Friday, 30 August 2013

Who was the goddess Danu in mythology? Sidhe, Tuatha De Danaan

Who was Danu?
Goddess Danu is considered the most ancient of all Celtic Deities.  
Her name means knowledge, wisdom, teacher, wealth and abundance.  She is also known as Dana and as her Welsh equivalent, Don, or Ana.
Some references have her as so ancient that she is both goddess and god,
 and refer to Danu as an all-encompassing Divine Source.   
Goddess Danu is strongly associated with the Tuatha de Dannan, which means "The Tribes of the goddess Danu", “The Children of Danu.”
 Tuatha Dé Danann (Old Irish: "The peoples of the goddess Danu"). The Tuatha de Dannan are believed to have been the wise ones, the alchemists of ancient Ireland.  Some references have them as actual descendants of Danu.  It is believed that when the Gaelics invaded Ireland, the Tuatha de Dannan shape shifted to the Sidhe (shee) who are considered the “faery folk” "The good people" or "The people of the mound"of Ireland.  The Tuatha Dé were the descendants of the goddess Danu, and in some local instances said, the ruler of the otherworld was a goddess, rather than a god, just as some folktales represented the otherworld as 'the Land of Women'. Other members of the Tuatha Dé Danann include: Manannán, Brigid or Bride, and Macha, one face of the triple war Goddess, the Morrigan. Danu in a reading brings a time of richness and inspiration, of magic and a return to the source. Alternate names: Ana, Anu, Anann ("wealth, abundance")
Is Danu rooted in the historical record?

Our most immediate sources are certain popular Victorian and Edwardian books (many of them still in print) that first attempted to bring the complicated and chaotic material from mediaeval Irish and Welsh manuscripts into a form that the non-scholarly public could understand and enjoy. They transmitted the conclusions of more scholarly discussion about the nature and meaning of the texts, without, however, going over the arguments of the discussion in detail, or indicating the reservations some scholars might still have had about the conclusions. It is in these books that the Tuatha Dé Danann are first presented unambiguously as "the peoples of the goddess Danu", with Danu and Bile as the most ancient ancestors within the pantheon. In the words of Charles Squire, for example:

"... The most ancient divinity of whom we have any knowledge is Danu herself, the goddess from whom the whole hierarchy of gods received its name of Tuatha Dé Danann ... She was the universal mother.... Her husband is never mentioned by name, but one may assume him, from British analogies, to have been Bilé [sic], known to Gaelic tradition as a god of Hades, a kind of Celtic Dis Pater from whom sprang the first men. Danu herself probably represented the earth and its fruitfulness, and one might compare her with the Greek Demeter. All the other gods are, at least by title, her children."

Some of Danu’s symbols include holy stones, horses – particularly mares, seagulls, fish, amber, gold, royalty/empress, rivers, sea, flowing water, air, wind, earth, moon, keys and crowns.

Danu is commonly considered the first Great Mother of Ireland, Divine Creator aspect of the Goddess who birthed all things into being.  She is an Earth Goddess, associated with fertility, growth, plenty, abundance, agriculture, cultivation and with nurturing of the land. Rivers, flowing water and the sea are also Danu’s Domain.  Within this water form she wields the magic of Divine Flow.  
As a Cosmic Goddess, Danu is the essence of Universal Wisdom and Divine Knowledge.  She knows the secrets of Divine Alchemy and Divine Magic and reminds us that through our Oneness to the Divine Source, there really are no “secrets,” we are essentially one with All Encompassing Universal Wisdom.

Danu is an ancient and eternal essence of the Goddess, an affirmation of the enduring energy of the Divine Feminine.  She brings the steadfast love and support of a Mother Goddess and is a wonderful representation of the infinite, all encompassing Divine Universal Source. 

 A goddess Dānu is attested in the Rigveda, and also the river names Danube (Latin: Danuvius), Dniestr, Dniepr and Don derive from the name.
The Rigvedic Danu was the mother of a race of Asuras called the Danavas. A shortened form of the name appears to have been Dā. This form survives in Greek Damater (Demeter, "mother Da"), in origin also a water goddess.[citation needed] The Proto-Indo-European *dānuprobably meant "fluvial water, running water".

