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From: "Alice Turner" <akt@attglobal.net>
Subject: (urth) Master Malrubius
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001 13:59:35 

Here's a tasty tidbit from a book called -Celtic Sacred Landscapes-, by
Nigel Pennick (p 161):

"In the region of Gairloch [in Scotland], the 'old rites' of the
divinity Mhor-Ri, 'The Great King' (also known as St. Maree, Mourie or
Maelrubha), were observed until the nineteenth century. In 1656,
officers of the Dingwall presbytery attempted to suppress the
observances of Mhor-Ri, 'findeing, amongst uther abhominable and
heathenishe practices, that the people in that place were accustomed to
sacrifice bulls at a certain tyme uppon the 25 August, which day is
dedicate, as they conceive, to St Mourie,as they call him...and withall
their adoring of wells and uther superstious monuments and stones.' The
rites included 'sacrificing at certain times at the Loch of
Mourie...quherein are monuments of Idoloatrie', and also the 'pouring of
milk upon hills as oblationes'. The cultus was important far beyond the
Gairloch region, for strangers and 'thease that comes from forren
countreyes' were reported as participants in the 'old rites'. But the
presbytery was unable to supress this popular deity. Writing in 1860.
Sir Alexander Mitchell tells us that the 'people of the place often
speak of the god Mourie'. Another writer of the same period tells of the
god's holy hill, called Claodh Maree, which was the Scottish parallel of
Icelan's Helgafell, whose benevolent power was active wherever it could
be seen. 'It is believed...that no-one can commit suicide or otherwise
injure himself within view of this spot'.

"On the island of Maelrubha in Loch Maree, the sacred oak tree of
Mhor-Ri was studded with nails to which ribbons were tied. Buttons and
buckles were also nailed to it. [...] Thomas Pennant visited Loch Maree
in 1774 and witnessed the proceedings in which the derilans, the
officiating pagan priests on the island, had sufferers drink water from
the well before they were 'thrice dipped in the lake'. The well is now
dry and the island is privately owned."


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