THE PARADISE OF THE CELTS. WHY VISITING GALICIA?

Galicia, the unique Celtic Country non Celtic speaker[1], the Mother Land, the Caileach Land[2], the Land of Death of the International Celtic Mithology, was re-discovered by the Atlantic Celtic community in the last years, and the Celtic issue increased into the interests of Administrations and nowadays constitutes a tourist destination.

Until the beginning of Modern Age, Galicia was considered the World´s End, the Finisterrae, last frontier. That´s the reason why James the Son of the Thunder, Boanerges, was buried in its land[3], the most Western coast of the world. We must to take into account that the Christian Church buried the three main apostles[4] in special places around the world: Peter in Rome Caput Mundi; John in Jerusalem Holly Land; and James in Santiago de Compostela, holly land as well, and Finisterre.

The fact of being the Western point of the continent, the mythical End of the World gives Galicia a great relevance into the Celtic World and international Celtic Religion. Today the Land of the Death constitutes the goal of the most important pilgrimage way, The St.James Way, but we found its oldest origines thousands years before.

-THE CELTIC RELIGION. LAND OF DEATH, LAND OF LIFE. Independently the fact of the existence of the various local gods and goddesses, we know today that there were an international common celtic religion, performed by a professional group (druids, abbas) and may be an international liturgical common celtic language. Its religion has a solar nature and it´s monotheist: one God (Sun-Dagda) linked with a female (Brigantia) with three different steps: Imbolc, Beltene and Samain, represented into the celtic triskelion. The solar discus rises into the East and dies (Dying God) into the West, into the Western Coast, into the Coast of Death of the Sun, beyond the Mare Tenebrossum. So, the Avallon, the Celtic Paradise, the Galician Alén, it´s situated behind the Ocean, and its Western cliffs over the Atlantic are like a real shuttles for the souls of the celts in their travel to the Paradise after death. The Voyage of Saint Brendan of Ireland or San Amaro of Galicia towards the Paradise were towards the West beyond the sea. Bares, Teixido[5], Corunna, Finisterre, Donón…are headlands or capes over the Atlantic and goals of  milenary pagan first and then Christian religious pilgrimages. And, the most important, from its promontories its possible to see the amazing Death, the sinking of the Solar Discus each and every evening. So, if we look at the annual calendar, is in its Western coast where is possible to confirm the end of the Second Step or the End of the Celtic Year, the Samain, the day where the borderline between the world of Death and the world of Life is open.

-THE CELTIC LEGEND. Galicia is the O´Brian, Bregon, Breogan´s home. Acording the Irish Legendary Cicle, recording from the Middle Ages of milenary tales, specially the Book of Invasions, Bregon discovered the green line of the Irish coast beyond the sea from the top of his tower in Brigantia (Corunna). Acording the same legend, after the death of Ith, Milled, who has been in the service of Bregon, conqueredIreland with his troops, the Milesians, the firt historical Celtic People of the island. After the conquest, the Romans named the O´Brian´s tower theHerculesTower, other mithical heroe who reached the top West using the boat of the Sun (Simbol christianized under the form of a chalice-boat and a host-sun, represented in the coat of arms ofGalicia) settled in Corunna, declared World Heritage by UNESCO.

The memory of its origines still stands in times of the last Celtic Counts generation. After the defeat of the Battle of Kinsale (1602) and the Tudor conquest of Ireland, several Irish leaders escaped and were exiled in Galicia[6] followed by supporters and catholic bishops, like Red Hugh O´Donell and Donald Cam O´Sullivan. O´Donell visited the abandoned, in that time, O´Brian´s Tower as a homage to his ancestors, and the O’Sullivan clan claimed a descent from the mythological followers of Mil who were the first Celts to colonize Innis Fáil, their “island of destiny”.

Before the arrival of the Milesians, Ireland was colonized by the People Tuatha De Danan or People of Dana (Tuatha or treba in Galician), which carried the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny which is still the Coronation Stone of Westminster conserved in the Edimburg Castle. Acording the old tradition, the granitic stone was moved from the Land of Death, which is the Land of Life and Light as well, the kingdom of Brigantia (Bergantiños is the name of the vaste county situated in its coast around Corunna). Its fact was represented into the chairs of the Assembly Hall of the Palace of theTown Hall of Corunna, situated close the burial of the Scotish General John Moore, mortally wounded in the Battle of Corunna in 1809 during the Peninsular War against Napoleon.

