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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Mountain Fairies




Mountain Fairies

I.

THE Gwyllion are female fairies of frightful characteristics, who haunt lonely roads in the Welsh mountains, and lead night-wanderers astray. They partake somewhat of the aspect of the Hecate of Greek mythology, who rode on the storm, and was a hag of horrid guise. The Welsh word gwyll is variously used to signify gloom, shade, duskiness, a hag, a witch, a fairy, and a goblin but its special application is to these mountain fames of gloomy and harmful habits, as distinct from the Ellyllon of the forest glades and dingles, which are more often beneficent. The Gwyllion take on a more distinct individuality under another name-as the Ellyllon do in mischievous Puck--and the Old Woman of the Mountain typifies all her kind.


She is very carefully described by the Prophet Jones in the guise in which she haunted Lanhyddel Mountain in Monmouthshire. This was the semblance of a poor old woman, with an oblong four-cornered hat, ash-coloured clothes, her apron thrown across her shoulder, with a pot or wooden can in her hand, such as poor people carry to fetch milk with, always going before the spectator, and sometimes crying 'Wow up!' This is an English form of a Welsh cry of distress) ' Wwb!' or 'Ww-bwb! [Pronounced Wooboob]. Those who saw this apparition, whether by night or on a misty day, would be sure to lose their way, though they might be perfectly familiar with the road.


Sometimes they heard her cry, 'Wow up!' when they did not see her. Sometimes when they went out by night, to fetch coal, water, etc., the dwellers near that mountain would hear the cry very close to them, and immediately after they would hear it afar off, as if it were on the opposite mountain, in the parish of Aberystruth. The popular tradition in that district was that the Old Woman of the Mountain was the spirit of one Juan White, who lived time out of mind in those parts, and was thought to be a witch; because the mountains were not haunted in this manner until after Juan White's death. ['Juan (Shui) White is an old acquaintance of my boyhood,' writes to me a friend who was born some thirty years ago in Monmouthshire. ' A ruined cottage on the Lasgarn hill near Pontypool was understood by us boys to have been her house, and there she appeared at 12 p.m., carrying her head under her arm.']


When people first lost their way, and saw her before them, they used to hurry forward and try to catch her, supposing her to be a flesh-and-blood woman, who could set them right; but they never could overtake her, and she on her part never looked back; so that no man ever saw her face. She has also been seen in the Black Mountain in Breconshire. Robert Williams, of Langattock, Crickhowel, 'a substantial man and of undoubted veracity,' tells this tale As he was travelling one night over part of the Black Mountain, he saw the Old Woman, and at the same time found he had lost his way. Not knowing her to be a spectre he hallooed to her to stay for him, but receiving no answer thought she was deaf. He then hastened his steps, thinking to over take her, but the faster he ran the further he found himself behind her, at which he wondered very much, not knowing the reason of it. He presently found himself stumbling in a marsh, at which discovery his vexation increased and then he heard the Old Woman laughing at him with a weird, uncanny crackling old laugh. This set him to thinking she might he a gwyll; and when he happened to draw out his knife for some purpose, and the Old Woman vanished, then he was sure of it; for Welsh ghosts and fairies are afraid of a knife.
II.

Another account relates that John ap John, of Cwm Celyn, set out one morning before daybreak to walk to Caerleon Fair. As he ascended Milfre Mountain he heard a shouting behind him as if it were on Bryn Mawr, which is a part of the Black Mountain in Breconshire. Soon after he heard the shouting on his left hand, at Bwlch y Llwyn, nearer to him, whereupon he was seized with a great fright, and began to suspect it was no human voice. He had already been wondering, indeed, what any one could be doing at that hour in the morning, shouting on the mountain side. Still going on, he came up higher on the mountain, when he heard the shouting Just before him, at Gilfach fields, to the right-and now he was sure it was the Old Woman of the Mountain, who purposed leading him astray. Presently he heard behind him the noise of a coach, and with it the special cry of the Old Woman of the Mountain, viz., 'Wow up!' Knowing very well that no coach could go that way, and still hearing its noise approaching nearer and nearer, he became thoroughly terrified, and running out of the road threw himself down upon the ground and buried his face in the heath, waiting for the phantom to pass. When it was gone out of hearing, he arose; and hearing the birds singing as the day began to break, also seeing some sheep before him, his fear went quite off. And this, says the Prophet Jones, was 'no profane, immoral man,' but 'an honest,,peaceable, knowing man, and a very comely person more-over.
III.

The exorcism by knife appears to be a Welsh notion; though there is an old superstition of wide prevalence in Europe that to give to or receive from a friend a knife or a pair of scissors cuts friendship. I have even encountered this superstition in America; once an editorial friend at Indianapolis gave me a very handsome pocket-knife, which he refused to part with except at the price of one cent, lawful coin of the realm, asserting that we should become enemies without this precaution. In China, too, special charms are associated with knives, and a knife which has slain a fellow-being is an invaluable possession. In Wales, according to Jones, the Gwyllion often came into the houses of the people at Aberystruth, especially in stormy weather, and the inmates made them welcome--not through any love they bore them, but through fear of the hurts the Gwyllion. might inflict if offended--by providing clean water for them, and taking especial care that no knife, or other cutting tool, should be in the corner near the fire, where the fairies would go to sit.

'For want of which care many were hurt by them.' While it was desirable to exorcise them when in the open air, it was not deemed prudent to display an inhospitable spirit towards any member of the fairy world. The cases of successful exorcism by knife are many, and nothing in the realm of faerie is better authenticated. There was Evan Thomas, who, travelling by night over Bedwellty Mountain, towards the valley of Ebwy Fawr, where his house and estate were, saw the Gwyllion on each side of him, some of them dancing around him in fantastic fashion. He also heard the sound of a bugle-horn winding in the air, and there seemed to be invisible hunters riding by. He then began to be afraid, but recollected his having heard that any person seeing Gwyllion may drive them away by drawing out a knife. So he drew out his knife, and the fairies vanished directly. Now Evan Thomas was 'an old gentleman of such strict veracity that he' on one occasion 'did confess a truth against himself,' when he was 'like to suffer loss' thereby, and notwithstanding he 'was persuaded by some not to do it, yet he would persist in telling the truth, to his own hurt.' Should we find, in tracing these notions back to their source that they are connected with Arthur's sword Excalibur? If so, there again we touch the primeval world. Jones says that the Old Woman of the Mountain has, since about 1800, (at least in South Wales,) been driven into close quarters by the light of the Gospel-in fact, that she now haunts mines-or in the preacher's formal words, 'the coal-pits and holes of the earth.'
IV.


Among the traditions of the origin of the Gwyllion one which associates them with goats. Goats are in Wales held in peculiar esteem for their supposed occult intellectual powers. They are believed to be on very good terms with the Tylwyth Teg, and possessed of more knowledge than their appearance indicates. It is one of the peculiarities of the Tylwyth Teg that every Friday night they comb the goats' beards to make them decent for Sunday. Their association with the Gwyllion is related in the legend of Cadwaladr's goat: Cadwaladr owned a very handsome goat, named Jenny, of which he was extremely fond; and which seemed equally fond of him; but one day, as if the very diawi possessed her, she ran away into the hills, with Cadwaladr tearing after her, half mad with anger and affright.


At last his Welsh blood got so hot, as the goat eluded him again and again, that he flung a stone at her, which knocked her over a precipice, and she fell bleating to her doom. Cadwaladr made his way to the foot of the crag; the goat was dying, but not dead, and licked his hand--which so affected the poor man that he burst into tears, and sitting on the ground took the goat's head on his arm. The moon rose, and still he sat there. Presently he found that the goat had become transformed to a beautiful young woman, whose brown eyes, as her head lay on his arm, looked into his in a very disturbing way. 'Ah, Cadwaladr,' said she, 'have I at last found you?' Now Cadwaladr had a wife at home, and was much discomfited by this singular circumstance; but when the goat--yn awr maiden--arose, and putting her black slipper on the end of a moonbeam, held out her hand to him, he put his hand in hers and went with her. As for the hand, though it looked so fair, it felt just like a hoof.


