Welcome to Everything you want to know about The Celts

Hello there! We are a modern day Northern European Style tribe called Maers Khohias. We are of both Norse and Celtic decent here. Come sit. Warm yourself by our fire!! We want you to feel at home as we share some of our Celtic tribe's hospitality. Come. Join in our sitting circle, round the central cauldron and have something to eat, in our Celtic round house. Once fed, sit back, relax, read and listen to some of our stories. Here you will find great information, taking you back in time to meet the ancestors.

If you have the opportunity to come in person to Crawford Bay, BC and take in our courses taught at our school, you'll hear more information, on the Celts and the Vikings, not shared here, as well as live music. We'd love to hear your stories too!!

In no time, you'll be dancing, sharing some good mead or ale and adding to the rooms boasts and toasts.
We Northern European Celts and Vikings are waiting for you.

Having and event? We offer lots of props to choose from as well as great musicians and entertainers. This will be the icing for your Celtic or Viking medieval style event. Need some costumes or warrior gear? We shall help you there too. ... Or Maybe you are the studious type and want to study Celtic ritual, dance, music and beliefs, or have a you have a gift. If so you might want to take a course from our Druid/Bard schools. See here.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Understanding the Use of Trees in Celtic Traditions.

This article is not really one, as for now it is traces of tidbits I find in the ancient books or writings I come across.  Please enjoy.  This as in my other articles shall be added on to as I go.

Trees were still important all the way into the 12th century, as Saint Flannan of Killaloe (in Ireland) a dynasty symbolically begins its hostile takeover of territory with the attack of the tribal yew tree.  One Celtic tribe of Europe called themselves the Eburones, which means "people of the yew."   

The tribes based the timing of some of her prophecies on the height or growing of trees and plants - fall on another etc or grow together or apart from - this is now called sympathetic magic.

One of the most famous warrior bands of early Gaelic literature was called the Craobh Ruadh, the Red Branch (of Ulster).  You will even notice that their books have branches, not chapters.

To verify the thought of descendancy from trees, for example, we have this poem by Somhairle MacGill-eain (Sorley MacLean) most effectively written in his poem "Hallaig" (MacGill-eain), in which the native inhabitants of Raasay.

..Ann an Screapadal mo chinnidh
...In Screapadal of my people
far robh Tarmad's Eachunn Mór
Where Norrman and Big Hector were
tha 'n nigheanan 's am mic 'nan coille
their daughters and sons are a wood
ag gabhail suas ri taobh an lóin...
going up beside the stream...
Tha iad fhathast ann a Hallaig
They are still in Hallaig
Clann Ghill-Eain 's Clann MhicLeóid
MacLeans and MacLeods
na bh'ann ri linn Mhic Ghille-Chaluim:
all who were there in the time of Mac Gille Chaluim.
Chunnacas na mairbh beó..
The dead have been seen alive.

This is how trees were classified at one time by Bard poets:

The "chieftains" among trees, according to an ancient Irish tract, are dair, oak; coll, hazel; cuileand, holly; abhull, apple-tree; uindsin, ash; ibur, yew; gius, fir. The "servile" trees are: fern, alder; sail, willow; bethi, birch; lemh, elm; scé, hawthorn; crithach, aspen; caerthand, rowan. 
A poem in Silva Gadelica gives an account of trees that are and aren't proper to burn. In it feithlenn & woodbine is the king of trees; rowan is the tree of the druids; willow is the noble tree (sáir); yew is the wood of feasts.  ** Interesting here that it is not the Oak for the Druids but the Rowan.**

by Brahva Cwmevos
(LaurieLee Mills)
December 7, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What Did Celtic Jewelry look like?

Celtic Jewelry
by Brahva Cwmevos

Celtic Jewelry today is making a huge come back. Maybe because people are awakening to a whole new outlook on life, and society is changing as we head towards the new Aquarius age! Celtic Jewelry was highly prized by both men and women alike. Each piece told a story of who that person was, their status and their tribe's wealth. Today, people are finding the same thing and are identifying who they are through nature and symbols. Celtic jewelry is very unique in this way. No other jewelry has such deep meaning and beauty!

You would think that something so old would be primitively made and not much metals would be around. Nothing could be further than the truth in fact, the Celtic jewelry maker could make just as nice as jewelry and in some cases way more detail than today's jewelry.  People think they only used bronze or iron....so not true.  They had access to both gold and silver as well as copper.

