Fairies, Featured, Folklore, Irish History, Legends, Mythology
‘Root and branch shall change places
And the newness of the thing shall seem a miracle.
The healing maiden will return, her footsteps bursting into flame.
She will weep tears of compassion for the people of the land,
Dry up polluted rivers with her breath,
Carry the city in her right hand, the forest in her left
And nourish the creatures of the deep.
With her blessing Man will become like God waking as if from a dream.’
from Merlin: The Prophetic Vision and The Mystic Life
by R. J. Stewart
In the online course many of you have joined – Lessons in Magic – I give examples of how simple acts of ‘magic’ have changed people’s lives dramatically for the better. You may well have an experience from your own life that demonstrates this rationalist-mindset-defying possibility. In the course we then dive into how we can work with this – to improve our own lives but also to effect positive change in the world.
More at the link below!
An excellent video by Lora O’Brien.
The Mórrígan, Cú Chulainn, Sexuality, and that Story of the Daughter of Buan
When the light of the sun of this day shines into the inner chamber of Sliabh na Calli (The Cailleach’s mound). By solar reckoning, the year is exactly half. Half day, half night. At one exact moment, the world balanced on a pin head. Everything in equal measure, fifty-fifty, resting in perfect balance, a pause. A breath. Exhale. The cry of the cuckoo calls out. Release. We move on to the lighter times. The spring equinox La na Cailleach is here.
I’ve been enjoying what is loosely termed ‘Celtic Music’ since I was a child. It all began with The Unicorn album by the Irish Rovers. My mom had a copy… I think I was 4? 5? Regardless, I’ve always loved Irish and Scottish music. I’ve since branched off from ‘traditional’ Celtic music to embrace more aspects of this genre. Below are some bands I’ve enjoyed. Feel free to let me know of any I’ve missed!
- Afro Celt Sound System – I have several of their albums, including Seed and Sound Magic, and love them all. This is Celtic and Senegalese music mixed. Very funky and upbeat.
- Aine Minogue – lovely Irish Harpist with a bit of New Age
- Albannach – drums and pipes and LOTS of energy
- Altan – the lead singer, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, has a wonderful voice!
- Anuna – New Age music with a Celtic feel, uses nonsense words to convey dreamy music
- Bear McCreary – American composer who has done music for Outlander, The Walking Dead, and Battlestar Galactica
- Black ‘47 – sometimes silly, always passionate, fun and energetic
- Blackmore’s Night – Ritchie Blackmore used to play guitar for Deep Purple, and then went mystical with his girlfriend singing – neat stuff
- Bohola – a Chicago-based duo, really, consisting of Jimmy Keane on piano
- Bothy Band – traditional Irish trad group from the 1970sBoys of the Lough – they combine Irish and Scottish influences, but include in their number Cathal McConnell, one of the great Irish song-collectors
- Brobdingnanian Bards – Traditional ren band, very good, very nice! I also see them at Dragoncon every year.
- Caladh – a local pub group we saw in Kilkenny – they were great! (and the lead singer is cute!)
- Capercaillie – This band features wonderful vocals by Karen Matheson, and a haunting feel.
- Cara Dillon – Irish folk singer with clear, sweet vocals
- Celtic Thunder – Irish American group done with polish and talent, a bit like a male version of Celtic Woman.
- Celtic Woman – all-female Irish vocal ensemble which has high production value, and has launched many careers. Chloe Agnew, Orla Fallon, Lisa Kelly, Hayley Westenra, Mairead Nesbitt and many others.
- Cernunnos Rising – New Age, Druidic and Celtic music
- Cherish the Ladies – New York based group with lovely vocals, traditional/ceili
- Chieftains – Another 40 year old band, well respected and making music.
- Christy Moore – the Granddad of Irish Folk music
- Claire Roche – Irish harpist who loves Yeats’ Poetry
- Clanadonia – drums and pipes and tribal energy
- Clann An Drumma – tribal band from Scotland, drums and pipes
- Clannad – Enya’s family, very talented. They do a lot of trad, but also do many ethereal original pieces.
- Coda – male a capella traditional band in Ireland, great harmonies. I got to see them live in Westport a couple of years ago.
- Crannog – Traditional Ren Faire musicians
- Culann’s Hounds – great traditional Irish folk band from San Francisco
- Damh the Bard – Wonderful pagan music, traditional sounds
- Danú – a fantastic trad-based band hailing mostly from Co Waterford.
