Saturday, December 24, 2011

Scathach

Scathach (Shadowed) Irish/Scottish. "Lady of Shadows", or, "of the Shadowy Isle". She is a warrior, with additional associations in smithcraft and oracular wisdom. She dwells in Albannach (Scotland), on (most tales agree) the Isle of Skye (Scaith), and is best known as the tutor of Cuchulainn in the arts of both love and war.
___
Scathach, Gaelic Goddess of the Dead

Scathach (skah-thahgh), the warrior-woman risen to divinity, is the Gaelic goddess of the dead, those slain in battle and the passage of the dead to Tir Nan Og. Once mortal, she was touched by the Tuatha de Dannan in a way usually only seen in the Sidhe. In her duties, she is similar to the Valkyrie of the Norse. She searches the battlefields for the souls of the slain, and guides them along the Imrama na Anam, or Death Journey (lit. "Journey of the Soul"), to Tir Nan Og, the Land of Eternal Youth and Beauty.

Scathach is said to be the daughter of the king of Scythia. Aoife, another fierce warrior queen, is reputed to be her sister, while Uathach, her daughter, is a fellow teacher at her school. She also has two sons named Cet and Cuar from an unnamed man and trains them within a secret yew tree. Another source tells that she is mother to three maidens named Lasair, Inghean Bhuidhe and Latiaran, the father being a man named Douglas.

However, although the warrior dead get preferential treatment, Scathach does guide those who did not die in battle when they get lost on the Imrama. The reason so many vision-seekers get lost on the Imrama is that Scathach does not guide the living. It is also the duty of Scathach to drop those who acted poorly in life on one of the mystical islands of the other world, where they pay their debts and learn their folly. Not many living mortals ever make it to Tir Nan Og successfully (Olsin being the most famous exception).
In the Ulster Cycle, she is a fearsome expert in the arts of war. It is to her that Cu Chulainn, the greatest of Irish warriors, comes in his youth to learn his craft. This teaching took place in Alba. It was from Scathach that Cu Chulainn received the 'Gae Bolg', his formidable barbed spear (or sword, in some versions) whose thrust was invariably fatal.

Scathach ("the shadowy one"), is a warrior queen and mistress of a school for young warriors. The school is located in Scotland on the island of Skye, reputedly named after Scathach; other sources say she's living in the Alps. She initiates young men into the arts of war, as well as giving them the "friendship of her thighs", that is to say, initiating them sexually. She grants three wishes to the hero Cuchulainn, because her daughter Uathach, being in love with him, has told him how to make her do it. The three wishes are to train him in the arts of war, to marry her daughter Uathach and to tell his fortune which she does by using imbas forosnai ("charm of the palms"), party foretelling the events of the Tain Bo Cuailgne (Cattle Raid of Cooley) in dark terms.

Scathach was also a potent magician. She had the gift of prophecy, and she foretold Cu Chulainn's fate during the course of Queen Madb's onslaught against Ulster.

Scathach's Prayer

I Call to you,
My brothers and sisters.
I Call to you,
Fellow sons and daughters.
I Call to you,
All ye children of the Turner Of The Wheel.
I Call to you,
As a fellow child,
To do battle by my side,
To aid me in the conquest of my foes.

Draw close to me now,
Brothers and Sisters of Death Herself.
Let my blade be as your blade,
My blood be as your blood,
My heart be as your heart,
My mind be as your mind.
Together we shall defeat all our foes,
Working as one, we shal vanquish all enemies.
United in heart, mind, body and soul,
All our foes will be destroyed before us.

Should silence, rather than anger, be needed,
We must blend with the shadows.
We must become as the shadows.
We shall move like Scathach Herself,
Silent, swift, sure and unerring.
From the shadows we will strike
With the speed of Death.
None shall expect us when we come for them,
None shall live when we find them.
For we are the Children of Death Herself.

