aliisaacstoryteller
a celebration of life

Today, the Irish are well known for their love of partying and enjoying the craic; whilst this may seem like stereotyping, it’s no exaggeration. Nor is it a new phenomenon… I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was one day discovered to be a trait handed down through the centuries in Irish DNA. 😀

Historically and mythologically, Lughnasadh was pretty much the biggest party of them all. One of the four ancient Irish pre-Christian festivals (the others being Imbolc, Bealtaine and Samhain), Lughnasadh was celebrated midway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox, around August 1st.

As Christianity spread across Ireland, the event was adapted as a festival of thanksgiving for the harvest, and moved to the nearest Sunday.

In a way, this feels very appropriate to me, for Lughnasadh originated way back in the era of the Tuatha de Danann, not so much in thanks for the harvest, but in thanks for a life… the life of a very special woman, or Goddess, named Tailtiu. Read More

A man borne of a virgin was destined for great things.

THE INTERNATIONAL VIRGIN BIRTH

The virgin birth is not just a Christian ‘thing’… weird and wacky birth stories exist in ancient cultures from all around the world.

forty five virgin births were reported in the US in recent years.Buddha, for example, entered his mother’s womb in the shape of a white elephant; Athena was born from Zeus’s forehead, Dionysus from his thigh; Vishnu descended from heaven into the womb of a mortal woman and was born as Krishna; the prophet Muhammad was born of a mortal woman but had no father; Coatlicue was unknowingly impregnated by a bunch of feathers which she found and stowed in her clothing, later giving birth to Aztec god Huitzilopochtli; in Japan, Momotarō was found inside a giant peach floating down a river, and so on.

Despite all these marvelous miracles, however, the pregnancy of a chaste and virginal woman is the most enduring and beloved tale of all. And unsurprisingly, the immaculate conception almost always results in the birth of a spectacular male child who goes on to achieve great deeds as an adult. Read More

The legend of the veiled one

Who was the Cailleach Bheara? She appears as a mysterious and shadowy figure hovering around the edges of Irish folklore and myth, yet very little is known about her.

The word cailleach has come to mean ‘hag’, or ‘crone’, yet in Old Gaelic it actually means ‘veiled one’. This conjures up images of early Medieval Christian nuns, yet it is possible that the word has more ancient origins and could refer to the wise-women or female Druids of pre-Christian and maybe even pre-Celtic times.

The legend of the cailleach can be found not only in Ireland, but in Scotland and the Isle of Man, too. She is associated with Winter, and the creation of the landscape. Read More

It’s that time of year again… the Irish are preparing to party, big time, ‘cos there’s nothing we like more than celebrating the death of a saint. And all around the world, everyone wants in on the act.

Despite controversy, Enda Kenny is already in the US preparing to hand over the customary crystal bowl of shamrocks to President Trump on Thursday. This is a tradition which was started back in 1963, and symbolizes the ‘special’ relationship Ireland has always had, and hopes to maintain, with the US. Read More

Without a doubt, one of the most interesting and mysterious figures from Irish mythology is the One known as Mogh Ruith. He’s right up there with Manannán, as far as I’m concerned. His name is said to mean ‘slave of the wheel’, curious in itself, and he was a blind Munster Druid who lived on Valentia Island  in Co Kerry, which is now part of the celebrated Wild Atlantic Way.

Mogh Ruith was the father of tragic Goddess, Tlachtga, who left her name in the landscape of Ireland  at a place anglicised as the Hill of Ward, sacred to the festival of Samhain.

He is perhaps most famous for his flying machine, roth rámach, meaning ‘the oared wheel’, or ‘rowing wheel’ (could be a helicopter, don’t you think?), in which night appeared as bright as day. For this reason, it is believed that he must have been a sun god. I don’t know about you, but that sounds too easy to me. Perhaps it was a space ship… remember, the Tuatha de Danann were said to have descended from great storm clouds in the sky. Read More

I read a post on Facebook yesterday which claimed that animal behaviorists now believe that hugging your pet is harmful for them, as it causes their stress levels to rise. Apparently, they prefer tummy rubs, stroking and treats. Well, it’s hardly surprising; they haven’t evolved to hug each other, but instead show affection by licking and grooming each other, by sharing food and curling up together to sleep. I reckon not hugging your pet is going to upset you far more than your pet.

Which got me thinking… did our ancient ancestors form the same kind of relationships with their animals as we do, or did they see them merely as a source of food and income, or beasts of burden? Read More

Ok Sarah Brentyn, you asked for it! I rise to the challenge and dare to post my teenage angst poem…

life’s love lost

Now you’ve abandoned me;
Love lost forever.
Life’s web of pathways,
don’t care where they lead.
They all look the same:
bleakness, blackness.
It’s over now,
and all is nothing.

Wow, I must have been such a fun kid to be around… no wonder I was a bit of a loner! 😁Please feel free to join in the fun and tag your #teenangstpoem so me and Sarah can read it.

Last week, I listened to one of my lecturers read aloud a poem in Old Irish, and I learned a few things:

  1. Old Irish is a language which is meant to be listened to.
  2. Listening to someone read poetry aloud in Old Irish, even when you don’t understand what the hell he’s saying, is… well, let’s just say it’s very pleasant. 😉

The Encounter of Líadain and Cuirithir is a romantic tragedy, and a story I had not yet come across. It is told, as many old Irish stories are told, in both poetry and prose, with the poetry normally being reserved for speech, or to emphasize a particularly important point, or exchange. And because February is the month of love (just look at all the people born in November and tell me it isn’t!), I thought I’d share it with you. Read More