A deer cult in Buile Suibhne

Gilles Boucherit 1
1 CRBC Rennes - Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique
UR2 - Université de Rennes 2 : EA 4451, CRBC - Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique
Abstract : By saying these words: "Cidh iomdha dom dhamraidh-si " (O'Keeffe, 1913/1996, p. 79) d.l.e. "A mathair na groidhi-si" (ibid.) , at paragraph 40 of the Buile Suibhne, Fer benn, is adressing the same type of spirit as the Tungus do in Anisimov's study "Cosmological concepts of the Peoples of the North", namely Bugady Enintyn. Both are considered a mother and an animal, elk or deer, and both play the same part as guardian of her herds : "The mistress of the earth has a husband--the nameless shepherd of her herd". The mythology referred to can be epitomized in the Cosmic hunt (a form of personification of the sun cycle). Its trace can be followed on the cliffs from Siberia to Europe, beginning with Lake Baikal Neolithic which is contemporaneous with the Afanasevo civilisation of the Minusinsk steppe belt, originating itself in the Repin migration situated on the Don river before the Yamnaya horizon appeared. Connections with the Volga-Ural Repin-Yamnaya world were maintained by a continuing round of migrations moving in both directions (3700-3500 / 2.400 BCE). The Deer and Tree of life on the cylindrical seal found in Kragnosvarkdeisk (Maikop-Novosvobodnaya), dated from the beginning of the third millennium B.C., must come from Siberia because Cervus elaphus is not known in Mesopotamia where the technique itself originates however. Likewise, the deer among the Hittites is a sacred animal and seems to have been primarily the supreme female deity, superseded afterwards by Teshoub: "l'ancêtre direct du Zeus Dolichénos". A deer cult is pervasive among the Indo-Europeans, from Usatovo, Polonia, Scandinavia and Val Camonica, Iberia and Gaul (Cernunnos). This cult must have come in Ireland, Scotland sometime (Bronze Age, Iron Age) from somewhere (Iberia, Gaul) on the Continent.
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Gilles Boucherit. A deer cult in Buile Suibhne. XIV COMHDHÁIL IDIRNÁISIÚNTA SA LÉANN CEILTEACH XIV INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF CELTIC STUDIES, Aug 2011, Maynooth, Ireland. ⟨hal-00621072v4⟩

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