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The Céile Dé Priest Masons & the "Black Art"

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posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 12:05 PM
reply to post by grandsecretary

Thanks for the quotes.
As for Nós, I know what language it is thanks. Old Irish would be more accurate. And it doesn't quite mean what you say from my own research. Though it does fit in. I've consulted some Gaelic and Old Irish scholars on this, who have studied the Céli Dé extensively, and they have given a reasonably firm indication of what it may mean. Its also in the various Gaelic dictionaries. Fits in well with the operative masonic angle. Operative, as opposed to speculative. That is, they actively practised the art of masonry and building.

[edit on 29/9/09 by Extant Taxon]

posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:50 PM
The Sons of the Tradition - Part One.

Translation of the above from Old Irish (taken from the book "The Culdees of the British Islands" by William Reeves):

"In this year the Ceile-de came across the sea with dry feet, without a vessel; and a written roll was given him from heaven, out of which he preached to the Irish, and it was carried up again when the discourse was finished. This ecclesiastic used to go southwards across the sea, every day when his preaching was finished. It was in it (i.e. this year), moreover, that the cakes were converted into blood, and the blood flowed from them when being cut. It was in it also the birds used to speak with human voice."

Thus, from the Annals of the Four Masters, goes the legend of the beginnings of the order known as the Céli Dé. Who were the Céli Dé though? Professional historians of the present day, who have spent considerable time attempting to assess who and what this group actually were, still don't seem to have an entirely concrete answer to this question. Though considerable inroads have been, and are being, made into this query. The standard, accepted view is that they were cenobitic monks of a "stricter observance," known as the "clients of God" (the official translation of the term in modern Céli Dé research today) for they knew no master before their Lord.


[edit on 11/10/09 by Extant Taxon]

posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:51 PM
There have been many conflicting views from various researchers over the past 250 years or so especially, with those claiming the Culdees (the Anglicized version of Colideus, the Latinization of Céli Dé) were Druids who morphed into Celtic Christians to camouflage themselves from their Roman persecutors with the very religion that came with them, that the Culdees were the oddments of the Roman Collegia and it's masonic tradition left over when Rome withdrew from the British Isles, that the term Culdee was merely a generic term that covered a group so heterodox as to not be cohesive or organised whatsoever in aims, religion, content, or application. Or even that it has been so misunderstood a concept that it simply meant a "man living in a community" ("The Culdees," Reeves, p. 74, quoting Edward O'Reilly) which opens the whole thing up to such a broad scope as to not be worth investigating if this was what it really meant! Older interpretations of the term take in the translations of spouse, servant, or friend of God.

Cross of the Scriptures, Clonmacnoise.

The venerable work by William Reeves on the Culdees, still a standard reference work (with a solid timeline of the various Culdee monasteries/settlements around the country and some nuggets of gold in the appendices) has this to say on order:

“In fact, during the range of time in which the term is of record, we discover the greatest diversity in its application, - sometimes borne by hermits, sometimes by conventuals; in one situation implying the condition of celibacy, in another understood of married men; here denoting regulars, there scholars; some of the name bound by obligations of poverty, others free to accumulate property; at one period high in honour as implying self-denial, at another regarded with contempt as the designation of the loose and worldly minded.” Some, who would contend for the uniformity of an order bearing the name of Céli-dé, endeavour to reconcile these incompatibilities by supposing the existence of two classes in the order, the one of stricter, the other of laxer discipline: but this expedient is unsupported by record authority; and when at last Céle-dé does become a distinctive turn, it is only so as contrasting with those who adopted the better organized and more systematic institutions of mediaeval introduction – in fact, as denoting an old fashioned Scotic monk in an age when the prevalence of such surnames as Mac Anaspie, Mac Nab, Mac Prior, Mac Intaggart, Mac Pherson, Mac Vicar, Mac Clery, indicated a condition of clerical society not exactly in accordance with the received notions of ecclesiastical discipline.”

- "The Culdees of the British Islands,", pp. 1 – 2

Reeves had a significant influence on academic thought when it came to the Culdees, and his idea that the Céli Dé were a group with a mission to reform Irish monastic discipline that had grown lax and irregular has carried on to near the present day. The Céli Dé were regarded as the "spiritual reformers" come to lay down the law, and remonstrate their brethren that had fallen into bad ways. The above quote that kicked of this post, from the Annals of the Four Masters, would seem to indicate that some significant event occurred relating to a message, one that seemed to come direct from the highest power, the highest 'flaith' (lord, master) of all to a Céli Dé (céle - client), the Lord himself:

"...[The legend of the céle dé from The Annals of the Four Masters refers to]...the widespread Christian myth of the letter of Christ, which fell from heaven."

