Posts tagged ‘30 days of deity devotion’

Fionn’s Family

Question 5 of 30 Days of Deity Devotion

Fionn is the son of the warrior Cumhall, who is said to have died before his birth. His mother is Muirenn Munchaem”of the white neck” the daughter of the druid Tadgh mac Nuadat, who was kidnapped and impregnated by Cumhall. He may have been killed in vengeance by Tadgh.

Tadgh is the son of Nuadu Airgetlamh (of the Silver Arm) a king of the Tuatha De Dannan, or he may himself be a form of Nuadu.

Muirenn could not raise Fionn, so he was nursed by her sister, the ban-draoi Bodhmall. His foster-father was Fiacclach mac Conchinn, his son Moling Luath is his foster brother. Two bio-brothers are named as Fithel and Feinnidh, his aunt or sister is Uirne, wife of Illann and mother of Bran and Sceolang.

While the earlier hero Cuchulainn for the most part sticks to Emer, Fionn has many lovers and wives. The one that stands out the most is Sadb, who is turned into a doe and gives birth to his son, Oisin as a fawn. The other important wife would be Ailbe, daughter of his patron, Cormac mac Airt. Other wives: Berrach (called his third wife) Cruithne, Daolach, Maigneis, Smirgat, Taise and Teite. Aine (seems to be different than the love goddess of Cnoc Aine) would sleep with no other man, and in one version he fathers two sons with her, in another he rejects her.

Sons: In addition to Oisin (who marries Niamh and has Oscar) there is Cairelle (killed by Goll), Daire, Faelan mac Finn, Fergus Finbel,  Fiachra and Fiachna.

Daughters: Ai Arduallach the arrogant, Cainche, mother of Goll’s children, Lugach, foster-daughter: Bebinn.

Reference: Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology by James MacKillop


April 26, 2014 at 11:49 pm Leave a comment

Gwyn ap Nudd

Gwynn ap Nudd could be considered the Welsh equivalent of Fionn Mac Cumhal.  Gwyn like Fionn, means “white” with the connotation of fair, blessed or holy. Gwyn is even more otherworldly than his Irish counterpart- he is the King of the Fairies and Lord of the Otherworld/Underworld, and like Fionn is leader of the Wild Hunt. He is the son of Nudd, the god of war, who is equivalent to the Irish Nuada. He battles every Calan Mai (May 1) with Gwythyr ap Greidal for  the maiden Creiddylad daughter of Lludd, who may also be his sister (if you consider Lludd to be the same as Nudd) There is a common motif in Celtic myth and legend of a love triangle between a woman- a “flower maiden” representing the fertility and sovereignty of the land- and two men: an older man, representing winter and the waning solar year, and a youth representing summer and the waxing solar year.

Fionn in contrast, is a human with a strong connection to the Otherworld. In the tale “The Pursuit of Grainne and Diarmuid” Grainne is the daughter of King Cormac promised to an older Fionn, but she falls in love with Diarmuid, a Fenian warrior who elopes with her, and they are pursued by the Fenians. Also, unlike Gwyn, Fionn is not a king- though he is associated with King Cormac, but he is the leader of the Fenians- the rigfennid- an “outsider king” which makes him something of a contradiction. He is also the great-grandson of Nuada. Another difference is that I have not seen much association with Gwyn & poetry- though music and poetry are in general associated with the fairies.

UPG: I don’t necessarily consider Gwyn & Fionn to be exactly the same being, but I think heroes, deities, legendary and folkloric figures don’t have totally distinct identities in the way that humans do. Their identities blur together to some degree, and often “cluster” together- I’ve noticed this tendency even moreso among Celtic goddesses.

In addition to being a G entry for Pagan Blog Project, this post also partly answers questions #6 and #8 of 30 Days of Deity Devotion.

April 1, 2014 at 3:20 am 3 comments

Intro to Fionn Mac Cumhal

Fionn Mac Cumhal (often anglicized as Finn MacCool) is one of the major heroes of Irish myth and legend- a body of tales, collectively known as the Fenian cycle, rose up around his folk memory. This is the latest of the Irish myth cycles- and so its Christian influences are more apparent, and the Tuatha De Danann don’t appear much in it.  It even ends with a story in which Fionn and his friend Cailte (or in another story Fionn’s son Oisin) encounter St. Patrick and much interfaith debate ensues.

I became intrigued by Fionn particularly after reading an article by John Machate years ago that speculated that he may have been Ireland’s long-lost stag or hunting god.  I thought he made a lot of interesting connections and later sought to learn more by reading Wisdom of the Outlaw by John Falach Nagy. (It’s out of print and horribly expensive, but fortunately I took a whole bunch of notes when I read it!)

Fionn is poet-seer, a filidh as well as a fian, an outsider-warrior.
A filidh is parallel in many ways to the role of a shaman- it is believed that he or she gets their poetic abilities from a connection to the Otherworld. A Fian is a person who has been socially displaced or dishonored in some way, or perhaps a young person who has not yet found their social place. Fianna (also called Fenians) is a group of fian- and followers of Fionn in particular, though there are said to be other fianna bands who are more destructive and anti-social.

March 26, 2014 at 1:26 am 1 comment

Blog Project Updates

Ivy Vine at Polytheism Without Borders has graciously agreed to re-post some of my writing on their blog, starting with ‘Nuff Polytheist Street Cred. Check out their site for other interesting essays on polytheism, and their forum– which could use some more action!

I’m impressed with myself that I’ve managed stay on top of the Pagan Blog Project (it helps that my work schedule gives me a lot of free time!) I feel I’m not really connecting with the Cauldron Blog Project, but I’d like to try the 30 Days of Deity Devotion meme (original link here) for Fionn Mac Cumhaill- technically a hero, but hero-cults are a rather neglected aspect of modern paganism. I am typing up notes from a book about him I read back in college called “Wisdom of the Outlaw” and will be using that material a lot. This will not be a continuous 30 days, but as with PBP I’ll try to write at least once a week. I’m interested to see what others are writing for this project, so I have made a list here of participants. Please comment if you would like to be added, and I will add you after you actually post a couple times. You can also come back and write about another deity if you like.

I have also added links on the Blog Challenge page to a couple others, 30 Days of Druidry and a devotional polytheist meme that is for  spiritual practitioners more advanced than myself.

February 28, 2014 at 10:31 pm 2 comments


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