They were soon on the top of the highest mountain in Wales, and surrounded by a vapoury company of goats with shadowy horns. These raised a most unearthly bleating about his ears. One, which seemed to be the king, had a voice that sounded above the din as the castle bells of Carmarthen used to do long ago above all the other bells in the town. This one rushed at Cadwaladr and butting him in the stomach sent him toppling over a crag as he had sent his poor nannygoat. When he came to himself, after his fall, the morning sun was shining on him and the birds were singing over his head. But he saw no more of either his goat or the fairy she had turned into, from that time to his death.



Friday, 28 March 2014

Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness -

Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness -

Biocentrism

A book titled 'Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe' has stirred up the Internet, because it contained a notion that life does not end when the body dies, and it can last forever. The author of this publication, scientist Dr. Robert Lanza who was voted the 3rd most important scientist alive by the NY Times, has no doubts that this is possible.
Beyond time and space

Lanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species.

But not so long ago, the scientist became involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics. This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism, which the professor has been preaching ever since. Biocentrism teaches that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. It is consciousness that creates the material universe, not the other way around.

Lanza points to the structure of the universe itself, and that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life, implying intelligence existed prior to matter. He also claims that space and time are not objects or things, but rather tools of our animal understanding. Lanza says that we carry space and timearound with us “like turtles with shells.” meaning that when the shell comes off (space and time), we still exist.

The theory implies that death of consciousness simply does not exist. It only exists as a thought because people identify themselves with their body. They believe that the body is going to perish, sooner or later, thinking their consciousness will disappear too. If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies. But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.

Lanza also believes that multiple universes can exist simultaneously. In one universe, the body can be dead. And in another it continues to exist, absorbing consciousness which migrated into this universe. This means that a dead person while traveling through the same tunnel ends up not in hell or in heaven, but in a similar world he or she once inhabited, but this time alive. And so on, infinitely. It’s almost like a cosmic Russian doll afterlife effect.
Multiple worlds

This hope-instilling, but extremely controversial theory by Lanza has many unwitting supporters, not just mere mortals who want to live forever, but also some well-known scientists. These are the physicists and astrophysicists who tend to agree with existence of parallel worlds and who suggest the possibility of multiple universes. Multiverse (multi-universe) is a so-called scientific concept, which they defend. They believe that no physical laws exist which would prohibit the existence of parallel worlds.

The first one was a science fiction writer H.G. Wells who proclaimed in 1895 in his story “The Door in the Wall”. And after 62 years, this idea was developed by Dr. Hugh Everett in his graduate thesis at the Princeton University. It basically posits that at any given moment the universe divides into countless similar instances. And the next moment, these “newborn” universes split in a similar fashion. In some of these worlds you may be present: reading this article in one universe, or watching TV in another.

The triggering factor for these multiplyingworlds is our actions, explained Everett. If we make some choices, instantly one universe splits into two with different versions of outcomes.

In the 1980s, Andrei Linde, scientist from the Lebedev’s Institute of physics, developed the theory of multiple universes. He is now a professor at Stanford University. Linde explained: Space consists of many inflating spheres, which give rise to similar spheres, and those, in turn, produce spheres in even greater numbers, and so on to infinity. In the universe, they are spaced apart. They are not aware of each other’s existence. But they represent parts of the same physical universe.

The fact that our universe is not alone is supported by data received from the Planck space telescope. Using the data, scientists have created the most accurate map of the microwave background, the so-called cosmic relic background radiation, which has remained since the inception of our universe. They also found that the universe has a lot of dark recesses represented by some holes and extensive gaps.

Theoretical physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton from the North Carolina University with her colleagues argue: the anomalies of the microwave background exist due to the fact that our universe is influenced by other universes existing nearby. And holes and gaps are a direct result of attacks on us by neighboring universes.
Soul

So, there is abundance of places or other universes where our soul could migrate after death, according to the theory of neo-biocentrism. But does the soul exist? Is there any scientific theory of consciousness that could accommodate such a claim? According to Dr. Stuart Hameroff, a near-death experience happens when the quantum information that inhabits the nervous system leaves the body and dissipates into the universe. Contrary to materialistic accounts of consciousness, Dr. Hameroff offers an alternative explanation of consciousness that can perhaps appeal to both the rational scientific mind and personal intuitions.



Related: Spiritual Reality - Near Death Experiences

Consciousness resides, according to Stuart and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose, in the microtubules of the brain cells, which are the primary sites of quantum processing. Upon death, this information is released from your body, meaning that your consciousness goes with it. They have argued that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules, a theory which they dubbed orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR).


Consciousness, or at least proto-consciousness is theorized by them to be a fundamental property of the universe, present even at the first moment of the universe during the Big Bang. “In one such scheme proto-conscious experience is a basic property of physical reality accessible to a quantum process associated with brain activity.”

Our souls are in fact constructed from the very fabric of the universe – and may have existed since the beginning of time. Our brains are just receivers and amplifiers for the proto-consciousness that is intrinsic to the fabric of space-time. So is there really a part of your consciousness that is non-material and will live on after the death of your physical body?

Dr Hameroff told the Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole documentary: “Let’s say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, the microtubules lose their quantum state. The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed, it can’t be destroyed, it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large”. Robert Lanza would add here that not only does it exist in the universe, it exists perhaps in another universe.

If the patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says “I had a near death experience”‘

He adds: “If they’re not revived, and the patient dies, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul.”

This account of quantum consciousness explains things like near-death experiences, astral projection, out of body experiences, and even reincarnation without needing to appeal to religious ideology. The energy of your consciousness potentially gets recycled back into a different body at some point, and in the mean time it exists outside of the physical body on some other level of reality, and possibly in another universe.

Robert Lanza on Biocentrism:



- See more at: http://httptheforestofhealingningcom.ning.com/groups/science-club/physics/scientists-claim-that-quantum-theory-proves-consciousness-moves-t#sthash.G3w0UHpV.dpuf

Hi my dear friends here we explore further the worlds of infinite potentialities. Where science and spirituality meet, of worlds created from our own consciousness.
Now do you believe in fairies? :o)

Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness -

Biocentrism

Shamanism In The Celtic World


Shamanism In The Celtic World


by Corby Ingold

The idea of shamanism as a part of Celtic tradition has become very popular in recent years. Various authors and workshop presenters have promulgated the idea of a Celtic shamanism. What validity is there to the claim of these authors that Celtic peoples posessed an indigenous shamanism, similar and equal to the shamanic systems of Native Americans and other tribal peoples? This chapter will endeavor to examine the claims for an indigenous Celtic shamanism. We will draw upon sources both ancient and modern, literary as well as from folk and oral tradition.

In recent years authors such as John and Caitlin Mathews, Tom Cowan, and others, have spread the idea of a Celtic shamanism through their books and workshops. These primary writers have inspired a host of imitators. There are now ongoing workshops and classes in Celtic shamanism in which attendees pass through a graded curriculum of knowledge in order to qualify or be certified as bona fide practitioners of the tradition. This recent phenomenon has caused no end of controversy among students and scholars of Celtic tradition. Most of the controversy seems to constellate itself around the problem of identifying what a shaman actually is, and whether this kind of sacred practitioner can actually be said to have existed within ancient and more recent Celtic societies.

According to Mircea Eliade, "Magic and magicians are to be found more or less all over the world, whereas shamanism exhibits a particular magical specialty, on which we shall later dwell at length: "mastery over fire", "magical flight", and so on. By virtue of this fact, though the shaman is, among other things, a magician, not every magician can properly be termed a shaman. . . . . the shaman specializes in a trance in which his soul is believed to leave his body and ascend to the sky or descend to the underworld."(1.)

Michael Harner describes a shaman this way: "A shaman is a man or woman who enters an altered state of consciousness - at will- to contact or utilize an ordinarily hidden reality in order to acquire knowledge, power, and to help other persons. The shaman has at least one, and usually more, "spirits" in his personal service." Harner goes on to say, "To this I would add that, in his trance, he commonly works to restore a patient by restoring beneficial or vital power, or by extracting harmful power. The journey to which Eliade refers is usually undertaken to restore power or a lost soul."(2.) It should be pointed out here that Michael Harner is talking primarily about healing shamanism. A case can be made for the existence of other forms of shamanism, such as warrior shamanism, hunting shamanism, or even evil or black shamanism. In actual practice though, the various forms often exist side by side, though shamans do typically specialize. Thus a healer is not ususally a warrior, etc.

