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Sophie  Sophie is offline
Join Date: 10 Oct 2004
Location: moving again
Posts: 20,323

Originally Posted by ncefafn
I just want to point out that this is medieval, Christianized Ireland. The killing of the mare is representative of the murdering of the Goddess aspects of the old religion. I know it's nitpicky, but this is a sensitive issue for me. The ritual didn't belong to Dorcha, it belonged to the Church.
Well, the mythologists I have read (in French) mention it as a cthonian-ouranian ritual (you bet!). Horse and other sacrifices (and even human on rare occasion) was common in the whole ancient world, not only with the Celts. Read the rituals of samhain - and the Roman and Greek rituals. Sacrifice of animals is still practiced in Voodoo. So its origin is probably pre-Christian - although the bath bit I don't know. I find it fascinating, regardless. And to say - it belongs to the Church - would be false, even if it is a ritual of the Christian era. I very much doubt the Church had anything to do with it, even if it was unable to put a stop to it and probably came to some sort of accommodation. Eventually it did put a stop to sacrifice.

The Celts also used to sacrifice animals TO the Horse and to Epona, as well as bring her apples and flowers.

Sacrifice is a very interesting subject, btw - if it niggles you, I recommend Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich's masterful book on sacrifice and war. Very readable.

I've been thinking of sacrifice in relation to my nightmare. Violent death - and particularly suicide - always carries some sort of sacrifical element. I think there is something for me to dig there.
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