The genitive form of Old Irish Danu is Danann, and the dative Danainn. Irish Danu is not identical with Vedic Dānu but rather descends from a Proto-Celtic *Danona, which may contain the suffix -on- also found in other theonyms such as Matrona, Maqonos/Maponos and Catona.

Danu's consort was Bilé (god of death). They were the parents of Dagda, the chief of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
In welsh mythology Bilé and Danu were called Beli and Don and were the parents of the socalled "Children of the Light".
Irish mythology knows Danu as Anu and Bilé as Belenos.
(Some believe that Ana and Danu were two different goddesses!)

Nuada, the leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann, was sometimes called son of the goddess Danu.
There's great believe that Danu was of very ancient Proto-Indo-European origin
Hindu Mythology: Hindu goddess Danu, was a goddess or personification of the primeval waters and mother-goddess of a race named the Danavas.
Greek Mythology: Danaus (or Danaos) was a mythical king, who build the first ship ever and had fifty daughter, the Danaides. "Danaans" ("Tribe of Danaus") was one of the collectice names for the Greeks in the Troyan war.

The Proto-Celtic word "Dano" means gift, while the Proto-Indo-European word "Danu" means river. The river Danube (latin: Danuvius; german: Donau) is referred to the mother-goddess. "Dhanu" seems to have originally meant "swift".
It should be pointed out however that nowhere in the Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of Conquests of Ireland) -- our earliest source on the material related to the Tuatha Dé Danann, compiled between the ninth and the twelfth centuries -- does Danu appear (under any form of her name) in the role of primordial mother. The one figure who appears prominently in the text and has a similar name is Danand (or Donand) daughter of Delbaeth son of Ogma, who cohabits with her own father and has three sons by him, Brian, Iuchar and Iucharba. These three come to be known as the tri Dé Danand, the "three gods of Danand", and we are told that all the Tuatha Dé Danann took their name from them, although no logical reason for this appears in the narrative, nor any sense of why the three alone are "gods".
In the case of "Danu"/Danand, one particular element should hold our attention: her relation to a specific feature of the Irish landscape, the Dhá Chíoch Anann, two hills in Luachair in West Munster whose shape suggests the breasts of a vast supine woman whose body is the Land itself. This was the site of one of Fionn Mac Cumhaill's most famous boyhood deeds (his victory over the fairy woman of Síd Brég Éle) and was recognised as a place of importance in some of our earliest written sources. Many linguists have supposed that Anann is, like Danann, the genitive of an n-stem noun whose nominative form would be *Anu. 

Throughout the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, the Lebor Gabála remained the prime authoritative source on the origins of Ireland. All literate people were expected to be familiar with its basic plots and characters, and it gave rise to countless secondary tales and poems. In the seventeenth century, as the native lore was coming to be challenged by a new elite of foreign settlers, the great Irish scholar Geoffrey Keating (Seathrún Céitinn) produced his encyclopaedic work Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (Foundation of Knowledge About Ireland), an updated and re-organised compilation of material from the Lebor Gabála and related sources that made the lore more accessible to the people of his time. 
According to the Annals of the Four Masters, the Tuatha de Danann ruled Ireland from 1897 BC to 1700 BC. The story of their invasion of Ireland and subsequent war with the Fir Bolg (the previous inhabitants) is a fascinating chronicle of ancient Irish history.

When the Tuatha de Danann first arrived in Ireland they landed in Connaught. Legend says that they landed on a mountain in ships of the sky that blotted out the sun for three days. Thus, from the mists they appeared. Some say that the story is simply a fabrication, while others conclude that the Tuatha upon landing, burned their ships, determined to stay in the land. Likely, the Tuatha de Dannan were just sick of the voyage and decided to settle down.
But the Tuatha were not welcomed by the current residents of Ireland, the Fir Bolg. After a time of negotiation, the two sides joined battle. The Fir Bolg were defeated, but they had given such a good fight that the Tuatha let them keep Connaught and took the rest of Ireland.