Shamanism, in a "pure" sense, is usually characterisitic of paleolithic hunter-gatherer societies. As such, it can safely be said to represent humankind's earliest and most primal form of religion, magic and healing modality. It is also the most conservative and well established form of human spirituality, as we were hunter gatherers for literally thousands and thousands of years, far longer than the subsequent span of our collective history. Contemporary thinkers like ecologist Paul Shephard and anthropologist Calvin Martin maintain that we are still, essentially, hunter-gatherers who have never left the Pleistocene era.(3.) This fits in well with many indigenous peoples' concept of the Original Instructions or Original Teachings, the primary and aboriginal rules for living received many thousands of years ago during the dreamtime or mythic beginning time of the tribe.

The Celts were, nonetheless, advanced beyond the paleolithic, hunter-gatherer stage long before they became distinguishable from their Indo European cousins and arose as a separate cultural entity. However, given the notable conservatism of Celtic society, it is very likely that they preserved archaic elements and institutions long beyond other Northern and Western European peoples. And this seems to be the main element upon which the argumant for a Celtic shamanism hinges. This and the fact that, although shamanism can be said to have it's origins in the paleolithic, it clearly survives in a fairly unaltered form within societies which have made the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist, pastoralist, or even modern post industrial lifestyles, as with contemporary Native Americans. Also, the Irish Celts, at least, did preserve within their society nominal hunter-warrior bands, as the existence of the fennidi clearly demonstrates.

The awenyddion of Wales, first written of in the Twefth century by Geraldus Cambrensis, are cited by some writers as evidence of a native tradition of Celtic shamanism. The awenyddion were prophets and soothsayers who , when asked a question by those seeking divinatory guidance, would fall into a deep trance and give strange, sibyl-like prophecies and oracular utterances. The trance of the awenyddion was so deep that it appeared to be a kind of posession, from which they had to be violently roused to awaken. Some have claimed that, like shamans the world over, the awwenyddion communed with their tutelary or helping spirits while in this state. Others have claimed that the phenomenon of the awenyddion does not resemble shamanism, but rather the trance posession of Vodun and other Afro-Carribean religions. This distinction between being "posessed" and posessing a guardian spirit helper is cited by Harner.(4.) Based upon this idea, and in reaction against the popularity of Mathews, et.al., some modern Celtic reconstructionists have gone so far as to claim that ancient Celtic spiritual practice , far from being in any way "shamanic", was actually more akin to the practices of Vodun, Santeria, and other African-derived religions, and thus incorporate African drumming, etc., into their "Celtic" rituals. As one who was both initiated into an indigenous shamanic tradition and served an eleven year apprenticeship with a master shaman of Salish and Nuu-Chah-Nulth descent, I have found that the distinction between trance posession and posessing a guardian spirit, while it sounds quite plausible on paper, often does not exist in actual practice. Thus, while Pacific Northwest elders exhort those with newly acquired spirit power to "have a strong mind, control that thing" (meaning the spirit helper), there are, equally, many traditional stories within the culture of those shamans who "go under the spirit", and perform miraculous or outlandish deeds, healings, etc., while under the influence of their helping spirit and later have no memory of their actions while in trance. And personally, I have always found it quite inconceivable that the ancient Celts were practicing anything remotely resembling contemporary Vodun.

It would appear from ethnographic literature that what we might refer to as the full shamanic complex is found primarily in primal hunter gatherer cultures. A nomadic or semi-nomadic life and close proximity to wilderness and wild animals is concomitant to this complex. Nonetheless, there are plenty of examples, throughout Asia, Northern Europe and the Americas of this shamanic complex surviving relatively unaltered even in urban environments. The non-urban, even anti-urban quality of ancient Celtic societies is very well attested to by Roman historians, who were keenly aware of the, to them, essentially alien nature of Celtic lifeways to their own urban, bureaucratic civilization. And of course, Finn MacCumhal, the Celtic shamanic figure par excellence, spent most of his life with his fennidi band in the wilderness among wild animals. For these reasons it is not too much of a stretch to conceive that some form of shamanic complex may have survived among the agricultural and pastoral Celts. The main consideration here is whether shamanism proper was a feature of Celtic culture. Some anthropological purists insist that shamanism proper is found only among Siberian and North and Central Asian societies. The fact that very pure forms of the shamanic complex are found among North, Central and South American, as well as Australian Aboriginal tribal groups seems to argue against this limited interpretation. Again, drawing from personal experience, academic definitions of shamanism and of what, precisely, a shaman is often differ considerably from the definitions of indigenous practitioners of the art. So the probelm arises: do we give more credence to academic definitions, often formed in an entirely artificial environment, with little or no actual field experience, or do we pay more attention to the indigenous practitioners, however lacking they may be in Western academic credentials?

According to Whistemenknee - "Walking Medicine Robe" (Johnny Moses), a Pacific Northwest Coast Indian Doctor, or shaman, "Well, my grandparents were both shamans. My grandfather was a shaman that dealt with mainly people who were dying, cases of near death experiences, and my grandmother was a midwife and a shaman that dealt mainly with children and counseling. . . . . They would also bring me around to other people who were also shamans; not necessarily my relatives. We went to other tribes and they would leave me with teachers who were shamans, for instance Twakwaddle and Towuk Bay. I was left with this one man at the age of eleven for two months to learn about spirit travelling, a shamanic practice that our people do. . . . . There are some shamans that just have the power to communicate with people well. There are some shamans that heal through art. There are some shamans that do the painting board ceremony, in which the shaman would ask the client, "Well, why are you here? What are you here for?" That's how they talk in Indian, and they'll start explaining themselves. The shaman will be a good listener, and through time of however long it takes for that person to explain themselves, it could be half an hour, three or four hours, sometimes all night. Then after that the shaman will go into shushutsulus, the spirit world. Some of the white people might call it a trance, but it's not really a trance because you know what you're doing at the same time that you're in the spirit world. The designs that he would start painting would have many different meanings. The painting might tell another shaman about the sickness, problem, that this person has. Another shaman might have the power to read paintings. He can look at the painting and tell the client what his sickness or problem is just by the painting. . . . . The shamans are always working together. That's what it's all about; coming together, learning about people. When you become a shaman you have to work for the people, not just for yourself. You have to share."(5)

Steven Wolf, a Sundancer and shamanic practitioner of Northern Cheyenne and Irish ancestry, who has practiced within the Northern Plains spiritual traditions for over twenty five years, has this to say:"These days everyone seems to have a definition, and interpretation of the term"shamanism". from the structural anthropologists to the mythologists to the Jungians, the Freudians, the transpersonal psychotherapists, the process oriented psychologists, to the New Agers with their psycho- babble. The academics hold to a strict, rigid definition, feeling they have proprietary rights to the term and smirking at everyone else. On the other hand, New Agers have a definition so broad as to be meaningless. Both sides miss the profound depth and breadth of this particular spiritual way, which is much more than mere technique. Shamanism may possibly be the oldest spiritual path, and consequently has far more profound implications for contemporary humans than its academic interpreters realize. The reason for this is that the act of interpretation is a mental exercise, whereas "shamanism" is a living dynamic that involves all of the senses. A sensuous experience that must be known in a primary and primal way. The mental wheel-spinning of academics or the shallow genuflecting of New Age entrepeneurs will never truly comprehend it until they stop interpreting and start experiencing it, internally and externally, with mind, emotion, body and spirit."(6)

If we use Harner's definition of a shaman (quoted above) as a man or woman who "enters an altered state of consciousness . . . to contact and utilize an ordinarily hidden reality in order to acquire knowledge, power, and to help other persons", and who has "at least one, and usually more, "spirits", in his personal service" (quotation marks Harner's), then we shall quite easily find many examples of the shaman within Celtic societies, from ancient up through contemporary times. It should be noted here that it has become fashionable of late in some quarters to attack Michael Harner, thus calling all he has written anent shamanism into question. Upon questioning these critics I have usually found that their reasons for attacking Harner are obscure (though perhaps jumping on the bandwagon of the latest intellectual fad isnt so obscure after all, - it certainly doesn't require much in the way of intelligence). To the extent that these critics are able to justify their position at all, it usually has something to do with the fact that Harner isn't teaching "cultural" shamanism - shamanism from within an indigenous cultural perspective. He certainly isn't, and makes his reasons for not doing so very clear in The Way of The Shaman. I was initiated into a Northwest Coast Native American shamanic tradition in 1984, and subsequently served an eleven year apprenticeship with my teacher/initiator, a master shaman of the SiSiWiss ("Sacred Breath") tradition. Let me go on record as saying that I find Harner's definition of a shaman to be a very accurate modern statement of what I have encountered in a more traditional cultural context. I have also attended two of the workshops presented by his Institute For Shamanic Studies (independently of my indigenous training) and find his presentation of basic shamanic techniques and knowledge to be accurate, honest and effective.

