Druidheacheachd, which the Anglo-Normans called magic, was the business of certain members of the druidic class

of the Celtic peoples of ancient Britain. Druidism was a system of religion, philosophy and instruction taught by the the draudh, or druids, It is not certain whether druidism was an invention of the Celts or a pre-Celtic religion adopted from the aboriginal inhabitants but these arts have generally been considered British in origin. The Celts came to the western islands from the Near East. The meaning of their name is not certainly known but one sassenach writer associates it with the Welsh "celt", a covert or hiding place. The Gaelic scholar Alexander Macbain suggests they were less reclusive, tracing the name to fifth and fourth century B.C. accounts of the Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon. He says the proper source is the Greek "keltos", "the lofty ones" corresponding with the Latin word "celsus" from which we have the English "excel". The root word may have been the Greek "gel", "to rise up in anger, to slay", suggesting a war-like people. The original homeland of the Celts is not precisely known but they were horsemen who spilled out of the rich grasslands north of Greece and followed the Danube River west, contesting the failing Roman Empire and settling most of central Europe. They may once have belonged to a single tribe, but their assimilation of others left them with little in common except a vocabulary. Physically. they became very diverse, thus the Celtic-speakers who the Romans encountered in Gaul, or France, were described as "tall, blond and large bodied." Those they met in what is now Bavarian Germany were seen to be "a short round headed race with brown or black hair and gray or brown eyes." The Celtic language is a branch of the Indo-European, or Aryan family of speech, which embraces most of the modern languages of present-day Europe. Wordsmiths tell us that the Arian, Slavonic, Teutonic, Italic, Celtic and Iranian tongues resemble one another in vocabulary and grammar to such an extent that they have to be considered descendant from a single parent tongue. Macbain thinks that this protolanguage was spoken in ancient Sarmatia (southern Russia) about five thousand years ago. These Aryans appear to have have a great wanderlust, and parting from their old homes, moved up the Danube to settle the Rhine and migrated south from there to populate the Gulf of Venice. Other men went other ways, some eastward across the steppes to settle India and

Iran. The Teutons finally installed themselves in the extreme northwestern corner of Europe and the Hellenes in the southeast. The Celts moved out of the east at least two thousand years after the others and now comprises five living languages situated in the places where they finally settled. In the eighteenth century there were six existing variants, but the Cornish tongue has since succumbed. Those that are known to us are grouped as belonging to the Brittonic or the Gadelic divisions of the Celtic language. The main difference between these two branches is one of pronounciation: The Gadels follow the guttural pattern of the parent Aryan tongue having a sound in their language conventionally identified by the English letter "q". This sound is seen in the Scto-Irish word for "son" which is written as "mac", but is pronounced somewhat like "maq". The Brittonic tribesmen tended to flatten the "q" by adding a "w" to it, finally subverting it into a simple "p" sound. The Gaedelic "mac" was thus reinterpreted in Crymric language of Wales as "map". Similarly, the Gaelic form for the word "five" is "coig" (pronounced with a "q" inflexion on the "c"), while the Welsh equivalent is "pump". This distinction into P and Q sound groups existed before the Christain era, the Gaul's of Caesar's Gallic Wars belonging to the P-group. The Gallish form for the number "four" was "petor", the Welsh form being "pedwar" and the Gaedelic or Gaelic "ceithir". In general the P-groups were continental European versions of the Celtic tongue, the most prominent form being Gaulish, which was spoken in France and Spain until it disappeared in the fifth century of our era. Gallo-British or Brittonic was spoken in England after conquering Gaulish tribsmen went there. The Breton language of France returned to the continent from England. The Cymric languages of Wales and Cornwall, like that of Brittany, represent variants of the Brittonic, or Brythonic, tongue. The Pictish language is sometimes considered part of the Britonnic or P-group. It was once spoken in Scotland and perhaps northern England, but like the language of Cornwall and that of the English Britons, is now extinct. The Q-group or Gadelic was first spoken in Ireland and from there passed to the Isle of Man and the West Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The Gaelic languages -Irish, Manx, and Scottish Gaelichave more connections with one another than with any of the Brittonic tongues. Until the Reformation, and for a century thereafter, the Irish and Scots Gaels shared a common literary language, although their spoken

tongues had diverged so that they could scarcely comprehend one another. Part of the problem stemmed from deliberate Protestant revisionism but Scottish Gaelic always had a far more cosmoplitan vocabulary than the Irish form, borrowing words from other languages as the need arose. That need came when they collided with Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse invaders, and their loan-words are thus largely English or Norse. The Q and P-speakers and their druid priests would have remained in the Near East except for changes in the world's climate and the development of farming and herding to the exclusion of hunting and foraging. Ian W. Cornwall, a lecturer in archaerology at London University has noted that "the culture and equipment of man are very closely conncted with climate." He has noted that the homeland of the human species, in either Asia or Africa, must have been favoured with a tropical climate: "Outside this zone, clothing, shelter, and the use of fire became necessary for warmth, if not survival...Only within the tropics does nature provide vegetable foodstuffs and fruits for the gathering at all seasons, so that elsewhere primitive man has had to be...a hunter...The poleward range of the farmer depends very much on the hardiness of his staple crops and the length of the growing seasons they may require. Wheat and bareley are sub-tropical in origin and prehistoric strains did not flourish much north of latitude 50 degrees. Oats and rye are quicker to mature and so permit a more northern range in the shorter summmers. Maize (Indian corn) is not frost tolerant. 1 While it is true that men have occupied parts of Britain for hundreds of thousands of years they have been kept from possessing all of it by the fact of ice on the land. Whatever the cause, the world has experienced at least nine periods of foul weather and subsequent continental glaciation. The first glacial age began 2.5 million years ago, when man's early antecedents prowled Africa's plains. The most recent advance of ice reached a peak a mere 18,000 years ago when Cro-Magnon artists were busy painting cave walls in southern France. At that time there was three times as much ice on the face of our planet as now exists at the two poles. This gave present temperate lands on both continents an arctic, or at least a sub-arctic character. In Europe an ice sheet covered the whole of Scandinavia, almost all of the British Isles, except extreme southern England, and most of the lowland countries north of France. In those cold days the Alpine glaciers were much larger

than is presently the case. In Africa tthe climate in the extreme north and south was temperate by comparison with the present. There was no widespread glaciation although the Atlas Mountains were encased in ice and local ice-centres overlaid the great equatorial volcanoes of Kenya, Elgon and Kilimanjaro. The southward shift of climatic zones created humid rainforests on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea and there was more vegetation and less sand in the northern Sahara. The glacial advances have generally taken an average of 100,000 years, while the interglacial warmth has rarely lasted more than 10.000. The most recent advance of ice is termed the Wisconsin glaciation in North America and the Wuurm in Europe. At its height 18,000 years ago, the mass heated and the ice withdrew in two distinct stages of melting and flooding, the first 13,000 years before the present, the second 10,000 years ago. Interestingly, thaqt first date almost corresponds with the loss of the island kindom of Atlantis to sudden and unexpected flooding. While the balance between land and water has not changed much in the last few thousand years, this was not always the case. In the longer geological record it is clear that many continental islands were once tied to the land. Certainly the exposed portion of England was intimately linked with France and Spain when the ice rode highest on the land. Although the weight of ice had a tendancy to depress the crust of the earth, the level of sea-water is estimated to have been lower by as much as 100 meters (330 feet) because of the extra water then held as ice. The deepest present-day soundings of the English Channel are a little over thirty fathoms (180 feet) making it evident that this sea-bed was once exposed. At the time of the Wuurm glaciation men could have travelled with dry feet from Paris to the cliffs of Dover over a broad front, taking only minor detours around shallow lakes. Ireland was largely under ice, but in any event would have been unapproachable except by boat because of the deepness of the Irish Sea. This is consistent with the findings of archaeology: Remains of Lower Paleolithic colonies have been found in southern England but nothing of comparable age has been located in Ireland. Ireland probably had very narrow land-bridges to England at the extreme of glaciation, but it is guessed that conditions were too severe for any humans to contemplate passage to this outer island. In this situation a few hardy stone-armed men hunted the southern edge of the ice subsisting on the game animals, birds and fish of that hard

land. As a rule, south-western Europe had few resources and could only support loosely allied small social groups which were little more than extended families. The energies of individuals were probably not entirely committed to making a living, but famine and inconsitent weather served as checks on the population. As the game moved, these small communities trailed. Because they were nomadic, these hunter-gathers had little chance to develop complex social structures and a division of labours. The situation might have remained such except for the withdrawl of the ice. By 6,000 B.C. the world had reached a Climatic Optimum or Thermal Maximum and passed through a time when temperatures were, on average, higher than at any time since the last interglacial period some 125,000 years ago. This swept away all but the polar ice, completely drowning former lowlands, making distinct islands of the lands later known as Britain. The unexpected warmth thrust the northern line of the temperate zone into Scandinavia creating opportunities for agriculturalists and problems of adaptation for the hunter-fisher folk whose food resources were threatened by this alien climate. It is thought that Emmer wheat and barley, the two cereals that dominated early farming, were transplanted from Mesopotamia to the uplands of Palestine, Irag, Iran and Turkey at about this time. The increase in world temperatures was, of course, felt nearer the equator and ultimately much of this land became desert. Fortunately for the budding civilizations around the Nile valley there was a temporary return to wetter conditions in the neighbourhood of the Mediterranean. There were bitter retreats to ice and cold in the first century before Christ and another depression of temperatures about the year 1200 A.D. This Little Ice Age continued until the mid-1800s with glaciers again on the rise in the Alps and Alaska and the Old Norse colonists frozen out of Alsaka. Since the middle years of the 1800s the world's climate has has turned warm again, temperatures being nudged up by the carbon dioxide screen formed by industrial pollutants and from a loss of the screening effect of the earth's ozone layer. The general move towards warmer temperatures gradually reduced the productivity of the oldest farming regions and forced men to seek tillage in the new temperate zones. This was not an easy matter since all cultivated cereals had to be introduced into environments different from those in which they had been originally domesticated. There were no

massive rivers with flood plains like those of Nile and Mesopotamian valleys in the north lands. Crop rotation was, as yet, an undiscovered innovation and there were no annual floods in the uplands of Turkey to restore the productivity of the land. As a result, the first farmers of Asia Minor and southern Europe were pushed into a relentless quest for land. Historians have been as pushy in their disdain for the huntergatherers in our human line. Grahame Clarke, a one-time teacher at Cambridge University, said that only the pioneers of farming were able to emerge from the Stone Age: "It was only through the control of breeding animals and plants that early man was able to ensure himself a reliable and readily expandable source of food and thereby establish a secure basis for cultural advance. The invention of farming was indeed revolutionary in the sense that it alone made possible the rise of literate civilizations." 2 Clark did say that agriculture was "inherently expansive" but he failed to notice the effects of the twelve mile per year march out of the east into western lands. One of the early movers and shakers of the Celts was Hu Gardarn: "Many will exclaim who was Hu Gardarn? Hu Gardarn in the Gwlad yr Haf, or summer country, a certain region of the east, perhaps the Crimea, taught the Cumry (Welsh) the arts of civilized life, to build comfortable houses, to sow grain and reap, to tame the buffalo and the bison...to cut down forests cultivate the vine, make mead and wine...fuse metals into various instruments and weapons and to move in masses (of men in military formations) against their enemies...(He came to Wales) when the summer country was over populated leading an immense multitude of men across many lands to Britain." Hu was an early land developer who had no patience for "the few savage Gauls" who had the misfortune to occupy the land when he arrived. He quickly "subdued" them and made the land "a smiling region, forests thinned, bears and wolves hunted down, efync (crocodiles) annihilated...corn planted, and pleasant cottages erected. After his death he was worshipped as the god of agriculture and war by both the Cumry and the Gauls."3 It is obvious that Hu allowed no place for dangerous predators, human or otherwise, and that those "few savage Gauls" were in no position to oppose this new "god". These earlier inhabitants probably lived by hunting and had learned effective techniques for killing animals, and had

the sense to adapt them to the business of killing men where it was required. Usually violence against individuals was not needed since hunters roamed a vast territory in which they had little contact with other similar bands of people. We can guess that these early British communities probably contained no more than a dozen related families, the individuals recognizing no leader of any sort, all occupying temporary villages in which there was no specialization in work beyond the fact that men hunted and women gathered plant food and tended the children. Each family was a law unto itself although it seems probable that a few cousins and friends might co-operate in building traps to take animals. Individual bands probably had territorial instincts and reacted strongly when strange people crossed their boundaries. Since they undoubtedly spoke dialectic forms of some similar language it is doubtful if they could immediately distinguish between threats and peaceful gestures. In this situation, there was always some violence, but the various woodland bands of Britain were rarely capable of the imagination and coordination needed to conquer another group and occupy its territory, if there had been any point in such an act. Other bands might have a few debatably useful material possessions, but slaves were not of much use, and additional territory would hardly add to the standard of living of hunter-gathers unless they were driven by famine. Notwithstanding, it has been noted that, in examining hundreds of Stone Age societies, our European ancestors found "scarcely one example of a tribe locked in a death struggle with its neighbours because of population pressure and economic scarcity. They were almost continuously involved in low-level warfare against their neighbours in their spare time, but nobody thought winning was sufficiently important to put much thought into organizing warfare efficiently..." 4 This statement can probablty be extended to Hu's "savage Gauls". Gwynne Dyer thinks that "precivilized" warfare was "predominantly a rough male sport for underemployed hunters, with the kinds of damage limiting rules that all competitive sports have...war tends to bulk larger and get more destructive among the more sophisticated aboriginal peoples (those) who have moved on to primitive agriculture or herding (where) the warriors (have developed into a class)...have even more free time and are beginning to acquire more material interests to defend." 5

