Beltane HistoryPut together by [Mirime]
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Beltane, also known as May Day (the origin of the month of May comes from the Greek Goddess Maia, on of the seven sisters, or Pleiades), is traditionally held the evening of April 30th and the day of May 1st. It is a celebration of the beginning of the Summer season and the end of winter. Originally, the date of Beltane was calculated astronomically—when the sun was at 15 degrees Taurus—which is some time around May 5th. This date is generally known as Old Beltane, and Beltane can be celebrated any time before May 5th. Before it was calculated by solar calendar, Beltane was heralded by the blooming of Hawthorn and the first full moon in May.
On Beltane Eve, the village leader would light the ‘Need Fire,’ usually kindled with Oak, the ruler of the trees, and two bonfires would be kindled from that. Villagers would also re-light their hearth fires from the main fire to represent the new beginning. Oxen were driven between the two bonfires to be cleansed from the winter’s stay by the smoke and fire, and insure that they would produce good offspring. Other traditions for the participants included walking around their property, repairing fences damaged by the long winter storms. Beltane Eve was celebrated with clockwise dances around the bonfires, feasting, music, drinking, and the tradition of ‘handfasting,’ a pledge of love, and jumping over the coals of the fire hand-in-hand with their partner for good portents in the following year.
Towards the end of the festivities, couples would go into the forest to collect Hawthorn boughs and make flower garlands to greet the Celtic New Year. These ‘Greenwood marriages’ are possibly meant to symbolize the marriage of the King of the land to the Flower Bride during Beltane. (Below is some more information on that.)
On the day of Beltane, the couples gone a’May-ing would return. All of the women would wash their faces in the morning dew, and the Queen of May would ride through the village sky-clad (as it is delightfully called...) on a white horse to bless the town.
The story of the wooing of the Goddess in Celtic Mythology
Copyright John Bonsing
“One beautiful summer day, Echu Airem king of Temuir rose and climbed onto the rampart of Tara to look out over the plain, vibrant with colours of every hue. And when he looked around the rampart, he saw a strange young warrior, golden hair falling onto his shoulders, wearing a tunic of bright scarlet, and carrying a five-pointed spear and a shield studded with a white boss and gold gems. It was Mider he had met, and he had come to win the hand of Étaíne, the 'fair woman', Bé Find” (1).
Thus opens the scene in The Wooing of Étaíne, Tochmarc Étaíne, in which the triply blessed Celtic goddess, 'the fairest and gentlest and most beautiful woman in Ériu' (2) is won by Mider from Echu. It is not the first time her hand had been won, for in this myth Étaíne is won no less than five times, and the hand of the fair goddess as Eithne or as Ess the daughter of Étaíne, twice further. And each time she is won, it by a man of magnificence, and it is from his rival that he wins her.
The wooings of Étaíne, like those of her namesakes including Ess her daughter, Olwen, Emer, Creiddylad, Rhiannon, Blodeuwedd and many more, mark the annual fight for the hand of the goddess by Maponos, the Divine Son, at the start of Summer at Beltaine.
The Celtic goddess at springtime is like the blossoms of the Earth, superlative in her attributes and appearance, and chaste: Étaíne is called Bé Find, 'fair woman' (1), 'her hands were as white as the snow of a single night, and her eyes as blue as any blue flower, and her lips as red as the berries of the rowan-tree, and her body as white as the foam of a wave' (3) and Ess her daughter was precisely like Étaíne in appearance; of Olwen, 'her hair was yellower than broom, her skin whiter than sea-foam, her palms and fingers were whiter than shoots of marsh trefoil against the sand of a welling spring', and 'everywhere she went four white trefoils appeared behind her, and for that reason she was called 'white track', Olwen' (4); Emer 'had the six gifts - the gift of beauty, the gift of voice, the gift of sweet-speech, the gift of needlework, the gift of wisdom, the gift of chastity' (5); Creiddylad was "the most majestic girl ever in Britain" (6); Rhiannon is 'a wonder', 'dressed in shining gold brocade', the 'choice of every girl and woman in the world' (7); and Blodeuwedd was called 'flowery' for she was 'the flowers of oak and broom and meadowsweet' personified, ' the most beautiful girl anyone had seen' (8); In all of her appearances in the mythology of the Celts, Bé Find, the 'fair woman', is the Goddess born at springtime, the triple aspected Goddess, the virginal 'Brigid' (9).