Bile, *Danu/Danann's supposed consort. A figure by that name does appear in the Lebor Gabála, but is not related in any way to Danand in the narrative. Bile is one of the ten [some recensions say six] sons of Bregon [or Breogan] who originally lived in Spain. One of them, Íth, first saw the land of Ireland when gazing out to sea from the top of a tower, and mounted an expedition to investigate it.  He was murdered by the Tuatha Dé Danann and his body was brought back to Spain, whereupon the other sons of Bregon decided to go to Ireland themselves to avenge their brother and seize the island, taking with them their own sons and retainers. Bile's son was Mil, after whom the "Milesian" invasion of Ireland was eventually named, since it was from Mil's sons alone that the Gaels were said to be descended. Bile, therefore, can indeed be seen as a "first ancestor" figure, and was explicitly declared to be such in mediaeval Irish literary tradition, since the Lebor Gabála states several times: Bile 7 Mílid, is dia cloind Gáidil uile ("Bile and Mil, it is from their progeny that all the Gaels come"). It is not Bile, however, but his grandson Donn who takes on the role of "first ancestor to die in Ireland".  was the chief of the eight sons of Mil and commanded one of the ships in the invasion. A magical wind sent by the Tuatha Dé Danann wrecked his ship against a small island off the southwestern coast, drowning three of the sons of Mil (Donn himself; Airech the steersman; and the youngest, Éraind [or Érennán] the lookout on the mast, who fell into the sea), as well as their grandfather Bile.
The most plausible etymology of Bile (though even this isn't certain, since the mediaeval copyists seemed unable to decide whether the i in the name was long or short) derives it from a word that means "tree", especially in the sense of "sacred tree". Throughout Irish tradition the term bile has been used to designate particularly large and ancient trees that served as focal points for ritual spaces or tribal territories. The lore of places frequently mentions the trees that marked the centres of the provincial divisions, with the centre of Ireland as a whole indicated by the biggest of them all, the Craeb Uisnig (Tree of Uisnech), an ash tree of such proportions that it was said to have covered twenty miles of ground when it finally collapsed. It was described as dor nime ("door of heaven"), suggesting that it was a means of gaining access to other worlds, a role often played by great and wonderful trees in Celtic stories, and which certainly points to the fundamental Indo- European motif of the world-tree or world-pillar which serves as the axis of the entire universe and whose immense height penetrates all the levels of existence and unites them all.

The term bile is also known (as a rare and archaic term) in Scots Gaelic, while in Manx billey has become the ordinary word for "tree". It has its origins in Old Celtic bilios, attested in Gaulish place- names like Biliomagos "Plain of the Sacred Tree" (modern-day Bilem). No cognate has survived in Welsh, but in Breton bilh can still mean the trunk of a very large tree that has been cut down.

These linguistic and theological features could indeed suggest that the figure of Bile, "first ancestor" of human lineages in time, is also "first point in space" out of which all subsequent spatial dimensions grow. 

While much of the story of the Tuatha de Danann has been distorted over time, there is growing evidence that the story is based on fact. Remains from some of the battlefields have been found which cast a different light on the story as a whole. No longer are the Tuatha considered just Irish legend and fairies. Although three of the treasures are obvious stories proclaiming the glories of their Kings, the fourth item sounds very much like the legendary Stone of Scone that sits in Edinburgh today.

Tuatha De Danann, The people of Danu - Other lore

Faerie Faith is an ancient folk belief that kind of evolved into a folk religion when Christianity took root in Ireland. Based entirely on folklore, this religion has no set foundation, priests, or theology. It is said that it's hierarchy are faerie doctors or wise women. These are people who have seen and interacted with faeries and obtained the knowlege needed to see them.

Based on ancient Ireland, Eire, Gods of the Tuatha De Danann came to be oral Faery Tradition. It is also esoteric-christian, which flourished before the crusades. The Tuatha De Danann, who chose to stay in Ireland after the invasion of the Milesian, were said to have taken refuge under the hills.

Faery Folk of Ireland, some say are fallen angels. Inhabitants living underground, underwater, in green raths or under the loughs or sea.  Ireland has two races, a visable race called the Celts and the invisible Faery People or the Sidhe (Shee), Trooping, The Seelie Court, is one of Scotland's Sidhe.

