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CELTIC-L  June 2010

CELTIC-L June 2010

Subject:

Re: Sentuinne - Cailleach - Morrigan

From:

Bernard Morgan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Thu, 10 Jun 2010 20:55:26 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (145 lines)

Just for explaination: I might be charged wrongly or right with Conflation, but I find Conflation is the justification used to explain away overlaping of characters (without the need for an explaination) in Gaelic Mythology.   

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________________________

On 2010-06-09 07:44:26 -0400 Eilidh Nic Aoidh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 
> 
> Bernard wrote:
>> As seen elsewhere Boi is understood to be “cow”. So isn’t Boind 
>> also Bui the Cailleach? (Shouldn't Muileartach Bhuidhe be a cow and not 
>> yellow?)
>  
> Hello Bernard
> This equation of Boi/Bui with 'cow' is only an idea, not to be taken as 
> gospel..  Nor is it related to 'yellow'.   Like Beare it's an ancient word 
> that noone really has a handle on, both possibly indicative of the 
> ancient-ness of these beings and their tales.  Even if Bui does turn out to 
> mean 'cow', that doesnt for a moment CONFLATE Bui with Boand.  If you start 
> looking for 'cow' goddesses in the Irish, they are everywhere - think of 
> Maeve and all her sisters, all of them totally fixated it seems on cows, and 
> the Morrigan was said by one author to mysteriously seem to have a thing 
> going with cows too, and what about Eithne (Lugh's mother) who ends up 
> getting pregnant because of the sacred cow, and then Flidais has her magical 
> cows.  And so on and on.  Personally, I feel that CONFLATION is possibly 
> the worst crime we can perpetrate on this Irish mythology - unless of 
> course one has a hidden agenda to prove that the pre-Xian Irish really 
> believed
> in The One True God -  with all the aspects called by different names 
>  (which has been tried on in the past...). .  
> I am not saying that some of the deities werent known under different names, 
> but this would generally be the exception not the rule, and  that for us to 
> presume to conflate is inherently risky as we know and understand such a 
> weeny bit of the old worldview, a worldview that we can say for sure was 
> hugely rich and varied.  
>  
> The thing about both 'cailleach' and 'sentuinne' is that these words are 
> callings, descriptions, they are not actual names of the people/goddesses 
> involved.  So both of them can be misleading in the extreme, and again, I 
>  would encourage you  to avoid equating and conflating these mentioned 
> personags, avoid it like the plague!!!  Nor do I feel you should read 
> anything into births or deaths at Samhein and Beltaine, as almost everyone 
> is/does.  Its just the ritual boundary moment that all deities and people go 
> through each year, not to be specifically associated as 'belonging' to anyone 
> in particular.  To propose that the Cailleach somehow has a special 
> relationship to Beltaine is 'cherry-picking', the situation where one has a 
> theory that we are searching for supporting evidence for - if you want it in 
> the rich Irish lore, you'll find it, but it doesnt usually hold any 
> significant significance unless you can place it within a much broader 
> context
> and prove that it isnt part of the general backdrop.  
>  
> I also have trouble with the prevalent notion that is inherent in a lot of 
> what today is written about the Cailleach - that she herself is, in Alun's 
> Ozzie-remembered terms, a silliolbugger, an old crone.   As the Cailleach 
> is the 'mother' of so many, I certainly would never look at her as 
> a postmenapausal old women - that to me is an insult.  She's just what she 
> is described as - a Great mother and ancestress, that's all, and if she is 
> also the earth goddess that kings mystically mate with, then she is clearly 
> still well and truly capable of massive fertility - in fact we all of us 
> depend upon her fertility to survive.   This 'infertility' notion I suspect 
> comes rather from the later notion, where the 'hooded' woman was the 
> virginal un-fertile nun, there is nothing really patent in the 
> Cailleach's OLD age.  Its more the idea that she is 'ancient' in a 
> mythical sense, not that she is a crone.   The poem about her on the beach 
> is
> interesting, but again its a relatively recent poem, set in a Xian context, 
> about an ancient being, which isnt the same thing as 'old', she's a goddess, 
> not a human.  And I would think that the scholars who have written that this 
> poem is about an ancient pagan deity who was no longer acceptable within the 
> realm of the new religion, they hit the notion on the head imo.  So many of 
> these deities, like Bride, end up being brought into the Xian sphere with 
> following human saints, but some werent, they seem to have been inherently 
> antagonistic to the new faith, and the Cailleach as the great female creator 
> of the earth is clearly going to have trouble fitting in with the new young 
> male God, who suddenly holds the role of  creator of the universe.  So 
> again, I'd be really wary of inferring that the Cailleach was an old women 
> as opposed to an ancient one.  
>  
> This notion of the 'old' crone as the Cailleach is also helped by the - in my 
> opinion - quite false notion that she is interchangeable with the young 
> Bride.  This is only once in evidence from a very late telling from the 
> Western Isles under Norse influence that the Cailleach *turns into* Bride - 
> and it has been I understand effectively debunked in Scottish terms.  Also, 
> if  we look at all the stories from ancient European mythology, there is a 
> very clear line that fits the Irish perfectly well, that Bridget as the fire 
> goddess also has the sun as her aspect, and as the goddess of the sun, she is 
> the child of the earth mother (the Cailleach).  Each night at sunset the Sun 
> is put to bed by her Mother the earth.  And its Bridget's sun-warmth in 
> springtime that warms the earth to return it to fertility, Bridget is not the 
> earth itself, that is the aspect of the great mother goddess who is typically 
> represented by the sacred mountain and who therefore
> controls the weather - just as we see in the Cailleach and all her other 
> European renditions.  .The story of Bride being held by the Cailleach is an 
> age-old story of the mother who loves her daughter and tries desperately to 
> keep her with her and prevent her marriage, just like for example Demeter who 
> controls the seasons through her grief or joy for her lost daughter 
> Persephone.  Its an old theme, because its also such a painfully human one. 
>    
>  
> I do think that the connection with The Cailleach and The Bodach is a valid 
> one, at least from placename evidence rather than mythology,, although you 
> possibly should notice that the old man with the pig in the Bruidne is not 
> called by this description (that I am aware).  So I wouldnt conflate either 
> the smith deity nor the bruidne old man with the Bodach of the 
> placenames.   Again, Bodach is a relatively common term for a powerful man 
> (not necessarily an old one!), and  in the Old Irish oghams we see this 
> suffix used many times added onto names to make them double-barrelled.  The 
> word seems to me to be a form of 'fire' (which I'm presuming is why it then 
> gets used for the 'penis'),  but McManus says that both are wrong and that 
> it probably derives from *bhau, "bhu, to strike - which goes to show how 
> difficult these matters can be.  Nonetheless, it still ends up referring to 
> the penis, which of course is a symbol of male virility - to match the
> Cailleach's female fertility - not something to associate with a man past his 
> prime. 
>  
> I guess what I'm saying here is that when we research into this ancient lore, 
> we have to let the stories tell us their own story, and be very aware that 
> we have 20C presumptions about the way things work which may turn out to 
> be fundamentally different to  the ancestor's.   We must let the stories 
> take us where they will.  Its all very well to start off with a 'theory', 
> but if a day went by where I went to bed at night still thinking the same 
> exact thoughts about this work as when I woke up, then I'd be very 
> worried... 
>   
> E.
>  
>  
> 
> 
>       
> 
> You can unsubscribe yourself by logging in on the list archives page at 
> https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A0=CELTIC-L&X=36DAE1476AF514EF73, 
> selecting the 'join or leave Celtic-L' link and going through the 
> unsubscription routine there.
> 

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