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Caer Australis

CAydgcrux ©S Rhys Jones 2000.

Celtic Traditions, Myth and History

The Grove Essays on history and myth The Fire Feasts The Celtic Calendar The Arthur Project Conquest - image from http://www.cloudappreciationsociety.org/ Celtic Resources

Beltaine - May 2014

The traditional Celtic year commences in the Summertime:
mids Samon -
from the earliest Indo-European: *samo- summer: Irish Samhradh - season of Summer; EI. Samrad- summer.
At the cross-quarter of May, the Celtic summer commences, set at the start of May on the Roman calender

The traditional Celtic year - summer followed by winter:
Samhradh - Summer from May to November
mids Samon
the first month of the Gaulish calendar - 'the Summer month'
mís cétamuin: cetsoman .i. cetsámsin .i. cétlúd síne samraid - Beltaine/May in Cormac's Glossary
Geimhreadh - Winter from November to May
mids Giamon
the seventh month of the Gaulish calendar - 'the Winter month'
mí Gam: gam quasi gamos isin greic, nouimber .i. in mí gaim iar samuin - Samhain/November in Cormac's Glossary

Archeologists in Germany have discovered a 2,600-year-old Celtic tomb containing ornate jewellery of gold and amber: uncovered near the prehistoric Heuneburg hill fort. see: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,736942,00.html Samon: 'summer' from the stem *samo- 'summer', Cym Haf, OW ham, OI sam, OI cetsoman (May), Samhradh (the Season of Summer)
Giamon: 'winter' from the stem *giamo- 'winter', Cym Gaeaf, OW gaem, I mí Gam (November), Geimhreadh (the season of Winter)

In Australia and the southern lands, the seasons are offset by half a solar year.

Celebrate the seasons in Summer and Winter in the Grove
"On the eighth of the calends of glorious April, the swallows come to their noble assembly;
On eighth of the calends of October, what hides them? Why then do they leave?
 - from: Enlaith betha / The birds of the world, ninth century.

Follow the timing of the months of the traditional Celtic calendar

southern cross and nearby south polar constellations

The commencement of winter in Australia...
The Southern Seasons Celtic Year
The 'southern Giamon' moon: the first lunation of the winter half of the year. The Celtic winter commences in May the southern latitudes, the half of the year described in the homelands as mí Gam, with the meaning of 'month of Winter'.

Teine Geimhreadh Deas

The Southern Fire Feast for Winter is held on the Eve of May

CA's links to Celts in Australia - click to goThis is the South's Winter cross-quarter, often called 'Southern Samhain' because it is the seasonal equivalent to the Samhain, the Fire Feast of November in the Celtic homelands:

Celebrate the Winter half of the year in
Winter in the Grove

"Son of the king in midsummer,
The greenwoods girl gave him a gift"

Wedding Cake Island off Coogee Beach - source: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/coogee/interesting/

Caer Australis presents an exploration and celebration of traditions born in the Heroic age and recorded for centuries since throughout the Celtic world.

We celebrate The Celtic Fire Feasts, and present an in depth investigation on the origins and workings of The Celtic Calendar, showing that the great two-fold division of the Celtic year opens at Samon in Samhradh the summer, and followed six months later by Giamon in Geimhreadh the winter, such that Beltaine marks the start of the tradtional Celtic year. Follow the remarkable cultural continuity that links the sweep of northwest Europe, in which Cétemain, that is cét-sam-sin, continued the traditional Celtic month of Samon into the Julian calendar of Ireland and names the season it heads, that is, Samrad: the summer.

winter's silver sunshine on coogee beach june 2011 - view image to enlarge Caer Australis is based in Coogee in the eastern beaches of Sydney, NSW Australia. From the The Southern Seasons we look at Australian perspectives of the Celtic Feasts and Calendar, and from our list of Australian Celtic Links are connections to Australian Celtic societies and clubs, musicians and artists, and websites for Australian Celtic cultural festivals.

acorns - source http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/images/quercus_robur_acorns.jpgWe celebrate Celtic song and poetry in The Grove, and mythology and thoughts on The Gorsedd. We present an ancient history using ancient sources and presenting a Celtic perspective from the time of Brennus to that of Boudicca in Conquest, and explore to meet King Arthur in The Arthur Project.

Shane Williams of Wales celebrates after scoring the opening try of the match. Photo: Getty Images. 2011 Ireland vs Wales QF at Rugby World Cup. source: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-match-report/wales-storm-into-world-cup-semifinals-20111008-1letl.htmlToday Celtic people abound all over the globe, and bring with them the knowledge that throughout its history, the Celtic culture has expressed through its deities, myths and languages a most powerful ideal - the Celtic hero - who has met the challenges of the ages, full of tragedy mixed with unyielding hope. The modern Celtic homelands are secure and increasingly independent, the languages flourish, and a desire to know what once was is driving forward the impetus for what is yet to be.

To understand the past so that we may meet the future with knowledge and wisdom is a worthy challenge, and it is worth seeking with honesty, passion and integrity. Since 1995 Caer Australis has enjoined with others in this challenge in our celebration Celtic traditions and our reasoned analyses of some popular modern ideas.