- " Céli Dé in Ireland," by Westley Follet, p. 12


posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:51 PM
Only recently has this view been challenged. But in my present researches such a scenario could well have been a reality in order to cover up the heterodox underground stream that may indeed been running under the foundations of Céli Dé monasteries. The true genesis of my research was an article on the excellent blog from researcher Francine Bernier and her article "The Word Cowan - Part 2," but the entire blog has now totally disappeared and finding cached pages of the site seems quite difficult. Fortunately I have saved that particular article and some others of importance that have been very useful and helped greatly to point me this direction. Much of what Mademoiselle Bernier laid out has been verified in my own readings. There seem to be many highly neglected strands not treated by mainstream academia who see the Céli Dé simply as a monastic order, even if of a more aristocratic nature. The fact that they were highly skilled craftsmen; artificers and masons, besides the predominant view of them as scribes, scholars, and teachers, is generally not discussed at all. Many a thread of great esoteric import may run trough the sect, especially considering that King Athelstan (Noble Stone) was meant to have given the Culdees at York in the year 936 royal patronage, which entailed significant and healthy endowments the first of which was "...a thrave of corn from every ploughland in the diocese of York...," (hints at fertility rites perhaps and one of the mainstays of masonic symbolism, corn and the sheaf of wheat?) and from this humble beginning the furtherance of the aims of the order (charity and care for the poor among them) was enhanced with yet more royal favours when Thomas of Bayeux was assigned the see of York in 1069 by William the Conqueror. His brother, Thomas II, was to succeed him as Archbishop of York and interestingly he founded the Hospital of St. John the Baptist at Ripon (Johannism seems to be the possible shape and course of the very likely underground stream that travels through the Culdee historical landscape). Further spice to this fact there is this tidbit:

“The most widely accepted patron saint of the mason craft was St. John, though there was sometimes confusion as to whether this was St. John the Baptist, whose fest-day was 24 June, or St. John the Evangelist, whose feast fell on 27 December.”

- "The Origins of Freemasonry," by David Stevenson, p. 43

St. John the Baptist

The Matthew Cooke Manuscript, a document purporting to be a transcript of a yet older document, details this as regards an operative masonic fraternity given a charter by the previously mentioned, and suggestively named, King Athelstan (Aethel = Noble, Stane = Stone), who is generally regarded as the founder of masonry in Britain:

“And after that was a worthy king in England that was called Athelstan, and his youngest son loved well the science of geometry, and he wist well that hand-craft had the practice of the science of geometry so well as masons, wherefore he drew him to council and learned [the] practice of that science to his speculative, for of speculative he was a master, and he loved well masonry and masons. And he became a mason himself, and he gave them charges and names as it is now used in England, and in other countries. And he ordained that they shouuld have reasonable pay and purchased a free patent of the king that they should make [an] assembly when they saw a reasonable time and come together to their councillors of which charges, manners, and assembly, as it is written and taught in the book of our charges, wherefore I leave it at this time.” (1)


[edit on 11/10/09 by Extant Taxon]

posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:52 PM
Paul Naudon, whose immensely useful text I refer to next, says this of Athelstan and the masonic charter:

“It was in 926 in York that Edwin, adopted son of Athelstan, gave a charter to the masons. The oldest text attesting to the existence of this document, however, the Cooke Manuscript dates back only to the beginning of the fifteenth century. It is doubtful that the craftsman guild was formed in the tenth century.”

- pp. 58 – 59, "The Secret History of Freemasonry: Its Origins and Connection to the Knights Templars."

