The Power Of Words: Liturgy & Intentionality

The Om Mantra, also sometimes spelled Ohm or Aum is considered the sound that created the universe in Hindu and Buddhist mythologies. In the Book of Genesis all that was created was created with a few words; and the Logos is the Principle that formed everything and continues to keeps in active, is known as the Word. The aborigines of Australia speak of song-lines, the song-paths which were sung by their primordial ancestor-spirits who walked across the landscape, singing its land-forms into being. For aborigines, even today, those songs are ongoing and need  to keep being sung to ensure ongoing maintenance of the environment. 

On a Detroit evening, from her apartment on the tenth floor, she lit the candle and said a few words. Tongue-tied, the words came out as a jumble, but she knew what she meant to say, and Angels, whose interest had piqued by this short liturgy, drew ever closer unbeknown by her, and their smile radiated in the spiritual realm.

In his house on the suburbs of Canberra, he walked around the room three times carrying a candle, walking deosil (pronounced ‘joss-all’, and meaning, clockwise, sunward) as a blessing. As he did that and uttered one word, ‘Peace’. And as he did, so did the spirits of the place, the genii locorum, assembled and gazed in awe at this saining (a Scottish inspired version of a blessing invoking protection, similar to ‘smudging’), and graced the area.

And scientists, and ancient and latter-day mystics talk of the sound within all matter, of vibrations at the cellular and atomic level, that keeps all matter together and gives each part of intrinsic uniqueness.

A group of druids gathered on a windswept hill in north Wales, barely sheltered by old oak trees, invited the ancestors and goodly spirits, and recited an elaborate liturgy, and unbeknownst to them a myriad of entities, almost as old as the earth, came closer, surprised at the confidence and power of that group.

It is said the words have power, and rightly so. Within humankind we can choose to exercise words as positive tools to encourage and build up others, to assent to small and lofty projects, and with a two words a couple can consent to marriage. Or, we can choose to utter negative words  to end projects, to humiliate others, and end friendships and relationships, and dishearten someone so much so that they slink away crestfallen. It is for that reason that Thich Nhat Hahn recommend we only use ‘loving speech’, to each other’s and to all creation.

A group of children were playing between two trees, imagining that the arched trees were portals to another planet or dimension. And, as they jumped between the trees they would gleefully shout out ‘abracadabra’. As they did, so benevolent elementals from afar strained to hear their laughter, and blessed the children having fun.

The Druids and ancient Celts, in a less hurried world and who realised the non-separation of the Here and the Other would have had a better idea of the power of words, something that we are only re-discovering.

In ‘The Tibetan Book Of The Dead’, that in that in-between state of life and death, the bardo plane, we are each thought to review our life, and are cleansed. Many suggest that the two phrases often heard there are, ‘I love you’ and I forgive you’, and though the wayfarer may think that days have elapsed, rather, only a few minutes has past. So, profound is the significance and power of those two phrases.

You know I love liturgy, and at any event I can, would encourage you to join in with me. There may be a ritual, an action to do, but words… oh words to recite meaningfully, and when we do these things I do believe the Universe delights in us.

At the end of her liturgy, in her Detroit apartment, she wondered in her confusion of a few uttered words would render the ceremony ineffective. She need not have worried. Those Angels observed silently, and smiled approvingly. It was intention that was all-important.

Our words are powerful and effective, but it is the meaning behind that matters most. If we are worried about getting a bit tongue-tied and how that may effect our ritual, then we’ve ‘lowered’ our efforts to something like a Harry Potter spell, if that were possible, and missed the point.

As the sun set of that house in the Canberra suburb, the man wondered if such a simple liturgy – of just one word – was enough. If he could have peeked into the invisible realm he would have seen the spirits of the place retiring having marvelled at his actions and powerful word. 

The power is not in quantity of words uttered. And, if faith is important, it is the One Behind It All whose faith in us, which is all-important.

And as two Druids drove home from north Wales they talked and reminisced about the wonderful ceremony, but each realised that simple or elaborate, what was most meaningful was that each had done his or her part, and those silent, invisible ancient entities approved.

And what of those children playing in that make-belief portal to another world? They all grew up, for that playfulness took place some fifty-five years ago.

One of those children now grown up, sat in front of his iPad and typed these words, ‘Even in innocence, in the playful games of children words are powerful. Little did those children realise, but this one now knows, that perhaps their ‘magical’ word to usher them into another planet or realm may have been more powerful than they could have expected.

‘Abracadabra’ rather than sounding like a nonsensical word to some, is a word of energy. It comes from the Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke), and ‘abraq ad habra’ means ‘I create as an speak’. Even in our innocence, my friends and I, invoked the power of the Universe and it joined in our childlike games and blessed us. Such is the benevolence of Creator And Sustainer Of All Things.

