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Weddings at the Homestead

Weddings at the Homestead

Design the wedding of your dreams amid rolling hills, grassy meadows, creek-side valley and authentic 1848 timber-framed barn! Envision your barn wedding, outdoor or tented affair, reception or intimate gathering! Dance under the stars.

Wedding Barn Venue

Branson, MO

(417) 294-1226
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Schedule a tour. We’re excited to share your special day. The Michel family homesteaded these 97 acres in 1885 and we’re proud the land remains in the family. Weddings at the Homestead is where hearts and heritage come together as one!

Weddings at the Homestead
Mary Evelyn Tucker Art

Mary Evelyn Studio Art

My name is Mary Evelyn (ME) and I’ve been creating art since a very young age. My grandmother and father were both painters and have been my inspiration and encouragement. My passion is painting, drawing, sculpting and designing.

I create custom artwork for those wanting an individualized expression of their inner imagination. If you have questions, contact me via email.  “Design is not other than a visible expression and declaration of our inner conception” —  A. Richard Turner

Mary Evelyn Tucker
Noah Agape

Noah Agape

Ask Dr. Paul! Noah Agape is pioneering the combination of CBD oil with other natural products. In the quest for a coffee that creates physiological and physical component benefits, a team of four developed premium Costa Rican coffee.

Noah Agape

Hemp Oil CBD Infused Coffee

(417) 337-4323
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We’re dedicated to comprehensively sharing the information and research on CBD. We want to change the negative perception that surrounds Cannabidiol. Our motto is Planting the Seeds of Health and Wellness. It is a potential breakthrough in therapeutic aid and nutritional component.

Noah Agape
Scal Tap House

Skål Brew House

With a focus on modern ingenuity and traditional craftsmanship, Skål Brew House represents the pioneering heart of the Ozarkian ethos. Black IPA. Peanut Butter Stout. Big Dill Pickle Pale Ale. Our hearts beat fierce to bring you beer you deserve.

Skål Brew House

Andrew Beam & Arthur Paden

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Prepare your taste buds. “We are brewers,” says Andrew Beam who founded Skål Brew House with Arthur Paden. “It was an aha moment. Brewing, for us, goes beyond borders and time. Sometimes deeply spiritual, sometimes weirdly fun. It is celebration.”

Skål Tap House
John Anster Fitzgerald

John Anster Fitzgerald (1823-1906), Titania and Bottom

The Celtic World

by Joshua Heston

“From the cradle to the grave our every move is shadowed by beings not quite of this world.” 1

In the old days, before our inundation of technology, before we could pat ourselves on the back for having discovered every mystery worth finding, there was a gentle rhythm of understanding: forces more powerful than ourselves were at work in nature. And, often, we were at their mercy.

All ancient peoples, it seems, shared some form of belief in a twilight world beyond, where gods and sprites and weird creatures affected the mortal realm. Few of these world were as rich, as capricious, or as engaging, as the fairy folk of the Celts.

You must have a silver penny
To get into Fairyland 2

Today, we associate the Celts with Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Simple storybook visions of leprechauns, pots of gold, translucent-winged fairies (and maybe the ghostly banshee) spring to cartoon-like life in our minds.

The real story is far richer.

So, spread your wings across Europe. Celtic peoples are also found in Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Galicia, Nova Scotia, Appalachia, the Ouachitas, and the Ozarks. But before that, let’s soar back into the mists of time. Before England, before the Normans, before the rise of the monolithic Roman Empire. Across central Europe, north of the Alps, were a restless, imaginative, freedom-loving people we today cal the “Celts.”3

The winners of every war are the writers of every history book and the Celtic peoples have suffered long beneath the weight of this truth. Were it not for the work of archeologists, the historians of Roman antiquity would have relegated this complex and still-contributive culture to the closet titled “barbarian.”

Austrian mine operator (and amateur archaeologist) Johan Georg Ramsauer discovered multi-layered burial chambers of a previously undocumented people near Hallstatt, a tiny fairytale village perched before a near-bottomless lake and against the towering Alps. The places was a crossroads in the ancient world — not for diamonds or gold but for something far more precious to the people of the age: salt. And the salt mines in which the ancient Celts were buried preserved them.4

Perhaps the Celts were always drawn to larger-than-life landscapes of mountains and lakes. Our understanding of this people — defined not by pyramids, aqueducts, or conquering armies but rather by intricate myth, a puckish folklore, and the art of the open-ended curve — was furthered by the archaeology find at La Tène on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland.

