📖 Read pages 58-77 of The Celtic Myths by Miranda Aldhouse-Green

📖 Read pages 58-77, Chapter 3: A Plethora of Irish Spirits of The Celtic Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends by Miranda Aldhouse-Green (Thames & Hudson, , ISBN: 978-0500252093)

A synopsis of the Irish gods and stories.

There was an unexpected note on page 66 that indicated that J.R.R. Tolkien may have been fascinated by a cursed ring described on a lead tablet in Lydney and a very similar (the same?) gold ring found at the Roman city of Silchester in Hampshire. The text posits that perhaps the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were potentially inspired by these archaeological finds from Irish myth.

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📖 Read pages 38-57 of The Celtic Myths by Miranda Aldhouse-Green

📖 Read pages 38-57, Chapter 2: The Myth Spinners of The Celtic Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends by Miranda Aldhouse-Green (Thames & Hudson, , ISBN: 978-0500252093)

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Chapter 2: The Myth Spinners

“It is said that during their training, the Druids learn by heart a great many verses, so many that some people spend 20 years studying the doctrine. The do not think it right to commit their teachings to writing. I suppose this practice began originally for two reasons: they did not want their doctrines to be accessible to the ordinary people, and they did not want their pupils to rely on the written word and so neglect to train their memories.”
–Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico 6.14

Highlight (yellow) – 2. Myth Spinners > Page 38

An interesting statement about memory and cultural traditions.
Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

There is something about committing mythic–or any other–stories to physical form that changes them, because such an act codifies them, freezes-frames them and renders them less organic.

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Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

… the San of southern Africa and the Aboriginal peoples of Australia to name just two, chose and still choose to commit their myths to rock-art. Change still occurs, for it is possible to paint over previous art and to add picture-panels.

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Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

Shape-shifters are common protagonists in Celtic myths.

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Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

Another striking custom in the Welsh stories in the way that tenses change, in order to enhance dramatic effect.

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Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

For it usually does happen that if people have the help of written documents, they do not pay as much attention to learning by heart, and so let their memories become less efficient.

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Another snippet on memory
Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

 Late Iron Age bronze figurine of a man holding an egg-like object, perhaps a Druid’s egg, an opject used in prophecy, from Neuvy-en-Suillias, in France.

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Or an early rugby ball?
Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

Indeed, it was not until the 17th century, under the relentless onslaught of the English government against the old Irish order and the filidh [teachers, kingly advisers, poets, satirists, and keepers of tradition] disappeared.

Highlight (yellow) – 2. Myth Spinners > The Triplefold Bardic Model > Page 44

Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

The Welsh and Irish stories are very different from each other both in content and in timbre. […] It is highly likely that storytellers travelled freely between the courts of Ireland and Wales, and the sharing of storylines between the two countries is not hard to explain.

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Added on Monday, January 1, 2018 night

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

📗 Read pages 1-37 of The Celtic Myths by Miranda Aldhouse-Green

📖 Read pages 1-37 of The Celtic Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends by Miranda Aldhouse-Green (Thames & Hudson, , ISBN: 978-0500252093)

I picked this up the other day while browsing at the library. It’s turned out not to have some of the actual mythological tales I was expecting, but, even better, it has some preparatory history and archaeology which I suspect will make my later reading of them more fruitful and interesting.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Prelude & Chapter 1

Myths flourish in societies where such issues are not answerable by means of rational explanation. They are symbolic stories, designed to explore these issues in a comprehensible manner.

Highlight (yellow) – 1. Word of Mouth: Making Myths > Page 15

This makes me think of complex issues of modern science like people (wrongly) believing that vaccines cause autism or in our current political situation where many blindly believe the truth of the existence of “fake news” when spewed by politicians who seem to be modern-day story-tellers.
Added on Monday, December 25, 2017 night

Medieval Welsh storytelling was close kin to poetry, and often the poet and the cyfarwydd were one and the same. Of course, modern audiences can only access the tales through their written forms but, even so, their beginnings as orally transmitted tales are sometimes betrayed by various tricks of the trade. Each episode is short and self-contained, as though to help listeners (and the storytellers themselves) remember them. Words and phrases are often repeated, again to aid memory. A third device also points in this direction, and that is the ‘onomastic tag’, the memory-hook provided by explanations of personal and place names.

Highlight (yellow) – 1. Word of Mouth: Making Myths > Page 22-23

This is interestingly relevant to some of my memory research and this passage points out a particular memory trick used by storytellers in the oral tradition.
Added on Monday, December 25, 2017 night

The Classical mythic centaur, which melds the forms of man and horse, has its Celtic counterpart in the Welsh horse-woman, Rhiannon.

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Origin of the name Rhiannon
Added on Monday, December 25, 2017 night

The weapons used were words and they could literally sandblast a man’s face, raising boils and rashes. The power of words to wound was a recurrent bardic theme in medieval Ireland; […]

Highlight (yellow) – 1. Word of Mouth: Making Myths > Page 34

I can’t help but think of the sharp tongued William Shakespeare or old barbs I’ve read from this period before. Obviously it was culturally widespread and Shakespeare is just a well-known, albeit late, practitioner of the art.
Added on Monday, December 25, 2017 night

So gessa [singular geis] acted as a device to keep listeners interested, and one can imagine how, perhaps, a storyteller would break off his tale at a crucial moment, leaving his audience to wonder how it would end, avid for the next episode in the ‘soap opera’.

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This passage makes me think of the too-oft used device by Dan Brown’s Origins which I read recently.
Added on Monday, December 25, 2017 night

… red was the color of the Otherworld.

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This is a recurring thing in myths. The red flames of Hell spring to mind.
Added on Monday, December 25, 2017 night

[…] this took place at the end-of-the-year festival of Samhain, the pagan Irish equivalent of Hallowe’en, at the end of October. Samhain was an especially dangerous time because it took place at the interface between the end of one year and the beginning of the next, a time of ‘not being’ when the world turned upside-down and the spirits roamed the earth among living humans.

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Cultural basis of Hallowe’en? This also contains an interesting storytelling style of multiple cultural layers being built up within the story to bring things to a head.
Added on Monday, December 25, 2017 night

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

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