In all that we do, with solo ceremonies or together, do take to heart the words and rituals that we do. Ofcourse, take them seriously, plan well, but enjoy them, and never ensure that our words and actions at those times lose their innocence. Never recite by rote. It is better to keep it simple if needed, powerfully succinct, but if it need to be longer, never to ensure that we forget that we are ‘dancing’ with the Unseen who approves greatly.

Did these behind-the-scenes actually happen or were they the product of a fertile imagination? Who knows? I would like to think they happened, and that they illustrate a truth about our status and intentions about words. I would like to suggest that the spiritual realm is deeper and wider that we have hitherto imagined. And, that we are being invited to co-operate in having an effect in profound and yet invisible ways. One thing I do know, is that…

…words are powerful, and that the benevolent Universe is listening and inviting us to draw closer, in love.

The Salmon Of Knowledge: A Story Of Meaning

There are stories from antiquity that are still, oh so very relevant to us, and speak to us across the great distances of time. Here’s one from the time of ancient Celts and Druids, that tells of the way the Universe can benevolently ‘nudge’ circumstances in our favour, as it did for one young man.

Do bear in mind that to the ancient Celts and Druids the Hazel tree mentioned in this story was/is associated with ultimate wisdom.

The story goes, that:

…a young boy called Fionn, after his father died, was brought by his mother to a poet named Finnegas to be tutored and learn all he could, so that young Fionn could eventually join a group of well-renowned Irish warriors.

But, in order to join that mighty band of warriors, a man needed to have great wisdom and, yes, a knowledge of poetry. Finnegas the poet taught Fionn all he knew, and Fionn grew to be a fine young man.

Finnegas often talked wistfully about the myth of the salmon of knowledge. The salmon of knowledge was a fish that swam through the rivers of Ireland and nibbled at hazelnuts that dropped into the river (hence the ‘knowledge’ connection), but it was elusive, and so very difficult to catch. Anyone who caught it, however, and was first to eat that particular salmon would gain all the wisdom of the world.

Many months later as Fionn was studying, he heard Finnegas calling him frantically from outside. Running to the river, Fionn saw that the Finnegas had, indeed, caught the salmon of knowledge!

Finnegas the poet instructed the young man to cook the salmon, slowly, for him to eat later, but warned him not to taste the fish at all – Finnegas knew that this was the salmon of knowledge, and wanted that knowledge for himself, and not for the young man.

The young Fionn did as he was told and began cooking the fish over a crude fire. He watched it carefully so as not to burn it, and occasionally turned the fish, which was on a skewer, so it could be rotated and cooked evenly,

Some time later, Fionn saw that the fish was about to fall into the fire and ash. Immediately, reaching out, he grabbed the fish to push it back on the skewer, and in the process burned his thumb.

Without thinking, Fionn stuck his thumb in his mouth and sucked it to soothe the burn. Guess what? Several flakes of that salmon was ingested by Fionn.

When Finnegas the poet saw what Fionn had done, he grew very sad. Ultimate knowledge! He knew that he would never gain all the knowledge of the world that he desperately sought after, but, eventually, he grew to be happy at the thought that Fionn had gained that wisdom and he believed Fionn would be the greatest warrior the Fianna, that band of Irish warriors, had ever known.

And, indeed that was the case. Fionn grew to be leader of that mighty band of warriors, and became a great leader in Ireland.

—ooOoo—

And, that’s how Fionn obtained great nowledge, and is yet another example of how the Universe, the Great Spirit, the One Behind It All can so work things on our behalf, too. This was read at Tadhg’s Thought For The Day on Tuesday, 8 September 2020 at his live-streaming Facebook broadcast.

The Elderly Woman’s Two Pence: A Story Of Meaning

She walked, as she had done many times in the past into the Temple forecourts. The elderly, poor woman reached the point at the top of the staircase where she had to make an offering, and put in into the ornate plate. No one really saw her amble in, no one were aware her climb the stairs, slowly; no one was paying attention to her.

She furtively rummaged around in her purse, and found two coins. It was all she had. She took the money and put the two pence into the offertory plate, paused momentarily to say a quiet prayer, and moved to one side, almost invisibly.

A moment later there was a loud commotion as a rich man walked up the staircase. He was dressed in the finest suit, and wore the most expensive and opulent jewelry. He saw the offertory plate on the side and pulled out a fistful on money – probably about $500 or £500, and paused – his hand and the money ‘frozen’ over the offertory place, long enough for all to see his generosity of wealth. Minutes later, with his ego satiated he dropped the money and moved off, noisily.

The Universe stooped to take a better look. Both the elderly, poor woman and the rich young man were in the Universe’s single gaze.

