©2022 Michael Raven
As mentioned in an earlier post, after dumping out all of the junk in my head about such matters, I am trying to draw some correlations from a bunch of different sources about what seems like important details to develop around my personal cosmology. What I think is important, or what might require further thought on my part may or may not be in agreement with other sources (scholarly or otherwise). Your mileage may vary.
Infodumping various thoughts on autumn equinox:
As I’ve previously indicated in many Indo-European civilizations, the seasonal astronomic observations of solstices and equinoxes have, since Neolithic times and perhaps far earlier, been associated with the movement of the sun (on a daily cycle as well as annual) and those, in turn have been associated with cardinal directions: East, South, West and North. Irish Celts appear to have retained those same relationships, although there may have been some modifications over time.
In many of these Indo-European civilizations, the Autumnal equinox has been associated with the direction of West.
So far, there’s nothing really new here (other than my election to exchange the word “astrologic” with “astronomic” based on what my internal editor has decided after the earlier posts). Nor have I changed my mind about Dagda being associated with this equinox in my personal understanding.
Here are is a cluster of concepts associated with the West in early Irish literature written about the Tuatha Dé Danann (for which this investigation and reorganization of my mind revolves)1:
- Learning 🜄
- Teaching 🜄
- Judgment 🜄
- Counsels 🜄
- Stories (and storytelling) 🜄
- Histories 🜄
- Science 🜄
- Eloquence 🜄
- Bounty 🜄
- Abundance 🜄
- Sea (Muir) 🜄
- Poetry 🜄
You may note, more than a few of these are marked with a “🜄”, which happen to be associated with the Dagda. There are a few guesses on my part for a few of the associations, and I may have overlooked a few, but it becomes quite apparent that The Dagda has a number of connections with the West (which is why I place him there in my own personal reconstituted cosmology, just add 3 cans of water).
In addition to those above symbols, it helps to recall that one of the Four Treasures brought to Ireland was Dagda’s Cauldron, which conjure up the aspects of bounty, water, inspiration, knowledge, hospitality, and renewal.
Colors associated with the West (and, therefore, autumn) in Celtic cosmology include:
- glas = grey-blue or blue-green
- odur = dun or greyish brown
- liath = grey
- ciar = darkness, murky black
These colors make some sense with respect to the growing “evening” represented in the direction. The addition of glas is a decision of mine based on another set of relationships related to the Indo-European social partitioning with respect to color (in this case, the farmers/ gatherers/ hunters), in which the Celts may have been more inclined to use (along with the core colors of white, black, and red) for the various castes (priest, goddess/deity, and warriors, respectively). In some of the mythologic literature, glas might be more attributable to the South. I tend to think of things as more transitional in nature than as having firm divisions, which is why I have no issue shifting adjacent things around as I develop my own personal understanding.
Additionally, there is the tale where The Dagda “makes union” two weeks before a significant battle for the establishment of sovereignty of Ireland with a woman who is later identified as The Morrigan. Afterwards, the two (or more) confer and make their battle plans in a way that suggest that sovereignty has been conferred to the Tuatha (over the Fir Bolg, the people inhabiting Ireland for the previous thirty-seven years, according to pseudohistory). The battle itself takes place on Samhain/Samain (Halloween), the liminal holiday for which most sources agree for which The Morrigan is the representative patron, although I’ll go further and suggest that it may be a shared holiday, where Dagda hands over the reigns for the annual cycle at dusk to The Morrigan, who then accepts that role after dusk. The result of the battle, as you might guess, is that The Dagda wins with a significant assist from The Morrigan.
Maybe I’ll stop there, as this is plenty of things for me to continue to consider today and through to the next Holiday starting at dusk on October 31st.
1 This list is largely a modified version of the one provided by Sharon Paice MacLeod. Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.
Note: While the phrase Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG) seems to be a derogatory indictment or a dirty set of words in many communities based on the usage I’ve seen bandied about lately, I think I might personally embrace the phrase because it seems most honest. So, be forewarned, anything you read in these kinds of posts authored by me is very likely UPG, or pulled from so many sources that it might as well be. I’m not trying to reconstruct or prove anything; this is all for personal use that I am sharing in case it prompts someone else to draw conclusions in their own tradition that they might not have seen previously.