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Author Topic: Celtic Creation Myth?  (Read 13341 times)
Savage_Spirit
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« Topic Start: April 26, 2008, 09:05:32 pm »

Hey, I'm in the mood to pick people's brains again.  So here goes.

To my knowledge there does not exist a complete Celtic creation myth, but there are some fragments and hints floating around out there in different sources.

Have any of you tried taking those fragments and hints and combined them with UPG and/or myths from non-Celtic cultures to come up with a Celtic creation myth?  Know of anyone who has?
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« Reply #1: April 26, 2008, 09:10:52 pm »

Have any of you tried taking those fragments and hints and combined them with UPG and/or myths from non-Celtic cultures to come up with a Celtic creation myth?  Know of anyone who has?

My Celt is of the opinion that it's important that the concept of creation myth is decentered in his neo-reconstructionism.  He is prone to exclaiming, "The closest we've (Irish recon perspective) got is 'Some people arrived here, and there were people here, and conquered them.  And then some other people arrived, and conquered them.  And then we arrived ...'"

He highly values the sort of continuity feel of it, the lack of beginning and implied end, just the ongoing interactions of people and gods and land.  (If I'm remembering his rambles on the subject clearly.)
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« Reply #2: April 27, 2008, 12:01:39 pm »

Hey, I'm in the mood to pick people's brains again.  So here goes.

To my knowledge there does not exist a complete Celtic creation myth, but there are some fragments and hints floating around out there in different sources.

Have any of you tried taking those fragments and hints and combined them with UPG and/or myths from non-Celtic cultures to come up with a Celtic creation myth?  Know of anyone who has?

Many people that I've come across have decided against working on a creation myth for exactly the reasons Darkhawk's Celt mentioned- I myself have no use for one, really.
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« Reply #3: April 27, 2008, 12:30:29 pm »


This is strictly UPG, but I wonder if the different invasion stories aren't a form of creation myth. It is shown that the Celt's did have some conception of an under realm, so it is possible that the first four were constructing the under realms (fairy world for all intents and purpose). Then humans come onto the scene (the origins are irrelevant in the stories) and one of them speaks a poem, something akin to saying a spell and almost like speaking the world into existence. This overlays the human world ontop of the original fairy world.
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« Reply #4: April 27, 2008, 12:42:39 pm »

This is strictly UPG, but I wonder if the different invasion stories aren't a form of creation myth. It is shown that the Celt's did have some conception of an under realm, so it is possible that the first four were constructing the under realms (fairy world for all intents and purpose). Then humans come onto the scene (the origins are irrelevant in the stories) and one of them speaks a poem, something akin to saying a spell and almost like speaking the world into existence. This overlays the human world ontop of the original fairy world.

I don't know that I'd agree with that entirely; creation myths in all other cultures that I've ever heard deal with not only the creation of land but the creation of people. If the various invasions and their subsequent banishments in essence "creates" the world, where do the people fit in? Even if the Irish took an unusual creation route and made the people first (it's my understanding the land comes first in extant creation myths), and that the people willed the land into existence, where did they come from?
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« Reply #5: April 27, 2008, 12:45:53 pm »


Who knows, wasn't the land already there and then the people just showed up? Maybe there is more we are missing, or maybe I'm completely off the mark.
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« Reply #6: April 27, 2008, 03:39:18 pm »

I don't know that I'd agree with that entirely; creation myths in all other cultures that I've ever heard deal with not only the creation of land but the creation of people.

(I know at least a half dozen Egyptian creation myths; none of them deal with people.  The closest we've got to 'creation of people' is a pun.  It's all pretty much 'this is where the cosmos came from, more or less, and once it's been let run it become full of people and animals and stuff like that'.)
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« Reply #7: April 27, 2008, 03:42:13 pm »

(I know at least a half dozen Egyptian creation myths; none of them deal with people.  The closest we've got to 'creation of people' is a pun.  It's all pretty much 'this is where the cosmos came from, more or less, and once it's been let run it become full of people and animals and stuff like that'.)

