Monday, November 26, 2012

Carman - The Celtic Witch

Cailleach Bheur 
Irish & Scottish for Divine Hag or Creatrix.

Carman (Carmun) was said to be a malevolent warrior-woman, a witch of evil magic, and a goddess in Celtic lore. In Irish mythology she is portrayed as a Greek warrior-woman and sorceress from Athens who tried to invade Ireland in the days of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

This destructive witch traveled with her three evil sons: Dub (“darkness / black”), Dother (“evil / wicked”) and Dain (“violence / fierce”), destroying anything or anyone in their path and ravaging Ireland.

Carman used her magical powers to put a blight on Ireland’s crops and terrorized the Irish until four of the Tuatha De Danann, the “peoples of the goddess Danu,” Crichinbel, Lug, Bé Chuille and Aoi, challenged Carman and her sons and used their superior magic to fight and defeat her.

The sons were forced to leave Ireland and were banished across the sea. Carman was imprisoned. Her story is told in a poem of the Metrical Dindshenchas, which states that she died in 600 BCE. She died of longing and was buried in Wexford among oak trees. Her grave was dug by Bres. The place she was buried was called Carman after her, and the Tuatha Dé Danann are said to have instituted an Óenach, or festival. The Óenach Carman, which was celebrated at the beginning of August during historical times.

Modern legend portrays Carman as a Goddess of black magick, one who can destroy anything by thrice chanting a spell. This is also the way that the Morrigu, particularly Badb, can destroy. However, this is not a manifestation of evil intent, but an end of the world prophecy common to many cultures. It is believed she has roots in the Greek grain Goddess, Demeter.

An Excerpt of Carmun from The Metrical Dindshenchas


Hearken, ye Leinstermen of the graves,
O host that rule Raigne of hallowed rights,
till ye get from me, gathered on every hand,
the fair legend of Carmun high in fame!

5] Carmun, gathering place of a hospitable fair,
with level sward for courses: —
the hosts that used to come to its celebration
conquered in its bright races.
A burial-ground of kings is its noble cemetery,

10] even specially dear to hosts of high rank;
under the mounds of assembly are many
of its host of a stock ever-honoured.
To bewail queens and kings,
to lament revenges and ill deeds,

15] there came many a fair host at harvest-time
across the noble lean cheek of ancient Carmun.
Was it men, or a man of mighty prowess,
or woman with passionate emulation,
that won a title of
without disrepute ,

20] and gave its proper name to noble Carmun?
Not men it was, nor wrathful man,
but one fierce marauding woman —
bright was her precinct and her fame —
from whom Carmun got its name at the first.

25] Carmun, wife of the son of fierce Dibad,
son of right hospitable Doirche of the hosts,
son of Ancgeis rich in substance,
was a leader with experience in many battles.
No supply of gain appeased them

30] in their ardent desire for noble Banba;
because they were distressed perpetually in the East,
the children of the son of Dibad and their mother.
They fared westward for the second time
— Dian and Dub and Dothur, —

35] from the East out of distant Athens,
they and Carmun their mother.
In the borders of the Tuatha De
the folk of a hostile wedlock ravaged
the fruit of every land to the shore:

40] it was a dreadful lawless pillage.
Carmun, by means of every spell of fame,
destroyed all sap of swelling fruit,
after strife waged with all arts unlawful,
and the sons through battle and lawlessness.

45] Then the Tuatha De perceived them;
horror and hideousness betrayed them
for every cruel deed they did,
the Tuatha De inflicted the like number upon them.
Crichinbel — no deception this!

50] and Lug Laebach son of Cacher
Be Chuilli into which I shall go above all battlefields
and Ai son of Ollam,
The stern four, equal-strong,
said to them on overtaking them,

55] "A woman is here to match your mother,
three men to the brothers three;
"Death to you — no choice ye would choose,
no blessing, no lucky wish!
or else leave with good grace a hostage;

60] depart from Erin ye three only!"
Those men departed from us;
stern means were found to expel them;
though it seemed distant to them, they leave here
Carmun — alive in her narrow cell.