In exploring the song, myths and history of the Celts, we join those who strive to find the magic and meaning of the powerful literature of an enduring culture.

Original written and art work and layouts © Caer Australis 1995 - 2012
The authors, designers and publishers are John Bonsing and Scott Rhys Jones, unless otherwise stated.
Other work used with permission if possible, in public domain and referenced in any case.
Any enquiries, please use the Contact Form or mail to
PO Box 590 Randwick NSW 2031
Caer Australis comes to you from Coogee, one of the eastern beaches of Sydney Australia
| Last Updated May 1st, 2014 |

For a view of what's happening in our part of the woods, visit The Beast, the premier monthly magazine for the beaches and bays of Sydney's east. The Beast takes a look at everything going on in the local area, with news and interviews, and a variety of articles from light-hearted prose to hard-hitting opinion pieces. You can also subscribe to The Beast's weekly email blast! We do!!!

"Roman lust has gone so far that not our very persons, nor even age or virginity, are left unpolluted.
 But heaven is on the side of a righteous vengeance; a legion of Romans which dared to fight has perished; they will not sustain even the din nor less our charge and our blows.
 If you weigh well the strength of the armies, and the causes of the war, you will see that in this battle you must conquer or die!

                                                      - Boadicca (Tacitus, Annals, 14.35).

Search Caer Australis Search www

Celts in Australia

Australian Cornish flag Australian Irish flag Australian Scottish flag Australian Welsh flag

Australian Celts celebrate their role in the multi-cultural nation this country has strived to become, highlighting their distinctiveness within the general 'Anglo-Celtic' description of Australia's population base, and their special relationship with the earliest European settlers in these lands. Further, Australian Celts celebrate their cultural heritage which has very much influenced the development of this nation.

The festival websites linked above are featured expressions of Celtic values, emphasising the joy of music and dance accompanied by markets, marches and ceremony.

In the Australian Sites in our Celtic links section are to be found connections to websites of artists, musicians, clubs and societies dedicated to the furtherance of specific Irish, Welsh, Highland and Cornish traditions. Gathering a broad spectrum of members, the societies celebrate their place in Australia in their individual ways. Celtic musicians thrive in their entertainment and revelry, touring the festivals, pubs and gatherings across the land.

For those who mark the passage of time by celebrating the traditional Celtic Fire feasts, the seasons in Australia present a dilemma because they are off-set by six months compared to the Celtic homelands of Europe. In the Southern Seasons Celtic Year in our Fire Feasts section is a presentation addressing this, together with links to websites in Australia that mark the festivals of Beltaine, Lughnasa, Samhain and Imbolg.

southern cross and nearby south polar constellations the stars of the southern cross The Southern Hemisphere

Australia and the Southern Lands experience the seasons off-set half a year to the Celtic homelands. Celebrating the Fire feasts with the progress of the southern seasons presents a dilemma, for at Beltaine on May eve, the southern seasons are turning to the winter; at Samhain on November eve, the southern seasons are at the time of rebirth at the start of summer.
Southern hemisphere

taken November eve 2005

Summer: Teine Samhradh Deas

'Southern Beltaine', the Fire Feast for Summer,
is held on the Eve of November.

This is the seasonal equivalent to Cétemain, the 'first weather movement of Summer', the Fire Feast of May in the Celtic homelands.

And they named him Gwri Golden-hair

Summer has come, healthy and free,
Green bursts out on every herb!

taken high summer of 2005/6

High Summer: Teine Grian Deas

'Southern Lughnasa', the High Summer Feast,
is held on the Eve of February

This is the seasonal equivalent to the Lughnasadh, the high summer games, the Fire Feast of August in the Celtic homelands.

He is the Ioldhanach!

Son of the king in midsummer greenwoods
A girl there gave him thornbush fruit

taken May 2006

Winter: Teine Geimhreadh Deas

'Southern Samhain', the Fire Feast for Winter,
is held on the Eve of May

This is the seasonal equivalent to Shamhna, the time of prophesy and assembly, the Fire Feast of November in the Celtic homelands.

And he made his way to Eas Ruaidh

Winter has come, summer is gone.
Low the sun and short his course

taken August 2006

Spring: Teine Earrach Deas

'Southern Oimelc', the Fire Feast for Spring,
is held on the Eve of August

This is the seasonal equivalent to the Féil Brighde, the Fire Feast of February in the Celtic homelands.

Four white trefoils sprang up wherever she went

Go on your knees, open your eyes,
Let Brigit in! She is welcome!

