collapse

Author Topic: Etain and Midir; thee sun and the moon  (Read 1162 times)

MattyG

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jun 2012
  • Posts: 406
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Etain and Midir; thee sun and the moon
« on: July 20, 2012, 05:20:57 pm »
I was recently reading "The Wooing of Etain," and I started wondering about Etain and Midir as deities. I read Etain's Wikipedia page and there was a suggestion that she was once a sun goddess, but I'm not sure what that idea was based off of. Also, I could find no information on Midir outside of the story. I was hoping someone might know where I could look to learn a little bit more about these figures.

On a related note, I've not really found any information on Celtic sun or moon deities. I've heard it suggested that the sun might have been a goddess while the moon was a god (like in Norse Mythology), but I've never found any specific information on Celtic solar or lunar gods. If anyone knows more than I, I'd really appreciate the help. Thank you.

Aster Breo

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 2812
  • Country: 00
  • Total likes: 32
    • View Profile
Etain and Midir; thee sun and the moon
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 06:27:17 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;65246
If anyone knows more than I, I'd really appreciate the help. Thank you.

Are you looking for websites or books?

And are you interested in a specific Celtic country (e.g., Ireland, Scotland, Britain, Wales, Gaul...) or are you looking for pan-Celtic deities?

For a general starting point, try the Mary Jones website ( http://www.maryjones.us/ ).  There is also a very good online book called _Land, Sea & Sky_ ( http://homepage.eircom.net/~shae/ ) that, IIRC, has a good chapter on deities.

Probably the best-known Celtic goddess with strong sun associations is Brighid.  We have a Special Interest Group (SIG) here dedicated to Brighid, called the Cauldron Cill. (It's a group of people who tend Brighid's flame.)  Check the SIG folder for info on Brighid, especially the thread on resources, which lists tons of websites and books.

Another Irish sun goddess is Grainne.  There is less material available about Her, but try googling and looking in the various books on Irish or Celtic goddesses.  

The primary Irish god connected to the sun is Lugh.  I'm not as familiar with Him or with the deities of other Celtic cultures, either linked to the sun or moon.  But the references linked above will get you started.

There is also an excellent reading list on the Celtic Reconstructionist FAQ ( http://www.paganachd.com/faq/ ).  Look for the books on mythology and gods/goddesses in particular.  For info on the goddesses, one of my favorites is Miranda Green's _Celtic Goddesses_, which has a great chapter on Brighid.  There are many other excellent books, too, of course.  (And some that are not so excellent.)

You should also check out the Hazel & Oak Celtic Polytheism SIG.

I hope this is enough to get you started.  ;)

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

MattyG

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jun 2012
  • Posts: 406
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Etain and Midir; thee sun and the moon
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 06:40:15 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;65254
Are you looking for websites or books?

And are you interested in a specific Celtic country (e.g., Ireland, Scotland, Britain, Wales, Gaul...) or are you looking for pan-Celtic deities?

 
Thanks a lot! That's really useful information. In answer to your questions, websites and books are useful. I have particular leanings toward Irish deities, but I'm willing to look at other Celtic cultures to get an idea of shared beliefs. Once again, thank you.

NiDara

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Feb 2012
  • Posts: 260
  • Country: 00
  • Total likes: 8
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Gaelic Polytheism, Clann Bhride
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her they/them
Re: Etain and Midir; thee sun and the moon
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 02:04:33 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;65254


The primary Irish god connected to the sun is Lugh.  I'm not as familiar with Him or with the deities of other Celtic cultures, either linked to the sun or moon.  But the references linked above will get you started.


 
From my research, the notion of Lugh being viewed as a solar deity was mainly a Victorian one, not really having anything to do with the ancient Celts. He was more associated with lightning, storms and light in general.

Just my two cents.

Aster Breo

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 2812
  • Country: 00
  • Total likes: 32
    • View Profile
Etain and Midir; thee sun and the moon
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2012, 07:17:27 am »
Quote from: Amber Seal;65295
From my research, the notion of Lugh being viewed as a solar deity was mainly a Victorian one, not really having anything to do with the ancient Celts. He was more associated with lightning, storms and light in general.