-THE HISTORY.  Acording the tradition, Ireland was conquered and colonized by three misterious Peoples from beyond the Sea, where dies the Sun: the Firbolgs or Megaliths builders, the Tuatha De Danan and finally the historical Celts or Milesians sons of Milled. Behind its legend, may be we found information about three consecutive colonization waves from the NW corner of the Iberian Peninsula. Using the data of historians and genetists[7], we can try to do its proposal with a didactic purpose:

1. Among 10.000 b.C the European Continent its invaded by the ice and the human groups moved to the Iberian Peninsula until the temperature change which took place in the period named Holocene. We are in the Mesolithic, characterized by the Asturian pick-axe, very abundant in the amazing beaches likePraia das Catedrais (Ribadeo) considered a Natural Monument.

In the Atlantic Neolithic (7000-2500 b.C) appears the sedentarization of the Human groups and begins the agriculture, cattle farming and ceramics. Is in its moment when there is the colonization of the Iberian Celtic populations to Ireland, specially during the Megalithism Period (4000-1500 b.C) in the Atlantic Europe and the Pyramides Period in Egipt. It´s the first monumental architecture. The dolmen Forno dos Mouros (Ortegal) is considered one of the oldest European Megalithic monument (4.500 b.C).

Its so long period covers the Neolithic, Metal Age (Copper) from 2500 to 1800 b.C. and part of the Bronze Age from 1800 to 750 b.C.

We must to stand out:

-The cult of Death with megalithic monuments (dolmens, menhirs and stone circules or cromlechs).

-Use of arms, with an evident technological step forward from the iron daggers, axes, halberds and  copper javelins to bronze apa type swords and carp swords used by the Celtic warriors of the Galician and Asturian hill forts (castros) still used in the Iron Age from 750 b.C.

Its migrants are the megaliths builders of the Legendary Cicle who crossed the sea using bornas or leather boats. There are the Firbolgs from the Land of Death.

2. In its last period of the Bronze Age and beginning of the Historical Age or Iron Age (1250-750 b.C) took place the second great wave registered in the Legendary Cicle: the Tuatha De Danan, the People of the goddess Dana. Goddess of Light, fertility, christianizated as Saint Brigit of Kildare in Ireland or Saint Lucia or Saint Marina in Galicia. Its people from the Bronze Age uses other type of a modern armaments with bronze swords and cutout shield as we can see in the arms exchange as a friendship symbol before the beginning of the hostilities in the Moytura Battle between the cooper Firbolgs and the modern bronze Danans, acording the Legend.

3. Finally, in historical times already, in the Petroglyfs[8] and Galician Castros Age (from 700 b.C), there is the last of the invasions, the Bregon´s Sons one, narrated by the Leabar Gabhala and bards like Armegin. There comes a time when even the punic influence are entering in Southern Spain by hand of the Phoenicians.

So, If you are a Celt, you must visit your origines, the Land of Death, one time in your life, but don´t worry, if you can´t you will do it after death in your final travel to the Paradise following the Sun Dying God.


[1] The Galician-Portuguese is a latin language, from the Latin like Catalonian, Spanish, French or Italian.

[2]Galicia comes from Callaicia, Gallaecia, the territory of the Callaici.

[3] Compostela it´s the capital of Galicia.

[4] Peter, James and John apeared in the important moments of the public life of Christ, like in the Transfiguration.

[5] They are still the popular saying “you must to go to Teixido after death, if you didn´t it in your life”. Of course, if you want to reach the Paradise you have first to reach its necessary last toll helped by psychopomp guides. Close Teixido it´s situated Herbeira Mount, the highest continental Atlantic cliff (700 mts. over the ocean).

[6] We must to stand out the Saint Patrick College of Santiago de Compostela, established in that moment by the archbishop of Cassel, a real “martyres school”.

[7] Acts of the III International Celtic Culture Congress organized by the IGEC and celebrated in Naron (A Coruña), April 2011. http://www.estudosceltas.org/ , and the research of Byan Sykes, Professor of Human Genetics of theUniversity ofOxford.

[8] Even though the first  written account of the  Wild Hunting matter in the Medieval Europe may be was the Celtic tale of the meeting of Pwill ans Anwn of the Welsh Mabinogui, the oldest representation of its psychopomp Herlintagui or Holly Company appears engraved in the Galician petrglyfs like Laxe das Cabras (Ribeira) or Campo Lameiro (Pontevedra).

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