The problem is that the Cooke document, and more importantly the unknown original it is a copy of (issues of verification and authenticity), don't refer to in a definitive manner that the charter mentioned was given to masons at York and that they were Culdees, though this seems likely. But then masonic historians can be excellent myth-makers often enough, seeking ownership of certain historic events, and disowning others, to further freemasonry's prestige. But from my own readings it seems that the stance taken by many masonic writers on the above, that the Culdees/Céli Dé at York were the self same masons charged in the Cooke manuscript, is something I feel is a tennable position. The main problem with this subject is to attempt to successfully navigate the polarised positions of traditional academia who study the Culdees and those Céli Dé researchers of the more esoteric bent who do not see eye to eye. But the crossover in areas approached; and artifacts of historical and mythological/folklore is obvious from my readings. Bringing the two together in an attempt at a cohesive, unified whole is not within my power; though I will seek to point out the overlaps.
One of the best works on this subject that I have come across as regards a scholarly synthesis of well researched history and the insight to seek the marriage between the highly likely esoteric kernel and exoteric facade of the Culdees is the book by Paul Naudon, "The Secret History of Freemasonry: Its Origins and Connection to the Knights Templar." Naudon's thesis (though not unique in itself, it is expressed with considerable assurance via solid historical proofs and sound reasoning) is that there was a transmission of an operative tradition of masonry from the Roman collegia (touched by some eastern traditions with the Knights of the Order of the Temple thrown into the mix through surviving parts of the collegia in Muslim territory), the carrying of said tradition through the various monastic orders of Medieval Europe, the Templars being of course essentially the military arm of the Benedictines, where this was carried through to Britain. Operative masonry formed from monastic artisans into the medieval guilds, onto operative masonic corporations, and then modern speculative masonry. The Culdees/Céli Dé being a major link in the causal chain of the masonic meme. Crucially (and speculative freemasonry is not fond of this, perhaps due to the what they regard as the taint of humble origins) modern day masonic institutions were hatched of these very same operative (that is the actual practice of building), but hardly mundane, beginnings. The Roman Empire, European monastic orders, and the Templars being the prime movers in Naudon's take. Much of my own readings (even though only as an amateur) agrees with much of what he puts forward.


posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:53 PM
Although Naudon's knowledge of the Céli Dé seems rudimentary at best, his main narrative needs to only touch upon the order and is not a bar to the drive of his work. The book is an excellent overview of masonic history and proves, in a fashion, that a large part of the lore concerning modern masonry and it's Templar heritage is justified. Of course freemasonic historians of the past two hundred years seem to have deliberately fudged the true relationship, the one at least that can be proved in genuine historical analysis. So, in Naudon's own words:

“It is in Anglo-Saxon masonry where we witness the birth of modern speculative Freemasonry. While the tradition was dying out on the continent, British masonry was up to the task of transmitting the ancient legacy. We have now looked at the line of descent: from Roman collegia to the Culdees to the Benedictine monks and monastic associations to brotherhoods and guilds. The last of these—the guilds—which first appeared in the northern countries, Normandy, and England, offered an instant legal framework for trade organizations.”

- p. 180, "The Secret History of Freemasonry: Its Origins and Connection to the Knights Templars."

While Naudon starts with the Roman collegia and finishes with modern day masonry, the Culdees somwhere in the middle; my readings have led me to consider that the tradition transmitted, the meme of the mysteries; started not with the collegia (even as they are a link in the chain) but that there appears to be that previously addressed underground stream running under the feet of the Céli Dé; that being Johannite Gnosticism. Whilst traditional academia would scoff, and has scoffed, at the notion of such a "heterodox kernel" held by the order, the histories of the Christian Church do show that early church fathers, being the Desert Fathers, were Gnostics of varying complexion. The very academically accepted ecclesiastic nature of the Céli Dé demonstrates their strict adherence to the eremitic and cenobitic ways of the Desert Fathers, and more besides.
Often, it is said, to assess what something is it should be first said what that something isn't, so by process of elimination a working definition may be arrived at. Unfortunately, this process is impeded by the rather scant and obscure nature of the Céli Dé in history, and being that this is a work in progress I will have to do the reverse and state what I know, from various texts, of what they were and what they did. Then later to cut away what may be the dead wood from my Céli Dé tree.

What the Céli Dé, it seems, were:

1.) An ascetic cenobitic monastic order of regular clergy and secular clergy.

Cenobitic meant they shared everything in common and lived communally, though as per the exhortations of St.Pachomius the Great (2), the acknowledged founder of Christian cenobitic monasticism, it entailed a type of military barracks system, as Pachomius was a former Roman soldier. Fitting indeed for "soldiers of God." The still to this day heterogenous nature of the Culdee movement through recorded history indicates that there were regular clergy (3) (who followed a rule, and obeyed strict vows or poverty, chastity, and obedience under God) and secular clergy (4) (which may more be the focus of my researches) who were not ordained and could take wives and live within the local community. Though they were still bound by Canon Law.

