>Nature, as a prehistoric
> person saw it, was chaotic and uncontrolled.
You mean it's not? <G>
> There are no fields laid
> out, there are no houses to live in, weather changes uncontrollably
> and (hopefully you will agree) absolutely randomly (as it does so due
> to chaotic processes). The seasons come and go, but one year the
> harvest is bad due to bad weather conditions, the other year it is
> good, because of the weather, and all of this can't be controlled by
> humans, at least not very well.
Which is why Celts celebrated their harvest feast at the beginning of
the harvest: to conduct rituals that would ensure a good harvest, not to
thank the deities for one already gathered in. Central to Celtic belief
was the conviction that if you did the right ritual, things would be OK.
> As such, nature is chaos for the
> prehistoric mind of the IE people, and only human spirit brings some
> measure of order and control into this chaos. It is the human house
> that gives shelter from nauture and its forces, human work that tames
> animals and grows crops on a regular basis, human rules that, by
> erecting a fence or palisade, keeps wild animals out and tame animals
> in. As such, natural chaos is tamed by human order.
As illustrated in the Second Battle of Moytura and the various
Lughnassad rituals documented by MacNeil and others in which the Formori
represent the uncontrolled forces of nature and Lugh and the Tuatha D/
represent the forces of order.
> > Was ancient Celtic religion dualistic as you seem to imply?
> It was, quite definitly.
There were other balances of two: Ireland was divided in two (north and
south), in two above ground and below. Days were unlucky or lucky. There
were other balances other than two, as well. Ireland also was divided in
five (Settling of the Manor of Tara), similar to other I-E divisions:
west, north, east, south, and the center. The functions of society can
be said to correspond to the divisions--druid, warrior, farmer,
serf--with sovereignty in the center; this also corresponds to other I-E
systems. There are also triple divisions: land, water, and sky; triple
deities, etc. Other divisions came in nines, eighteens, twenty-sevens,
etc. But through it all, the goal was to achieve balance, to counter the
forces of chaos that threatened to overwhelm the order of the world and
send it back into the chaos where humans could not survive. The Tuatha
D/e were successful because they had the knowledge/skill to win over the
forces of chaos when other invaders of Ireland failed. Then the Sons of
Mil succeeded in overwhelming the Tuatha D/e because they made an
allegiance with the powers of the land--as represented by the triple
goddesses (Erainn, Fodla, and Banba).