Norse Mythology relates to how the maggots emerging from the corpse of the giant Ymir transformed themselves into the Light Elves and the Dark Elves.

The Icelandic version, known as Huldre Folk in Scandinavian countries, states that Eve was washing her children when God spoke to her. In her fear she hid the children that had not yet been washed. When God had asked if these were all her children, she replied, yes. He then declared that those she had hidden from him would also be hidden from mankind.

In Cornwall, the Christians said that pixies are the souls of unbaptised children and that faeries were the heathen dead; not good enough for heaven, nor bad enough for hell.

It is not known what brought the Tuatha to Ireland, but they brought with them their four sacred treasures that were each kept in a separate city; A Stone of Virtue was brought from Falias, called Lia Fail, or the stone of Destiny. From Gorias they brought a sword, which would later be called the Sword of Lugh. The Spear of Victory was brought from Finias, and from Murias they brought the Caldron of the Gods, from which no company ever went away from unsatisfied. They landed in Ireland around 1472 B.C.

The land of Ireland in 1472 B.C. was ruled by a race of creatures known as the Firbolgs.
Many say that they were deformed giants, however their stone age culture was akin to Neanderthal man. The Tuatha De Danaan arrived in a mist, it is said, and that they came through the air and the high air to Ireland. Legend says that they arrived on the first day of Beltaine, what is now known as May the first, May day. They landed northwest of Connacht. But the Firbolgs, the men of Bag, saw nothing but a mist lying on the hills.

The Last queen of the Tuatha De Danaan was named Eire. Ireland to this day is known as Eire. 
Eire impressed the invaders so, that she became Eireanaig, Goddess of the Milesians.
The Daioine Sidhe (dee-na shee)

The aos sí (Irish pronunciation: "ees shee", older form aes sídhe "ays sheeth-uh") is the Irish term for a supernatural race in Irish mythology and Scottish mythology, (usually spelled Sìth, however pronounced the same) comparable to the fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in fairy mounds, across the western sea, or in an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans. This world is described in the Book of Invasions (recorded in the Book of Leinster) as a parallel universe in which the aos sí walk amongst the living. In the Irish language, aos sí means "people of the mounds" (the mounds are known in Irish as "the sídhe"). In Irish literature the people of the mounds are also called daoine sídhe  in Scottish mythology they are daoine sìth. They are variously said to be the ancestors, the spirits of nature, or goddesses and gods.
Some secondary and tertiary sources including well-known and influential authors such as W.B. Yeats refer to aos sí simply as "the sídhe".


Leabhor Laigneach (The Book of Leinster), 
The Leabhor Baile an Mhota (The Book of Ballymote), as translated by Michael O'clery, in 1620. 

Additional sources on the origins of the Tuatha De Danaan include:

History by Heroditus, various references from the writings of Homer, 
The wall of the Temple of Ramesis III, 
The White Goddess by Robert Graves (1948), 
Lost Cities by archaeologist Leonard Cottrell (1958), 
The Horizon Book of Lost Cities by Leonard Cottrell (1962),
Irelands Faerie Lore by Rev. Michael P. Mahon (1919), 
The Religion of the Ancient Celts by J.A. MacCulloch (1911), 
Gods and Fighting Men by Lady Gregory (1904), 
and the personal notes of J.R.R. Tolkien, concerning his research into the development of the race of the Gray Elves, for his now famous stories.

*A few of the older books are available free HERE Forgotten Books*
A great read HERE The Tuatha De Danaan: The Children of the Goddess Danu by Greywolf the Wanderer. The article was originally published in the author's magazine, The Faerie Rad.