The fist legendary peoples to occupy Ireland for any long period of time were the pre-Celtic Fomorians who fought to a stand-still against the another stone-age race, known as the Firbolgs. Both races were opposed by the bronze-age Tuatha daoine, but even they had a sense for ethics in warfare: When the two armies stood opposite one another on the Mayo-Galway border, the obviously over-matched Firbolgs announced that they would not do battle until they were given several days to sharpen their weapons. When they had done this, they insisted on more time to perfect their shields and brighten their helmets. On another occasion they noticed that the Tuathans had a superior light spear and successfully sued for a long interval in which to have similar weapons made. This was not the end of this fretful manoeuvering, and in all, the Firbolgs were able to talk their enemy into one hundred and five days of delay. At the last hour, the Tuathans, noting that the Firbolgs outnumbered them, got in a point of their own, demanding that the armies be matched man for man. This was agreed to in recognition of the fact that it would leave the Firbolgs with a back up force. At that, they suffered defeat after four days of battle and reconferred, reducing potential losses of life by cutting the warring forces to 300 men on each side. The Tuathans won this struggle, but recognizing the valour of the Firbolgs,granted them possession of the province now called Connaught. In the early "wars" men managed to get exercise but relatively few people were killed. As Gywnn Dyer says this was a time when there were "no leaders, no strategy, and no tactics", when only kinship groups were usually involved "most often to revenge a killing or a ritual offense committed by another group..." Warfare was, at its "best", "an important ritual, an exciting and dangerous game, and perhaps an opportunity for self expression, but it (was) not about power...and it most certainly (was) not about wholesale slaughter." 6 Gwynne Dyer says that "the gulf between primitive and civilized societies is as vast in warfare as it is in other respects. The essence of the Neolithic revolution was not the discovery...that food could be obtained more reliably and in greater abundance by planting and harvesting crops and taming or breeding animals...It was the insight that human will and organization could exercise control over the natural world - and over large numbers of human beings."7 In other words, the development of agriculture allowed the creation of a class-society whose most elevated members began to see the possibilty of great personal gain in exercising

power. Lewis Mumford has suggested that it was "the essence of civilization" to exert power in all its forms. The roots of the first civilizations, he claimed, are to be found in states that were so absolutist and awesomely cruel they make Nazi Germany seem a moral commonplace. Dyer thinks that the first experiments at weilding power went to the heads of the earliest leaders of state causing them to build practical irrigation canals on one hand, and to pursue vast personal memorials, such as the pyramids, on the other. Between ends, powerful men waged wars of extermination which were often little more than personal vendettas waged with the complicity of newly "civilized" men. THE DISTRIBUTION OF POWER In the days when there were no permanent leaders of men power was recognized as a temporary attribute. Among the primitives any man who could raise a following became the chief of a war party. In some tribes he might maintain absolute control of those who followed for the duration of the expedition. This elevated state lasted as long as the band's interest in war-like play. Before physics became a science, primitive men understood that physical force was any push or pull resulting in motion, and formulated the idea that work was force acting through a height or distance. Power was understood as the work done in a unit of time. This idea was extended to psychic concepts and the most powerful men and animals were seen to act, mentally or physically, with greater force or speed than others of their kind. At that, the greatest power was seen to reside in the natural world, where it periodically acted against men in violent movements of fire, earth, wind and water. Considering this, the early hunter-gatherers probably supposed that ultimate control must lay with a creator-god whose will was channelled through lightning, vulcanism, earthquakes, hurricanes and whirlpools. The creator god was often left unnamed, it being thought presumptuous and dangerous to draw his attention by referring to him directly. Early on, it was noticed that the god behind nature was quixotic, a dangerous easily aroused enemy and an unreliable ally.

Some men may have privately thanked this creator for their existence and the world within which they found themselves, but the father of all things was rarely credited with much continuing interest in his universe. He was thought to stand outside of time when he started the celestial mechanics of the sun, moon and stars. It was further suggested that he provided the life force inherent in plants and animals, but the mortal gods were often credited with actually creating life. Some pagan philosophers suggested that the supreme god suffered from boredom and, on a celestial whim, divided his "cumhacd", or power, among three elemental gods of fire, wind and water. In doing so, the one god appears to have shielded his creations from the fact that they were divisions of a single force destined to reunion at the end of time. The vital spark given these gods was known to the Gaels as "rong"; the AngloSaxons called it ghost; the Anglo-Normans, spirit. Thus the elemental gods used to be referred to as god-spirits or god-ghosts. Like the creator-god, these three god-spirits, or elemental gods, were generated out of primal chaos. The Norse scalds, or poets, declared that before the world existed there was nothing where our earth now stands but the Ginnungagap (Beginning Gap) , "whose depths no eye could fathom, as it was enveloped in perpetual twilight. Yet in the beginning, when there was no earth, nor sea, nor air, when darkness ruled over all, there existed in this place, a powerful being called Allfather, dimly conceived, uncreated, unseen. (Moreover) whatever he willed came to pass." 8 The Gaelic counterpart of the Allfather was referred to obliquely for fear of drawing his unwanted attention. Some called him An Tigherarna (The Lord). Others identified him as An Olathir (The Father of Drink). More often he was simply An Athir (The Father of All) or Ard Athir (The High Father). From this last we have the English name Arthur. Be-al was another name given the creator-god. Thomas Bulfinch says the name is Druidic in origin and has translated it as "the life of everything," or "the source of all being." Bulfinch though it likely that Be-al, sometimes given as Be-ul or Be-ol or Ba-il, had affinities with the Phoenician Baal: "Druids as well as Phoenicians identified this (god), their supreme deity, with the Sun. Fire was regarded as a symbol of the divinity..." 9 In Gaelic. the word continues in several forms, notably "beul" mouth, derived from the Old Irish "bel", which has the sense of the chief speaker

for a multitude of men; the "mouth" of the tribe; the leader. Certainly it is related to "balgum", a mouthfull, and "bailceach", a strong man, the chief of a "baile", or township. Also note: "bealltuinn", or balefire, the fires of Be-al and the time when they were lit, i.e. May Day. The wordsmith, Alexander Macbain adds that the word confers with the Anglo-Saxon "bael" white (like intense fire) and with the Gaullish god-names Belenos and Belisama. "Baal" was never a word which was the sole property of the Phoenicians, being rather "any of a multitude of local deities of the Semetic races, each distinguished by the name of his own place or of some distinctive character or attribute. Thus the Hebrews used the name in the sense of "lord", and we see Biblical references to the Baal of Tyre, of Sidon, of Lebanon, and of Tarus. Of particular note was Baal-ze-bub, liteerally the Lord of Flies, sometimes confounded with Satan or the Devil. Baal became a compound in many eastern place names and in the names of people, some examples being: Hannibaal (in favour with Baal); Hasdrubaal (the helper of Baal); Baal-hermon (place of the Baal named Hermon); and Baal-peor (place of the Baal named Peter). Something very similar is found in Gaelic places such as Baile-nan-cailleach (place of the old woman goddess); Baile-an-luig (place of the god Lugh); and Bail'uaine (place of the green-coloured lord). Thus the Olaithir is represented in those who have particulary large portions of his spirit. Some of these nature gods are the elemental gods, those whose existence was independent of time and who shared in the indestructibilty and immortality of the Oolaithir. Among all the northern tribes the will of the Allfather was seen as the impetus for the creation but the elementals were credited with performing the physical tasks that led to the rise of the worlds and life forms from darkling swirls of dust. The immortal god had no restrictions on his power, except those he willingly placed on himself when he created the elementals. Sir James George Fraser noticed that these spirits of nature are distinguished from the creator god and mortal gods by the fact that their magic is confined to a single department of nature. He has also noted: "Their names are generic, not proper." This means that the names they are given are synonyms for fire, air and water. Wherever they were found, the three prime nature spirits were members of a class, having no marked individuality, no agreed upon origins, and (in general) a threadbare history.

Men agreed that the elementals were a surly lot, liable to bring storms of fire, wind and water upon men without warning or care for their needs or desires. Forest fires, tornados and dangerous eddies of water were seen as embodied powers that ravaged in spite of sacrifice, prayer and praise. Propitiation moved neither the creator-god nor his god-spirits although occasional attempts were made to influence the latter through sympathetic magic: When the earth was dry individuals sometimes sprinkled droplets of water on it hoping to get the attention of the water god, who might respond by creating showers on a larger scale. Where the sun was wanting hunters sometimes fired flaming arrows into the clouds hoping to catch the "eye" of the sun god on the other side of the overcast. If a little wind was needed to propel a sailing ship, a cloth might be flapped in the air with the intention of arousing the legarthic wind-god. These rites of the elder world could be performed by any individual, at any time or place as the ocassion demanded. No temples were built to honour the triad of elementals and no special class of individual was needed to act as priests to the tribe. Among the Old Norse the elemental gods were known as Loki (fire), Hler (water) and Kari (wind). The first can be shown to correpond exactly with the Gaelic god known as Lugh (pronounced Lookah), the second with Ler and the third (less certainly) with the god Myrrdyn (whose name is a Cymric form of Merlin). In Norse mythology it is said that the elemental gods played unintentional parts in creating the world of men and life itself. North of the Beginning Gap there developed the world of Nifhelheim, later given to the control of Hel, goddess of death. From the first it was a land of the water-god, the home of an inexhaustible spring named Hvergelmir, literally the seething cauldron. Its water spilled over to create the twelve great rivers of the northlands, collectively called the Elivagar. These waters ran to the edge of the Gap and fell into it, freezing into ice as they fell through the kingdom of the air-god, who blasted them with his cold breath. Aroused by sounds of collecting and colliding glacial ice, the fire god approached from Muspellheim in the south brandishing his flashing sword. From it sparks flaked off into the chasm, falling upon the ice mass giving rise to steam. From the steam arose Ymir, or Orgelmir, the frost giant, the first mortal. To provide for him the Allfather willed the co-creation of a giant cow, which licked the form of the first mortal god from an ice block. The proto- giant and the first god reproduced themselves asexually and soon fell into warfare over possession of the

secrets of brewing. In that war between the gods and the giants Ymir, or Hymer, was killed. The cause of the first god Buri might never have been won except that his son Borr impregnated the giantess Bestla giving rise to the mortal gods who had an innate grasp of magic. These latter day "gods" tumbled Ymir's body into the Beginning Gap and salvaged the body parts to create the world of men. In some of the sagas it was said that the "elder gods" willed the existence of the elfen folk and men. In other accounts the honour is given to the mortal gods, Odin and his brothers Vili and Ve, but they were constantly usurping the priveleges and character of earlier dieties. Whatever the case, the triumvirate of gods walked the shores of Middle Earth at an early date and there found two logs of driftwood which abstracted human form. Gazing on them they perceived the will behind their will and animated them; the elm as Embla, the first woman and the ash as Ask, the first man. To these the wind god imparted the ability of motion. The water god gave them souls which allowed them the powers of speech and thouight, while Loki, sometimes called Lodur, gifted them with "blood and blooming complexions." H.A. Guerber says that, "In the beginning Loki was merely the personification of the hearth fire and of the spirit of life." He was also an abstraction of "wildfire", field or forest fires, and of lightning, his name being related to the Old Norse verb "lokker", to twist or bend. Long ago he was given charge of the desultory southern winds of summer. In the most distant times he may have been considered the god of the sun, but with the arrival of the mortal gods in the northlands, this honour was given to Odin's son, Baldur. Loki was entitled "Lokki loojemand", or Loki play-fellow. in the Anglo-Saxon tongue. His red hair, beautiful appearance, and convivial character were attractive to Odin and his Aesir, who welcomed him to their fellowship in spite of the fact that he belonged to the old order of deities. In the confusion of making early records some authorities said that Loki was the brother of Odin, but others were sure that he was merely a blood-brother, one who had undergone a ceremony of affiliation common in the northlands. In the new situation, the lightning god took up with Thor, the god of thunder, who became a nearly inseparable companion. Guerber thinks that

Thor was the god of industry and hard work while Loki represented indolence and the playboy attitude: "Thor was ever busy and ever in earnest, but Loki makes fun of everything, until at last his love of mischief leads him entirely astray, and he loses all love for goodness and becomes utterly selfish and malevolent." 10 While Loki provided men with the blood of their being it contained the fire of passion and mischief which had the capacity to ignite and detroy them, as it did Loki. In the latter days, Loki puirloined Thor's hammer to Ymir's people, stole Freya's necklace, chemically removed Sif's hair and betrayed Idun into the power of Thiassi, one of race of giants. He mated first with the goddess called Glut, but later bedded the giantess named Angurboda who bore him Hel, goddess of death, the fearsome MidEarth snake Ioormungandr and the Fenris wolf. These three god-giants gave the Aesir great trouble until Odin banished Hel to Nifhelheim, threw the water snake into the deepest waters of the ocean and chained the wolf in the netherworld. All this was overlooked by the patient gods, but his unceasing hatred for Baldur caused him to plot his death. Baldur had been made invincible by the fact that all of earth's plants and animals were pledged not to harm him from birth. Knowing of this "geis", the gods used to amuse themselves by throwing spears and knives made of various materials at Baldur watching as they turned away at the last minutye. Loki discovered that the mistletoe had been overlooked in the promising and fashioned a dart of this wood. He then guided the hand of ther blind god Hodur, the brother of Odin, in throwing this missile. The mistletoe proved fatal to Baldur, who was lost to the land of Hel since he was not a victim of death in battle. The gods later arranged for the sun gods half yearly repatriation to earth during the summer season, but before that they pursued and bound Loki within the deepest caverns of Nifhelheim. Being an immortal god he remains there awaiting liberation at the end of time, when it has been promised that his fires will detroy the physical creations of Odin's mortal gods. It is hear noted that the day now called Saturday was formerly called Laugardag, or Loki's day, his promised day of return, that "lokk" corresponds with the English word "lock", and that Loki was laterally thought of as the the god of locked. bound, or underground fire. "As Loki was the embodiment of evil in the minds if the Northern races, they entertained nothing but fear of him, built no temples to his honour, offered no sacrifices to him, and designated the most noxious

weeds by his name. The quivewring, overheated atmosphere od summer was supposed to betoken his presence, for the people were often wont to remark that Loki was sowing his wild oats, and when the sun appeared to be drawing water they said Loki was drinking." 11 This former god of the sun was not restricted to Scandinavia. In Germany he was Luchre, Laugar, Lothar or Lubber, "to whom the bones of animals used to be offered in Mansefield." Thomas Keightley thought the lubber-fiend might have some connexion with the French fay-creature known as the Lubin or Lutin, a mischievous little man who braided the manes of men's horses while they slept. The Anglo-Saxons brought memory of Loki to Britain in their lug, lob, loby, lubbard, lubber, or lubberkin, a similar invisible creature with tendancies toward sloth on one hand and practical jokes on the other. The English lob of the spirits was recalled in the writing of Shakespeare and Milton and the phrase "being in, or getting in Lob's pound" is still understood in some places as being "between a rock and a hard place." The travels of Loki have been extensive. Keightley notes, almost sadly that the Leprachaun, "peculiar to Ireland, seems indebted to England for his name. In Irish...he is called Lobaircin, and it would not be easy to write the English Lubberkin more accurately with Irish letters and sounds. Leprachaun is evidently a corruption of that word." 12 Keightley further notes that the Ulster name for the southern Irish lubarkin is, in Gaelic, lugharman, sometimes represented as logheryman. He says "we should be tempted to derive it from the Anglo-Saxon "lacan, loecan, to play." (Remember that) Loki Loojemand, Loki Playman, is a name of the Eddaic deity Loki." The diminutive lugharman, or leprachaun, is surely the very antique Gaelic god Lugh "the sun god, par excellence of all Celtica." In An Etymological Dictionary Of The Gaelic Language Alexander Macbain notes that the word "lunasd" is the equivalent of the English holiday named Lammas, which still takes place on the first day of August. He says the Gaelic word is derived from the early Irish "lugnasad", "the festival of Lug...the sun god of the Gael, whose name Stokes connects with the German "locken", allure, the Norse "lokka", to do and also Loki (?)..." In the Norse myth of the creation of life, the fire-giant named Svrtr

