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Author Topic: Celtic Deities Resources?  (Read 1881 times)

Nymree

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Celtic Deities Resources?
« on: March 04, 2019, 06:55:50 am »
Hi all, wonderful to be part of this board.

I've been reading through some books on Celtic mythology - I'm far from being well informed on the topic yet, so bear with me!
I've noticed that the gods and goddesses I've heard a lot about don't tend to turn up that much in the myths I've read. A lot of what seems to have gotten through the ages have been folk tales and hero stories.
Why is that? Is it because the mythology was filtered through a Christian culture by time they were written down? And if so, can anyone recommend some books for me to come to understand the Celtic gods? I've looked through some of the reading lists pinned here, but maybe I've missed something.

I'm currently working through Orr's Principles of Druidry and Ellis' Mammoth Book of Myths and Legends.

Thank you for your time!

Dynes Hysbys

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Re: Celtic Deities Resources?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 11:27:46 am »
Hi all, wonderful to be part of this board.

I've been reading through some books on Celtic mythology - I'm far from being well informed on the topic yet, so bear with me!
I've noticed that the gods and goddesses I've heard a lot about don't tend to turn up that much in the myths I've read. A lot of what seems to have gotten through the ages have been folk tales and hero stories.
Why is that? Is it because the mythology was filtered through a Christian culture by time they were written down? And if so, can anyone recommend some books for me to come to understand the Celtic gods? I've looked through some of the reading lists pinned here, but maybe I've missed something.

I'm currently working through Orr's Principles of Druidry and Ellis' Mammoth Book of Myths and Legends.

Thank you for your time!

"Celtic" is a very broad term - there are distinct differences between the different Celtic countries.

For Welsh deities the main surviving source is the Mabinogion.  The original translation by Lady Charlotte Guest is available as a free download on sacredtexts and numerous other places but it is very dated and not terribly accurate.  Her version is coloured by the sensibilities of the time and is somewhat sanitised!  The currently accepted "best" version is that by Sioned Davies. She is much more accurate but has also managed to capture the magic of the tales which were lost in some of the other academic translations.

Sophia C

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Re: Celtic Deities Resources?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2019, 04:28:04 am »
Hi all, wonderful to be part of this board.

I've been reading through some books on Celtic mythology - I'm far from being well informed on the topic yet, so bear with me!
I've noticed that the gods and goddesses I've heard a lot about don't tend to turn up that much in the myths I've read. A lot of what seems to have gotten through the ages have been folk tales and hero stories.
Why is that? Is it because the mythology was filtered through a Christian culture by time they were written down? And if so, can anyone recommend some books for me to come to understand the Celtic gods? I've looked through some of the reading lists pinned here, but maybe I've missed something.

I'm currently working through Orr's Principles of Druidry and Ellis' Mammoth Book of Myths and Legends.

Thank you for your time!

Sorry to be answering this thread so late, but since you didn’t get many responses I thought I’d chime in - hope it’s not too late.

First thought: Have you looked at the threads in the Hazel and Oak SIG? Although it’s reconstructionism-focused, there’ve been lots of discussions there on deities, interesting sources, how we interpret the gods and their stories, etc. You’re right that so many of the gods we’re interested in tend to have limited stories, because these were written down late and by Christians. There are whole discussions to be had about how we interpret surviving stories, and you’ll find examples of those discussions there.

Some things you could read: There are a huge number of books about Celtic gods, and as Dynes says it depends which region of Britain, Ireland or the islands you’re interested in. When I was first starting out I found the older sources much more difficult to read than more recent books (I’m still not great at handling medieval myth!) Looking at my bookshelves (I’m mostly Irish-focused), some of the books I’ve found really helpful include the following...

