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(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:36 PM)
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This thread if for the

Gods of the Celtic Pantheon

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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:37 PM)

Dagda

Dagda, pronounced “dôh-da,” is the High King of a race called the Tuatha Da Danann. 
 
Tuatha Da Danann – The “Tuatha” are the immortal faerie people of Ireland.  They were conquered by the Milesians, who were human invaders who forced the Tuatha underground.  As a result the Tuatha destroyed all the wheat and milk of the Milesians, and caused all grass and grain to stop growing until a treaty could be reached.
 
When Christianity started to influence the Celtic Mythology, the Tuatha became faeries, the people of the Sidhe (pronounced “Shee”), also called elves.  In order to protect themselves, they cast a veil of invisibility on themselves, which they can lift at will.  It must be remembered that Faeries in Celtic myths are nothing like “Tinkerbell” of Peter Pan fame.  They could be tall or short, beautiful or ugly.  They are very skilled in art, science, poetry, and magick.  These were the people whom Dagda ruled.  His specific area of rule was over Uisnech in Co. Meath.   
 
Names – Dagda was called by many names, but his most popular acronym is “Good God” – which has nothing to do with morality, but rather meaning that he was good at everything he did, and that he protected their crops.  He was also called Eochaid Ollathair (All Father), Ruad Rofessa (Mighty Red One of Perfect Knowledge), the God of Earth and Treaties, the Ruler over Life and Death, the Master of Magick, the God of Time, the Protector of the Tribe, and the God of Love.
 
Food – His favorite foods were oat bannocks, porridge, and ale.  His favorite burnt offering is butter.
 
Family Tree – Dagda is the son of Beli and the goddess Danu.  His Great-Grandfather is Net; his Grandfather is Delbaeth mac Net; his Father is Elada; his Brother is Ogma; his Half-Brother is Bres; and his Uncle is Goibniu.  His Wife is Breg; his Lover is Boann.  His Sons are Aongas mac Og (Angus); Badb Dearg (Badb the Red) who succeeded him as King after he resigned the throne.  His Daughters are Ainge and Brigit – goddess of fire, fertility, cattle and poetry.  His Grandsons are Mac Cuill; Mac Cecht, and Mac Gréine.  His Sacred Tree is the Yew.
 
Sexual Prowess – Dagda was very successful, sexually, with both women and goddesses.  He is always portrayed with a very large, erect phallus and is considered  an ithyphallic deity, which emphasized his fecundating function.  (He was lewd and produced a lot of offspring!)  He mated with the sinister war goddess, Morrigan, on Samhain, while she straddled the river Unius, so she would give him a plan for victory over the Formorians.  His “wild ways” resulted in his often being associated with “The Wild Herdsman.”
 
Appearance – Dagda wore a brown patch low-necked tunic of 9 colors, which just reached his hips.  His kilt was of burnished leather.  His arms and legs bore bands of gold, and he wore a torc around his neck which had bull-headed finials.  His hooded scarlet cloak was fastened with a great brooch, and it barely covered his shoulders.  He wore horse-hide boots.
 
Dagda himself had a large paunch, for his appetite for food (and for sex) was insatiable.  His uncut hair and beard were red.  He had broad features and smiling eyes and lips.  He is usually seen dragging his magick club, with his magick harp on his back, and his magick steaming cauldron under his left arm.  He is credited with many magickal powers, and is associated with Ostara.
 
Magick Objects – There are several magickal objects associated with Dagda.  Among them are fruit trees that are never barren; and his 2 pigs – one always growing larger and the other always roasting.  But his “Big Three” magickal objects were his Club, his Cauldron, and his Harp.
 
Dagda carried a huge club which could kill 9 men with a single blow.  But after killing them with one end of the club, he could bring them back to life with the other end.  When it was dragged along the ground the club cut a furrow as deep as the boundary ditch between two provinces.
 
The Tuatha received 4 magick treasures – one from each of the mythical cities:  Falias, Gorias, Finias, and Murias.  The gift from Murias was the “Cauldron of Abundance.”  It was called “Undry” or “Never Dry,” because it served each person their favorite food.  The cauldron was never empty, and therefore provided endless nourishment for Dagda’s people.  The only people it would not serve were cowards and oath breakers.
 
Its other magickal power was if a dead person was placed in the cauldron, they would spring out alive and young again – but without the power of speech, in case they say too much about the afterlife.  The magickal cauldron is often associated with the grail of the later Arthurian Romances.
 
The third of the main magickal objects of Dagda is his harp, called “Uaithne,” which was made of Oak and is sometimes referred to as “The Oak of Two Greens.”  It was beautiful to look upon, mighty in size, and ornamented with gold and jewels.  Among its magickal properties were:  it played by itself; it would leap into Dagda’s hands upon command; when played it put the seasons in the correct order so that spring came after winter, summer after spring, and autumn followed summer; and it played three magical songs – the song of sorrow (tears), the song of joy (mirth), and the song of dreaming (sleep).
 
Dagda is definitely seen by the Druids as the Celtic “Father Figure” of the Gods.  In conclusion I would like to quote a poem by Ian Corrigan which sums up many of Dagda’s qualities and attributes:
 
Hymn to the Dagda
 
Dagda most honored
To you we make sacrifice
Oats from our bounty we freely give
To Eochaid the All-Father
You, the Fire Beneath the Cauldron
Hear us, Old Giant
God with the Great Staff
Ruad Rofessa,
Lord of Secret Knowledge
Fire of the Sacrifice, great in appetite
To you we do honor Excellent God
Mate of the Great Queen
Fergus, the Mare’s Son
Chieftain of Dana, Bountiful Giver
Flame in the belly that sustains Life
Flame in the loins that continues Life
Flame in the eye that comprehends Life
Be in us as we are in you
Kindle in us as we make our offering
Oats of the Stallion we give you
Boiled in the Cauldron upon
The Sacred Fire
O Harper of the Seasons
Taker of the Sacrifice
Druid of the Oak and Hazel
Dagda Mor!
Great Good God!
Accept our sacrifice!
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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:38 PM)

MABON

 The Sabbat is named for Mabon, the Welsh God who symbolized the male fertilizing principle in the Welsh myths. In this sense, Mabon is the masculine counterpart of Persephone -- the male fertilizing principle seasonally withdrawn. Modron corresponds with Demeter.
  