(The Dark One) approached the abysss and sheds sparks from his firey sword upon the ice thus creating the first humanoid. Svrtr is a guise for Loki, for like him, he is promised the leading role in bringing an end to the worlds of men and the gods. Lugh is a similar swordsman at the dawn of time, his entitlements being Lugh Sab Ildanach, Lugh The Supreme Craftsman, and Lugh Lamfada, Lugh of the Long Arm. The latter does not imply that the god was overbalanced, but refers to the fact that he carried the spear called Fragarach, the Answerer. This weapon was invincible in battle and had the ability to cut through protective leathern armour. Lugh has his Cymric counterpart in Llew Law Gyffes, Lew of the Long Hand. His "arm" of power had an important role in Celtic cosmology. In the beginning there was only the creator-god and An Domhan, the Deep, which the Welsh called Annwn from their word "dwfn"", a deep place. Gaelic tales say little of this beginning gap, but it alternately called Magh Mell, the Great Plain of the Sea, and is described in the Barddas as a seagidled revolving fortress. In the space about An Domhan there existed the energies of chaos and those promoting order, Annwn being the first rendering of order out of disorder. According to the Welsh version, life commenced when the god released his great power by pronouncing his true name aloud. At this first naming of names "manred", the primal substance of the universe, came into being. This material was conceived as consisting of minute unseeable particles, each a microcosm of units above and below it in size, each being at once a part of the ghost of god as well a representation of him in the whole. The Dagda Mor may have been one of the Olathir's earliest attempts to organize primal matter. The first mortal god, he seems to parallel the frost giant Ymir, "mor" indicating anything of great size. It was said that his spoon was of sufficient size to bed a normal-sized man and woman, In the more northernly myths, after the death of Ymir, the survivors of the giant kind were either banished to Jotunnheim, the Land of the Big-Eaters, or to Nifhelheim, and it is patent that An Domhain is the equivalent of both Nifhelheim and the British Hades. The Dagda was associated with the goddess Danu, or Anu in the creation of a tribe known as the Tuatha daoine, i.e. "the northern people of the god whose mother in Danu." Their daughter was Bridd, or Brigit, and their sons: Lugh, Nuada, Ogma and Midir. Several authors have noted that the name Dagda confers with Good and Rolleston thought it might be the

equivalent of Doctus, which has the meaning of wise. Katherine Scherman questions this interpretation of Dagda noting that he was entitled "the Good" not because he was morally upright but because he was "good" at performing a wide variety of physical feats including sexual marathons with a wide variety of women. It is noteworthy that "dag" is a Gaelic word is for a sharp-pointed tool, in particular a dagger (and currently a pistol). While Lugh carried an irresistable sword much is made of the fact that his father had "an invincible club so heavy that eight men had to carry it and its track made the boundary-ditch for a province." His main talent was surely procreation! Lugh and Nuada seem to have been more reflective gods than theeir “father” The Dagda, or at least they were individuals of slower passions. Gray Hugh , a senachie of the Hebrides, said that Lugh Longarm meditated for a thousand years before noticing the presence of his twin brother Nuada (pronounced Noo-dah), The Horseman of the Heavens. The two remind us of Loki and Thor, thunder and lightning, individuals so close in being that one often spoke the thoughts of the other. After an additional thousand years of mutual consideration the two used their magic to create "something not seen until then...fire." Easily bemused they fell into contemplation of this novelty for another thousand year span. At the end of that time they noticed that the fire periodically ebbed and increased in intensity. When the fire was up sparks were seen to come together burst into powerful streamers of light and then fade as their energies were lost. Speaking as one mind with two voices the gods decided to end the arbitrary length of day and night and to create time and space. It was said that, "They made the Creation round." After that they put limits on the boundaries of chaos so that it might not affect their new-born universe. Having divided light and darkness evenly, Lugh approached the primal fire with a spear in hand. Like the sword of Svrtr it was burst into a living flame filled with the spirit of creation. See this fire held aloft, Nuada struck at it with the sword "that needed only one blow to put a finsih on a thing." Thus the stars were scattered to the far corners of the Creation. The stars driven from its point, Lugh lowered his spear with no more than a glow continuing at its point. He gave the spear a shake and that particle of light fell into space creating the sun for the planet now called earth. One little glow remained and Lugh shook this way to create

the moon. As they stood admiring their work they were approached by Dag, the daughter of Lugh. Asked for her opinion of their work the girl noted that any creatures living in the new world be confined to places of perpetual darkness or constant light since only half the planet was illuminated in their static universe. Agreeing that this was so, the co-workers seized the sphere in their hands and began to rock it and jerk it until a motion was imparted to all of the stars, moons and planets. When they were done, Dag had to agree that the orbiting earth now received equal light on all its surface as it orbited the sun. The creators now decided to supply the earth with things that grow. Dag was given charge of the greening of the earth. Its first gardener, she selected green as the colour for foilage noting that it was a perfect background colour. She then assigned colours to the various crops, and classified the various animal creations as they were brought to life by the gods. It was Dag who created the cauldron of the deep, "a large pot in which there was every kind of food and provision for all existence and life." 13 Two headed sculptures of Celtic origin have been described as illustrating "the reciprocal relationship between the human hero and his divine archetype", but they may simply represent the twin gods Lugh/Nuada, who spoke with one voice and were the co-creators of the world of men. Nuada's name is similar to the Gaelic "nuadh" which is exactly represented in the English word new. We have said that Lugh is represented by a character named Llew in Welsh myth, and Nuada has a similar counterpart in the deity named Nudd or Lludd. Nudd is pictured on a bronze plaque which was discovered by the Severn River in England. He is show encircled by a halo and accompanied by spirits of the air and water. We are reminded that this god was one of three elementals, the others being Ler and Myrddyn. While they belonged to th elemental triad, Lugh and Nuada were a dynamic duo, Lugh carrying the spear which fought by itself and Nuada the sword which slew its victim at first touch. Duality is a constant theme in the old Gaelic tales, it being easily observed that many things come in pairs: day and night, male and female, wet and dry, chaos and order, and of course, good and evil. Even the all powerful Aithir or Allfather was seen as having a split personality, his

destructive side being named Nathir, the one who is not the father. His name persists in Gaelic in the word "nathair", a snake or serpent, and anciently, a sea serpent. Lugh and Nuada may represent similar aspects of the creator-god, the former representing power rising and the latter power falling. After the creation of the essential life stuff and the arousal of the three elementals, the Aithir, Ardhir, or Arthur appears to have retired to his home beyond the north star, from which he, perhaps, observes the vagarities of life on earth. The Dagda Mor may be thought of as his generative body which gave rise to his sons and daughters. While the Aithir was immortal all of his offspring were mortal but reincarnate deities. This means that they might occasionally be embodied in human, or animal, or inanimate form, for periods of time, returning to their elemental states for periods of rest and reflection. Lugh, following the act of world and life creation was incarnated , at the will of the Aithir, as the hero of a race of "warrior-gods" known as the Tuatha daoine (pronounced Tootha dannan). His earthling father was Kian of Contje and his mother Elthinn of another race known as the Fomor. Elthinn was the daughter of an uncanny character, a pirate chieftain called Balor of the Evil Eye. The name Fomor combine the Gaelic "fo", their word for under with "mor", which translates as great. The latter word confers with the English mere and with the Gaelic "muir" meaning the open sea, specifically the Atlantic Ocean. It was this race of sea-giants who were first raised by the gods to take posession of the sea-fortesss known as An Domhain. The Tuatha daoine claimed that the Fomors were humanoid shapechangers, sea demons, powers of darkness and ill. They were usually represented of being huge and deformed in shape, many having the haeds or other parts of animals, gifted with size-changing magic and malignant and blighting potencies. It has to be remembered that these were the assesments of a rabid enemy and later historians sometimes declared that these people were no more than African sea-pirates. Attempts to locate their homeland would suggest they actually came from a western island or islands, variously entitled Magh Mor, Magh Mell, the Plain of Bleasure; Tir Tairnigri, the Land of Promise; O-Breasil; Hy Breasil or I-Brazil, the Isle of Breas, sometimes

referred to as the Isle of the Blessed; or Tir nan Og, the Land of Perpetual Youth. Some have said that this ancient land, due west of Connaught province in Ireland, was "a land wherein there is not save truth, and where is neither age nor decay, sorrow nor gladness, nor envy nor jealousy, hatred nor haughtiness." Obviously, this was not a human habitation! Precolonial Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have been lands suggested as harbouring the Fomors. Loke them An Domhain was an illusive place, cloaked in fog and difficult to re-discover after the initial landfall. Many of the noted heroes of the pagan past were born away to this place before or after death Oisin and his comrade-at-arms were taken there just before the Fionn were wiped out in their final battle. Conla, son of Conn was seduced to that land by a sidh-princess who transported him there in her crystal boat. Bran and his companions sought the strange lands in the western ocean. He supposedly found "the happy isles" and sailed amongst them for hundreds of years. Coming home to carry, the bow-man on his ship lepaed ashore and was instantly aged to a heap of dust. Legaire of Connaught and fifty of his men disappeared into the west as did Fiachna. Saint Brendan made a landfall and returned to recount his tale of a visit to the Land of Promise. Even with the advent of Christianity An Domhain, the First Land, continued as a goal of mariners. In 1664 a boat out of Olwes on the coast of Ireland was blown west by night and the next day at noon spied land so close that men saw sheep grazing on shore. The captain dared not land remembering tales that O'Brazil was unstable and at to vanish into the netherland or sink suddenly below the sea. They turned about and in spite of a favourable wind required two days of sailing for the return voyage. Twenty years later a scholar named O'Flatherty reported that "There is now living Morragh O'Ley, who imagines he was himsaelf personally in O'Brazil - he went there from Aran - and came back to Galway 6 or 8 years later and began to practise both chirurgery and phisick, and so continues ever since, tho' he never studied or practised either before in all his life time before. Hardiman says the story is thatthe Book of O'Brazil was given him there - but he was not to open it (upon his homecoming) for seven years."14 About this same time the Leslie family of Glasslough, County Monhagan, actually secured a grant to the entire island known as I-Breasil, pending its recovery or disenchatment from the spells of the Fomors and

the Daoine sidh. In his book Irish Minstreley, Hardiman reprints a letter from Mr. W. Hamilton of Derry, dated 1674, and addressed to a friend in London. He advised that the western isles had been discovered, and reclaimed, a few weeks earlier by the captain of a Killybegs schooner. Hamilton advised his friend to inform "young Leslie" of the good news, suggesting he might now make some use of his father's patent on these properties. Unfortunmately this curious tale has no resolution and as far as we are aware Tir nan Og still remains at a distance: receding from searchers into a fogbank, or backing below the horizon's rim, or sinking beneath the sea when men approach too closely. It has made substantial appearcnces on clear summer nights upon the Atlantic but vain and adventurous men have usually sought it with dire results. Although An Domhain was the creation of the Olaithir acting through the the fire elemental named Lugh, this land was given to the descendants of the immortal sea god named Ler or Llyr. At the time of the first human occupation of Britain, the sunken lands nearest Europe were controlled by the Fomorian giant named Conan and later by Manan Mac Lir (the Son of Lir). The Coire Mor correponds with the Old Norse Hvergelmir, both are, literally, the Seething Kettle, or Great Brewing Vat. In Anglo-Saxon mythology the waters of the sea were seen to rage and hiss, and the ocean itself was often referred to as Aegir's, or Eagor's brewing vat. In the English tales it was said that Aegir frequently visited the gods of the land and that he sometimes hosted them at great banquets held in his undersea kingdom. On one occasion Aegir invited the gods to the harvest feast but said that he lacked a vat in which to create mead. The gods Thor and Tyr volunteered to steal one from the giant named Hymir. Fortunately, they arrived at his keep when the giant was not at home and were met instead by his ugly grandmother and an beautiful giantess who said she was his mother. The lady explained that Hymir had a baleful, or killing eye, that often slew quests with an unintentional side-glance. She concealed the visitors before her son came home. At that, mention that there were strangers on the premises caused a wrathful look that split the rafter carrying the pots which fell to the floor where all but the largest was split. Fortunately the large vat was exactly what was required being a mile deep and proportionately wide.

Thor underwent tests of strength against Hymir which finally caused the giant to make a gift of the kettle. Tyr tried in vain to lift the kettle from the floor and Thor could only manage the task after he had drawn his belt of strength to the very last notch. In parting, the gods did great damage to the giant's house in wrestling the cauldron out of the kitchen. See this after the fact Hymir summoned a group of frost giants who pursued the southerners forcing Thor to kill them. Thor and Tyr then resumed their journey, the former wearing the kettle like a cap over his head. Finally they presented the kettle to Aegir who was then able to brew ale for the harvest feast. In the earliest days men did not possess the knowledge to brew the alcoholic honey mead which was an important part of such festival days. When Odin's Aesir came into the northern lands they found them partly occupied by sea-giants who were termed the Vana. They fought inconclusively with them for several decades, finally sealing a peace treaty by ritually spitting into a common spitton. From the saliva, the gods magically raised Kvasir, a being noted for his wisdom and goodness. For a time Kvasir travelled the world answering questions, thus benefiting mankind. The Svrtr alfalr or black drawfs coveting this beings vast wisdom slew him and drained all of his blood into three vessels. Mixing his blood with honey they transformed it into mead, a fluid so inspiring that anyone who tasted it immediately became a poet and singer. Before the dwarfs could taste their concotion they were pursued and cornered by Suttung, a giant out for vengeance because of the killing of members of his family. To buy him off, the dwarfs gave Suttung their precious compound which he placed in the hands of his daughter Gunlod. To keep it from the taste buds of men and the gods, Gunlod carried the ingredients into a hollow mountain. Unknown to this giantess Odin's ravens, Hugin and Munin had spied out the location of this fabulous drink. Odin having mastered runic lore and tasted the waters of Mimir's fountain was already the wisest of gods, but coveted the formula of this new liquid. After many adventures he penetrated the hollow hill in the form of a snake. Within he seduced Gunlod and persuaded her to let him try a small drink of the mead. Given permission he completely drained the available supply, fled from the cave in snake form and took on his eagle shape to fly home to Asgard. Suttung followed as a second eagle and was only stopped when the gods saw the pursuit and built fires on their

