Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 9, 2014

The Kin-Pruning of Dían Cécht…?!?

Still at Kalamazoo, and will be for one more full day, and part of a further day…

It’s been a weird one for me. In the end, I didn’t go to a single session yesterday, because I was too tired after having traveled all day and night; and then I was up way later than expected talking with my good old friend–the one from Ireland who was there when the first Foundation Day (and the second!) was celebrated in Cork in 2002 and 2003.

This morning, I got up later than expected, went to breakfast, and then went back to my room to look over my paper again, which I had written this past weekend (or revised, actually, as it was based on an article I wrote for publication in 2009 that never got published, alas), but then added a paragraph to on Wednesday morning and then a further paragraph in the airports, and then a few more sentences once I arrived yesterday. I then went to my session, gave my paper, enjoyed the other two papers, had a FANTASTIC conversation with the attendees about my paper, and then went to lunch with one of the attendees who is also a friend.

Just so you know, the paper was on a panel sponsored by the Society for the Study of Disability in the Middle Ages, and my paper was called “Medieval Irish Cybernetic Debates,” in which I discussed the story of Núada’s silver hand, Dían Cécht, and Míach (who got a section of my Floralia poem earlier this month). For a kin-slaying to take place amongst the Túatha Dé is something of an enormity, and so that was discussed with the participants based on a question that one of them had, and I floated the idea that perhaps the only way that it can be excused in that particular case is if Míach is understood as a kind of vegetal deity, and so even if you do kill him, he just “grows back,” and indeed he is said to have been alive and healing someone later in the tale (and in the version of this story in Oided Chloinne Tuireann, about the Three Gods of Skill, he is never even killed!). I thus suggested that perhaps it’s not viewed as kin-slaying in this case, it’s just “kin-pruning,” which the audience found both poignant and also hilarious. (And, mine was the funniest paper of the three, I must admit–which I take to mean “success”!)

After that and lunch with my friend, I wandered around the book room, saw some folks I would not have been otherwise able to see as a result, and skipped the 1:30 session. Then, I got myself over to the venue for the 3:30 (which was in the same room as the 1:30), and there was standing or sit-on-the-floor room only, and there was no way I was going to do that, so I just skipped it altogether, and after failing to find a quiet spot to write poetry (not because I couldn’t find a quiet spot–I found a spot, but it wasn’t quiet–but because I simply couldn’t write), and was moping for a bit, I then went back to the book fair, discovered a few interesting things (one of which I’m still waiting for a price on–it was a used book dealer who just got some new things), then met up with my friend from Ireland again, went to a reception at 5:30ish (there is this “wine hour” custom here, where after the 3:30 sessions end, but before the cafeteria opens for dinner at 6, various groups and publishers hold open-bar receptions), headed back for dinner, and then when I considered going to a different reception later on, I did divination with the Ephesia Grammata and got the same answer three times to the question “do the gods want me to go to this reception,” “does Antinous want me to go to this reception,” and “should I try to get in contact with the organization holding this reception at all this weekend?” (which, incidentally, was the same one that held the sessions that afternoon that I couldn’t get into due to lack of chairs), which was TETRAX, i.e. “not now/maybe later,” so message received…

I listened to Wyrd Ways Radio from earlier this week (with Lee Harrington–a good episode, but they all are!), organized a few things in the room here, and then went to bed…was woken up by some strange things a few times (including some sort of animal growling at and possibly attacking a bird outside the window…!?!), had some odd dreams involving getting books in the book fair, and then got up in time to post this. (And even though it’s in the early hours AM here in Michigan, my WordPress account is still taking it as Friday night, so hurrah for that!)

I will have a little snack, and then head back to bed again, as I have to be up at 7 AM-ish once again to get all that I needed to done for the day on Saturday. I hope you’re all well!


  1. Hi there! Wow it sounds like you have had an interesting time of things indeed and some great adventures in the last few days! I am very interested in your paper on disability in the middle ages. I’m writing my dissertation on virtue ethics as put forward by Aristotle and later Midieval writers, and arguing for a new virtue regarding our interdependence on one another. In grounding that virtue I discuss kinship and practices such as hospitality quite extensively. One of my aims has been to dispell the stigma around dependency that people with disabilities often experience and thinking about disability issues served as a catalyst for the project to begin with. Personally I am blind and have been troubled by ancient customs such as not allowing a king to rule if he isn’t “whole.” When one of my ancestors appeared to me and appologized and explained that in the otherworld there is no separation and we are all already whole, I cried. I would love to read your paper or write you about it sometime. I’m at Have a great rest of the weekend!

    • I will contact you in the next week sometime…Thank you so much for your interest!

  2. […] and magic, which then gets Míach killed by His father (which I’ve previously touched on here). Rather than being renowned for His master healing and physician abilities, Dian Cécht gets […]

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