That it is at Beltaine when Bé Find is courted by the man who loves her is shown to us in the myths first by the flowerful descriptions of her very appearance and second by the description of the time the courtship takes place, 'one beautiful summer day' (1), that is, May Day, the day when Finn mac Cumhaill declares "May Day, fair aspect, perfect season...the hardy vigorous cuckoo calls. Welcome to noble summer: it abates the bitterness of storm... delicate fair foliage flourishes...blossom covers the world" (10), the day we are told outright to be when the fight of the rivals for courtship of Creidyladd takes place: "for her Gwythur ap Greidyawl and Gwynn ap Nudd fight every May Day until the Judgement" (11). The day is suitable for the goddess to bathe in the stream, as shown below (12), and Finn declares in his poem, "Summer cuts the stream small; swift horses seek water" (10).
"The vigorous cuckoo calls", sings Finn. And indeed it is at Beltaine that Maponos, the Divine Son, the solar-god or hero (as he was called in Gaul and throughout this essay: he is Mabon in Welsh and Maccan (Mac Oc) in Irish; (see ref.18)) wins the love and the hand of Bé Find, winning her away from his rival and ousting him of her affections, like a cuckoo in the nest. That it is Maponos who courts Bé Find, we can see from his description and indeed his name is given outright in some instances:
"One day, when all the girls were bathing at the mouth of the river, they saw a rider coming towards them; his horse was broad and brown, prancing, with curly mane and curly tail. Fair yellow hair covered his forehead with a band of gold to restrain it from covering his face. He wore a green cloak of the Síde, and a tunic with red embroidery, and the cloak was fastened with a gold brooch that reached to either shoulder. He wore a silver shield with a rim of gold, with a silver strap and a gold buckle and carried a five-pronged spear with a band of gold running from butt to socket. And he recited to Bé Find a poem which concluded 'It is she who will be celebrated everywhere; it is she the king is seeking; Once she was called Bé Find; Now she is our Étaíne" (12).
That is the description of Mider in one of the wooings of Étaíne: a year later, on 'one beautiful summer day', he returned and met Echu on the rampart of Tara (1) to claim her hand. Mider's name holds the meaning of 'to judge' (13), just as the name of Pwyll Lord of Dyfed, who woos Rhiannon, holds the meaning of 'judgement' (14). Mider is both Maponos, "a young warrior" (1), and "king of the Síde of Ériu" that is, the otherworld (15), just as Pwyll is both, being a young man, still "not as old as some men in the land" at a time four years after the wooing of Rhiannon (16), and "Head of Annwfyn", the otherworld, a title he gained even before his courtship of Rhiannon, his Bé Find (17).
In another of the wooings of Étaíne, it is Oengus, the Macc Óc (maponos, 'Divine Son' of Bóand by the Dagda (18)), renowned for "his handsomness", who wins the hand of Étaíne (19). He wins her hand on behalf of his foster-father Mider and with the assistance of his father the Dagda. This wooing is paralleled by the wooing of Olwen by the maponos Culhwch, assisted by his cousin Arthur (20); and by the wooing of Blodeuwedd by the maponos Lleu, assisted by his uncle and tutor Gwydion (8). These wooings are similarly echoed in the wooing of Kigva by the golden haired maponos Pryderi, "the most perfect lad and the handsomest and most accomplished at every feat in the kingdom" (21), and by the wooing of Emer by the maponos Cú Chulaind, of whom "all the faults the women of Ulster could find in him were three, that he was too young and smooth-faced, that he was too daring, and that he was too beautiful"(22).
