The Irish Cyclops Balor was a one-eyed god of death, and the most formidable of the Fomorii––you remember them, right? The violent and monstrous sea gods who ruled Ireland before the arrival of the Tuatha De Danann, the “nicer” gods and goddesses.
So dreadful was the one eye of Balor that he destroyed whoever he looked upon, and his eyelid had to be levered up by four servants. It was prophesied that he would be slain by his own grandson, as is often the case with gods and their inconvenient yet inexorable prophecies. He stowed his daughter Ethlinn in a crystal tower on Tory Island, but a determined young god named Cian made it up to provide her with some bonafide lovin’.
Balor found out that his daughter had popped out three sons, and ordered them drowned. The servants wrapped the boys up in a sheet, but on the way to the whirlpool, one of the boys fell out, unnoticed. That boy was Lugh, the sun-god-to-be. He was taken to Manannan Mac Lir, the god of the sea, and fostered. Once he was grown, Mac Lir took him to a major battle against the Fomorii. Balor wreaked havoc on the Tuatha De Danann with his lethal gaze, but eventually Lugh crept near him with a magic slingshot, taking advantage of Balor’s weariness in a moment when his eye was closed. As soon as that ugly eyeball opened up again, Lugh fired a shot into it, and it hit so hard that Balor’s eye was blown backward through his head, and all the Fomorii behind him suffered the power of its stare. The Fomorii, in losing this battle, were driven from Ireland forever.
An oldie from the archives.
Game of Thrones Season 3 - Embroidered details on Sansa Stark’s wedding dress.
For Sansa’s wedding dress the designer Michele Clapton wanted to have an embroidered band that wrapped around which symbolistically told Sansa’s life from the Tully and Stark beginnings to the entanglement with the Lannisters.
Her story starts at her lower back where the Tully fish and Stark direwolf entwine; as we move round to the front the Lannister lion is becoming dominant over the direwolf and at the back neck the lions head is stamped onto Sansa. The dress colour was still very much Sansa Stark and the embroidery had pale golden tones but woven through the story are ripe red pomegranates, the red colour symbolising the growing Lannister influence over her.
The Irish-Celtic god of the earth and treaties, and ruler over life and death. Daghda, or The Dagda, (“the good god”) is one of the most prominent gods and the leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He is a master of magic, a fearsome warrior and a skilled artisan.
The Daghda is a son of the goddess Danu, and father of the goddess Brigid and the god Aengus mac Og. The Morrigan is his wife, with whom he mates on New Years Day He is portrayed as possessing both super- human strength and appetite.
His attributes are a cauldron with an inexhaustible supply of food, a magical harp with which he summons the seasons, and an enormous club, with one end of which he could kill nine men, but with the other restore them to life. He also possessed two miraculous swine—-one always roasting, the other always growing and trees continuously laden with fruit.
One of his epithets is Ollathir, which means “All-father”. He is identified with the Welsh Gwydion and the Gallic Sucellos.
image by Jeff Cullen