There, thousands of bronze art pieces had been placed in the lake — an offering to the gods? The flowing lines of the La Tène artifacts gave the world an undeniable glimpse into universally recognized Celtic art — here the swirling lines of the open-ended curve forever crushed the idea of the Celts as “primitive” or “barbaric.”

The Celtic Creation

Long ago, the earth was young and made no sense. Great winds scoured the earth while stones and hot fire ripped holes through the black sky. One little stone flew so far it pierced the side of heaven itself. And a drop of sacred water fell out.

Then another. And another. Then a torrent.

The sacred water was Danu and Danu put out the the fires of earth and all was silent. The sky changed from black to blue. The oceans filled. The mountains and valleys became green.

An oak grew atop a great green hill and the oak was sacred for it was nourished by Danu. The oak was called Bile (BEE-leh) and it produced two acorns. The first to fall to the earth grew and became the Dagda, the Good God. The second acorn became Brigid, the Exalted One. Together, the Dagda and Brigid asked Bile (the father tree) and Danu (the mother water) what to do and were told they were to people the earth with the Children of the Danu, the Tuatha de Danann.

And so they did.

The Dagda was the father of manliness, humor, strength, magic, farming, and wisdom. Brigid was the mother of healing, song, poetry and craft. Brigid taught her children that wisdom was found in the sacred waters of Danu. The Dagda taught his children to revere the sacred tree Bile, but never speak Bile’s name. Instead, they were to call the tree “oak,” or dru, which is where we form the word druid.

Together, the Dagda and Brigid had many children, including Aengus (god of love, youth and poetic inspiration), Midir (who wooed the fair Etain), Nuada (great king of the silver arm), Ogma (whose gifts were poetry, language and excellence), and Ruadan (killed in battle with the dark Formorians and for whom his mother Brigid sang the first lament of the dead).

The Tuatha de Danann lived in four cities in the shadow of the Alps and listened to the waters of Danu flowing into the great sacred river they named for the water goddess. This river would later be called Danuvius by the Romans. We know the river today as the Danube.

But the great cities remembered today as Falias, Gorias, Finias, and Murias became crowded and Danu spoke to Brigid.

Then, Brigid gathered her sons and daughters and said, “Danu wishes us to journey far to the west. Nuada, you will lead your brothers and sisters to the Island of Destiny, called Innisfail, also called Erin. But be warned! Another race lives on the island. The children of the goddess Domnu await. They are called the Formorians.

“Domnu is the ancient sister of our goddess Danu. You know Danu for her healing, her light and her wisdom but Domnu is everything Danu is not! Domnu is darkness and fire, the deep of the great sea, the empty bleak of the earth far below. Her children are misshapen, horrible things but powerful in magic. They will not submit to you.”5 6

And so the Tuatha de Danann gathered high on a mountain and a great mist caught them up and carried them far to the west, to the green island of their destiny. There the Tuatha de Danann did battle, with the Children of Domnu, yes, but also with the Fir Bolgs, a race of mortal men swollen with battle fury.

[Story continued below…]

Turner Spring
Turner Spring
Turner Spring

Turner Springs, Shannon County, Missouri, February 18, 2009
Photography by Joshua Heston, StateoftheOzarks

Celebrating Our #ArcaneOzarks Sponsors!

Daniel Farnum

Daniel Farnum

I’m Daniel Farnum. I spend my days in relative ease, cramped behind a sewing machine or a granite “tombstone,” listening to audiobooks, imbibing tea, and trying not to stab myself with sharp objects while creating beautiful handcrafted leather articles (all lifetime guaranteed).

Action Craft Man

Daniel Farnum

(417) 559-1461
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PO Box 355, Galena, MO 65656

Christian-owned, Missouri-based, family-operated, all-American, and glad to create custom-designs for you, I use leather from vegetarian cows (and if that don’t make you happy, take it up with my buffalo)! Contact me today!

