used to frighten cattle and men. This device was sometimes mounted on the nether end of a short spear, and was referred to as a “dart.” RUADÅN. A son of Breas and the goddess Bridd. At the time of the second battle of Magh Tuireadh, he was sent to spy on the smith of the gods. He wounded the metal-worker but was himself killed in combat. The goddess Mhorrigan, who is a form of the Bride, appeared as a keener after death for the first time on this occasion. Also the name given a Christian saint, one of the twelve “Apostles of Ireland,” who sheltered a kinsman against King Diarmuid. The High King violated sanctuary and for this he and Tara were cursed. As a result Tara was “desolate forever,” as Ruadan had promised. RUADH, red, Red,ruddy, brown or tanned, deer, hind, roe, strength, virtue, Saint Anthony’s fire. EIr. ruad, Cy. rhudd, Bry. ruz, Lat. rufus, AS. read, Scot reid from which the family name Reid. The prime colour of the gods, a hue suggesting war-like activities. Also, the son of Rigdon, and therefore probably the sun-god Lugh. He voyages with three ships into the waters northwest of Ireland. Some say he

was becalmed. With his crew getting weaker he was approached by three Fomorian goddesses, who took him to the seabed for rest and recreation. For nine months he slept and caroused with them, “without fearful hurt, under the sea, free from waves, on nine beds of bronze.” Collectively they bore him a son. When Ruadh refused to stay with them they cut off the boy’s head and threw it after the retreating landsman. see next. RUADH ROSESSA, ROSEISG, ROFHESSA, “Red of the Evil Spells,” the “Knowledgeable Satirit.” The Dagda in his guise as the god of druidism. Ross has noted that one of the gods of Gaul is Rudiobus, “whose name also contains the word “red.” (and) is equated with Mars. See also Rudraidhe and entries immediately below. RUAMHAIR, to dig, delve, EIr. ruamor, root up, from rou, the Eng. root, note the Lat. rata, minerals. The craft of miners. RUDHA, a blush, a form of ruadh. Also rugha, a reddening of the face due to excitement or embarassment. Related is ruicean, a “little redness,” a pimple, and ruitach, ruddy. RUDRAIDHE. On of the sons of Partholón, a survivor who returned to found the northern royal house of Ulster, Ireland. The men of Ulster were alternately called the Rudraidhe or Rudricans. RUITH NA H-AOINE, ruith, fast speech; “Friday’s count.” Note the goddess Aoine or Anu? A wish for bad luck! RUITHEANNA, ruith, run. The quasi-rhymthmical form of the oldest tales. He poetical form used by the Gael before he formalized verse, metre and rhyme. Notice the nest! RUITHIL, a reel or wheel dance. In honour of the sun-god Lugh who “wheeled” daily through the sky in his fiery chariot. RUN, mystery, secrecy, an intention, love, a secret, Cy. rhin,

ON. runr, Eng. runes. The root is revo, to search out. See rann. RUTHADH NA SIRACH, the “Fairie’s Point,” near Gaolin Castle, Kerrera, near Oban, Scotland. In years go by a changeling was deposited here. The family noticed that the girl did not grow and was always “delicate.” A visitor from Ireland eventually came to the castle and identified the little girl as a little woman: Tha thusa sin a shirach bheag lennan brian mac braodh, “So there thou art, the little fairy sweetheart of Brian MacBroadh.” Totally offended at being identified, she rasn fromn the castle and threw herself off this headland; hence the name.

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