A common and therefore unifying aspect of the various wooings of Bé Find found throughout the Celtic myths is the occurrence of a three-day "purchase" for her hand by Maponos from his rival. In the wooing of Étaíne, the Mac Oc must perform three tasks on three consecutive days to win her hand from her father, Ailill (19); just as Mider must play three fidchell games on three consecutive days to win the hand of Étaíne from her husband Echu Airem (23) (it is noteworthy here to relate one of Cú Chulaind's gifts was "the gift of chessplaying [fidchell]" (22)); and just as Mider, in the guise of Ailill, was required to meet Étaíne on three consecutive days "on the hill above the house" to win her heart from the love-sick Ailill (24). This three day meeting of Bé Find by Mider exactly parallels the three consecutive days that Pwyll (whose name has the same meaning as Mider's (13,14) was required to sit upon Arberth Hill, "the hill which rose above the court", to win the heart of Rhiannon (or rather for her to gain Pwyll's heart) against the man she had been promised, Gwawl (25); there was also a three day feast/council held when Mallolwch came to win Branwen, 'the most beautiful woman in the world' from her brother Bran (26); and Culhwch had need to endure three spearings on three consecutive days to win the hand of Olwen from her father, Chief Giant Ysbaddaden: on the third day 'Culhwch caught the poisoned spear and threw it back at Chief Giant Ysbaddaden, aiming at his eyeball so that the spear came out through the base of his neck. "You cursed barbarian of a son-in-law!", cried the Chief Giant' (27); Despite being declared son-in-law by Ysbadadden, many tasks were set before Culhwch as part of the "purchase" of Olwen, though he had already won her heart; Likewise, this theme of three days and tasks is retained in the wooing of Emer by Cú Chulaind from her father, Forgall: for immediately after Cú Chulaind had won her heart, Forgall journeyed in disguise to Emain Macha and on the third day of this visit, Cú Chulaind was praised above all before him, but just as Culhwch was set tasks by the father of Olwen, so too was Cú Chulaind set tasks by the father of Emer (28); Forgall's disguise as a foreigner and his and Ysbadadden's attempts to subvert the "purchase" of Emer and Olwen, respectively, is recalled in the wooing of Rhiannon by Pwyll, where his rival, Gwawl ap Clud, disguises himself as a beggar who makes a request of an impossible boon (to sleep with Rhiannon) in an attempt to stymie the marriage between Rhiannon and her love, Pwyll (29); Also, the impossible tasks placed before Oengus the Mac Oc by Ailill (19), and before Mider by Echu Airem (23) during their separate wooings of Étaíne recall this theme. Such is the diversity of some of the many variations and permutations of the theme of the wooing of the Goddess Bé Find by the Maponos or Divine Son (Mabon ap Modron, Mac Oc) at Beltaine. The many ways the myths portray the theme, each adding its own light on the great Beltaine story itself, is one of the greatest achievements in Celtic literature, underscoring its lustre and its depth and scope.
The rival to Maponos at the Beltaine wooing of Bé Find is often considered (30) to be representative of the preceding Winter season, such that Maponos the Divine Son, namely the Sun-god who was born at Beltaine (31), represents the season of Summer defeating the season of Winter; But this is not altogether accurate, for the rival represents more than just the Winter: he represents the Old Year, and is often clearly identifiable as a Maponos himself, that is a Summer figure. We see this in The Wooing of Étaíne, when the Mac Oc wins the hand of Étaíne from Ailill her father, when Ailill is a king at Emain Macha; and when Mider wins the love of Étaíne from Echu, Echu is a King at Tara; and when Echu wins the hand of Ess from Mider, Mider is king of the Síde. Now some may think that the mythologies mean to represent Mider and his otherworld cohorts Arawn, the Dagda, Heveydd the Old (father of Rhiannon), Ysbadadden and even Pwyll as "powers of Darkness" (30), but they would be mistaken:
When Mider, king of the Síde, comes to woo Étaíne on the day she was bathing in the river a year before the 'one beautiful summer day' he sings to her about his kingdom, and this is how the otherworld is described in his song:
"Bé Find, will you come with me to a wondrous land where there is music? A wonderful land that I describe, where none grow old for youth does not precede age. Warm, sweet streams throughout the land, your choice of mead and wine. A distinguished people, without blemish, conceived without sin or crime" (32).
Likewise, Arawn's kingdom of Annwfyn, the Welsh otherworld, is described as being equally wondrous (33): 'of all the courts Pwyll had ever seen, this was the best supplied with golden plate and royal jewels'; there was 'the finest assembly of buildings' and 'the finest looking and best equipped troops anyone had seen', and the queen was 'dressed in shining gold brocade, the most beautiful woman anyone had seen, most gracious in disposition and conversation'. In Annwfyn, 'Pwyll spent the year of his sojourn hunting and singing and carousing, in fellowship and in pleasant talk' with the people of that otherworldly kingdom (33). Mider's kingdom of the Síde and Arawn's kingdom of Annwfyn are places of warmth and wonder, both in their clime and in the ways of the people. The wonders of the otherworld were also those of Bruig na Bóinde:
"Behold the Sídh before your eyes,
It is manifest to you that it is a king's mansion,
Which was built by the firm Daghda;
It was a wonder, a court, an admirable hill" (34).