Translations and interpretations of ‘original’ (meaning medieval) myth:
- Celtic Myths and Legends, Peter Berresford Ellis
- Celtic Gods and Heroes by Marie-Louise Sjoestedt
- Celtic Myths and Legends, Eoin Neeson
- Early Irish Myths and Sagas, trans. Jeffrey Gantz
- The Tain, trans. Thomas Kinsella

Books on specific deities or groups of deities
- The Book of the Cailleach, Gearoid O Crualaoich
- The Great Queens, Cathleen ni Houlihan
- Blacksmith Gods, Pete Jennings
- Brighid, Morgan Daimler (and her other books)

Books on practice and context - there are so many, but a few are:
- The Year in Ireland, Kevin Danaher (more for surviving practice than myth but so interesting for context)
- The Earth, the Gods and the Soul, Brendan Myers (not myth, but a history of pagan philosophy that includes the role of many more modern myth-interpreters - fascinating for putting the way we see myth into context)
- The Well of Five Streams, Erynn Laurie (interpretation and practice - there are lots of good books like this)
- Blood and Mistletoe, Ronald Hutton (not about the gods, but about how we’ve interpreted their stories over the centuries, in the context of (neo-)druidry - very interesting if you want to understand what happened to these stories and how they were filtered in interpretation)

I started with a lot of very questionable books about the gods that were really easy to read - I can rec those if you’re interested, but with caveats :D I’ve also picked up lots about the gods from books about people’s practices, whether neo-Druid, Celtic Recon or other. Can do you a separate list there if you’re interested.

The above books all focus on different things, from gods to local practices, and it really depends what you’re looking for - but maybe something there will spark your interest. Hope some of the help!


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« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 04:29:59 am by Sophia C »
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
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Aster Breo

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Re: Celtic Deities Resources?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2019, 02:51:38 am »
Sorry to be answering this thread so late, but since you didn’t get many responses I thought I’d chime in - hope it’s not too late.

First thought: Have you looked at the threads in the Hazel and Oak SIG? Although it’s reconstructionism-focused, there’ve been lots of discussions there on deities, interesting sources, how we interpret the gods and their stories, etc. You’re right that so many of the gods we’re interested in tend to have limited stories, because these were written down late and by Christians. There are whole discussions to be had about how we interpret surviving stories, and you’ll find examples of those discussions there.

Some things you could read: There are a huge number of books about Celtic gods, and as Dynes says it depends which region of Britain, Ireland or the islands you’re interested in. When I was first starting out I found the older sources much more difficult to read than more recent books (I’m still not great at handling medieval myth!) Looking at my bookshelves (I’m mostly Irish-focused), some of the books I’ve found really helpful include the following...

Translations and interpretations of ‘original’ (meaning medieval) myth:
- Celtic Myths and Legends, Peter Berresford Ellis
- Celtic Gods and Heroes by Marie-Louise Sjoestedt
- Celtic Myths and Legends, Eoin Neeson
- Early Irish Myths and Sagas, trans. Jeffrey Gantz
- The Tain, trans. Thomas Kinsella

Books on specific deities or groups of deities
- The Book of the Cailleach, Gearoid O Crualaoich
- The Great Queens, Cathleen ni Houlihan
- Blacksmith Gods, Pete Jennings
- Brighid, Morgan Daimler (and her other books)

Books on practice and context - there are so many, but a few are:
- The Year in Ireland, Kevin Danaher (more for surviving practice than myth but so interesting for context)
- The Earth, the Gods and the Soul, Brendan Myers (not myth, but a history of pagan philosophy that includes the role of many more modern myth-interpreters - fascinating for putting the way we see myth into context)
- The Well of Five Streams, Erynn Laurie (interpretation and practice - there are lots of good books like this)
- Blood and Mistletoe, Ronald Hutton (not about the gods, but about how we’ve interpreted their stories over the centuries, in the context of (neo-)druidry - very interesting if you want to understand what happened to these stories and how they were filtered in interpretation)

I started with a lot of very questionable books about the gods that were really easy to read - I can rec those if you’re interested, but with caveats :D I’ve also picked up lots about the gods from books about people’s practices, whether neo-Druid, Celtic Recon or other. Can do you a separate list there if you’re interested.

The above books all focus on different things, from gods to local practices, and it really depends what you’re looking for - but maybe something there will spark your interest. Hope some of the help!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Also, there's a thread on the Hazel & Oak SIG that includes a ton of links. It's the one from several months ago, about Celtic recon books. Lots of good resources listed.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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