St. Pachomius

2.) Scribes, scholars, clerks, craftsmen/artisans, builders/masons, teachers, poets, and (as most significantly marked by academia) enthused with music, song in particular, to praise God with voice, liturgy, & recitation of psalms.


posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:53 PM
3.) Columbite monks (after a fashion) founded by St. Mael Ruain (Mael - 'tonsured,' that is, 'follower' of Ruadhan) at Tallaght, in County Dublin, Ireland. Though of course the Isle of Iona and the Columbite monastery founded by St. Columba features heavily in the history and the attendant mythology of the Céli Dé.

4.) "Clients of God." This is the more popular view today of the term, and is used due to the understanding of the prevailing rigid social structure of the times. As follows with Westley Follett citing Brian Lambkin:

"That the céle Dé was a spiritual aristocrat is indicated by the existence of the complementary term mog Dé (literally, slave of God), which may be taken as a reflection of the social and economic divisions within secular society between the soer-chele (noble client) and the doer-chele (base client) and the mog (slave). Not every man could be a céle Dé. The Céli Dé were a select group from among all the men on earth who were 'followers' of God and who could in suitably humble fashion call themselves mogae Dé (slaves of God), In other words, the Céli Dé were 'saints', men of high status within the 'following' of God, marked out from the other mogae Dé by virtue of their spiritual wealth or holiness of life." (5)

St. Columba - "The Dove of the Church."

This is generally (though still a matter of debate) the state of play with Culdee scholarship today. What is generally not relayed is that the Culdees/Céli Dé were immensely capable craftsmen/artificers and masons who constructed their own churches, monasteries, oratories (bee hive cells); but mention is made of the various stone crosses that are widely thought to be of Culdee design. Skilled stonemasons for sure. The more esoterically inclined authors however, speculate more than generously enough for the other side.
Plenty of hints reside in the footnotes and appendices of the traditional scholars however, and right through too the information available on the World Wide Web on the various characters in the Céli Dé mystery play. As has been brought to our attention in the article by Francine Bernier, "The Word Cowan - Part 2," the legend of the Gobban Saor and the "black artificers" is a thread that weaves through the historical tapestry of these "sons of life" like a black coal seam. Black being the operative tone in this milieu. Starting with St. Mael Ruain, the acknowledged founder of Tallaght and the order itself, is the town he comes from and the legend there. Quoting Peter O'Dwyer in "Céli Dé: Spiritual Reform in Ireland - 750 - 900" (here I lay to one side the reform theory of O'Dwyer and others):

"The principal man of the [Céli Dé] reform was undoubtedly Maelruain. His tutor was Ferdacrich, native of Daire Eidnich and abbot of Darinis."

- p. 193

The footnote to this comment is of far more interest as regards this article:

"Daire Eidnech, or Daire na Flann as it is later called, lies about a mile or two from the little village of Horse and Jockey near Cashel. Due to a very recent visit a number of interesting facts impressed me. Ruadhan was the founder. It is still referred to as being on an island. It is in the middle of a bog. The local name for it is the Gobban Saor. One recalls the ninth century poem which mentions that the hermit's hut in Tuaim Inbir was also built by the Gobban Saor. (EI: No. 43 and 224-5. V. also V.S.H. I, clxiii ff.). Ferdacrich hailed from this district. (supra 55-6). He was Maelruain's uncle or relative. It is very probable that Maelruain also hailed from there. Ferdacrich became abbot of Darinis."

- footnote #4, pp. 193 - 194


posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:54 PM
This information ties directly into the points raised in Mlle. Bernier's "The Word Cowan - Part 2":

'In the old Irish tradition, in compliance with the Fenechas ("law of the freeman"), the most qualified craftsmen in charge of a multidisciplinary team on a building site was called an ollave, the equivalent of an architect today. The ollave was considered a "saor", a wise, knowledgeable master who knew, or pierced, the secrets of all trades. And more often than not the polytechnician par excellence was a goban saor (sair, saer, saoir and seer are regional variants of the same word).'

Mlle. Bernier goes on:

'The most distinguished ollave builder of a district was taken into the direct service of the king...In addition to this he was permitted to exercise his art for the general public for pay: and as he had a great name, and had plenty of time on his hands, he usually made a large income. By far the most celebrated of all the ancient architects of Ireland was the Gobban Saer, who flourished in the seventh century of our era, and who therefore comes well within historic times."' (40)

Depiction of the legendary Gobban Saor.

