Bronze Age Goddesses in an Irish Fairy Tale

  • January 29, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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Boar and Solar symbols penetrateed by Swords.Bronze Age Period, Ostergotland, Sweden.

My wife,Seika, seeing my dilemma with venues has kindly offered to host the next meetup complete with a few snacks.

In Joseph Campbell's work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces he outlines briefly the tale of The King of Erin and the Queen of the Lonesome Isle. In doing so he  makes the observation that the main movers in the story appear to be Ireland's Bronze Age Goddesses.
Now while myths tend to be crafted from a particular perspective which is then reinforced through ritual; fairy tales (following the lead of Marie Lousie Von Franz in this field) often tend to show a collective pscychological dynamic, or process, reflecting the age in which they appear.
If this is the case then why do we have Bronze Age goddesses appearing in an Irish tale that was written down by Jeremiah Curtin in the 19th century? To quote T.S.Eliott:

Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?'
Let us go and make our visit.

And so we shall, it turns out that the motifs that make up myths are much the same as those underpinning many fairy tales. As both ultimately derive from the human psyche this is no surprise and it is also why apparently nonsensical tales can sometimes make an impression even as our trained mind tends to dismiss them. I shall try and tease out the motifs of this tale and also show their commonality with Irish mythology.

I realise it may be a bit awkward for people to get out this way but on the otherhand it saves on the expense of renting a venue and in January most people are skint.

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  • Tony D.

    Many thanks for coming along and glad that you enjoyed it. As a postscript, I decided to investigate the puzzling 'my champion' episodes and it turns out that the 'champion' was a strain of potato introduced after the famine giving rise to the following personified exchange between the old and new strains - from the Famine Museum website:

    You dirty clown, says the Scotsdown,
    How dare you me oppose!
    Twas I supported Ireland
    When you dare’nt show your nose.
    Outspoke the noble Champion
    With courage stout and brave:
    Only I happened to sail over here
    There’d be thousands in their graves

    The King of Spain may be a folk memory of the fact that potatoes were introduced to Europe from Peru by the Spanish in the late 1600's.

    February 8, 2013

  • Celtic School of Sound H.

    Very much enjoyed it :) Thank you. Lots to ponder and I learnt lots too. And thanks to Seika for the nummy nosh :)

    February 8, 2013

  • Martine G.

    Hi it was a very interesting take on a fairy tale , I hope to make time to read on the subject. Thanks again , see you soon. MARTINE

    January 31, 2013

  • Celtic School of Sound H.

    I have a friend who wants to come too so please book for two. Many thanks :)

    January 23, 2013

    • Tony D.

      That's great Carmel. Will do!

      January 23, 2013

  • Tony D.

    While fairy tales belong to another époque , it would be incorrect to think, from a psychological prospective, that such processes as are manifested in fairy tales do not continue today.
    If we look at popular entertainment in films we note the preoccupation of young people with the figure of the vampire. A vampire is a savage creature with superhuman powers which, however, cannot show itself in the light of day but nourishes itself on the blood of people who do.
    A psychologist looking for a metaphor, to represent a particular type of psychosis or complex, would be hard pushed to find a more apt one than the vampire for how the repressed, or unacknowledged, unconscious content can feed parasitically on the energy of, and induce compulsive behaviour patterns in, the ordinary individual. Considering the constant flux of change in modern life it may take quite a while before this begins to resolve itself. Preoccupation with is more a symptom than evidence of incipient resolution.

    January 23, 2013

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