Fae: Myths and Legends

Tuatha Dé Danann

idun_and_the_apples

The Tuath(a) Dé Danann (usually translated as “people(s)/tribe(s) of the goddess Danu”), also known by the earlier name Tuath Dé (“tribe of the gods”), are a race of supernaturally-gifted people in Irish mythology. They are thought to represent the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland.

The Tuatha Dé Danann were descended from Nemed, leader of a previous wave of inhabitants of Ireland. They came from four cities to the north of Ireland–Falias, Gorias, Murias and Finias–where they acquired their magical skills and attributes. According to Lebor Gabála Érenn, they came to Ireland “in dark clouds” and “landed on the mountains of [the] Conmaicne Rein in Connachta; and they brought a darkness over the sun for three days and three nights”. According to a later version of the story, they arrived in ships on the coast of the Conmaicne Mara’s territory (modern Connemara). They immediately burnt the ships “so that they should not think of retreating to them; and the smoke and the mist that came from the vessels filled the neighboring land and air. Therefore it was conceived that they had arrived in clouds of mist”.

The Lost Colony

Baptism_of_Virginia_Dare

The Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in Dare County, present-day North Carolina, United States, was a late-16th-century attempt by Queen Elizabeth I to establish a permanent English settlement. The enterprise was financed and organized originally by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who drowned in 1583 during an aborted attempt to colonize St. John’s, Newfoundland. Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s half brother Sir Walter Raleigh would gain his brother’s charter from Queen Elizabeth I and subsequently would execute the details of the charter through his delegates Ralph Lane and Richard Grenville, Raleigh’s distant cousin.
The final group of colonists disappeared during the Anglo-Spanish War, three years after the last shipment of supplies from England. Their disappearance gave rise to the nickname “The Lost Colony”.

In 1587, Raleigh dispatched a new group of 150 colonists to establish a colony on Chesapeake Bay. They were led by John White, an artist and friend of Raleigh who had accompanied the previous expeditions to Roanoke. White was later appointed Governor and Raleigh named 12 assistants to aid in Roanoke’s settlement. They were ordered to travel to Roanoke first to gather Grenville’s men, but when they arrived on July 22, 1587, they found nothing except a skeleton that may have been the remains of one of the English garrison.
They were counting on these men to help with the new colony, but when they could find no one, they gave up hope of ever seeing Grenville’s men alive. The fleet’s commander, Simon Fernandez, now refused to let the colonists return to the ships, insisting they establish the new colony on Roanoke. His motive remains unclear.
White re-established relations with the Croatans and tried to establish friendly relations with the tribes Ralph Lane had battled the previous year. The hostile tribes refused to meet with him. Shortly thereafter, colonist George Howe was killed by an Indian while searching alone for crabs in Albemarle Sound.
Fearing for their lives, the colonists persuaded Governor White to return to England to explain the colony’s desperate situation and ask for help. Left behind were about 115 colonists — the remaining men and women who had made the Atlantic crossing plus White’s newly born granddaughter Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas.

Odin

Odin

Odin is a major god in Norse mythology, the Allfather of the gods, and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Old English “Wōden”, the Old Saxon “Wôdan” and the Old High German “Wôtan”, the name is descended from Proto-Germanic “*Wōdanaz” or “*Wōđanaz”. “Odin” is generally accepted as the modern English form of the name, although, in some cases, older forms may be used or preferred. His name is related to ōðr, meaning “fury, excitation”, besides “mind”, or “poetry”. His role, like that of many of the Norse gods, is complex. Odin is a principal member of the Æsir (the major group of the Norse pantheon) and is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, Shamanism, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is the thunder god Thor.

Dana (Danu)

danu

In Irish mythology, Danu; modern Irish Dana is the mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann (Old Irish: “The peoples of the goddess Danu”). Though primarily seen as an ancestral figure, some Victorian sources also associate her with the land.

