• Curadmír | The Champion’s Portion

    Curadmír comes from the old Irish word curad which means ‘of a hero/ champion/ warrior’, and also from the word mir which means ‘morsel/ ration/ portion’.

    In Irish mythology, the champion’s portion was all about honour amongst warriors. We already know that in ancient Ireland people lived by a defined code of honour and this was certainly true of the warrior class.

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  • Speaking in Tongues of Fire

    Today, satire refers to biting, snarky incendiary sarcasm, often humorous, generally aimed at politicians and people of power. But to the ancient Irish, whose society was founded on a code of honour, satire had a much darker, and more practical purpose. To compose a satire against someone was to challenge their authority and call their honour into question. There could be no greater shame.

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  • A Fire in the Head | Shamanic Use of Amanita in Irish Mythology

    The Irish called it Agairg Cuileoige, but it’s more popularly known as Amanita Muscaria. It has been used throughout the ages and around the world for its hallucinogenic properties, usually for religious, shamanic and spiritual purposes. And there are lots of clues in Irish mythology as to its use in ancient Irish culture.

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  • Talking Heads in Irish Mythology

    A severed head depicted in Celtic artwork does not a macabre ritual make. However, it’s fair to say that the severed head makes many appearances in the ancient stories of Ireland. But scholars are now revising their opinions; it seems the Celts were removing the heads not of their enemies, but of their beloved friends who had fallen in battle. Could the same thing have happened here in Ireland? And if so, why would they behead their friends?

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  • The 5 Fifths of Ireland

    In ancient Ireland, our ancestors found significance and meaning in everything, not just people and animals but in such things as the seasons, the wind, dreams, and so on. It’s hardly surprising, then, that certain numbers took on sacred meaning too. The number 5 crops up quite a lot in Irish mythology, but why? And what does it mean?

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  • The Elixir of Youth Everlasting

    Achieving immortality by way of a drink fermented from honey is spoken of in many mythologies around the world; Nectar/ Ambrosia in Greek mythology, Amrita in Vedic mythology, Mead in Norse mythology, for example. In Ireland, we have such a myth, too.

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  • The Ritual of the Crane Dance Curse in Irish Mythology

    It is known in Irish as the corrghuineacht, and is a form of magic-working, the power of which is intensified when practised standing on one leg, with one arm outstretched, and with one eye closed.

    The ritual position itself is known as glám dícenn. (meaning ‘sattire which destroys’). But what’s it all about, Ali?

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  • Irish Mythology | Cor Deiseal, the Sunwise Ritual

    The ancient Irish and Celtic peoples were incredibly knowledgeable with regard to the skies and celestial bodies, and we know that their calendar was divided not just by the seasons, but by the movements of the sun, stars and earth. Cor Deiseal, (pronounced kor dy-ash-al) comes from the words deis meaning ‘right-hand’ and deas meaning ‘south’. It refers to the curious movement, or procession, in a clockwise direction, thus following the course of the sun.

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  • Imbas Forosnai | Poetic Inspiration of the Irish Filidh

    This act of looking into the future and chanting or reciting prophecy in the form of poetry is called Imbas Forosnai (imbas meaning ‘inspiration’, in particular the sacred poetic inspiration of the ancient Filidh, and forosnai meaning ‘illuminating’ or ‘that which illuminates’).

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  • Geis | The Curse in Irish Mythology

    Irish mythology is awash with geisa, almost every hero being afflicted by at least one, if not more. At first glance, they seem little more than a sprinkling of magical spice to add a little extra drama to a story: if the hero violates his geis, he suffers dishonour and maybe even death.

    However, a closer look yields a slightly different concept behind the use of the geis in Irish myth and legend. 

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