 Day and night are equal and the God prepares to depart and begin the journey back to the strength and development within his mother's, the Goddess', womb. Both sad and joyful, the Goddess lovingly awaits her God's rebirth.
 
As the wheel of the year turns, we're ready for the funeral of the God, Mabon, who was born of the Goddess last Yule. He grew into a scrappy and energetic toddler at Imbolc. The forests were his playground, as a spritely golden-haired youth, at Oestara. At Beltane we see him with his newly-won Bride. A man in his prime at Litha. At Lughnassadh, a leader and a teacher of His people. Now, at Mabon he is a man of advancing years, still strong in intellect, but caged in a weakening body. As He looks back on the year, He knows He will die at Samhain.

The passing of Mabon is inevitable and He should be mourned. But He is not without fond remembrances of His life. So we, too, must remember, all things must end, but the ending is always a good time to celebrate our successes, thank our selves and those who helped us, and take part in the balance of life.
The word Mabon is Welsh for Son, and refers to the Welsh God of youth, the Divine Child who the Druids believe is within us all. He is a child of the otherworld, stolen when he was three nights old. Mabon ("Great Son") is a Welsh god. He was a great hunter with a swift horse and a wonderful hound. He may have been a mythologized actual leader.
 
The universal story of Mabon and his mother, Modron has been passed down to us from the ancient proto-Celtic oral tradition. Mabon ap Modron, meaning "Great Son of the Great Mother", is the Young Son, Divine Youth, or Son of Light. Just as the September equinox marks a significant time of change, so, too, does the birth of Mabon. Modron, his mother, is the Great Goddess, Guardian of the Otherworld, Protector, and Healer. She is Earth itself.
 
From the moment of the Autumn Equinox, the Sun's strength diminishes, until the moment of the Winter Solstice in December, when the Sun grows stronger and the days once again become longer than the nights. Mabon also disappears, taken at birth when only three nights old (some legends say he was stolen from Modron at the age of three years). Modron cries in sweet sorrow... and although his whereabouts are veiled in mystery, Mabon is eventually freed with the wisdom and memory of the most ancient of living animals - the Blackbird, the Stag, the Owl, the Eagle, and the Salmon (other legends state that King Arthur himself was Mabon's rescuer).

All along, Mabon has been quite a happy captive, dwelling in Modron's magickal Otherworld - Modron's womb. It is a nurturing and enchanted place, but also one filled with challenges. Only in so powerful a place of renewable strength can Mabon be reborn as his mother's champion, as the Son of Light. Mabon's light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom enough to become a new seed.

The Faeries roam this land and mournful
music fills the air this day, at this hour.
Modron, O! great Queen and Earth Mother,
we call you here to share your sorrow.
 
O! shadowed God, great son of Modron,
we plead your return from the mysterious world that keeps you.
The power of your brilliance is the joy of your mother.
Modron is Earth and the Mother we all attend
Her bittersweet lament
nurtures your return to be born again and again.
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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:38 PM)


Merry Meet

The Green Man is the ever-returning energy of vegetation and wild Nature. His magic is celebrated througout the world, but he is most often associated with northern Europe and Celtic cultures.

The great cathedrals of Europe are adorned with thousands of GreenMan gargoyles and carvings. The Dark-Ages, the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance saw European indigenous religions and Nature under constant attack by the christian church.

During the church's most virulent wars on the people's belief in the sanctity of Nature, stone masons carved images of the GreenMan and Sheela-Na-Gig into christian cathedrals as part of the ornamentation. The presence of the GreenMan and the Sheela-Na-Gig remained strong and constant source of strength to the people. The GreenMan's image silently echoed the spirit of the Sacred Cycles of Nature.

 





 

Today the GreenMan is re-emerging into our consciousness, along with the Goddess. His presence brings balance and energy to the reclaiming of our ancient heritage. Throughout the ages the Goddess has often appeared with a male aspect in the form of Horus, Tammuz, the Horned God, GreenMan and many others.


 


 


It is through the GreenMan that many men come to understand Nature's mysteries and connect with the Goddess.

The return of the GreenMan brings new hope and understanding of the true strengths of balanced masculine energy. For too long, men have been isolated from that part of themselves that honors the Sacred Mother, the divine in Nature, and the true divinity in themselves.

 

Drumming, piping and chanting draws the GreenMan close. The slow, steady healing rhythm of drumming opens the psyche and expanded awareness, attracting the playful and powerful aspects of the Greenman.

Cernunnos

He dances the Moon with power and grace

Amidst the hills and trees, in His sacred space

A dancer moving swiftly between the realms

There in the leaves . . . . what do you see?

If you honor the Old Ways ~ it may be He

Stonehenge is accepted as an Ancient Druid Stone Circle. It is the best known of the many ancient ritual sites in the British Isles. The Druid Priests and Priestesses were the most learned and respected visionaries, seers, healers and astronomers of their time.)


The Druids presided over the spiritual well being of the community and at Tara, even the High Kings spoke only after the Chief Druid had spoken. High Queens also played an important role at Tara. The High Kings were granted their authority to rule only by the presence of their High Queen. She was the living embodiment of the Goddess and represented the will of the people to be governed. Without her blessing, a King could not govern or become a High King of Ireland.

The mysteries of Nature are waiting to reveal themselves to you, just outside the realm of the mundane. . . . . If you follow the path of the dancing Cernunnos, you may find that the world is a much more magical place than you ever imagined. . . . . Embrace a tree, relax in a garden, or sit in a wooded glen, to find the GreenMan. Focus on the mystery of a single clump of grass or a leaf. . . . . . If you are patient and engrossed in your appreciation of simple nature, the GreenMan will come to you!


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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:39 PM)

Herne

NAME: Herne, Herne the Huntsman, Master of the Hunt, Lord of the Wild Hunt, Cernunnos.

SYMBOLS: Stag horns, Hounds, Hunting Horn.

USUAL IMAGE: A large man with the horns of a stag, sometimes show with midnight black skin and glowing green eyes.

