Merlin, the Mage, slept in the land on two portentous occasions: once leading up to the birth of Arthur; the second just before, and well beyond, the death of the Once and Future King… Each time there was a mighty mythical beast involved – the Afanc and the Red Dragon.
There are many different kinds of shapeshifting and here we look at different examples from Ireland, Wales and Scotland that provide differing glimpses of shapeshifters in action in the myth, folklore, and tradition of these three Celtic nations.
For the Celts, cauldrons had many everyday uses. As well as cooking, boiling, cleaning, bathing, carrying water and other domestic tasks they also had a special place in their religious rites and mythology. As a cauldron was a container for water, the ocean and possibly some lakes were thought of as great cauldrons. Sometimes cauldrons were left as votive offerings to the gods in bogs, rivers, and pools.
The Celts were a varied collection of ethnic groups inhabiting a wide swathe of continental Europe from the west coast of Ireland to the Black Sea and other scattered areas.
Celtic folklore has given us some of the darkest and most frightening tales in folkloric history: three-headed monsters, headless horsemen, famine-spreaders, joint-eaters and spirits of terror.