Many people in Ireland know the story of the Salmon of Knowledge. Even if you’ve never heard any of our other myths, you are likely to have encountered the tale of how the young boy Finn Mac Cumhaill gained bardic insight and mystical illumination when he burnt his thumb on the Salmon of Knowledge at the river Boyne. In the first of a new Mythical Ireland Monograph series, author Anthony Murphy explores the story in great detail, from both scholarly and oral folklore sources. He attempts to determine from ancient written manuscripts the location of the mysterious Linn Féic, where the salmon was caught, and to explore the pool’s name and how that might resonate with the arcane wisdom or knowledge acquired by consuming the fish.
The three esoteric gifts of illumination bestowed on the boy Finn are examined, as are the distinct links between this illustrious youth (who later becomes a great warrior and leader of the Fianna) and some of the renowned deities associated with the great monuments of Brú na Bóinne. What is the boon and the peril of the deep pool, and how might Jungian psychology offer insights into the metaphors of the myth of the Salmon of Knowledge?
With a comprehensive bibliography, appendices and extensive footnotes, this monograph attempts to answer some of these questions.
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