Colloration D.N. Frost Fantasy Author

Collaboration D.N. Frost Fantasy Author

Introduction

It is with great pleasure that I again introduce D.N. Frost, an exciting fantasy author with whom I’ve collaborated and shared my passion for Celtic mythology and traditions. I encourage everyone to learn more about D.N. and her epic saga Tales of the Known World published by TotKW books.

D. N. has twice been a guest blogger on my website. I was delighted on how she wove the meaning of the symbols of Celtic Tarot cards into some of the imagery I used in my book (Apollo’s Raven available April 10th). She recently re-posted these articles on her website which I encourage you to read:

http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/03/celtic-tarot-card-meanings-inspired.html

http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/03/celtic-tarot-cards-meaning-from-nature.html

Multi-talents of D. N. Frost

During our collaboration on the guest blogs, I learned of D.N. Frost’s other talents as a world builder and cartographer. She generates maps of new and past worlds that you can preview at her website:

http://www.dnfrost.com/2015/06/maps-of-known-world-resource-directory.html.

I asked D.N. to generate maps of Britannia, the Roman name for the United Kingdom. Below is the map of Britannia that she created. It provides a visual image of where the Celtic tribal kingdoms were located in 1st Century AD Britannia.

Map of Britannia Created by D.N. Frost

Collaboration on Apollo’s Raven

The backdrop for Book 1: Apollo’s Raven is in 24 AD southeast Britannia. D.N. Frost generated the map below of this region that was included in Apollo’s Raven to help readers visualize where the story takes place.

Map of southeast Britannia provided in Apollo’s Raven

Historical Backdrop to Apollo’s Raven

Southeast Britannia evolved differently than Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. After Julius Caesar’s military expeditions to the region in 55 – 54 BC, Rome strongly influenced the internal politics and trading of southeast Britannia. Many of the rulers in southeast Britannia were educated in Rome as hostages and adopted the empire’s taste for luxuries. Several powerful Celtic kings expanded their territories by conquering other tribes. There are written accounts that pro-Roman Celtic rulers pleaded for Rome’s help to intervene on their behalf.

Cunobelin, the king of the Catuvellauni, overtook the Trinovantes about 9 AD. He established his capital at Camulodunon (modern day Colchester). Recent archaeological evidence supports there was a Roman military presence before 43 A.D. that protected areas of Britannia vital to trading with the empire. This historical background sets the stage for the Apollo’s Raven series spanning from 24 AD to 40 AD.

I greatly appreciate D.N. Frost’s collaboration for creating the map of southeast Britannia that inspires the world-building for Book 1: Apollo’s Raven. 

Future Updates

More information about Apollo’s Raven can be found at http://amzn.to/2m17UJU. In the future, I’ll be providing updates on the release of the book, new posts on my blogs highlighting my research and other authors, and upcoming events.

Thank you for your continued support. Have a wonderful day!

For International Women’s Day 2017: 5 Women Reaching for Gender Equality

This is a wonderful article about influential women around the world that was posted on #blog WhenWomenInspiire by Canadian Author, Poet, and Blogger Christy Birmingham.

Enjoy and be inspired

When Women Inspire

Fighting Gender Equality is Hard Work, Like Exercise Let’s Aim for Women and Men to be Equals.

The day is almost here! March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017. I hope this special day will be full of actions that help move the world toward being gender equal. On IWD, which dates back to 1908, let’s celebrate the accomplishments of women around the globe. Here are five of the many women championing for equal rights for women:

Manal al-Sharif

As a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif inspired a campaign for women’s right to drive. She went against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and was imprisoned for nine days after filming herself driving a vehicle and then posting it to YouTube.

Her 2011 Women2Drive campaign put pressure on the government to change the law, particularly when social media picked up the story of this woman who questioned why women did not have the same…

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►Greek Mythology: “Artemis´ Dual Archetype” / “Collaboration with Resa McConaghy and Mirjana M. Inalman”🌛🏹.-

This is a reblog from one of my favorite sites La Audacia de Aquiles hosted by Aquileana on Feb 20, 2017. The post is about Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the hunt and the moon. She is the twin sister of Apollo, God of the Sun. What is found fascinating is that before Artemis became goddess of the moon, the Titaness Selene owned the Moon chariot, which she drove across the sky at night. When Typhon began his path of destruction to Mount Olympus, Selene rode into battle with the moon chariot. Therefore, soon after, Artemis was the legatee of the carriage. In the same way, Apollo received the Chariot of the Sun, once the sun of Helios became identified with him.