As the mother of the gods, Danu has strong parallels with the Welsh literary figure (or goddess) Dôn, who is the mother figure of the medieval tales in the Mabinogion.
Danu was considered as the mythic mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Celtic tribes that first invaded Ireland. The Celts, also on the continent, had several goddesses, also of war. “Apart from these goddesses of war, there were other Amazonian figures who led armies into battle. Often they were also endowed with legendary sexual prowess…” “The Celts included the cult of the mother goddess in their rites, as archeological evidence testifies. Indeed, the Tuatha Dé were the descendants of the goddess Danu, and in some local instances, the ruler of the otherworld was a goddess, rather than a god, just as some folktales represented the otherworld as ‘the Land of Women’. Danu may be connected with Brigit, daughter of Kildare and of learning, culture and skills, as both of them have been described as daughters of the Dagda at one point and also have been described as mothers of Brian, Iuchar, and Iucharba. Brigit was known as Brigantia in northern England is hypothesized to have survived as St Bride in Christianity.

Brighid

Imbolc-brigid

In Celtic religion and Irish mythology, Brigit or Brighid (exalted one) is the daughter of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was the wife of Bres of the Fomorians, with whom she had a son, Ruadán.
She had two sisters, also named Brighid, and is considered a classic Celtic Triple Goddess.

Brigit (Brigid) was the goddess of healing and fertility as well as the goddess of craft, especially of metalworking. Brigit was probably the goddess of fire and poetry.
She was the warrior goddess as well as the patron goddess of craftsmen.
In the Irish myths, Brigit was daughter of Dagda. Brigit was sometimes identified with the goddess Danu, the mother goddess of the Danann, but this would cause even greater confusion in already confusing genealogy.

Birgit was normally said to be the wife of Senchán Forpeist, though in another version, she had mated Bres, one of the Danann kings, and became the mother of Rúadan.

Her name was also spelt, Brigid, means “High One” or the “One Who Is Exalted”. During the time of Roman power, Brigit was identified with Brigindo or Brigandu in Gaul, while she was called Brigantia, after the Celtic tribe living in northern England.

Valkyrie

490px-Helgi_und_Sigrun_by_Johannes_Gehrts

Norse mythology, a valkyrie (from Old Norse valkyrja “chooser of the slain”) is one of a host of female figures who decide which soldiers die in battle and which live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle (the other half go to the goddess Freyja’s afterlife field Fólkvangr), the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar. When the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear them mead. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens, and sometimes connected to swans or horses.

Kelpie

kelpie-2

The kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore that is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland; the name may be from Scottish Gaelic cailpeachor colpach “heifer, colt”

In mythology, the kelpie is described as a strong and powerful horse. It is a white and sky blue colour and appeared as a lost pony, but could be identified by its constantly dripping mane. Its mane and tail are a bit curly. Its skin was said to be like that of a seal, smooth but as cold as death when touched. Kelpies were said to transform into beautiful women to lure men into their traps. They created illusions to keep themselves hidden, keeping only their eyes above water to scout the surface.

Fae

Johann_Heinrich_Füssli_058

A fairy (also fay, fae; from faery, faerie, “realm of the fays”) is a type of mythical being or legendary creature in European folklore, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural or preternatural. Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term fairy offers many definitions. Sometimes the term describes any magical creature, including goblins or gnomes: at other times, the term only describes a specific type of more ethereal creature or sprite. Various folkloristic traditions refer to them euphemistically, by names such as wee folk, good folk, people of peace, fair folk (Welsh tylwyth teg), etc.

In old Celtic fairy lore the sidhe (fairy folk) are immortals living in the ancient barrows and cairns. The Tuatha de Danaan are associated with several Otherworld realms including Mag Mell (the Pleasant Plain), Emain Ablach (the Fortress of Apples or the Land of Promise or the Isle of Women), and the Tir na nÓg (the Land of Youth).

Ankh

ankh

Represents the concept of eternal life, which is the general meaning of the symbol. Also known as key of life. Additionally, an ankh was often carried by Egyptians as an amulet, either alone, or in connection with two other hieroglyphs that mean “strength” and “health”.

One thought on “Fae: Myths and Legends

  1. Ryan says:

    Greetings,

    This is a fascinating blog. I am interested in finding out a little more of some of the art you have posted in this blog.

    Particularly, the Dana (Danu) oiece … can you tell me a little more about the sculpture. It is an amazing piece and I’d like to know who created it along with what it may be made of.

    This is a fantastic site. Thank you for all your hard work!

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