For research I was fortunate in that my group seemed to enjoy the idea of the sacrificial cult, I had pre-existing knowledge of the Ouroboros and Crom Cruach legends. The Ouroboros ( Token Rock 2006) is recognised as the snake consuming it’s own tale. All over the world this serpent has been seen as the embodiment of the eternal cycle of life and death. Originally the plan was to have the main character and cult originate from the Indonesian islands, the intention was to completely alienate the typical western audience as per Stuart Hall’s theory of stereotypes; “another feature of stereotyping is its practice of ‘closure’ and exclusion. It symbolically fixes boundaries, and excludes everything which does not belong.” (Hall 1997: 258). I have seen this theme explored in films such as “The Wicker Man” (Hardy 1973) wherein a devout Christian police officer is sent to investigate the disappearance of a young girl on an island inhabited by a cult of pagans. However in our idea the roles are reversed as the audience will identify with the local culture rather than the outsider.
However before I could conduct any research on Indonesian culture we changed the location from Indonesia to Ireland; the reason for the change was, during our first presentation the feedback we received made us change our minds so we decided to change location. It was at this point that I remembered the legend of Crom Cruach.
As previously stated the Ouroboros takes the form of a snake, Crom Cruach has also been depicted as a snake in some interpretations. Crom was also associated with human sacrifice so I began to put two and two together to create the basis of the cult that would be featured in our presentation. According to the legend Crom Cruach had a symbol which depicted a single gold stone surrounded by twelve normal stones in a circle, it is widely believed that these stone represent the months of the year and the Crom Cruach was some form of fertility god. the gruesome details came when I learned that in pre Christian Ireland in the Ulster province where the Crom Cruach cult resided the locals were said “To him the early Irish sacrificed one third of their children on Samain (November 1) in return for milk and corn and the good weather that insured the fertility of cattle and crops” (Lindemans 1997) I took this idea and created blood cult’s symbol by combining Crom Cruach’s traditional gold stone encircled by 12 regular stones with the Ouroboros snake.
Hall, S. (1997) Representation; Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: SAGE Publications Ltd
Hardy, R. (1973) The Wicker man. [DVD] United Kingdom: British Lion Films.
Lindemans, M. F. (1998) ‘Crom Cruach’. Encyclopedia Mythica [online] available from <http://www.pantheon.org/areas/mythology/europe/celtic/articles.html> [29 November 2013]
Token Rock (2006) Ouroboros [online] available from <http://www.tokenrock.com/explain-ouroboros-70.html> [28 November 2013]