Enjoy the post!

La Audacia de Aquiles

►Greek Mythology: “Artemis´Dual Archetype” / “Collaboration with Resa McConaghy and Mirjana M. Inalman”🌛🏹. 

artemis-goddess

guarda_griega1_2-1

"Diana, The Huntress" by Guillaume Seignac. 19th century. “Diana, The Huntress” by Guillaume Seignac. 19th century.

guarda_griega1_2-1

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Artemis(Roman Equivalent: Diana) is often depicted in two ways: as a huntress goddess and as the goddess of the Moon. 

Artemis/Diana by Jean-Antoine Houdon (18th century) Artemis/Diana by Jean-Antoine Houdon (18th century)

Artemis was the first-born child of Zeus and Leto. Her mother was forbidden by jealous Hera to give birth anywhere on the earth but the floating island of Delos provided her sanctuary. Immediately after her birth, Artemis helped her mother deliver Apollo for which she is sometimes called a goddess of childbirth.

Her twin brother Apollo was similarly the protector of the boy child. Together the two gods were also bringer of sudden death and disease: Artemis targeted women and girls, Apollo men and boys.
Artemis was officially the goddess of the Hunt, but because the Titans had fallen, the Titan Selene

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Minoan Civilization Knossos reveals more treasures.

The following is a reblog from Ritaroberts’ blog posted on December 31, 2016. New discoveries suggests that the Minoan Civilization Knossos recovered from the collapse of the social-political system around 1200 B.C., but also rapidly grew and thrived as a cosmopolitan hub of the Aegean and Mediterranean region.The photographs of the Minoan jewelry is absolutely fascinating. It continues to fascinate me how new archaeological finds change our perception of history.

Please enjoy.

Ritaroberts's Blog

The greatness of Knossos grows as new evidence suggests that an ancient Aegean city not only recovered but also flourished following the collapse of the Bronze Age.

The latest discoveries on Crete at the site of the ancient city of Knossos suggest that the capitol of Minoan Civilization was far larger than previously thought.knossos-archaeological-site

Scientists already knew that Knossos was Europe’s oldest city and ruled over the massive trade empire during the Bronze Age, nevertheless, new evidence shows that the Minoans may have actually survived into the Iron Age.

Europe’s oldest city, the majestic site of the Bronze Age, was the seat of power of the mythological King Minos as attested by the Linear B tablets discovered by Sir Arthur Evans while excavating the site in 1900.   The Minoan civilization is widely acclaimed as the birthplace for all western civilization and, when the mainland Greeks came out of the Stone…

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Goddess Brigit

This is a reblog of a fascinating post on the Celtic Goddess Brigit. This was first posted on the website entitled, “Journey to the Goddess,” on February 1, 2012. Brigit is an Irish Goddess known throughout Europe as ‘the Bright One’ because of Her inspiring beauty and fiery qualities. You may want to check out this website that focuses on goddesses.

Hope you enjoy.

Journeying to the Goddess

“Brigid” by Lisa Iris

“Brigit’s themes are health and inspiration.  Her symbol is a cauldron.  Brigit is an Irish Goddess known throughout Europe as ‘the Bright One’ because of Her inspiring beauty and fiery qualities. Today is Brigit’s festival in Ireland because it’s the traditional first day of spring there, when lingering winter shadows are banished by the sun’s radiance. Anyone desiring fertility, health or creativity should invoke Brigit’s blessings today, as the ancients did.

During the winter months it’s easy to get a case of the blahs of sniffles. Brigit comes to our aid by offering us the spiritual elixir in her cauldron. Make yourself a nourishing broth today (like chicken bouillon) and serve it in a cauldron (a three-legged bowl). If you don’t have one, any cup or mug would do. Bless the broth by holding your hand over the top, visualizing golden light filling the liquid, and…

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Apollo’s Raven Coming Soon

 

APOLLO’S RAVEN on the Horizon

New exciting changes are on the horizon for the APOLLO’S RAVEN series and a new website. In the next few weeks, the current website will transition to an author website in anticipation for the release of the first book, APOLLO’S RAVEN.

The two blogs maintained for APOLLO’S RAVEN will be melded into one blog on the new website. Topics on the new blog will include my research and travels to sites described in the books, author interviews, and other topics of interest to readers. The new site will provide the latest news on the release of my books, events I will be attending, and a reader’s guide that can be used in book clubs.

