Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, February 21, 2005

Lovers, Drinkers, Singers, Demons

The supernatural suitor seems to correspond to the Indian Gandharva, whose presence ... is considered necessary for conception. At weddings, the Gandharva is a kind of rival who, to the last, disputes the bridegroom’s possession of the bride.

The few references to the Gandharvas (in the plural in the Rig Veda show them to be spirits of the air or of the waters, but other texts associate them with mountains, caves, and forests, with the world of the dead, and with animals. They are half-man and half-bird. Their wives or mistresses, the Apsaras, appear as water-nymphs. The Gandharas have charge of soma, or they steal soma; they are skilled in medicine and they are fond of women. They also appear as singers and musicians who atttend the feasts of the gods, while from the time of the Mababhrata their name also denotes human musicians.

-- Rees and Rees, Celtic Heritage


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