- Davy Spillane – hands down, the best Uillean pipe player
- De Dannan – Top Irish trad group from the 1970s
- Déanta – Lovely young vocal Irish groupDervish – teetering a little close to more modern style songs
- Dolores Keane – Classic singer with a fantastic voice
- Donovan – Scottish singer with an eclectic blended style, mainstream in the 60s and 70s.
- Dougie MacLean – Scottish folk singer, best known for his song Caledonia, which still makes me tear up every time I hear it.
- Dropkick Murphys – Celtic Punk Rock band
- Dubliners – legendary band from Dublin
- Emerald Rose – This is a wonderful live band, not as magical on their CDs though. I see them at Dragoncon every year – they combine Irish traditional with rocking pagan music.
- Empty Hats – the prior incarnation was Double Indemnity, and are now Empty Hats. They are one of the BEST ren bands I have ever heard, full of energy, humor, and talent.
- Enter the Haggis – Celtic Rock band from America, lots of fun and energy
- Enya – Who hasn’t heard of Enya? Her haunting singing and mythical music got her the gig to do the Elves music in Lord of the Rings. Who better? Was part of Clannad (her family) at one point.
- Erin’s Guild – Trad Rock band out of New England
- Flogging Molly – Celtic Punk band
- Gaelic Storm – This is the band that played below decks in the Titanic movie – lots of energy, lots of fun!
- Grainne Hambly – traditional Irish harp music
- Great Big Sea – they sing a lot of traditional songs, as do most Plastic Paddy bands, but with modern energy and beat (from Newfoundland)
- Heather Alexander – Californian singer and fiddler
- Hollie Smith – A beautiful haunting, smooth voice, sometimes in duet with Steve McDonald
- Horslips – Irish Celtic rock band inspired by traditional musicIrish Rovers – I grew up listening to ‘The Unicorn’ and other fun songs by this very folk group
- Iona – progressive Celtic rock band from the UK
- Jethro Tull – Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull released (2000) a wonderful flute album called The Secret Language of the Birds that is enchanting.
- Julie Fowlis – fantastic Scottish Gaelic singer, on the soundtrack from Brave
- Kate Rusby – throaty singer of traditional songsKelliana – Pagan singer extraordinaire
- Liadan – lovely group of female vocalists out of Ireland
- Loreena McKennitt – She has an incredible range for her voice, and tends to do original songs based on legends and myths in Celtic culture, such as Arthurian legends.
- Lothlorien – this New Zealand band takes traditional music and enchants it with mystical music. Theirs is one of my favorite Celtic CDs of all time.
- Luke Kelly – Irish singer and folk musician from Dublin, founding member of the DublinersLúnasa – Irish folk band with great energy
- Maire Brennan (Moya Brennan) – lead singer of Clannad, she has fantastic music as solo as well
- Mary Black – Irish singer of both folk and modern material
- Makem Brothers – Sons of Tommy Makem reviving the trad
- Mary Black – Beautiful Irish vocalist
- Mediaeval Baebes – wonderful a capella harmonies
- Mike Freeman/Tania Opland – I first discovered this duo because they produced a wonderful CD based on Anne McCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern books, and I was hooked. They are a wonderful studio band, and my special favorite is Cut to Rhythms. I have all of their albums.
- Morrigu – Celtic Trad and Irish punk, mix thoroughly
- Narada – This is actually a collection of music, and each CD has a theme. One, Celtic Mysteries, is a mix of Celtic and Indian (Asian) music. There is Celtic Odyssey, Celtic Dance, etc. You get the idea.
- Natalie MacMaster – fantastic fiddling
- Noel McLoughlin – traditional singer with throaty, powerful vocals
- Off Kilter – We saw them first at EPCOT in the Canada exhibition – rock music to bagpipes, what a combo!
- Old Blind Dogs – Great harmonies and rhythm (Scottish)
- Omnia – Neoceltic pagan folk band based in the Netherlands
- Paddy Reilly – best known for Fields of Athenry, a traditional Irish folk singer and balladeer
- Pandora Celtica – Delightful a capella band with a great deal of sea shanties and beautiful harmonies
- Peatbog Fairies – Scottish rock and house music fusion
- Planxty – Irish folk music band from the 1970s, included Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn. Helped popularize Irish music.
- Prodigals – Another group of great energy, combined with wicked humor. Their CD ‘Dreaming in Hell’s Kitchen’ is just very happy and fun.