My journey for writing the APOLLO’S RAVEN series began in 2010. My blog went live on January 4th, 2012. I’ve met wonderful authors, writers, friends, and readers who have been very supportive. The photographs of the Celtic Warrior Princess Catrin which inspired me were taken by my friend and photographer, Rebekah West.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior

Celtic Warrior Princess Catrin

I’ve also met roadblocks. But constructive feedback from authors, writers and agents prompted me to re-envision the APOLLO’S RAVEN series as historical fiction that weaves epic Celtic tales of love, magic, adventure, intrigue and betrayal in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

Overview White Cliffs Britain

White Cliffs Southeast Britannia

The first book of the series is set in 24 AD Britannia, where the magical world of the Celtic tribal kingdoms is explored. The historical backdrop of the epic story is based on new archaeological findings that strongly suggest that Rome not only had strong political influence, but also a military presence in southeast Britannia. The political situation is similar to Egypt under the rule of Cleopatra.

APOLLO’S RAVEN will ultimately be available in print, e-book, and audio format. It has now been formatted for print and is undergoing final proofing. The release date will be announced soon after the new website goes live in the next couple of weeks.

I invite you to take an adventure into the vastly different worlds of Ancient Rome and Britannia, where Celtic tales are inspired.

What happens when forbidden love and loyalty create a tangled web of deception?

The Celtic Warrior Princess Catrin is swept into a political web of deception when the Emperor Tiberius demands allegiance from her father, King Amren.

Celtic Woman Warrior Prepares for Battle

Celtic Warrior Princess Catrin

Catrin is drawn by the magnetic pull she feels for Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony, who is caught under the shadow of his scandalous forefathers. When King Amren takes Marcellus as a hostage, he demands that she spy on him. As she falls in love, she discovers a curse that foretells a future she desperately wants to break.

Torn between her forbidden love for the enemy and loyalty to her people, Caitlin urgently calls upon the magic of the Ancient Druids to alter the dark prophecy that awaits her.

Celtic Woman Warrior Summons Raven Spirit

Catrin Summons Magic of Ancient Druids

Will she save her lover? Will her father succumb to the Emperor? Discover the truth in APOLLO’S RAVEN.

Ancient Celtic Religion: Ancestral Gods and Mother Goddess

Depona-and-her-horses

Myths of the Great Goddess teach compassion for all living beings. There you come to appreciate the real sanctity of the earth itself, because it is the body of the Goddess—Joseph Campbell

Introduction

As we continue exploring the mystique of the Ancient Celtic religion, we discover their beliefs have similarities to the Greeks and Hindu Brahmins. The belief in the immortal soul can be tied to the darker Celtic side of keeping enemy heads so they can capture their power. There were 374 names of gods and goddesses recorded throughout the vast area once inhabited by the Celts in Europe, from Ireland to Turkey. Of these names, about 305 of these only occurred once and are thought to be names of local deities particular to each tribe. Only twenty names occur with great frequency in the areas where the Celts once resided and were often associated with the Roman pantheon of deities.

Unfortunately, written accounts by the Celts were sparse. Today, we must rely on Greek and Roman writers, Irish Christian monks, and archaeological artifacts to piece the Ancient Celtic religion together. Classical writers were biased by their perception of Celts being barbarians. Celtic myths written by Christian monks were heavily redacted to reconcile them with the Christian beliefs. Even though the evidence is fragmentary, we can glimpse some of the religious ideas and rituals connected with the pantheon of Celtic deities and their roles by studying the mythology and comparing it to archaeological evidence.

Below is an overview of how the ancient Celts viewed their ancestral god and their belief that the Mother Goddess was involved in the creation of the universe.

Collapse White Cliffs Wall Britain

Coastal White Cliffs Near Dover, Britain


Ancient Celtic Religion

Ancestral Gods

Caesar and the insular literature indicate the Celts did not look upon their gods as creators but as their ancestors—more as supernatural heroes and heroines. In the lives of these gods and heroes, goddesses, and heroines, the lives of the people, in their emerging patriarchal society and the essence of their religious traditions, were mirrored. The gods and goddesses were depicted as human and were subject to all the natural virtues and vices in an idealized form: love of nature, arts, games, feasts, hunts and heroic single-handed combat. Their intellectual powers were equal to their physical abilities. This depiction of gods as ancestors also appears in Hindu myth and saga.

