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The Mythological Scathach

Scathach, daughter of Ardgamm, was a female warrior/Goddess who ran a fighting academy in Ulster for training young heroes in the art of combat. She was famous for invincible battle methods such as the magical leap and the battle yell. She taught no women, for the Celts believed that only women could teach men effective battle skills, and only men could teach them to women.

Scathach's name means "The Shadowy One", or "One Who Strikes Fear." She is also called Scathach n Uanaind, Scathach Buanand ("victorious"), and Skatha.

In the Ulster Cycle, she instructed the hero Cuchulainn in war skills. This teaching took place in Alba, the part of northwest Britain facing Ireland. It was from Scathach that Cuchulainn received the 'Gae Bolg', his formidable barbed spear (or sword, in some versions) whose thrust was invariably fatal.

Scathach was also a potent magician. She had the gift of prophecy, and she foretold Cuchulainn's fate during the course of Queen Madb's onslaught against Ulster.


Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend
Celtic Myth and Magick: Harnessing the Power of the Gods and Goddesses by Edain McCoy
Maiden, Mother, Crone by D.J. Conway

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Copyright © 1998, Val Grey
New--February 27, 1998

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