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Author Topic: Celtic Cosmology  (Read 3501 times)

Malia

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Celtic Cosmology
« on: August 27, 2012, 10:23:24 am »
So I'm doing this blogging project I came about in the Neo-Druidry SIG, and the next topic is cosmology, creation myth. The only Celtic myths I know that are close enough is Ireland's invasion tradition, but it was tainted when Christianity was introduced and it doesn't even address any part of the world's creation. Does anyone here know a Celtic creation myth, be it Irish, Scottish, British, Welsh, Cornish, even Gaulish?

NibbleKat

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Re: Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 03:50:57 pm »
Quote from: Malia;70902
So I'm doing this blogging project I came about in the Neo-Druidry SIG, and the next topic is cosmology, creation myth. The only Celtic myths I know that are close enough is Ireland's invasion tradition, but it was tainted when Christianity was introduced and it doesn't even address any part of the world's creation. Does anyone here know a Celtic creation myth, be it Irish, Scottish, British, Welsh, Cornish, even Gaulish?

 
I think that the problem with most of this is that the Celts worked on oral tradition, not written, and by the time they were being written down, the Christians were coming into play, so... nothing 'untainted'.  I have no knowledge whatsoever on my part of any creation myths concerning the Gallic folk.  It's just not there anymore (at least to my knowing).
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Aster Breo

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Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 04:30:59 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;70952
I think that the problem with most of this is that the Celts worked on oral tradition, not written, and by the time they were being written down, the Christians were coming into play, so... nothing 'untainted'.

What NibbleKat said.

AFAIK, there it's no extant ancient Celtic creation myth.  That doesn't mean there wasn't one, just that it was lost.

I know there is speculation that whatever the myth was, it was probably similar to the PIE myths about creating the earth from parts of a hero's body.  But the only thing that I know of that sorta-kinda comes close-ish to a Celtic creation story is the  "Earthshapers" story in Ella Young's 1910 _Celtic.Wonder Tales_ (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cwt/cwt01.htm).  Obviously, though, that's not ancient.  

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Re: Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 05:30:26 pm »
Quote from: Malia;70902
So I'm doing this blogging project I came about in the Neo-Druidry SIG, and the next topic is cosmology, creation myth.

 
There aren't any world creation myths that have survived as far as I know, but there are plenty of other stories explaining the creation of certain natural features. For example, a creation story on a micro level is how the goddess Boann became the river Boyne today, or how Ireland got its poetic name Eire. There's also the story of, I think, the Tuatha de Danann leaving from four cities and coming to Ireland, but that myth is extremely fuzzy in my head.
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

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Fireof9

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Re: Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 02:10:01 am »
Quote from: Malia;70902
So I'm doing this blogging project I came about in the Neo-Druidry SIG, and the next topic is cosmology, creation myth. The only Celtic myths I know that are close enough is Ireland's invasion tradition, but it was tainted when Christianity was introduced and it doesn't even address any part of the world's creation. Does anyone here know a Celtic creation myth, be it Irish, Scottish, British, Welsh, Cornish, even Gaulish?

 
There is the myth of the Oran Mor. I am not sure if it is exactly Celtic or not, I just came across it doing a search for something Celtic.

Oran Mor

Quote
Many cultures have a "creation myth" that explains how everything existing came into being, but the absense of a Celtic creation myth points to two possibilities: either they never had one or we have lost it. If we have lost it, then that assumes that the Christian scribes who copied down all our surviving myths found no value in it, despite their obsession with pagan lore. What is more probable than, is that the Celts never had one, and prefered to see the world a being eternal like their knotwork art they are famous for. One of the creation myths that' would be most in alignment with the Celtic and Druidic mind, is the Oran Mor.
 
Quiet— Eternal Quiet. Not even the sound of the restless, stirring, dark waters could be heard.
 
Then, a great spiraling strain of Melody moved across the endless waters. Subdued at first, then quickly gathering momentum until it reached a great crescendo.
 
And, then, there was Life!

But the Melody did not stop. It continued its song, filling all of Creation with its divine harmony. And so it continues today, for all those who listen.

The primordial myth of Creation, common to all people, tells of a mighty melody – the very breath of the primordial god – that sang Creation into existence. To the Celts it was known as the Oran Mór, "The Great Melody", a melody that did not cease with the initial creation, but goes on and on and on, inspiring Creation along its holy pilgrimage of giving and receiving blessing.

