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Celtic Myths!


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Celtic Twilight: Some of the Myths  
(Ancient and Shining Ones - DJ Conway)

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"The tribe of the Fomorians was on the scene long before any other races came to Ireland. However, the Fomors lived mainly in the sea. The first outside race to invade Ireland was the race of the Partholon; very little is known of them. After 300 years of struggle against the Fomors, the Partholons died of an epidemic.
Next came the race of Nemed who also suffered from an epidemic. This time, though, some of them survived, only to be oppressed by the Fomors. The Fomorian kings Morc; son of Dela, and Conann, son of Febar, built a glass tower on their stronghold of Troy Island. From there they taxed the Nemedians of two-thirds of the children born each year. During the battle that ensued over tax, all the Nemedians were killed.
Later came colonizers from Spain or Greece called the Fir Bolgs. They were actually three tribes; men of Domnu, men of Gaillion, and men of Bolg. They inter-married with the Fomors and held the country until the arrival of the Tuatha De Danann.
The Tuatha De Dannan invaded Ireland, defeating the Fir Bolg in battle. However, the De Danann king Nuada lost his hand. Because of this he had to step down, for no king was allowed to have any disfigurement. The Fomorian king Bres became ruler at the request of the De Danann, but he proved to be a harsh ruler. The De Danann people were living in hardship under him. the chief De Danann bard, Coirpre, satirized Bres in public, causing him to break out in a terrible red rash. The Tuatha De Danann insisted that the Bres abdicate, but he refused. The Fomorian armies invaded Ireland to protect his kingship. In the meantime Diancecht the physician made Nuada a silver hand, making it possible for him to resume the kingship, which he did.
While Nuada was holding a great feast at Tara to celebrate his return, a strange warrior came to the gates and demanded entrance. the gatekeepers questioned him. The warrior revealed that his name was Lugh Samildanach, grandson of Diancecht. The gatekeepers answered that no man without a skill could enter Tara. Lugh then listed his skills - wright, smith, champion, harper, hero, poet, historian, sorcerer, physician, brazier - but the men just sneered. The Tuatha De Danann had those already. So Lugh sent a message to Nuada, asking if he had a man among his people who could do all those skills.
The king still was not impressed and sent out his chess master with a board as a challenge. Lugh won all the games.Nuada then admitted the young man and set him in the seat reserved for the sage, for Lugh was a sage in all skills.
Nuada and his people decided that Lugh should command their armies against their enemies, the Fomorians, who were still casusing problems. Just before the battle, the Dagda met the Morrigu, the war goddess, as she bathed in the river. In exchange for lying with her, she gave the Dagda a battle plan for victory."
"The two armies finally gathered facing each other. For the Tuatha De Danann, Goibniu the smith made spearheads and swords, Creidne the brazier rivets that would not break, Coirpre the poet or bard satirized the enemy, Ogma supplied the warrior-power, the Dagda promied to slay with his massive club, and Diancecht perpared to bring the De Dannan dead back to life by putting them into a magick well or cauldron.
Lugh was supposed to stay out of the battle because his mother's father, Balar of the Evil Eye, was leading the enemy. Whenever Balar's deadly eye was opened, it destoyed everyone in his sight. But in the heat of battle, Lugh sprang into action and met Balar face to face. As the eye bagan to open, Lugh threw a spear (some versions say a stone) and drove the eye back through Balar's head do that it looked upon the Fomorians. The Tuatha De Danann were victorious, driving the Fomorians back into the sea."

"The Welsh legend of Branwen shows a connection with the Irish. Bran, one of the Welsh deities, was the brother of Branwen. King Matholwch of Ireland came to Wales to ask for Branwen in marriage. Efnisien, a giant Welshman, maimed Matholwch's horses because he was angry over being left out of the wedding feast. This action immediately caused trouble. Bran tried to smooth over the affair by replacing the animals with gold and silver. Branwen sailed to Ireland with Matholwch but was at once banished to the kitchens and servant duty. She had a son by Matholwch but her situation did not change. Finally, she managed to get a message to her brother by fastening a letter to a bird's leg.
The Welsh invaded Ireland to avenge the insult. Bran, a giant of a man, waded across the sea and forced the Irish to negotiate a peace. However, the troublemaker Elfisien killed the son of Matholwch and Branwen. The battle was renewed.
The Irish had the cauldron of rebirth, a wedding gift from Bran to Matholwch. They lit a fire under it and threw in their dead warriors to revive them. Efnisien could see that he was going to be killed by Bran if something was not done to rectify his hot-headed errors. So he hid among the Irish bodies and was thrown into the cauldron with the others. Once inside, he stretched himself out so that the cauldron burst. The Welsh won, but at a terrible cost. Only seven of the invading warriors and Branwen remained. Bran was mortally wounded. He ordered that his head be cut off at his death and buried on the White Mount in London with his face towards France. Branwen died of a broken heart."
"Another Welsh legend tells the story of the well-known bard Taliesin. Orginally, his name was Gwion Bach. As a young man he suddenly found himself at the bottom of Lake Bala in northern Wales where the giant Tegid and his wife, the Goddess Cerridwen, lived. The Goddess set Gwion to stirring a cauldron containing a special brew. At the end of the year and a day of stirring, the last three drops flew out and burned Gwion's finger; he thrust the finger into his mouth and at once realized the power of Cerridwen. He fled the lake in terror.
Furious, Cerridwen went after him. The two repeatedly changed shapes, Gwion to escape, and Cerridwen in an attempt to capture him. Finally, he changed into a grain of wheat and the Goddess as a hen ate him. Upon returning to her own shape, she discovered she was pregnant. When Gwion was reborn, the Goddess cast him into the sea in a little boat.
Elphin, son of a wealthy landowner, rescued the baby and named him Taliesin (radiant brow). Taliesin remembered all the knowledge he had gained from Cerridwen's magick potion. He became a great bard, magician, and counselor of kings."
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Celtic Twilight

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