HOLY DAYS: The whole of the winter months, like most Celtic 'horned' gods, Herne was said to rule the cold months. The Goddess ruled during the summer months.

PLACE OF WORSHIP: The wild wood.

MAJOR TABOOS: Escaping.

FORM OF WORSHIP: "All heads turn when the hunt goes by."

SYNODEITIES: Silvanus (another Celtic God), Pan (Greek/Roman), Buffalo (Native American), Mielikki (Finnish).

DETAILS: Herne is the silent master of the Wild Hunt, a legend that is found in most Celtic lands. Herne is also one of a number of horned gods that are found in Celtic tales. Like the others he was a symbol of the life force. Herne, like the Greek Pan, was a symbol for a wilder form of that force. Just as Pan's pipes drove people to pan-ic, Herne also had a highly effective horn. Only his did not drive one to panic but called all who heard it to joint he wild hunt and be filled with an uncontrollable lust to hunt down and rip to shreds what or whom ever was unlucky enough to become the object of this hunt. He was always aided in this by a number of large hounds.

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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:39 PM)

AONGHUS: God of Love, the Celtic answer to CUPID.

Also known as AENGHUS, OENGHUS, MAC-OG

As a love child of DAGDA and BOANN he carried on the tradition to become a love God, learning to play the harp and lulling the ladies with his smoochy lyrics.

To sustain his reputation as a Romantic Rascal he ran off with ETAIN the wife of his stepbrother MIDIR.

Pursuing the loves and doves side, four of these lovebirds were often to be seen circling above the curly head of this holy heartthrob. These are the symbols used for kisses at the end of love letters. xxxx. More than four and they will go to waste.
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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:40 PM)

Gods of Ancient Wales and the Celtic Britons

By John Patrick Parle

A common temptation is to think that civilization reached Great Britain through the vehicle of Roman occupation. But Celtic civilization existed in Britain centuries before the Latins' arrival, and before the Celts, societies existed in Britain sophisticated enough to build Stonehenge.

The mythology of the Celtic Britons harkens back to a time before there was an England (that is, before the invasion of Angles and Saxons brought Germanic-speaking tribes to Great Britain).
The Celtic Briton myths are centered mostly in Wales and are written in Welsh, a Celtic language. One can easily speculate that the deities of Welsh mythology once had a broader appeal throughout Britain, as has the mythic Celtic mortal from the region known to us as King Arthur.

The pantheon of Welsh gods and goddesses came largely from two mythic
Families: the Children of Dôn and the Children of Llyr.
 
Dôn was a goddess of the sky, and Llyr was a god of the sea. Charles Squire speaks of a struggle and opposition of these two divine families of the sky and of the sea. He envisages a general conflict of the powers of the sky/light/life versus the sea/darkness/death.

Dôn, like the Irish goddess Danu, was a divine mother image. Among her children were the god Gwydion and the goddess Arianrod, both described further below.
 
Through her husband Beli, Dôn conceived Nudd (sometimes called Lludd), who founded a dynasty of his own.
 
A Welsh Triad (a short descriptive verse) sees Nudd as one of the "three generous heroes of the Isle of Britain." Another triad sees him as having nearly inexhaustible wealth--being the owner of 21,000 milch cows. Nudd (or Lludd) was said in myth to have founded London.
 
There he built Caerlud (the Castle of Lludd), which over time came to be called
Caerlondon, and finally London. According to tradition, St. Paul's Cathedral in
That city is where a temple of Nudd once stood. The son of Nudd was Gwyn, a
Bold warrior.

Parenthetically, we might note that texts sometimes vary in the depictions of various figures in Welsh mythology as to whether they were gods or mortals.

An example is the god Pwyll, who is often represented as a mortal Prince of Dyfed. Ample confusion was accomplished by chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, who saw Lludd as an ancient king of the Britons.
 
Indeed, Squire sees the early version of Arthur of Camelot as a sort of divine figure. Suffice it to say, that some characters listed as gods here also are represented as mythic mortals elsewhere.

As for Llyr, his chief contributions to existing copies of Welsh myth are his children: Brân the Blessed, Branwen the Fair Bosomed, and Manawyddan.
 
Each of these figures have captivating stories from centuries past. It is entirely
Possible that tales of Llyr were once vast, but have been lost to the ages.
The god was important enough to have a city named after him in ancient times, now Leicester in the mid area of England. This primary center of his veneration was originally called Caer Llyr (or Castle of Llyr), and then Llyr-cester, before its present name.
 
Charles Squire believes that legends of Llyr influenced the early content found in Shakespeare's King Lear, the story based on a mythic king of the Celtic Britons.
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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:41 PM)

LUGH
 
(Pan-Celtic) [Loo] The Shining One; Sun God; God of War; "Many Skilled"; "Fair-Haired One"; "White or Shining"; a hero god. His feast is Lughnassadh, a harvest festival. Associated with ravens. His symbol was a white stag in Wales. Son of Cian and Ethniu. Lugh had a magic spear and rod-sling. One of his magic hounds was obtained from the sons of Tuirenn as part of the blood-fine for killing his father Cian. Also called Samhioldananach, meaning "master of all arts", or Lamhfada (La-VAH-dah), "the long-armed".
 
His sacred symbol was a spear. He was always accompanied by two ravens. Sometimes he is shown as one-eyed. Predecessor of the Germanic Wotan and the Norse Odin? He was a God of the sun, light, and the grain harvest, who is honored at the Sabbat of Lughnassadh. Like Brid, he is a deity of many skills and was even said to be able to come into human form to worship among the Druids for whom he was a primary deity. He is also worshipped as the God of fire, metallurgy, crafting, weaving, and as a protector of the weak.
 
Also known as Lugh of the Long Arm. He killed his grandfather, Balor, during a battle in which the new order of gods and goddesses took over from the primal gods. He defeated his enemies with a magic spear. Also known as Lug Samildanach or Lug.
 
Considered the chief Lord of the Tuatha De Danaan, the Celtic Zeus. His archetype appears to derive from an early solar deity, and he has many epithets and sobriquets, among which: Lamhfhada, Long-arm, referring to his skill with spear or sling; Samildanach, much-skilled, having many talents; Ildanach, seer; and Maicnia, boy-warrior.
 
