As the legend goes, Tara was home of the ancient kings of Ireland. Tara was said to be a sacred place and was known as the center of the country. In Tara stood what’s known as the Lia Fail, it’s a magical stone that was said to produce a loud scream upon the true king being crowned.
Information about Tara
Tara has been known as a sacred site going all the way back to the Neolithic period. In 2100 B.C. a passage grave known as the Mound of the Hostages was built. This mound has tight connection to the kings of ancient Ireland.
Twenty miles northwest of Dublin, in Tara, there’s a huge oval enclosure known as the Rath na Riogh or “Fortress of the Kings” that stood at the top of the low mound. According to archeologists, this site was used for many public ceremonies during that time.
Legend says that the kings of Ireland were not chosen by heredity or election, but by druids that were part of great mythical rituals. These rituals were supposedly used so that the druids would be allowed to see the “true” king through sacred vision. I suppose this is how they confirmed they had picked the right man for the job.
The way their rituals worked is there would be five druids assembled to find the king through this sacred vision. During the said ritual a bull would be sacrificed and only one druid would eat the flesh. The consumer would then be wrapped in the bull’s hide and observed by the other four druids. During this observation period, the druids would chant a “spell of truth” over the one wrapped in bull’s hide.
This ritual would allow the chosen druid to foresee the future and get a glimpse of the future king of Tara. Immediately after confirming who the king should be, the druids sent for this man and he would be brought before the others and be given the royal seat.
The Magical Stone of Tara
One key part in all this ritual mumbo jumbo was that the king must be perfect in every way. Not only in his abilities, but in his appearance as well. This step in the crowning process was vital to the prosperity of the country. Any bodily defects on the future kings body would deem him unfit for crowning.
Once the king had been chosen, he was then put through rigorous testing of his stamina and fitness. Once the future king finally had passed all these tests and had received his crown, only then would there be a series of prohibitions (geissi) put in place in order to control his conduct. This was basically a sort of rules he had to follow.
If the king were to violate any of these set rules, it would be disastrous to his well being and fortune and would bring bad luck to his people. But how does the Magical Stone of Tara fit into all this? We’re getting to that part, don’t worry…
During the king’s inauguration, he would be either on or beside a great stone in the shape of a phallus, this stone was known as the Lia Fail (Yep, this is the magical stone we’ve been talking about).
According to Irish mythology, the Lia Fail was one of the four talismen that were brought back by Tuatha De Danann and taken to Ireland. For those that don’t know, Tuatha De Danann were the godlike people of the goddess Danu, of course these were all legends. Supposedly they had brought the stone back from the northern islands, this is where they’d learned druidism and how to use magic.
According to scholars, the Magical Stone of Tara, or Lia Fail, was said to possess the powers of fertility. It would insure the king and his lands would be able to produce offspring. This is where the legend of the crying stone comes from. It was supposed to cry out under the rule or each new king of Ireland. To this day, the Lia Fail still stands next to the Mound of the Hostages in Ireland.
The Kings Sacred Marriage in Tara
After the king had been inaugurated it was his duty to symbolically wed the goddess of the Sovereignty of Ireland. The wedding ceremony, also known as the Feis Teamhra, would bind the king to the land forever.
Although there isn’t a whole lot known about the actual wedding ceremony itself, according to scholars, a white mare was used to represent Ireland during the ceremony. The reasoning behind this mare was that two of the sovereignty goddesses appeared as a horse-like figure. My sources say they’re names were Etain and Medb.
Other sources say, according to legend of course, the king was to consummate his marriage with the mare. After the consummation the mare was killed and consumed by everyone that was at the ceremony, this also included the king himself.
After all this crazy stuff took place, the king was then believed to obtain the status of a God and had complete rule over the country.
Ancient records indicate that the last known ceremonial gathering at Tara was in A.D. 559. It is said all these types of rituals and ceremonies were put to a halt upon Christianity coming into reign during the fifth century.
Have you ever heard of the Magical Stone of Tara? Do you believe the legends about how the king took his throne? Or maybe you’ve had other experiences with the Mystical Powers of Names and Talismans. Let me know what you think in the comments below.