Panel on Gundstrup Cauldron

Cernunnos, Antler-God of the Forest, Portrayed on Panel of Gundestrup Cauldron

Pomponius Mela, a Roman historian at the time of Claudius 43 AD, states, “The Druids profess to know the will of the gods.” Hence, the Druids were viewed as the conduits between the moral and immortal world. There is an old Irish passage in which the Druids, like the Hindu Brahmins, boasted they had made the sun, moon, earth and sea. In Vedic mythology (historical predecessor to modern Hinduism), creation began with space (aditi) in which sky and earth were formed and were regarded as the original male and female elements.

Lunar Eclipse

Blood Moon


Mother Goddess

The ancient Irish bards deemed the river’s edge, the brink of the water, was always that place where wisdom, knowledge and poetry were revealed. Irish tales suggest the Ancient Celts believed creation evolved around the Mother Goddess.

Rhône River Hillside

Saône River Hillside Near Lyon, France

In one tale, the children of the Mother Goddess, Danu, arrive in Ireland to battle the evil Fomorri, whose own Mother Goddess is Domnu. The Irish epic tells of several struggles between the Children of Domnu, representing darkness and evil, and the Children of Danu, representing light and good. Only after the Children of Danu break the powers of the Fomorri at the second Battle of Magh Euireadh did the good gods prevail. Interestingly, the Children of Domnu are never completely overcome or eradicated from the world.

The Children of Danu came from four fabulous cities where named Druids taught them skill, knowledge and perfect wisdom. Further, the Children of Danu brought special treasures from these cities:

  • Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) from Falias
  • Sword from Gorias (the forerunner of the famous Excalibur)
  • Spear of victory from Finias
  • The Dagda’s cauldron of plenty from Murias
Celtic Cauldon Gundstrup

Gundestrup Cauldron

The Dagda is portrayed as the father of the gods in this epic tale. This is significant because The Dagda is Danu’s son by Bilé. As the sacred waters leave from the heavens, Danu waters the oak, Bilé’s male fertility symbol, and gives birth to The Dagda—the good god who fathers the rest of the gods.

Dagda Gundestrup cauldron

The Dagda Portrayed on Gundestrup Cauldron

Bilé is the Old Irish word for a sacred tree which was also used to denote a ‘noble warrior.” Bilé’s role in transporting the souls of the dead Celts to the Otherworld is significant. Transportation is usually via rivers like the Thames or out to the sea. In essence, he transports souls to the divine waters – his consort Danu, the Mother Goddess. Hence, Danu takes precedence as the primary source of life. More will be discussed below about the association of Bilé with Apollo.

Cork Oak Tree at Arundel Castle and Gardens

Cork Oak Tree; ‘Druid’ derived from ‘dru-wid’ — “Oak Knowledge”


Overview of Celtic Dieties

Celts did not visualize gods with exclusive roles. Not only did their deities have different functions – and therefore were polyvalent— they also appeared in various forms—and thus were polymorphic. Another common feature associated with these deities is votive offerings that were offered at lakes and rivers to win the favor of the gods. Their links with water, trees, and groves suggest the Celts worship earth gods as opposed to the sky gods of the Greeks and Romans.

Bath Roman Bath Britain, dedicated to Celtic goddess Sulis, whom the Romans identified with Minerva

Bath Roman in Bath Britain; Dedicated to Celtic goddess Sulis, whom the Romans identified with Minerva

Julius Caesar associated the Celtic gods in Gaul with Roman deities as follows:

“They [Celts] worship chiefly the god Mercury; of him there are many symbols, and they regard him as the inventor of all the arts, the guide of travelers, and as possessing great influence over bargains and commerce. After him they worship Apollo and Mars, Jupiter and Minerva. About these they hold much the same beliefs as other nations. Apollo heals diseases. Minerva teaches the elements of industry and the arts. Jupiter rules over the heavens and Mars directs war.”

Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom

Minerva, Roman Goddess of Wisdom

Caesar also recorded the Celts in Gaul believed they were descended from Dispater, which the Romans associated with the god of the underworld and of the night. The 18th Century French Historian, Henri D’Arbois de Jubainville, identified the Dispater as the Celtic god Bilé (also known as Bel, Belinus and Belenus). His feast day was celebrated on 1 May (Beltane). As discussed above, Bilé appears to be a god of the dead and is portrayed as Danu’s consort.