- Runrig – Great Scottish folk/rock band
- Sarah McLachlan – Canadian singer best known for songs that make you cry
- Seven Nations – American Celtic rock group with lots of power
- Sharon Shannon – Accordion player extraordinaire
- Shooglenifty – Celtic/rock Scotland group that does a bit of house style music
- Sileas – traditional Scottish harp musicSilly Wizard – One of the forerunners of modern traditional music – no, that’s not a contradiction. They started out in the 1970s playing traditional music to huge crowds, and were one of the reasons for the current resurgence in Celtic interests. The lead singer, Andy M. Stewart, wrote many well known modern songs such as Queen of Argyle and Ramblin’ Rover.
- Sinead O’Connor – Irish pop and trad singer. Her vocals in Foggy Dew, for instance, are incredibly powerful
- Sliabh Notes – fantastic Sliabh Luachra-style music.
- Smoky Finish – They are probably the least Celtic of these, but still have some traditional music in their CDs. Again, modern take and energy on old songs.
- Solas – American Irish trad music group
- Stan Rogers – Canadian folk and traditional singer known for his sea songs
- Steeleye Span – English folk-rock band from the 1970s, still active today
- Steve McDonald – Ethereal bagpipes with a story – what else could you want? His CDs Sons of Somerled and Stone of Destiny are among the best I’ve heard.
- Teada – another really, really great trad band, whose leader Oisin Mac Diarmada is one of my favorite fiddlers, and who along with flute-player Damien Stinson is from Sligo.
- The Clancy Brothers – This group practically defines Irish folk music – they’ve been around over 40 years, singing the folk music to us beautifully.
- The Corries – Scottish folk duo, traditional
- The Corrs – Pop Irish Trad family, Irish. Andrea Corr had an incredible voice.
- The Cranberries – Powerful vocals and lyricsThe Gothard Sisters – Lovely true sisters with beautiful vocals. I just saw them live in November
- The High Kings – sort of a male version of Celtic Women, great voices and high production value in concertThe Irish Rovers – Traditional Irish Band that was actually my first exposure to Irish music. My mom had The Unicorn album.
- The Irish Rovers – Traditional, high energy, classic.
- The Pogues – short for ‘Pogue mo Thoin’, or Kiss my Ass, this punk Irish band exploded on the scene
- The Proclaimers – best known for their song ‘500 miles’, this Scottish rock band has many other hits
- The Rankin Family – Cape Breton traditional Celtic/American Country band
- The Saw Doctors – Irish folk/rock group with lots of powerThe Young Dubliners – American Celtic Rock band
- The Waterboys – Traditional band, mainly musicians from Scotland, England and Ireland
- Tommy Makem – A founder of the irish folk/traditional revival, father of the Makem brothers
- Tommy Sands – Singer and Songwriter from northern Ireland, best known for his sacrifice during the hunger strikes
- Turlogh O’Carolan – not a modern composer, but one from the 18th century. The last true Bard, credited with many of the classic tunes.
- U2 – The most famous Irish band, enough said.
- Van Morrison – Van the Man. Northern Irish singer, mainstream in the 60s.
- William Jackson – traditional Scottish harp music
- Wolfe Tones – Known for their strong political songs, this is another folk group
Release date July 19th, 2017
Would you dare rouse a goddess?
Life wasn’t easy in 1798 Ireland. Rebellions were rising across the countryside, and the English could be cruel overlords. However, this brutality hadn’t reached the country estate of Strokestown.
Theodosia Latimer and her grandfather Reginald, were on a mission to discover the past. They were determined to excavate some ancient mounds on their estate. But when they discovered an imprisoned goddess straight out of Ireland’s rich mythological history, they were both dumbfounded and frightened.
Tasked with integrating this primeval warrior woman into polite society, they developed both respect and fear for the powerful goddess. Would they be able to tame her lust for violence in the upcoming rebellion? Or would they fall victim to it?
Release date March 8th, 2017
Based on the ancient Irish Fairy Tale, The Children of Lir
In pre-Celtic Ireland, Fionnuala was a fae princess, born to a life of luxury. She knew her duty and loved her family. She missed her mother, who died in childbirth when Fionnuala was but ten years old. Still, she had hopes and dreams of love and a full life.
All her dreams were stolen from her, ripped away in a torrent of envy and magic.
Now she must care for her three brothers while learning to live under an evil curse. Will she find a way to break the spell, or would they remain swans, tethered to three places for nine hundred years?
