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Author Topic: What is the relationship of the Celtic gods and the sidhe (aos si)/annwn.  (Read 4413 times)

ethelwulf

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From reading the mythological cycle of Ireland the Deities were forced out by the Sons of Mil and from folklore they enter the sidhe. The sidhe/annwn over time becomes the home of the fairies and others like the fairies with less connection made to the gods. I am interested in how others view the this connection between the sidhe is the location of the Celtic deities.

Siren

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Quote from: ethelwulf;143524
From reading the mythological cycle of Ireland the Deities were forced out by the Sons of Mil and from folklore they enter the sidhe. The sidhe/annwn over time becomes the home of the fairies and others like the fairies with less connection made to the gods. I am interested in how others view the this connection between the sidhe is the location of the Celtic deities.


My belief is that what we call the "fairies" are a mix of gods, nature spirits, and the dead.

Materialist

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Quote from: ethelwulf;143524
From reading the mythological cycle of Ireland the Deities were forced out by the Sons of Mil and from folklore they enter the sidhe. The sidhe/annwn over time becomes the home of the fairies and others like the fairies with less connection made to the gods. I am interested in how others view the this connection between the sidhe is the location of the Celtic deities.


The fairies-were-gods idea is possible, but also keep in mind that pre-christian religions made a distinction between gods and nature spirits, a distinction which may have been lost after Christianity was well established.

Gilbride

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Quote from: ethelwulf;143524
From reading the mythological cycle of Ireland the Deities were forced out by the Sons of Mil and from folklore they enter the sidhe. The sidhe/annwn over time becomes the home of the fairies and others like the fairies with less connection made to the gods. I am interested in how others view the this connection between the sidhe is the location of the Celtic deities.


If you read the Book of Invasions itself, as opposed to one of the retellings, the story is way less clear than this. The TDD are not only identified with the Sidhe but also with their old enemies the Fomorians (the Book of Invasions actually says they are the same thing) while some of the Milesians are referred to as gods or as descended from gods, and some of those gods (such as Nuada) are well-known TDD figures. In other words, the Book of Invasions is a crazy mish-mash and should not be taken too literally. I'm not sure the pagan Irish ever had a myth in which the Milesians drove the TDD into the Sidhe.

dragonfaerie

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Quote from: ethelwulf;143524
I am interested in how others view the this connection between the sidhe is the location of the Celtic deities.

I've always considered the Sidhe/faerie and the Tuatha de (sorry for lack of proper accents) to be separate. Mainly because lore shows us that the gods are interested in dealing with humans, while by and large the Sidhe are not. They feel more like the djinn, elementals, land spirits, etc, and that's the category I place them in, myself.

Karen

ethelwulf

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Quote from: Gilbride;143564
If you read the Book of Invasions itself, as opposed to one of the retellings, the story is way less clear than this. The TDD are not only identified with the Sidhe but also with their old enemies the Fomorians (the Book of Invasions actually says they are the same thing) while some of the Milesians are referred to as gods or as descended from gods, and some of those gods (such as Nuada) are well-known TDD figures. In other words, the Book of Invasions is a crazy mish-mash and should not be taken too literally. I'm not sure the pagan Irish ever had a myth in which the Milesians drove the TDD into the Sidhe.

 
I agree with you that there is confusion about the Celtic god and the Sidhe and that it was not literature that connected them but rather folklore or oral traditions now in the written literature. One suggestion was this was intentionally done by the Christian writers to remove the Celtic gods from the land so that they would not be available for people to believe in. Of course this idea is not based on any facts and was proposed only to explain the contraction of the literature with the common beliefs.

ethelwulf

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Quote from: Materialist;143548
The fairies-were-gods idea is possible, but also keep in mind that pre-christian religions made a distinction between gods and nature spirits, a distinction which may have been lost after Christianity was well established.

 
I think this idea is fascinating. I think it is possible that the sidhe may be a part of the pre-Celtic religions which then blended in with the Celtic beliefs. I am not familiar with Celtic cultures outside of Ireland and Briton to know if it is found in continental Celtic cultures. Does anyone know of a similar belief in other Celtic tribes?

DavidMcCann

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Quote from: ethelwulf;143573
I think this idea is fascinating. I think it is possible that the sidhe may be a part of the pre-Celtic religions which then blended in with the Celtic beliefs. I am not familiar with Celtic cultures outside of Ireland and Briton to know if it is found in continental Celtic cultures. Does anyone know of a similar belief in other Celtic tribes?

According to John Greer, the Celts of Brittany have the same sort of stories as we have in Britain about the faery folk, but they tell them about ghosts: presumably a Christianisation? He also points out that fays can be found all over the world. The Salish in Washington State talk about the swawtixwted "little earth people" in just the same terms as the fay are spoken of in Ireland. I'd agree with him that they aren't gods, but a special life-form. Not that I have any personal experience: we're a bit short on fays in London!
Minorities are almost always in the right.
They haif said. Quhat say they? Lat thame say!

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Quote from: DavidMcCann;143612
Not that I have any personal experience: we're a bit short on fays in London!

