The House of Cichol

The Celtic Interpretation is a school of thought that applies Irish and Welsh mythology to the study of the Otherworld geography. It also examines heroic and god-like figures that appear in the literature in order to reveal the more social aspects of interaction with the creatures in or from the other reality. Academics who follow this school have divided the god-like peoples into three groups and this article will discuss the third of these, the House of Chicol.

Cichol, or Cíocal, was the leader of the Fomorians when they settled Ireland, according to Irish mythology. They are generally held to have been the first wave of settlers to the island and their descriptions are humanoid but not human. They had a reputation for demanding tribute and harassing almost all later groups of settlers, and were often rivals to the Tuatha de Danaan. However, as euhemerised deities, no matter how malevolent, they were also considered closely related to the Tuatha de Danaan with some ancestors or individuals being counted in both groups.

Typical interpretation is that the Fomorians are the memory of a pre-Tuatha de Danaan pantheon, either in the sense of representing a pre-civilised set of beliefs within the Celtic-Irish culture or the beliefs of pre-existing culture from before the Celtic-Irish arrival.

So, in the Celtic Interpretation school of thought, the House of Cichol represent characters and monsters seeded by negative interactions with Otherworld animals or their spirit forms. The phrase is used to differentiate between speaking of the Otherworld aspects of the Fomorians and speaking about the real world implications of the literary representations.

It is worth mentioning that the Fomorians did not harass the Fir Bolg wave of settlers or invaders, and that these are considered an mythologised version of a p-Celtic people who would, culturally and linguistically, probably be more closely related to the (proto-)Welsh than the q-Celtic Irish. This is mirrored in the House of Llŷr from medieval Welsh traditions and suggests that the p-Celtic cultures may have had generally better relations with the Otherworld, at least while these stories were forming, although some Fomorians do have their monster or giant counterparts in Welsh traditions.


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