> From: David Stifter [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Are there other references known where demons fight the
> progressing soul in chariots? In vision literature there are of course
> many references to the throngs of demons that have to be
> overcome (e.g. Navigatio Brendani 24, 25; Visio Tundali; Fís
> Adomnáin), but these demons all seem to be "on foot". The only
> instance where demons are associated at least with horses (horse-
> race) is in Immram curaig Máele Dúin 5, but that is a different
> situation there.
In the Christian apocrypha there is a strain of tradition that one
might call the "seven heavens." This envisions each level of heaven as a
ring with a wall and a gate. The soul is challenged at each gate. The just
soul scales the obstacles--hordes of demons or fiery walls--with ease while
the less pious souls are obliged to remain for a period of purgation or are
sent to hell. This notion of heaven has been found in Hiberno-Latin sources
dating from the same period as the preface to the ACC (tenth c.) and a
little later. It seems to fit with the soul's plea in ACC to be saved from
the encounter with the demons; it also fits with the reference to a fiery
The chariot, OTOH, seems to be a uniquely Irish image/motif. If so,
this would seem to be an example of the blending of Christian tradition with
For further reading:
Herbert, _Iona, Kells, & Derry_ (Four Courts, 1996)
Herbert & McNamara, _Irish Biblical Apocrypha_ (T&T Clark, 1989)
Stevenson, "Ascent through the Heavens, from Egypt to Ireland" pp.
21-35 in CMCS 5 (Summer 1983)
> On the other hand chariots are regarded as appropriate means of
> journeying for saints: cf. John Ryan, Irish Monasticism, p. 244.
J.F. Nagy has done some nice analysis of chariots and charioteers as
motifs in both secular and hagiographic tales. His earlier work on this
topic appears in a journal article, but the more extensive treatments can be
found in his book, _Conversing with Angels and Ancients_.
BTW, the phantom of Cu Chulainn travels to heaven in a chariot,
iirc, after being redeemed. I'm not sure how relevant that is.