*NOTE: All original image sources are available via my boards at Pinterest HERE*

Love and light

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Mermaid of Zennor

Hi everyone!
I am thinking of submitting to Art Doll Quarterly - mermaid challenge
My choice of doll story would be:

The Mermaid of Zennor

 Zennor rd was the name of the street where my mother,Christine was brought up.
I lived there too,as a baby before she sold up to live on a barge!!
So it wasn't difficult to find a mermaid lore that resonated with a part of my memory lane.
If you do not know the story let me enlighten you - 

Long ago, a beautiful and richly-dressed woman occasionally attended services at St. Senara's Church in Zennor, and sometimes at Morvah. The parishioners were enchanted by her beauty and her voice, for her singing was sweeter than all the rest. She appeared infrequently for scores of years, but never seemed to age, and nobody knew whence she came, although they watched her from the summit of Tregarthen Hill. After many years, the mysterious woman became interested in a young man named Mathey Trewella, "the best singer in the parish." One day he followed her home, and disappeared; neither was ever seen again in Zennor Church.
The villagers wondered what had become of the two, until one Sunday a ship cast anchor about a mile from Pendour Cove. Soon after, a mermaid appeared, and asked that the anchor be raised, as one of its flukes was resting on her door, and she was unable to reach her children. The sailors obliged, and quickly set sail, believing the mermaid to be an ill omen. But when the villagers heard of this, they concluded that the mermaid was the same lady who had long visited their church, and that she had enticed Mathey Trewella to come and live with her.
The parishioners at St. Senara's commemorated the story by having one end of a bench carved in the shape of a mermaid. A shorter account of the legend was related to Bottrell on a subsequent visit to Cornwall. The mermaid had come to church every Sunday to hear the choir sing, and her own voice was so sweet that she enticed Mathey Trewella, son of the churchwarden, to come away with her; neither was seen again on dry land. The famed "mermaid chair" was the same bench on which the mermaid had sat and sung, opposite Trewella in the singing loft.
 The local legend : a mermaid in Zennor. Matthew Trewella was a good-looking young man with a nice voice. Each evening Matthew would sing the closing hymn at the church in Zennor. A mermaid living in neighbouring Pendour Cove was enchanted by the music. She dressed in a long dress to hide her long tail and walked (how?) to the church. She was amazed by Matthew's singing, and listened a little bit before slipping away to return to the sea. She came every day staying longer and longer. It was on one of these visits that her gaze met Matthew's, and they fell in love. However, the mermaid knew she had to go back to the sea or die. As she prepared to leave, Matthew said "Please do not leave, who are you, where are you from?". The mermaid told him her problem. Matthew was so love-struck that he swore he would follow her wherever she went. Matthew carried her to the cove, all the while his mother crying and pleading with him to stay. She reminded him that mermaids have no souls and by joining them, he too would lose his. He was so in love with the mermaid that it didn't matter, he followed her beneath the waves, never to be seen again. It is said that if you sit above Pendour Cove at sunset on a fine day you can hear Mathew singing above the waves.

 Here is an addition to the local tale :

Several years after Matthew Trewella's disappearance  a mermaid rose from the sea bed to complain with the captain of a ship lying off Pendower Cove. His anchor was laying across her door under the sea and prevented her from going home to her husband, Matthew Trewella and their children. The captian gave orders, the anchor was drawn up, and upon their return to Zennor the captain spread the word of Matthew's fate. The villagers, in an effort to warn other young men of Matthew's fate (remember by taking to the sea he gave up his soul,) had the image of the mermaid carved in holy-oak in the church.

In another version of this part of the tale, it is Matthew who asks the sailors to move anchor as his wife is trapped in the house and they don't want to be late for church.  This is of course probably not the version circulated by the church. It probably comes to us from the belief that everything on land had a under sea counterpart; Sea cats and dogs, and under sea churches, etc.
The Mermaid Chair in St. Senara's Church (2005), Cornwall, England
Pendour Cove. Beautiful rugged cove where the mermaid of Zennor lived.
Parish Church of St Senara. Inside the church is the now famous (thanks to the book of the same name) Mermaid Chair. The "chair" is actually two medieval bench-ends (over 600 years old) made into a seat. The carving on one end depicts a mermaid holding a comb and mirror.

A beautiful tales :) 

Reaching Zennor at the end of your walk you will find a wild, remote but fascinating settlement with a history going back over 4000 years. The name comes from Saint Senara , a Breton Saint whose original chapel was said to be on the land now occupied by the church.  

Its most famous resident DH Lawrence talked of the village "nestling under high shaggy moor hills and a big sweep of lovely seas lovelier even than the Mediterranean" His summary being "It is the best place I have been in – I think".