Celtic tales abound with examples of heroes who travel into one or more Otherworlds in quest of magical prizes, knowledge or power, with which to bring healing to the land, skill to craftsman, warrior or hunter. King Arthur's famous journey to Annwn, the Underworld of the British Celts, in quest of a mysterious Cauldron of Inspiration and Rebirth, recorded by the Thirteenth century Welsh poet Thomas Ap Einion (7), is a late example of the type of Celtic Otherworld journey known in old Irish as immramma. Immramma usually refers to a voyage by sea, that is, into that portion of the triadic Celtic cosmos (land, sea and sky) equated with the watery element. True to form, King Arthur journeys into Annwn aboard his magical ship Prydwen. The bard Taliesin, in many respects the classic shaman figure within Welsh tradition, accompanies Arthur on this perilous Otherworldly voyage. Like the Irish poet and outlaw Finn, who frequently pays a price of personal humiliation or wounding in obtaining Otherworldly gifts, Arthur does not emerge unscathed from this adventure. For though Arthur sets forth with three companies of men, "except for seven, none return". This idea of reciprocity between the worlds, that a price must be paid for Otherworldly knowledge and gifts, runs though world shamanic tradition. Shamans typically undergo exceptional ordeals in their quest for healing power, magical knowledge, etc. The very nature of the shaman's suffering and trials place him outside of ordinary society, where the thought of undertaking such dangerous questing is anathema to the conventional man or woman. This contributes to the shaman's liminality, the state of in betweeness that is one of the keynotes of Otherworldly and sacred power in Celtic tradition. The essential liminality of the Irish hero Finn and the Fiana, his war-band of fennidi or "outlaws", has been explored by Nagy (8) and others.

Outlaw, poet, craftsman and seer, Finn MacCumhal is the quintessential shamanic figure in the old Gaelic sagas, though by no means the only one demonstrating shamanic abilities.Early in life Finn undergoes the training to become a fennid, being raised in exile in the wilderness by two mysterious foster mothers, one known as a druid, who train him in the arts of hunting and fighting. According to Joseph Nagy, "In early Irish literature, the fennid usually appears as a figure living and functioning outside or on the margins of the tribal territory and community (the tuath)."(9). The fennidi together form a group called a fian, or war band. Their leader is the rifennid, usually one known for his exceptional prowess. These fennidi functioned as mercenaries and upholders of the law in ancient Ireland, even though they themselves were often seen as outlaws.

Finn becomes adept in the arts of fennidecht, the hunting and martial arts of the fennidi, and in time becomes rifennid of his own fian. An element that distinguishes Finn from other fennidi though is his status as a fili, or poet/seer. The role of fili is very highly regarded in the Irish tribal hierarchy, quite in contrast to Finn's other role as outlaw mercenary. This dual role fully establishes Finn's liminality, his quality of being both within and outside of any particular world, social stratum, role, etc. This liminality, and Finn's winning of liminal knowledge and power from Otherworldly sources, is illustrated in the many tales of his journeys into various Otherworld realms.

Like numerous other characters in traditional Celtic stories Finn passes quite easily between the worlds. Indeed, one often has the impression that Finn and his companions do not always know when they have left the ordinary, mortal world and passed into one of the Otherworldly realms. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the collection of stories about Finn and his fian, taken from Gaelic oral tradition, known as the bruidhean tales. According to leading Finn scholar Joseph Nagy, "The word bruidhean means "hostel," and in both Fenian and non-Fenian narrative the dwellings described as bruidhne are explicitly or implicitly otherworldly".(9). Finn and his men have many wondrous and terrifying adventures within these bruidhne, where they are often the guests, willing or otherwise, of supernatural hosts. As Nagy points out, "in the bruidhean situation Finn alternates radically between being a victimized guest and an agressive intruder - between being manipulated by, and a manipulator of, the otherworld." (9). The apparent dichotomy between being at the mercy of, and yet also manipulating the spirit world features strongly in the accounts of shamans the world over. In a number of the bruidhean stories Finn and his men become, or almost become, food for the Otherworldly hosts. In a Scottish bruidhean tale collected from oral tardition Finn is captured and placed upon a griddle, where his legs are burned off. He is then impaled upon a stake. In another tale the bruidhean host threatens to remove the flesh of the fennidi with pincers and feed it to his dogs; his cannibalistic wife wants to eat the fennidi raw. These stories are strikingly similar to accounts from shamans of many different cultures and eras who report a common experience of being devoured by spirits, only to be reshaped or reformed as a result and emerging from the experience restored to greater wholeness and vitality, often with enhanced shamanic powers. An indeed, in all of the stories in which Finn is cooked or dismembered he is eventually restored, and frequently gains some magical boon or ability which he is able to bring back from the Otherworld and use within human society.

Finn does, though, sometimes bear lasting wounds or scars from his Otherworldly battles. In a story called the 'Feast of Conan's House' Finn is tricked by a woman of the sidhe (faery or supernatural woman) into swimming in a magic lake which robs him of his characteristic youth and strength. The lord of a nearby dwelling gives Finn a magical drink which both restores Finn's strength and gives him special supernatural knowledge. Though Finn regains his youth, half of his hair remains grey. The faery lord offers to restore it to it's original color, but Finn chooses to keep it the way it is. From then on Finn's hair is half grey and his person exudes a smell of decay, emblems of his dealings with the Otherworld and of his supernatural knowledge. Such visible markers of Otherworldly experience and attainment form part of the shaman's regalia in many indigenous cultures, at once setting the shaman apart from the common populace and underscoring his liminality.

Finn also fulfills a shamanic role in one other important respect: his journeys into various Otherworld realms are not merely gratuitous, for he sometimes uses his supernatural powers to protect human society from dangerous Otherworld intrusions. As quintessentially liminal figures Finn and the fennidi act as buffers and border guards between the human and supernatural realms. Thus in one bruidhean tale the son of a king of the sidhe tries to conquer Ireland, but is defeated by Finn and his Fian. Again, in another story Finn's men protect the coastline from a sea monster Finn detects using his Otherworld-gained divinatory powers. Finn also rescues the corr bolg, or crane bag, a bundle of magical treasures of immeasurable value to the land of Ireland while avenging his father's death. The source of this Otherworldly bag is said to be the sea god Manannan, a mysterious deity possibly pre-dating the Celts, who acts to part the mists between the Worlds.

Another ancient Irish tale that perhaps goes the farthest in describing the various Otherworld islands encountered during immrama is Immram Curaig Maelduin Inso or The Voyage of Maelduin's Boat, first written down in the eighth or ninth century A.D. The hero Maelduin sets out to avenge his father's murder, first consulting a wise druid for counsel. He ends up voyaging with seventeen men in a curragh, or skin boat, to thirty three distinct Otherworld islands. Maelduin and his shipmates undergo numerous adventures on the magical islands with names like the Island of Giant Ants, The Island of the Crystal Keep, and the Island of the Falcon, where they encounter beautiful Otherworldly women, ancestors, and mysterious semi-divine beings. Through his adventures Maelduin's personality matures and deepens, he grows in wisdom and ends up forgiving his enemies.