‘A reward is due’, the Universe thought, and without any delay a golden, radiant, loving ray of light beamed from the Universe’s smiling countenance. downward. But, to whom? Who was the recipient?

Unbeknownst to the elderly, poor woman, the Universe blessed her with its golden light as she been humble and given all what she had, whereas the rich young man held back a lot, and displayed his works in public.

—-oOo—

This was read at Tadhg’s Thought For The Day this morning at his live-streaming Facebook broadcast, but a few had asked for a printed version, and here it is. It is an ancient story that turns the world’s way of working on its head, and shows the Universe’s true ‘economy’ of love, and what is most important – a grateful and humble heart, connoting that small and intentional actions means the most.

Acceptance: In Days When Hope Is Needed (Liturgy/Poem)

We can look around at creation and marvel, and stare in awe from the nearest and smallest seed or snowflake, wonder at the majesty of water (a lake, the sea etc, especially as we’re in the season of autumn and it’s corresponding element is water), and gaze at the furthest, brightest and most mysterious star we can see in the sky, and feel so small.

What is the Maker of All like? Who created all that we can see, and indeed all that we cannot see (now that we know the the majority of the universe is some form of invisible energy)?

This is not about the Creator’s physical appearance, but His and Her character and benevolence (but both pronouns do an ‘injustice’ to the One – such is the limit of our language. However, to use ‘it’ is worse, as that’s impersonal and my understanding, experience and theology accepts the Universe as entirely personal, and not a ‘thing’).

Our ancestors, those ancient Celts, Druids, Pagans, early Hebrews and Christians, and tribespeople (then and now) would not have ‘suffered’ from that notion of a/the dichotomous god/God, nor with the separation between the spiritual and the mundane, but would have been so closer to nature to realise that connectedness in their daily lives. We, because of the current zeitgeist of materialism‘, might need a little coaxing and encouragement – hence (this) liturgy and poetry.

When we look around and we’ll feel separated – a modern, and sadly all-too-common feeling – it is good to be reminded that we are not separated. When we feel lonely, it’s good to know again that we’re never alone. And, when, in this time when many rant that the Universe is unfriendly and conditional, it is good to ‘feel’ the opposite, to see the Truth – that the Universe is on our side and wholly benevolent.

The following was penned recently – written as liturgy (which can be added to, and incorporated to liturgy already written elsewhere by Tadhg) to underline the Universe’s unconditional love for each of us, or it could be read as poetry that we can recite and take to heart at any time. But, it underscores our status in creation, and hopefully, gives us heart in a time in which many are in need of (inclusive) hope, love and acceptance.

Liturgy of Acceptance

On the day we looked up, the face of the Mighty Three looked down,
and had compassion. 
The Great Spirit saw us and replied,
and love, unconditionally was poured out in abundance.

On the day we cried out, the Voice from Above spoke.
Sublime whispers could be heard, promises of care and protection were made, which said,
’I will not leave you as orphans, but will come to you’.

On the day we remained silent, unable to speak, and felt lonely,
the Mysterious One came, visited us, and we saw an outstretched arm,
an invitation to each of us to take hold,
and dance in that Eternal Dance of the Divine.

The Source of All, the Prodigal One, the Universe, The Friend is our friend, indeed.

In Praise Of Water (Revisited): Poem/Liturgy

2020816 IN PRASIE OF WATER REVISITED

‘Water, water everywhere…’. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

From the beginning of this month we moved, ritually, into the season of autumn (from a northern hemisphere viewpoint).  Lughnasadh (1 August, though some opinions may differ by a few days) was the first day of the season.

That date was also the festival of the first harvest (wheat, barley etc), and half way through this season is Alban Elfed or Autumn Equinox (22 September) which is the time of the second harvest (soft fruits etc), culminating in Samhain (31 October), which is the third harvest of the season (of berries and nuts).

But, there’s more.

For the season of autumn the compass, cardinal point is west; and the predominating element is water; and water is the theme of this short article.

’We live on a blue planet that circles around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea, and you don’t believe in miracles?’.  Anonymous

In our groves, faith groups or solo rituals and practices, it is good to be reminded, especially in this water-orientated  season, of this precious liquid. It is a necessity for life, is the object of our gratitude for it, and the source of our sheer wonderment that it occurs on this planet, and in such abundance – this is surely the ‘blue planet’.

Water is sacred.

It can teach us about Life and it can teach us about life (note the capital L and lower case use of the letter – to denote Life in all its mystery, and life in the ‘small things’ of our daily life), or is there no real division?

‘Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.’ Lao Tzu

In our rituals we might spend some time pouring some water from a jug into a bowl, and meditating of the wonder of water. Or, we might pour water into a cup, at some point during our ceremonies, to sip ad savour cold water, and meditate upon it. Or we might pour some out onto the garden (or window box or potted plant) as a libation – a sacred ‘thank offering’ to the Great Water Giver.