In ancient days, we know that bronze, silver and gold were all used by Celtic craftsmen and we've found Celtic jewelry dating from 2000 BC to around 550 AD. Celtic symbols were definitely the focus of the piece and most likely individualized to the person it was being made for. Today, the makers of Celtic jewelry are keeping to this tradition, making these pieces highly coveted once more.
So what kind of Celtic jewelry was made in ancient times? In fact, the Celtic jewelry found has been rings, bracelets, pendants, hair pin decoration and brooches were found right across the Mediterranean so we know that the business of trade was successful for the lucky tribes who had a blacksmith.

The ancient Celts saw fire, which was used to make Celtic Jewelry, as a means that had transformative properties which would be the highest form of spiritual communication. On Celtic statues and art forms all around, they incorporated the design of three flames or sunrays on the faces of their deities, and on pictures of their clansmen and women. Great for woad design! These flames were drawn as three lines going up and outwards, fanning out on the forehead with the base of the three lines meeting at the bridge of the nose. Modern Druids are using this sign and it is called Arwen. Arwen is a Celtic concept of balance bringing together three things - the physical, knowledge & inspiration, and the spiritual. This might be something you'd like for the Celtic jewelry for your modern day clan.

The ancient Celts also honored the earth as their mother Goddess. They believed that when a kinsman/woman passed on, they had to be buried in a womb like cave facing west so that they would be reborn in the Celtic otherworld or Underworld. Some British and Welsh tribes call it the Isle of Avalon. But all Celts believed the afterlife continued on an isle across the sea. If someone you know has gone through a tough time, an earth symbol on their Celtic jewelry would be a great symbol to be reborn into a new phase!
Celtic jewelry also had creatures or animals. Totem animals were the earliest form of Gods. Gods changed into land areas where these animals came from, like the Salmon became a river Goddess and later, when males became more dominate, river Gods. When they were Christianized from 400's to 1700's CE, in more remote areas, these Gods became mythical beings like wizards, sorceresses, fairies, leprechauns and heroes. The air Gods became Sylphs. These come in the form of butterflies, after a loved one dies or when they wish to communicate something other than comfort they appear as sparkly, whirly, zoomy, flashy things written about in a few cultures legends. They were in the skies or air and only a few people can see them. Some say people who become more aware of their bodies, like a pregnant women, can experience this phenomenon. And others believe that these are actually butterflies. A symbol of the butterfly in Celtic jewelry is for those who are cocooning into a new phase of life, who are intuitive or needs strength for something.

Celtic knots, swirls, are a distinct style of Celtic artwork in Celtic jewelry, although truthfully there is no known actual symbolism that we know of. It doesn't matter though, as a few symbols have shed light on what they mean by studying other cultures. We know myths changed as society changed so we can take the myths of old and make them our own. After all, each tribe developed their own unique stories so we can too!
You can read more about Celtic symbolism on each piece of Celtic jewelry you look at and find the perfect piece for your friend or loved one both male or female!

Copyright December 2009

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Northern European Tribal Structure & Hierarchy

