>LRF: Hang on a sec, what about the Three-Fold Death scene that
recurs in the Irish king tales? A king, whose death has been foretold by
a woman, usually at a banquet, dies a) because the house he's in
catches fire, b) because a spear cast through the wall/door of the house
pierces him in the side, and c) because he simultaneously falls into a
vat of mead and drowns. If that isn't a case of our mythology recording
a memory of ritual sacrifice, what is it?
Ah but triple death is not the same as 'sacrifice'. Sacrifice is when a
person is killed by others in a deliberate ritual process that is an
accepted laid out method of achieving some higher goal, like bringing
rains (or stopping them perhaps in the case of Ireland - do you know
how many words there are in Irish for 'mud'?!!! :-) The notion of a triple
death goes way back in much of the lore of the western world, as far as
we can push it. Its not just a 'Celtic' theme, its a western pagan
theme. Remembering that Christ can also be said to have suffered a
triple death, hung, thirsted, and stabbed. It appears to go hand in
hand with a notion of a triple 'spirit' or soul, which brings us to the
cauldrons of poesy which explains to some degree how this was taught
and perceived. I think the idea is that the various forms of the soul of
a person are gained through slightly different pathways, and at death
the person's spirits can recycle, but if all three forms of spirit are 'killed'
at the same time, then that person is fully dead and not coming round
another time. The triple deaths in Irish lore can often be seen to occur
at the end of a royal line - it's death in person now and forever.