Beltane Celebration

Bonfire During Beltaine Festival Celebrated 1st May

Writing a century after Caesar, the Roman poet Lucan gave particular prominence to the names of three gods: Teutates, Taranis and Esus. Taranis could be equated with Jupiter, as the name survives as toran in Welsh and torann in Irish which are interpreted as meaning thunder. Esus was considered to be equivalent to the god of war Mars.

Teutates Celtic God of War on Gundstrup Cauldron

Teutates on Gundestrup Cauldron

Celtic gods were often depicted with female companions. When patriarchy replaced the “mother goddess” concept, the new male gods had to consort with the old female river goddesses to retain continuity with the old beliefs. A raven, the Celtic symbol of death and battle, perches at their feet. The marriage of a chieftain god with a Mother Goddess was viewed as assuring the people of protection and fertility.

Mythological Raven

The Raven, Celtic Symbol of Death and Battle

After Christianity achieved dominance in the Celtic world, the ancient gods were relegated to dwell in the hills. In Irish, the word sidhe means mound or hill and denotes the final dwelling places of the Dé Nanaan, the Immortals, after their defeat by the Milesians. The ancient gods, thus driven underground, were relegated in folk memory as the des sidhe, the people of the hills or in later folklore as simply fairies. The most famous fairy is the banshee (bean sidhe), the woman of the fairies whose wail and shriek portends a death. Each god was allotted a sidhe or hill in Ireland by The Dagda before he gave up his leadership of the gods.

Bilé’s Association with Apollo

To judge from inscriptions, the most venerated god was Belenus who can be most closely equated to Apollo. There is evidence of his cult in southern Gaul and northern Italy, and he may have given his name to Beltane, the Irish festival celebrated on the first of May. Worship of him proved to be enduring. Ausonius of Bordeaux, writing in the 4th Century, mentioned a contemporary of his who was a grandson of Phoebicius, a temple priest of Belenus, and whose family bore names associated with the great Apollonian shrine at Delphi.

Apollo-WaltersArs

Apollo, God of Sun; Associated with Celtic God Bilé, also known as Bel and Belenus

There are many places named after Bilé throughout Europe. In London, Belenus’ Gate is known as Billingsgate (Bilé’s gate). Presumably the heads of the dead at the original Celtic settlement, and later at the Roman occupied city, were taken though this gate to the river Thames—tamesis, the dark or sluggish river. The human heads were used as votive offerings or simply placed for Bilé to transport them to the Otherworld. Hundreds of skulls from the Celtic period have been discovered in the Thames, around London, with other votive offerings.

As previously discussed in APOLLO’S RAVEN, the ancient Celts believed the soul reposed in the head, not in the region of the heart as Western Christians now have it. That is why the head was so venerated and prized. In one Welsh tale, the mortally wounded Bran the Blessed urges his companions to remove his head and take it back to the Island of the Mighty (Britain) for burial. It takes many years and Bran’s head eats, drinks, and instructs the soldiers on the journey back. The head is buried (legend has it that the site was Tower Hill in London) looking toward France so that, in accordance with Celtic custom, he could protect the land against invasion. Many other examples of talking heads of slain heroes are found in Celtic myth.

Stonework at La Roquepertuse Cult of Head

La Roquepertuse Doorway of Skulls

Connecting the many human skulls found in the Thames, together with exquisite swords, shields, helmets and other votive offerings, suggests the Thames could have been a sacred river for the British Celts, occupying the same role as the worship of rivers, springs or wells in Central India.

Celtic Battersea Shield

Celtic Battersea Shield

Bilé was incorporated in many personal Celtic names, the most famous being Cunobeline, who ruled just before the Roman invasion of AD 43. His name means ‘hound of Belinus’. He was later immortalized as the King of Britain in the Shakespearean play entitled, “The Tragedy of Cymbeline.”

To be continued

The next post will provide a more detailed description of the Celtic gods and goddesses.

References

  1. John Davies, The Celts: Prehistory to Present Day; 2005; Sterling Publishing Co., New York.
  2. Julius Caesar, translated by F. P. Long, 2005. The Conquest of Gaul; United States: Barnes & Noble, Inc.
  3. Peter Berresford Ellis, The Druids, 1995William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI.
  4. Steve Blamires, Magic of the Celtic Otherworld: Irish History, Lore & Rituals, 2009, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN.
  5. Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, 1991Doubleday, New York, NY.