I would provide a link to the above article but the Mlle. Bernier's blog has disappeared without trace, with just about every article, and the cached version of that article I found just last week while searching with the term Gobban Saor has also now disappeared. I even bookmarked it and tried accessing it, but up in smoke it's gone. I attempted the exact same search term now and found the article, minus the cached page. About three pieces from Mlle. Bernier's blog can now be found (at last search) as cached versions, but all the main pages have lapsed. Perhaps this is the virtual version of Patrick Harpur's phenomenon of pixelation? I jest; mostly. This is a great shame as the blog was an excellent one. If anyone does want a copy of the above text I may have one available once I manage to get in contact with Mlle. Bernier to ask her permission, but this does not seem straightforward.
The legend of the Gobban Saor, and of the artificers, the various smith craftsmen who were an integral component to Celtic lore and historiogaphy, makes it's presence known right through the Céli Dé records. Those who practise the "Black Art" of literal and figurative transmutation is a theme that resonates like a ceard tapping a washing bowl thrice to rid it of malign influence (6). Smiths were traditionally revered with the prime tool of their craft an emblem and icon of healing, with alchemical properties.

Interesting etymological fancies transpire in works of the following writers, the more unorthodox freethinkers Henry O'Brien and Marcus Keane.

"The first name ever given to this body was Saer, which has three significations: firstly, free ; secondly, mason ; and thirdly, Son of God. In no language could those several imports be united but in the original one, viz. the Irish. The Hebrews express only one branch of it by aliben ; while the English join together the other two." (7)

- "The Round Towers," Henry O'Brien, p. 20.

Round Tower of Clonmacnoise.

Here it is seem that, for O'Brien, Saer is synonymous with Saor, and is a triple entendre if you will. The general idea is that saer/saor is the same as seer, a wise sage.O'Brien provides no justification for this triplicate understanding or for the assertion that: "Gohhan Saer means the Sacred Poet, or the Freemason Sage, one of the Guabhres, or Cabiri, such as you have seen him represented upon the Tuath-de-danaan cross at Clonmacnoise..." (pp. 385 - 386).


[edit on 11/10/09 by Extant Taxon]

posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:54 PM
But some corroboration may be forthcoming in more orthodox publications. From the Etymological Dictionary of Scottish Gaelic from Alexander MacBain (9):

"Saoi: saoi, saoidh, a good, generous man, a warrior, a scholar, Ir. saoi, a worthy man, a scholar, pl. saoithe, E.Ir. sái, sui, a sage, g. suad: *su-vid-s, root vid of fios (Thurneysen). Stokes (Mart.Gorm.) prefers su-vet-, root vât, say (see fàith). Rhys agrees."

"Saor: saor, a carpenter, Ir. saor, W. saer, Cor. sair: *sairo-s, from *sapiro-s, root sap, skill, Lat. sapio, sapientia, wisdom, Ag.S. sefa, understanding, sense (Stokes, who thinks the Brittonic may be borrowed). saor, free, Ir. saor. E.Ir. sáer, O.Ir. sóir, sóer: *su-viro-s, "good man", free; from su (= so-) and viro-s, fear, q.v."

More research is required for me to state that Saoi is related etymologically to Saor, but this seems probable. The case made by O'Brien for Saer to mean a craftsman sage of renown seems to have some foundation. It does seem that there is a connection to the Céli Dé here though, being as the term "sons of life" (mac bethad) was often viewed as synonymous with Céli Dé. The personal retinue of god, very much "sons of God" as they were born again from being "sons of death" (mac dais) through initation into the path of the Céli Dé. Twice born even. The term Saoi is consonant with a "mac bethad" as it also means a righteous man (11), as Saoi means a "good, generous man," and "a worthy man," with saer meaning also free and good man.
eDIL, the Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language, says this on saer (12):

"Saer: An artificer; in older lang. apparently used in wide sense of a craftsman in general, later restricted to workers in wood, carpenters and masons. ? sáer oc suidigud sillab"


"(a) free; freeman (opp. to mug, daer). In O.Ir. usually glossing Lat. liber: soer"

O'Brien's contention may not be so fanciful after all.