Some scholars believe he was originally a king of the Fomorians who was adopted by the Tuatha De Danann and then by the Celts. He sided with the Tuatha in the Second Battle of Tireadh (Moytura) and led their forces against the Formorians. It was here that he killed his grandfather Balor, a sacrificial God whom Lugh was destined to replace. Though he was a divine being, he was said to have an earthly father. Because of this association, he is seen as a bridge between human and the divine worlds.
 
More statues and holy sites were erected to him than any other Celtic deity, and many of these sites remain for us today. His continental name was Lugus. He is often equated with the Greek God Apollo.
 
Also: Llugh; Luga; Lamhfada [lavada - of the Long Arm]; Llew; Lug; Lugus; Lug Samildanach (many skilled); Lleu Llaw Gyffes ("bright one of the skillful hand"); Lleu; Lugos
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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:42 PM)

The Story of Brân the Blessed


Brân was a Welsh god of the underworld whose eminence is most often associated with his the "Wonderful Head." Though he could present himself as a principal of battle, Brân was also a patron on bards, minstrels, and musicians.
 
He was huge, colossal. No house or ship was large enough to hold him, according
To the stories of hyperbole. In the tales, Brân's sister Branwen the Fair Bosomed was married to King Matholwch of Ireland. Due to various affronts of Branwen, not to mention the later death of Branwen's son, the Welsh crossed the Irish Sea to attack Ireland.

Those on the east coast of Erin saw an eerie vision of a mountain and a forest on the water. Branwen informed King Matholwch that the mountain was Brân walking across the sea, and that the forest was a multitude of masts from Welsh naval ships coming to bring her just relief.

The Welsh landed and fought furiously against the Irish. The warriors of Ireland seemed to have the upper hand. This was because they had the cauldron of Brân, which was given to Matholwch as a wedding present. The Irish needed only to plunge their slain warriors into the cauldron, and they would be brought back to life.
The Welsh discovered this and successfully destroyed the Cauldron.

The warriors of Wales proceeded then to defeat the Irish. But there were only seven Welshmen left unhurt, including Pryderi, Manawyddan, Taliesin the Bard, and four others. The high drama of the situation was that Brân himself was seriously wounded, pierced in the foot with a poison arrow. He was in agony. Brân asked his seven fellow warriors to cut off his head, carry it to London, and bury it there with his face towards France. This was so that Brân in his death could stand watch against any foe that tried to invade Britain. So Brân's head was removed, and at this point proceeded to become famous in Celtic mythology.
 
The seven bearers of Brân's head began the journey to London, but stopped for a feast and to be serenaded by the three birds of Rhiannon. These birds sang so sweetly that the men slid into a state of oblivion and lost all track of time. For seven years the men drank and ate, and conversed in an agreeable and pleasant fashion with the head of Brân, which behaved like it was very much alive. Then they journeyed further, only to stop and have an eighty year feast, again losing all sense of time, and talking amiably with the animated head of Brân.

But then one of the seven head bearers realized that 87 years had passed since their journey had begun. And upon seeing Cornwall, they all resolved that their mission must be completed.
 
So Brân's head was buried in London facing France, only to be disinterred by King Arthur in a later myth. Brân is often called in legend "the Blessed," and he is considered alternately to have had a Noble, Venerable, and Wonderful Head
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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:43 PM)

Gwydion and the Battle of the Trees


One of the common themes in Welsh mythology involves raids into the Underworld. This nether land realm is called by different sources Annwn, Achren, Caer
Sidi, or by modern English references: Hades or the Otherworld.
 
The images of the Welsh Underworld were similar to the Irish Celts and their portrayal of the Fomor under-demons who lived beneath the sea. The Welsh gods made forays into the Underworld to gain precious commodities for themselves and mankind.

The god Gwydion once invaded the Underworld, but was captured by Pwyll and
Pryderi. The jail where he was lodged was known in legend to make its captive either inspired or mad after a single night.
 
Gwydion escaped after a stay there, and emerged as the gifted bard of the gods. His ordeal did not prevent him from making other raids into the Welsh Underworld.

The beings of the nether land realm had three possessions that Gwydion felt should be made available to mankind: the dog, the deer, and the lapwing bird. Gwydion made a boon request for these creatures, but King Arawn of the Underworld refused, and was held strong in this position with the help of Brân.

Gwydion enlisted the help of his brother Amaethon, the god of agriculture, and Lleu to lead a battle march on King Arawn's dominion. The footsoldiers in this invasion of the Underworld were a battalion of trees, brought to life by Gwydion's magic. Each of the types of trees had strengths or weaknesses in this army. For instance, the oak trees caused the heaven and earth to tremble in their advance forward; the birch fought courageously; the holly and hawthorns defended themselves with their spikes; the willows and rowans arrived as reinforcements; and so on.

This Battle of the Trees saw a formidable opponent guarding the gates of the
Underworld--a terrifying one hundred-headed beast! But magic carried the day.
It was determined that the gods and the battalion of trees could not win the battle unless they guessed by name one of the ferocious fighters of the Underworld army.
 
Gwydion was on the mark--he named Brân. Thus the powers of darkness lost the battle, and dogs, deer, and the lapwing birds became available to mankind.

Another raid of the Underworld by Gwydion made available yet another precious
commodity--pork. Celtic expert Georges Dottin claims that the ancient Celts had roasted pigs and swine as their favorite meat. Indeed, the pig and boar are frequent figures in Celtic metalwork art. It is not surprising that the Celts invented a myth to account for the beginnings of the cooking of pork among them.

As the story goes, Gwydion heard that a strange new beast had become popular
in Dyfed, a Welsh territory connected with the Underworld. King Arawn of the
Nether land had given animals named "pigs" to Pryderi of Dyfed. The flesh of the pig was considered to be better and sweeter than the flesh of oxen.

Gwydion wished to obtain some of these pigs and received consent for a boon journey from god Mâth, himself residing in Caer Dathyl. Gwydion, in myth "the best teller of tales in the world," led a group of eleven other bards to Pryderi's palace in Dyfed. Magnificent story-telling was given to the court of Pryderi. In return, Gwydion made a boon request for these wonderful new animals--the pigs. Pryderi refused though, saying that he had promise King Arawn that he would neither sell nor give away the pigs.