Northern European Tribal Structure & Hierarchy

In this lesson we will deal only with the hierarchical structure but not so much on the duties or specifics of these occupations, as that is discussed after next years lessons. This lesson will talk about the structure of the tribe itself, loosely based on the ancient structure of the Northern European Tribal system & its laws. The chain of command principle is a very ancient concept, but its application to the management of organizations was only systematized in the twentieth century. And who put it together you ask? A French man “Fayol” and a German 'Weber”. Weber also studied the problems inherent in large organizations, as organizations grew from family structures to much larger entities and this we will need to have in place for the future.
In order to understand the tribal structure of our modern day tribe, we need to understand the words used to describe the ancient Northern European tribal structure and the groups within it, as well as the peoples views, and the laws governing them in these ancient times. We also need to study what worked & what didn't work then or what won't work today so we do not repeat mistakes & eliminate ones that could be. Lets begin;
Chain of command - A problem associated with the chain of command occurs when a subordinate bypasses his 'superior' in either the giving of information that is not his place to give or the requesting of a decision from a 'superior'. This act undermines the authority & position of the 'superior' who is bypassed. If this practice is allowed to continue in bureaucratically-organized company, morale of the managers will decline, so you can imagine how a tribe would crumble. The urgency & frequency of these situations may, of course, mitigate the impact & inappropriateness of such contacts. Please remember that when the terms 'Superior & subordinate' are used, they are not referring to better than or lesser than, nor does it mean one is more intelligent, or more important, just chain of command.
Raceneither Celts nor the Norse had an issue with race. It was culture that they made together & so shall we. In fact we know many Norse married Eskimo, Irish & so on. Their is absolutely no such thing as a pure race, nor did judge sexual preference. We will never go there for either. Once chosen, we accept everyone for who they are & try to never judge but ask directly & help by discussing help if concerned. There must be 3 balanced & successful persons (emotionally & financially stable) to every one unbalanced ratio so we give this person the tools to heal & they can empower themselves. Unfortunately, this must be until we get started for no structure can stand without a stable foundation. Learn the Lesson from Merlin as a boy - red & white dragons. We all have negative traits that might annoy another, but we choose to look for the things we love about the person instead & encourage, accept, touch, love, & hug this person into growing. We want to always to make everyone feel they are needed & have a safe place to fall in our tribe & hearts.
Birth or Adoption - The rules of kinship by which a clan was formed were the same rules by which status was determined; & this status, determined what a man's rights & obligations would be. It included largely, the date & place of contract & the disposing or degeneration of property. The clan system created & arranged all of these rights & liabilities for every member of the clan at his birth, instead of the individual at age. A chief or a flaith occasionally wished to confer on a stranger the dignity & advantages of obtaining the sanction of the clan assemblies, thus the stranger was adopted in the presence of the assembled clan by public proclamation upon permission from the head.
Crimesusually paid by determining the honour price of what was lost.
Laws & Ethics - can be found in their written laws – such as Medical, Honour price, Laziness, Romantic or Political partnerships. In the year 438 A.D. a collection of the pagan laws was made at the request of St. Patrick. King Laegaire (pronounced Laery), of Ireland, appointed a committee of 9 learned men, including himself & Patrick, to revise them. It took 3 years to produce the new code, from which everything that clashed with the Christian doctrine had been carefully excluded but remember that Celtic Christianity was not the same as the kind coming from Rome at this time. This completed work was called the Senchus Mór. The original book left has been long lost but copies were left with commentaries & explanations appended. The original text was written in a large hand with wide spaces between the lines, commentaries on the text, in a smaller hand & glosses or explanations on words & phrases in spaces between the lines of the text, but often on the margins. Fun Trivia - Rome's pagan priests were also judges & custodians of law but their Priests greatly hampered their justice system & efficiency because in 451 B.C.E, when the Rulers decided to put Roman laws into written form, they called upon the priests to produce the laws & found they really no substantive laws to produce because they had completely lost what it had been their business & their pretence to guard, but technology had taken over & it was this they switched to guard, their own technical inventions, as the years passed. Hence the Romans had to draw up their 12 Tables using laymen common-sense & consulting neighbouring nations as to the very rudiments of law.
