Celtic Mythology

Celtic Mythology - Celtic Mythology Important Background...

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Celtic Mythology Important Background : The ancient Celts in many ways shaped the British Isles as we know them today. But because the Celts were an oral, not a written society, little information survives today as to their way of life. The Celts may have first emerged as an identifiable people around 100 B.C. near the river Danube. They eventually spread into surrounding Europe. They were highly skilled in farming, metal work and building roads. They could also be a highly effective warrior force. The arrival of the first Celts in Britain was around 800 B.C. The Celts preferred to record their laws and traditions in poetry, songs and stories. As such little information remains about the Celts. Major Festivals of Celtic Tradition: BELTANE : May Eve festival. One of the ancient Celtic Fire Festivals. On this night, the cattle were driven between two bonfires to protect them from disease. Couples wishing for fertility would "jump the fires" on Beltane night. Embers were taken home and used to light fires which would never be extinguished till next Beltane. Also the traditional Sabbat where the rule of the "Wheel of the Year" is returned to the Goddess. This Festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of Maiden to Mother. FIRE FESTIVALS : The cross quarter Sabbats of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas. IMBOLIC : On the first day of Febuary. Coincided with the start of the lambing season. Easter is actually a copy of this festival. In fact nearly all Christian festivals were stolen from the Celtic ways. LAMMAS : August 1st. The Old Celtic name for this festival is Lughnassadh. It is the Festival of the First Fruits, and is the first of the 3 harvests. This festival also marks the change of the Threefold Goddess energies from that of Mother to Crone. OSTARA : The second Spring Festival. Imbolc being the first and Beltane being the third. It is celebrated on the Spring Equinox. On this day, the night and day are in balance. SAMHAIN : Celtic New Year Festival. The festival of remembrance for the dead, held on the eve of Nov. 1st. It is the last of the three harvests. Bonfires were lit to remember the sun and encourage it`s return. All Hallows and Halloween actually come from this Celtic Festival. YULE : The shortest day of the year and is considered a Quarter. It is celebrated on the Winter Solstice. An old Celtic tradition holds that the Oak King (rebirth) overcomes the Holly King (death), because the Sun will wax after the Winter Solstice. Death and the Other World - The ancient Celts believed in life after death. The Other World existed alongside or even within the mortal world. The Celts believed it was even possible to stumble into the other world. Those who did find themselves in the Other World spent a few happy hours there before returning to the mortal world only to find they had been gone for years. The Celts believed that after a person’s death the soul needed a physically clear path to make it`s way to the Other World. When a person died, all windows, doors,
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This note was uploaded on 07/04/2011 for the course CLST 2090 taught by Professor Warga during the Spring '07 term at LSU.

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Celtic Mythology - Celtic Mythology Important Background...

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