 
I work with some very urban-garden Good Folk, personally.
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
- Doctor Who

LiminalAuggie

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Quote from: ethelwulf;143573
I think this idea is fascinating. I think it is possible that the sidhe may be a part of the pre-Celtic religions which then blended in with the Celtic beliefs. I am not familiar with Celtic cultures outside of Ireland and Briton to know if it is found in continental Celtic cultures. Does anyone know of a similar belief in other Celtic tribes?

 
IIRC some people have tied the genii cucullatii in the continental and Brythonic archaeological record to brownies or...something about sleep paralysis and nocturnal emissions in later folklore, but I'll have to do some digging to remember where I read that.  

Since they mostly date from the Gallo-Roman period I'm inclined to view them of a kind with lares and manes. *shrug*

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Quote from: Naomi J;143614
I work with some very urban-garden Good Folk, personally.

Wow! I don't want to be nosy, but how do they manifest and how does one relate to them?
Minorities are almost always in the right.
They haif said. Quhat say they? Lat thame say!

ethelwulf

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Quote from: DavidMcCann;143612
According to John Greer, the Celts of Brittany have the same sort of stories as we have in Britain about the faery folk, but they tell them about ghosts: presumably a Christianisation? He also points out that fays can be found all over the world. The Salish in Washington State talk about the swawtixwted "little earth people" in just the same terms as the fay are spoken of in Ireland. I'd agree with him that they aren't gods, but a special life-form. Not that I have any personal experience: we're a bit short on fays in London!

 
They are the spirits of the springs, lakes, forest, trees, animals and others. These spirit are the old gods of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Briton. The folklore suggests that the Celtic gods entered this realm (the literature just says they left Ireland). They can still be seen as gods and goddesses even if they do not have the same defined responsibilities as seen in the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses or the latter Norse gods and goddesses.

ethelwulf

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Quote from: dragonfaerie;143570
I've always considered the Sidhe/faerie and the Tuatha de (sorry for lack of proper accents) to be separate. Mainly because lore shows us that the gods are interested in dealing with humans, while by and large the Sidhe are not. They feel more like the djinn, elementals, land spirits, etc, and that's the category I place them in, myself.

Karen

 
I have been thinking about what you presented but I am not sure if there is such a separation. It is possible that the Sidhe is a residual from the people before the Celts but it is possible that the Sidhe was a part of Celtic culture. One of the problems I think we have in looking at pagan practices of northern Europe, is that we grow up in a God centered culture. Even when gods and goddesses were presented from the past from Roman and Greek cultures were god and goddess centered. When I have read the literature of the Irish Celts there is far more connection with the land and animals with less distinctive roles given to the gods and goddesses especially when compared to the Roman or Greek gods.

There is almost gradient of human to god/goddess in the Tuatha De Danann and in a way in the sons of Mil. There is a different relation to animals with transformation from people to animal or animal to human. There is a different relationship of the gods/goddesses and humans also especially when compared to monotheistic religions such as Christianity. Of all of the aspects of pre-Christian paganism the belief in the Sidhe persisted longer than other aspects of Celtic paganism with the persistent belief in the fairy world as a separate place yet still connected with the land.

Airelinn

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Quote from: ethelwulf;143524
From reading the mythological cycle of Ireland the Deities were forced out by the Sons of Mil and from folklore they enter the sidhe. The sidhe/annwn over time becomes the home of the fairies and others like the fairies with less connection made to the gods. I am interested in how others view the this connection between the sidhe is the location of the Celtic deities.

 
I had read, or otherwise remember, the idea that the Tuatha de Danaan and the people of the island at the time before the Milesians (such as the Fomorians) had retreated into the hills (sídhe) and into the lakes (Tír na Nog) where they still reside. I'd heard telling where the old gods, or the TDD, had become the fae folk living in the sídhe.  

I kind of wonder if, with the advent of Christianity in Ireland, these stories cropped up as a way to diminish these old gods in the eyes of the people.  TDD retreated into the hills and lakes, became less powerful fae folk, and just began to make mischief and cause people strife.  I'd even heard one point made that fae folk are spirits trapped in purgatory, and maybe that's where the idea that they're in the "in betweens" (doorways, at midnight, etc.) came from.

Micheál

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Quote from: Airelinn;147447
I had read, or otherwise remember, the idea that the Tuatha de Danaan and the people of the island at the time before the Milesians (such as the Fomorians) had retreated into the hills (sídhe) and into the lakes (Tír na Nog) where they still reside. I'd heard telling where the old gods, or the TDD, had become the fae folk living in the sídhe.  

I kind of wonder if, with the advent of Christianity in Ireland, these stories cropped up as a way to diminish these old gods in the eyes of the people.  TDD retreated into the hills and lakes, became less powerful fae folk, and just began to make mischief and cause people strife.  I'd even heard one point made that fae folk are spirits trapped in purgatory, and maybe that's where the idea that they're in the "in betweens" (doorways, at midnight, etc.) came from.

Aye, this more or less sums it up.

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