Questions tagged [celtic]

For questions on the mythology and beliefs of the Celtic people, who were once widespread across Europe but now mostly confined to Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall. Questions specific to one of the Celtic nations should be tagged by the appropriate regional tag, e.g. [wales].

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What is the relationship between Celtic harmonics and Celtic symbols?

I've noticed that Celtic-sounding words are very sing-song. Is there a connection between this rhythm and their symbols, like the Celtic knot?
2 votes
2 answers
562 views

What is Tír Jovincon in Celtic Mythology?

In a song by Eluveitie, called "Black Water Dawn", we hear about a voyage across the sea, a journey to the Otherworld. At the end of the song the place Tír Jovincon is mentioned. The question is what ...
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1 answer
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Why isn’t Lúgh Lámhfhada considered a sun-god?

A frequent talking point about Irish mythology that I see peddled in many neo-pagan and academic circles is the deity Lúgh Lámhfhada is no longer deemed a sun god but rather a light god or storm-god. ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Is there any folklore reference to fairies being divided into Summer and Winter Courts?

Modern fiction about fairies often describes them as being divided into Seelie and Unseelie Courts or Summer and Winter Courts, sometimes Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Courts. A lot of people seem ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Why are mermaids naked?

In images from Roman to contemporary Britain, mermaids are usually not wearing any clothes. Other types of fairies, spirits, and gods are usually depicted at least partly dressed. Why then are ...
10 votes
5 answers
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How are Norse and Celtic mythology related?

I was in a charms shop a while back and they had a section laid out for Celtic Mythology charms and their meanings. I had a look and found Thor's hammer. I ask my mom and she said the Mythologies are ...
14 votes
3 answers
49k views

What did Cuchulainn's warp spasm look like?

In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley, the great Irish hero Cuchulainn is said to undergo a process which appears to be quite similar to "hulking out". The most colorful ...
3 votes
1 answer
709 views

Are there recommended collection/translations of Irish mythology/folklore?

I am interested in reading Irish mythology/folklore, especially the four major cycles: The Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle, and the Historical Cycle - but I want to make sure I ...
7 votes
3 answers
434 views

Why did druidesses vow perpetual virginity?

Dufieux's Nature et virginité p. 415 notes one pre-Christian culture that respected perpetual virginity: Dans la Germanie et dans les Gaules, il y avait des druidesses vouées à une virginité ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Was Nuada Airgetlám accompanied by dogs?

According to this passage from a website, it's stated that the Irish war-god and Tuatha Dé Danann's first ruler Nuada Airgetlám was sometimes accompanied by a pack of dogs whose licks are said to have ...
6 votes
2 answers
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Ancient celtic-iberian deity roughly named "Pecosuosucivo"

I'm looking for the exact name and possible etymology of an ancient celtic-iberian deity roughly named "Pecosuosucivo", as I can faintly recollect. Probably linked with the town Úbeda in the province ...
-1 votes
1 answer
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What does this pendant/symbol mean?

This has been antagonizing me for months. When I asked my mom what this was, she said, apart from a bookmark, it was a Celtic knot. But when I look it up, I get anything but this. What is this? What ...
4 votes
2 answers
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Who is the father of the Tuatha Dé Danann?

The Tuatha Dé Danann are the children of the goddess Danu. Their very name, Tuatha Dé Danann, means "the people of Danu". However, who is their father?
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Where did the idea come from that fairies must tell the truth?

I keep coming across the idea in blog posts and books that fairies are required to tell the truth, or speak very literally, and may use tricky language to get around it. This is a major theme in Holly ...
1 vote
0 answers
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Fanged chimera used for doorknocks and gargoyles?

Can you help me identify this fanged grotesque that I saw in the movie The Wicker Man? I am guessing it is some sort of Celtic mythical element? I have also seen it used elsewhere as door knocks or ...
8 votes
1 answer
649 views

How can a human invite or summon a fairy lover?

In celtic folklore, there are many stories of fairy lovers. A famous example is the ballad of Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight. Usually in these tales, the human man or woman are lured or approached by ...
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

Was there any figure considered to be evil in iron age Celtic paganism religion of England?