A striking element of Maelduin's Voyage, like other Celtic wonder tales, is that the Otherworld realms are not described as amorphous, vaporous places constructed apparently of ectoplasm and dim, misty light, as in some modern New Age and spiritualistic literature, but rather as definite, embodied worlds, each vivid and unique. These are sensuous realms, the "many coloured land", as the early twentieth century poet and mystic AE (George Russell) characterized it, filled with forests of golden trees, magical animals who act as guides, women of unearthly beauty, and sparkling, crystal seas. In this respect, also, the Celtic tradition accords with accounts of shamans worldwide who describe the alternate worlds of their voyaging in specific and vivid terms. This very specificity of the shamanic spiritual worlds is what distinguishes the shaman's journey, always undertaken with a clear purpose in mind, from the mental wandering of psychically unbalanced individuals. This characterisitic of the Celtic tales is matched in the Northwest Coast SiSiWiss tradition, as presented by my teacher Whistemenknee and other elders, by the "Teachings", colorful stories handed down through many centuries of oral presentation, at potlatches and other ceremonies, which embody the entire spiritual lore of the hereditary northwest coast Indian Doctors (shamans). "We say the stories are the Teachings," as one elder expressed it. Within these stories animals talk, human beings travel to Otherworldly realms such as the land under the ocean, the land of the dead, or up into the sky world, or backward or forward through time. Hunters and basket weavers gain supernatural allies, and miraculous healings and transformations occur. All realms interpenetrate, the tree and rock people express their concern at what the human beings are doing to Mother Earth, little men who live beneath the earth tell shamans how to heal various diseases, and time is circular rather than linear. The various locales of the Spirit World, which it is assumed within the culture anyone can travel to, willingly or unwillingly, are described in precise and vivid terms. And just like our physical world, these various extra-physical realms, and the beings within them, operate according to specific laws. In this sense the ancestral shamanic teachings of traditional Northwest Coast Native American Medicine People and the ancient and modern Celtic tales of Finn, Maelduin, and Arthur, among others, provide a strong reflection of each other. Again, there is the implicit assumption that within Celtic societies, as with Native Americans, the stories carried, in addition to entertainment value, the moral values, codes of conduct, and inherited spiritual lore of the tuath or tribe.

Though the days of high Celtic culture, of kings, warriors and druids, is long past, many elements of pre-Christian belief and ritual have survived in what is popularly known as the Fairy Faith. These remnants of ancient belief and lore were handed down from generation to generation among humble cottagers, shepherds, farmers and village folk living in outlying areas along the Celtic fringe. Along with Celtic traditional music, this considerable body of lore and practice represents a living and bountful heritage for students of Celtic spiritual ways. Within the Fairy Faith tradition, practiced in a far more humble context than the aristocratic millieu of ancient Ireland and Wales, voyages to the Otherworld, often in the company of supernatural companions and helpers, are undertaken by seers and fairy doctors - healers who treat their clients with a combination of inherited folk charms and supernatural aid. W.B. Yeats, who recounted many of his personal dealings with the people of the sidhe, has this to say,"The most celebrated fairy doctors are sometimes people the fairies loved and carried away, and kept with them for seven years; not that those the fairies love are always carried off - they may merely grow silent and strange, and take to lonely wanderings in the "gentle" places. Such will, in after-times, be great poets or musicians, or fairy doctors . . ."(10). Going on to discuss witches, Yeats refers to another classic shamanic ability: shapeshifting: "But the central notion of witchcraft everywhere is the power to change into some fictitious form, usually in Ireland a hare or cat. Long ago a wolf was the favorite."(10). Here the great poet, in discussing the traditional lore of his native land, reveals the essentially shamanic nature of those beliefs and practices current among Irish country folk at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Perhaps the most famous fairy doctor of more recent times was Biddy Early, of County Clare in the west of Ireland, who died in 1873. Her life and doings are fairly well documented, due in part to the efforts of Lady Gregory who, early in the twentieth century, took it upon herself to interview many old people who had known Biddy and had been cured by her. Early in life Biddy reported experiences with the fairies as commonly as other children tell of playing with their friends. Though other country folk believed in and sometimes saw the "good people", as the fairies were traditionally called, Biddy demonstrated an unusual degree of familiarity and contact with them. It appears that, as time went on, she became more private about her dealings with the Otherworld folk, suffering, no doubt, some of the social stigma of those who were thought to be "fey". It is a fact that, throughout her life, she was often at odds with the local priest and bishop, who feared that her popularity as a healer among the local people threatened their spiritual authority. On several occasions they visited Biddy's home to rebuke her for her "devilish" and un-Christian practices. Nonetheless, Biddy's fame and efficacy as a fairy doctor spread throughout the land.

As a girl Biddy learned a great deal about the local herbs and healing plants, and her supernatural friends taught her of the plants' occult, as well as natural, healing properties. Combining this otherworldly knowledge with inherited lore that was, undoubtedly, passed down within her family, she quietly began using her powers to help a few close friends and family. As Dermot MacManus writes about her, "Country traditions vary a great deal, according to custom and kinship, and it is always difficult to find a satisfactory dividing line between them and full-blooded magic, for each merges into the other imperceptibly".(11)

Her reputation as a healer and 'white witch' soon spread, and though the parish priest and bishop may have disdained her occult powers, the effectiveness of her cures was all the guarantee the country folk needed. It was to Biddy that they came, for she alone could cure what the priest and the bishop, with all their orthodox prayers and rites, could not. Following old tradition, Biddy took no payment for her services, though she did accept gifts, and was quite clear about just what sort of gifts she desired. These frequently included gifts of strong drink, for which Biddy had a very human weakness.

So far the life of Biddy Early exemplifies a number of themes which we can recognize from cross cultural accounts of shamans. Early in life she is chosen by, and demonstrates a marked affinity for, the denizens of a hidden, supernatural realm. These invisible allies instruct her in the healing arts, and combining their Otherworldly instruction with traditional lore passed down within her family, she gains prominence as a healer and seer. The fairies gift does not come without price, for the young Biddy undergoes a certain amount of social stigmatization as a result of her supernatural leanings, and this parallels somewhat the traumatic initiation of shamans within many indigenous cultures. This stigmatization continues throughout her life, despite her popularity as a healer, in the form of condemnation by church authorities.

A turning point in Biddy's career came when she received the gift of a mysterious blue bottle, which some authors have compared to a shamanic "power object" (12), from the fairies. Her son, who shared her ability to see and communicate with the Otherworld folk, but not her healing and other magical gifts, was returning home one summer day. He was a lad of about nineteen at this time, of fine physical condition and noted athletic prowess. He had decided to take a short cut across country when, about a mile from his home, he saw a group of fairies with hurley sticks in a field, preparing for a game. But they were a man short, and asked young Early if he would come and play for them. He finally agreed, and playing well and skillfully, his team won. The fairies then presented him with a blue glass bottle and told him to take it to his mother. He asked them what he should say to her, but they answered, "You will tell her nothing. Just give it to her. She will know."(11). When he got home he presented the bottle to Biddy, who gazed into it with astonishment. She soon noticed that the bottle began to fill with a vaprous mist, within which she could see mysterious signs and portents which had meaning for her. Though able to heal and function as a seer without it, Biddy began to employ the blue bottle in her work with clients and found that it enhanced her abilities. When she was unable to help a person in her usual way she would gaze into the fairy bottle, and soon found the message or information that enabled her to help the client. Within the swirling mists that formed within the bottle Biddy was able to see images of things to come, and the accuracy of the prophecies and personal predictions which she shared quite freely with those who consulted her was proverbial among the country folk who lived round about. Also, if Biddy gazed into the bottle and the characteristic mist did not appear, she knew that she could not help the person and would send them away. When Biddy died she left instructions that the bottle be cast into the depths of Loch Kilgarron, near to her home, from whence it has never been recovered.

Here again we encounter an element in fairly recent Irish country lore that reflects a theme running through cross cultural accounts of shamans. The receipt of a magical gift from Otherworld helpers which enables the shaman to heal and prophesy for the good of the community is a phenomenon encountered in many cultures around the world. A significant element within the story is the casting of the bottle into Loch Kilgarron at Biddy's death, suggesting a return of the magical gift to it's Otherworldly origins, since lakes are frequently entry ways into the numinous realms in Celtic tradition.