Today don’t miss the unique Wayside Museum at Zennor which got its name after its first proprietor “Colonel" Freddie Hirst" started displaying the artefacts by the side of the road. Said to be the oldest privately owned museum in the UK the former mill house now houses over 5000 items of Cornish life and culture in its  15 rooms. 

The 12C Church of St Senara at Zennor is also worth visiting – it can be a sobering spot with its memorials to John Davey claimed on this coast to be the last Cornish Speaker, to those lost at sea and those lost in the mines. Wander round the graveyard to get an idea of how many unlucky sailors ended up under the ground here far away from their homes. 

For those wanting an evening walk you can head  up rocky Zennor Hill behind the village for great views of the coastline and to seek the ancient stones at Zennor Quoit.  If that’s too industrious just outside the village look for Giants Rock the seat of the legendary giant of Carn Galva, the striking peak along the coast from the village. Would be witches need to climb the rock nine times at midnight to gain their magical powers. 

Zennor Quoit

If you know of any mermaid stories please leave a message with details below.

Love and light

Art Doll Quarterly Submissions

Spreading the word!

Circus-Themed Dolls
Artist Belinda Seymour suggested this theme and we definitely think it’s a great idea! 
After all, who doesn’t love a circus? 
There are so many ideas for creating an art doll when you think about the circus!
 This traveling company of performers offers so many doll options: clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, the ringmaster, musicians, the bearded lady, tightrope walker, jugglers, unicyclists and much more. Games of luck … cotton candy … what’s your interpretation of the circus? 
Toss your hat into the ring! Results will be published in our Spring 2014 issue.
Deadline: September 15, 2013

Another theme suggested by Belinda Seymour was Mermaids and we love it! What a better way to welcome in summer than with a plethora of beautiful mermaids? These lovely and mysterious aquatic creatures with the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish have been depicted in opera, paintings, books, films, and comics. So why not dolls? There are a lot of folktales related to mermaids that would make for interesting research! We can’t wait to see your creative submissions. 
Results will be published in our Summer 2014 issue.
Deadline: December 15, 2013

Paper Personas
Inspired by Judith Thibaut's doll "George in Drag" (Spring 2010) and in the spirit of Lynne Perrella's book Beyond Paper Dolls, we've created a new department in Art Doll Quarterly that will feature one fabulous, artistic and beautifully executed paper doll in each issue. We're looking for expressive paper personas crafted with innovative techniques and art mediums -- over-the-top imaginative interpretations of the human form. Send us your thought-provoking and innovative paper personas for publication consideration. Please note "Paper Personas" on your submission.
Deadline: Ongoing.

Love and Light

Dollirium Art Doll Emporium.

Dollirium Art Doll Emporium.

Showcasing one-of-a-kind art dolls by international artists from around the world,
 featuring new exhibits every 8 weeks while offering a variety of art classes. 
Dollirium Art Doll Emporium is Canada's leading art doll gallery. 
This unique gallery is a definite must-see for art lovers.

Located at:
 1 Cliftonvale Ave. London, Ontario Canada.

Some of my dolls are available to buy from Dollirium
Link Below 

Euphrosyne Petite SOLD

Love and light

Monday, 26 August 2013

Back from holiday after my daughters wedding.

Hi everyone

My presence here has been minimal due to the planning of my daughters wedding 
10th August 2013

Here are some pictures of the wonderful day!

                                                      Mr & Mrs Gough

Then I was off to Devon to visit friends and family. A much needed rest lol.
My partner David on a lovely roomy coach!
 The Plymouth arrival
 We had a beach near Mothecombe to ourselves - amazing!
 Our adventure around the rocks to a quiet beach - quite a quest!

 The quest ended and we arrived from the sea here - beautiful!

  • Starburst (AKA Debbie)

 This place felt like heaven from our early arrival and excursion in Plymouth - great place
 It was raining the first few days of our arrival - but we did not let that stop us! lol

So now it is preparation for my youngest to go back to school in September,
 then creating can resume once more!! Yay!! 
How I have missed the art room, transformed for a while into the wedding room! Naughty huh :)
Posting TDP doll this week - Sorry girls got behind xxx

I hope everyone has had a fab summer
Love and light