Tag Archive: cuchulain


Scathach

“Scathach” by watergal28

“Scathach’s themes are sports, strength, excellence, kinship, art, tradition, magic, protection and victory. Her symbols are Tartans (plaids) and Celtic music.  This Celtic mother figure endows strength, endurance and the ability to ‘go the distance’ no matter our situation. In Scotland She is also a warrior Goddess who protects the land using magic as a weapon, as implied by the translation of Her name, ‘she who strikes fear.’ Warriors from around Scotland were said to have studied under Scathach to learn battle cries and jumping techniques (possibly a type of martial art).

In Scotland, the second weekend in July marks the gathering of Scottish clans to revel in their heritage through numerous games of skill, strength and artistry (including bagpipe competitions). If you have any Scottish or Celtic music, play it while you get ready to energize your whole day with Scathach’s perseverance. If you don’t have the music, for a similar effect find something to wear with a Scottish motif, like heather perfume, a plaid tie, things bearing the image of a thistle or sheep or anything woolen.

 

To make a Scathach amulet to protect your home, car or any personal possessions, begin with a piece of plaid cloth and put some dried heather in it (alternatively, put in several strands of woolen yarn). Tie this up an keep it where you believe her powers are most needed.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Scáthach (pronounced scou’-ha, or skah’-thakh) is a figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.  She is a legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher who trains the legendary Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat. Texts describe her homeland as Scotland (Alpae); she is especially associated with the Isle of Skye, where her residence Dún Scáith (Fort of Shadows) stands.” [1]  Other sources say she lived in the Alps.

Scathach is said to be the daughter of Ard-Greimne and Lethra. [2] “Aoife, another fierce warrior queen, is reputed to be her sister, while Uathach, her daughter, is a fellow teacher at her school. She also has two sons named Cet and Cuar from an unnamed man and trains them within a secret yew tree. Another source tells that she is mother to three maidens named Lasair, Inghean Bhuidhe and Latiaran, the father being a man named Douglas.” [3]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Scathach, “the ‘shadowy one’, lived on an island near Scotland and was the greatest female warrior of her time.  Heroes from all the Celtic nations would travel to study with her, for she alone knew the magical battle skills that made them unconquerable: great leaps and fierce yells, which seem in ancient legend like puzzled accounts of Oriental martial arts.

“The Seduction of Aoife” by Howard David Johnson

“Scathach initiated young men into the arts of war, as well as giving them the ‘friendship of her thighs’, that is to say, initiating them sexually.” [4]

One of her most famous students was the Irish warrior Cú Chulainn.  When the princess Emer sized him up as a possible husband, she thought him too unskilled in his profession; therefore, she suggested he study with Scathach, the foremost warrior of her day.  While Cú Chulainn was away, he learned more than martial arts, for through an affair with Scathach’s enemy, Aífe, the warrior produced a son [Connla] whom he late unwittingly killed” (p. 275).

Another account states that “As part of his training Cú Chulainn helped Scáthach overcome a neighbouring female chieftain, Aífe or Aoife (who by some accounts was also Scáthach’s sister), and forced her to make peace, in the process fathering a son by Aífe. Cú Chulainn also ended up sleeping with Scáthach’s daughter Uathach, whose husband Cochar Croibhe he then killed in a duel. On completion of his training, Scáthach also slept with Cú Chulainn.

By some accounts Scáthach was also a formidable magician with the gift of prophecy. She also, again by some accounts, became the Celtic Goddess of the dead, ensuring the passage of those killed in battle to Tír na nÓg, the Land of Eternal Youth and the most popular of the Otherworlds in Celtic mythology.” [5]

“Scathach” by Jan Hess

 

 

Sources:

Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, “Scáthach“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Scathach”.

Undiscoveredscotland.co.uk, “Scáthach“.

Wikipedia, “Scáthach“.

Wille, Almut. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Scathach“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bedford, Tony. Préachán Fuilteach, Cú Chulainn“.

Blueroebuck.com, “Scathach“.

Ellis, Peter Berresford. Celtic Myths and Legends, “The Shadowy One” (p. 235 – 243).

The Order of Scáthach.

Parke, Cate & Lisa Campbell. Celtic Queens, “Scáthach and the Defeat of Aoife“.

Shee-Eire.com, “Scathach“.

Goddess Maeve

“Queen Mab, the Bringer of Dreams” by Howard David Johnson

“Maeve’s themes are fairies, magic, protection, leadership, and justice (law).  Her symbols are birds and gold.  As the Fairy Queen, Maeve oversees today’s merrymaking among the citizens of fey during their Fairy Gatherings. She also attends to human affairs by providing protection, wise leadership and prudent conventions. Works of art depict Maeve with golden birds on Her shoulders, whispering magical knowledge into Her ear.

Near the beginning of May, the wee folk of Ireland come out of hiding for a grand celebration of spring. If you don’t want the Maeve and the citizens of fey to pull pranks on you today, take precautions, as the Europeans do: avoid travelling, put a piece of clothing on inside-out, wear something red, and leave the fairy folk an offering of sweet bread, honey or ale. In some cases, this will please the fairies so much that they will offer to perform a service or leave you a gift in return!

