Crystal Legends

Overview

Crystals and gemstones have been a source of fascination since Neolithic times; they endure when the bones of those they have adorned have turned to dust. Such was the profundity of crystal lore that ancient peoples incorporated crystals and gemstones as dynamic and potent symbols in their legends and myths.

In Crystal Legends Moyra Caldecott approaches crystals from a new angle, retelling stories drawn from world mythology which show the significance of crystals and precious ...

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Crystal Legends

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Overview

Crystals and gemstones have been a source of fascination since Neolithic times; they endure when the bones of those they have adorned have turned to dust. Such was the profundity of crystal lore that ancient peoples incorporated crystals and gemstones as dynamic and potent symbols in their legends and myths.

In Crystal Legends Moyra Caldecott approaches crystals from a new angle, retelling stories drawn from world mythology which show the significance of crystals and precious stones as symbolic icons in a variety of traditions. In addition, she gives in-depth commentaries on their esoteric meaning and significance for us. From Buddhist and biblical texts, European and Egyptian tales, Arthurian and Atlantean legends, this fascinating collection will appeal to anyone with an interest in the power of crystals and the eternal journey of the soul towards enlightenment.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Educational Supplement
She uses the substance of legends, the ancient symbolism of religion and folklore...combining an unsentimental mysticism with a compassionate understanding of human relations.
Glasgow Herald
[Moyra Caldecott] is so immersed in her subject that no trace of fantasising or contrivance is apparent...she lives her work. Because it is so well done it is believable...
Soluna
[Moyra Caldecott] uses the vehicle of fiction and the imagination...as a means of perceiving another reality and view of life...what might be called a mythological consciousness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781843193265
  • Publisher: Mushroom Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/3/2007
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1 —The Championship of Ireland and the Crystal Bird

(Western Europe: Celtic)

Everyone knew that Bricriu was a troublemaker, and no one wanted to have anything to do with him. Nevertheless he managed to persuade the three greatest heroes of Ireland and all their friends, relatives, and companions to come together at his house for a feast by dint of promising them worse trouble if they refused. His unwilling guests finally agreed to come on condition that he himself was not present. He agreed – but built himself a chamber above the hall where he could observe all that went on.

Before the guests entered the hall, however, Bricriu, as host and provider of the meat and mead, greeted them. While doing so he managed to have a private word with each of the three greatest heroes, Cuchulain, Conall Cernach, and Laegaire Buadach, mentioning to each that when it was time to serve the meat he was to claim the champion's portion because he, and none other, was the greatest hero of Ireland. He further compounded the mischief by telling each of the three heroes' wives privately that she, wife of the greatest hero of Ireland, should enter the feast hall ahead of all the other women. He then retired to his private room to watch the fun.

The strife he caused between the three heroes and the three wives spilled over well beyond the feast and occupied the Irish for quite a while thereafter. Rather than have the three heroes destroy each other and all around them over the matter, they were persuaded to submit to tests of strength and courage set by neutral arbitrators.

Watched over and egged on by their excited supporters, the three performedprodigious feats. In every one Cuchulain outdid the others. They fought giants and magical Druid cats; they fought fearsome spectres and armies of fierce warriors; but no matter how clear it was that Cuchulain outstripped the others, Conall and Laegaire would not admit that he was champion. They claimed something was wrong with the test and that Cuchulain had won unfairly.

At one point the whole crowd arrived at Cruachan, the stronghold of Ailell and Maeve, king and queen of Connaught. They demanded that King Ailell name the greatest hero once and for all.

Ailell was worried and spoke to his wife, complaining that he was in a very difficult position, for if he named one hero over the others, the other two and all their rowdy companions would go berserk and destroy everything in sight.

Queen Maeve suggested a clever solution that would at least save their own property.

One by one she called the three heroes to a private audience. She told Laegaire Buadach that he should have the hero's portion at the great feast of Conchubar, the High King. All he had to do was to produce a token she would give him that would leave no doubt as to who she thought the champion was. She gave him a bronze chalice with a bird of silver at the bottom. To Conall she gave the same speech and a chalice of silver with a bird of red gold at the bottom. Lastly she called Cuchulain to her side and presented him with a chalice of red gold with a bird of precious crystal in the bottom.

All three and their entourage of supporters then set off for the stronghold of Conchubar, the High King. On the way the contention continued and many a dangerous and skilful feat was performed to try to prove which one was the greatest hero of them all.

At last, at the court of Conchubar, the welcome feast was set.

Laegaire produced his chalice of bronze and proudly showed the bird of white silver at the bottom, saying that it had been given by Ailell and Maeve as token that he was the greatest champion of Ireland.

Conall laughed and stood up brandishing his chalice of silver, with the bird of red gold in the bottom.

"This was given me by Ailell and Maeve," he cried, "Judge for yourselves how much more they valued me than Laegaire Buadach."

Then Cuchulain strode across the room and slapped his chalice down in front of Conchubar.

Smiling, the king raised it above his head so that all could see the glowing vessel of red gold and, inside, the bird of precious crystal.

"Cheat!" Conall and Laegaire shouted. "He bribed them for the better cup."

Conchubar raised his strong right arm to prevent the fight that was about to break out and declared there would be one last and convincing test that would prove which one had the greatest courage and was therefore worthy to eat the champion's portion.

While they were waiting for the test to be devised an ugly, brutish man entered the hall and jeered at the heroes of Ireland, declaring that none of them would dare to meet his challenge.

"What challenge is that, you oaf?" Conall said, scarcely bothering to stop drinking long enough to say the words.

Copyright © 1990, 2000, Moyra Caldecott.

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