Here is where you will find some of the myths & legends that were the inspiration behind Season of the Wild Hunt, and The Seventh Gate series.
Celtic mythology can be quite complex, and as tricky to unravel as the knotwork the Celts adopted and transformed into their own. Their love of fine craftmanship and admiration for mysticism and beauty ensured that they were not above taking what they considered the best of other cultures and weaving it into their own.
One example of the complexity is the triple goddess archetype, appearing in tales under different names depending on which aspect of her three-fold nature is at work, and those names also varying according to region, time, and what other influences that group may have been exposed to. In addition, the traditions were passed down orally for who-knows-how-long before the first manuscripts captured tales that had survived the wear of time, broken-telephone effect, and regional preferences and variations between the Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish, and european mainland Celts.
A good example of exactly this complicated and sometimes contradictory nature of the mythology popped up right here in the comments section on the Nuada post – go check it out.
I’m putting together some posts on the tales that I enjoy most, starting with the Invasion Cycles of Ireland, although not necessarily in chronological order. (See the drop-down menu – click here for the first in the series, on Nuada, king of the Tuatha de Danann.)
While I love my Celtic heritage, they are not my only influences – I have drawn from African, native American, ancient Egyptian, and traditional eastern European sources to create the cultures and belief systems, and from shamanic practices from all over the world.
What continues to inspire and excite me in all of these beliefs, cultures, and practices is not so much the differences between them but the commonalities. In a fantasy series that explores both the themes of personal identity and “who are we” in the wider universe, the story questions who else out there do we share those commonalities with – and why?
“I believe that legends and myths are largely made of truth.”
– J R R Tolkien
The Celtic tales underpin much of the reality in The Seventh Gate series and are the ‘prehistory’, as much as I consider them to be our own prehistory. I didn’t want to rewrite them – but perhaps reimagine them.
Those who are familiar with the legends (or myths, if you prefer) will recognise when and where their influence shows up. But it was important to me that the story and characters should be just as enjoyable to those who don’t know the legends, and that the books stand on their own feet without trying to ‘teach’ the mythology.