Pronounced "manan-awn mak lir" (Barinthus) Manannan Mac Lir is one of the most popular deities in Celtic mythology. He is Lord of the sea and of the three great waves of Ireland. He was the son of the mystical god Lir and and the husband of Fand. His Welsh equivalent was Manawydan ap Llyr. Sons were Ilbhreach and Gaiar.
Some accounts speak of how the Celts would roar and bang on their shield taunting their enemies prior to rushing into the battle. (The Celts believed in what was called "furor" or a spiritual frenzy while in battle) They were known to be barbaric but also excellent warriors. It was once said that the Celts could be seen going into battle naked. This can be found in Roman texts about the Celts.
Up until 150 years ago a baby had only an even chance of living past its 5th birthday, because so much of child birth was bound to death there are many superstitions and magical practices linked to childbirth, also many omens were used to provide future well being for a child by its parents.
To resolve the paradox of the Celtic Birth Myths, they must be regarded as symbols of the transcendental meaning of birth, of what birth is from the point of view of the unseen world. From an earthly standpoint a child is conceived inadvertently during the course of its parents' conjugal relations, without the intervention of any other agency. But from the point of view of the supernatural world, the child's birth is destined, the parents are chosen, the time and place are ordained, and the earthly life of the child is 'pre-figured' before he is conceived.
Translated as meaning 'hostels', the bruidne of ancient Ireland are depicted as centres of hospitality where all were welcome. A great cauldron maintained in each bruiden would feed everyone, no matter how many; feasting, drinking and general merriment were the order of the day. The bruidne were, in fact, temples and mystical centres of certain ancient religions.
The cauldron was the prime female symbol of the pre-Christian world. Among the Celts, the Three Matriarchs kept the Magic Cauldron of Regeneration at the bottom of a lake, until it was brought up by Bran the Blessed to resuscitate men slain in battle. This Celt god moved on into the Grail cycle of myths, as Bron the Fisher King, and his cauldron became confused with the Christian version of the lifegiving, blood-filled vessel. There can be no doubt that the cauldron represented the womb of the Great Goddess, who was often a trinity. It is certain also that men used to believe their reincarnation and rebirth depended upon entering such a uterine vessel to be reconstituted by its magic. Celtic cauldrons of regeneration came from the Land Beneath the Waves because the Sea Goddess was held to be the universal birth-giver. The god Cernunnos was dismembered and boiled in a cauldron in order to rise again from the dead. A boiling cauldron gave rebirth and/or magic power to Taliesin.
Cauldrons continued to be worshiped as symbols of the universal womb even into Christian times, as long as pagans met together to carry on their religion.
In ancient Celtic myth there were several cauldrons dispensing variously the properties of life, death, inspiration and wisdom. It is generally understood that these gave way in time to the image of the Holy Grail and became incorporated into the Hallows of Britain. Arthur went in search of such a cauldron to the very gates of Annwn. Bran possessed a cauldron which re-animated dead men. In the story of Taliesin, Ceridwen owned a cauldron which gave inspiration.
An idol set up on the plain of Magh Slécht, 'Plain of Adoration', near the present village of Ballymagauran, in County Cavan. It was created by King Tigernmas. Known as 'Lord of Death', Tigernmas is credited with the introduction of gold mining and of silverwork to Ireland. Some authorities have it that Tigernmas was a renegade Roman legion commander; this may be supported by the nature of the cult of Crom which has strong Eastern connections. Crom is notable in that children ('first-born') were sacrificed to him at Samhain, amidst general mayhem and orgiastic activities. In a very old legend, found in the Dinnsenchus in the Book of Leinster, it is related that many centuries before the Christian era, King Tigerumas [Teernmas] and crowds of his people were destroyed in some mysterious way, as they were worshipping it on Samain Eve - the eve of the 1st November.
The history of the Celtic people goes back many centuries. The Celts transmitted their culture orally, never writing down history or facts. This accounts for the extreme lack of knowledge about them prior to their contact with the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. Having left no written records themselves, is not always easy to sort out. The bulk of what is written about them comes from observations made by their enemies or by those who would somehow rule them. To ascribe complete factuality to these accounts is, at best, fool hardy. Our best information comes from archeological research but even this is open to wide interpretation.
The pentagram, a symbol of faith used by many Wiccans.Wicca (pronounced /ˈwɪkə/) is a neopagan, nature-based religion. It was popularised in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant, who at the time called it Witchcraft and its adherents "the Wica".
Wiccans, as followers of Wicca are now commonly known, typically worship a God (traditionally the Horned God) and a Goddess (traditionally the Triple Goddess), who are sometimes represented as being a part of a greater pantheistic Godhead, and as manifesting themselves as various polytheistic deities. Other characteristics of Wicca include the ritual use of magic, a liberal code of morality and the celebration of eight seasonal-based festivals.
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