what does upg stand for?
unverified personal gnosis! that is, personal beliefs or impressions of deities or myth that inform your personal practice or worship. you may also see spg, for shared personal gnosis (when several people find their upg coincide), or vpg, for verified personal gnosis (when new information comes to light that makes your upg a canonical part of the mythology).
pumpkinskull replied to your post “So, I am intrested in worshipping Aenghus and I was wondering if you have any information about him. Alternatively, do you have information on queernesss in celtic mythology?”
question. why not romans meet gaelic celts. they were in the anglia. i confuse
the romans did meet the gaels, but the particular commentary i was referring to was largely written by romans who encountered the gaulish celts in the continental regions closer to home (one such commentator was julius caesar. i’m fairly sure he didn’t spend much time up in england). and of course the greeks never made it as far north as the gaelic countries, at least not in any kind of organized fashion.
it’s also worth noting that none of the gaelic cultures actually lived in england, though they were on adjacent islands and nearby territories. the welsh and cornish celts fall under brythonic. the romans did spend some time intermingling with the scots (enough to build hadrian’s wall, after they decided the scots were too much trouble to bother conquering) but there was never a roman presence in ireland and as far as i know their manx presence was also somewhat limited.
So, I am intrested in worshipping Aenghus and I was wondering if you have any information about him. Alternatively, do you have information on queernesss in celtic mythology?
óengus óg appears most prominently in two stories—the wooing of étain, and the dream of óengus. both texts can be found on the celtic literature collective, and there is also a page about óengus himself, which includes mentions of some of his other less prominent appearances. in terms of getting to know him, i would most strongly recommend the dream of óengus, as it is of course centred on him and provides a fair bit of insight into his character. i’m not a devotee myself but i am quite fond of him, largely based on that story.
as for queerness in celtic mythology, evidence is somewhat more circumstantial. greek and roman commentators attribute homosexual activity to the celtic warriors they encountered (these would have been gauls, but i see no particular reason this wouldn’t likewise apply to the brythonic or gaelic celts). this was common of warrior cultures at the time, including greek and roman culture—men were often away from their wives or other women for extended periods of time, and warrior bands involved close, even intimate relationships between members—but what is notable about the commentary on the celts is that even the greeks and romans seemed to think they were unaccountably enthusiastic about the matter.
there are also a few tantalizing hints that there was more in the way of overt homosexual behaviour attested in irish mythology, but that it was expunged or edited out by the christian monks who created the manuscripts. in multiple stories (tales of the elders of ireland springs to mind) male warriors share beds and keep company with each other. male poets called ollamh wrote praise poems about their kings, referring to them in romantic language, being affectionate with them in public, and even sharing their beds.
there is also a story that i have seen summarized, though i can’t remember where, about a woman who mysteriously gets pregnant without having had sex with a man recently. it turns out that she had in the past few months been having a relationship with a woman, and that that woman had had male partners whose sperm had been transferred to her lesbian lover. the fact that these two ladies were sleeping together was mentioned in a very offhanded manner that implied there was nothing particularly unusual about the practice.
personally, i find it safe to assume that any male warrior figure in irish mythology has potentially had sexual relations with another man. cúchulainn in particular is thought by many readers and scholars to have had some form of romantic or sexual relationship with his best friend and foster brother ferdiad. irish brehon law also had no laws against homosexuality; it is only even mentioned in the context of marriages, where it states that a wife may divorce her husband if he prefers homosexual sex to the exclusion of performing his marriage duties with her. fanfiction has been built on less.
i also, as a queer and non-binary person, tend to look to manannán mac lir in his aspect as a god of borders and liminal spaces as a queer deity—but this is as ever only my own upg.
hope that helps!
So I'm recently rediscovering/coming to terms with my genderqueerness and trying to work it into my Art. When it comes to Irish Celtic influences and death I've always been closer to the Mórrígan, because I've had to wear a woman's body and my life quickly made it a choice between being a victim or a warrior. But now I'm curious about Donn, only I don't know how to approach him, especially since I can find few mythological references and don't want to reach out uninformed. (That would be rude!)
there is unfortunately very little in the way of information about donn. in fact i have only ever encountered one other donn devotee, one gorm-sionnach, who as it happens is both a delightful person and a much better reconstructionist than i. you might check the donn tag on his blogspot. otherwise, donn appears in the lebor gabála érenn—he is one of the sons of míl, and arrives in ireland along with the milesians. you can find a translation of the text (or several) at the celtic literature collective. you may also find more hits if you search for “tech duinn”—the house of donn, where he hosts the irish dead.
i also have a pdf copy of a scholarly overview of donn, courtesy of a friend with jstor access and uncanny powers of research, which i can send to you if you send me a private message with your email address or skype contact information. unfortunately i haven’t managed to make time to sit down and read the thing myself, but it does exist, which is the important thing really.
aside from that—and this is almost entirely upg, mind you, though i think my professor of celtic literatures would agree with me drawing connections—i would recommend you read the destruction of da derga’s hostel. remember that red is a colour of death in the irish tradition. you may be able to understand for yourself why i make that recommendation.
in terms of associations, donn is the hosteller. he’s a shadowy figure—his epithet is “the dark one”—and my impression of him has always been one of caretaking and comfort (though that may just be my own personal feelings about darkness shining through). but regardless of how you perceive him, donn is not the kind of figure of violence, bloodshed, and warrior’s deaths that the mórrígan is. he does not cause warfare, he does not revel in gore. he is simply there, waiting to take you in at the end of things.