Should anger be the greater part, however,
We shall strike with all the fury in our hearts.
Dougals' forging, Eiluneds' casting, Gwydions' treachery;
These have never been forgiven or forgotten by us.
Should they or any other attempt to stop us,
They shall meet the fury of our blades.
Empowered by Scathachs' great speed,
The speed of Death,
We shall destroy all who attempt to defeat us.
None shall survive our wrath.

It is only in the greatest of times,
The harshest and toughest of times,
That we shall Call upon the Wrath.
The Wrath of Scathach Herself.
All who see this great Wrath will cower before Her.
No smith, sorcerer or ruler shall stop us;
They will die all the swifter before Her.
The Dragon will come to us,
To give us his power and aid us in battle.
None shall stop the blood of our foes from feeding the land.

FROM: Scathach
____


Scathach (skah-thahgh), the warrior-woman risen to divinity, is the Gaelic goddess of the dead, those slain in battle and the passage of the dead to Tir Nan Og. Once mortal, she was touched by the Tuatha de Dannan in a way usualy only seen in the Sidhe. In her duties, she is similar to the Valkyrie of the Norse. She searches the battlefields for the souls of the slain, and guides them along the Imrama na Anam, or Death Journey (lit. "Journey of the Soul"), to Tir Nan Og, the Land of Eternal Youth and Beauty.

However, although the warrior dead get preferential treatment, Scathach does guide those who did not die in battle when they get lost on the Imrama. The reason so many vision-seekers get lost on the Imrama is that Scathach does not guide the living. It is also the duty of Scathach to drop those who acted poorly in life on one of the mystical islands of the other world, where they pay their debts and learn their folly. Not many living mortals ever make it to Tir Nan Og successfully (Oisin being the most famous exception).

In the Ulster Cycle, she is a fearsome expert in the arts of war. It is to her that Cu Chulainn, the greatest of Irish warriors, comes in his youth to learn his craft. This teaching took place in Alba. It was from Scathach that Cu Chulainn received the 'Gae Bolg', his formidable barbed spear (or sword, in some versions) whose thrust was invariably fatal.
Scathach was also a potent magician. She had the gift of prophecy, and she foretold Cu Chulainn's fate during the course of Queen Madb's onslaught against Ulster. * Summarised from an article by George Treanor, Secretary of the Irish Heritage Group.

FROM: Scathach, Gaelic Goddess of the Dead
___

("The Shadowy One" or "She Who Strikes Fear") Sgathach or Skadi. Irish/Scottish. Warrior woman and prophetess. The Goddess of martial arts. The destroyer aspect of the Dark Goddess. A great sword warrior and instructor. Patroness of martial arts, prophecy, blacksmiths and magic. Native to the Isle of Skye. Living in Albion (Scotland). Taught the martial art to Cuchulainn. Also, like her daughter Uathach ("The Very Terrible") his lover. Seductive female warrior with red hair, with a combination of leather and lace, silk and metal. Apparently, Scathach has often been mixed up with Skadi or Skadhi.
___

NAME: Scathach (pronounced Skaw - Thach) The Shadowy One, The Fierce Woman, She Who Strikes Fear, Scota, Scatha

SYMBOLS: Sword. Cauldron in some accounts.

USUAL IMAGE: An attractive athletic woman, with (according to some) red hair. Who, when in a battle rage would go red (very red) in the face and even have her arms swell in size.

HOLY BOOKS: Táin Bó Cualgne, the "Cattle Raid of Cooley" also known as The Tain, and "Death of Aoife's Only Son."

HOLY DAYS: None known.

PLACE OF WORSHIP: At the death of a relative or friend.

RELATIVES: Kerridwen ( Mother), Kyre & Ginevra (sisters), Gwyn ap Nudd (Husband), Uathach 'Spectre' (Daughter), Cuar & Cett (Sons 'names in question, but she did have at least two')

SYNODEITIES: All warrior woman goddesses.

FOR THE REST: Scathach

___


LINKS:
Why The Scathach Wear No Colors -- a modern telling

Myths associated with her:

The Combat of Ferdiad and Cúchulainn (full version)
The Courting of Emer

No comments:

Post a Comment