ramparts, Odin barely made ground before he disgorged the mead in such breathless haste that drops fell into the world of men. Suttung, following close behind, had his wings scorched by the flame and fell to earth where he burned to death. The first mead was used to generate additional drink and where drops fell in the world of men, they were also used as the portions of rhymesters and poetasters. Gunlod's role appears to correspond with that of the Gaelic goddess Dag, the daughter of Lugh. It will be recalled that she created the Coire nan Dagda Mor and its contents. Her name is similar to the Anglo-Saxon "daeg" which is akin to the Old Saxon and Scandinavian "dag", their words for day. There is a similarly named deity in Norse mythology, except that he is described as male rather than female: "The giantess of night had thrice married...and by her third (husband) the god Dellinger was born another (son) of radiant beauty, and he was given the name Dag (day). (The gods) provided for him a chariot drawn by the resplendent white steed Skin-fax (Shining-mane), from whose mane bright beams of light shone forth in every direction, illuminating the world..." 15 The first half of the day was termed "morgen" among the AngloSaxons; the Gaels called it "madainn". Both words can be shown to relate to the English word maiden, and in the Medieval Romances (which revolve about Celtic characters) Morgan le Fay is identified as the person entrusted with the care of the Cauldron of the Deep. The Cauldron was one of the treasures of the Tuatha daoine who originally lived "in the northern isles of the world learning lore and magic and druidism and wizardry and cunning, until they surpassed the sages of the arts of heathendom. There were four cities in which they learned lore and science and diabolical arts, to wit, Falias and Gorias, Murias and Findias. Out of Findias was brought the stone of Fal, which was in Tara. It used to roar under every (legitimate) king that would take the realm in Tara. Out of Gorias was brought the spear that Lug had. No battle was ever won against it or him who held it in his hand. Out of Findias was brought the sword of Nuada. When it was drawn from its deadly sheath, no one ever escaped it, and it was irresistable. Out of Murias was brought Dagda's Cauldron. No comapany ever went from it unthankful (i.e. lacking food and drink).16 It has been claimed that the "northern isles" referred to in the above

excerpt were the northern islands of Greece, but there is no certainty in this, the idea being based on latter day tales that the Tuatha daoine invaded Ireland out of the Mediterranean. An early Christian historian named Nennius stated uneqivocally that all of the races of men invaded Ireland from "Spain" but de Jubainville (Irish Mythological Cycle, p. 75) has noted that that this early writer was not referring to the Basque countryside but to Tir Nan Bas, the Land of Death, and this corresponds with An Domhain. T.W. Rolleston thinks that "Christian" historians have been embarassed by the fact that Ireland was traditionally conquered, and held by the overtly pagan Tuatha daoine. Katherine Scherman represents this point of view: "Between the Fir Bolg and Milesian (invasions) some historians have inserted the invasion of the wholly mythical Tuatha De Danann, investing the old Celtic gods with human form and slotting them neatly into synchronized (and presumably legitimate) history. Besides their conquest of Ireland and the magic-ridden battles this gives rise to, the De Danann participated in a series of romantic and heroic adventures in which there was no dividing line between the supernatural and the erathly, and in which unreality approaches the absurd." 17 Rolleston explains that such a race could not be considered as progenitors of Christian Ireland: "They had to be got rid of, and a race of less embarassing antecedents substituted for them. So the Milesians were fetched (again) from "Spain" (our italics) and endowed with the main characteristics, only more humanized, of the people of Dana." 18 The sons of Miled were considered as "an entirely human race" yet their origin was as problematical as that of the Tutha daoine. They were led by King Miled, or Milus (confering with the Gaelic "milidh", a champion), who is represented as a god in inscriptions from ancient Hungary. There he is said to be the son of Bile (the Gaelic "bil" or "bile", the lips of the mouth, a good politician) and Bile is identified as the god of Death. His counterpart in Gaul (France) was Dis, corresponding with the Anglo-Saxon Teus, whose name appears in Tuesday. The Romans identified Dis as Dispater (the Father Dis) and Julius Caesar said this was the god from whom all Gauls claimed descent. His name is embodied in a number of compound words which suggest his character, viz. disturbance, disaster, disapproval, dislike. In some respects Nuada may be considered a death god, with Lugh representing the life force, But Balor, the Lord of the "ord", or hammer, is more closely identified with chaos and the Land of the Dead.

The Roman writers thought that "the Land of the Dead" was "in the western extremnity" of Great Britain", separated from the land of the living by an impassible wall. It was attainable by every man after death, the way being made easy by a boat, which passed between the land of the living and that of the dead with one stroke of the oar in one hour of time ending at midnight: "Some mysterious law, indeed, brings together in the night the great spaces which divide the domain of the living from that of the dead...It was the same law that enabled Ith (a son of Miled) one fine winter evening to perceive from the Tower of Bregon, in the Land of the Dead, the shores of Ireland, or the land of the living. The phenomenon took place in winter; for winter is a sort of night; winter like night, lowers the barriers between the regions of Death and those of Life; like night winter gives life the semblance of death, and suppresses, as it were, the dread abyss that lies between the two." 19 The undersea kingdom was a land of perpetual youth but few men who went there remained if they could return to the land of the living. It was a state without strife but it was also a place without passion or genuine happiness. An Domhain was, like Nifhelheim, a place of "negative bliss." The Tuatha daoine may have fled from this grey realm, sailing their ships to Ireland out of the western ocean. Those who occupied Ireland when they landed had no forsightings of this unwanted landing, and no sense of the direction the invaders had taken, but they were seen burning their ships on the strands of Western Connaught. After that they generated a dark magical cloud around their host which spread to the entire countryside. When the fog cleared the Tuatha daoine were found to be relocated in a fortified encampment at Moyrein. Latter day sennachies, or historians, have tactfully stated that "Dagda's Cauldron" "came out" of Murias, literally the Sea-Island of Fish. Like the Norse Vat of Ymir, the Cauldron of the Deep was taken by force from the sea-giants or Fomors, and this was at least part of the contention that led to war between the land-gods and the sea-giants. Cauldrons exist as actual cult objects of the Celtic people, a notable example being the Gundestrup "cauldron" found in a Danish bog. This is actually a golden facing for a less spectacular container and thought to represent loot from a viking raid on Britain. This brings to mind the golden cauldron discovered by Pryden in the epic Welsh story entitled

"Manwydan" and the cauldron of Diwrnach sought by the companions of Olwen so that he may fulfill a marriage vow. The Dagda's Cauldron is certainly the Cauldron of Tyrnoc mentioned in "The Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain" and again pointed out in Taliessin's poem, "The Spoils of Annwn" (An Domhain). In both cases the kettle was stolen from the Irish Kings by the Cymric-speakers, dangerous expeditions to take it being justified by its marvelous and useful characteristics. While this kettle boiled the meat of heroes with great rapidity it refused to sustain cowards. It was was also known to have the capacity to restore life to the dead, ferrying them back through the cauldron from the undersea kingdom. Mircea Eliade guesses that the magic power of the cauldron lies in its contents: "...cauldrons, kettles, chalices, are all receptacles of this magic force which is often symolized by some divine liquor such as ambrosia or "living water"... (Water has the capacity) to confer immortality or eternal youth, or they change whoever owns them into a hero, god, etc."20 It is tempting to suppose that "usquebaugh", or whisky, literally the "water of life" might have been the alcoholic beverage which "stirred itself" within the cauldron. Certainly, "The origin of Whisky is wrapped in mystery...Usquebaugh was reserved for festive occasions, and even then was used sparingly, for unlike the Saxons, the Celt was temperate in both eating and drinking." 21 Certainly Irish or Scots whisky still contains sufficient "spirit" of the Oolaithir, or brew-master, to revive severly wounded men if not place the dead upon their feet. The Cauldron of the Deep appears to have remained in Greater Britain for a number of decades becoming at last the inheritance of Bran, sometimes named King Bendigeid Vran, "the son of Llyr." According to Welsh legend King Matholch of Ireland came to the larger island seeking the hand of Bran's sister, Branwen. Following the marriage one of the Welsh nobles who had not been consulted in the pre-nuptial period insulted the Irish king by defacing his horses with a knife. In recompense Bran was forced to compensate him with a staff of silver, a plate of gold and horses equal in number to those that had been damaged. When this was seen to be unequal to the insult, Bran offered"a caldron, the property of which is, that if one of thy men be slain to-day, and be cast therin, tomorrow he will be as well as ever he was at the best, excpt that he will not regain his speech." Afterwards, the Cauldron went back to Ireland, but Matholch abused Branwen creating a war of attrition that spared few Irish or Welshmen.

In that conflict it is recorded that, "the Irish kindled a fire under the caldron of renovation and they cast the dead bodies into the caldron until it was full; and the next day they came forth fighting men...Then when Evnissyen saw the dead bodies of the men of the Island of the Mighty (Wales) nowhere recucitated...he cast himself among the dead bodies of the Irish; and two unshod Irishmen came to him, and taking him to be one of the Irish, flung him into the caldron. And he stretched himself out in the caldron, so that he rent the caldron in four pieces and burst his own heart also. In consequence of this the Men of the Island of the Mighty obtained what success as they had; but they were not victorious, for only seven men of them all escaped and Bendigeld Vran himself was wounded in the foot with a poisoned dart...the men who escaped were Pryderi. Manawyddan, Tailesin and four others." 22 Seeing that death from blood-poisoning was immenent Bran commanded that his head be cut from his body. At the same time he arranged to have his soul transferred to a wooden cabinet. Remarkably, the head remained uncorrupted and talkative for eighty-seven years until an underling opened the door to the cabinet and allowed his soul to escape to the underworld. After this the skull was installed at London in the White Mount (where the Tower of London now stands). Facing Europe it provided powerful psychic protection against invasion. Unfortunately the Celtic King Arthur disinterred the head insisting that Britain needed no more defense than his own strong arm. After that, Greater Britain fell to the Anglo-Saxons and became known as Angland or England. The gods who stole the Cauldron of the Deep may have carried it to the British Isles out of the western ocean, but the first men to live within the islands walked there from the east. By 11,000 B.C. the retreating ice sheet revealled lands which could support little more than tundra. By the year 10,000 wild horsea and giant deer had crossed land bridges between Scotland and Ireland and around 8,000 B.C., the first post-glacial men investigated what is now England. By 7.000 B.C. grasslands and forests were well developed as the climate moderated and the first men found there way as far west as Ireland. The rising waters of the Atlantic had now covered the land bridge between Ireland and Scotland, but the water level was still seventy-five feet lower than at present, so that the water flowing between the two land masses was only a few miles wide. Across this narrow channel ancient men paddled their dugout canoes and hide

boats without much personal danger. At this same time there was still unbroken land connecting Britain with Scandinavia and some of the mesolithic people may have come from this point of the compass. No oral accounts survive of the earliest incursions into Britain but the Leabhar Gabhala, or Book of Invasions, purportedly takes up the story at the point where flood waters overrode the continental shelf forming the British Isles from former European peninsular lands. This book was an academic production with the mission of legitamizing the dynastic peoples of Ireland while linking Irish with world history. Nevertheless, it is believed to contain "some genuinely traditional items". According to this account the first arrivals in the far west were an unnamed people lead by "Bith's venturesome daughter", the Lady Cassir, sometimes given as Caesar. She was accompanied by fifty woen and three men: her father Bith, Ladhra and a third nicknamed Tul-tunna, the Floodbarrel, whose true name seems to have been Finntann. Ladhra had sixteen wives so it is understandable that he died of "an excess of women", the first to succumb in this manner within the boundaries of Ireland. He was interred at the top of a mountain on the eastern coast. The remainder of that race were caught in the water-wall of the "World Flood" with the exception of the forsighted Finntann, the grandson of Bith. He anchored a water-tight barrel to the summit of the mountain still known as Tultunna and slept away the forty days and nights that intervenes before the flood waters receded. He afterwards took up residence at Dun Tulcha in southwestern Kerry. It is a tenant of magical practise that those who escape their fate are afterwards ignored by the pagan gods, who don't like being reminded of their oversights. Finntann thus became an immortal by ommision. He reappeared some thousands of years later during the reign of Diarmuid MacCarroll to give testimonyconcerning the boundaries of the Royal Demesne. He came to Tara heralded by nine companies of descendants, and was followed by another nine families. The people of Bith were the last to walk dryshod to Britain, the Parthalons were the first to sail into its prehistory. This race may be entirely mythical as some contend, but the name continues in several languages aside from Gaelic: Sometimes written as Partholon, the name is said to correspond with the Latin Partholomoeus or Bartholomoeus, "the

name of a personage represented as the first invader of Ireland 278 years after the Flood." Alexander Macbain says that "The "p" makes the name non-Gaelic and suggests that it may correpond with the legendary Spanish character Bar Tolemon. In any event, the name continues in the Gaelic Mhacphalain, which is to say Clan Macfarland or Macfarlane. This race took its name from King Partholan who was accompanied on the boat trip by Queen Dealgnald, twenty four males and and equal number of females. Ward Rutherford says they landed "significantly enough, on 1 May, the festival of Beltaine. They had come from some western land exiled by invaders or natural disaster. Insofar as they may have existed it has been suggested that they were possibly the Neolithic megalith (standing-stone) builders." 23 T.W. Rolleston agreed that they came out of the western ocean noting that the King said that his father was "Sera", a name which he thought conferred with the English word "west". Robert Graves, on the other hand, thought that this race came from Greece by way of Spain. 24 In any case, Ireland was then described as a very different land, consisting of a sinle peneplain, housing three lakes and nine rivers. Others were supposedly added through the terraforming of the partholans or by accidental interference with the post-glacial drainage patterns. Lake Rury for example was entirely underground and is reputed to have burst forth when a grave was being dug for Rury, one of the sons of the KIng. In all the newcomers deliberately or accidentally created nine lakes. Unfortunately, the Partholanians were not alone on the land and soon encountered that inhuman race of creatures known as the Fomors. These sea-giants were then ruled by Cenchos, the Footless, a particularly meanlooking type who possessed a single eye, arm and leg. The Partholans had to deal with these huge mishappen, violent sea-demons, who they managed to repulse driving them north to the Scottish Hebrides and offshore islands. Having settled this they established a capitol near Dublin. Irish history might have been different but the entire population of Partholans, which finally number about 9,000 was stricken by a plague. Most of them died within the period of a week being buried on the western slope of Dublin Mountain within sight of the Dodder River. Katherine Scherman says that a mass plague-burial took place, and one can see on the hills

around the village (of Tallaght) the ancient tumuli that supported the myth." The few remaining settlers may have remained on the land but they were never again a dominent people. Next were the Nemedians who may have included members of the older race who returned to the original homeland to recruit new settlers. Nemed and his men may have been impelled by a need to escape disaster or simple land hunger but they soon encountered a new reason for staying near the British Isles: "There appeared to them in the ocean a golden tower. Thus it was: when the sea was in ebb the tower appeared above the sea, and when it flowed in the waters arose above the tower. Nemed and his people went towards this tower out of greed for gold." This unworthy desire brought them to heads with the Fomorians under their kings, Morc and Conan. Nemed fought successfully against them in four great sea battles but landed in Ireland he was subjected to a pestilence similar to that experienced by the Partholans and in the end he was killed along with 2,000 of his people. While they were in a weakened state the Fomorians landed and subjected them. The Fomorians demanded that Nemedians sacrifice two thirds of new-born children, took two-thirds of their crops and milk and enraged them by rape and pillage. The stronghold of Fomrian power was then on Tory Island, off the northwestern coast of Donegal. At last the Nemedians rose in revolt against their masters and occupied Tory Island capturing Conan's tower, killing the chief of the giants. However, Morc, at the last minute, joined the battle with a fresh host, utterly routing the Nemedian warriors. All but thirty were slain, so this race left Ireland in abject despair, leaving no descendants. The third invasion was comprised of Firbolgs, the people of the lightning goddess Bolg, or Bolt. Some authorities have equated the Firbolgs with the Bolgae or Belgae, the ancestors of today's Belgians. Nennius said they came out of "Spain", which Rolleston insists was the western sea. There seem to have been several waves of these settlers, sometimes distinguished as the Firbolgs, Firgallions and Firdonnans. They landed in Erris-Mayo but eventually established their capitol at Tara. They divided the countryside into four political regions. A noted king of the northeast was Eochaid mac Erc, who significantly took in marriage Tailiu, or Talta, daughter of the King of "the Great Plain" (the Fomorian An Domhain). Telta had her royal residence at Teltin, now called Telltown.

