Monday, 16 March 2009

Pre- History: Other Worlds

Otherworld

Name Sídhe, Sidhe, Sídh, Sidh, Síd, Sid, Sí, Side.Sidhe (English).S'th (Scottish Gaelic).Shee (Manx).
Tech Duinn – "House of Donn".Tír na nÓg – "Land of Youth".Tír na mBéo – "Land of the Living".Tír Tairngire – "Land of Promise".Tír fo Thuinn – "Land Under Wave".
Annwfn, Annwyn, Annwn.
Avalon – "Isle of the Apples

According to the Celtic myths, the Celtic deities or the fairy people lived in the domain that was generally called the "Otherworld". These domains were hidden from mortal eyes.
In Irish myths, the Otherworld could be islands, hostel, or dun (hill-fort). Sometimes, the Otherworld was called Sidhe, the fairy hill-fort (dun) or palace.
In the Welsh myths, the Otherworld was often called Annwfn or Annwyn, and the fort or castle was ususally known as Caer
The "Otherworld" was a domain of Celtic deities or supernatural beings such as the "Fairy People". The Otherworld was considered to be the Celtic version of heaven (or even hell to most Christian writers).
They were hidden from mortal eyes by strong Otherworld magic. They were situated in all sort of places. Some of these Otherworlds were located on the islands, the dunes, dun-hills, forests, rivers, and lakes. A grand castle or even humble cottage could be the Otherworld, which would, appeared at night for mortals, but would probably vanish in the morning.
Normal rule does not apply in the Otherworld. A year may seem to pass in the Otherworld, but in the real world centuries may have passed. Time seemed to have stand still. Nor does the people who live there, aged like mortals. They seemed to remain forever young.
The Otherworld also seemed to be able to move from one location to another. Or there may be only one Otherworld but it exist everywhere. In another word, the Otherworld is a paradox. Entering the enchanted place, may be close by or it could be a place far away.
Irish Otherworld
Originally, the Otherworld, particularly the Irish myths, was sometimes situated on some remote islands in the west. Later the Otherworld was located on Ireland itself, but mostly hidden from mortal eyes by strong otherworldly magic.
There were several strange, mythical places of where this Otherworld was located. There was the "Land of Youth", called Tír na nÓg in Irish Gaelic. It was the home of Danu and the other Irish deities known as the Tuatha Dé Danann, which means the "People of the Goddess Danu". It was said to be situated in some distant land, possibly an island or group of islands.
Tír na nÓg has four magical cities: Falias, Gorias, Finias and Murias. In each city, was a magical treasure or talisman, which the Tuatha Dé Danann received when they settled in Ireland. (See Treasures of Tuatha Dé Danann in the Book of Invasion.) Also residing in each city was a druid. These four druids taught the Tuatha Dé Danann knowledge and skills. They were named (See the Druids of Danu in the new Druids page.)
Below is the table with the name of cities in Tír na nÓg, together with the druids and treasures they possessed.
Cities Falias Gorias Murias Findias Druids Morfesa Esras Semias Uiscias Treasures Lia Fail("Stone of Destiny") Gáe Assail(Spear of Lugh) Cauldron of Dagda Freagarthach("Answerer" – sword of Nuada)
The Otherworld located on several areas in Ireland was hidden by magic, in a subterranean fortress called Sid, Sidh or Sidhe. The word Sidhe (sid or sidh) means "Fairy Rath" or "Fairy Fort". The Tuatha Dé Danann were sometimes called áes sídhe, which is the "People of the Sídh". The Tuatha Dé Danann retreated here after they were vanquished by the Milesians.
The Irish Otherworld was also called Tech Duinn – "House of Donn" or "House of the Dead". Donn was the Irish god of the dead. For some reason, the location of Tech Duinn is often linked to the province of Munster.
There was also the Tir Tairngire – "Land of Promise", said to be home and realm of the sea-god Manannn Mac Lir. Here was where Lugh was brought up. Tir Tairngire is often translated into Emain Ablach.
There is said to be underwater Otherworld, known as Tir fo Thuinn.
The "Land of the Dead" became associated with Spain, where the Milesians come from. While the "Land of the Living" (or the "Land of the Happy Dead") was said to be situated somewhere west of Ireland. It was said to be on some island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and it was originally the home of the Partholanians.

Welsh Otherworld
The Welsh called their Otherworld – Annwn Annwfn or Annwyn. Arawn ruled this Otherworld kingdom. The hero Pwyll of Dyved was allowed to rule Annwfn (Annwvyn) for one year, before he returned to his own world.
According to the early Welsh poem, titled Spoils of Annwfn (Preiddiau Annwfn), Arthur and his followers went to a number of otherworlds, seeking to steal the a magic cauldron. Thejourney probably ended in disaster, since only seven had survived and it wasn't clear if they had gained the cauldron or not.
Another popular name for Welsh Otherworld, was the Caer Wydyr or Caer Wydr – the "Fortress of Glass". Caer Wydyr is similar to Tower of Glass in the Arthurian Legend, but located in Glastonbury Tor, England. Glastonbury Tor was supposed to be the location of the "Isle of Avalon" or "Isle of Apples", the finally resting place of King Arthur.
In Welsh myths, however, the Arthurian Avalon was derived from the name Ynys Afallon.

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