The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #15782   Message #901939
Posted By: GUEST,Chris Bayer
02-Mar-03 - 05:13 PM
Thread Name: J. Moulden or Philippa: Two sisters
Subject: RE: J. Moulden or Philippa: Two sisters
I have been looking through the Two Sisters threads and thought I'd add my two cents on the subject as a whole--with some mention of my book, The Celtic Harp At Stonehenge. (See

There will likely never be found an original version of this song. The oldest versions extent of the Two Sisters are perhaps medieval but the story's origin is far older. The story of the harp's creation from a body is a survival of ancient ideas stretching at least from the Middle East through Scandanavia. These describe the creation of the lyre or harp from a water creature--a swan, turtle, salmon, whale. It was from the waters that poetry was held to come. The waters were understood metaphysically and divided into both a duality and a triad. The murder in the Two Sisters echoes much imagery describing the duality of the waters--raven/swan, the dragons, the two trees, the building of the net. The structure of ancient thought beyond the Hellenic sphere is documented--but one has to leave behind the "folk" or "medieval" context. That imagery is less romantic and more concerned with ritual transition. Chris Bayer