Through magic and chicanery Gwydion was able to obtain some of the pigs and made his way back to Caer Dathyl. According to Charles Squire, even to this day there are many place names in Wales between Dyfed and Caer Dathyl that contain the word "pig," in commemoration of this journey.

Pryderi of course was enraged. He pursued Gwydion and two battles were fought
over the pigs. Finally, Gwydion and Pryderi engaged in single combat. In
This Pryderi was slain, and Gwydion and the forces of light became the ultimate
victors.
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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:43 PM)

Dazhdbóg
 
Giver God from "dati" - to give.
 
The sun personified - may be the same as Khors.
This son of Swiantowid emerged from his Eastern palace every morning in a two wheeled, diamond chariot, pulled by twelve fire-breathing horses with manes of gold.
He would travel across the heavens each day through his twelve kingdoms (zodiac signs?).
 
Some believed that he emerged each day as a beautiful infant and would age until his death as an old man in the West.
 
Dazhdbóg was also a god of justice who sat seated on a purple throne surrounded by his seven judges (the planets?) The morning and evening stars, seven messengers who fly across the heavens with fiery tails(comets) and sometimes, Mjestjas, his bald uncle - the moon. In some legends, Mjesyas is his wife. He has many children who, according to legend, live among the stars and the Russian people, who call themselves "Dazhdbog's grandchildren."
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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:44 PM)

Celtic Gods and Heroes:
The Gods of Ancient Ireland

Celtic peoples established themselves in Ireland about 2,500 years ago. But
Humans had inhabited the island long before that, as evidenced by the
Monument site at Newgrange dating to 3000 B.C., as well as the prehistoric megaliths at Carrowmore in Sligo, and other dolmens and cairns. The Celts formed myth to make an accounting for these earlier peoples, and to fit the existing
Celtic gods into the Irish landscape.

What resulted from such myth-making was the Lebor Gabala, or in English, the
"Book of Invasions," written with the Roman alphabet in the Gaelic tongue, presumably originating in the Dark Ages.
 
Two general threads of myth exist in this work. First, stories recount the successive waves of conquests of Ireland up to the coming of the Celtic Milesians, and including the entry of the Gods and divine beings onto Ireland.
 
Second, intricate stories tell the beginnings and successive wanderings of the Celtic Milesians before they came to the Emerald Isle.


According to the Book of Invasions, there were five earlier conquests or "takings" of Ireland before the arrivals of the Celts:

  1.  Cessair and her group;
  2. the Race of Parthelon; 
  3. the Race of Nemed; 
  4. the Fir Bolgs;
  5. the Tuatha Dé Danann, or gods and goddesses of the ancient Celts in Ireland.

To review these briefly:
Cessair, as fashioned a bit by the monk transcribers, was said to be the granddaughter of Noah, and arrived in Ireland forty days before the Flood, thus becoming the first human on the island.

She came with a entourage of fifty maidens and three men. These men quickly did their arithmetic and divvied up Cessair's women, such that each man had 17 maidens for himself. Well, this didn't last long. Though Noah calculated that the Flood would not reach the Western World, his estimates were wrong, and the waters swept Ireland and all of Cessair's following--except for Fintan, a male who pops up now and again over the centuries to help retell various other myths. (Such is the freedom of the Celtic mind!)


The Race of Parthelon, according to the Book of Invasions, arrived in Ireland about three hundred years after the Flood, during the age of the Biblical Abraham. Parthelon and his people were an industrious lot, clearing plains for planting and constructing buildings. They rewarded themselves by brewing the first beer in Ireland. Although they began only as a group of forty-eight men and women, over the three centuries they lived in Ireland, their numbers grew to five thousand. But ill-luck came upon them by way of a plague, wiping out the Race of Parthelon.


Next came the Race of Nemed, a people who carried on the diligent work of Parthelon. But bad fortune struck again, as Nemed and many of his followers died
in an epidemic, and the remaining population experienced other sore pains and eventually left Ireland.

The next colonizers were the Fir Bolgs, who some experts believe were the Celts' representation of the pre-Celtic indigenous peoples of Ireland. The Fir Bolgs were said to be the first to divide Ireland into its historical provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connaught, Meath, and Ulster. A famous mythic king of the Fir Bolgs was Eochaid the Proud.
Another breed of beings were a source of menace to the peoples of Parthelon,
Nemed, and the Fir Bolgs. These were the Fomors, often called the Fomhoire,
or "under-demons."

The Fomors were malevolent giants, fearsome diabolical creatures, who lived beneath the sea near the northwest part of Ireland. They had a Glass Castle on Tory Island, their surface stronghold off of the coast of county Sligo. Awful stories abound about the Fomors, for instance, that two-thirds of the children born to the Race of Nemed were surrendered to the Fomors every Samhain.

The Tuatha Dé Danann in the age when the Fir Bolgs and Fomors roamed Ireland, the gods and goddesses made their appearance on the feast of Beltaine. Some sources say they descended from the sky. The deities brought with them four important talismen:

  1. The magic sword of Nuada,
  2. the enchanted spear of Lugh,
  3. the charmed cauldron of Dagda,
  4. and the Stone of Destiny (which uttered a loud cry when touched by the
    Rightful king of Ireland).

The gods and goddesses were called the Tuatha Dé Danann, or the "Tribe of the Goddess Danu." They became the divine beings homaged by Gaelic peoples, though not before an ironic story of conquest. the divine pantheon of the Gaels were children of Danu, a symbol of the universal mother. Among the greatest of her children was Nuada the Silver Handed, the early king of the gods. He possessed an invincible sword, as well as the powers of the throne.

A table of the successive deity kings is given below.