Some say she died there, but her name continued in a great annual fair held in her honour each August. If the Firbolgs were not actually related to the Fomorians they had less trouble with them than earlier invaders, possibly because the giants had suffered a pyrrhic victory over the Nemedians. The Firbolgs were probably not a Celtic people and little of them has survived in the Gaelic world beyond the word "fir", meaning men (the singular form is "fear", a man). In the Gaelic system of numbering this noun is frequently tied to one of the cardinal numbers, thus: aon fhear (one man); da fhear (two men) and tri fir (three men). Unlike most earlier races the Firbolgs survived partial serfdom and in the reign of the Milesian king named Crimmthann returned from banishment in the Western Isles of Alba (Scotland). At that time, a colony of them led by Angus Mac Umor took refuge in Ireland from the persecution of hostile Picts. ASt first they were given refuge in the north and were grantedlands in Meath. Unfortunately the King of those lands proved equally oppressive and at night they fled across the River Shannon into the Province of Connaught, long a residence of some of their kin. Here they allied themselves with Queen Maeve and her husband Ailill, who gave them lands and a permanent place in southern Ireland. We now come to the fourth invasion and the mystic warriormagicians who have troubled Katherine Scherman and other conservative historians. The Irish historian Eugene O'Curry had no quarrel with their reality, saying: "The De Dannann (phonetic spelling) were a people remarkable for their knowledge of the domestic (i.e. the crafts), if not the higher, arts of civilized life." His contemporary Seumas MacManus described them similarly as: "...a cultured, highly civilized people, so skilled in the crafts...that the Firbolgs named them necromancers (actually magicians)..."25 Even the staid international edition of Webster's Dictionary granted their reality in the earlier days of this century, when it had some interest in mythology: "(Irish tribe or folk of the goddess Danu.) In Irish legend the divine race, which invaded Ireland, overthrew the Firbolgs and the Fomors, and were finally conquered by the Milesians, by whom, however, they were worshipped as gods." The Firbolgs said that the Tuatha daoine came to Ireland "out of heaven", wafted into the land on a magic cloud. Those who held this

opinion were not present to see the newcomers burn their ships on the beach as the Milesians did at a later date. Seeing crowds in a fortified encampment at Moyrein, the Firbolgs sent a warrior named Sreng to interview them and determine their purpose. An ambassador from the Tuathans came out to parlay and strongly suggested that the two races shopuld divide the island kingdom, and defend it jointly against future intruders. The two then exchanged weapons and returned to their own camp. Noting their numerical superiority over the Daoine, the Firbolgs felt they might refuse the offer but they were perturbed when they compared the invaders bronze spear with their own rude equivalent. When the opposing armies were drawn up ready for contest, the Firbolgs called a temporary truce noting that they required additional time to sharpen their spears and swords, brighten their helmets and make peace with their gods. Surprisingly, the Tuatha daoine were acquainted with this peculiar latter day forms of ethics in warfare and agreed to the request. At the next meeting the Firbolgs cannily noted that their opponents possessed a superior light sword and sued for time to equip themselves. At a third assembly they magnanimously pointed out the fact that the Tuathans lacked their "craisechs", heavy spears that were capable of great destruction. They granted the newcomers time to arm themselvers, in point of fact everything possible was done to stall the final meeting of forces. Finally after agreeing to a matched man-for-man conflict the Firbolgs and Tuathans did fight for four solid days. At the end of this time the older race could see that the sharper weapons of the enemy were having their due. To save further loss on their own side they proposed ending the struggle in a single contest which matched 300 heroes from the two sides. The Daoine won this fray, but their losses were so severe they were glad to leave the Firbolgs in possession of that quarter of the island now known as Connaught. The Firbolg's most noted warrior-king, Eochaid was one of those lost in this last bloody contest against the Tuatha daoine. Another victim was the reincarnate high-king of the daoine, the one called King Nuada, the twin of Lugh of the Long Arm. Nuada was not killed but the warrior Sreng maimed him by cutting off his hand. It was a matter of policy that the Daoine could not be ruled by any individual with even a small physical

imperfection such as acne, or a visible boil, so this condition obviously barred Nuada from the kingship. Gathering at a mod, the host of the Daoine now selected a famous warrior with a classic profile and build. This was Bres, the son of a Tuathan woman named Eri. Bres, although handsome and well spoken had no gift for dealing with people, and during his reign allowed the Fomorians to renew their taxation and oppresion of outlying districts. This might have been overlooked except that the new king gradually gained a reputation as "the meanest of all men" during a day when patronage and hospitality was considered the mark of a true king. Travellers noted that "The knives of the people are not greased with his food. Those who come to his table do not depart smelling of ale. None are fed in any way, neither poets, nor satirists, harpers, nor pipers, trumpeters nor jugglers. None of these are seen amusing those assembled at his court." His final trouble came in the person of the poet named Caibre, who was regarded as the greatest entertainer in the land. This ancient Elvis Presley was not treated with respect, being housed in miserable dank quarters, without fire or furniture. After a very long delay he was served three old very dry cakes, and went away in anger. At his leaving he composed a curse which he directed at Bres: Withouit food quickly served, Without a cow's milk, whereon a calf may grow, Without a dwelling fit for a gloomy night Without the means to entertain bardic guests, May such soon be the condition of the nigardly Bres. According to some accounts this Gaelic "glam" had the effect of blighting Bres in a psychic manner since the poetry was taken up, and repeated, across the countryside. In the meantime, Nuada had been fitted out with an articulated artificial hand by the physician-silversmith Diancecht. At a later day his cause was taken up by an even more skilled biological techncian, Kian of Contje, the son of Diancecht. This individual was able to create a new hand for the king, thus allowing him to be reinstated as "ard-righ",or high king of the Tuathans. The parentage of King Nuada, now sometimes sometimes entitled Nuada of the Silver Hand, is not mentioned but it is probable that he was

the "befind" or home-shadow of Lugh of the Long Arm. These sometimes disembodied spirits were provided to all creatures of human kind as helpmates, assisting at the birth of great personalities and latter serving as protectors of these individuals. If Lugh is conceived as a sun god Nuada, his doppelganger, or double, is a god of the moon. Lugh's creative spear is not described, but it was probably of the usual Tuathan construction: "flesh seeking spears with ribs of gold and silver and red bronze in their sides (symbolizing the sun); and with collars (or rings) of silver upon their necks." This spear was considered more than equipment being regarded as an extension of Lugh's arm which could be used to direct a "gisreag" or blast of physical energy as the god directed. Nuada's silver hand attachs him psychically to the moon, and his loss and recovery of a hand reminds us of the phases of the moon. It is noteworthy that Nuada's recovery of his hand and kingship was arranged through the good offices of Kian, who is cited as the human parent of Lugh. Bres retreated to the hold of his mother Eri asking her what action he might take to regain power. For the first time this lady revealled that the former king's father had been Elathu, a noted king of the Fomorians, whose base was in the Hebrides of Scotland. Elathu provided his son with an army and a fleet of Fomorian sailors and sent ambassadors to enlist the help of Balor "of the Evil Eye", whose gaze blighted all objects which he looked on in anger. At first this considerable host made guerilla-like forays into Ireland and King Nuada could not counter the moves of oppression of his enemies. Fortunately his cause was supported by the sudden reincarnation of Lugh, son of Kian, the sun god to end all sun gods.

GLIOCAS aoir , a curse, satire; Ir. aor , EIr, aer , OIr, a i r . athair , athar, atharaichean,(m.), father; OIr, athir , cf. L, pater, Skr, pitdr. An-t-Athair, the One Father, the Christain creator-god. Athair-neimh, Br. aer-neimh, the father of poisons, an enemy god. boabh (bhuv), a wicked woman, a hag, a nag, a scold, a witch of either sex; Ir, badhbh , a hoodie or carrion-crow, one of the little folk, a gossip; EIr, badb , a demon-crow, the evil war-goddess sometimes name Medb or

Maeve . W. Bodnod and bodnod , the bird commonly called the kite. Similar to Norse, booth, war, AS, beadu, war (see below), and Skr, badhate, oppress. bas , death, Ir, OIr, from Celtic root baa , to hit or slay, hence the GaulLat, batuere , AS, beadu, war, and the Eng, battle. bealltainn , Ir. bealtaine (f.) Bealtaine (vyoulhini), Beltane, the month of May. Perhaps from Ir. bulid from the Eng. root bhel , to swell, hence the growing time. Beall is associated with a shortened form of tainneamh , thaw, the beginning season. caileadair , star-gazer, philosopher; from Eng. calender , a medicant dervish, from the Pers. galander. caochail , change, die, caochladh , a change, Ir. caochluigim . car , a twist, a turn, Ir. cor , OIr, curu , gyrate, W. cor-wynt , a curved turbulence, L. curvus , curved. cearr , wrong, in particular, left-handed, EIr, cerr , L. cerritus, crazed, Lit, skersas, crooked. cerrach , a gambler, Ir, cearrbhag , a gamestor, a dextrous, or left-handed gambler; literally, a sinsister individual. Ceitein , May (see belltainn), OIr, cetam , an abbreviation of cetsoman or cetshaman , distinguished in Cor. as cet-sam-sin , the first weather of Sam, or summer. The ending may be derived from tainneamh , the beginning time or some combination of words indicating the half-year. The other "beginning time" is Samhainn, which see. eidhis , a mask, luchd cidhis , masqueraders, from Sc. gyis, a mask, ME, gisen, to dress in disguise, Eng. disguise. The lowland Scots word was borrowed from the English in the Stuart period. ciotach , left-handed, sinsiter, W. chwith . Lat. scaevas, left. claidheag , the last handful of corn taken at the harvest, Sc. claaik-sheaf,

from claaik, the name given the festival of "harvest home". Also called the maiden, the hag, the corn-baby etc. clibeag , a trick, wile. See below, same source. clichd , an iron hook, also a cunning trick, Sc. cleeky, ready to hang another on a hook, ready to take unfair advantage, having an inclination to cheat. Coimhdhe , God, Ir, Coimhdhe , the Trinity of the Christain faith OIr, comdiu , lord, a providor, G. meas , esteem, Latin, modus, one who mediates. col , sin, W. c w l , OBr, col , Lat culpa, faulted, but possibly the German schuld, crime. comas , comus , power, Ir, cumas , EIr, commus. comhaire , a forewarning, EIr, comaircim , I ask (advice). crannchur , casting lots, OIr, cranchur , from cran , oak + cuir . cast, put aside, to "throw the runes" cro , death, blood, EIr, cru , W, crau , Cor, crow , Skr, kravis , raw flesh, blood. This word is the Scottish cro, and refers to the wereguild of all individuals in the kingdom from the king down. cuilionn , holly, EIr, cuilenn , W, celyn , Br. kelenn , Eng. holly , AS, holegn . DRUIDHEACHD The magic of the Celts is "druidheachd", a compound word derived from "druidh" and "eachd", literally the wonders of the druids. The singular for druid was the Gaelic "draoi", a word which defined a religious office that appeared to combine the functions of priest, historian, judge and jurors, physician and wonder-worker in one individual. The religion known as druidism is now considered a Gaelic invention, but they said it was of earlier origin, the rites having been learned from

an aboriginal British race which they displaced. There are suspicions that it was originally a worship of tree-spirits and some linguists have linked "draoi" with the Greek "drus" and the Latin "dryas", words which specify the oak-tree. "Amongst the Celts the oak-worship of the Druids is familiar to every one, and their old word for sanctuary seems to be identical in origin and meaning with the Latin "nemus", a grove or woodland glade."26 Druidism, which was practised at least one thousand years before the birth of Christ, was ultimately assimilated by Christianity so that the name "druid" survives in Gaelic as a description for the English thrush or starling, a black bird known for its talents as a nest robber and bully. This noun is feminine, tallying with the Christian outlook on the nature of evil. A collection of these black birds is referred to as "duidean". "Druidh" continues as a verb meaning: to penetrate, ooze in, or to impress beliefs through constant reinforcement. Finally, "druis" is the Gaelic word for lust, which the Christians viewed as one of the worst mortal sins. These unflattering characterizations of the druids started in pagan times. When a Roman detatchment was turned against Anglesey, on the main island of Britannia in 61 AD, Tacitus described a crosssing of the Menai Straits in this manner: "In the early morning light, the legionnaires were met on the far shore by a dense array of armed warriors, the women in black dashing among the ranks, hair dishevelled, waving brands, while the druids among them lifted their hands and called down dreadful curses from heaven. It was a sight before which the bravest might quail, but this day like many before, belonged to the Romans."27 In this case, the druids were given to the sacrificial fires they had prepared for the Romans and the ensuing days were spent axing the oaks in the sacred groves. Sir James George Fraser says there is "unquestionable evidence" that the Celtic druids torched human beings in a serious and systematic manner. The Greek geographer Strabo noted that these magic-men, "used to shoot people down with arrows, and impale them...or making a large statue of straw and wood, threw into it cattle and all sorts of wild animals along with human beings, and thus made their burnt-offering..." The Greek historian Diordorus made similar accusations, but there is little proof that either travelled beyond the boundaries of their country. These men seem to have had a common source in the writings of a countryman named Posidonius, a stoic philosopher, who actually had

travelled throughout Gaul (France) about fifty years before these men began to write. He also preceeded Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul by about the same interval of time. Caesar was in an excellent position to observe the rituals of the Celtic religion first hand, but he also borrowed from Posidonius. Caesar said that the druids officiated at all general rites of worship, and regulated both private and public approaches to the Celtic gods. In addition, they acted as judges between tribes or individuals, whether the matter was murder, a question of inheritance, a boundary dispute or a simple disagreement concerning money. As ajudicators, they prescribed the compensation which had to be paid by the guilty party; the heaviest penalty being banishment from the realm. Men who were rejected by the druids were also ostracized by their fellow citizens. Unlike other citizens, the druids were exempted from military duty, did not pay taxes and had the right of first-speech, being allowed their views before that of the much admired warrior-knights. These advantages were sufficient to draw large numbers to this priesthood, but an even larger number were sent to these studies by parents or relatives. On the other side of the ledger, Caesar noted that druid-initiates were required to memorize epic verses, "so many that some spend twenty years at their studies." Druid religious teachings were oral although they commonly used the Greek alphabet for ordinary communications or accounting purposes. The Roman commander guessed that this not only protected secret rites but offered memory-training."...it is usually found that when people have the help of texts, they are less diligent in learning by heart, and let their memories rust." Caesar had heard that the chief "secret" of druidism hinged on the thory of the transmigration of spirits: "A lesson they take particular pains to relay is that the human spirit never perishes but after death passes from one

A' BHAOBH 'S A' SGOIL-DUBH In Celtic Britain there were no witches. The hagges and wights, the ancestors of the witch, arrived with Anglo-Saxon sea-rovers, who did not "trouble" the island kingdoms of Britannia and Hibernia until the middle of the fifth century after Christ. It is a misnomer to speak of Celtic witchcraft, and it is equally improper to speak of druids, witches and bhaobhs as if they were both partners in the "sgoile-dubh", or black-arts. The "sgoil-dubh" was anciently considered the business of the "bhaobh", or "baobh". This word is retained in the Gaelic tongue to describe "a hag, a male or female practitioner of magic, or a carrion crow." It used to be thought that the baobhs were capable of assuming the form of the crow and the word "druid" has, similarly, been preserved in Gaelic to indicate another black bird commonly called the starling or thrush. As a verb "druidh" now means "to penetrate. ooze in, or impress unwanted attentions upon another," although it probably has had pleasanter connotations in times past. When Englishmen found themselves in an awkward situation, they spoke of being caught "between the devil and the deep blue sea." A Gael with few options would say that he stood, "eadar a'bhaobh 's a' bhuarach", which is, "between the magician and the staked cow." The latter tended to get surly from standing in the sun, and there was "a superstitious fancy" that men nudged by the horn of a tethered cow would afterwards be childless. 1 These words belong to the vocabulary of the Gaels, a branch of the Celtic peoples. The Celts were a language group, very different in appearance, sharing similar words, spoken in various dialects. "Celt" was not a name which these dwellers on the Danube River applied to themselves. Noticed by the Greeks, they were identified as the "keltoi" (woods-dwellers) and this name was afterwards adopted by the Romans.

