Celtic Mythology A to Z, 2nd Edition by Gienna Matson, Jeremy Roberts

By Gienna Matson, Jeremy Roberts

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By Gienna Matson, Jeremy Roberts

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Extra resources for Celtic Mythology A to Z, 2nd Edition

Sample text

He was the sister of Branwen, whose ill treatment at the hands of an Irish king sparked war between the two lands. birdsâ•… Winged creatures were frequent symbols in Celtic mythology. In early Celtic times the raven and the wren, especially, were thought to have powers of divination—the ability to foretell the future. The rooster may have been sacred to the Celts. In tales, birds often represent bad luck or foreshadow bloodshed. They also serve as messengers and guises of the gods. For example, the goddesses Badb, Macha (1), and Mórrígan appeared as crows on battlefields, foretelling an especially fierce fight.

Bláithéne (Bláthnad)â•… Birds are a common motif in Celtic mythology and art, the eagle being prominent among them. ) A love interest of Cúchulainn, who first saw her in the Otherworld. While there, he stole a magic cauldron, three cows, and Bláithíne herself. Her husband, a sorcerer and warrior named Cú Roí, recaptured them all, however. He repaid Cúchulainn by burying him up to his armpits and then shaving his head. By some accounts, Bláithíne helped Cúchulainn kill Cú Roí a year later. Her husband’s poet, seeking to avenge the betrayal, later murdered Bláithíne.

In another version of the story she had the power to predict the weather. If the day of the Imbolc festival dawned fair, she would come outside. But if the weather was foul, she would stay inside. A fair day on February 1 was a bad forecast for the rest of the year. Yet another hag, Cailleach Bhéirre, sought the love of a knight or hero, as told in the Mythological Cycle. If he complied, she would become young and beautiful. She went through seven cycles of youth to maturity, so that she saw seven husbands die of old age during her lifetime.

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