The final significant point in Biddy's career, from a shamanic standpoint, is the little shed behind her house to which she would often repair at night to commune with her Otherworld helpers. This small enclosure was isolated by a little distance from the distractions of her home and family, and was probably dark dark inside, rather like a Native American sweat lodge. Her she held nightly consultations with the fairy folk who were her invisible companions and instructors in the arts of healing, spellcraft and prophecy. The dark enclosure within which to commune with tutelary deities and helping spirits is, again, so well known within the annals of shamanism as to require no comment. Biddy's shed could have served a similar function to the bull hide in which the seer was wrapped during the ancient Gaelic tarbh feis ceremony, recounted in 'The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel'. (13)

It appears as though the fairie doctor tradition in Ireland and Scotland, like many aspects of traditional culture, either disappeared or went underground with increasing modernization and technological advances in the Gaelic speaking and adjoining areas where it survived most strongly. However, I remember tales of people who had the "sight" and the ability to heal in Connemara and County Clare in Ireland in the 1970's. And the interraction with the sidhe, in the village in County Galway and surrounding areas where I then resided, was a fact of daily life. As a Dublin educated traditional musician once said to an American friend of mine when asked about the fairies, "Well, I dont believe in them . . . . but, they're there."

In her book Seal Morning, Rowena Farre gives an account of Mr. and Mrs. Fraser, a couple of fairie doctors who were her neighbors in a remote part of Sutherland, in northern Scotland, in the 1950's. The Fraser's were renowned healers, especially gifted in working with animals. Mr. Fraser was also known as a storyteller who had memorized three hundred and seventy six stories. Mrs. Fraser was an accomplished singer of Gaelic mouth music or peurt a beul, as well as being an extremely skilled knitter. "Mr. Fraser accepted fairies and the efficacy of spells in the same way as others accept the power of electricity. He did not believe so much as know, and therein lay his strength".(14). Farre goes on to say that Mr. Fraser's father was from Wester Ross and his mother was from Tiree, in the Outer Hebrides. In his northern Scottish tradition magical knowledge is passed on from mother to son, and from father to daughter, and this is how the fairie traditions, the traditional lore of healing and spellcasting and seership, were passed on to Mr. Fraser and his sister.

Mr. Fraser was on speaking terms with water horses, supernatural creatures who haunt local lochs and often lure the unsuspecting to a watery death. His father, also a fairie doctor, had tamed one, so that it would come when he whistled and carry him to the other side of the loch. Mr. Fraser goes on to disclose elements of traditional Celtic magical lore to Rowena Farre, including the proper times of day for casting spells, occult lore of birds and animals, and a number of stories dealing with human interraction with the Otherworld. Farre's book, which was a popular best seller in the 1950's, should give the lie to those writers who claim that the fairie doctor tradition died out at the turn of the century and that nothing of the old ways survived into modern times.

We have made a brief survey of several traditional stories and historical and recent accounts, primarily from the Gaelic tradition, which all seem to illustrate a very strong shamanic component within Celtic society. It remains for us to ask whether we can then confidently speak of the existence of Celtic shamanism and Celtic shamans. This is where problems arise. Though the shamanic components within Gaelic and Celtic tradition are, as I have tried to demonstrate, fairly easy to discern, it is difficult to assess whether these components were part of a cohesive system of practice and belief that comprises what we would refer to, in other indigenous contexts, as shamanism . Certainly, in the case of the ancient Celts, it is very difficult to know this, since those elements of ancient ritual and religious practice that have come down to us are very fragmented. In the more recent examples of the fairie doctors, I am almost tempted to say that we have something very close to the full shamanic complex. For one thing, my own experiences in the Connemara Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking area) and in the Outer Hebrides in the early 1970's made it very clear to me that the traditional belief in and interraction with fairies and other Otherworldly denizens was a fact of daily life for the farmers I lived amongst. This interraction took the form of frequent stories told about them, prayers, offerings, and other humble practices. A number of elements of the Gaelic fairie faith as I experienced it then were remarkably similar to traditional teachings and stories I encountered a decade later when learning from Pacific Northwest Coast elders and shamans on reservations in northen Washington, half a world away.

In the fairie doctor tradition we have something surviving into our own time that we can draw upon, since much has been written down and recorded about it. Much else, of course, remains locked within oral tradition, being jealously guarded by those few families who may carry the traditions today. Still, there is much food for fruitful research here, and probably much more to be brought to light by the skilled and sensitive student. The ideal student here, as in any of the multitiude of surviving indigenous and folk-magical traditions around the world, will be one who, while perhaps academically trained, has yet that awareness of and sensitivity to the Otherworld that will make her the ideal bridge between cultures and ways of knowing.

It is clear, of course, that one element of classical shamanism is missing from the Celtic tradition: the drum. Though Sean o'Riada began the modern revival of the bodhran as a band instrument, subsequently to be popularized by The Chieftains and other Celtic bands, it seems fairly clear from historical evidence that it's prior use was limited to the annual Wren Boys ceremony in County Kerry. But even within indigenous cultures commonly identified by anthropologists as containing the shamanic complex, not all shamans used the drum for travelling in the way popularized by Michael Harner in The Way of The Shaman. Some South American shamans shake dry leaves on a branch to induce trance, and shamans elsewhere work with bells, gongs, stringed instruments, or simply with the human voice, traditionally a very powerful opener of Otherworld gateways. Celtic peoples have never wanted for forms of musical expression, whether instrumental or vocal, and surely would have evolved their own means of using sound to travel into realms beyond the physical.

The final problem remaining to us is identifying the Celtic shaman. We have no word from ancient Celtic tradition that is exactly cognate with the word "shaman", though there are plenty of terms for religious and magical practitioners of various types. Some scholars have suggested the Old Irish word fili, meaning a kind of poet/seer, as the likely term for a shaman in ancient Irish society. Opinions on this are, however, far from unanimous. Without knowing what an ancient Celtic shaman might have been called within whichever of the Celtic societies he existed in, and precisely how his role as a shaman was defined within those societies, it is very difficult to say with any certainty that there were Celtic shamans.

We can say with some certainty, however, that shamanic elements are to be found within Celtic tradition from ancient to modern times, and back up our assertion with prominent examples such as those given here. For the modern spiritual seeker or shamanic practitioner seeking a connection with Celtic roots, there is a wealth of rich material to explore in several languages, existing in books both ancient and modern. There is, in addition, research to be done among living Celtic peoples and lands. And ultimately, there is the Land herself upon which our Celtic ancestors lived, and upon which their descendants yet live today. If we empty ourselves, and go to Her, and seek in the silence to hear Her voice, she will speak to us as she spoke to those ancient and far flung wanderers.
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Thursday, 27 March 2014

THE BIRTH OF APHRODITE


THE BIRTH OF APHRODITE

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 21 - 23 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"[Cicero enumurates a number of rival cult traditions about Aphrodite sourced from different regions:] The first Venus [Aphrodite] is the daughter of Caelus [Ouranos] (Sky) and Dies [Hemera] (Day); I have seen her temple at Ellis. The second was engendered form the sea-foam, and as we are told became the mother by Mercurius [Hermes] of the second Cupidus [Eros]. The third is the daughter of Jupiter [Zeus] and Dione, who wedded Vulcanus [Hephaistos], but who is said to have been the mother of Anteros by Mars [Ares]. The fourth we obtained from Syria and Cyprus, and is called Astarte; it is recorded that she married Adonis."


I) BORN OF THE SEA-FOAM

The most common version of the birth of Aphrodite describes her born in sea-foam from the castrated genitals of the sky-god Ouranos.

Hesiod, Theogony 176 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Ouranos (the Sky) came, bringing on night and longing for love, and he lay about Gaia (the Earth) spreading himself full upon her. Then the son [Kronos] from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father's members and cast them away to fall behind him . . . and so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden. First she drew near holy Kythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Kypros, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet. Her gods and men call Aphrodite, and Aphrogeneia (the foam-born) because she grew amid the foam, and well-crowned (eustephanos) Kythereia because she reached Kythera, and Kyprogenes because she was born in billowy Kypros, and Philommedes (Genital-Loving) because sprang from the members. And with her went Eros (Love), and comely Himeros (Desire) followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods,--the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness."


