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The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W. Y. Evans Wentz

Author:W. Y. Evans Wentz [Wentz, W. Y. Evans]

Language: eng

Format: epub

Published: 2011-01-04T16:00:00+00:00

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The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W. Y. Evans Wentz

The Sidhe as War-Goddesses or the Badb

It is in the form of birds that certain of the Tuatha De Danann appear as war-goddesses and directors of battle,[254]—and we learn from one of our witnesses (p. 46) that the ‘gentry’ or modern Sidhe-folk take sides even now in a great war, like that between Japan and Russia. It is in their relation to the hero Cuchulainn that one can best study the People of the Goddess Dana in their rôle as controllers of human war. In the greatest of the Irish epics, the Taín Bó Cuailnge, where Cuchulainn is under their influence, these war-goddesses are called Badb[255] (or Bodb) which here seems to be a collective term for Neman, Macha, and Morrigu (or Morrigan)[256]—each of whom exercises a particular supernatural power. Neman appears as the confounder of armies, so that friendly bands, bereft of their senses by her, slaughter one another; Macha is a fury that riots and revels among the slain; while Morrigu, the greatest of the three, by her presence infuses superhuman valour into Cuchulainn, nerves him for the cast, and guides the course of his unerring spear. And the Tuatha De Danann in infusing this valour into the great hero show themselves—as we already know them to be on Samain Eve—the rulers of all sorts of demons of the air and awful spirits:—In the Book of Leinster (fol. 57, B 2) it is recorded that ‘the satyrs, and sprites, and maniacs of the valleys, and demons of the air, shouted about him, for the Tuatha De Danann were wont to impart their valour to him, in order that he might be more feared, more dreaded, more terrible, in every battle and battle-field, in every combat and conflict, into which he went.’

The Battles of Moytura seem in most ways to be nothing more than the traditional record of a long warfare to determine the future spiritual control of Ireland, carried on between two diametrically opposed orders of invisible beings, the Tuatha De Danann representing the gods of light and good and the Fomorians representing the gods of darkness and evil. It is said that after the second of these battles ‘The Morrigu, daughter of Ernmas (the Irish war-goddess), proceeded to proclaim that battle and the mighty victory which had taken place, to the royal heights of Ireland and to its fairy host and its chief waters and its river-mouths’.[257] For good had prevailed over evil, and it was settled that all Ireland should for ever afterwards be a sacred country ruled over by the People of the Goddess Dana and the Sons of Mil jointly. So that here we see the Tuatha De Danann with their war-goddess fighting their own battles in which human beings play no part.

 

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The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries by W. Y. Evans Wentz

Author:W. Y. Evans Wentz [Wentz, W. Y. Evans] , Date: June 7, 2019

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Author:W. Y. Evans Wentz [Wentz, W. Y. Evans]

Language: eng

Format: epub

Published: 2011-01-04T16:00:00+00:00
The Sidhe as War-Goddesses or the Badb

It is in the form of birds that certain of the Tuatha De Danann appear as war-goddesses and directors of battle,[254]—and we learn from one of our witnesses (p. 46) that the ‘gentry’ or modern Sidhe-folk take sides even now in a great war, like that between Japan and Russia. It is in their relation to the hero Cuchulainn that one can best study the People of the Goddess Dana in their rôle as controllers of human war. In the greatest of the Irish epics, the Taín Bó Cuailnge, where Cuchulainn is under their influence, these war-goddesses are called Badb[255] (or Bodb) which here seems to be a collective term for Neman, Macha, and Morrigu (or Morrigan)[256]—each of whom exercises a particular supernatural power. Neman appears as the confounder of armies, so that friendly bands, bereft of their senses by her, slaughter one another; Macha is a fury that riots and revels among the slain; while Morrigu, the greatest of the three, by her presence infuses superhuman valour into Cuchulainn, nerves him for the cast, and guides the course of his unerring spear. And the Tuatha De Danann in infusing this valour into the great hero show themselves—as we already know them to be on Samain Eve—the rulers of all sorts of demons of the air and awful spirits:—In the Book of Leinster (fol. 57, B 2) it is recorded that ‘the satyrs, and sprites, and maniacs of the valleys, and demons of the air, shouted about him, for the Tuatha De Danann were wont to impart their valour to him, in order that he might be more feared, more dreaded, more terrible, in every battle and battle-field, in every combat and conflict, into which he went.’

The Battles of Moytura seem in most ways to be nothing more than the traditional record of a long warfare to determine the future spiritual control of Ireland, carried on between two diametrically opposed orders of invisible beings, the Tuatha De Danann representing the gods of light and good and the Fomorians representing the gods of darkness and evil. It is said that after the second of these battles ‘The Morrigu, daughter of Ernmas (the Irish war-goddess), proceeded to proclaim that battle and the mighty victory which had taken place, to the royal heights of Ireland and to its fairy host and its chief waters and its river-mouths’.[257] For good had prevailed over evil, and it was settled that all Ireland should for ever afterwards be a sacred country ruled over by the People of the Goddess Dana and the Sons of Mil jointly. So that here we see the Tuatha De Danann with their war-goddess fighting their own battles in which human beings play no part.

It is interesting to observe that this Irish war-goddess, the bodb or badb, considered of old to be one of the Tuatha De Danann, has survived to our own day in the fairy-lore of the chief Celtic countries. In Ireland the survival

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