From "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland"
By Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde
In ancient Pagan times in Ireland the poets were supposed to possess the
gift of prophecy, and by certain means could throw themselves into a state in
which they had lucid vision of coming events. This state, called Imbas for
Osna, was produced by incantations and the offering of the flesh of a red
pig, a dog, or a cat to their idols. Then the poet, laying the two palms of his
hands on his two cheeks, lay down and slept; his idol gods being beside
him. And when he awoke he could see all things and foretell all things. He
could make verses with the ends of his fingers, and repeat the same without
studying, and in this way proved his right to be chief poet at the court of the
king. Also he laid his staff upon the head of a person, and thus he found
out his name, and the name of his father and mother, and all unknown things
that were proposed to him. And this prophetic power was also obtained by Imbas
for Osna, though a different kind of offering was made to the idol.
But Patrick abolished these practices, and declared that whoever used them
should enjoy neither heaven nor earth; and he substituted for them the Corus
Cerda (the Law of Poetry), in which no offering was made to demons; for the
profession of the poet, he said, was pure, and should not be subject to the
power of the devil. He left to the poets, however, the gift of
extemporaneous recital, because it was acquired through great knowledge and diligent
study, but all other rites he strictly forbade to the poets of Erin.

Hugs, Hel

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  • very interesting

  • I'd be interested in the PDF Mystic!
    • Of course....here it is!

      I hope you enjoy reading it!

    • thank you nuch Mystic!!!
    • Oh, you are very welcome sis!

      If ever there is a book or certain text you fancy reading just let me know and I will see if I can get hold of a copy and convert it to pdf for you. it just so happens I have the facility to convert files from doc. format to pdf. format so why not share it with my sisters and brothers here!

      That of course goes for any one else too!

      Much love and light to all! ~Mystic~x

    • wow thank you sister!  I will remember this lol
  • That Patrick guy has a lot to answer for dont ya think with all his laws and condemnation of the Pagan people, It is said that he rid Ireland of snakes...chased them all away so he did!

    Later it was said that the reference to snakes was actually a reference to Pagan's but that is still disputed amongst scholars!

    I have that book in PDF format so if you would like it just give me a shout!


    A brief look back in history, particularly in rural areas, will reveal a pattern for daily living that was hugely influenced by the superstitious beliefs in Irish communities.

    These superstitions took many forms: spells, potions, incantations, cures, charms, omens and rituals. They were said to have the power to heal the sick, help the lovelorn, predict good and bad luck, ward off evil, and much more.

    They were a mix of Celtic traditions, naturalism, folklore and later, Christianity.

    Ultimately, the one thing all superstitions had in common was that they were concerned chiefly with the helplessness of the human condition. In times of trouble, crisis or illness people would turn to these old superstitions and remedies which might not have cured or helped them, but faith in their ability to work brought comfort, whether real or imagined. There was the idea, too, of tradition and the familiarity of continuing 'the old ways'.

    There are many superstitions in Ireland (although some have died out in the face of modern living). Here are a few examples:


    Black cats who crossed your path were a lucky sign, but the first person seen by a cat that wiped its face with its paws would be the first in the household to die.

    When moving house, it was advisable to bring a cat with you, especially across a stream, and a red-and-white cat was particularly ominous.

    If a black cat came of its own accord to your new house you would keep it for it was certain to be a good spirit.


    Any dream involving horses was thought to be very lucky, and even to dream of a hearse being drawn by plumed horses was a good omen foretelling a wedding.


    Strangely enough, to actually dream of a wedding had quite the opposite effect and was considered very bad news indeed.

    Whistling inside.

    Fishermen and sailors were, and still are, particularly superstitious. They were battling against natural elements beyond man's control, yet some explanation for accidents and events at sea still had to be sought as a justification. If a fisherman was drowned it couldn't possibly be the result of a storm, or lack of care. No, it would be more likely that someone on board was whistling, an act considered the most ill of omens. [Note: According to my granny, whistling lured bats into the house! ]


    It was unlucky to accept a lock of hair or a four-footed beast from a lover.


    You would never offer your left hand in greeting to a friend because of the old saying: "A curse with the left hand to those we hate, but the right hand to those we honour."

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