Homeric Hymn 6 to Aphrodite (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"To Sea-set Kypros the moist breath of the western wind (Zephryos) wafted her [Aphrodite] over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there the gold-filleted Horai (Seasons) welcomed her joyously. They clothed her with heavenly garments: on her head they put a fine, well-wrought crown of gold, and in her pierced ears they hung ornaments of orichalc and precious gold, and adorned her with golden necklaces over her soft neck and snow-white breasts, jewels which the gold-filleted Horai wear themselves whenever they go to their father's house to join the lovely dances of the gods. And when they had fully decked her, they brought her to the gods, who welcomed her when they saw her, giving her their hands. Each one of them prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so greatly were they amazed at the beauty of violet-crowned Kythereia."

The Anacreontea, Fragment 57 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (C5th B.C.) :
"[Aphrodite] roaming over the waves like sea-lettuce, moving her soft-skinned body in her voyage over the white calm sea, she pulls the breakers along her path. Above her rosy breast and below her soft neck a great wave divides her skin. In the midst of the furrow, like a lily wound among violets, Kypris shines out from the clam sea. Over the silver on dancing dolphins ride guileful Eros and laughing Himeros (Desire), and the chorus of bow-backed fish plunging in the waves sports with Paphia where she swims."


Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 55. 4 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Aphrodite, they say, as she was journeying [after her birth in the sea] from Kytherea to Kypros and dropped anchor near Rhodes, was prevented from stopping there by the sons of Poseidon, who were arrogant and insolent men; whereupon the goddess, in her wrath, brought a madness upon them."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 11. 8 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[Depicted on the throne of Zeus at Olympia:] is Eros (Love) receiving Aphrodite as she rises from the sea, and Aphrodite is being crowned by Peitho (Persuasion)."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 1. 8 :
"[Depicted on the base of the statue of Poseidon at Korinthos:] Thalassa (Sea) holding up the young Aphrodite, and on either side are the nymphs called Nereides."

Aelian, On Animals 14. 28 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.) :
"Aphrodite delighted to be with Nerites in the sea [after her birth] and loved him. And when the fated time arrived, at which, at the bidding of [Zeus] the Father of the gods, Aphrodite also had to be enrolled among the Olympians, I have heard that she ascended and wished to bring her companion and play-fellow. But the story goes that he refused."

Orphic Hymn 55 to Aphrodite (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Aphrodite . . . sea-born (pontogenes) . . . Kypros thy famed mother fair."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 5. 72 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Out of the sea was rising lovely-crowned Kypris, foam-blossoms still upon her hair; and round her hovered smiling witchingly Himeros (Desire), and danced the Kharites (Graces) lovely-tressed."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 521 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"I [Aphrodite] should find some favour with the sea, for in its holy depths in days gone by from sea-foam I was formed, and still from foam I take my name in Greece."

Ovid, Heroides 7. 59 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"For 'twas from the sea, in Cytherean waters, so runs the tale, that the mother of the Amores [Erotes, loves], undraped, arose."

Seneca, Phaedra 274 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Thou goddess, born of the cruel sea, who art called mother of both Cupides [the Loves, i.e. Eros and Himeros or Anteros]."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 4. 28 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"The goddess [Aphrodite] who was sprung from the dark-blue depths of the sea and was nurtured by the foam from the frothing waves."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 6. 6 ff :
"The clouds parted, and Caelus (Heaven) [i.e. Ouranos] admitted his daughter."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 1. 86 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Did not the water conceive Aphrodite by a heavenly husbandry [Ouranos], and bring her forth from the deeps?"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 7. 222 ff :
"Kronos . . . cut his father’s loins with unmanning sickle until the foam got a mind and made the water shape itself into a selfperfected birth, delivered of Aphrodite from the sea?"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 12. 43 ff :
"He [Kronos] cut off his father's [Ouranos'] male plowshare, and sowed the teeming deep with seed on the unsown back of the daughterbegetting sea (Thalassa)."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 13. 435 ff :
"When the fertile drops from Ouranos, spilt with a mess of male gore, hand given infant shape to the fertile foam and brought forth Paphia [Aphrodite]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 13. 435 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Kypros, godwelcoming island of the fine-feathered Erotes (Loves), which bears the name of Kypris the self-born [Aphrodite] . . . Paphos, garlanded harbour of the softhaired Erotes (Loves), landingplace of Aphrodite when she came up out of the waves, where is the bridebath of the seaborn goddess."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 20 ff :
"Before Kypros and the Isthmian city of Korinthos, she [i.e. the city of Beroe or Beruit in Phoinikia] first received Kypris [Aphrodite] within her welcoming portal, newly born from the brine; when the water impregnated from the furrow of Ouranos was delivered of deepsea Aphrodite; when without marriage, the seed plowed the flood with male fertility, and of itself shaped the foam into a daughter, and Phusis (Nature) was the midwife--coming up with the goddess there was that embroidered strap which ran round her loins like a belt, set about the queen's body in a girdle of itself . . . Beroe first received Kypris; and above the neighbouring roads, the meadows of themselves put out plants of grass and flowers on all sides; in the sandy bay the beach became ruddy with clumps of roses . . .
There, as soon as she was seen on the neighbouring harbourage, she brought forth wild Eros (Love) . . . without a nurse, and [Eros] beat on the closed womb of his unwedded mother; then a hot one even before birth, he shook his light wings and with a tumbling push opened the gates of birth." [N.B. In this passage Aphrodite is born pregnant with Eros who she births on the day of her own birth.]

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Fairy Enchantment


The Fairy Lady takes off her hat with the long plume and bows to her audience then stands and begins 

These wonderful enchanted creature are
within our own minds and heart. 
Poets have written poetry of them, 
songs have been sung about them, 
philosophers have named them, 
and many myths have been written about them. 
Why could it not be a memory,
deep from within our minds and heart,
A longing, where the blood flows for freedom
A memory retained from experience of a long ago time.
Where flying dragon back
was as common as driving a automobile today
The artist gives them life with his her brush 
and if you listen well, 
you may well even hear the flutter of their wings
We will see once we come to believe 
Hear them see them fly 
They come to you from a place of peace and love

Writen by Cynthia

Thank you all my wonderful friends for being 

"Are Fairies Real???"

"Are Fairies Real???"


They go by many names, faeries, fey, fay, fae, elf, pixie; or collectively called, good folk, wee folk, people of peace, and other euphemisms. The name was given to a type of mythological being or legendary creature. These mythological creatures included a form of nature spirit. Does a real fairy exist?

"Are Fairies Real?", of course.The Fairies of today are believed to be small, delicate and very feminine. While most people can't see them, some do, especially children. Some people see actual fairies, and some see a white misty shape, other people see colored lights and some sense their presence. They like to live near meadows or gardens or in a fairyland. They do interact with humans sometimes,but with only good intentions.

The Tooth Fairy is a great example of a very good fairy interacting with us humans. Is the Tooth Fairy Real? Ask any kid as he wakes up and finds a gift under his pillow.



These are difficult times for the spirits that guard our gardens and plants. Humans destroy our woodlands and meadows to build large homes and shopping malls. The next time you are in a garden or meadow among the beautiful flowers with their wonderful fragrance, look at the colors of the flowers, and smell their perfume. The garden or meadow with its natural beauty is the chosen place for fairies to live. They live in and under a loved, nurtured and well-maintained garden.

The first known existence of fairies is based on the fae of medieval Western European folklore and romance. They are often identified with a variety of beings of other mythologies.



Fairies usually come out to play at sunrise and or sunset or later at night. You might see a magic fairy circle, which is ringed by mushrooms in rainbow colors. Folklore states that fairies must know that you believe in fairies and their magic before they are willing to show themselves. If you are motionless and whisper to them in a sing-song voice, they might appear to you as they are very shy. They like playing fairy games, singing and dancing.

"Are Fairies Real, of course." Fairies are nature spirits that love all forest plant life, but they are particularly fond of flowers.


