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The Dream Of Oenghus

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The Celtic myth, "," relates the tale of Oenghus the
Celtic god of love and his long search for true love. Oenghus is the son of
Boann and Daghdhae. Boann the white cow goddess, and Daghdhae the father of all
gods, the "good god."
In a dream Oenghus sees "the loveliest figure in Ireland'" His memory
of this vision makes him ill with loneliness and he begins to waste away. With
the help of his mother, and another of his fathers' sons, Bodhbh, he begins his
search for the girl he dreamt of. When, after years, he successfully completes
his search the lovers' travels to Bruigh Mac, his home.
Chronologically and geographically distant, Apuleius second century
record of the original Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche also relates a story of
amorous pursuit. In Apuleius account Psyche is the most beautiful of all
mortals. "The fame of her surpassing beauty spread over the earth''and men'
would even say that Venus herself could not equal this mortal." Out of
jealousy, Venus commands Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with "the vilest and
most despicable creature in the whole world." However, dispatched on his
errand Cupid is astonished by her beauty and "as if he had shot one of his
arrows into his own heart" falls completely in love with her.
Cupid dumbfounded by the love he suddenly feels carries Psyche off.
Although Psyche is never able to gaze on Cupid she is confident of the love her
unseen paramour expresses in the dark each night. Eventually, prompted by her
unbelieving and somewhat envious sisters she lights a lamp and discovers that
her lover is Cupid. Unfortunately, Cupid hurt by both the oil sputtering from
the lamp and her faithlessness fees. Psyche deeply grieved by her lack of faith
and subsequent loss of love pledges to search for Cupid forever. "I can spend
the rest of my life searching for him. If he has no more love left for me, at
least I can show him how much I love him." Eventually after many trials and
tribulations, largely at the inspiration of the still jealous Venus, she is
reunited with Cupid and comes to live the live of the immortals.
These myths share a common fundamental theme. In both instances, the
myths document a love between a mortal and a god. Moreover, both of the
courtship's involve long periods of separation, difficult and desperate journeys
in pursuit of the beloved, and deep ongoing uncertainty as to the ultimate
outcome of the fat of the lovers. Clearly, it is not unreasonable to contend
that they cover some common ground and address a conventional human dilemma.
At the same time one can identify significant differences in the myths.
"The Dream Of Oenghus" a god, Oenghus, pursues a mortal. In "Cupid And Psyche"
a mortal Psyche, must illustrate her love for the immortal, Cupid. Oenghus,
receives the willing assistance of other immortals in his search for his beloved.
Cupid is also occasionally assisted by other immortals. However, Cupid and
Psyche also endure the wrath of Venus and her endless demands on Psyche. In
their relationship they must labor against malevolent gods.
In the "Dream Of Oenghus" Caer, the mortal object of Oenghus' passion,
is remarkably free of the influence of the gods. Oenghus must seek her, he must
identify her, and he cannot simply buy her. In the tale of "Cupid and Psyche"
it is psyche who must demonstrate her love and endure humiliation and hard labor
to win back her ideal and supernatural lover, Cupid.
Thus, these myths share a common theme, courtship and the pursuit of
love: Specifically, the pursuit of divine or ideal love. However, their
representations of this vary significantly. Nevertheless, these variations
serve to reveal a great deal about the assumptions underlying these myths.
Assumptions that relate to the nature of the gods, human nature, and the
experience of love. The remainder of this discussion will focus on these slight
but specific variations in an effort to enlighten the assumptions underlying
offer significant information about the perceptions of love in Celtic and Roman
It would be a serious understatement to suggest that the course of love
runs smoother for Oenghus than it does for Psyche. Following his vision
Oenghus is overwhelmed by melancholy, a depression so pervasive that he falls
into a generalized malaise.
However, when the root of his affliction is diagnosed by Finghin, "you
have fallen in love in absence," the assistance of Boann is immediately enlisted.
When this is of no use both Daghdhae and Bodhbh willingly join the search. The
gods are united in their assistance to Oenghus.
On the other hand, the gods are remarkably incapable of influencing
mortal behavior. When the girl is identified the gods cannot simply seize her.
Oenghus is taken to identify her, which he does, and Bodhbh explains, "Even if
you do recognize her, I have no power to give her, and you may only see her."
To actually obtain the girl they must enter into a complex bargaing
process. First the Daghdhae travels to Ailill and Medhbh and requests that they
give the girl to his son. They explain that they cannot, thus the Daghdhae's
men are forced to attack the fairy hill and capture Ehal Anbhuail, the girl's
father, they demand that he hand the girl over. He refuses. They then threaten
him with death, he confesses he cannot for she has magical powers.
Yearly she alternates between human form and animal form. If Oenghus
truly wants her he must follow certain procedures. Having identified her in
human form he must do the same when she is in the shape of a swan. (which he
does.) Then he must request her companionship on her terms. Finally, when he
promises, "I pledge your protection," the two are united.
Oenghus is enthralled with the mortal, Caer. In fact, their separation
makes him ill. Nonetheless, the lovers can only be together if Oenghus
satisfies Caer's condition: He must prove his love to her. He must illustrate
that he recognizes her human and animal essence. He must guarantee her freedom,
and he must pledge himself to her protection before she will come to him.
This tale captures the distinct nature of the Celtic gods. According to
Noma Chadwick the "Irish gods" ...

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Keywords: the dream of oengus, what is the story behind the dream of olwen, what were the dreams of joseph and its meaning

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