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CELTIC-L  May 1999

CELTIC-L May 1999

Subject:

Re: *Gaelic* Good and Evil?

From:

Graeme Bailey <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Graeme Bailey <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 22 May 1999 19:03:29 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (151 lines)

At 02:33 PM 21-05-1999 +0200, you wrote:
>Shae wrote:
<...>
>> fine was determined by the status of the victim.

This means there is not really the same concept like
in the biblical case of David's adultery with Bathsheba,
Herod's adultery with his brother's wife...
where even kings are not considered above the law of God,
although physically they had the power to do wrong?

>> infant sacrifice to Crom Cruach that are generally regarded as
>> Christian propaganda.

Has anyone thought of the possibility that Christians actually
cared about these things, and so spoke out against wrong things?

Not that speaking out isn't without some risk :-)
There is a picturesque circumstance in the bible where Jeremiah
speaks out and so then is confined to a cess pit...
or John the baptist's head is turned into a gift...

>> > What of the concept of appeasing the gods with sacrifices?
>>
>> Animals were sacrificed fairly regularly and there is little doubt
>> that humans were sacrificed from time to time.  <...>

It must be that the evidence would often just disappear?
Think of the various early desriptions, ie bodies hanging in trees,
thrown in wells, cast over cliffs, stabbed to death,
strangled and then burned... etc
how much evidence would be left?
these circumstances are not ritual burials...

There were those descriptions from the Greeks, from the
Romans (including the wicker man story),
and from Scandinavia and Russia, often involving
big bonfires...

Incidentally I saw a few years ago a video from a festival near Delhi
a huge wicker man was built then filled with sacrificial animals
and then the whole structure was then set alight...
I thought wow I've read about this in Julius Caesar...

>> A number of 'foundation' burials, either in or at the entrance to
ringforts, have
>> been found in Ireland and these are generally regarded as
>> sacrificial.

This is a real feature of Phoenician ritual practice?
The bones are often put in jars?
It is also mentioned as part of building the great wall of China,
every mile of its 10,000 miles a sacrifice was required...
>
>A few words should be said to this sacrifical victims thing -
<...> i.e. they form a "border" of a
>kind, and thus are, probably, quite close to the "otherworld". As such,
>while such burials may be those of sacrificial victims, they might very
>well also be burials of naturally deceased persons - as only few of them
>show signs of violent death. <...>

The tumuli in Ireland may be related to
burial customs like
the eye-witness description of a pagan ritual
and sacrifice on the Volga River in 922 AD
by the Arab traveller Ibn Fadlan contains many details,
and which agrees generally with Herodotus...
(much abbreviated)
a wooden ship and firewood are dragged on shore
plus a lot of firewood, a slave girl is chosen,
peple started to talk in an unfamiliar language,
the doomed woman drank and sang...
an old woman came whom they called
'the Angel of Death' who was in charge of dressing the
corpse of the man who had died, and also of killing
the woman. They gave him (the deceased) beer
(what a waste :-)
fruit and a lute, dressed him in fancy clothes,
laid him in the ship, added bread, meat and onions
(this is *not* a recipe :-)
took a dog, cut it in half and threw the pieces in...
two horses, two cows, likewise cut in pieces...
then a cock and a hen...
The slave girl then goes from tent to tent having
sexual intercourse with each funeral 'guest'
saying "tell your master I did this out of love for him"
The woman was lifted up three times
to a structure that was made of wood,
The interpreter explained that she said after each time
"Look I see my Mother and Father" then
"Look I see my dead relatives" then
"Look I see my master in paradise...etc" then
she gives away her jewellery, drinks more...
appears drugged, and confused, men beat drums,
six more men have sex with her, then she is laid
beside the corpse, four men hold her down
and 'the Angel of Death' puts a cord around her neck,
and the men draw it tight, then the old woman
starts stabbing her repeatedly between the ribs
while the men choked her, until she died...

A fierce fire is set, with all the 'congregation' adding
branches, until afterwards there is nothing but ashes.

On the spot, they built a large mound,
then in the middle a large post of birchwood,
with the names of the dead man, and of the king of the Rus"

<...>
>There, skeletal remains of five neonates
>(newborn babies) have been found in the drainage canals that existed
>there (the area where the settlement was is still a wetland site today)
>- seemingly "thrown into" the canals according to the excavators. <...>

Is this simply evidence of 'exposing'?
and how much evidence would always remain, considering
the age-old fear of being 'left for the dogs'?
(Note bible story of Jezebel)

><snipped>
>> how much was taken from it.  There have been some attempts to link
>> the cauldron to the Arthurian Grail, but I don't know how successful
>> they are.
>
>Quite a lot. Actually, the Grail mythology has been shown to quite
>definitly have been built on Celtic mythology. Probably, Pamela can tell
>us a lot more about this.

I read a story in Herodotus that explains that with a cauldron,
and a country where firewood is rare or non-existent,
a cauldron can be used to cook an animal, the bones are used for fuel,
and the meat is put into the stomach of the animal,
and so the animal can be made to cook itself?

In  Mongolia, I remember a story of fifty prisoners
being cooked up and eaten using cauldrons,
I could look it up if anyone doubts?
 >>
>> > What of curses?
>>
>> No examples come to mind but maybe somebody else can think of some.
>> Satire was more feared than anything else, often leading to the death
>> of the person against whom it was directed.
>>
>Well, quite famous are the inscriptions found at Larzac, France, which
>contain a Celtic curse formula.
<...>
The general thrust behind these issues is for people to compare
how pagan 'values' and practices compare with Christian values
and customs, which are *also* part of our cultural background.

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