  • Morrigan (or Morrigú) was a supreme war goddess, someone you didn't mess with. She had a triad of female personifications: Nemen the Venomous, Badb the Fury, and Macha the Battle. Morrigan's favorite shape-shifting disguise was a crow.
  • The doyen of the gods was the Dagda, or the "Good God." The Dagda had three prized possessions. First was his eight-pronged war-club, which he moved with the help of a wheel. Second was his magic cauldron, called "The Undry," which was sort of a cornucopia for porridge (Dagda's favorite food), and from which none went away unnourished. Dagda's third prized possession was his enchanted oak harp, which enabled the seasons to follow in order when he played on its strings. The Dagda had numerous children, including Brigid, Angus, Mider, Ogma, and Bodb the Red.
  • Brigid was the goddess of fire and the hearth, as well as of poetry. She
    invented keening, the Irish wailing song for loved ones at death. Brigid also
    had some fertility aspects, for the Celtic feast of Imbolc in early February was
    in her honor. For sake of diplomacy, Brigid married Bress the Fomor, and they had a son named Ruadan.


Kings of the Irish Gods (in succession over time)

1. Nuada (king when the gods came to Ireland)
2. Bress the Fomor (made king for diplomatic reasons)
3. Nuada (reinstated as king upon Bress's downfall)
4. Lugh (one of the kings after Nuada's death)
5. Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, Mac Greiné (sons of Ogma; these three kings were on the throne when the Celtic Milesians arrived; their wives: Banba, Fotla, and Eriu)
6. The Dagda (assigned sídh "fairymounds" to gods after Celtic conquests)
7. Bodb the Red (king even to the time of the Fenians)
8. Finvarra (present king of the fairies; also called Fionnbharr)

NOTE: Other sources include additional names of kings of the Gaelic gods,
such as Delbaeth and Fiachna.
Angus the Young was a sort of Gaelic god of love. He was very handsome and had a golden harp that played so sweetly that maidens were naturally drawn to it. The kisses of Angus were transformed into birds which whispered thoughts of love into the ears of girls. In one story, Angus is visited by a beautiful dream maiden each night during sleep. Angus pines for her, and being lovesick, refuses nourishment. Finally he discovers that the dream maiden is named Caer, an enchantress surrounded by thrice times fifty attending nymphs. After much wooing, Caer finally agrees to marry Angus, and they find much happiness at his palace.


Lir was the primary sea god of the Gaels. Among his children were Finola, a daughter, and three sons: Aed, Fiachra, and Conn. A jealous stepmother named Aeife cast a cruel spell with a magic wand, turning these four children of Lir into swans, and they flew and wandered about Ireland until the coming of St. Patrick. This is one of the saddest stories in Celtic mythology Another son of Lir was Manannán, a Gaelic god for whom the Isle of Man is named. Manannán had a whole array of treasured possessions: three magic swords, called The Retaliator, The Great Fury, and The Little Fury; two magic spears, called Yellow Shaft and the Red Javelin; a boat propelled and guided by his wishes, called the Wave-sweeper; a horse that could run swiftly over the sea, named Splendid Mane; invincible armor and helmet; and a cloak that made the wearer invisible. Manannán was the host of the Feast of Age, a banquet where the guests never grew old.


Among others of the Irish pantheon were Goibniu, the metal worker of the gods, and the brewer of the ale of immortality, a beer that enabled the drinkers to live forever.

Diancecht was the god of medicine, and was responsible for naming the River Barrow.

Ogma was the divine champion, a patron of literature, and the inventor of the ogham alphabet. Among his sons was Cairpré, the bard of the Tuatha Dé Danann.


The Conquest by the Gods


When the Tuatha Dé Danann arrived in Ireland, being gods and goddesses, they realized immediately what a marvelous isle it was. Of course, they wanted Ireland for themselves, to serve as their new home. But first they needed to contend with the Fir Bolgs and the Fomor giants.

The Tuatha Dé Danann moved on the Fir Bolgs first. Morrigan with the help of
Badb and Macha sent a shower of fire and blood upon the Fir Bolgs for three days and nights, to warn them that change was impending. Nuada, the king of the gods, attempted to work diplomacy with the Fir Bolg king Eochaid the Proud, offering to divide Ireland in half between the gods and the humans. But Eochaid rejected this, saying: "If we once give these beings half, they will soon have the whole."

So the winds of war stirred between the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fir Bolgs. Their two armies met near the village of Cong in the province on Connaught, in western Ireland. At first, fighting began as a sort of deadly hurling match where thrice nine warriors on each side fought to the death. Then single combats commenced, and continued on for four days. In one, Streng the Fir Bolg shore off the hand of King Nuada. But, the Fir Bolgs, thirsty and in search of water, then travelled as far as Ballysadare in County Sligo. They were pursued by the gods, and there, King Eochaid of the Fir Bolgs was killed.

By then the Fir Bolgs were down to three hundred men. The Tuatha Dé Danann offered them peace and a fifth of Ireland. The Fir Bolgs consented, and chose Connaught as theirs. And even up to the 17th century of our age, there were men in
Connaught who claimed their lineage traced back to Streng the Fir Bolg!

But the war with the Fir Bolgs left a toll on the Tuatha Dé Danann. Nuada had lost his hand in battle. Diancecht, the physician of the gods, made Nuada a silver artificial hand that worked nearly perfectly (hence Nuada's name, the Silver Handed). But this artificial hand was still a blemish, the gods could not have an impaired being sitting on their throne. So Nuada was required to step down.

The gods decided that it would be wise to make a diplomatic move with the Fomor giants, and form a peaceful alliance with them. So, they offered the throne of the gods to Bress, the son of the Fomor king. And too, marriage unions were formed: Brigid of the gods married Bress the Fomor; and Cian, the son of the god Diancecht, married Ethniu, the daughter of Balor the Fomor. But, the idea of Bress the Fomor being king of the Tuatha Dé Danann wasn't working out. Bress was oppressive. He exacted heavy taxes on the gods, and Bress required that even the greatest of gods do work tolls for him. So there were situations like Ogma being sent to chop fire wood for Bress, and the Dagda being required to build forts and castles for him. To make matters worse, Bress had no largesse at feasts: he would provide no bards, musicians, or jugglers to give pleasure to the gods. Discontent was in the air. Finally, Bress made a grave mistake--he insulted the bard of the gods, Cairpré. To this,
Cairpré wrote a stinging satire against Bress, ending with these words: "May Bress's cheer be what he gives to others."