It was to Bruig na Bóinde that Oengus the Mac Oc went when Elcmar was king there at the behest of the Dagda: Like Pwyll who was invited by Arawn to take over the kingdom of Annwfyn by defeating Hafgan (35), it was Oengus the Mac Oc who was invited by the Dagda to take over the kingdom of Bruig na Bóinde by defeating Elcmar (36). Both Pwyll and the Mac Oc gained their kingdoms by the declaration of their defeated opponent: Hafgan declares "I can no longer maintain you, my loyal followers" (37); Elcmar declares "The land now belongs to this youth, the Mac Oc" (36). Both of these kingdom acquisitions took place at the Celtic feast of Samhain, at the end of the summer half of the year, and at the start of winter. It is the timing of this event at Samhain that has mis-identified mythological figures such as Oengus and Pwyll as representing "the gods of darkness, winter, and the underworld", whose powers at Samhain "grew great"(30).
Quite contrary to being 'gods of darkness', these gods and heroes are Maponos, the Divine Child, born at Beltaine and wooers of Bé Find at Beltaine; And so are the otherworld gods who bring them to their dominion, for both the Dagda and Arawn were themselves wooers of Bé Find: the Dagda wooed Bóand and Arawn wooed his queen, who is described in normal exultant Bé Find fashion as 'the most beautiful woman anyone had seen' (33), and Oengus the Mac Oc, ie the Divine Son, who was the son of the Dagda and Bóand (18). The rivals of the two Divine Sons were Elcmar (36) and Hafgan (35), respectively. They, too, bear the hallmarks of being Divine Sons, for Elcmar was king of Bruig na Bóinde, installed there, like the Mac Oc who replaced him, by the Dagda, and Hafgan's name means 'summer white', a clear allusion to Maponos. What happens for both the Mac Oc and Pwyll at Samhain in their defeat of the Old Sun-god as symbolised by the onset of winter is the usurping of the territory of their kingdoms: but for both of these gods, and others like them, their right to kingship is not complete until they have first wooed Bé Find, at Beltaine.
We see the need for the king to be with his Bé Find in the story of Echu Airem, who wished to hold a feis at Tara at Samhain 'so that their taxes and assessments for the next five years could be reckoned' (38) and this feast was to take place 'from the fortnight before Samhain to the fortnight after it' (39). However, the 'men of Ériu replied that they would not hold the feis of Temuir for a king with no queen, for indeed Echu had had no queen when he became king' (38): it was this prohibition against the king that caused him to woo Étaíne, who 'was his equal in beauty and form and race, in magnificence and youth and high repute' (38). That Bé Find is 'equal in beauty...youth and high repute' to Echu shows us that he is Maponos. Similarly, Pwyll gained the title Head of Annwfyn before he had wooed his Bé Find, Rhiannon (40). That the wooing of Rhiannon took place at Beltaine is shown in the timing of the birth of their son, the next maponos to follow Pwyll, namely Gwri Golden Hair (who would later become named Pryderi, ruler of the seven cantrefs of Dyfed (21)), who was born at Beltaine, exactly five years after Pwyll's wooing of Rhiannon (41). The kingship of Bruig na Bóinde afforded to Oengus the Mac Oc likewise occurred before his wooing of Étaíne (2): In the story as we have it, Mider is made to have gained kingship Bruig na Bóinde from the Mac Oc at Samhain for Oengus says 'and this land (Bruig na Bóinde) will be yours also' (this is part of a theme of healing by Bé Find, shown below)(43) and the Mac oc's wooing of Étaíne is made in the name of Mider (44): Mider, like Echu, Pwyll and Mac Oc, gains his territorial kingship prior to the wooing of Bé Find. Thus it is at Beltaine that the kingship of Maponos is fully bestowed, because he has won the hand of the Goddess: that is why at Beltaine he must win the hand of Bé Find from his rival, the same rival he defeated at Samhain, namely, the Old Sun, who was 'father' or 'husband' to Bé Find the previous year. This is also why the solar Celtic year began at Beltaine, for not only is it the day Maponos was born (31), it is the day he gains his rights and entitlements as King. It is also the day prophesied by druids at Samhain to be the start of his feats and his great name (45), these being alluded to by the meaning of the word 'Samhain', that is, 'Summer' (46).