     Content Guide to Caer Australis

     "Grows an oak upon a steep,
       The sanctuary of a fair lord;
       If I speak not falsely,
       Lleu will come into my lap

              - Gwydion, Mabinogi of Math ap Mathonwy

     The Grove:

     Welcome to the Grove
     Song of Amergin
     To August
     An Gevren - The Link

     Summer in the Grove
     Featuring the works:
     Summer Has Come
     The Salmon of Knowledge
     Arrival of the Giolla Dacker
     Song of Summer
     Mac ríg
     The Yellow Bee
     A Rose by Another Name
     Arberth Hill

     Original works:
     Green Bough
     The Mayfly
     Y Ddraig Goch
     The Little Prince

     Winter in the Grove
     Featuring the works:
      A Song of Winter
     Summer is Gone
The Feis of Tara
     Chant of the Fairy Maiden
     Clear Winter

     Original works:
     The Fallen
     Knowing Nothing
     The Acorns

     Saints in the Grove
     Featuring the works:
     St David - Llandewi Brefi
     St Piran - On the Millstone
     St Patrick - The Conversion of King Laoghaire's Daughters
     The Paschal Fire
     St Columba - My Druid is Christ, the Son of God
     St Brigit - I Should Like
     Blathmac, son of Cú Brettan
     The Fate of the Children of Lir

     Goddesses in the Grove
     Featuring the works:
     Danu Mother of the Gods
     Isis Queen of Heaven
Minerva of the Gauls
     The six gifts possessed by Emer
     Modron mother of Mabon
     Mary mother of Christ
     Olwen - White Track
     The fair woman, Bé Find
     The great Queen, Rhiannon

Rowan Berries in the Grove
     Featuring the works:
     Soma of the Celts
     Glyn Cuch - The Red Valley
     Gwydion obtains the swine of Annwn
     Grania declares her heart to Diarmait
     The Quicken Berries of the Forest of Dooros
     The Dream of Macsen Wledig

     The Gorsedd:

     Welcome to the Gorsedd
     The Fair Woman
     Mabon ap Modron
     Gwern in the Fire
     Celtic Origins
     Australian Standing Stones
     River and the Well
     Samhain is not the Celtic New Year
     Last Witch Trial - P.W Joyce

Caer Australis presents...
As adjuncts to the main Caer Australis site, where the focus is on Celtic culture, are two historical websites -

The Arthur Project, which presents an introduction to the Arthurian legends and the historical endevours to penetrate the Dark Age of Britain; an overview of the stories and Arthurian romances; and the power of the legend today.

The Arthur Project - Home
Arthurian romances The Time & Place
Arthur Pendragon
Romances of Arthur
Historical Arthur
The Birth of Arthur
Arthurian Themes Today
On-Line Resources
AP Contact Form

Conquest of the Celts, which presents a comprehensively referenced and documented account of the ancient world of the Celts from the earliest of historical times. Events through four and a half centuries of are examined, the conflict with the emergent Roman Republic and later the Empire. From Brennus, through to Vercingetorix, Cunobelinus and Boudicca, this is the rich history of the Heroic Age of the Celts.

Conquest - Home
The Dying Gaul The Heroic Age
Gallic War
On-Line Resources
Conquest Contact Form

The Celtic Fire Feasts:

"Samrad didiu ríad reites grian, is and is mo doatne a soillsi;
Cetsoman .i. cetsámsin .i. cétlúd síne samraid;
Gam quasi gamos isin greic, nouimber .i. in mí gaim iar samuin
                                                      - Sanas Cormaic (9th century)

The Celtic Fire Feasts - Introduction
The Southern Seasons Celtic Fire Feasts
In the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are off-set by half a year, and the southern Celtic Summer begins at the time of Samhain in the North. In this section, the Celtic response to the year in the Southern Hemisphere is explored.

The Celtic Calendar:

"Now when at intervals of thirty years the star of Cronus, which they call 'Night-watchman', enters the sign of the Bull, they, having spent a long time in preparation for the sacrifice, choose by lot a sufficient number of envoys, while those who have served the god together for thirty years return home"
                                                      - Plutarch (De Facie, AD75).

The Celtic Calendar - Introduction
The Celtic Calendar - Correspondences to the Gregorian year

| Samon | Duman | Riuros | Anagantios | Ogronnos | Cutios |
| Ciallos | Giamon | Semiuisonna | Equos | Elembiuos | Edrini | Cantlos |

Apr --> May
(*samo-, samrad)
Oct --> Nov
(*gaimo-, gaimred)
May --> Jun
early summer
"The World"
(dumno-, domhan)
Nov --> Dec
early winter
"The Source"
(sem + uis)
Jun --> Jul
summer solstice
"The New King"
(rix, ri + úr)
Dec --> Jan
winter solstice
(*ekvos, echu)
Jul --> Aug
(an + gant, ingantach)
Jan --> Feb
"Nurturing Life"
(ailim + *bivo-s)
Aug -->Sep
late summer
(*ogro-, oer, fuar)
Feb -->Mar
late winter
Sep --> Oct
autumnal equninox
Mar --> Apr
vernal equinox
(cantla, canu)

Representation of an Irish chieftain seated at dinner, 1581from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21852/21852-h/21852-h.htm Division of the Year
Ar is dé roinn nobid for an mpliadain and
.i. in samrad o beltine co samfuin;
in gemred o samfuin co beltine.

For two divisions were formerly on the year, namely, summer from Beltaine the first of May to Samuin, and winter from Samuin to Beltaine.

- from Tochmarc Emer

CAER AUSTRALIS: Original work and design all pages © Caer Australis 1995 - 2013: From Coogee in Sydney's eastern beaches NSW Australia

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