The children of Diancecht thus went to work to fix Nuada's hand. With great magic, they restored his hand from silver to actual flesh. No longer with a blemish, Nuada was now free to regain his throne of the gods. Bress was forced to abdicate. He went back to the Fomors, and their assembly agreed to make war against the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Preparations for war lasted seven years. In this time, Lugh arrived at the court of the gods at Tara, and took a leadership position under King Nuada. The Dagda was sent as a pre-battle ambassador to the Fomors, and there ate an enormous meal of porridge, a meal that took so long that it gave the Tuatha Dé Danann more time to prepare for war. On the eve of Samhain the hostilities began.

The battles were so fierce that Nuada was slain. But the gods and goddesses won the war with the Fomors. In vengeance the retreating Fomors stole the Dagda's harp, but Lugh, Ogma, and the Dagda pursued them and fetched the prized possession, thus assuring the change of seasons. Morrigan, Badb, Mider, and Angus finally forced the last Fomors off of Ireland for all time. The gods and goddesses now possessed the Emerald Isle

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RE:Celtic Pantheon
(Date Posted:01/12/2009 21:45 PM)

Cernunnos
 
Also Kernunnos, Cernenus, Cernowain, Cerne, Herne, Herne the Hunter, Uindos, Finn, Bok, Dumas, Belatucadros, Vitiris
 
Meaning of name:  “The Horned One”
 
Druidic Name:

His Druidic name was “Hu Godarn.”  His worship was so popular that Christianity had a very difficult time trying to eradicate him.  They modeled their Christian Devil after him in hopes of dissuading worshippers from following him.
 
Physical Appearance:

He is normally portrayed with the antlers of a stag, carrying a purse full of coins, seated in a cross-legged position.  He has long hair and a beard.  He is usually shown very “well endowed” and is shown in an ithyphallic state.  He has a torq (a rigid circular necklace donating wealth, high social status, nobility) around his neck and another in his right hand.  In his left he holds a ram-headed serpent (symbol of his sexual power and knowledge sacred to the Goddess) which seems to be unique to him.  He often has the legs and hooves of a goat.  He is most often surrounded by animals of the forest:  the stag, the fox, a wild boar, and others.
 
The Gundestrup Cauldron:

The most detailed, clear and famous of all images of Cernunnos comes from a unique and marvelous piece of Celtic art work called The Gundestrup Cauldron.  Cauldrons had magickal significance for the Celts, and this is the most ornate ever found.  It was beaten out of 10 kg of silver, probably in the second century BCE, constructed from 13 heavily decorated rectangular panels and a plain bowl containing a 14th circular one.  The entire assembly is 70 cm in diameter.
 
Sometime around the birth of Christ it was disassembled and apparently just left on the ground in a bog near what is now the hamlet of Gundestrup in Northern Jutland (Denmark), where it gradually became overgrown and covered with peat.  It remained there until its discovery by peat cutters in 1891.
 
The eight external panels (of which one is missing) each feature what appears to be the single face of a different god or goddess, surrounded by much smaller humanoids or beasts.  The five interior panels each depict many characters, men, women, gods and beasts, in what may be a story.
 
One of these panels depicts Cernunnos.  He is seated cross-legged.  He has antlers with seven tines, and is, unusually, depicted clean-shaven.  He wears a torque and carries a second one in his right hand.  He wears a tunic and bracae (Celtic trousers) which cover him from the wrist to above the knee, and a patterned belt.  He wears sandals on his feet.  His hair appears to be brushed straight back.  In his left hand he holds the ram-horned serpent.
 
Surrounding him are many beasts.  The nearest, on the left, is a stag.  Close to him on the right is a dog.  There are other animals resembling ibexes, lions, and a boy on a fish.
 
Triune God:

He is a triple god:  Father, Son, and Wild Spirit.  Cernunnos can appear under a variety of guises, the most mysterious of which is perhaps the “three headed visage,” in which the Stag is “three-faced,” as if just having looked to his right and to his left.  This visage of the Horned One alludes to something very unusual about him; that he is triple in and unto himself.  Many Celtic deities appear to us in triads, each “person” in the triple manifestation having its own name, aspects or characteristics.  The triple aspect of the Goddess would be an excellent example:  Maiden, Mother, and Crone.  Cernunnos is unusual in that he is a single deity, yet he can suddenly appear in this three-headed aspect.
 
Other Forms:

Cernunnos can also appear in human form, usually as a man with horns or antlers growing from his head.  Occasionally he is imaged as having a man’s body and a stag’s head.  At other times he seems entirely human, until you see those two small horns growing out of his head just above his brow, mostly hidden under his crop of long, matted and quite straggly black or dark brown hair.
 
History:
Cernunnos was worshipped by the Iron Age Celts across Europe until the end of the first century.  There is very little in existence about him in documents, due to the fact that the druids were forbidden to write down any of their knowledge, but his image appears on numerous stone carvings throughout Europe.  Paleolithic cave paintings found in France that depict a stag standing upright or a man dressed in stag costume seem to indicate that Cernunnos’ origins date to those times.  Icons of Cernunnos in stone, paint and engravings have been found throughout the territory of the ancient Celts, from Spain to Romania and from Northern Italy up to Ireland and Scotland.  The Celts made numerous models, or icons, of their various gods, and there are over 60 depicting Cernunnos, from all over Europe.  We only know his name because it is very clearly carved on a single one of these icons, made by sailors from the Gallic Parisii tribe in the first century CE.  He has long been associated with Druids, mystics and magickians in Celtic traditions.
 
Irish stories describe Cernunnos (Uindos) as the son of the high god Lugh.  He is called a wild hunter, a warrior, and a poet. 
 
Domain:

He is regarded as the guardian of animals, fertility, forests, the hunt, harvest, life, death, reincarnation, crossroads, sacrifice, Magick, initiation, wealth, the underworld, physical love, and is most specifically a Nature God.  The idea that he is an Underworld God is backed by the fact that he carries coins, which are an Underworld symbol. 
 
Titles:

His titles include Lord of Animals, Lord of Beasts, Stag Lord, Lord of the Hunt, Lord of the Forest, The Green Man, God of the Hunt, The Horned God of the Hunt, The Horned One, The Horned God, and Lord of the Underworld,.  In his Underworld Aspect he is known as The Dark Man, the god who dwells in the House Beneath the Hill.  He is the one who comforts and sings the souls of the dead to their rest in the Summerlands of the Otherworld.  In modern times he is often referred to as God of the Witches.  Following him through the Veil between the Worlds is one of the surest ways of making the journey and returning unscathed, as he generally won’t abandon those who follow him with good purpose.
 