Thomas M. Murchison, Prose Writings of Donald Lamont, Edinburgh, 1960. Notes, #10, p. 172. He says: "Baobh is applied to several female supernaturals of very evil omen."


The continental Celts, after they migrated westward, were referred to by this race as the Gauls, but those who occupied ancient Britannia were of the same linguistic stock. These Britons were distinguished from the Cymric-speakers, who lived in Cornwall, Wales and Northumbria, and the Gaels, whose lands included the islands of present-day Ireland and the Isle of Man as well as Scotland. It will be noticed that we have used two spellings for baobh, and there are others. "The Gaelic," remarked Arland Ussher, "is a language of prodigious diversity of sound and expressiveness of phrase...It has about twice the number of sounds that other European languages can boast..." 2 Another Celt, agreed that Gaelic has spellings which are highly poetical, but labels this diversity as "a learner's labyrinth". 3 The trouble comes from the fact that the Gaels were a verbal rather than a literate people. The magical binding of words to paper, from which they might be reincarnated, was never a part of the ancient Gaelic crafts. When their words were finally set to paper, they reflected many pronounciations, and the Gaels had no writers of the status of Chaucer and Shakespeare, whose work might serve as a standard. As a result, "English renderings of ancient Irish names, naturally, vary considerably, and of course there is no "official" or "correct" spelling of any of them." 4 One example: In ancient Irish Gaelic what we refer to as the leprachaun was entitled the lubarkin. In Ulster this sidh-man was the lucharman; in Cork, the claurican; in Kerry, the luricaun; and in Tipperary, the lurigaudaun. In attempting to treat this problem we quote the spellings preferred by individual writers, attempting to relate those that are not easily recognized as synonyms. It would appear that the badb, boadb, boabh, bhoabh, or bhuabh belonged to a diverse group of characters, which the English might have termed the boo-men, boo-baggers, boggers (not to be confused with buggers), or bogeymen. "Bo" (plural "ba") was Gaelic for cow, and this was often combined with with adjectives to produce compound words such
2Padraic 3Mikael

Colum, A Treasury of Irish Folklore, preface, xiv.

Madeg, "Celtic Spellings", For A Celtic Future, p.


Colum, A Treasury of Irish Folklore, p. 52.

as"bo-aire", literally the high cow, a person of importance; and "bo-dubh", the black cow, which is to say, a witch or wizard. The English "boo" is related to the Celtic "bo", both being interjections, presumably meant to imitate the lowing sound of a cow. In earlier days, such sounds were used in the field to signal friends, express contempt or aversion for enemies and to startle or frighten them. The Anglo-Saxons created an entire tribe of elfin-folk to people the dangerous bog lands where their boo-people were forced to live. A short list would include: boo, boogle, bogle, boggart, bugill, bug, pug, bugbear, bugleboo, bull-beggar, bugaboo, puck, pouke, pawkey, puckle, peregrine pickle, little pickle, poake, puck-hairy, pugsy, and pixie. This is exclusive of the Irish phooka and the Welsh pwcca, which are obvious relatives. It is impossible to characterize these legendary little people in any complete way but they were, at least, troublesome spirits. Almost all lived in out-of-the-way places, and delighted in leading travellers, by means of distracting lights or uncanny noises, "into ditches, bogs, pools and other such scrapes, and then sets up a loud laugh and leaves them quite bewildered..."5 The various Celtic peoples were no better impressed with "the seed of the Coiling Serpent," reserving their Anglo-Saxon vocabulary for the Devil and dogs. There are strong suspicions that the elfs, fairies and the sidh represented actual races conquered and banished to the outback by more powerful neighbours. When Leighton Houghton visited St. Ninian's Cave near Whithorn, in southern Scotland, he found it locked and barred because of the pilfering of artifacts by visitors. He knew, however, that relics of the bronze age had been discovered there along with stone axes, spindle whorls and hammer heads, showing it had been inhabited long before the Anglo-Saxons came to Britain. This led him to comment that: "There are still tales in Scotland of the pixie folk, who inhabit lonely caves in the mountains, emerging to graze their tiny cattle or to steal a baby for a slave. When the Gaels and the Britons seized our islands in the dim ages of the past they drove the small dark Iberian natives into the distant safety of the mountains and these ancient folk-stories may be dim

Keightley, Gnnomes, Fairies, Elves and Other Little People, p. 317.


memories of these primitive cave-dwellers. 6 This idea is reinforced by Gaelic legends which tell of the Tuatha daoine, who battled against the Celtic Milesian invaders in Meath and again at Taillte, Ireland. In both cases the residents were defeated, their Queen Eire losing her life in the opening fray. In all three kings and three queens of the danann, or daoine, were slain, and what was left of that race fled into the remote hills. "Possibly the glimpses of some of these fugitive hill-dwellers and cave-dwellers caught in twilight and moonlight, by succeeding generations of Milesians, coupled with the seemingly magical skill which they exercised (at avoiding the conquerors), gave foundation for the later stories of enchanted folk, fairies, living under the Irish hills." 7 The Tuatha daoine (pronounced tootha danann, or doonu) had legitimate reasons for avoiding the Milesians, for The Book of Leinster notes that after Taillte Amergin, the chief bard and druid of the conquerors was given the job of dividing Ireland between the two races. In a nice example of technical justice he awarded all the islands beyond the western horizon as well as the underground to the Tuathans, deeding the property above ground to his own people. What he could not know was that Ireland was honeycombed with thousands of natural caverns and bronze-age souterrains (artificial hollow-hills) which allowed the enemy to take advantage of his offering. Before long, the Milesians observed that the Tuathans possessed great wealth in gold and this was taxed away for fear they might rearm. As they were prevented from working as craftsmen or having any part in politics, and were bound by law not to leave their residences, they became adept at travelling by night and gaining a maegre living as bog-farmers. In Gaelic "tuathanach" is still a synonym for a tenant-farmer, who holds no land in his own right. Having lost their reigning kings, the Tuatha daoine assembled above ground for one last time near the mouth of the River Boyne. Here they pledged allegiance to the immortal sea- god named Mannanan, who

Houghton, In The Steps of the Anglo-Saxons, p.


MacManus, The Story of the Irish Race, p. 10.

transported some of them to his undersea kingdom in the western ocean. The rest he gifted with virtual immortality and caps and capes of invisibility, moving them by magic to the hollow-hills. Before that was done, the Tuatha daoine, afterwards termed the Daoine sidh (seed, or thin people) elected their Ard-Righ, or High-King, a man named Bodb Derg (the Red Wizard). He and his clan went to earth beneath Sliab-na-mban (Mountain of White Clay) near Tara, while his chief lieutenant went to reside under Cruachan, in Roscommon. Others of the Daoine sidh are as certainly located at the defeat about the year 1000 B.C. These folk are often confounded with English elf or fairy, but they were never a true little-people, the word indicating sigh indicating a seed-like, or enduring race. These aristocrats of the realm of faerie were said to be beautiful to look at, and in the latter days were seen to be of great age and potential power. It was noted that the sidh lived ordinary lives if left undisturbed, caring for their animals, drinking whisky, and raising children. If seriously molested they could react against "men" with great violence. Their touch was seen to sicken or madden humans, who were similarly afflicted by their breath and their "elf-arrows" which caused paralysis that often led to death. It was guessed that the bogpeople kidnapped those who disappeared from Gaelic villages as slaves or concubines. Any visit among them saw time pass in an attenuated way and those who escaped from their underground quarters were invariably morose, insane, afflicted with a sexual disease, aged, or possessed of strange divining or healing arts. When they were seen it was noted that they were thin, up to six feet in height, handsome and young-looking in spite of their suspected great age. Befitting an ephemeral race, their forms appeared shadowy, and it used to be said that they could only materialize within view of a human. Their skin was observed to be soft, their hair long and silky and their essential clothing of sun-drenched white linen. Their speaking and singing voices were seductive, but their way with the single pipe, bagpipes and harp was unrivalled among men. They dressed well until the tax-men came to call; thus the Tain Bo Cuailgne says: "They all wore green cloaks with four crimson pendants to each; and silver cloak-brooches; and kilts with red tartaned cloth, the borders or fringes being of gold thread. There were pendants of white bronze threads upon their leggings and shoes, the latter having clasps of red bronze. Their helmets were ornamented with crystal and white bronze and each had a collar of radiant gold about his

neck, with a gem the worth of a new-calved cow set in it. Each wore a twisted ring of gold about the waist, in all thirty ounces of this metal. All carried white-faced sheilds bearing ornamentation in silver and red bronze. There were ferrules of silver upon their spears and the had goldhilted swords carrying coiling serpent forms, gold and carbuncles. This astonished all who saw their parade." Bodb Derg has a counterpart in the "little man" known as the fear derg (red man), a continuing resident of Gaelic countries. Folklorist Crofton Crocker heard that he often came to remote farmstaeds at the onset of thunderstorms. When he knocked, residents opened the door on what appeared to be a feeble bodach, "about two and a half feet high, with a red sugar-loaf hat and a long scarlet coat, reaching down nearly to the ground, his hair long and grey, and his face yellow and wrinkled." Typically this visitor went straight to the hearthfire where he twisted the moisture from his clothing, and began smoking a pipe as his garmentys dried out. Although fearful, the family ended by going to bed and in the morning found that the little man had vanished. Unfortunately, the fear derg formed attachments for particular households, and once seen was likely to reappear, coming regularly at eleven c'clock. His arrival was usually uncanny, as he thrust a hairy arm through the latch-string hole to announce that he wanted admittance. When it was opened, he went to the fire and the householders to bed, leaving him with the keep to himself. "If they did not open the door, some accident was sure to happen next day to themselves or their cattle. On the whole, however, his visits brought good luck, and the family prospered..." 8 The red man appeared on the moors as a wandering light after the fashion of the gopher light or will o' the wisp, and is mentioned as a death omen among the Gaels of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia: "It seems that it was like stars - as they say - a shooting star - except that it passed very low. They would see the light going past and it would look as if there were sparks or a tail of light following in its trail. The longer it was - the more light there was behind it - that would be a teacher or that would be a clergyman. It might be a priest or a teaching minister and since the congregation would follow him to the funeral, that accounted for the "dreag" of one of them being longer. It would be drawn out longer in the

quoting Mr. M'Clise, the artist, from Thomas Keightley, Gnomes Fairies Elves, p. 370.


firmament or the sky than that of a lay person. I never saw the "dreag" but I heard it being described..."9 Nancy Arrowsmith suspected that the fear dreg were not true sidh, but those born of unions between the sidh and humans. They were generally stouter and darker than the sidh "and some," she said, "have large pot-bellies. They dress in local peasant costumes of the eighteenth century, preferring reds and plaids." She noted that they were mortal but long-lived and were capable of shape-changing. 10 If the king of the sidh had descendants among men, he also had a female counterpart, the notorious Badb, also known as Mebd, or most commonly, Maeve. 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 motherfertility 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

Neil MacNeil, Tales Until Dawn, translated by John Shaw, p. 210.


Arrowsmith, A Field Guide to the Little People, p.


