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Author Topic: Constructing a Ritual based on Two Paths  (Read 5041 times)
Gonner
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« Reply #15: April 28, 2011, 10:48:00 am »

Interesting perspective. That certainly takes a bit of the pressure off when reading and interpreting these stories. Maybe I shouldn't be expecting Shakespearean family intrigue!

I think Shakespeare is a good comparason to make because shakespeare wrote in the 16th century and some of the myths of the fianna for example were written down in the 15th century and later. Thats something worth remembering imo. The influences on the authors could be similar enough even if they were working on different types of literature.

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I might be tempted to argue that in Scottish lore, Bride's magic wand is reminiscent of the Dagda's magic staff.

I can see what youre saying there with the life and death stuff and its a very good point. There may be a similarity between Bride and the Dagda in that area but Id refine the idea and look to see if Bride can either be linked to the brig strongly or if the Brig possessed the skills in that area that Bride has because Id be cautious about comparing medieval literature and folk tradition too closely. The similarities between myth and folklore sometimes get more emphasis then the differences for political reasons and there is a gulf of centuries of change between myth and folklore that should have a big 'caution' sign over it.

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Although the latter is often referred to as a "club," I don't know of any instances in which he used it as a simple weapon for physically striking anyone. (I could be mistaken, so feel free to correct me.)

He does use the staff in another story and I think Lugh or Aengus asks him to bring the guys he kills back to life with the other end so youre making a good point imo.  

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The power of his wand to restore life has something of a parellel with Bride's wand, which she uses to bring back the spring vegetation. Admittedly, Dagda's staff can kill as well as revive people. But the Cailleach has her own wand that she uses to blast and wither the land, which presents another parallel if you take the view that Bride and the Cailleach are really two halves of the same coin. Just some thoughts that come to mind.

The Irish version of the Cailleach is both so theres an argument to be made there right enough. This is where I think the gap caused by the centuries of time that passed between the written trad of  the medieval vernacular and contemporary folk trad is significant though. Take the Irish and scottish versions of the Cailleach as an example of that change, while they probably originate from the same concept in the medieval the cailleach in Irish folklore is fairly different to the scottish version that means at some point there was a fork in the road that caused the differences. An even more relevant point is that despite that diversity the Irish and scottish cailleachs in folklore they are more similar to each other then they are to the medieval Cailleach.

While both examples of Cailleachs in folklore might contain motifs common to goddesses medieval lit. they are leagues away from being the pagan mother goddess/tutelary goddess/sovereignty queen that Bui of the pagan Corcu Duibhne people that occupyied the Beara penninsula in Kerry and West Cork and inspired the poem "The Lament of the Cailleach Beara" was. The Scottish Cailleach is a long way from the atlantic kissed shores of county kerry and the territorial association and the tutelary function is redundant, the corcu duibhne have decendants but the system of clientship is gone so the mother goddess is redundant... over time even the name Bui became irrellivant and the cailleach changed significantly... I think itd be a mistake to compare the contemporary folklore with the medieval lit too closely there. Those cailleachs are something significantly different to the original.

I would say the same is true of Bride because its true of Saint Brigit imo. The life of Saint Brigit contains motifs that recur in other examples of medieval vernacular lit but like in the example of the Cailleach we are only discussing motifs we are not saying that the saint is the same as the goddess.

For example the title 'The Brig' and the population name 'Brigantia' has lost its meaning where it indicated a high place (possibly a deified mountain) and a mountain people (the Brigantians might have been in the Blackstairs mountains in co. Wexford here and the pennines mountains in Britain) the title has become a personal name and now indicates someone related to an early monastic city in the flattest land in Ireland. Thats a serious departure.

Where folk trads with saint brigit occur Id be cautious about applying them to the Brig. I mean take fire cults and the handycrafts we see and would like to relate to Brigid alone... those are broad folk traditions and are shared in by lots of saints. Saint patrick for example is lauded by neopaganism as a sort of medieval born again evangelist and is viewed in almost the opposite way to saint brigit and he has handycraft crosses and a fire cult just like saint Brigit. Saint Colm Cille again has the same and even a small regional saint the ascetic monk saint kevin who lived in a cave where my family are from had his own fire cult. They are folk trads we ascribe to saint brigit but they are not necessarily ancient or pagan or specific to saint Brigit and to apply them to pagan deities is something that requires a bit of caution.

Great point anyway Malkin Im going to explore that myself.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 10:53:26 am by Nuadu_Of_Kildare » Logged

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