To reiterate, the perpetual fight at Beltaine for the hand of the goddess is that of the new Maponos against the old Maponos, symbolising the stewardship of the new Year over the old Year at Beltaine, as foretold at Samhain when the self-same fight for the future Year was had, namely the future King defeats the current King.
At Beltaine, the renewed Year is also spoken of mythologically as the healed Old Year: when Mider was struck in the eye at Samhain by a sprig of holly (43), representing the Old Year being defeated, he says "with this blemish, I can neither see the land I have come to nor return to the land I have left', but Mac Oc promised to have his blemish healed by Dían Cécht the physician (just as Dían Cécht healed Nuada (47) and as in the way Gwydion cured Lleu (48)), and promised also that "Your own land will be yours again, and this land will be yours also". That is why it was both for his own stewardship and that of the healed Mider that Mac Oc wooed Étaíne from her father Ailill (44): for both needed the hand of Étaíne to secure their Kingship. However, despite the physician's good works, it was Bé Find who Mider recognised as having healed him, for when Mider wooed Étaíne, he sang "It is she who healed the king's eye" (49). Likewise, it was Étaíne who healed Ailill from his sick-bed (50), Emer who heals Cú Chulaind from his sick-bed (51). In these stories, then, the renewal of the Year at Beltaine is symbolised by the healing of Maponos, which is a variant of the theme of the rivals, and of which both themes are blended in the wooing of Étaíne by the Mac Oc (43).
One final event is worth noting in the story of the wooing of Bé Find, and this is the marriage that takes place 'a month from today' from when the love for Étaíne was won by Mider from Echu (52): When Mider came to Temuir to gain the prize he won during the three fidchell matches with Echu, namely 'my arms around Étaíne and a kiss from her', it is consequently a month since Beltaine. When he took her in his arms and kissed her, Mider transformed Étaíne and himself into 'two swans high up in the air, linked together by a chain of gold' (53), and he took her to be his queen at Bruig na Bóinde: In this way so too must Arawn have gained his queen in Annwfyn. When Echu persues to try and retrieve Étaíne, he eventually gains from the Sidh the hand of another Bé Find, namely Ess daughter of Étaíne. In this way, we can see the likeness of Rhiannon to Ess, for she was also a daughter who came from an otherworld kingdom, ie Annwfyn, and her father's name was Heveydd ('summery' (54)) the Old, hence 'the Old Summer King', possibly Havgan. The theme of the story of Mider flying away with his queen in the month after Beltaine was remembered among the Irish peasantry even into the nineteenth century, for W.B. Yeats tells us (55) that "On Midsummer eve, when the bonfires are lighted in honour of St. John, the fairies are at their gayest, and sometimes steal beautiful mortals to be their brides". In the ancient lunar Celtic calendar (56) recorded in Gaul some five hundred years before the coming of Patrick to Ireland, the first month of the year was 'Samon' ('summer') which comprised the lunation that coincided with the summer solstice, ie Midsummer day and the (now) Feast of St.John, and probably the Trinox Samoni or 'Three nights of Summer' recorded within the month of Samon (57). The significance of the timing of Mider's flight with Étaíne, his Bé Find, is that it occurs in the indigenous, pre-Roman and pre-Christian Celtic calendar's first month; the timing of Beltaine, a solar Celtic feast, is such that it occurs in the lunation prior to Samon, in the month of Cantlos 'songs' (56), the last month of the lunar Celtic calendar. When the Celtic realms were conquered by Rome (58), the Celtic institutions such as druidism were either subverted or adapted under Roman authority. Consequently, the native lunar Celtic calendar was made illegal and was replaced by the Julian solar Roman calendar; and so the Celtic year was no longer officially used even by the Celtic people of the Empire. In time the fire-feasts of Beltaine and Samhain became fixed solar festivals within the Julian calendar, and today these are celebrated in the Gregorian calendar on May Eve and November Eve, respectively. For the Celts, then, the solar festival of Beltaine represented the equivalent of the old year/new year transition formerly marked by the start of the lunar (and hence moveable (59)) month Samon.
In the story of the wooing of Bé Find by Maponos, we find celebrated the endless renewal of the Celtic year at the beginning of each summer: it is the beginning of the Kingship of Maponos, symbolised by the gaining of the hand of the Goddess. She was born at Oimelc, a tradition still maintained in the story of St. Brigid (60); He was born at Beltaine (31), and again at Beltaine, he woos her in her virginal bloom, gaining her love; They marry at Midsummer (53,55); and nine-months before the next Beltaine, that is, at Bron-Trogain, they concieve of the next Maponos, for as Emer explains to Cú Chulaind, Bron-Trogain is 'the beginning of autumn, for it is then the earth is in labour, that is, the earth under fruit, Bron-Trogain, the trouble of the earth': When the child of Rhiannon, the maponos Gwri Golden Hair who was abducted at his Beltaine birth like Mabon ap Modron, was returned to her side on his fifth birthday, Rhiannon exclaimed "what a relief from my anxiety if all this is true!" (61), so perhaps she means 'pryder' in the way Emer means 'bron', that is "trouble", and finally the birth of her son could be acknowledged, for Rhiannon stated this at Beltaine, the same day as she had given birth five years earlier. At the end of summer, the prophecies invoke a renewal next summer (45), while the wasting sickness (that is, winter) descends on Maponos (50,51) or the future Maponos stakes his territory (36,37), or both (43); and returning to Beltaine, and the new Celtic year, the new Maponos gains his Kingship by defeating his rival (23,27,62).
It is an endless renewal, a new year perpetually replaces the old year, and this is what is meant when it is said (6):
"Creidyladd daughter of Ludd was the most majestic woman ever in Britain or the three offshore islands, and for her, Gwthyr ap Greidyawl and Gwynn ap Nudd fight every May Day until the Judgement"
References and notes:
(1) adapted from "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. pp.39-59. see p.48 and p.52.
(2) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.43
(3) "Midhir and Etain" In: Lady Gregory (1904) 'Gods and Fighting Men' Colin Smythe, Gerrards Cross, (1970). p.90.
(4) "How Culhwch won Olwen" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. pp.151-152.
(5) "The Courting of Emer" In: Lady Gregory (1902) "Cuchulain of Muirthemne. The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster arranged and put into English." Colin Smythe Gerrards Cross (1970), p.36.
(6) "How Culhwch won Olwen" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.148.
(7) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.52 and p.54.
(8) "Math son of Mathonwy" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.111.
(9) see 'Oimelc' here on Caer Australis for the birth of the Goddess at springtime.
(10) "May Day", In: Gerard Murphy (1956)'Early Irish Lyrics. Eighth to Twelfth Century. Edited with translation, notes and glossary' Clarendon Press, Oxford, (1970) pp. 156-157.
(11) "How Culhwch won Olwen" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.148 and p.168.
(12) adapted from "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. pp.47-48.
(13) Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.38.
(14) Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.46.
(15) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.57.
(16) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.59.
(17) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.51
(18) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. pp.39-40; and see The Birth of Oegus, the Mac Oc here on Caer Australis; For a derivation of the terms 'maponos, mabon and mac oc', see for instance: CELTICA vol 23.
(19) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. pp.43-44.
(20) "How Culhwch won Olwen" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.148.
(21) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.65
(22) "The Courting of Emer" In: Lady Gregory (1902) "Cuchulain of Muirthemne. The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster arranged and put into English." Colin Smythe Gerrards Cross (1970), p.35.
(23) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. pp.52-55.
(24) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. pp.50-51.
(25) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. pp.51-54 and p.55.
(26) "Branwen Daughter of Llyr" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. pp.68-69.
(27) "How Culhwch won Olwen" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.153.
(28) "The Courting of Emer" In: Lady Gregory (1902) "Cuchulain of Muirthemne. The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster arranged and put into English." Colin Smythe Gerrards Cross (1970), p.42.
(29) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.55.
(30) see for example Charles Squire (1905) 'Celtic Myth and Legend Poetry and Romance' re-published as Celtic Myth and Legend' in 1975 by Newcastle Publishing, p.40.
(31) see Fabulous Births, The birth of Gwri Golden Hair, The birth of Oengus, the Mac Oc and The birth of Setanta here on Caer Australis; also see ref 12, pp.130-131 and "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.61-62.
(32) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. pp.55-56.