Really? That's very interesting- I guess I'll have to reconsider my position on the Irish myth nigel posited, then.
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« Reply #8: April 27, 2008, 04:19:32 pm »

From what I've read, I don't think the Irish Book of Invasions has ever been interpreted as a creation myth.  Those are migration myths which some people have connected with real life migrations of the various races that inhabited Ireland.

For a creation myth, we would probably have to look farther to the east to the original Celtic homeland, I think.

I've constructed a creation story that incorporates some of the clues that I've found, but it is really at least 75% UPG and meant only as an illustration of my understanding of Celtic cosmology.  It deals with the sacred well and the sacred tree, the animistic beliefs of the Celts, the decent of tribes from various animals, and Caesar's account that the Gauls believed themselves to be descended from "Dis Pater", a god of the Underworld.

It is quite long (almost three pages), but if anyone would like to read it, I'll post it here.
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« Reply #9: April 27, 2008, 04:28:24 pm »

For a creation myth, we would probably have to look farther to the east to the original Celtic homeland, I think.

What are you referring to, here? It implies to me the common syncreticism with India.

Also, please don't forget to quote the post you're replying to- it makes following the threads of conversation much easier. Thanks!
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« Reply #10: April 27, 2008, 05:56:49 pm »

From what I've read, I don't think the Irish Book of Invasions has ever been interpreted as a creation myth.  Those are migration myths which some people have connected with real life migrations of the various races that inhabited Ireland.

Actually, it has. I read one man's interpretation in a book whose title escapes me. I'm vainly trying to dig it up.

Brendan Myers, I understand, has also used this story as a model for the Celtic creation myth, as I heard it on deo's Shadow podcast.
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« Reply #11: April 27, 2008, 06:15:32 pm »

Actually, it has. I read one man's interpretation in a book whose title escapes me. I'm vainly trying to dig it up.

Brendan Myers, I understand, has also used this story as a model for the Celtic creation myth, as I heard it on deo's Shadow podcast.

Ah, here it is: http://www.amazon.com/Irish-Celtic-Magical-Tradition/dp/1855381494

He (Steve Blamires) even creates a magical system based on this myth, as well as telling it like a creation story.
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« Reply #12: April 27, 2008, 06:38:11 pm »

Hey, I'm in the mood to pick people's brains again.  So here goes.

To my knowledge there does not exist a complete Celtic creation myth, but there are some fragments and hints floating around out there in different sources.

Have any of you tried taking those fragments and hints and combined them with UPG and/or myths from non-Celtic cultures to come up with a Celtic creation myth?  Know of anyone who has?

I think Peter Beresford Ellis had a go at one in one of his books - I've not read it though, so I could be wrong.

The Lebor Gabala Erenn (Book of Invasions) could be seen as an origin myth because it tells of how Ireland came to be. Certain bits of it could imply evidence of an underlying creation myth, because as each wave of invaders comes to Ireland, they shape it in some way by creating the lakes and plains etc, or bring something in terms of social or moral structure (kingship, the arts, agriculture etc).

It's possibly also significant that the Fomorians come on the scene and start causing problems after agriculture is introduced to the land, and only stop causing problems after the Tuatha De Danann defeat them and Lugh extracts some valuable information from Bres about how best to sow and harvest etc.
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« Reply #13: April 27, 2008, 08:32:39 pm »

What are you referring to, here? It implies to me the common syncreticism with India.

While I am one who does believe that Celtic myth has some syncretism with most Indo-European myths, that statement was not meant to direct our attention to India.  I was thinking more of the Danube river valley.
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« Reply #14: April 28, 2008, 04:45:29 pm »

Actually, it has. I read one man's interpretation in a book whose title escapes me. I'm vainly trying to dig it up.

Brendan Myers, I understand, has also used this story as a model for the Celtic creation myth, as I heard it on deo's Shadow podcast.

More specifically, Brendan is referring to the Cath Magh Tureidh which he believes contains the elements of a possible pre-Christian Celtic creation myth.
http://www.deos-shadow.com/?p=47
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