Kings & Lords; A local king and his chosen nobility ruled a piece of land. These persons were sometimes called Lords, who were subject to a more powerful king who ruled a group of areas, who was in theory, subject to one of the five provincial kings. These lesser Lords is where we got the later term landlords. It was this struggle for living space that caused fighting & a shifting in power, among the most powerful contenders, as was the Celtic way throughout Europe. Kinship with the clan was the first qualification for the kingship, as for every minor office. A king was the officer of the clan, & the type of its manhood (prowess, virility), not its despot. There was no such concept as that of primogeniture, the rights of the first born, to maintain the hereditary title of the position of nobility or office. There were families that had a number of members elected to such office, by they still had to be elected. In Historical Gaul some of the states were ruled by senates, with no individual holding the office of head of the state. In Ireland, there was always one man, not an assembly, at the head of the state, called a Tanist, after their Kingship tradition died. Their system consisted of electing a Tanist while the holder of the office was still living. Either King or Tanist, peace was already made this way just in case of the demise of this crown. Ireland has on a few occasions been ruled by two monarchs jointly; and for a few years after the death of Malachy the Second, in the eleventh century, it was ruled by two judges who were not kings. But these were exceptional occurrences, & beyond them kingly rule was quite uniform. The word Cing occurs in the Gaelic manuscripts as the equivalent of Rig; but Rig (pronounced Reeh) is the term generally employed. It is cognate with the Latin Reg-s = Rex. Rex is the star in the place of the heart in the constellation Leo, where this title came from. This title in ancient times did not hold the same meaning as we view the King today. Primarily, & above all things, the rig was the head & representative of his clan. This King (Queen) was not for his subjects to serve but rather he was a servant to his or her subjects. He or she DID NOT rule their subjects.
Elderly, Weak & Poor - It is quite certain, according to the law books, that the clan, protected the rights of the poor & weak in their own area, unlike today. When the law did restrict mens natural right, the restriction applied most to the strong & wealthy & when it arranged people's affairs for them, the service was obviously most useful to those who were feeble. In this way it effectually prevented violent antagonism of classes which is the danger & the disgrace of our modern monetary & economic system.
LandThe areas were assigned to a particular Sept or fine, who helped pay for its share of taxes. The idea was there was no private property, thus this system eliminated for the most part - greed, pride & disloyalty. In fact these traits were not among the majority as it would cause a breakup of this system. Everyone shared anyway so there was no want. All tribal land was owned by the tribe in general. It could never be owned entirely by any individual. Natural boundaries set up borders for the land division - mountains, rivers, or by arbitrary boundaries first determined by the fortunes of war or otherwise. In Ireland, the land mass or country was divided into about 150 miniature kingdoms. The sections were appropriated by each King & his civil service group for the work that they perform for the benefit of the general (common) population. The large sections of land were set aside for the public good, usually pastoral/ grazing areas, fertile growing sections, & some for the elderly, disabled, & poor.
The fertile Land held by these farmers was subjected to taxes to help support the less able members of the tribe. However, if a man died, & had outstanding taxes, surviving relatives didn't have to assume his debts. Celtic laws stated that "every dead man kills his own liabilities." This was because of the Celtic view of the afterlife. They believed when a person died, he or she would pay in the next life. Many times debts were not paid, with the expectation that they would be collected on the other side. Cinel (pronounced Kinnel) was then the word used to denote a Sept in farming – Cinel Aodh = apparently means 'Hugh's People from the Aughties' or 'Hugh's kind/kin'.
The designated person who resolved disputes over their areas land matters, was called a Flaith in Ireland. He/She was not the head of the fine & the way it is run, nor was he part of the Priesthood. His duties was the distribution of property or goods to & from the Farmers or Crafters. The quality of the land was distributed by rank, location & what it was being used for. The quality chosen generally ranged in a set order beginning with the king's best, from land with the best cultivation to the common waste. The land held in common, was not all bad; some of it was cultivated & some meadowed. Land holders may be divided into 3 general classes – 1) the king & the professional men, & the flaiths; 2) the Céiles, or ordinary; third, the non-free people, some of whom held land under contracts.
To be exact here is how land was divided;
  1. Part was allotted to the King/Queen. This part, called the Cumhal Senorba, was placed under the control of the Royal house and they looked after the maintenance of the poor, old, & incapable members of the clan there.
  2. Part to the flaiths and other public officers like Chieftains
  3. Part to the Céiles (freemen = farmers), for their respective homesteads,
  4. And part called the Fearan Fine, or tribe's quarter, was retained as the common land of the whole clan, which every member of the clan was free and equally entitled, sub modo, to use for crafting etc. None of this last was held as private property, but instead held for one year and a day, at the end of which it would become common again.
  5. There was also a portion of land which occupied an intermediate position between the private land & the common land and was assigned to a nobility holder, & on the death of a holder, all the land of this class held by his Sept was divided anew. Free clansmen, who held land (as one may say) by birthright, who were the muscle of the community, paid fixed tributes for the maintenance of the state, and formed its army in time of war.
Occupational Classes - Celtic society was set up with 5 basic classes. However, a person could rise from the lowest class to the largest class, or move in the other direction. The good that was done in service to the entire tribe was the basis for the advancement in Celtic society. Since everyone was expected to serve in the military, there was not a lot of status advancement in serving bravely.
