- Jan 14, 2016
This article uncovers links to pagan Irish rites which can be deduced from excerpts in the form of lists from medieval literature. There are three presented here: from Aidedh Ferghusa Maic Léti (Death of Fergus Mac Leide, c. 1100 A.D.), from Buile Shuibhne (Frenzy of Suibhne, 17th century manuscrits), and from the Book of Leinster (Lebar na Núachongbála, 11th century). It is seen in all cases that, when list items are rendered in a language ancestral to Irish (henceforth termed Goidelic) and recited in order, poems result which describe pagan rituals. This Goidelic is reconstructed on the basis of Indo-European linguistics and well-known sound laws governing the evolution of the Irish tongue. It will be seen that the Goidelic language used herein has much the same grammatical structure demonstrated by early ogam inscriptions in Ireland and even by Gaulish itself. Furthermore, the prosody and scansion of these Goidelic poems match features seen in a Gaulish inscription datable to c. 0-300 A.D. discovered at Chamalières, France in 1971. We will also notice some recurring features in these poems: (a) The desired outcome is stated only in the vaguest terms, if at all. (b) Each poem constitutes a recitation addressed to the god or goddess by a “witness” or “master of ceremonies” acting on behalf of other participants. (c) Duality in the ritual is readily apparent; e.g., a sacred double fire, or rites and recitations at two sites, etc. (d) A sacred locale is emphasized before the deity where the wishes of the performers ought not to be refused.
Introduction This article uncovers links to pagan Irish rites which can be deduced from excerpts in the form of lists from medieval literature. There are three presented here: from Aidedh Ferghusa ...