Lost History Ancient History Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries

Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries

Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries
Catalog # SKU0654
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Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name W. Y. Evans-Wentz
 
$18.95
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Description

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries

by W. Y. Evans-Wentz




Pixies, elves, brownies, dwarfs, leprechauns, and the other enchanted little people: where do they come from? Folklorists consider them the byproducts of ancient religious beliefs, occultists term them nature spirits, and the peasantry call them fallen angels-creatures neither good enough for redemption nor bad enough to be forever lost.

This collection of reports of elfin creatures in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany ranks among the most scholarly works ever published on the subject. "The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries begins with the author's account of firsthand testimony from living sources, classified under individual countries and introduced by leading authorities on anthropology and folklore. The next section concerns the recorded traditions of Celtic literature and mythology, followed by an examination of a variety of theories and their religious aspects. The book concludes with a remarkably rational case for the reality of fairy life.

Narrated with an engaging sense of wonder, this volume offers a valuable resource for students of anthropology and Celtic lore, as well as hours of delightful reading for fairy enthusiasts. Unabridged republication of the classic 1911 edition.

Excerpt:

Page 332:

Celtic Otherworld (Section II Chapter VI)

THE Heaven-World of the ancient Celts, unlike that of the Christians, was not situated in some distant, unknown region of planetary space, but here on our own earth. As it was necessarily a subjective world, poets could only describe it in terms more or less vague; and its exact geographical location, accordingly, differed widely in the minds of scribes from century to century. Sometimes, as is usual to-day in fairy-lore, it was a subterranean world entered through caverns, or hills, or mountains, and inhabited by many races and orders of invisible beings, such as demons, shades, fairies, or even gods. And the underground world of the Sidhe-folk, which cannot be separated from it, was divided into districts or kingdoms under different fairy kings and queens, just as the upper world of mortals. We already know how the Tuatha De Danann or Sidhe-folk, after their defeat by the Sons of Mil at the Battle of Tailte, retired to this underground world and took possession of its palaces beneath the green hills and vales of Ireland; and how from there, as gods of the harvest, they still continued to exercise authority over their conquerors, or marshalled their own invisible spirit-hosts in fairy warfare, and sometimes interfered in the wars of men.

More frequently, in the old Irish manuscripts, the Celtic Otherworid was located in the midst of the Western Ocean, as though it were the 'double' of the lost Atlantis ; (1) and Manannan Mac Lir, the Son of the Sea -- perhaps himself the 'double' of an ancient Atlantean king -- was one of the divine rulers of its fairy inhabitants, and his palace, for he was one of the Tuatha De Danann, was there rather than in Ireland; and when he travelled between the two countries it was in a magic chariot drawn by horses who moved over the sea-waves as on land. And fairy women came from that mid-Atlantic world in magic boats like spirit boats, to charm away such mortal men as in their love they chose, or else to take great Arthur wounded unto death. And in that island world there was neither death nor pain nor scandal, nought save immortal and unfading youth, and endless joy and feasting.

Even yet at rare intervals, like a phantom, Hy Brasil appears far out on the Atlantic. No later than the summer of 1908 it is said to have been seen from West Ireland, just as that strange invisible island near Innishmurray, inhabited by the invisible 'gentry', is seen -- once in seven years. And too many men of intelligence testify to having seen Hy Brasil at the same moment, when they have been together, or separated, as during the summer of 1908, for it to be explained away as an ordinary illusion of the senses. Nor can it be due to a mirage such as we know, because neither its shape nor position seems to conform to any known island or land mass.

The Celtic Otherworld is like that hidden realm of subjectivity lying just beyond the horizon of mortal existence, which we cannot behold when we would, save with the mystic vision of the Irish seer. Thus in the legend of Bran's friends, who sat over dinner at Harlech with the Head of Bran for seven years, three curious birds acted as musicians, the Three Birds of Rhiannon, which were said to sing the dead back to life and the living into death ;-- but the birds were not in Harlech, they were out over the sea in the atmosphere of Rhiannon's realm in the bosom of Cardigan Bay. (1) And though we might say of that Otherworld, as we learn from these Three Birds of Rhiannon, and as Socrates would say, that its inhabitants are come from the living and the living in our world from the dead there, yet, as has already been set forth in chapter iv, we ought not to think of the Sidhe-folk, nor of such great heroes and gods as Arthur and Cuchulainn and Finn, who are also of its invisible company, as in any sense half-conscious shades; for they are always represented as being in the full enjoyment of an existence and consciousness greater than our own.

End excerpt.


Softbound, 5.25 x 8.25, 544 pages

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