  1. The lowest class was what was called the ""non-freemen." Lawbreakers who lost their civil rights, tribal distributions, & were prohibited from working in the various professions. Celts held that lawbreakers should be made to repay their debt to society, physical determent was not considered an option. Rather, the non-freemen was expected to work off their debt, & make contributions to the welfare of the entire tribe. Non-freemen also consisted of deserters from battle, hostages, & prisoners of war. Contrary to Roman custom, Celts did not believe in the keeping of slaves. They had a strong belief that a person couldn't own anything of the earth. Rather, they held people for ransom, even for years at a time.
  2. The second grade of Celtic society was the itinerant tribesman. These people hired themselves out as herders, or field workers. They also filled the rosters of the military. However, since they didn't work their own land, they had little political influence. The next part was the tribesman that worked his own land. These were the basis of the Celtic tribe. This subsection of Celtic society was the group that paid the taxes, elected officials to their assemblies, and provided the largest part of the military when needed. The craftsmen, the people that tanned leather, made swords, gold and silver smithed, as well as the blacksmiths, were also a part of this section.
  3. The group above the tribesmen was that of the elected officials, Chieftains and nobles. These were the group that carried out the administrative duties of the tribes. They maintained the social fabric of the tribe. This group collected taxes, maintained roads and bridges, the public mills and fishing equipment; the tribal hospital, orphanage, and other aspects of the public good; to organize the army, and keep it supplied. They also made certain that the farmers were well supplied. Keeping with the communal setting, if one farmer had a surplus, he could cover for another that had a shortage. For this, the elected officials were provided land during their lifetime or service time as payment. Roman writers mistook this elected class for nobility.
  4. The Druids - Their superior learning enabled them to become many things more than just a priests as the Christian Priest is. Their magic consisted mainly in their superior knowledge in times of simplicity or technical ignorance of science. Magic was science. Equal to the druids in status were the Bards & Vates (Ovates in Irish). The bards were the minstrels, storytellers, & oral tradition teachers. This was mostly because Celtic traditions were oral, & thus they were required the learning of the many tales and stories. They had to be word perfect, meaning they couldn't leave out words or phrases, because the group would let them know immediately. The bards were given a high status in Celtic life even through to the time of Christianity. The ransom price for a bard was almost equal to that of a chieftain.
  5. Warriors - Another layer of Celtic society were the Chieftains & their famous warrior bands. The Chiefs were elected by the tribe in general. I've found the word 'headdress' used when speaking of the Chieftain - Ceann- bheart, Penswig (Welsh). Someone translated Ceann-Fhionn as 'white-headed', when I translated it I also got “one-discovered” or “one found”, without the 'h' it is or “one-blonde” - no white. The Celtic chiefs were more like administrators, having to answer to the will of the people. Chiefs could be male or female, although the election of a woman was rare. No Celtic group employed a standing military as we would understand it, organization was according to clan grouping & social class. The Celtiberian term Uiros Uiramos most likely denoted the war leader, while their immediate companions were known in Gaulish as *ambaxtoi ("those who accompany"). The Gaulish term was picked up into Latin, and is where we get the occupations “ambassador”. Cavalry - According to Pausanias, the Celtic Calvalry was huge & it was organized in a system called Trimarchisia (*tri- *marko- "three horse") divided in teams of three, only two of which would be mounted at one time. Chariots - In even earlier times, the Celts employed the chariot & were experts at manuevering these in tight turns, dismounting & mounting. End of the 3rd century BC, Rome did not use chariots & Caesar found they were still a major component of warfare among the Britons & Caledonians. If he is to be believed, he spotted a Celtic army moving with cavalry & an elite force fighting from chariots. He described the warriors throwing javelins from the chariot before jumping off to fight on foot & then returning to their chariot driver in order to retreat or redeploy. Cavalry proper is described as used for minor war. Gauls told Caesar that his people had formerly used chariots too, but had abandoned them. The most prolific Norse legacy is the creation of the gall-òglaich (Norse/Scottish mixed tribes) or gall-óglaigh (Norse/Irish mixed), the mercenaries from the Hebrides. They fought & trained combining both Celtic & Norse techniques, & were highly valued; they were hired by everyone in Britain at different times through out iron age history, though each area had their own names for these bands. The Croeb Ruz (Red Branch) was famous elite warrior caste who defended & ruled Ulster. A warrior on horseback found within the ruins of Emain Macha indicates, Red Branch warriors fought naked in the ancient Albann Pict tradition. Fiann are another elite band. The Irish, hired these elite groups, more than anyone else, but this might be they were just written about more through their mytholgiew. Ulladd (means slaughterers)- elite Pict warriors. Gaelic horsemen, called hobelars, had concepts copied by surrounding nations.
Important: Why because they are the majority. In ancient days, although each class was quite distinct, but they were not utterly exclusive to others. It was possible for persons to rise or sink, (as the case might be) from one class to another. Keep in mind that the persons with the lower occupations, are the true rulers of the Tribe. Why they are the arms & legs of the body or whole. The majority rule. Also if a lower position wishers to invoke honour price from a richer person, no person is exempt.

