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From: "Andy Robertson" 
Subject: Re: (urth) A Fish story
Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 21:19:40 +0100

----- Original Message -----
From: "Matthew Davis" 

> None of these seem highly pertinent.

The Salmon of Wisdom is a figure in irish myth.

Tuan, like Suibhne and Merlin, becomes the leader of the stag herds of
Ireland, before taking the shape, in turn, of a boar, a hawk and a salmon,
and finally a man again. Every time he wearies with age, he returns to a
certain cave where he fasts for three days, the period favored by Celtic
seers for mantic journeys. Like Fintan, he undergoes intense hardships that
ring with all the authenticity of lived experience:

**I passed into the shape of a river salmon....was vigorous and well-fed and
my swimming was good, and I used to escape from every danger and from every
snare - to wit, from the hands of fishermen, and from the claws of hawks,
and from fishing spears - so that the scars which each one of them left are
still upon me.**

Tuan's life as a salmon is brought to an end when fishermen of the chieftain
Cairell catch him and serve him to his wife who eats the whole fish herself.
She becomes pregnant with Tuan who remains conscious while in her womb,
fully aware of who he is and of everything that is happening in Ireland.

So in a mysterious reversal which serves to highlight the magical interplay
of human and non-human forms in the Celtic tradition, the man that eats the
salmon to become a seer turns into the salmon who is eaten so that a man can
be born.


This may or may not be relevant.   I have not read "A Fish Story".

But I will remark that, while we talk a lot about the Biblical references in
the Briah cycle, the echoes from Celtic and Nordic myth - such as Horn's
very obvious identification with Odin - seem to pass most of us by.

Urd, Skuld and Verdane are Odinistic in origin, for example - they are the
names of the Norns.



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