Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Five Favorite Celtic Mythological Figures

Is writing a blog that's basically just a list lazy? Is it even lazier if it's a list of only five things? Sure. But you know what? The laziest thing of all would be to not write anything. So here goes.

I'm a huge mythology buff. I have extensive knowledge of Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Japanese, Aztec, and a whole bunch of other mythologies. But my favorite is Celtic Mythology. Particularly Irish Celtic mythology. Why?

Well, I'm of Irish descent. Sean Kelley. So there's a heritage thing. Also, it's kind of crazy. The biggest Celtic epic is all about stealing cows and features a curse where men get labor pains. AND it's kind of mysterious. The ancient Celts didn't really have a system of writing (well, the druids did, but the rank and file Celts did not) so alot of their myth came down completely through Oral Tradition till it was written down by other civilizations. Regardless, I find the whole mythology fascinating. Here are my favorite favorite figures (gods, people, monsters, etc.) from Celtic mythology.

1. The Morrigan



The Morrigan, sometimes called the Phantom Queen, is the Celtic goddess of war. Actually the Morrigan is a triple goddess- which means that she's actually 3 goddesses in 1, like the Greek Fates. The Morrigan is associated with crows, and will frequently be seen flying over battlefields in the form of a crow, or flock of crows. So, the Morrigan is basically an asskicking goddess who can turn into a flock of scary crows- basically the Norse Valkyries but more goth. Awesome.

2. Balor of the Evil Eye (or Baleful Eye)



The Fomorians are basically the orcish horde (except they were giants) of Irish myth, and Balor of the Baleful Eye (or Evil Eye) was their Sauron. Balor was basically a giant monster who had a huge eye on his forehead, and another one of the back of his head. Balor could kill you by looking at you, so he kept his eyes closed except when he went into battle. He was killed by the god/hero Lugh when Lugh through a spear through Balor's deadly eyeball.

3. The Tuatha de Danann/ Aos Si



It's believed that prior to the arrival of humans, Ireland was populated by a technologically advanced, tall, incredibly beautiful godlike race of beings called the Tuatha de Danann. When people arrived, they drove the Tuatha de Danann away into an "Otherworld". This world could be accessed via faerie mounds. In later years, some people believe that the Tuatha De Danann became the Aos Si- who are basically a race of malicious faeries who steal babies and curdle milk inside of cows as a means of retribution against humanity.

4. Medb



Medb was an old school feminist. She decided that her wealth had to be equal to her husband's. When she took stock of each of their worldly possessions, she found that he had one stud bull more than she did. So, she set out to find a better cow. When she did, she tried to buy it. When the owner wouldn't sell, she went to war with him. She lost the war when her army was defeated by....

5. Cuchulainn




Cuchulainn is Ireland's greatest mythological hero. He's basically a cross between Hercules, King Arthur, and the Incredible Hulk. On top of being a great warrior, Cuchulainn also had a superpower- he could go into a berzerker rage where his body would transform- his muscles would grow, his hair would turn into spikes, and one of his eyes would get as big as a dinner plate. It was through using these powers that he was able to fend off Medb's armies.

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