Now Gobban, also Gobhan/Gobhar, from MacBain's dictionary again:

"gobha, gobhainn, a smith, Ir. gobha, g. gobhann, O.Ir. goba, g. gobann, O.W. gob, W. gof, pl. gofion, Cor. gof, Br. go, Gaul. Gobann-: *gobân; root gobh, as in Gr. ?óµf??, a bolt, Eng. comb (Windisch), for which see gob. Lat. faber may, however, be allied, and the root then be ghob. gobha-uisge, water ousel; aslo gobha-dubh." (13)

eDIL has this for Gobbán:

"Gobbán Keywords: wright Gobbán o, nprm. : Gobbán mac Caindera, G.¤ Soér a famous Irish wright said to have been a contemporary of St. Moling : M'airiuclán ... Gobban durigni insin,"

So O'Brien's case is strengthened by these examples. The Gobban Saor could well be a name with the compound meaning of a free, master craftsman/mason & sage, a righteous 'son of God.' The linguistic ingredients are all there.

Concerning the epithet 'son of life':

"The term mac bethad, 'son of life', appears in several other texts besides the Table [My note: Old Irish Table of Pentitential Commutations, generally thought of as a Céli Dé text] and in its broadest sense designates a righteous person, as opposed to someone who was a mac bais, 'son of death'. Significantly, the earliest references to maic bethad are all from texts associated with the céli Dé and which seem to attach a more precise meaning to the term. According to The Monastery of Tallaght, upon hearing Mael Dithruib's four fondest wishes, Mael Ruain, quoting Fer-da-chrich of Lismore, replied, 'Let the good pleadings of their hearts be granted to the sons of life', implying that the abbot considered his disciple Mael Dithruib to be a 'son of life' himself."

- "Céli Dé in Ireland," Follet, pp. 127 - 128


posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:55 PM
Such statements would seem to support the aristocratic, elitist component to the Céli Dé, especially considering that various kings have been addressed as Céli Dé and 'sons of life'. Consider the famous story of Macbeth, based of course on a real person. Another 'son of life'. (14) Many kings in Ireland were termed Céli Dé as well, though some seemed hardly to be deserving of either title. Feidlimid mac Cremthanin (15) was one such king, known as a Céli Dé, and described in "...the Annals of Ulster as 'the best of the Irish, a scribe and an anchorite'". (16) This despite his ransacking and razing to the ground of various monasteries, many Culdee institutions too, such as the famous Clonmacnoise. But these were brutal times often enough, with inter-monastery violence a fact of life.

There is a precedent in other cultures for the honorific titles relating to the righteous craftsman as king. From Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend's "Hamlet's Mill":

'Moving now to another great theme, in fact a very great one, it is possible to trace back the significance of the blacksmith in Asiatic shamanism, particularly the celestial blacksmith who is the legitimate heir to the divine "architekton" of the cosmos. Several representatives of this type, whom we call Deus Faber, still have both functions, being architects and smiths at the same time, e.g., the Greek Hephaistos, who builds the starry houses for the gods and forges masterworks, and the Koshar-wa-Hasis of Ras Shamra, who builds Baal's palace and forges masterworks also. The Yakuts claim: "Smith and Shaman come from the same nest," and they add: "the Smith is the older brother of the Shaman," [n29 P. W. Schmidt, Die asiatischen Hirtenvolker (1954), pp. 346f. Concerning the terrestrial blacksmith: the many iron pieces which belong to the costume of a shaman can be forged only by a blacksmith of the 9th generation, i.e., eight of his direct ancestors must have been in the profession. A smith who dared forge a shamanistic outfit without having those ancestors would be torn by bird-spirits.] which might be valid also for Vainamoinen, coupled with Ilmarinen, who is said to have "hammered together the roof of the sky."

It is the primeval Smith who made the Sampo, as we know, and forged sky and luminaries in Esthonia. It is no idle fancy that the representative of the celestial smith, the King, is himself frequently titled "Smith." Jenghiz Khan had the title "Smith" [n30 A. Alfbldi, "Smith As a Title of Dignity" (in Hungarian), in Magyar Nyelv 28 (1932), pp. 205-20.] and the standard of the Persian Empire was the stylized leather apron of the Smith Kavag (appendix # 11). The Chinese mythical emperors Huang-ti and Yu are such unmistakable smiths that Marcel Granet drew historic-sociological conclusions all the way, forgetting the while that Huang-ti, the Yellow Emperor, is acknowledged to be Saturn. And just as the Persian Shahs held their royal jubilee festival after having reigned thirty years, which is the Saturnian revolution, so the Egyptian Pharaoh also celebrated his jubilee after thirty years, true to the "inventor" of this festival, Ptah, who is the Egyptian Saturn, and also Deus Faber. It was necessary to enter this subject in depth abruptly and lay stress on these few selected data, because otherwise the charming and harmless-looking Finnish runes would not be seen for what they are, the badly damaged fragments of a once whole and "multicolored cover."'