It is this primordial myth that, like a Celtic knot, weaves throughout the entire corpus of the Celtic mythos, knitting an interwoven, cohesive mythology. The Oran Mór, as the primordial "sea melody," flows through the myths and legends of submerged lands, mystical springs, life-giving cauldrons, and holy grails. As Wisdom it "fills the head," and gives meaning to the severed heads that so disturbed Caesar. It is the "creative melody," always creating, both in the hearer and in the one singing. It is the myth of Uaithne and Boand who bear the three strains of music: innocence, sorrow, and joy. It is The Song of the Three Cauldrons giving and receiving creative blessing in its song. The words of the song are as diverse as there are people to hear it; always taking their meaning from their divinely breathed sound, never from that design which we impose. The Oran Mór’s divine sound gives meaning to – no, creates – the Celtic languages. These are languages that provide us melodious words such as Cruithear, yr wyddor, and grammeria to role on our tongues and savor; words that have no import apart from the divine melody.

Ultimately, the divine song, as with Percival, gives form to, and rises up within us the basic question of Celtic myth— "Why do you suffer?" It is this question, this song, which interprets not only Celtic myth, but also Life!

The Oran Mór, as Celtic myth attests, is nothing more or less than the creative energy of the primordial god. Call the song "Grace." Here is the divine energy whose various numinous aspects are revealed not only in the Continental and the Insular gods of the Celts, but in Creation herself. The Oran Mór as the numinous music – energy – sings Creation into existence, and becomes the holy, mystical song of Life sang in the seasonal festivals and rituals of sovereignty of the Celtic peoples. It is this holy song of Creation that fills humankind and gives meaning to history, making mythical history objective. It is this song that drives us to pilgrimage and simultaneously brings about the hiraeth, that indescribable yearning for home. It is gorfoleddu in the midst of oppression.

The Oran Mór is still being sung today, but, alas, we live in an age that no longer hears, or even listens for, that primordial divine Melody of Creation. This is an age that serves up soul-less science and life-less religion, each noisily clamoring to be heard over the other. It is an age runctiously marked by fragmented, in your face, individualism, an individualism so tumultuous that it robs the Self of its very ease. No longer, in the discordant noise of this age, can the Great Melody be heard. If it is heard, ever so slightly, it is seldom recognized for what it is. All we hear is the contentious noise of conflicting "realities". And, thus, we wander restlessly with a sorely dis-eased soul, through a clashing wilderness of antagonistic half-truths, each demanding to be heard as the Melody of Life.

In this fragmentation, we have lost our way, our holy nature, and have profaned the holiness of both Creation and the Creator. We have failed to live up to our potential as co-creators, with the divine, and in so doing have compounded the profanity and brokenness of a holy Creation. However, all is not lost. Deep within each of us lies a yearning for our lost (w)holiness. Thus, we discover our co-creative role within divinity, and with it, the holiness of Creation. We learn to ask the right question, which is simply, "Why do you suffer?"

There is however, one problem. We are incapable in our fragmented state to accomplish the quest on our own. We need a hero. It is when we find our hero – in truth, our divine nature with which we have been created that is within – and allow it to be our Advocate in a jointly fought struggle with suffering (and profanity) that we find holiness and with it our wholeness. Not merely a wholeness within This-World, but the original wholeness both within and between This-World and the Other-World. In other words, we re-enter into the One-World of Celtic Paradise.

To live sustainably, in the fullest sense of the word, we need to learn to live once again within the One-World of Celtic Paradise. To live sustainably demands the full participation of our senses. It is the Oran Mór, in Celtic myth, which gives vitality to the senses. For the Celt, as it is for us all, there are five senses: sights, touch, sound, taste and intuition. All are God-given, all are to be celebrated. It is, however, intuition, or The Sight (as the Celts know it), that rises from the "deeper nature" of the Oran Mór. For the Song has the uncanny ability to recognize herself as she is sung throughout Creation. It is in the recognition of herself that she (Oran Mór) stirs up within our being "The Sight." In hearing the Song being sung beyond us, the Song within wells up seeks herself. We might say that She seeks her original wholeness. And in the seeking the Song within makes our head/heart to hear the other, and in so doing, gives us "The Sight", or understanding, of that which is to come, that which has been, and that which is.

To live according to "The Sight" is not to live with one foot in This-world and the one foot in the Other-World, but to live as Celtic myth demonstrates with both feet simultaneously in both worlds. The Oran Mór assures us that which we need to do so is already within waiting to be heard and applied creatively. To do so is to begin to re-enter the One-World of Celtic Paradise.
 
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Aster Breo

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Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 12:42:44 pm »
Quote from: Fireof9;71084

 
There is the myth of the Oran Mor. I am not sure if it is exactly Celtic or not, I just came across it doing a search for something Celtic.

Oran Mor

I'm not convinced this is an actual Celtic myth, rather than simply a story written by someone contemporary to fill a need for a creation myth.  Especially since there is no citation.

I've been studying Celtic myth and religion for well over 10 years -- probably closer to 20 years -- and I've read literally hundreds of relevant books.  I've never heard of this Oran Mor story.  I've only ever read that, if there was a creation myth, it has been lost.  I just checked through a few of my books (the ones most often cited as being the best respected), and this story is not mentioned in any of them.