(33) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. pp.48-49.
(34) Mac Nia, son of Oenna In: the Book of Ballymote, p.190, published in Eugene O'Curry (1855) In: "Lectures on the MS Materials of Ancient Irish History" James Duffy, Dublin (1861), Appendix XXI, p.505.
(35) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. pp.47-48.
(36) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.41.
(37) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.50..
(38) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.49.
(39) "Midhir and Etain" In: Lady Gregory (1904) 'Gods and Fighting Men' Colin Smythe, Gerrards Cross (1970) p.90.
(40) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.51.
(41) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.61-62: the reader will see exact one year progressions from the wooing of Rhiannon through to the birth of Gwri on p.54 'a year from tonight (the night of their meeting) in Heveydd's court' (the first year elapses), p. 56 'I will set a date, a year from tonight' (the second year elapses), p.59 'Pwyll and Rhiannon ruled Dyfed prosperously the first year and the second (the third and fourth years elapse), p.59 At the third year of their reign, Pwyll requests 'another year' for them to produce a child (the fifth year elapses, and before the year was up Rhiannon bore Pwyll a son at Arberth' who was abducted and found still in his swaddling cloth by Teirnon and his wife on May Eve, Beltaine: this was three days after the boy had been born, we know because we are told (42) that Mabon ap Modron "when three nights old was stolen away from between his mother and the wall' . The son of Pwyll and Rhiannon was the new Maponos to follow Pwyll, just as was Mabon ap Modron the Maponos, and just as the theme of three days is iterated in the stories of the wooing of Bé Find by Maponos, so again is the three day theme displayed in the birth of Maponos, confirming the actual birth of Mabon ap Modron to be at Beltaine.
(42) "How Culhwch won Olwen" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. pp.164-165 and p.158.
(43) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.42.
(44) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.43.
(45) "Sluaghid Dathi co Sliabh n-Ealpa", or the "Expedition of Dathi to the Alpine Mountains" In: Book of Leinster, published by Eugene O'Curry (1856) 'Lectures on the MS materials of ancient Irish history delivered at the Catholic University of Ireland' James Duffy, London, (1861) pp.284-288. (found in quoted in full in The Expedition of Dathi here on Caer Australis)
(46) Cormac's Glossary (9th century) quoted, for example In: P.W. Joyce in his 'A Social History of Ancient Ireland' (1903) Longmans, Green, and Co, p.390 (found in P.W.Joyce: 1903 here on Caer Australis)
(47) "The Coming of the Tuatha De Danaan" In: Lady Gregory (1904) 'Gods and Fighting Men' Colin Smythe, Gerrards Cross (1970) p.34.
(48) "Math Son of Mathonwy" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.115.
(49) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.48.
(50) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.50.
(51) "The only Jealosy of Emer" In: Lady Gregory (1902) "Cuchulain of Muirthemne. The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster arranged and put into English." Colin Smythe Gerrards Cross (1970), p.214.
(52) "The Wooing of Étaíne" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1981) 'Early Irish Myths and Sagas' Penguin, London. p.55.
(53) "Midhir and Etain" In: Lady Gregory (1904) 'Gods and Fighting Men' Colin Smythe, Gerrards Cross (1970) p.95.
(54) Hev "summer" plus the descriptor '-ydd'
(55) W.B.Yeats (1888) "The Trooping Fairies" In: 'Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry Edited and Selected by William Butler Yeats' Reprinted in 'A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend, and Folklore' Compiled and Edited by Claire Booss, Avenel Books, New York (1986), p.2. (found in W.B Yeats 1888 here on Caer Australis).
(56) For a full examination of the Celtic Calendar from Gaul, see The Silver Circle here on Caer Australis and references therein.
(57) see The Feast of St. John here on Caer Australis.
(58) Caesar 'The Conquest of Gaul' translated by S.A.Handford (1951), Penguin, London.
(59) Compare with the timing of the equally lunar Easter festival in Christendom.
(60) Douglas Hyde (1899) "A Literary History of Ireland" Ernest Benn Limited, London (1967), p.161, quoting from Whitley Stokes "Lives of the saints from the Book of Lismore" (see Oimelc here on Caer Australis).
(61) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.64.
(62) "Pwyll Lord of Dyfed" In: Jeffrey Gantz (1976) 'The Mabinogion' Penguin, London. p.58.
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