- Hamlet's Mill, pp. 128 - 129.


posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:55 PM
Returning to the master craftsman/artificer motif that underwrites much of the Céli Dé major player's histories, we come to St. Ciaran and the monstery of Clonmacnoise. Ciaran (from ciar, dark, dusty, or black) was known as 'son of the carpenter' in many conventional approaches to the Culdees, but this was a later piece of historical artifice so as not to offend Christian sensibilities with the rough Celtic pagan connotations of what he really was known as. That being the 'son of the artificer,' or 'son of the wright.' A craftsman of this kind passed the trade and the skills from one generation to the other. The Céli Dé at Clonmacnoise were known for keeping it in the family at certain key junctures (17), maybe much of the time, but this may not be recorded due to patchy historical data. Wikipedia even furthers this piece of misinformation by detailing him merely as the 'son of the carpenter' (the name means much more than that), yet revealing the original Old Irish surname wrongly translated: 'Mac an Tsair'. Rather this is 'mac n't saoir', which as we have seen saoir (a regional variant of saer, saor, sair) equates to master craftsman in all trades, the artificer. Ciaran was part of the tradition, the 'son of the artificer' (18).

"The two final liturgical events mentioned in Enlaith betha are those festivals of Ciaran and Cyprian: 'On the festival of Ciaran, son of the wright, wild geese come over the cold sea. On the festival of Cyprian, a great counsel, the brown stag bells from the ruddy field.'

Fitting to that Clonmacnoise can be translated as 'Meadow of the Sons of the Tradition' (Cluain Mhic Nóis, ‘Meadow of the Sons of Nós’, Nós meaning custom, habit, or tradition). The master craftsman tradition carried from father to son, from one worthy 'son of life' to the next. St. Ciaran was a Gobban Saor, the title given to a master craftsman and priest of Medieval Ireland. Perhaps some of the more unorthodox freethinkers of the past were not so off the mark in the end.

"From the fact, that the name of Gobban Saer is familiar to the peasantry of every village where the Irish language is spoken, I am of opinion with Mr. O'Brien, whose proofs will be found in the following pages, that Gobban Saer is not the proper name of any individual, but the name of a class, or perhaps the title of some office such as High Priest, or Grand-master among the Tuath-de-Danaans ; but that in course of time the traditions of the class became ascribed to an individual."

-"The Towers and temples of Ancient Ireland," Marcus Keane - p. 291

The next article will treat the legend of the Gobban Saor, trade cryptolects (the ‘B(l)ack-to-front lingo), the 'Black Race', the 'Black Dogs', and relationship to the Céli Dé further.

Previous posts on the Céli Dé here:

Black Artisans, Black Dogs, and the B(l)ack-to-front Language
(My intent originally was to see how this synchromystic, well, 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" joining the dots method would hold up under closer scrutiny. Not too bad thus far.)

The Beehive of the Céile Dé - The Oratory at Gallarus


posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 09:56 PM

(5) "Blathmac and the Céili Dé: a reappraisal," by Brian Lambkin, p. 142 - PDF of article:
(6) "Céli Dé: Spiritual Reform in Ireland - 750 - 900, " O'Dwyer, p. 83
(7) "The round towers of Ireland; or, The history of the tuath-de-danaans" (1898) - Henry O'Brien. Internet Archive access to text:
(8) "The towers and temples of ancient Ireland; their origin and history discussed from a new point of view" (1867) - Marcus Keane. Internet Archive access:
(9) MacBain, An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language: Go to and input saoi
(10) MacBain, An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language: Go to and input saor.
(11) "Céli Dé in Ireland," Follett, pp. 127 - 128
(12) Can't post the specific URL of the search results as the URL won't direct to the search I made, to confirm these results a person would just have to go to the main page and search the terms: eDIL main page -
(13) MacBain, An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language: go to and input gobha
(14) Macbeth (historical):
Macbeth (Shakespeare play):
(15) Feidlimid mac Cremthanin:
(16) "Céli Dé in Ireland," Follett, pp. 17 - 18
(17) "The Culdees of the British Islands," Reeves - pp. 19 - 20
(18) 'The foundations with which the name of Gobban is connected, either as Saint or builder, extend into the four provinces of Ireland. The name Gobban-Saer is known in every parish in Ireland, where the native language is still spoken. His reputation is that of a builder and artizan of extraordinary skill. Several of the Round Towers are ascribed to him as the builder. The name Gobban-Saer may be interpreted "the Free-Mason Smith," and as such he may answer to Vulcan of the Romans and to Tubal-Cain of the Scriptures "an instructer of every artificer in iron and brass."'

