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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Nemeton: Sacred Space

This article was written by Tadhg MacCrossan on July 31, 2008
posted under Druidism

A clearing
marked off for ritual was called a nemeton in Gaulish. Itís shape was usually
either square or rectangular, but sometimes round. The square or rectangle
represented the heavens. Round nemetons represented the earth and the
manifested realm, and were used for royal inaugurations. The ancient nemeton of
Emhain Macha (Ardmacha) was unearthed at Navan Fort in Armagh. The trunk
in the center showed signs that animal blood had been offered on it. Scholars
have speculated that this may well have been the famous Craebh Ruadh, or "Red Branch" used in reference to the
Ulster heroes under King Conchobhar Mac Nessa. The Red Branch was the emblem of
Ulster, of the Ulaid (Uoluntioi) at this time in ancient Ireland.

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