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. In folklore, the Cailleach Bheur is credited with constructing Scotland, having carried the soil from Lochlann (Norway) across the water in a creel (wicker-basket). Her slapdash building methods led to the creation of the western isles as well as the north of Great Britain. She was clearly an Odinesque woman, sharing his one-eyed condition with the "king of the gods". Having constructed a home for her wild animals she transported them there, inadvertently introducing the humans, who later troubled her attempts at managing this new land. In travelling she often took the form of a giant grey mare which was able to leap from one mountaintop to the next. In harsh winters she was seen, until Christian times, raking the Scottish beaches to obtain fodder for her animals. Until a few hundred years ago, Scottish hunters considered all game the property of the Cailleach Bheur and contributed to a pool of money, the amount based on the number of animals killed. This was used for the purchase of victims necessary to the twice-yearly fires of Samhainn and Beltane; men, animals and plants killed, burned and reduced to "earth" as representatives of the spirit of the goddess. The Cailleach was a weather-witch as well as a huntress, and where she travelled, she carried a huge staff which emitted snow as a protecting blanket for the ice-bound earth. In February as her power waned, she sent her "winter-wolves" against men, to remind them that she still ruled. Later her air-borne "sharks" came before the "plover-winged" days. Finally on May Eve she threw her hammer "beneath the mistletoe" and surrendered horney old age for reincarnation as the Samh or Morrigan. The Morrigan is very like the Scandinavian Norns, or Fates, all symbols of the past, present and future as they affect men. The nubile Morrigan was a perpetual virgin although she slept with all of the Celtic heroes who requested her company. The Badb or Mebd appears as a fullydeveloped warrior-goddess, less interested in sex than blood-letting. It was claimed that her invisible spirit flew above places where men fought,

and that she sometimes appeared in the sky as a carrion-crow. She invariably materialized to give her crow cry to those destined to die, and sometimes shape-changed into wild animals which aided those she preferred. The elderly Macha was sometimes sexually assaulted by those who thought her powerless, but they usually ended with their spirits magically bound to a tree. Like the other goddesses, Macha could shapechange into any form and often appeared as a young, attractive woman. She once married a young woodsman from Ulster County, Ireland, who noticing her swift-footedness bet her abilities against those of the king's stallions. As she was pregnant at the time, she asked that the date be set after her delivery, but the men of Ulster would not consent. As a result, she raced as asked, beating the competition by two-thirds of the course. This forced a delivery, which took place at the end of the race. Holding her newly-born twin boys before the multitude, Macha declared her contempt for the men of Ulster: She first promised that their battleprowess would be damaged by monthly periods of "woman's weakness" and that the north would suffer her curse of warfare for nine times nine generations. After this, she fled to the south giving her allegiance to Connaught County. The mortal-gods and goddesses of Celtic Britain frequently borrowed the names and reputations of earlier deities, thus reinforcing their concept of reincarnation. One of these "borrowers" was Queen Medb of Connaught, who lived at the place called Emain Macha about the time of the birth of Christ. She was reputedly the daughter of Eochaid, High King of Ireland. She first married Conor, king of Ulster but she could not control him, and he took instead, her sister Ethne (Sweet Kernal of the Nut) who lived up to her name. The Mebd, or Badb, quickly acquired the kingdom of Connaught by remarriage to a more elderly husband. When he died, she went on to King Ailill of Leinster, but did not stop there, taking numerous others to her bed, including the great warrior Frediad. In legend, it was claimed that this woman could outrun a horse, and had shape-changed into a serpent, a wolf, and other animals to confound her enemies. Any warrior who looked overlong at her lost two-thirds of his strength, and often, his head. Her lover Ferdiad ate seven times as much as his fellow-men, had the strength of seven hundred; a nose and penis as seven massive fingers long, a scrotum as large as a flour sack and appetites to match. When his mistress was in other parts he called upon seven normal women to assuage his needs. For her part Medb was

cunning, imperious as well as sexually motivated. After she slept with Ferdiad, King Ailill forgave his rival, noting: "I know all about queens and women, I lay first fault straight at woman's own sweet swellings and loving lust." The aspect of her character he found iompossible to understand was her deviousness. She once suggested killing a group of friendly people, because she could see potential hostility. This Ailill condemned as "woman's thinking" and totally wicked. Again, she promised to meet her chief opponent Cuchullain at a truce-parlay where she would be "attended by unarmed women". She turned up with fourteen warriors, which Cuchullain managed to overcome. Ironically Medb survived all the battlefields to be killed while banqueting. The outspoken lady injured her nephew with her words and he seized a compressed stone-hard cheese and lobbed it at her with his slingshot; it caught her on the forehead, bringing instant death. Antonia Fraser, speaking of Mhoriigan, has noted that it is "tempting to regard this chariot-driving Warrior-Queen as owing her authority to deep memories of a matriarchal society...where (women) gave men the orders..." For present day feminists the idea of ancient badb- women is comforting to the oppressed, and suggests a future remedy, when time might restore the old "natural" order of rule. Unfortunate for this theory, is the fact that the law of Mebd's time was addressed to "the men of Eirinn": "It is proper indeed, wrote a law-giver,"...to give superiority to the noble sex, that is to the male, for the man is the head of the woman..."11 She was never, as elsewhere in Europe, the chattel of her husband, but Medb was not the head of a matriarchy. Fraser thinks such systems of government remain "very dubious" even within the framework of entirely legendary warrior-women.


MacManus, The Story of the Irish Race, p. 152.

AES DANA What the boabh did for a living would later be termed craft by the Anglo-Saxons, and magic in the tongue of the Normans. Among the Tuatha

daoine, these people were probably members of a priviledged class, which the Milesians described as the "aes dana" (people of poetry). The phrase actually embraced a much wider variety of skills, including musicians, bards, singers, historians, jurists, physicians and those who worked with metals. The skills of any of these might be "sgoil-dubh" (black art) or "sgoil-bann" (white art) depending on whether they were used to damage or aid the individual who perceived them. Any poorly developed craft was labelled "sgoitechd", which is to say silliness or quackery. The basic kinds of Gaelic "magic" involved divination, or sooth-saying, employing "an da shealladh" (the two sights) and wonder-working, which carried ordinary crafts to god-like heights. It should be noted that the Gaels considered all men to be "born above their station". This meant that no matter how poor or lowborn a citizen was he might conceivably become king. It was considered that men were no lower than the gods, sharing some of the creator-god's "breath of life" with all higher beings. There were ways of acquiring additional spirit, which evidenced itself as skills, thus men might aspire to godhood. Their view of the supernatural is different from that of the AngloNormans, who tended to fear and disparage anything which they did not understand. Among the Gaels, waiting for knowledge was coinsidered akin to waiting for weather, every variety arriving in its own time. "It is ane of their tenants that everything goeth in circles!" 12 In the course of cycles of death and reincarnation, men suspected that veils would eventually be lifted, and that fears of the "sidh" (adj. supernatural) were unnecessary since one might become a "sidh". It is noteworthy that radios were, and perhaps are, considered wonder-works. When they appeared in Gaelic Scotland they were immediately identified as "an labhran-sidh". "Labhar" is an adjective given to anything which jabbers on, like flocks of birds in a tree ; thus "talkative". It resembles "labhrach" or "noisy". As we've noted "sidh" may distinguish one of the underground magicians; thus the supernatural in general; hence, "a fairy bird". The wonderful, incomprehensible radio, or wireless set, was thus seen as a mysterious, jabbering,

Scot, speaking of witches, but certainly applicable to the CEltic races.


enchanted bird. These machines, and television, have partly preempted the an dara sealladh of the Celtic boabh since they give glimpses of the past and predictions of the future (notably the weather report). In addition they have the "gift" of far-sight being able to view present day objects and events through the "eyes", which we call telescopic lenses. Computers are also in the business of examining the past, present and future for the sake of divination. Formerly, this was left to the boabh, or a gifted amateur soothsayer. John Shaw has classified Celtic divination as "active" or "passive". The former requires the use of props in omen-seeking, while the later is divined on happenings outside of the control of the seer. An example of active divination is suggested by Helen Creighton: "On Hallowe'en night go down the cellar steps backwards and look in a mirror and you will see the face of your future husband."13 Passive divination occured without intention, the "frith", or augury, appearing as an unexpected vision or in the seemingly chance arrangement of objects in space. Joe Neil MacNeil notes that Cape Bretoners used to expect good news when chips of firewood were accidentally crossed: "(Then) people would say, "Do you not see the fine augury on the floor? It won't be long before you get a letter!" And I believe when they saw it they would expect good news according to how good the augury looked."14 The ability to read omens was never seen as entirely dependent on supernatural help, being closely associated with the faculty termed "beachd", or "the keen observation of everyday matters." Anciently, those who divined the future were termed the "vates" Before technology intruded, the highest of the "aes dana" were those known as the "filid (poets). This class is reputed to have begun with Amergin, the druid who "uttered against the wind raised by the Tuatha daoine." According to tradition the Milesians, or sons of Mil, came to Ireland out of Scythia (northern Greece) by way of Egypt, Crete and Spain. The warrior-wizards were unhappy, but not unimpressed, when thirty ship-loads of Milesians put in at Kenmare Bay about the year 1,000 B.C.

13Helen 14Joe

Creighton, Bluenose Magic, p. 131.

Neil MacNeil, Tales Told Until Dawn, p.209.

They were alarmed when a landing party demanded immediate surrender of the population or battle. We don't know who represented the Tuathans, but the cause of the invaders was argued by Amergin. Being an honest negotiator, he suggested that his own people withdraw their ships "nine waves distant from the shore" until matters were settled. Seeing this as their opportunity the Tuatha daoine used the postponement of events to raise "a druidic storm". This blew no higher than the masts of ths ships but was sufficient to scatter and wreck the fleet, killing five of the nine brothers who were the sons of Mil. The remaining four, one carrying Amergin were blown to sea. In that dangerous place, Amergin raised "an incantation of great cunning" which allowed the remaining forces to land and take the countryside. In later years each of Ulster's heroic warriors was forced to have his day on Sliab Fuait to subdue all comers with poetry or their sword. If this seems unlikely magic consider case of the Celtic god Ogma (the one with the "young" maw). This "honey-mouthed" deity, of the Milesian panoply, was one of the sons of Dagda, king of the gods. He was credited with inventing the means of binding the spoken word to rock, wood and metal, using characters now known as "ogham figures". This alphabet was cumbersome, and thus restricted to creating landmarks and memorials. A Greek satirist of the fourth century described Ogma as drawing "a willing crowd of people to his ideas, by slender golden chains that passed through his tongue." Apparently his word-charms were very like things heard on the labhran-sidh for it was suggested that he also created a spoken form of Ogham, "a pedantic puzzle speech", still favoured by politicians. The Tuathans knew something of this magic for they had once been subjects of the inhospitable King Breas. His deficiencies were overlooked for seven years but until he met Cairbre, the poet, who was treated to meagre quarters and a few dry cakes where he expected royal quarters and a banquet. Reacting to this, the wordsmith composed an ironic poem, which was quoted throughout the county. Aroused by this, his people arose against the king and defeated him at the Battle of Sligo. Poetry as an expression of entrapped emotion, did not exist among the ancient Celts, whose filid class was subdivided into men who used rhyme and pattern as a key to useful information stored in memory. The filids, or bards, men of "poison in satire and splendor in praise" had no use for abstract verse but composed satire, or invective, balancing it with

eulogy and praise where the price was right. They were not the only ones who needed a store of information. The illiterate Gaelic "senachies", or historians, had to depend on memory to keep alive the deeds of the heroes and the genealogies of the nobility. Their "brehons" or lawyers needed stored facts to expand and clarify the law according to past tradition and precedents and "draoi", or druids, needed to be able to call up information touching religious matters. Forms of verse were many, convoluted and sophisticated, so that a mature filid had to go through advanced training to receive the title of "ollam" (professor). Having reached that stage they had charge of a powerful metaphysical weapon, which we would now call satire. The range of this verse went from simple insulting speech to "glam dicend" (invective from the hilltops), the "high-speech", which was an elaborate ritual of magic, supposedly generating a "gisreag", or jet of destroying fire. The Anglo-Normans divided their "wordsmithery" into charms and spells, the former chanted, the latter, less poetic and paper-bound. The gisreag obviously corresponded with the charm but the English product was less world-shaking. When the Tuatha daoine had been harassed by the "sea-giants", all of their craftsmen had gathered to do war. The magicians had promised to chant up a storm which would create landslides "rolling the summits against the ground" and over their enemies. They also said that they would raise "showers of fire to pour upon the Fomorian host" and create charms that would "take out of their bodies two-thirds of their strength."15 If the word-magic succeeded, its secrets are lost, and today "giseagan" is preserved in Gaelic as the equivalent of "superstition". The minor fire-charms have been preserved in folklore. Thus we find in present-day Cape Breton, Nova Scotia the following Gaelic charm, formerly used to bind the will of others: I am putting you under spells and crosses, And under nine constraints of the walking wandering sidh-mothers. That every lamb weaker and more misguided than yourself, May take from your head and your ear And your livlihood.

Scherman, The Flowering of Ireland, pp. 55-56.

If you do not... trans. John Shaw 16 In the last sentence, the service desired is inserted. This charm is effective three times; after that the person who has been word-bound is freed to employ the verses against his tormenter. There have been traditional charms to win love, cause enmity between lovers, set aside fever, sorrow and pains, ensure the rising of bread and insure against witchcraft. In the Christian era, the word-magic was retained, with the substitution of "more acceptable" god spirits; thus we find the following charm, to be said on undertaking a journey: Seven prayers, seven times over told, Mary left to her son of old, Bride left to her mantles length, God left to his own great strength, Between us and the fairie kind, Us and the people of the wind, Us and the water's drowning power, Us and temptations evil hour, Us and the world's all blighting breath, Us and the bondsman's cruel death.17 The shortest forms of word-magic survive in the oath, the curse and the blessing. The first invokes the help of a god or spirit in fulfilling a promise and many are now degraded into mock-oaths. Hence some of today's Irish swear "by the powdhers of delft" (the powers of death). When my grandfather Mackay wished to affirm or negate a verbal contract he often said "Yesiree bob (boabh)!" or "Nosiree bob!" without realizing that he called upon the an uncanny witnesss. Padraic Colum has noted that those who make promises under oath are "in general ignorant of their proper origin" (and supposed power). "By the Holy Cross" promises a considerable obligation, but the Gael knows how to empower it and subvert it. To make it more impressive he will accompany the words by crossing the


Neil MacNeil, Tales Told Until Dawn, p. 28. Padraic, A Treasury of Irish Folklore, p. 416.


forefingers of the two hands. If he wishes to lie he will multiply the number of crosses; thus: "I promise by the five crosses!" If an Irishaman or a Scot swears while crossing two sticks or two straws, he can be believed but if he crosses his two hands, he fibs all haet and apprent sincerity to the contrary. My grandfather's favourite oath upon striking his finger with a hammer was "By the Sam-hill," making reference to Samh, the Gaelic summer moon-goddess, whose sacrificial fires were kindled on the highest hills of Scotland. Gaelic imprecations like this are often difficult to understand their origin being buried in a poetical metaphor or historic event. In the latter category, we have: "May the crow's curse fall upon you!" Here, one has to know that the reviled Norse invaders sailed under the crow-banner. This is also basic to the phrase: "Die and give the crows blood-pudding." There are simpler curses, for example, "Hell's cure to you!" "May the Devil be your travelling companion!" and "May the grass grow before your door!" Their are mock-imprecations just as there are mock-oaths, thus: "The Devil gow it you and sixpence; then you'll never want money or company!" On the other hand, being told: "May you melt from the earth as snow into the ditch!" is to be subject to an honest and dreadful malediction. Blessings are the reverse of the curse, and example being: "May the blessings of the five loaves and two fishes, which God divided among five thousand men, be yours and ours; and may the King who made division put luck in our food and each portion." It was felt that care has to be exercised in setting loose a curse since it would continue to circulate and remain potent until it had produced an effect. Once voiced, the magic words were said to hover in the air ready to fall upon the victim in a moment when his guardian-spirit (who Christian's referred to as the "guardian-angel") was inattentive. If this happened, it was claimed that the invading word-spirit would shoot "like a meteor" to the head of that person, creating illness, accident or a dangerous but irresistable temptation. William Carleton contended that a

curse "will rest for seven years in the air, ready to alight..." 18 The airspirit could never affect a blameless individual, since his guardian was always vigilant and at hand. In addition, the curse of one individual might be negated by the blessing of another; in which instance, the air-borne nasty looked for a secondary host, and finding none, might return and fall upon the boabh who generated it. When a seemly innocent person fell ill, or was a victim of accident, it was suspected: "He has taken on some poor body's curse!" On the other hand, those who were observed to have exceptionally good luck, were assumed the recipients of "some poor body's blessing!" The physical effects of a curse are illustrated in the legend of Caier, king of Connaught, whose wife fell in love with his foster-son Nede, who happened to be a poet. After the couple were physically involved, the woman suggested it would useful to eliminate Caier, since he would inherit the throne. Nede would like to have obliged but knew that before he could bring a charm to bear he must asked his victim a favour and be refused; unfortunately Caier was a generous man. The disloyal wife pointed out the fact that it was considered bad luck for one man to give another a pointed object, and that he might refuse his knife. Nede asked for the knife, was regretfully refused, thus allowing the creation of a satirical poem. The next morning when Caier washed at the fountain he found a white, a green and a red blister on his face. In the laws of the time these constituted a blemish, and men with physical defects were not permitted to rule in the Gaeldom. The king fled in great shame, and Ned was made ruler. Later, repenting his dishonesty, Nede approached him with conciliating words, but Caier's humiliation was so great he died of a burst heart. He fell beside a spirited-stone, which sensing injustice blew apart at the death, casting off a fragment which entered Nede's eye, killing him. The Gaelic language was as full of Ogma's "honey" as it was invective. Men were criticized for feeding women "false music", from the ancient word-craft. Awe of the sorcery of words was equalled by the Celtic belief in the magic of music. The "puirt-a-beul" (mouth-music) is