65] Every pledge was given that is not transgressed with safety,
the sea with its beasts, heaven, earth with its bright array,
that the strong chiefs should not come southward
so long as the sea should be round Erin.
Carmun, death and yearning carried her off.

70] increase of mourning visited her
she found her fate, as was right,
among the oaks of the strong graves.
Thither came, for the delight of her beauty,
to keen and raise the first wailing over her,

75] the Tuath De over this noble plain eastward:
it was to the first true fair of Carmun.
The grave of Carmun, who digged it?
do ye learn, or do ye know?
according to the judgment of every esteemed elder

80] it was Bres son of Eladu: hearken! ........................

Thursday, November 8, 2012


The Púca (Irish for goblin).

The origin of the name Púca may come from the Scandinavian word for "nature spirit" — a pook or puke. The nature spirits were considered very capricious spirits and had to be continually placated or they would create havoc in the countryside, destroying crops and causing illness among livestock.

Alternatively, some authorities suggest that the name comes from the early Irish "poc" meaning either 'a male goat' or a 'blow from a cudgel'.

According to Irish legend, the Púca is a shape shifting trickster, myraid fae capable of assuming a variety of terrifying or pleasing forms. All Púca are tied to a specific type of animal and have aspects of that animal (whiskers, scales, feathers, ears, tails, etc.). They are able to shape change into that animal, if unobserved. A Púca is most often disguised as a sleek, dark horse with yellow or luminescent golden eyes and a long wild mane. However it frequently appears as a horse, rabbit, goat with curling horns, goblin, or dog, however, presumably it may take the form of any animal. No matter what shape the Púca takes, its fur is almost always dark.

Similar to other faery folk and creatures of Celtic myth, the legend of the Púca varies from region to region and the creature is either respected or feared by those who believe in its existence.

For instance in some regions it is said that in its horse form the Púca roams large areas of countryside at night, tearing down fences and gates, scattering livestock in terror, trampling crops and generally doing damage around remote farms. The mere sight of it may prevent hens laying their eggs or cows giving milk.

Incredibly, others see the Púca as a large rabbit. The Easter Bunny is of non-Christian in origin. The miraculous rabbit who delivers eggs and candy is still a potent symbol in the 21st Century and has his origins in the Celtic fertility spirit known as the Pooka.

Other regional stories tell of a huge, hairy bogeyman that terrifies those abroad at night and an eagle with a massive wingspan that swoops down upon unsuspecting travelers.

In its goat form it is the curse of all late night travelers as it is known to use its horns to swoop them up on to its back, however, unlike the Kelpie, which will take its riders and dive into the nearest stream or lake to drown and devour them, the Púca will do its rider no real harm. After their wild ride he will throw them or shake them off into brambles, muddy ditches or bog holes.

The Púca has the power of human speech and has been known to stop in front of certain houses and call out the names of those it wants to take upon its midnight rides. If that person refuses, the Púca will vandalize their property because it is a very vindictive fairy.

The only man ever to ride the Púca willingly was Brian Boru, High King of Ireland. Using a special bridle containing three hairs from the Púca's tail, Brian managed to control the magic horse and stay on its back until, exhausted, it surrendered to his will. The king extracted two promises from it; firstly, that it would no longer torment Christian people and ruin their property and secondly, that it would never again attack an Irishman (all other nationalities are exempt) except those who are drunk or abroad with an evil intent. The latter it could attack with greater ferocity than before. The Púca agreed to these conditions. However, over the years, it seems to have forgotten its bargain.

On a slightly brighter note, there are others who say that the Púca may be tricksters and compulsive liars, but that their personalities are almost child-like in innocence. Although the Púca is mischievous and enjoys confusing and often terrifying humans, it is benevolent or harmless and may even offer assistance by the way of advice, prophecies, and warnings where appropriate, to those who treat it with respect.