When you need to improve your command of a situation or inspire more equity, call on Maeve through this spell:

Take a piece of white bread and toast it until it’s golden brown. Scratch into the bread a word or phrase representing your goal (for example, if raises at work haven’t been given fairly, write the words ‘work’ and ‘raises’). Distribute the crumbs from this to the birds so they can convey your need directly to Maeve’s ears.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Of the great female figures of Ireland, Maeve was probably the most splendid. Originally a Goddess of the land’s sovereignty and of its mystic center at Tara, She was demoted in myth, as the centuries went on and Irish culture changed under Christian influence, to a mere mortal queen.

“Maeve” by Hrana Janto

But no mortal queen could have been like this one, this ‘intoxication’ or ‘drunken woman’ (variant meanings of Her name), who ran faster than horses, slept with innumerable kings whom She then discarded, and wore live birds and animals across Her shoulders and arms. If there ever was a woman named Maeve who reigned as queen of Ireland, it is probable that She was the namesake of the Goddess; the Goddess’s legends may have attached themselves to a mortal bearer of Her name.

Maeve is the central figure of the most important old Irish epic, the Tain Bo Cuillaigne, or Cattle Raid of Cooley. The story begins with Maeve, ruler of the Connaught wilderness in the Irish west, Iying abed with Her current consort, King Aillil. They compare possessions, Aillil attempting to prove he owns more than She does. Point for point, Maeve matches him. Finally, Aillil mentions a magical bull-and wins the argument, for Maeve has no such animal.

But She knows of one, the magic bull of Cooley in northern Eire. And so Maeve gathers Her armies to steal it. She rides into battle in an open car, with four chariots surrounding Her, for She is glamorously attired and does not wish to muddy Her robes. She is a fierce opponent, laying waste the armies of the land, for no man could look on Maeve without falling down in a paroxysm of desire.

The armies of Ulster, stricken with the curse of the Goddess Macha, fall down in labor pains upon the arrival of Queen Maeve’s army in their land. Only the hero Cuchulain resists, killing Locha, Maeve’s handmaiden, as well as many male heroes of Connaught. Maeve tries to buy victory with Her ‘willing thighs’, stops the battle whenever She is menstruating, and otherwise shows Herself to be an unusual warrior. After much bloodshed, She does indeed win Her bull–but it and Aillil’s bull fling themselves upon each other, tear each other to bits, and die in the bloodiest anticlimax in world literature.” [1]

“Fairy Queen Medb of the Sidhe” by Howard David Johnson

Medb (She who intoxicates) also known as Maev, Maeve, Maebh is a Celtic/Irish Goddess of Intoxication.  Her body was the Earth; Her body processes were  the Earth as it created.  She was the force of the rushing waters, the windswept mountains, and the fertile plains.  And, like many other deities, Medb is also associated with death as well as fertility and inebriation.

In the Irish mythological cycle, it was Medb who who who not only set the conditions for kingship, but also chose and tested Her partners, temporarily marrying those who passed Her tests. No king could accept the title unless She offered him the “Cup of Sovereignty”. She destroys those kings who spurn Her and has been know to send their warriors to their doom.

“Queen Medb” by J. Leyendecker

Medb is a triune Goddess who, in one of Her avatars, was able to assume human form and live among us mortals as a warrior queen; in fact, Medb is the most famous queen of Irish literature.  She is often portrayed as a pale women with long flowing hair; She wears a red cape and carries a spear, while a raven and a squirrel are perched on Her shoulder.

She lived by violence and She died by violence. Her reign on Earth eventually came to an end as the result of Her murdering Her pregnant sister, Eithne (or Clothru). The baby managed to survive (her son Furbaide was born by posthumous caesarian section) and when he grew up, he revenged his mother by killing Medb.” [2]

“In Medb’s later years She often went to bathe in a pool on Inchcleraun (Inis Cloithreann), an island on Lough Ree.  Furbaide took a rope and measured the distance between the pool and the shore, and practiced with his sling until he could hit an apple on top of a stake Medb’s height from that distance. The next time he saw Medb bathing he put his practice to good use and killed Her with a piece of cheese. She was succeeded to the throne of Connacht by Her son Maine Athramail.

According to legend, Medb is buried in a 40-foot (12 m) high stone cairn on the summit of Knocknarea (Cnoc na Ré in Irish) in County Sligo. Supposedly, She is buried upright facing Her enemies in Ulster. Her home in RathcroghanCounty Roscommon is also a potential burial site, with a long low slab named ‘Misgaun Medb’ being given as the most likely location.” [3]

 Also seen as Maev, Maeve, Maive, Maebh, Meḋḃ, Meaḋḃ, Meadhbh, Méabh, Medbh.

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Maeve”.

 MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Medb“.

Wikipedia, “Medb“.

 

 

 

Suggested Links:

DameBoudicca. Pride & Sensibility, “Goddess of the Week – Medb“.

Jones, Mary. Jone’s Celtic Encyclopedia, “Medb“.

Selkywolf. Selkywolf’s Den, “The Faery Queen – Queen Maeve“.

Shaw, Judith. Feminismandreligion.com,Medb, Celtic Sovereignty Goddess of War and Fertility‘.

Shee-Eire. Shee-Eire.com, “Celtic Queen Medb“.

SummerGaile. Order of the White Moon,”Medb“. (HIGHLY SUGGEST this page!!! Loads of detailed information and further sources.)

Tara. Love of the Goddess, “Maeve, Celtic Warrior Goddess of Intoxication“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Macha“.

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