Just my two cents.

Well, I didn't say Lugh was a "solar deity"; I said he was connected to the sun.  And I fully admit my ignorance about Lugh.  My primary area of study is Brighid.  :)

As I understand it, Lugh's connection to the sun is based on the interpretation of the meaning of His name as "light" or "shining" (see, e.g., R.J. Stewart, _ Celtic Gods, Celtic Goddesses_ p. 117) -- although, IIRC, there is some debate about that etymology -- and the mythological description of "the brilliance of Lugh's face, likening it to the sun" (Maire MacNeill, _The Festival of Lughnasa_, p. 5), which MacNeill traces to the story of the sons of Tuirenn and Lugh's battle against Bres.  MacNeill refers to Lugh as a "sun-god" (p. 4); and James MacKillop notes: "Although Lug may originally have been a god of the sun or of light, he was still thought to be historical as late as the 19th century." (_Dictionary of Celtic Mythology_, p. 305)

There's a LOT more to Lugh, of course.

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Sharysa

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Feb 2012
  • Posts: 471
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Etain and Midir; thee sun and the moon
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 08:03:44 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;65246


People have already given really good links, so here's my two cents.

Going on the myths themselves, Etain does give off very "sunny" vibes. Her description uses bright, rich colors, she has golden-blonde hair and golden ornaments, and a lot of her appearance is likened to flowers and insects--bright colors, flowers, and insects put together are evocative of summer. She gets turned into a butterfly (also associated with summer, and fair weather in general) who can heal the sick and restore people's energy just by looking at her.

Quote
A cloak of pure purple was hanging in folds about her, and beneath it a mantle with silver borders, and a brooch of gold in the garment over her bosom.  [...] It was made of greenish silk beneath red-gold embroidery, and marvelous bow-pins of silver and gold upon her breasts in the tunic, so that the redness of the gold against the sun in the green silk was clearly visible to the men.  Two tresses of golden hair upon her head and a plaiting of four strands in each tress, and a ball of gold upon the end of each plait.

[...] [A]s red as the foxglove of the mountain her two cheeks.  As blue as the hyacinth was each of her two eyes; [...] her eyebrows blackish-blue like the shell of a beetle.

From a writing point of view, it's not an accident that reading about Etain makes you think about summer and sunny days. It's similar to how Rhiannon's extremely specific punishment and the horse motifs in the Mabinogion clue you into her status as a horse-goddess.

On the subject of Midir, though, I've never heard of him described as a god--just a member of the Fair Folk. But then, I go more on myths themselves rather than encyclopedias or websites.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 08:05:39 pm by Sharysa »
On hiatus, but might pop in now and then. Just making it official.

My blog. 40% normal, 60% spiritual, 500% details.

MattyG

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jun 2012
  • Posts: 406
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Etain and Midir; thee sun and the moon
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 08:20:47 pm »
Quote from: Sharysa;65374
On the subject of Midir, though, I've never heard of him described as a god--just a member of the Fair Folk. But then, I go more on myths themselves rather than encyclopedias or websites.

 
Thanks a lot. That makes a lot of sense. As to the subject of Midir though, I just assumed that he probably used to fit into the Celtic Pantheon in some way. I know he was a son of the Dagda, so I figured that he was probably considered a major deity at some point.

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
30 Replies
3359 Views
Last post April 22, 2012, 11:27:02 pm
by Wickerman
8 Replies
2472 Views
Last post August 11, 2014, 03:22:02 pm
by Holdasown
1 Replies
1201 Views
Last post November 30, 2014, 03:22:34 pm
by carillion
6 Replies
1240 Views
Last post August 14, 2016, 11:25:38 pm
by sionnachdearg
5 Replies
522 Views
Last post May 03, 2017, 10:32:07 am
by Darkhawk

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 44
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall