Crom Cruach, Burning Man and Werewolves

Hi everyone!

I know there has been a certain lack of actual text based posts lately, and I apologize for that. The videos are taking a lot of time. It’s not exactly like I just read them perfectly on the first attempt, no no. Every recording is almost twice as long at first as it is when I’m done editing it, lol!

Today I want to talk a little (or quite a lot actually) about  Ireland, and more specifically about the werewolf traditions from there.
Most famous of these are the werewolves of Ossory and the werewolves of Tipperary.
Today I’ll be focusing on the Tipperary ones.

Laignech Fáelad and Tigernmas

 

As we all know, it’s a long way to Tipperary, but the distance between the werewolves of Tipperary and the Dogmen of today may not be as long as one might think.

Faoladh. By Nashoba-Hostina at Deviantart

According to the Cóir Anmann manuscript, Laignech Fáelad was originally a man capable of shape shifting into a wolf at will. Later the name Laignach Fáelad came to refer to his offspring and possibly others who had this shape shifting ability.
The Laignech Fáelad were fearsome warriors. Sought after by kings who didn’t mind paying the price.

One of these kings was Tigernmas. He was a High King of Ireland some time between 1600 and 1100, most likely around 1400 BC, the views differ.
Tigernmas is said to have been the one to introduce gold- and silver smelting in Ireland, and it is true that during the bronze age in Ireland, starting around 2000 BC, lots of elaborate gold and bronze ornaments, weapons and tools were created.
Consequently, Tigermas had gold enough to pay the werewolf warriors. But it wasn’t gold they were asking…

Crom Cruach/ Crom Dubh

Both the Laignach Fáelad and Tigernmas were said to worship an ancient god called Crom Cruach, Lord of the Mound.
Later he was called Crum Dubh. The latter is also the name of the festival for Crom Cruach, which in Ireland takes place the first Sunday in August.
This god seems to have mainly been a fertility god. Milk and grain was sacrificed to him, but more disturbingly, he’s also associated with human sacrifice, especially of children…
He was depicted as a possible solar deity- as a gold figure surrounded by 12 bronze or stone figures, possibly representing the twelve zodiak signs.
This cult image of his stood on the plains known in those days as Magh Slécht, the plains of prostration.

One of the twelve “standing stones” at Magh Slécht. Credit Mr. P’s Mythopedia

Within this golden idol, a demon, or the spirit of Crom Cruach himself, dwelt. Here early pagan Irishmen and women worshiped, prayed, and each year children were sacrificed to Crom Cruach to ensure fertile crops and good harvests.
According to the book Old Ways, Old Secrets, Pagan Ireland by Jo Kerrigan, on the plains also dwelt an oracle, which responded to those coming to pay homage to Crom Cruach. Whether this oracle resided in the idol itself or elsewhere is unsure.
In the 9th century text Vita Quarta (about St. Patrick), Crom Cruach is referred to as a “very bad demon”, although, since he did respond to his followers and their questions, he was worshiped as a god.

Moorish Influence

 

But was this Crom Cruach really Irish originally? There are sources claiming something else.  Some believe he was actually a Moorish god, more specifically from Ethiopia.
The Moors were a Muslim people of Berber and Arab descent, who lived in the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Africa in Medieval times.
Could Moorish people have lived in Ireland before the Celts?
It’s actually not impossible, and the clues may lie in the language.
Several linguists have found a possible Afro-Asiatic substratum in the Insular Celtic language, coming from Iberian and Berber languages.

Disaster at Magh Slécht

 

But let’s go back to the Tipperary werewolves, since that is the most interesting part in all this.
These Laignach Fáelad were, as previously mentioned, not interested in gold. The steep price they asked instead was…
The flesh of newborn babies.
And High King Tigernmas gladly complied. After all, they were all followers of Crom Cruach, whom we already know also had a taste for infants.
Everything came up roses for Tigernmas and his werewolf warriors. For seventy-seven years he reigned. (Some sources claim it was 100 years)
Though somehow, something went very wrong one day at Magh Slécht.

On October 31st 1413 BC, Tigernmas, together with 4000 of his followers, perished while worshiping Crom Cruach on the plains, in something that is referred to as the Seventh Plague of Ireland.
The old Dindsenchas texts describe what happened as follows:

Thither came Tigernmas, prince of distant Tara, one Samhain eve, with all his host: the deed was a source of sorrow to them.
They stirred evil, they beat palms, they bruised bodies, wailing to the demon who held them thralls, they shed showers of tears, weeping prostrate.
Dead the men, void of sound strength the hosts of Banba, with land-wasting Tigernmas in the north, through the worship of Cromm Cruaich—hard their hap!
For well I know, save a fourth part of the eager Gaedil, not a man—lasting the snare—escaped alive, without death on his lips.
Round Cromm Cruaich there the hosts did obeisance: though it brought them under mortal shame, the name cleaves to the mighty plain.
Ranged in ranks stood idols of stone four times three; to beguile the hosts grievously the figure of the Cromm was formed of gold.
Since the kingship of Heremon, bounteous chief, worship was paid to stones till the coming of noble Patrick of Ard Macha.
He plied upon the Cromm a sledge, from top to toe; with no paltry prowess he ousted the strengthless goblin that stood here.

 

From this text we can also learn that the one who finally crushed the power of Crom Cruach was none other than St. Patrick himself. Though as to what exactly happened on that fateful day is hard to discern from the text, but I think it’s safe to say nothing good…

Dogmen, Corn & Mounds

But why is this interesting, and how does it relate to the Dogmen of today?
The Dogman has often been associated with two things; corn and mounds.
Crom Cruach was associated with both, and also with the Laignach Fáelad, the werewolf warriors.
The name Crom Cruach, which can be spelled differently, has several different meanings.
From Wikipedia:

Crom Cruach’s name takes several forms and can be interpreted in several ways.
Crom (or cromm) can mean “bent, crooked, stooped”.
Cenn can mean “head” or “the head, chief”.
Cruach (or crúach) can be an adjective, “bloody, gory”, or a noun, meaning variously “slaughter”, “stack of corn”, or “pile, heap, mound”. Plausible meanings include “bloody crooked one”, “crooked stack of corn”, “crooked one of the mound”, “bloody head”, “head of the stack of corn” or “head of the mound”.

Just for fun I might also add that Ethiopia, which may be where our pal Crommy originated, is ripe with werehyena belief and legends, as I have written about in the Were is the Hyena post.

Burning Man

 

Moving on to the Burning Man.

Burning Man. Credit: Creative Commons

Burning Man is an annual gathering in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, where people can meet and hippie out. A huge wooden man is built and burned at the end of the week long gathering.
Though based on ten admirable principles, including radical inclusion (everyone is welcome), civic responsibility and leaving no trace (leaving the place exactly as or better as they found it), I can’t help wonder why on earth the chose the burning wooden man to represent the gathering.
A wooden/ wicker man was purportedly used by the ancient Druids as a way to perform human sacrifices. Humans were sacrificed by being caged inside the wicker man and then burned alive with the statue.
It’s possible that some were also sacrificed at the base of the statue as a foundation sacrifice.
This seems like a horrible symbol and one hippies should stay well away from, no?
I’m sure in the Burning Man gatherings the actual burning of the wooden man symbolizes something cute and lovely. Still, I find it strange and unsettling.

 

Burning Man has of course spread throughout the world, and local Burning Man gatherings pop up in a variety of places.
There are several in Ireland.
An acquaintance of mine had something rather upsetting to tell me about an Irish Burning Man.
This acquaintance had visited the festival to watch the burning man and have a few pints.
Immediately upon his arrival he noticed wolf head paintings and effigies all over the place, and he got the feeling that everyone there knew something he didn’t.
Pretty soon the festival turned into what to him looked like werewolf worshiping or conjuring, and he began to have a very bad feeling that something was about to happen.
He felt as if werewolves were about to spring out among the crowd of people, rip through them and take their sacrifice.
He felt fear and knew without a doubt that it was time to leave right away.

Neo-Paganism

 

In these neo-pagan times, are people inadvertently conjuring up things, using old rituals that has very little information still attached to them, lost through all the time that has passed since they were originally performed?
Not knowing exactly what you’re doing can be incredibly dangerous. Luckily, the neo-pagans I know try to be responsible and don’t use unknown incantation on a whim.
But there are others. Are they sensing the hidden power of the old beliefs? Are they rushing into things, blinded by their desire to learn, to know, to see? Are they opening doors they shouldn’t?

This new paganism is already being used for evil. The Nordic Asatru is used by white supremacists to motivate burning of black Christian churches in Virginia for example.
This seriously aggravates me. Asatru is NOT about white supremacy in any way, yet it’s highly popular among such cults for some twisted reason.
This particular group in Virginia describes itself as an “Odinic Wolfcult”. They practice animal sacrifice and have wolf-themed weekends.

What could possibly go wrong…

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4 thoughts on “Crom Cruach, Burning Man and Werewolves”

  1. You never cease to amaze. That was so fantastic. I would love to hear more about your friends experience too…that sounds so insane! Anyway, thanks again. Your incredible research makes my days brighter.

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