Before Christianization the Celts of England had a pagan religion. Was there any figure in that religion which was considered to be evil?
18 votes
2 answers
576 views

What is the meaning of not giving clothes to supernatural helpers?

There is a theme that I found in several folk tales from Ireland to Russia - although mostly in Irish/Celtic stories. It is where a house has supernatural helpers, who do work overnight. However, the ...
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Who was Scathach and Aoife?

Back in September, I was reading a series called, "The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel," by Michael Scott. One of the main characters was The Warrior Maiden, Scathach. In this series, she had ...
14 votes
1 answer
280 views

When did Korrigans become part of the Breton folklore?

Korrigans are part of the modern Breton folklore, as water spirits. Some sources give them an origin in ancient Gaul (Thomas Keightley's 1892 "The Fairy Mythology" for instance). Is there any evidence ...
10 votes
2 answers
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Symbolism of three characters leading Mayday ritual in The Wicker Man

In The Wicker Man (1973), the Mayday procession is headed by three masked characters: Their cast includes many alarming characters: A man-animal, or hobbyhorse, who canters at the head of the ...
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

How does the Devil come to be horned?

One of the most popular depictions of the Christian Devil is having horns. From whence does this derive? altarpiece by Michael Pacher depicting the Devil with Saint Wolfgang, Bishop of Regensburg ...
5 votes
0 answers
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Is "The Secret of Roan Inish" derived from a specific myth?

In the wonderful John Sayles film The Secret of Roan Inish (1994), the director presents a touching tale of a family with selkie connections. The film was based on the the novel Secret of the Ron Mor ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Which Celtic god is the equivalent of the Roman Dis Pater?

In Book IV of his Commentaries on the Gallic War, Julius Caesar tells us all Gauls claimed descent from Dis Pater: 18. All the Gauls assert that they are descended from the god Dis, and say that this ...
3 votes
2 answers
223 views

What's a good source on Fairies online?

I would like to research Fairies and their wonderful virtues, as described in Celtic mythology. Can someone suggest rich and readily available sources on the subject?
12 votes
1 answer
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Are all Celtic Gods (Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and British) considered part of the same pantheon?

The term 'Celtic' means mythology from the British Isles, so are the gods from Irish, Welsh, and Scottish mythology all considered part of the same pantheon? For example, did people who believe in the ...
5 votes
2 answers
660 views

Revenants in mythology of the British Isles?

In his series, "Song of Ice and Fire", George R.R. Martin re-imagines a War of the Roses era-Britain where the British Isle is greatly enlarged and the continent compressed. He creates a history that ...
8 votes
3 answers
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Are certain types of fairies associated with specific regions?

I am trying to decide on a location as the setting for a fairy-lore related MG fantasy novel. As I understand it, different places have differing oral traditions, so in turn many of the fairy tales we ...
14 votes
2 answers
5k views

Are there any relations between Norse elves and Celtic fairies, or their home realms?

A lot of, if not most, modern fantasy tends to have 'Elven' races that seem to be largely inspired by the Norse Elves, likely by way of Tolkien. There also seems to be a large amount of Celtic ...
10 votes
1 answer
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What reason, if any, is there for the exact number of men and women who went with Cesair to Ireland in the Lebor Gabála Érenn?

In the Book of Invasions Cesair flees Noah's flood to Ireland as a kind of matriarch of her fleet. The sources all agree there was an incredible sexual imbalance between men and women, with a total of ...
17 votes
1 answer
306 views

Are elves born on the moon?

I recently listened to Purcell's "King Arthur", and at one point in the libretto, Grimbald speaks of "moon-born elves" (at 19:25 in the linked video): Let not a moon-born elf mislead ye From your ...
14 votes
1 answer
817 views

Did the Gauls have a magic potion that made them strong?

I recently listened to Purcell's "King Arthur", and at one point in the libretto, the Saxons sing of the "juice that makes the Britons bold" (at 11:40 in the linked video; the movement starts at 11:00)...
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1 answer
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Worship of Epona in the Roman Empire

Epona is said to be "the sole Celtic divinity ultimately worshipped in Rome itself" (see Wikipedia article quoting Phyllis Fray Bober). Is there any reason this divinity in particular was worshipped ...