Carleton, Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, pp. 203-219. From "An Essay On Irish Swearing", a very full account of oaths, curses and blessings.


obviously a survival of the art of the filid. "Beul" also appears in "beultainne", or Beltane, the ancient name for their month of May and the second great fire-festival of the year, which was held on the evening of the last day of April. Beultainne translates as "mouth of fire", a night of ritual sex, sacrifice, dancing, drinking and music, probably including the puirt-a-beul. It may be suspected as the invention of Ogma since it consists of repetitive sounds which have no more meaning in Gaelic than English. The other instruments of music were the single pipe, or whistle, the bag-pipe and the harp. The chief of these was the harp, which was first played by Dagda (Father of Day), the Celtic king of the gods. When the Dagda's wife Boann, or Boyne, was pregnant the Dagda solaced her with the "harp of the north". When she was in labour he imitated her cries of pain and then the joy of her delivery, afterwards making "the sounds odf sleep" to bring her rest. When she awoke she named her first-born Goltraighe (crying music), her second Geantraighe (joyful music) and Suantraighe (sleep music). In later days this harp was stolen by Fomorian giants, but regained from them by Dagda's sons, Midir and Lugh. The big Lugh, or Lugg, fell heir to it, and was later known as the god of poetry, music and free-love. Facsimilies of this quadrangular, six-stringed instrument fell into the hands of the associates of the gods and it was put to use by Labrai Loingsiuch when he courted Moriath, daughter of Scoriath. The parents did not approve of this musician and they called upon her father's harper to help them. He played at the next feast moving through geantraighe to suantrighe, so that the entire assembly nodded at the table. The young couples absented themselves from the hall and became lovers. The adults arose to find Moriath "respiring the breath of a plighted wife." Something similar occured in the case of Deirdre, the daughter of Dall, a rhymer to King Conor. She had been ill-omened, "a child of disaster" according to Cathbad the Druid. As a result she was kept in seclusion and bethrothed to Conor, but before the wedding, fell in love with Naisi of Clan Usnach. Naisi was a superb harpist who, literally, enchanted the men of Ulster so that he could flee to Scotland with Deirdre. Unfortunately, this act opened a war which exterminated all of the Usnach family. The harper was a freeman in each place, not as high in rank as the

poet, but placed just below him at the king's banquets. The chief harper, the "ollam" or "ard ollam" (high professor) of his craft was, however a man among the gentry, entitled to four cows where his honour was totally offended, as for example in the loss of a finger. Even the loss of a nail demanded recompense for the old Gaelic harp was played by plucking. Besides the harp there were wind and brass instruments in the Celtic lands: horns to call men together for meetings or warfare and the pipes, which were the magic of the peasantry. Performers on the latter instrument were classed with jugglers and sleight-of-hand magicians, a professional class who sat at the bottom of the king's table, in the corners near the door, next to hired mercenaries, and those who were not freemen. The first Christian missionaries utilized the word and songsmithery as often as the druids and the boadbs, but their successors feared the roots of folklore. In 1567 Bishop Carswell complained of "the vain, seductive, lying and worldly tales concerning the Tuatha daoine" as well as "much else, which I will not enumerate". 19 The magical-poetry was very hard to way-lay, since it had no external parts. There is a Scottish dite that says: An end will come to the world, But music and love will endure. Men at sea were not observed by priests, elders or ministers and they continued to sing the "iorram" or boat songs, whose magic was supposed to lift the burden of rowing. The milkmaid insisted on her traditional occupational songs, without which cows refused their milk. The housewife had her churning tunes and rest-music for the infants. When people gathered to mill cloth they sang the "oran luaidh", or milling song in spite of the fact that it had been declared sinful. Later in the process "pairing songs", intended to bring together potential maidens and young men were presented, and the cloth was completed with a neo-pagan

Thomson ed., Foirm na n-Urrnuidheadh, London, 1970, p. 11 for the Gaelic version which served asan introduction to Carswell's Gaelic prayer book.


consecration song. 20 The poetry of the Gael is also seen to have played a part in medicine, herbs and mare's milk, bark being no more important than the human voice in managing cures for illness. Neil Macdonald of Albert Bridge Cape Breton recommended the following "Eolas an t-Sniomh", or "Charm for A Sprain" where a horse had been injured: Christ came out; He found the bones of a horse broken. He placed blood to blood and flesh to flesh; As he cured that, so cure this. 21 As the Gaelic was intoned Charles Dunn said that the "physician" wrapped a string "in a special manner" around the horses damaged leg. Hugh Mackinnon has said that the knot was not special, but had to be tied using the thumbs and forefingers alone. 22 This charm worked as well with humans as horses and cattle, and the same could be said for the "Eolas an Deideidh" or "Charm for Toothache" and the "Eolas na Sul", "Charm for the Eyes". For best results charms were recited by "gifted" or "lucky" individuals. Within the "Gaidhealtachd", or Gaeldom, there have always been traditional restraints placed on poets. The longer more elaborate histories and wonder-tales were regarded as the preserve of male reciters. Although women occasionally recited the shorter "senachas" they were considered the custodians of songs, musical traditions and charms. In Cape Breton, Neil MacNeill said that he could not recall an instance where a woman had recited the Fenian tales, although connstraints were relaxed in Canada as compared with Scotland and Ireland, and there were "a large number of good woman story-tellers."

Charles W. Dunn, Highland Settler, pp.37-41 for a complete description of a Milling Frolic. W. Dunn, Highland Settler, p. 42. Recounted to the author in 1943.
22Caplan, 21Charles


Down North, p.30.

If word-magic was hard to supress, instrumental music was not, for the harp, lyre, and bellow-pipes were easily confiscated by the elders of the Church. In Scotland the men of God brought down everything but the bagpipe, which belonged to the teanant farmers, who were the last to part with their paganism. Fortunately, the clerics were slow in following their flocks to the New World and in America the bagpipes, and the newly created fiddle, flourished "although some settlers' descendants were perplexed by their own conflicting allegiances to religion and to music, (and may) still feel a little dubious about them." 23 This ambiguity was clearly locked into the pagan idea that music and poetry were god-like. In its day, eloquence was valued as highly as bravery in battle and could supposedly stay the arm of the most inspired fighter. Diodorus Siculus a Greek historian of the first century B.C., observed that when "two armies are in the presence of one another, and swords drawn and spears couched, the Celtic poets throw themselves into the midst of the combatants and appease them as if charming wild beasts. Thus even amongst the most savage barbarians anger submits to the rule of wisdom..."24 It is clear that the Celts also used word-magic in less studied form, for their irrational drumming and chanting unnerved the Romans who guarded the boundaries of their domain. In addition to this, they came to battle shaking their short spears, the blunt ends of which carried brass rattles. This had magical intent, but also helped their cause by making the enemy overestimate their strength. Current day folklorists and historians have difficulty believing that such magic existed. Gillian Tindall is representative in describing magical chants as "a comitant of illiteracy...I cannot myself get very interested in the study of "power words". To regard verbal formulas or a garbled string of names as having some intrinsic magic quality seems to me to negate the whole point of language, which lies in its communicable meaning." 25

W. Dunn, Highland Settler, p. 55. Scherman, The Flowering of Ireland, p. 23.

24Katherine 25Gillian

Tindall, A Handbook On Witchcraft, p. 120.

What she misses is the fact that mouth-music and the Ogham were considered pure magic, whose meaning (if any) was deliberately obscured. A good proportion of such magic was out-and-out trickery, and the wordmakers would have been subject to disbelief if the common folk had understood their methods. The boabhs often invoked spirits, and voices were heard to answer from a hole in a rock wall, from animals, or from empty space. This would have been considered potent magic in the days before the principles of ventriloquism were understood. Additionally, magic-workers were seen to capture the spirits of others by reciting words which were repetitious, but of little apparent meaning. Today, the craft of hypnotism is widely recognized although its operating principles are no better understood than they were several thousand years in the past. In the case of King Caier some seeming deception might have been practiced, his facial blemishes perhaps being produced by poisonous or bacterial agents placed on him while he slept. In a fair number of cases, magic words or music were intoned over potions which were then used as an adjunct to get the desired physical results. A boabh might intone his, or her, words above a vial of poison, afterwards adding the substance to the victim's drink. In the days before chemistry, the practitioner of magic may have been uncertain whether it was the words or the substance which produced the effect. Tindall herself noted that human beings do not like to believe that important processes can take place independent of human decision, and that there seems to be a need to sanctify physical actions with verbal rituals. This she says is, "readily transmuted into the idea that words themselves do the trick." 26 The emotional and practical impact of sheer words, or music, divorced from overt communication, remains an important part of religious prayer, stage hypnotism and politics. Considering the use which Adolph Hitler was able to make of words we should not doubt their potential for harm. Nede's music may not have involved any deception, considering the fact that half of all diseases are now known to be psychosomatic, the symptoms resulting from the victim's own fear. In Celtic lore it is emphasized that disbelievers were protected from the force of the boabh by their disbelief. Conversely, those who believed they

Tindall, A Handbook On Witchcraft, p. 119.

could be stricken by words or music were open to damage. Today, if a doctor were to inform an individual that he had accidentally swallowed a poisonous tablet this might not result in a fatality, on the other hand it would certainly produce anxiety in the most iron-willed person. Those who were a little less secure might suffer from dizziness, faintness, violent stomach cramps, vomiting or death. It is, therefore, incorrect to suppopse that the boabh was an impotent "poseur". If the wordsmith though he was powerful and his victim concurred that he might be harmed by indirect means, he was likely to succumb to the mere news that actions had been taken against him.

STICKS AND STONES Apart from the Aes dana were the "luchd-ceairde", or "craftsmen". Workers in gold, bronze, iron, wood and stone were highly respected among the old Gaels, but they were not an elite like the poets and historians, having to work with their hands rather than their minds and tongues. They were sometimes referred to as members of the "base professions" but the products of their knives and forges were no less magical than the sounds upon air. Although almost all known Celtic art is inscribed or cut from stone, or cast in metal, we know that they made extensive use of wood. Much of Britain is now stripped of forests but three thousand years ago, when the Milesians invaded Ireland, the land was entirely forested. The trees were designated by law as chieftain, common or brambles, the first being protected for their superior usefulness. "Chieftain" trees included the oak, yew, ash, pine, holly, apple and hazel. The oak was a superior building material whose acorns fed pigs, possessing a bark which was used to tan leather. The hazel also yielded nuts and had flexible branches useful in making the frameworks of the half-spherical boats and houses of the sons of Mil. Yew was considered for manufacturing kitchen containers and fine

furniture. From the ash came shafts for spears, while pine went into barrels and casks. Holly was almost iron-hard, yielding shafts for chariots. The apple yielded fruit in addition to tanning chemicals. In the "common" catergory were the alder, willow and hawthorn and the shrubs: "the blackthorn, elder and arbutus. The "brambles" were the furze, bog myrtle, broom and gooseberry. The legendary home of Queen Maeve, the Rath Cruachain may have been beneath a "hollow-hill" but "the house was composed of beautifully carved red yew" arranged in seven concentric compartments, all faced with bronze from foundation to roof-line. The outermost wall was of pine, "with a covering of oak shingles,"and beyond this stood thirteen foot walls of dry masonry, beyond which were five concentric ramparts.

1.Cornwall, Ian W., The World Of Ancientr Man, Tor., Ont., 1966, pp. 21-32. 2.Clark, Grahame, World Prehistory-An Outline, Cambridge, 1961, pp. 7677. 3.Borrow George, Wild Wales, Oxford Press, 1860, p. 526. 4.Dyer, Gwynne, War, London, 1986, p. 9. 5.Dyer, Gwynne, War, London, 1985, p. 10. 6.Dyer, Gwynne, War, London, 1985, p. 6. 7.Dyer, Gwynne3, War, London, 1985, p. 11. 8.Guerber, H.A., The Norsemen, (London), 1985, p. 2. 9.Bulfinch, Thomas, Bulfinch's Mythology (New York) 1913, p. 356. 10.Guerber, H.A. The Norsemen (London) 1985, pp. 116-117. 11.Guerber, H.A., The Norsemen (London) 1985, p. 218. 12.Guerber, H.A., The Norsemen (London) 1985, p. 372.

13.Ferguson, D.A. & Macdonald, A.J., The Hebridean Connection, (Halifax), 1984. See pp. 460 for the creation story. 14.MacManus, Seumas, The Story Of THe Irish Race, Old Greenwich, Conn., 1983, quoting from Iar Connacht, footnote, pp. 100-101. 15.Guerber, H.A., The Norsemen, London, 1985, p. 8. 16.Peete, Tom, Ancient Irish Tales (New York) 1936, p. 28. 17.Scherman, Katherine, The Flowering Of Ireland (Boston) 1981, p. 235. 18.Rolleston, T.W., Celtic Myths and Legends (New York) 1990, p. 138. 19.Rollestone, T.W., CEltic Myths And Legends (London) 1990, p. 132. 20.Eliade, Mircea, Patterns In Comparative Religion (New York) 1958, p. 207. 21.McNeill, F. Marion, The Scots Kitchen (London) 1920, p. 234. 22.Bulofinch, Thomas, Bulfinch's Mythology (New York) 1913, pp. 596-597. 23.Rutherford, Ward, Celtic Mythology (New York) 1987, p. 53. 24.See his arguments in Rutherford, Ward, Celtic Mythology (New York) 1987, pp. 53-54. 25.Both quotes from MacManus, Seumas, The Story Of The Irish Race (Ol;d Greenwich, Conn.) 1983, p. 2. 26.Fraser, Sir James George, The Golden Bough, p. 127 27.Tacitus, quoted by Rutherford, Ward, Celtic Mythology, p. 31.