The Flower Fairies help the flowers to bloom in many fantastic colors. They enhance the fragrance of the flowers so all can enjoy. The animals in these places, such as squirrels and rabbits and others are loved by the faries. The animals in turn love the fairies for all their magic and play. Think of the fairies and the magic they bring for the entire world to enjoy. "Are Fairies Real?", they must be if this is true.

If you care about nature spirits, don't eat chemically laden foods. Use natural fertilizers and insecticides. Make your garden chemical free. Fill it with native flowers. Show the fairies that you care by putting out little offerings. Maybe a crystal or a bowl of water. Let them know their well-being is important. Perhaps then, they will show themselves to you too.

Fairy magic is a special talent that is seldom used. You must never ask a fairy to do a magic trick or cast a spell. If you ask, they will probably run away to hide. Once you make friends, sometimes a wish will be granted for a relative or friend, but only if you ask nicely and are a caring person. They respond to those that put the needs and wishes of others before their own.


Are Fairies Real? You probably know a person or two that is very kind and helpful. If they are not fairies, they are very close relatives.

Fairies in Art- There is a great deal of Fairy Art being done by famous artists. Amy Brown is one of the most famous and her Faery art is some of the most beautiful. Some fairy artwork is free and can be found by internet search, using such terms as "free fairy art" or "free fairy graphics". 


Fairy Drawings and Fairy Pictures- There are many kinds of fairy drawings and fairy pictures. People have been trying to photograph fairies for years with very limited results. There are Gothic fairy pictures and many more different type fairy pictureshttp://www.all-about-fairies.com/are-fairies-real.html

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Fairy Goddesses




Fairy Goddesses


FAERY / FAIRY GODESSES



AINE
Aine is one of the Great Goddesses of Ireland. She is a Moon goddess, a Love goddess who encourages human-love, and the Fairy Queen of Munster. Aine (pronouced 'aw-ne') rules agriculture, fertility, crops, and animals. She was originally a Sun goddess who could take the form of a Lair Derg, a red mare that no one could outrun. It is possible that Aine and Grainne alternated as goddesses of the waning and waxing solar year, changing place at the solstices.
Aine's father, King Egobagal, is one of the Tuatha de Danann. Also called Aine Marine and Aine of Knockaine, she is associated with Dnoc Aine/Knockainy (Aineis Hill_ in Munster, and with Dun Aine (Dunany Point) in County Louth. People with the surname O'Corra are said to be her descendants.

There are several myths about Aine who some say was a mortal woman who was taken and enchanted by the fae. She possesses a magical ring that can reveal faeries. Aine liked humans and often mated with men, producing faery children. She once made a magickal vow to never sleep with a gray-haired man. Aine kept this vow even after her jealous sister Miluchrach used enchantment to turn her beloved Fionnis hair that color. She used magick to kill Aillil Olom, the King of Munster, when he tried to rape her.

There are several stories about how Aine came to marry Gerald, the Earl of Desmond. Gerald came across her bathing in a river and fell in love with her at first site. He stole her cloak and refused to return it until she agreed to marry him. In another version he found Aine combing her hair beside the river, and used her own cloak to capture her. In yet another version, Aine enchanted the Earl, who them married her.

In any case, they had a son, Geroid Iarla, Earl Fitzgerald, who was called The Magician. Gerald who was under a taboo to never show that he was surprised by anything their son did, but he broke his taboo by exclaiming loudly when Geroid jumped in and out of a bottle. The Magician then turned into a wild goose, and flew away. Disgusted with her human husband, Aine disappeared into Knock Aine. She is said to dwell there still, in a faery castle. Geroid is said to live beneath a lake, but will return one day to expel all foreigners from Ireland. Others say that Geroid rides forth every seven years, as a phantom upon a spectral white horse that is shod in silver shoes.

Invoke Aine for love spells, fertility, faery magick, abundance, prosperity, punishing sex crimes, keeping magickal vows, revealing faeries, bearing magickal children, and leaving unsuitable mates. The Sun and Moon are her planets, South West is her direction, and Air is her element. The red mare, rabbit, and swam are her sacred animals. Midsummer Eve (Summer solstice) is Aine's main feast day, when she is traditionally worshiped with torchlit processions through the fields at night. The first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Lughnassad (August 1) are also her sacred days. Some say that she claims a life at that time.


AIRMED
Airmed or Airmid is an Irish fairy goddess of witchcraft and herbal lore. She is Dian Cecht's daughter, one of the Tuatha de Danann, and helps him to protect his sacred healing spring. Airmed mourned so keenly when her brother Miach died that all the herbs of the world sprung from his grave while she tended it, and taught her their uses.

Invoke Airmed for fairy magick, Magickal herbalism, and Witchcraft. Earth is her element.



CAER
Caer (yew berry) is a beautiful fairy maiden of Connacht, Ireland. She lived in the guise of a swan, adorned with necklaces of golden chains and tinkling golden bells. Angus, the handsome God of Love, saw Caer in a dream and fell so in love with her that he became seriously ill.
According to one myth, when Angus finally learned who she was, he asked her father Ethal, one of the Tuatha De Danann if he could marry her. Etha replied that it was her decision, but that Angus could propose to her if he could pick her out of a flock of swans. On Samhain, Angus went to the Lake of the Dragonis Mouth, knew Caer immediately, and called out her name. He was instantly transformed into a swan, and they flew away together.

An alternate version of the myth has it that Angus had to get his own father, the Dagda to imprison Ethal in order to persuade him to give Caer to him in marraige. There is even another version in which it was Caer who enticed Angus to the lake, in order to change him into a swan. Caer and Angus are said to dwell happily as swans in the megalith of Brugh na Boinne, where they sing together beautifully.

Call upon Caer for transformation, fairy magick, and happy endings after difficult beginnings. Air and water are her elements, the swan her sacred animal.


CLIODNA
Beautiful, lusty, Cliodna of the Fair Hair is the Irish goddess of beauty, the sea, and the afterlife. One of the Tuatha de Danann, she is Mannan's daughter and rules the Land of Promise, an other-world where there is no violence or death. Her name, which means "shapely one", is pronounced "klee-nah". It can also be spelled Cliodhna, Clidn, or Cleena. A fairy queen of Munster, she is said to be the daughter of Geban, the last druid in Ireland. Cliodna is associated with the coastline near Cork. Carrige Cliodna, in County Cork, is her sacred hill. Tonn Cliodna, the great wave of Cliodna, is mentioned in Irish mythology as being off the coast at Glandmore, in Country Cork.

Clidona has three magickal birds that heal the sick by singing to them sleep. She is the matron of waves, especially large waves and the ninth wave of every series of waves that brake the shore. Cliodna is the protectress of the O'Keefe family, who some say are her descendants.


When she assumes human form, Cliodna is the most beautiful woman on earth. She often taken mortal men for lovers but being loved by Cliodna can mean being loved to death, for if she takes them to the other-world they are never seen again.

There are many legends about her. Cliodna fell in love with a young human, Ciabhan of the Curling Lock, and she escaped from the other-world to be with him. They reached the shore of Ireland together. Ciabhan (pronouced Keevan) went hunting and Mannan, the Sea god, put Cliodna into an enchanted sleep and sent a wave that drew her back to the Land of Promise. There is another version of this legend where it is Cailleach, the Crone goddess, who sent her faeries to lull Cliodna into the enchanted sleep, and then sent the wave that drowned her.

Invoke Cliodna for beauty, Healing, faery magick, love spells, and life after death. Songbirds and sea birds are her sacred animals: nine is her number. A beach is the best place to call upon her, since she may take the form of a sea bird or a large wave. Another Celtic goddess strongly associated with water is Eri (see below).



ERI
Eri of the Golden Hair is an Irish fairy goddess, one of the Tuatha de Danaan. Bres, Brigid's consort, is her son. His father is Elatha, a handsome Fomorian King.

Eri and Elatha met at the seashore and were so struck by eachother's beauty that they immediately made love, despite the fact that their people were enemies.

According to some myths Eri was a virgin when they met, but other myth's say that she was married to another one of the Tuatha de Danann and allowed her fairy husband to assume that he was the father of Bres.


FINNINE
Finnine, or Fennel, is Aine's sister, a fairy goddess. She is associated with Cnoc Finnine (Finnine's Hill) in Munster, Ireland.







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