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CELTIC-L  May 1999

CELTIC-L May 1999

Subject:

Fw: Tripartite deity

From:

Mike Hayman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mike Hayman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 15 May 1999 10:28:04 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (61 lines)

>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Sharon Smith Hurlburt <[log in to unmask]>
>
>>I'm not trying to sound snitty or anything but where on Earth did you come
>>up with this? I've seen at least three different versions of Danu's name,
>>references to three aspects of Brighid (Healer, Smith, & Poet) & the
>>Morrigan's supposed to occasionally split herself into three (although the
>>same three are referenced other places as her daughters) but I've never
>>heard of anyone claiming that all three were supposed to be aspects of the
>>same Goddess before.
>>
>
I don't think you're snitty, verifying sources are important. After all this
is the web and the info you may be only as good as what you paid for it!

You know once I think about it I can't remember where I first encountered
this interpretation, so I am hard put to name an accurate source. I have
read pretty extensively over the years as many books on the subject as I
could find (not many of which I have been able to retain in my library).  It
may have first come to my attention through the "Mists of Avalon" by Marion
Zimmer Bradley, which of course a quasi-historical fantasy novel so thus is
not a proper source even though a damn good read.  My belief is that I may
have first read about it in Joseph Campbell somewhere.  I shall see where I
can find it.  Than again it may all be completely my artistic vision because
I really don't know when I first came to believe this.  I am not an
academic, but my interpretation, if not archeologically or literately
supported from the first source Mabinogion or Ulster Cycle tales (which are
of course self-contradictory collections that are evolved retelling),  just
feels correct none the less.

Hmm, I have returned from my bookcase and there I find something right away:
RJ Stewart "Celtic Gods, Celtic Goddesses" ( copyright 1990 Blandford
Publishing) who discuss Robert Graves observation of  Maiden, Mother, Crone
(growth, maturity, decay) cycles.  He spends a lot of time discussing the
various archetypes and how naming conventions based on the archetype
evolved.

Part of the problem maybe my initial use of the specific names Morrigan,
Danu, and Brighid as for the type of goddess or archetype they occupy.
Brighid being a virgin goddess, Danu the mother, and Morrigan a dark mother
or chthonic entity.  I indeed probably have the names wrong when I used
these specifically but there clearly is belief with at least some ancient
Celts about a three aspected goddess with these features.  Not so neat for
scholars as breaking them up into distinct entities with unique names or
titles but it did occur.  Some tribes did indeed break her up into nice
distinct entities.  It may even be possible that the polytheistic
anthropomorphic approach may have been reserved for those who were not able
to handle paradoxical mysteries even though the teacher/story teller
believed otherwise.  I think that the study of Celtic deities may also have
issues based on our Latin/Christian cultural heritage who seem more likely
to want to split or rename the entities in order to absorb them as saints or
other members of a polytheistic pantheon for what ever reasons.  Hell, even
Christians have fought long and hard about their own saints, angels, devils
and demons coupled with the trifold aspects of its monotheistic Ultimate
Ground of all Being of Son, Father and Holy Spirit (or Ghost).

Mike Hayman
Celtic and Medieval Jewelry
http://haymancelticjewelry.com

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