The Púca is a creature of the high mountains and hills, and in those regions there are stories of it appearing on November Day (Púca's Day) where it would behave civilly and provide prophecies and warnings to those who consulted it. People in other regions gathered on certain high places to await the speaking horse on Bilberry Sunday, a mid-summer celebration where people went to the hillsides and peat lands in groups to collect bilberries and sometimes find a spouse.

Certain agricultural traditions surround the Púca. It may transform into a small, deformed goblin, this creature is associated with Samhain, a Goidelic harvest festival. When the last of the crops are harvested, anything remaining in the fields is considered "Púca", or fairy-blasted, and hence inedible. In some locales, reapers leave a small share of the crop, the "Púca's share", to placate the hungry creature.

As disgusting as it may sound, at the beginning of November, the Púca was known—in some locales—to either defecate or to spit on the wild fruits rendering them inedible and unsafe.

Adding to the confusion of this creature's folklore there are other tales of the Púca appearing as a mysterious human-like traveler who often stoped along the side of the country home and talked for an hour or two. A favorite opening line is “You are new here, I think. Many years ago I used to live in this house, …” followed by interesting tales, often of where the family fortune disappeared. It sometimes seems that conspiracy theories started with the Irish Púcas. Fortunes swindled away from families are one of the main topics of the tales told by these visitors. The odd thing about these visits is that the person seems so real, until they go. The Púca does not say “Goodbye", they just disappear, without warning, and with the listener hardly noticing they have gone. And they never leave any sign behind, or do any harm. The fascination of the Púca is that they are encountered by people going about their normal affairs. Such people do not even realize that that anything unusual has taken place until perhaps an hour or so after the Púca has left.

Even the hardest heart can be melted with appropriately applied Púca pressure, a persuasive magic that encourages one to spill their closest-kept secrets to a prying Púca. Although they are also great listeners, they have a problem telling the truth. The truth simply isn't interesting to a Púca, and they feel that they must always improve on it in some way.

There is an old saying about the Púca -

"You can always trust a Púca,

but no one in their right mind would ever believe one."

Other variants on the spelling of Púca are (Irish) pooka, phooka, phouka, phooc, púka (Welsh) pwca, pwwka (Cornish) bucca (Channel Islands) pouque (Guernésiais and Jèrriais) pouquelée, pouquelay (Brittany) poulpiquet, polpegan. Similar terms are (English) puca, pucel, pook or puck (Norse) puki.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Heather Sierra Barnes

There were no updates to the blog on October 30th  or Nov 1st due to my niece Heather Sierra Barnes accident. I'm hoping to feature another Celtic Creature this Thursday Nov 9th. 

During my absence I'd like to share some of the information about the accident with you and I hope that you will consider signing the petition asking Clay County Florida's Department of Transportation to make the roads outside Orange Park High School(OPHS)a School Zone. This designation will lower the speed limits from 45 to 15 MPH when students are present (during drop off and dismissal times)


If you read or watched any of the reports given by the media you now know that Heather was Jay-walking 8 to 10 feet from the cross walk when she was hit. Through-traffic was stopped as she entered the street. Heather was hit by someone who was using the turn lane and who said he was unable to see her until it was to late. The driver of the car who hit Heather was not cited because Heather was not in a cross walk. Those are the facts that were presented to the family.
Comments were made on those news sites by viewers who stated that Heather is in high school and should have known to use the cross walk. To those people I say, Heather is a freshman at OPHS, she is only 14, and she made a mistake that nearly cost her life and has cost her - god only knows what at this point. So I ask you does it matter now? 

The focus of the family is on Heathers recovery and trying to ensure that no other student suffers this kind of an traumatic injury. Clay County Department of Transportation has made the designation of "School Zone" for all other local schools but not at OPHS. The OPHS administration has asked for the designation but Clay County DOT said NO!
That's just not acceptable.
OPHS isn't asking for anything more then what the DOT has already done for every other local school!

Wont you sign the petition and force them to take action?