We discussed what the main terms used were, now lets define terms describing families, or groups within groups of a tribe.

The Clan System Terms

I think the their tribal & law system is the master-key to connect more with ancient Celtic lands, now so mysterious, & will remove many stumbling-blocks, if not all. Possibly the untranslated books, & lost portions of books, will furnish this key & give us glimpses of more of their lives for without them we can only guess. At least a learned scholar can make an educated one from the obscure passages in the existing remains, but even those are the subjects of doubt & liable to misinterpretation.
Some of the laws seem strangely familiar, almost matching with our own social & domestic economy, providing even for the legal enforcement but other portions in the books are not clear at all. And on certain subjects I have found no information at all. I do know that the mythology stories, do not begin at the beginning, but start on an assumed basis of knowledge which we no longer possess.
Almost every people in history has passed through a tribal structure & its stages, but the tribal system in Northern Europe, was perfected & strengthened itself, & attained a highly artistic degree of development such as it probably never reached on any continent, with rights, duty, property, & law.
The Break down - The following information I got from “The Brehon Laws” translated by Laurence Ginnell, 1894
Tribe or Clan – The word 'Clan' comes from the Celtic word 'Clann', an irish word meaning 'family' evolved from the very earliest Celtic tribal system. The original clans of Northern Europe were basically huge 'extended families', tied together by being descendant from a common ancestor or by adoption. Tuath, Cinel, & Clann, were words used interchangeably to denote what we now call indifferently a clan or tribe. A tribe resembled the Gens of ancient Rome in that all the members of it claimed descent from a remote fine & a common ancestor as head of that fine. See fine below. Thus the tribe entire were therefore kinsfolk & were entitled to various rights dependent on the degree of relationship & other facts.
Kinship was the web & bond of society throughout the whole tribe. Theoretically it was a true kinship of blood, but in practice it, to some extent was also one of absorption or adoption. Strangers settling in the district, conducting themselves well, and intermarrying with the clan, were after a few generations indistinguishable from it. In the course of time the name Tuath came to be applied to the district occupied by a clan, & Cinel (pronounced Kinnel) was then the word used to denote the clan itself. When a tribe was completely formed it was an organic & legal entity (corporation), part social, part political, & proprietor of business to survive & its starting fine reigned supreme everywhere within its territory but the Clan/tribe entire was the all-important thing. When one tries to select any point within the functioning whole of the tribe, any individual member from any Brigyn casts his vote based on his interrelations to all other parts and the sense of its needs. A sense of a community acting as one suffused the life of every participating member. A member knew that his act contributed to the ongoing life & he also knew that his act as well as all acts by other members were modified, defined, & organized by the acts of others.
Septs - Each clan was composed of a number of Septs. Septs are families who had less direct ties to the main Fine's Clan Chief but were still connected with the clan as a whole. Each Sept was composed of a number of fines. Women, children, & servants (not slaves), did not enter into this computation for some reason. All the members had certain distinct & well recognized rights, & when they were considered an adult after their coming of full age, were “sui juris” (mutually liable to and for each other – which is my idea of seconds). There may have been a rite performed for this but this is not known. The Sept was one of the divisions of the clan assigned a specific part of the territory, and it was over this district a flaith was supposed to preside. Couldn't find the number of Fines allowed to be in a Sept. The right of the Sept to undisturbed possession of its assigned portion of the territory was greater than that of the fine. It answered only to that of the clan, & was very rarely interfered with.
Fines - A Sept was composed of a number of fines. Fine (pronounced Finna) was also sometimes used instead of clan, & this was not strictly incorrect since every clan originated from a small fine, the Mother Fine; Fine in Irish translates to tribe, but the word properly meant one of a number of sub-organisms of which the clan entire consisted. The fines, worked exactly like a miniature clans, the original, the real social & legal unit. It was considerably more comprehensive than our word family, even when compared with the Roman familia. Lesser Flaiths, who remained in the smaller fines, the immediate exercise of some of their rights was vested in the flaith-fine, who should act for them & in whose name they would act. "No person under protection is qualified to sue."
Old members cease to belong to it when the sufficient amount of members was exceeded by new male member born or adopted. Upon this event happening, the old moved in rotation, thrust out to the Sept, or some perhaps began to form new fines. The freemen of these fines had rights & were as fully secured by the law under a flaith. Some fines, instead of placing themselves under the protection of a flaith, had the right to place a flaith of their own choosing & of their own kindred over them to represent them and act for them as occasion required. These Flaiths protected their rights. Each individual had an "honour price" reflecting his worth in the fine. When a fine was complete it consisted of "seventeen men" who were always classified in the following manner:
1. The Geilfine consisted of the flaith-fine & his 4 sons (5 total) or nearest male relatives, most of whose rights were vested in him, who on his death were entitled to the largest share of his property, & would succeed to the largest portion of his responsibilities. The Flaith-fine (also called Ceann-fine - English = one-family), or paterfamilias, was the head & most important member of this group, as he was its guardian & protector, & was the only member in full possession of free exercise over all rights of citizenship. No one could join without permission from this leader. On the date of a new male member coming of age, or according to a more probable theory, on his becoming a man & owner of property, the eldest member of that group was crushed out to the second group or to create a second group. I found in other Indo-European tribal groups this leader was called the Gen. Genos or gevos means son or daughter of the Gen. Geil means Gen in Gaelic dictionary, referring to breeze as feminine form. The definition for Geill is “meaning or sense”.
2. The Deirbhfine consisted of the 4 male members next in degree of relationship to the flaith-fine, whom received a smaller share of flaith-fine property & responsibilities devolved. If the eldest member was pushed out of the Geilfine, the eldest member of the second group was crushed out to the third. Apparently Deirbhile is an uncommon surname & female 1st name & according to a gaelic dictionary Deirbh means “a churn” (a churn family).