…………………………………………. * *
Age of Saints: Historical fantasy set in Ireland, 520. First in the new trilogy! (Release March 6, 2019)
The Druid’s Brooch is a family legacy, handed down through countless generations, granting each holder a specific magical power, unique to them. Follow the stories of these generations.
Legacy of Hunger
Ireland is no promised land in 1846. It is wracked by a crippling potato blight, and people are dying. But Valentia McDowell doesn’t know that.
From her father’s prosperous farm in Ohio, young Valentia is haunted by tales of an abandoned family and a lost heirloom. She travels to her grandmother’s homeland with her brother, Conor, and two servants, to find both. Her delight in the exciting journey on one of the first steam ships to cross the Atlantic is shattered by a horrible tragedy.
What she encounters upon her arrival in Ireland is both more and less than she had hoped. Valentia finds both enemies and allies, amid horrors and delights, and a small bit of magic. She finds a richer heritage than she had ever imagined, but it comes with a price.
When she finally reaches her goal, a terrible price is demanded. She must pay or forfeit, and both decisions have strong consequences for her and her friends.
First Place Winner in the Historical Fiction Category of Published Books in the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards.
Finalist for The Wishing Shelf Book Awards – Adult Fiction 2016
Legacy of Truth
Gifted with a magical brooch, passed down in her family for generations, Esme finds herself isolated and ill in an unfamiliar land.
Her sister plots to steal the family heirloom from her in order to exploit the magical powers for her own gain, and Esme must battle for survival of herself and those she loves.
Nominee for Global eBook Awards 2016
Legacy of Luck
Irish Traveler Éamonn loves gambling, women, and drinking, not necessarily in that order. But he’s entangled in a true mess when he falls for fiery redhead, Katie. When she’s married to a Scottish Traveler, Éamonn travels to Scotland to find her, with the help of Katie’s sister and cousin, and the magical brooch gifted by his father. Their quest takes them across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Skye, encountering war, betrayal, death. In the end, Éamonn must make his own luck.
Second Place winner in the Historical Fiction category of Works in Progress for the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards
Winner of January 2017 Chill With a Book Award – Readers’ Award.
Misfortune of Vision
Prophecy can be dangerous
In 12th century Ireland, Orlagh has been Seer to her king for forty years. He doesn’t want to hear her prophecies of war and destruction, and dismisses her efforts to warn him. Therefore, she is determined to fulfill her own quest: to find a worthy heir for her magical brooch.
In the course of events, she must pass judgment on a thief, escape a Norman war camp, and battle wits with a Fae lord. She receives some prophecy of her own and enlists the help of a grizzled old warrior, who happens to be a long–time friend.
Misfortune of Song
Even a soldier cannot fight love
In 12th century Ireland, all Maelan wants is to do his duty to his Chief and maintain his family’s good name. However, his granddaughter Orlagh, is hell bent on wreaking havoc, with no care for the consequences.
When Orlagh falls in love with an itinerant bard, Maelan must rule with an iron fist to keep her from running away. However, her rebellion against his strictures results in disaster and he almost loses her in the same way he lost his beloved wife.
Maelan must make some difficult decisions and bargains with the Fae to save his granddaughter’s life and future. Can he save her happiness as well?
Misfortune of Time
— Time Heals No Wounds —
In 11th century Ireland, Étaín must hide her pagan magic from her pious Christian priest husband, Airtre. She wants to escape his physical abuse, but she must stay to protect their grandson, Maelan. Over many lifetimes, she has learned how to endure her own pain, but Maelan is young and vulnerable.
When Airtre’s paranoia and jealousy spiral out of control, Étaín has no choice but to escape in the night with little more than the clothing on her back, leaving a trusted friend to protect Maelan.
This is not the first lifetime Étaín has fled, and she knows how to survive. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she must make decisions that may result in disaster for her, her grandson, and everyone she loves.
Age of Saints
— A daring escape, a brother’s duty, and a tragic mistake —
When Conall’s father died, he made his son promise always to take care of his little sister, Lainn.
Lainn could sing the bees from their hives, and make the morning sun sparkle in the winter with her laughter. Conall loved his sister with all his heart, and would do anything to protect her, even without a promise to his father.
Between an abusive step-father, a powerful Faerie Queen, and a maddened Fae Lord, every decision Conall made seemed to be the wrong one. Starvation, imprisonment, madness, and disfigurement plagued them. Even when he tried to follow his heart, it turned to disaster.
Can Conall correct his mistakes and save Lainn’s life and soul? Would it cost him his own?