Friday, July 30, 2010

The Tuatha De' Danann

Through out history and the mythology of Ireland, the Tuatha De' Danann held an awe to to the young and old at heart. Their mysterious origins and their mystical presence has captivated the people of Ireland.
     According to legends they were the fifth group of invaders that settled Ireland. They came to Ireland in ships floating on clouds on May the 1st, Beltane. Some say that the dark clouds that they supposedly arrived on where only smoke from when they burned their ships on the shore of Ireland after they arrived, making sure no one left the Emerald Isle.
     The Tuatha De' Danann also known as the Tribe of Danu', the ancient goddess Danu. There isn't much known about this ancient deity which some scholars thought was the raw & chaotic Mother Earth. Danu was considered the mother of the Peoples of Danu. Legends say that the De' Danann came from four ancient cities; Failias, Gorias, Morias and Finias where they acquired their magickal skills in art, science, poetry and magic.  They brought with them four ancient and magickal treasures that were given to them by four druids; Morfess, Esras, Semias and Uislias. One of the four treasures was the talking stone of truth called Lia Fail. This stone was sometimes called the Stone of Destiny because it would reveal the true king of Ireland and it stood at the Hill of Tara. Another one was a great magickal sword called Freagarthach also known as The Answerer. This was a sword that Lugh and Nuada wielded in battle. The third was an invincible spear also known as the Spear of Lugh. It never missed it's target and it was always straight to the point. The last was the Cauldron of Dagda. This cauldron could feed everyone in Ireland without ever going empty.
      When they arrived upon Ireland they encountered a race of people that had already inhabited Ireland, the Fir Bolg. These encounters ended up in a series of battles, the first being known as the Battle of Magh Tuiredh, on the West coast.  They were lead by their king, Nuada. During the battle, King Nuada lost his arm. The Tuatha held a tradition that their king could not be blemished, so Nuada was replaced by Bres, who was a half-Formorian and became a tyrant.
     Dian Cecht was the physician of the De' Danann, he replaced Nuada's arm with a silver arm that was able to work like a regular arm so he could replace the tyrant Bres. The silver arm idea work and Nuada was reinstated as king.  Miach, Dian Cecht's son, recited a spell, "Joint to joint of it and sinew to sinew" this caused the flesh to grow over the silver arm over a period of 9 days and nights. Dian Cecht became jealous of his son, because his 'work' was better than his father's, so he killed his own son.
     Bres, being angry and probably humiliated because Nuada replaced him as king, ran and complained to his family and his father, Balor, who was King of the Fomorians. Thus begins the 2nd battle again at Magh Tuiredh except this time it was against the Fomorians. In this battle, King Nuada was killed by Balor and his evil, poisonous eye. A warrior of the Tuatha De' Denann named Lugh defeated Balor. Lugh was known as the warrior and the master of all crafts in the Tuatha. There was nothing that Lugh couldn't do. After the 2nd battle, Lugh became the king of the Tuatha De' Denann.
     As with the history of Ireland, another wave of invaders took place, the Milesians. They were thought to come from the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, present day Galatia and Northern Portugal. The Milesians were the descendants of Mil Espa'ine, the Goidelic Celts.  When the Milesians came upon land they encountered three goddesses or queens of the Tuatha; Eriu, Banba and Fodla.  All three of them asked one request that the island would be named after them and the request was granted.  Eriu is the origin of the modern name for the Emerald Island, Ireland. Banba and Fodla became the poetic names of Ireland.
     The three kings of Ireland were Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht and Mac Greine, the husbands of the three goddesses; Eriu, Banba and Fodla. They asked the Milesians for a three day truce. The Milesians agreed and they laid anchor at  9 waves distant from the shores. While they laid out from the island, the Tuatha De' Denann called up a magickal storm, trying to drive the Milesians away, but they had a 'secret weapon', Amergin.  Amergin called out and calmed the storm. The Milesians landed and defeated the Tuatha De' Danann.  After the defeat, Amerigin was called upon to stand in between the two tribes. He decided to divide up the land between the Milesians and the Tuatha De' Danann. He gave the Milesians the land above ground and the People of Danu was given the land below ground. The Tuatha agreed to the arrangement and slid silently into the Sidhe mounds being led by Dagda, the good god and they slid into the myths and legends of Ireland. Some stories and scholars says they retreated into the world of Tir na n-og, the Land of Youth.  Where their homes and their world could not be seen by no mortal man because of their magic. Through time the Tuatha De' Danann gained another name, the People of the Sidhe. This is where they remain young and seemingly immortal. They can live a long time, but they can be killed and destroyed but only through magickal means.
     In the stories of the Ulster Cycle, the Tuatha De' Danann were seen as Celtic deities but in the Fenian Cycle, they were degenerated into the Fey People.  The People of the Fae / Fey didn't start off having pretty tiny pixie wings as they do in today's children tales. They were human with tremendous supernatural powers. Their height ranged from tall to short and their appearance were beautiful or ugly.
     Thus the stories of the Tuatha De' Danann begins. These were an magnificent race of people who filled many legends of Ireland and their footprints are imbeded in the landscape of Ireland lasting up til this present date.

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