  1. The Iarfine (pronounced eer finna) consisted of the 4 males whose degree of relationship was still farther removed, & still less property & responsibility devolved. If eldest member of the Deirbhfine was pushed into this group the eldest member of this one was crushed out to the 4th. Iar means post in the quick translator which would be 'Post-family', but it has several meanings in the gaelic dictionary – 1) iar = (prep) after second. 2) + iar (s. m.) a bird 3) iar (s.) a blast from the West. Iar-thuath = from the north-west, iar-dheas = from the south-west. With an educated guess, we can see that it definitely means after the 2nd & it would seem that the directions come into play as to where each fine lived on the land compared to the centre which to me is more proof that the Celts acknowledged the directions.
  2. The Innfine consisted of 4 males the furthest removed from the flaith-fine, upon whom the smallest portion of his property & responsibility devolved. If the eldest member of the fourth was pushed out by the eldest member coming in from the Iarfine, he was crushed out of any fine altogether, and became an ordinary member of the Sept, or clan, with no special rights or responsibilities in connection with his former flaith-fine but would come to the luxurious land to be cared for as the law clearly stated in the other section that the Kings land had a section for the elderly. I would imagine that this fine was very respected as they would contain the most elders except for the mother but the mother fine would always has fresh faces. In the law books it says - "It is then family relations cease." As to the meaning of Inn there again are many in the Gaelic dictionary – 1) + Inn (ir. id) = a wave 2) the other says it can only be used with a verb – and in that sense it would mean “us or we”. Looking at the words listed with this as its prefix it seems to relate to using tools such as sewing, a machine for dress, attire, but also mentions a tool for furniture or musical instruments, & also with maid or cleaning dung. We see that each member of the groups were cast off once their virility left them, but the groups themselves remained complete all the time, & never exceeding 4 males each (not including boys). If looking with a modern mind, you see a sad disrespect of the elders, but we must see that even though they suffered a loss of rights, in its place gained in freedom of action & freedom from liabilities. The fiaith-fine ceased to represent them, or be responsible for them, & they not hooked to debts of fine.
Yup, A whole fine was liable to compensate for crimes committed by any one of them, if the culprit member failed to do so. It also appears the person forfeited his right, with all the advantages attached to it, by crime.
Now I haven't listed all the other fines mentioned, as there are a number of combinations. It states something about the seventeen men, & even something about 13 men. Presumably it was then that they became more distant & considered no longer close kin & the rights of inheritance and the dangers of liability also ceased. Unfortunately, it is not clearly known what the number of women was in the fine. The clan system was disorganized by the 13th century.
The individual person - had left little to do but to fill the position assigned him & conform to the system. The flaith-fine was the voted in by the people & this was the most important job of the common people, from what I can see. Even his duties & liabilities were so clearly laid down as part of the system itself that he does not seem to have been left any time to use his own discretion. This insignificance of the individual compared to the tribe as a unit, seems to us modern day minds as calculated to stifle the best qualities of man & to prevent all progress. It would also seem that the whole system is one of disintegration of individual thought & thus might have been the problem that would lead ultimately to the tribal system's destruction, which it will for those with Egotistical minds. But the wise will see it only different from our system, which there instead existed a spiritual bond, purer & more potent if wisely utilized. I personally see that the finest qualities of our race would be exhibited under a clan system. Having regard to the number of its inhabitants at the time, Ireland produced more distinguished men under the clan system than it has since it was abolished. This is a fact which no fancy theories can displace. It proves that, restricted though the clan system appears to us, it in fact afforded sufficient margin for a person to distinguish himself. A large measure of individual capacity is hard alone, but attained together.
The Northern tribes were some of the bravest & most skilful warriors, the most zealous & successful missionaries, poets, musicians, & literary men & they came in astonishing numbers of much power, taste, & skill in a Clan system. Even artists, whose works have scarcely ever been surpassed, grew up & flourished under the clan system. All this could not have been the absence of individuality, it really was a true civilization, just different from our own. Our modern notions are therefore an unreliable standard by which to judge this system. We must walk in its footsteps first as it must be judged by results, not assumption or prejudice.
Those of us who are of Celtic descent, whether we live in Glasgow, Australia, or Canada, are proud of our heritage. We as Maers Khohias are proud to inherit & might be proud to produce a modern day working tribe, once we go by trial and error what works today and what does not.
*Fun Trivia* & Option for our tribe - Modern day - Today, a clan is a legally recognized group in Scotland, and it has a 'corporate identity' by law (the same way a business or company has). It's a 'noble incorporation' because Clan Chiefs are considered noblemen of Scotland and this leads to a clan being officially referred to as 'the Honourable Clan of (fill in the clan name!)….'Under Scottish law, a clan is recognized as the chief’s heritable property - he legally owns it & is responsible for its administration & development. If you have Scottish ancestors, you may want to learn more about the clans of Scotland, and to find out whether or not you belong to one..... unfortunately it's not always easy to get to the truth of the matter! Due to the fact that Scottish clans have been around for thousands of years, and to the complicated and interwoven nature of the Scottish clan system, it can be difficult to figure it all out on your own. I have found a site which may help tremendously in my travels – http://www.scottish-at-heart.com/scottish-surnames.html. Even though traditional Scottish surnames are associated with certain clans, just having the name does not guarantee membership. Go here to find out – http://www.tartanweb.com//clanmaster/clanlight.php. Those that are real serious and want to make a tree go here – http://www.scotsfamily.com
Did you know? Arthurian Traditions – There is still to this day a huge Merlin Tradition in France.

