Friday, 3 July 2009

The Sacred Center of Ireland - Uisneach

The sacred center point of Ireland in pagan times, the navel of ireland is found in Uisneach. Here at this point , the sacred division is marked by the erection of stones, from here ireland was divided into four, the meridian divides the two halves, then the horizontal cut divides those parts again. From this point at Uisneach the five provinces were created: Ulster, Leinster, Munster, Connacht, and Meath, the latter around the centre at Uisnech. The name Meath is derived from the Latin word media meaning the middle. This sacred point, the navel, became the Seat of the High kings of Ireland.

Invaders came to ireland using its rivers for accesss, due to the central location of Uisneach it was its own natural sanctuary. Nemhedh is credited with lighting the first fire at Uisneach. He pushed the Formorians, the legendary giants with one eye, one arm and one leg, to the coastal fringes. Legend also has it that the followers of Nemhedh eventually dispersed across Europe and were succeeded by the Fir Bolg, who are said to have come to Uisneach, and from there they divided the country.

Each province was ruled by one of five brothers responsible for prosperity, order and justice for all. It is recorded that each provincial king, when attending these assemblies, had to wear a 'hero’s ring of red gold' which he left behind on his chair as a tribute for the High King.

Apart from Nemedh, the centre is also linked with Lugh, who came here to rescue his mother’s people from the heavy taxes demanded from them by the Formorians. After their defeat, Lugh ruled from Uisneach, and it is said he died here also, as Uisneach was the sacred point of his land, its sacred hill, It emphasizes the tradition of the king identifying himself with the sun, marrying the land, often identified with the goddess. Many ancient traditions followed this concept, In ancient Egypt the pharoah was also identified as the son of Amun Ra the God of the Sun.

Archaeological digs have revealed that huge fires were burnt at Uisneach from Neolithic times onwards. This area was a site of a druid fire cult. Bealtaine 'bright fire' is when the ritual fires are rekindled from the Sacred Fire at Uisneach. From here at the centre, Éiru renewed her annual promise to bear pasture. Bealtaine is the traditional time of Fertility Rites and the celebration of natures flowing energy and rising power. A time for singing and dancing, the Festival of Expectation, The return of the green. The nearby circular sanctuary, was defined by a ditch, together these two concentric beacon rings around the central Uisneach fire point have been identified as a 'fire eye', which has been discovered on several megalithic depictions, such as the “Hill of the Hag” at Loughcrew. The Old Irish word súil means both 'eye' and 'sun', and it seems the fire's burnt here connected them both.
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