Daniel Farnum
OMC Love INC

OMC Love INC

We are part of the international Love INC ministry. We’re a ministry clearinghouse for Stone and Taney County. We work with many churches and businesses improving the lives of the least-advantaged with programs like School Readiness and Holiday Assistance.

Ozark Mountain Country

Love In The Name of Christ

(417) 336-7056
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7347 W. Hwy 76,
Branson, MO 65616

Do you need assistance? Visit our website and reach out to us. Do you want to help better our community? We are always open for volunteers, donors, partners and sponsors. Connect with Executive Director Jennifer Maupin for more.

OMC Love Inc
Branson Mill Craft Village

Branson Mill

Branson Mill is home to demonstrating artists and over 100 shops all under one roof! We’re a working craft village with 40,000 square feet dedicated to craftsmen. Our artisan family includes leather carving, pottery, wood carving, watercolor, feather painting, and silversmithing.

Branson Mill Craft Village

Where Shopping Is A Show!

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(417) 334-8436
3300 Gretna Road

Branson Mill offers classes and workshops, including Scroll Saw, Pottery, Card Making, Scrapbooking and 3D Gifts. Perfect for visiting groups, Branson Mill offers Ja’Boa Jewelry, Jay & Maples Survival Camp, Mountain Man Nut Company and so much more!

Branson Mill

Celebrating Our #ArcaneOzarks Sponsors!

Taney County Health Department

The Taney County Health Department is a nationally accredited local public health department serving residents and visitors of Taney County since it opened on February 1, 1961. Our mission is to improve the health of our community through leadership, collaboration, education and service.

Taney County Health Department

(417) 334-4544
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Come visit us at our two locations: In Branson 320 Rinehart Road, and in Forsyth on US Hwy 160. We want to partner with you, your family, your business, and your community to create a healthy, thriving Taney County, Missouri for everyone.

Taney County Health Department

Perfect Shot

We’re a family owned business giving your family safe, clean vacation fun in Branson. All our games are chosen specifically for safe age appropriate viewing and experience.

Perfect Shot

Virtual Realm & Gun Simulators

(417) 320-6224
1809 W 76 Country Blvd, Branson, MO 65616
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The VR room includes shooting, art, music, ocean habitat journeys, pirates, cave adventures, sword fights, archer, eagle flying and much more. The Simulator rooms include target & defense shooting practice (though you might find a saloon & pirate ship for the little ones to practice their shooting skills after a quick lesson on gun safety)

The Formorians

John Duncan (1866-1945), The Fomorians 

Turner Spring
Turner Spring
Turner Spring

[Story continued from above]

At great cost, the Tuatha de Danann defeated the Fir Bolgs at the First Battle of Moytirry (Maig Tuired) in County Mayo and the Fomorians at the Second Battle of Moytirry in County Sligo.

Despite the dark and misshapen evil of the Formorians, great heroes — including Cuchaillain — were born from trysts between the Tuatha de Danann and the Children of Domnu. Ultimately, the Formorians would become the crawling things of the deep, the phantoms of the great dark, and the twisted, capricious gods of robbers and sea raiders.

Time passed and then the Milesians — mortal Gaels from the western coast of Spain — sailed to the Island of Destiny. The Milesians were skilled in great magic and they fought the Tuatha de Danann for control of Inishfail. After great loss, a truce was declared and the land was divided — not into parcels of east and west and north and south but rather into above and below.

The mortal Gaels would take all of Ireland on the land’s surface. And in a great host, the Tuatha de Danann walked to the ancient barrows or mounds dotting the countryside and — using their magic — opened the way into the Underworld.

n the old language, the mounds were called sidhe (SHEE) and the Tuatha de Danann became called the “people of the mounds,” or the daoine sídhe (DAIN shee). This was the ancient beliefs of our Celtic ancestors. In time, it became the folklore of the rural and the poor. The proud Children of the Goddess Danu were called the Good People, the Fair Folk or sometimes just The Folk.

They are our fairies.

And thus is our mythology understood.

Meanwhile in the real world, the Celts were driven westward by the Roman Empire. Fleeing before the crushing uniformity of grids and monolithic social structures, sharp edges and straight lines would confront, and defeat the beauty of freedom and thought of the Celtic open-ended curve.