- "The Towers and Temples of Ancient Ireland." - Marcus Keane, p. 62

posted on Jul, 2 2010 @ 06:35 AM
Following up on my previous posts here and related to the following in particular, there is a worthwhile segment from Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time Podcast regarding King Athelstan:

Originally posted by Extant Taxon

The Matthew Cooke Manuscript, a document purporting to be a transcript of a yet older document, details this as regards an operative masonic fraternity given a charter by the previously mentioned, and suggestively named, King Athelstan (Aethel = Noble, Stane = Stone), who is generally regarded as the founder of masonry in Britain:

“And after that was a worthy king in England that was called Athelstan, and his youngest son loved well the science of geometry, and he wist well that hand-craft had the practice of the science of geometry so well as masons, wherefore he drew him to council and learned [the] practice of that science to his speculative, for of speculative he was a master, and he loved well masonry and masons. And he became a mason himself, and he gave them charges and names as it is now used in England, and in other countries. And he ordained that they shouuld have reasonable pay and purchased a free patent of the king that they should make [an] assembly when they saw a reasonable time and come together to their councillors of which charges, manners, and assembly, as it is written and taught in the book of our charges, wherefore I leave it at this time.” (1)

The various historians quite ably lay out why the early Masons, in the Old Charges, would have wanted to claim him as patron and founder of masonry. He was the first English king to pursue a serious foreign policy, the first to lay down a serious attempt at law giving and justice, patron of various crafts/arts, a very modern monarch in many ways:

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time: Athelstan

There is no mention of the supposed role of Athelstan in the formation of Masonry in the podcast, though he does make a passing comment in his newsletter:

John Hines wanted to talk a bit more about the law. He saw Athelstan’s introduction of laws to be based rather more on the idea of property and trade rather than what we would call crime. He wanted to secure property rights for himself and for others and therefore any impediment to that in the way of cheating or stealing was to be treated as harshly as possible. Sarah Foot suggested that theft was a metaphor for a great deal of other activities which Athelstan wanted to quell of course, but also regulate. And regulate
in a new way. She was emphatic that he had changed the nature of imprisonment. Before him, you would have been put in prison for a few days before you were executed. What he introduced was the idea of sending someone to prison as a penance. They would stay for 120 days, which was the penitential period, and then come out and pay the fine. This was new. And of course it still obtains!

I was particularly interested in the reference to William Tyndale. I’m writing about the King James Bible and he is the poetic presence who inspired that bible a hundred years before it was finally put together, and he’s also the key translator of the New Testament and much of the Old. If he said that he had, as a boy, read an English translation – in whatever form of “English” – of the Bible from the time of Athelstan, then we absolutely have to believe him, which gives a continuity to the Anglicisation of that bible which previously I thought it lacked.

The idea of urban guilds was very strongly pushed forward by this remarkable King Athelstan at this time and the notion of ‘surety’ which is our equivalent of bail. It seems this was an attempt by Athelstan to undermine kinship groups and large family tribes which were hard to bring to heel. By making large communities responsible for the behaviour of each other, he was, in one sense, undermining the family.

On the matter of guilds: he is claimed as the founder of the Masons and the Masonic Orders. In America there are Athelstan lodges.

I was interested in what Athelstan himself did in battle, having read that Alfred always led from the front. Sarah said that he would have fought from the front when he fought with his father, Edward the Elder, who went on to conquer much of the Danelands. But as a leader and king he would be on the battlefield, yet at some distance removed from the front where other members of his family would be fighting. In that great battle of Brunanburh, as I believe Sarah said, five kings and several other nobles were killed.

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