LIFE AS MYTH

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JOURNAL

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JOURNAL 2006

Scheherazade Project

Telling untold stories

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AUTUMN 2006

Moths and moons and metamorphosis

Index 2006

A time to tell stories

Naming the full moon

Writing on the moon

The twin side of the sun

Moths and moons and metamorphosis

The very idea of God

Moonrise

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LIFEWORKS

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AUTUMN 2006
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A TIME TO TELL STORIES

The Riders of the Sidhe (with details). John Duncan. 1911. McManus Galleries, Dundee. Sidhe refers to the earthen mounds that the Celts believed were home to various benevolent supernatural beings, including the fey, the elves, the spirits of Nature and, in later traditions, the Tuatha Dé Danann (the pantheon and immortalized heroes of Irish mythology).

The ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain begins at sunset October 31. Lasting three days, Samhain marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the "dark half" of the year. According to Celtic mythology, it is a time of enchantment, a time when the veil between grows thin and for three days, allowing both mortal and immortal to pass back and forth between this world and the Otherworld. Traditionally it is also the time of year when the ancient Celts began their storytelling cycles, gathered as a community around the winter fires. This cycle contined until Beltaine, May 1, when the warm weather and agricultural duties required full attention.

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John Duncan (1866-1945), the Symbolist artist who created this painting, was born in Dundee, Scotland. His work borrowed heavily from early Celtic myths, legends and decorative art. Considered a mystic by some, a madman by others, he stated that he could hear "faerie music" while he painted. Duncan married a woman whom he believed had found the Holy Grail in a well near Glastonbury. The marriage did not last and he never remarried.

This painting depicts Sidhe riders on Midsummer night. The riders carry two of the Four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann: the cauldron of Dagda and the sword of Nuada. The other two treasures, not pictured, are the spear of Lugh and the Liath Faill also known as the Stone of Destiny.

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