Longevity:

He is the Oldest of the Ancient Ones, first born of the Goddess.  At the time of First Earth, Cernunnos grew in the womb of the All Mother, Anu, waiting to be born, to come forth to initiate the everlasting, unbroken circle of Life.
 
Things Sacred to Him:

The oak is his sacred tree.  His sacred animals include the stag, ram, bull, antelope, crane, sheep (ram), goat, boar, horned serpent, all horned animals, snake, and all mammals.  Honor him at Samhain, Ostara, Beltain, and at Midsummer, when he leads the Wild Hunt.
 
Plant Associations:
Bay, Heliotrope, Oak, Orange, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Sunflower
 
Holiday:  Beltaine
 
Cernunnos and the Wheel of the Year:

Spring:  We celebrate his birth, child of the Goddess, embodiment of the budding, growing, greening world.

Summer:  We celebrate and honor him as the Green Man, vibrant, the consort of the Green Lady Goddess.

Autumn:  The dying time, he is the Horned God, sacrificed and wounded, begins journey to the Underworld.

Winter:  The seeds of light from his decaying body will quicken the Goddess’ womb with a new Sun (son) once again.
 
Another interpretation of his life cycle is as follows:

“In the vernal tides he is often manifest as a young man – often adolescent – with horns.  In this guise he is similar in aspect to Herne the Hunter or a very young Green Man who is not yet sexually or poetically mature, yet vigorous and enthusiastic.  It is in this form that Cernunnos and the Triple Goddess make the fields fertile by their union.  At Summer’s Solstice the Horned One becomes known through the presence of the Green Man.  Then, in August, after Lughnassadh, as the sun begins to wane, he shifts form again, coming to us as the ever-pesky Puck.  At the autumnal equinox he appears as the Old Antlered One, Downie Hornie, in which guise he haunts us until Samhain.  After this turnstile in the earthen year he usually withdraws his presence from mortals, disappearing until he is reborn during the Season of the Winter Solstice as the Gifting Stag; a young hart whose virility and strength will enable him to survive the long winter months ahead while the rest of Nature sleeps.”   Copyright 2002 by Montague Whitsel.
 
Reasons to Invoke:

Invoke Cernunnos for magick, prosperity, wealth, commerce, rebirth, regeneration, virility, reincarnation, shamanism, abundance, knowledge, fertility, shape-shifting, male potency, good fortune, love spells, sex magick, hunting, male mysteries, Earth mysteries, workings which relate to the spiral of life, protecting wild animals, helping to maintain the balance of Nature, and working with animals.  Sitting in the lotus position is appropriate for his invocation.

Invocation to Cernunnos:
"Hail Cernunnos, Stag of the Woods
Come to us we pray you!
Inspire us with an earthen faith
And an adventurous love of life!
Lead us and we will follow you
Through the wildwood and to the heath
Where the haunted ones of the Sidhe
worship in the dark night
Of Mystery’s embrace!  Nema!"
 
Another Invocation:
"Great God Cernunnos, return to earth again !
        Come at my call and show thyself to men.
        Shepherd of Goats, upon the wild hill's way,
        Lead thy lost flock from darkness into day.
        Forgotten are the ways of sleep and night -
        Men seek for them whose eyes have lost the light.
        Open the door, the door which hath no key,
        The door of dreams, whereby men come to thee.
        O Mighty Stag, O answer to me !"
 
The God in the Wild Wood:

“At the Sacred Centre, in the Grove of all Worlds, He sits with legs crossed beneath an ancient Oak.  Entranced, connecting the three worlds Earth, Sea, and Sky and the worlds behind the worlds, the god and the Great Tree are One, His immense limbs widespread, stretching into distant sky and starry space.  His massive trunk, spine of the Middleworld, is the heart of the Ancient Forest around which all Life, all worlds turn.  His limitless root web growing deep into secret earth and Underworld.  Above him the great turning circles of Sun, Moon, and Stars.  All around Him subtle movements of the leaves in melodious, singing air.  Everywhere the pulsing, gleaming Green awash in drifts of gold and shimmering mist.  Beneath Him soft moss creeping over the dark, deep, moist of spawning earth.  At His feet the great Cauldron from which the Five Rivers Flow.  Through the forest stillness they come, whispering wings and secret glide, rustling leaves, and silent step, the first Ancestors, the Oldest Animals, to gather around Him:  Blackbird, Keeper of the Gate; Stag of Seven Tines, Master of Time; Ancient Owl, Crone of the Night; Eagle, Lord of the Air, Eye of the Sun; and Salmon, Oldest of the Old, Wisest of the Wise leaping from the juncture of the Five Springs.  He welcomes them and blesses them, and they honor Him, Cernunnos of the nut brown skin and lustrous curling hair.  The god whose eyes flash star-fire, whose flesh is a reservoir of ancient waters, His cells alive with Mystery, original primeval essence.  Naked, phallus erect, He wears a crown of antlers limned in green fire and twined with ivy.  In his right hand the Torq of gold, testament of his nobility and his sacred pledge.  In his left hand the horned serpent symbol of his sexual power sacred to the Goddess.  Cernunnos in His Ancient Forest, His Sacred Temple, His Holy Grove, Cernunnos and His children dream the Worlds.” 
Ravenquest
 
References:
Alternative Religions
A Wiccan Bible by A.J. Drew
Cernunnos by Dr. Anthony E. Smith
Cernunnos: Celtic Horned God of the Animals by Morning Glory Zell
Cernunnos: The Celtic Horned God by Montague Whitsel
Cernunnos the Stag Lord by lugodoc.demon
Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
Horned God, The by John Rowan
Invocation for Witches by Eileen Holland
Magick of the Gods and Goddesses by D.J. Conway
Origin of the Gundestrup Cauldron by Berquist, Anders & Taylor
Pagan Resource
Ravenquest
Truth About the Druids, The by Tadhg MacCrossan
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