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Thread: Brythonic Deities of Death

  1. #11
    Member SonoftheWaters's Avatar
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    Re: Brythonic Deities of Death

    Many people fear death because it is an unknown to them and the social training of the Abrahamic faith that the west has undergone over the last 1000 years that we only get one life. Understanding this fear will help, it my help to understand that death to the Celts was not an end, we died in this world to be born in the next world. This is the cycle of life and you will not find death deities like you do in other faiths because death is just another season in the life of your spirit and not an ending. Most the death god's are either ones that help move the spirit on or are war deities. If you are looking to understand the cycles of life and death better in a Celt path then do not look to death but cycle, earth, water or even life deities for death is life.

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    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
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    Re: Brythonic Deities of Death

    Thanks for your thoughts Sonofthewaters. It's no secret that I'm not particularly interested in reconstructing an authentic Celtic path, but that isn't to say that I don't find inspiration for honouring my gods, by looking for clues left by those who acknowledged the same deities. In particular, I was interested to read your thoughts, and reflect on my final thoughts in the last post;

    Quote Originally Posted by Jembru View Post
    It's also possible, I suppose, that I could be called to work with deities of death for other reasons, maybe to learn to understand the cycle of life and death better, and shed my fear of it. That would at least prepare me for when I'm called upon to nurse someone through those last hours.
    It seems like your own beliefs would support this theory then. I should probably add that just yesterday, we had our family dog, of 18 years, put to sleep. As a general rule, I react badly to death (these days.. when I was wiccan, I was much more philosophical about it; I was the kind who didn't cry at funerals, or if I did, I was crying for those who were left behind). Maybe it was because Oscar was so old, and his quality of life rapidly decreasing, but I've taken it pretty well. It does make me wonder if this could also be why Ankou chose this time to make himself known to me...
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

  3. #13
    Member SonoftheWaters's Avatar
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    Re: Brythonic Deities of Death

    I couldn't honestly say if Ankou came to you because of Oscar or because you work so close to those close to death. Ankou is the Breton grim reaper, the ferry man if you will and his servants would be of the dark fey. I have studied Necromancy because of my family lineage, though I moved away from it because of the darker nature that draws my lineage. There is not a whole lot that can be said about Ankou, his legends compare a lot to what you find on the Grim Reaper, in fact you could say that the Grim Reapers real name is Ankou. Though Ankou was not always this way but a human spirit that is performing the duties of death (No name is given for Death, that I have been able to find, though the closes would have to be The Morgan, the goddess of the renewing or deep earth.) Ankou can also be seen as a position held by the first dead of the year that collects the dead for that year and not a specific being or spirit.

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    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
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    Re: Brythonic Deities of Death

    Quote Originally Posted by SonoftheWaters View Post
    Ankou is the Breton grim reaper, the ferry man if you will and his servants would be of the dark fey.
    Interesting. Of the research I've done so far (which has dried up so far as on-line resources go), I haven't come across him likened to a ferryman, and yet I have done so myself. I mentioned it already in this thread, but I don't expect you to have read all my windy posts, so I'll find it for you...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jembru View Post
    Thanks. I'd found the Ankou already, but as I'd said, I'm a little nervous of him just yet. It reminded me though, that when I worked with the neteru, I was attracted to Nemty/Anti, the ferry God, although I never worshipped him. There was a version of the story with Isis that I found in a book of Egyptian mythology, where he not only loses his toes, but also his skin. So he was essentially a skeleton. I found this image charming, so maybe there's hope for me forming a relationship with the Ankou yet.
    While I did write the above, I'm still not convinced that he's a true psychopomp. Not least because his role also appears to include rounding up souls that have become trapped. I guess it's possible that he finds them and takes them on to the next life. (*omg I've just worked out what I'm meant to be doing!!!)

    I also mentioned in a previous post that I am also looking into folklore around the Grim Reaper, in order to get a better understanding of (the)Ankou. I've made contact, but indirectly through my guides, as at this point, I still don't feel I have the necessary groundwork behind me to make direct contact safe. What I do know then, is that (the)Ankou has no intention of teaching me anything. I am welcome to work alongside him, so long as I help rather than hinder, but I'm not to expect any kind of close kinship. To learn what is needed of me, I've been told to commune with my totem spirit; the magpie, who is knowledgeable in the processes of life and death. Incidentally, magpies are going through a population dip here in NE England (they've always been less common here than in other parts of the country, but are unusually uncommon right now), but their nearest roosting ground is the graveyard near my home. I walk past this graveyard everyday (and ironically, my work hours can be described as the 'graveyard shift' ^^). So I'm going to start going there to do walking meditations.

    The idea that the Ankou was the first spirit who died each year, comes up a lot. It's about the most detail anyone has, besides his physical appearance. On the one hand, I like the idea that the Ankou changes, and that people would respond to a period with a particularly high number of deaths by declaring 'we have a harsh Ankou this year'. Yet on the other hand, I'm uncomfortable with the thought that the first person to die automatically becomes the Ankou, forced to walk the earth plane in service of others, unable to rest for a full calendar year. Also.. when would the handover be? Samhain? January 1st?

    Having said that, I've already mentioned 'The Squadron' in this thread, who I read about in a now out-of-print book, years ago. They are spirits of the dead, and having had to call upon them myself before, I do believe in them. It isn't a hugely different concept really. In fact, I'd go so far as to say this 'Squadron' are simply spirits working beneath the Ankou, helping him in his role.

    *But yeah.. I realised while writing this, that I know of a soul who would be in the high risk category for becoming trapped. He's even been sighted, on one occasion by two of us at the same time, soon after his funeral.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

  5. #15
    Member SonoftheWaters's Avatar
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    Re: Brythonic Deities of Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Jembru View Post
    To learn what is needed of me, I've been told to commune with my totem spirit; the magpie, who is knowledgeable in the processes of life and death.
    I highly recommend this. Working with your totems/guides is one of the most important things to do when stepping into unknown areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jembru View Post
    I walk past this graveyard everyday (and ironically, my work hours can be described as the 'graveyard shift' ^^). So I'm going to start going there to do walking meditations.
    The next time your doing this, look for a magpie, go to where the magpie is, close your eyes and just listen with your feelings. It will start out like a slight pressure or tingling feeling. Be patient and focus on these feelings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jembru View Post
    unable to rest for a full calendar year. Also.. when would the handover be? Samhain? January 1st?
    It would be Samhain, the time when the veil between worlds is thinnest.

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