Look at the art of the Celts and contemplate its meaning. Flowing lines representing beauty, art, freedom of thought and individualism, born of the curves of the ancient oak, of sunlight filtering through the forest, of the sacred waters of Danu trickling from a stream. The Celts could not be assimilated. They would fight — or they would flee.

First to the western edges of Europe, establishing strongholds in Galicia, Brittany, and present-day England. Then, the Romans pushed further and the Celts again fled westward, this time into Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms — and feuds and Viking incursions — would be followed by the Norman invasion of 1066. As England rose to power, the same monolithic structures of Rome would be copied — and again applied to the “barbaric” Celts. Over the centuries, Wales, Scotland and Ireland would be subjugated by Great Britain. Traditions were outlawed along with languages.

The monolithic war of order against freedom reached its pinnacle in the Scottish Battle of Culloden (1745) and with an Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger of Ireland (1845-1852). The Scots-Irish would begin a migration to the United States and Canada. In North America, Celtic immigrants often found over-arching authority aligned against them, forcing further retreat deep into the wilderness of  the Appalachian Range and ultimately the Ozark Plateau and the Ouachita Mountains.

Over the centuries, Celtic folklore would undergo strange transformations. Christianity would explain the Tuatha de Danann as angels wishing to stay out of the fight between God and Lucifer and were thus banished into the air, sea and underground. Leprechauns and banshees were simplified. And to conform to the Victorian Age, fairies were transformed from powerful— sometimes grotesque — beings into tiny ladies with butterfly wings. Celtic mythology — wrought with deep archetypal meaning — was sanitized and marginalized. Fairies were left in the nursery; belief minimized to the childish.7

Lost was the Dulahan, the headless dark fairy of the Cóiste Bodhar (death coach). Gone were the mischievous Puchas — often appearing as a horse or a rabbit — and the insatiable Kelpie which stood in the mist, disguised as a beautiful girl, boy or horse, waiting to drag the unwitting down to a horrific death in a bog or lagoon. The selkies of western Ireland were the magical seal people, bestowing great luck or terrible curses on those who helped or harmed them. Here is a pantheon of beings both good and bad, often simultaneously.

“Leave out bread and milk for the fairies,” was once a common refrain in the old days. Those who dared insult the fairies ran the risk of bad luck, blindness, paralysis, abduction or death. But fairies could also bless a mortal with the gift of enchanted song or dance.8

These are ambiguous beings who challenge our children’s book perspectives but also set us free. When we are allowed to understand deep darkness and light in a fairytale being, we have taken the first step in understanding — and perhaps forgiving — the same in ourselves.

There is the leanan sidhe (LEE-an-an shee), the fairy lover who appears to mortals, inspiring them to great artistic heights but often causing the unprepared mortal to pine away in unrequited desire. The sluagh sidhe (SLU-uh shee), souls of unbaptized children who appear as a flock of tattered crows to drag the dying off to the underworld. And the oversimplified bean sidhe (BAIN shee) is the woman of the fairy mound, keening the song of lament for the dead. Remember Brigid the Exalted One singing the first lament for the death of her son Ruada at the hands of the Formorians? Here even the exalted goddess is allowed to cry.

And so, in the gathering twilight beneath a white hawthorn, what will you find? Perhaps your rational mind will laugh and see only soil and earth and sky.

But perhaps — just perhaps — you will find more. And find new ways to imagine the world. 

The choice is yours.

Source Citations:

1 Fairies, BBC Documentary, http://youtu.be/YyNaYPQ9UM8?t=22m3s

2 Blanche Jennings Thompson, All the Silver Pennies, The MacMillan Company 1967

3 The Celts, BBC, 1986, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0271900/

4 Hallstatt, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallstatt_culture

5 Joan C. Verniero, Read Aloud Celtic Myths and Legends, Black Dog & Levanthal Publishers, Inc. NY 2000

6 Formorians, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fomorians

7 Victorian Fairies, The Fairy Faith, https://youtu.be/xYYbrKq3hv0?t=16m7s

8 Ceol Sidhe, The Fairy Faith, https://youtu.be/xYYbrKq3hv0?t=37m59s