It’s taken a long time, quite a few very late nights… by that I really mean early mornings 😂, a few a lot of glasses of wine, much foul language sweet blessings, blood, sweat and tears, but finally,… Read More
In Ireland, these magical beings are known as ‘the Sidhe’ (prounounced Shee), also the Aos Sí, and Daoine Sídhe, and in Scottish lore, the Sith. They are named after the mounds which dot the Irish landscape, and which are said to lead to their homes below the ground. In folklore, they are often referred to as ‘the Fair Folk’ (hence fairy), or the ‘little people’, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Well. You know what I mean.
In Ireland, we take our fairy trees, our fairy tales, and our fairy folk for that matter, quite seriously. So seriously, in fact, that we delay the building of a motorway by ten years, and then end up completely re-routing it so that we avoid harming a well-known fairy tree.
For me, the isolated well on a barren rugged hillside that took effort and determination to reach, that’s the one which fascinates me. Getting there is part of the devotion; it feels like you have earned the right to be there, and the healing which may come of being there. St Colman’s Holy Well is exactly one such place.
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.
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.
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.