by Brahva Cwmevos

(Laurie Lee Mills)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What are the Gaelic Languages?

Gaelic is a name referring to a beautiful language, incorporating  the remaining areas of the Celts in modern day which is Scotland, Ireland and Wales.  Like the 1st Nations people, as members the New oppressive faith went on over the years, so to did they get worse and banned the languages in the schools that was not proper English etc.

Wales is enjoying a revival of the language now. Today, many people are learning to speak this old Celtic language once again, for people finally realized that we might lose this language and part of our heritage.  

Scottish Gaelic:  A form of Gaelic was brought to Scotland from an Irish tribe who branched off from the larger and they intermingled with an older Brythonic language of the Picts. By the 15th century, the Scottish Gaelic differed significantly enough to warrant definition as a separate language, although the alphabet of Irish and Scottish is identical, both consisting of 18 letters. Like Irish, the accent is on the initial syllable. Scottish Gaelic exists in two main dialects, Northern and Southern. Scottish Gaelic is by many Nova Scotia, Canada.

Manx:  The language of the Isle of Man is classed as a dialect branched from the Scottish Gaelic, with strong Norse influence.  Sadly in the early 20th century it became virtually extinct. The first written records are of the 17th century, and Manx literature, apart from ballads and carols, is negligible.

Breton:  The Breton language is spoken today in various dialects in Brittany; most Breton speakers also speak French. French is obvious as in that area, now called France were the Gauls and Franks, thus there were no 'loan' words as one might think. 

Cornish:  Another very sad thing is that original Cornish has been extinct since the late 18th century, despite recent efforts to revive it. It survives only in a few proper names and certain words in the English dialect spoken in Cornwall.

Welsh:  Welsh language is called Cymraeg or Cymric by its speakers and it is the native language of Wales and the most flourishing of the Celtic languages.  This is because the invaders, both Roman and later the Scandinavian Anglo-Saxons, never got up into Wales because the way of the geography of the land.   Some communities in the United States and Argentina have been know to speak it as well. Thank goodness for organizations such as the Society for the Welsh Language who've worked so hard to save the language from becoming extinct and assuring its official status along with English. Several schools in Wales now allowed to use Welsh as the medium of instruction, and television and radio broadcasts are made in the language. Welsh spelling is phonemic, so changing on tiny part of the word changes its whole meaning.  Welsh speakers will know how to pronounce a word they have never seen before.  W is a "oo" sound.  DD is a 'th' sound.  Bloudwedd therefor is pronounced - Bloutooeth

Irish, or Irish Gaelic:  Is the oldest of the Goidelic group of Celtic languages. After the iceage when the  tribes back, later identified as Celts they brought their language into the ireland area and others branches moved to different areas.  Ancient written examples exist in the ogham inscriptions, Found in Ireland and scattered throughout Northern Europe.  It is chiefly spoken in the western and southwestern parts of the Republic of Ireland, where it is an official language, and to some extent in Northern Ireland. In the past century, the number of Irish-speaking persons has declined from 50 percent of the population of Ireland to less than 20 percent.  We need to save this language!

L. L. Mills