That's not to say it can't be useful.  If it fulfills a need, that's a personal decision.

I'm just saying that it's probably not actually an ancient Celtic myth.

~ Aster
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Fireof9

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Re: Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2012, 06:11:39 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;71143
I'm not convinced this is an actual Celtic myth, rather than simply a story written by someone contemporary to fill a need for a creation myth.  Especially since there is no citation.

I've been studying Celtic myth and religion for well over 10 years -- probably closer to 20 years -- and I've read literally hundreds of relevant books.  I've never heard of this Oran Mor story.  I've only ever read that, if there was a creation myth, it has been lost.  I just checked through a few of my books (the ones most often cited as being the best respected), and this story is not mentioned in any of them.

That's not to say it can't be useful.  If it fulfills a need, that's a personal decision.

I'm just saying that it's probably not actually an ancient Celtic myth.

~ Aster

 
I agree, like I said I found it whilst looking up something (can't remember what it was) to do with Celtic spirituality. However I have since heard a few people say that they heard of it years ago as well. I don't really know what to make of it, other than its a beautiful story, but I was just throwing it out there for what it may or may not be.
Really?  So, hey, want to go fishing?  I\'ve got a telescope, and it\'s going to be a dark night, so we should see the fish really well.
...what, I\'m not talking about fishing?  That\'s stargazing?  It\'s all doing-stuff, so it\'s the same thing, right?
-HeartShadow
 
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The Gwyddonic Order

AlisonLeighLilly

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Re: Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 03:04:21 pm »
Quote from: Fireof9;71187
I agree, like I said I found it whilst looking up something (can't remember what it was) to do with Celtic spirituality. However I have since heard a few people say that they heard of it years ago as well. I don't really know what to make of it, other than its a beautiful story, but I was just throwing it out there for what it may or may not be.

 
The piece you quoted earlier was written by Frank A. Mills, a Celtic studies scholar, and he expanded on it at the Celtic Cultures Conference in Leeds in 1999 (source). (Weirdly enough, he's retired from academia now and has become a professional photographer.... go figure.)

It is funny that in one breath we say, "There's no recorded creation myth because the Celts had an oral tradition" and in the next breath we say, "Oh, well, that might be a lovely story, but where's your citation?" ;)

NibbleKat

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Re: Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 03:13:50 pm »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;72897
The piece you quoted earlier was written by Frank A. Mills, a Celtic studies scholar, and he expanded on it at the Celtic Cultures Conference in Leeds in 1999 (source). (Weirdly enough, he's retired from academia now and has become a professional photographer.... go figure.)

It is funny that in one breath we say, "There's no recorded creation myth because the Celts had an oral tradition" and in the next breath we say, "Oh, well, that might be a lovely story, but where's your citation?" ;)


 Well. Not really, because until now, we have no records of such a story.  Therefore, if there is one, we want to know where it was found in an archaeological sense, when it was found, how it was hiding from us, etc, etc.  For all we know, something like that could have been found yesterday during a dig in some farmer's back yard, and it's of actual historical value-- maybe some Gaul learned Latin and wrote it down and was the only guy ever to do that, for example.

That would be a case to cite sources-- and a source citing could also be, "did this guy write this from a dream he had in 1992."

Still useful, even if it seems a contradictory statement.
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Fireof9

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Re: Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2012, 07:53:34 pm »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;72897
The piece you quoted earlier was written by Frank A. Mills, a Celtic studies scholar, and he expanded on it at the Celtic Cultures Conference in Leeds in 1999 (source). (Weirdly enough, he's retired from academia now and has become a professional photographer.... go figure.)

It is funny that in one breath we say, "There's no recorded creation myth because the Celts had an oral tradition" and in the next breath we say, "Oh, well, that might be a lovely story, but where's your citation?" ;)

 
Thank you for the link Alison, interesting read
Really?  So, hey, want to go fishing?  I\'ve got a telescope, and it\'s going to be a dark night, so we should see the fish really well.
...what, I\'m not talking about fishing?  That\'s stargazing?  It\'s all doing-stuff, so it\'s the same thing, right?
-HeartShadow
 
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery,Today is a gift,thats why the call it the present - Master Oogway

Finding the Owl -my blog
The Gwyddonic Order

herkles

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Re: Celtic Cosmology
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 12:24:49 am »
Quote from: Malia;70902
So I'm doing this blogging project I came about in the Neo-Druidry SIG, and the next topic is cosmology, creation myth. The only Celtic myths I know that are close enough is Ireland's invasion tradition, but it was tainted when Christianity was introduced and it doesn't even address any part of the world's creation. Does anyone here know a Celtic creation myth, be it Irish, Scottish, British, Welsh, Cornish, even Gaulish?

 
About the cosmology there is the three realms of earth sea, and sky. However as someone who has just started this path, I am still working to fully grasp this myself.

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