Gundestrup Cauldron

The Gundestrup Cauldron is a richly decorated silver vessel attributed to the late La Tène period or early Roman Iron Age (1st or 2nd century BCE). Its plates are etched with many mythological and ritual scenes from the pagan world. It was unearthed in a peat bog in 1891 near Gundestrup, in Himmerland, Denmark. The vessel had been dismantled into several pieces and deposited in the bog, most likely as a religious sacrifice.

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Fionn mac Cumhaill

Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn Mac Cool) was an Irish warrior hero who features in stories from the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology.  He also features in the folklore of Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Fionn was the son of Cumhaill, the leader of the Fianna, and Muirne, daughter of the druid Tadg mac Nuadat.  As Muirne’s father was against the match, a battle ensued which killed Cumhaill.  Muirne, already pregnant, was spared, however her child Fionn was put under the protection of Fiacal mac Conchinn and his wife Bodhmall.  A warrior woman, Liath Luachra, taught Fionn the arts of war, hunting and magic.

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Ériu, Goddess of Ireland

Éire / Éireann/ Éirenn / Éirinn / Erin

Ériu was a Queen and patron goddess of Ireland around the time of the Milesian invasion.  She was seen as the Goddess of Irish Sovereignty along with her sisters, Banba and Fódla.  Ériu’s name is thought mean ‘earth, soil’ or ‘plentiful’, as well as ‘fat land’ or ‘land of abundance’.

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Druidry

The Druids were a class of priests, teachers, judges, seers, astronomers, doctors and philosophers who held very high standing in Iron Age Celtic society.  The word “Druid” has generally come to mean a wise man or a priest, with knowledge of the oak.  Very little is known about the Druids since there is no written record of their beliefs and practices.  Scholars must piece together evidence from a variety of sources, mainly from their conquerors (Romans, Greeks) and their successors (Christian Monks).

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Cailleach, the Veiled One

Scotland – Cailleach Bheur (Gentle Old Lady, Divine Hag), Cailleach Uragaig, Cailleach Beinne Bric (Old Woman of the Speckled Mountain), Cailleach Mor (Great Old Woman), Carlin, Scotia
Ireland – Cailleach Bhéirre, Cailleach Bolus, Cailleach Corca Duibhe
Isle of Man – Caillagh ny Groamagh (Gloomy Old Woman), Caillagh ny Gueshag (Old Woman of the Spells)

The Cailleach is a Celtic goddess associated with winter, storms, mountains and the landscape.  She is thought to appear in late autumn, as the earth’s bounty wanes, and decides the fate of spring to come.  She is a dark mother and harvest goddess, both a destroyer and creator of life.  It is thought she rules the dark half of the year, from Samhain to Beltane, while her counterpart, Brigid, rules the light half.  The Cailleach is often depicted having a chilling appearance, with a blue face and long silver hair.

cailleach1 228x300 Musings From the Mossy Trail

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