Co-thad-thrath

 

(co-joining time period)

 

 

 

Spring Equinox - March 20 or 21

 

 

The spring equinox was a 3-day solar event to honour the young son god when he became strong enough to overwhelm darkness.  It was also a time when the ancient people paid their respects to his mother the moon goddess, to purify the land, to celebration the emergences of the earth goddesses from their winter sleep and to begin a new cycle of events.  Furze fires were lit on hilltops in honour of fertility goddesses such as On-niona.

 

During this event night and day were in balance, it was the beginning of the bright half of the year.  The festival takes place during the time of Pisces in the sun zodiac calendar.  The day was also in the month of Alder (hottest-burning) in the tree calendar.  The Great Mother (Triple Goddess) visited her admirers first as the hag, dressed in black and representing physical death.  It was a day of sacrifice, first by the druids, then by everyone.

 

During the second day The Great Mother appeared as, a youth wearing white, signifying intellectual birth.  On this day (spring equinox) everyone visited the mother cave (unicursal maze) representing the womb of the earth goddess and asked for the return of the male oak spirit from its winter abode in the female mistletoe.

 

On the third day of the festival, the Triple Goddess appeared as a maiden in the prime of her life and dressed in scarlet: the color of the spirit, fire and sexual energy.  The young goddess attended a day of feasting, drinking (mulberry wine), chariot races, games of skill and story telling.

 

All three days of the event were enhanced by dance, song, music and decoration by any new growth of leaves or flowers.  The Great Mother was the perpetual virgin, mother of all Celtic deities, mankind and all living things.  She was associated with the moon, fertility and continual motion.

 

 

 

 

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Beltainn
(Brilliant Fires)

Calendar Event - May 4 or 5

 

Beltainn {Beltuinn} marked the beginning of the summer season (Samhradh).  Beltainn had two fires and was a   2-day event with 3 days of festival on either side.  Bel (god) teine (fire) was a fertility festival in which Belenos the male sun god and the female earth goddess fertilized nature (life force) and encouraged healthy livestock, game and foliage.  Belenos was associated with the bull and the oak tree.  This was the month of the bull in the zodiac calendar and the month of Saille (Willow) in the tree calendar.  Willow was also a tree of great importance to the moon goddess.  Hawthorn crowns were made for the god and goddess.  Children conceived at this time would be born for Imbolic.

On the eve of Beltainn all fires were extinguished and all wheels ceased to turn.  At the crack of dawn, the needfire was lit using two large very dry trunks of oak.  The oak was rubbed together by 81 males working in shifts of 9 men each.  The Beltainn fires were special fires called Coelcerth (Gaelic), now known as bonfires meaning good fires".

Circular Beltainn cakes (Tcharnicanare) made from eggs, milk and oatmeal were quartered and put into a calfskin bag.  All the members of the tribe then filed by and retrieved a quarter of the wheel-cake.  The person who picked the cake with the charcoal-blackened mark on it was called the cailleach bealtine (Beltain Carline) and became the sacrifice.

The festival was associated with spring flowers and new boughs of leaves from the hawthorn, which was sacred to the moon goddess.  People wore bright colors to enhance the cycle and to help it on.  This was a precarious time of year because winter stores were still the main source of food, as most new growth would not yet be ready to eat.  Circular cheeses were rolled down the hills in a sunwise direction and the feast that followed was of mead, boar, game, sweet milk, milk curdled over the fire and, most importantly, fresh beef.

During the feast, incense was burned and the bards provided music.  The festival included ritual ecstatic dancing around the phallic stone; ceremonial acts of bowing and kissing, and leaping over the Beltaine fires.  There were different types of races, entertainment by bards and poets, friends and family were together and a festive atmosphere prevailed.

The Partholean, Nemedian, Danann and Goidel all landed in Ireland on Beltainn.  The Celts of Ireland held their Great Assembly on Beltainn at Uisnech, the navel of Ireland.  The Gauls also held their Great Assembly on Beltainn at Chartres, which was in the territory of the Carnuti tribe.  This was a time when disputes were settled and the druid's word was law.

 

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