’A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us.’ – Lucy Larcom

Whatever you do, be encouraged to do one, or more things, water orientated in this ‘water’ season. If you’re fortunate to have rain (in these exceptionally hot and dry days), wrap up safely, grab a raincoat and/or umbrella and go for a walk – all the time appreciating the cool rain, and maybe, purposely getting wet to enjoy the moment. Even more reason to give gratitude.

’All water is holy water.’ Rajiv Joseph

In our liturgy – the spoken parts of our ceremonies – you might find the following poem (or is it a prayer of gratitude) penned by me a few years ago, useful, as part of the ritual.

But, there’s (even) more.

In our very being, the ‘exterior’ composed mainly of water, and in our spirit and soul, as well as our bodies, we are intrinsically connected to water, in actuality as well as a metaphor, of life in all its sacredness.

Water.

The vast oceans, that which sustains life on Earth,
which move at the behest of the moon,
the rolling tides that contains a myriad of sea-life, from plankton to the behemoth,
that which quenches the world’s need,
and from which all nourishment is assured,
acknowledgement is given.

From clouds you pour out rain upon the Earth, and enrich it.
Mighty lakes appear from which  ancient forests of growing trees are fed,
and daily bread is produced for our table.
An abundance for many,
and a veritable gift from the Great Water-Giver.
Bountiful.

It soothes and it heals.
For when an angel’s wing sweeps
across the surface of the Pool,
then healing takes place, and there is restoration.
Health-giving.

It’s cleansing power, daily, washes the body,
and restores vitality.
A clean start. A refreshing start. A new start.
All is washed away.
And, in it celebration commences,
in appreciation, in sport, in swimming and in children’s’ play.
Joyfulness.

It quenches the soul, it nurtures the spirit;
and from those who are aware,
springs of sanctifying water flow,
and outward pour,
to friends, to enemies,
to those near, and to those far away.
To all.

Water.
Whether we have much, or little,
may the words, “Come, all. Drink. Share”, be on our lips.
Praise to the Great Water-Giver.

Note: Apologies for the wrong symbol for water used in the ‘header’ photo. The triangle should, infact, be pointing down to represent water in the four classical symbols. Pointing up represents air. Mea culpa!

 

 

Iona: A Remembrance & Experiential Lockdown Meditation Invitation

BLOG 111 EPHEMERA FULL MOON HARVEST MOON

Would you believe… it is almost three years since my last visit to the wonderfully idyllic isle of Iona. I need to go back, and would recommend it to everyone, to visit at least once. Here are:

  • some recollections which you may like, and
  • words that I wrote at the time (indented), and
  • an idea for a lockdown Iona meditation-experience for you.

Off the western coast of Scotland, Iona is a small island steeped in myth and ‘magic’, and the whole island is, I believe, a ‘thin place’ – a place where  Here and the Other are oh so close. When the wind howls you can hear the ancestors call, when the sea gulls screech on the beach, the Machair (pronounced ‘makker’) you can discern angel-song, and in the quietness you can hear the echo of ancient elementals whispering.

Having parked the car at Oban, it’s a fifty-minute long ferry ride to the Isle of Mull, a coach ride across Mull, and another ten minute ferry ride to the isle of Iona. I arrived at Iona’s port, Baile Mòr being the only one having stepped off the ferry onto the quayside .

I hear a multitude of voices call as with once voice.
Above the the noise of the waves and wind,
the Ancestors voices cry out, ‘Welcome’, to all pilgrims.

The Abbey is a special place, as well as the Nunnery. The weight of history presses in, and myth, shy at first, reveals itself to those who a patient. But, there’s more. History is important, and on this island it is fascinating, but only to revel in the history is to not hear those ancient voices that speak without ceasing.

My favourite ‘thin places’ of ‘thin places’ were St Oran’s Chapel, and the Sithean, and the Machair.

Smaller that the Abbey, and a more humble a building, St Oran’s Chapel sits alongsideblog 111 Untitled the Abbey but radiates extraordinary power. There, with no other people around me, I lit a candle for both my parents who had passed on (my Dad about six months earlier, and my Mother two years before that); and I lit another candle, vicariously, for people from around the planet who wanted a candle lit for themselves or for a loved one.

Longer than this candle burns
is the memory of those whom we love.
Their light continues on
and their love reaches us even today.

Before you get to the raised beach area, the Machair, is a mound about fifteen feet high and with a fifty foot circumference. You cannot miss it. You can see it a long way off, and on top of it you get a good, commanding view of the view. This is the Sithean Mòr or the C9D6FE84-55FE-486E-8F90-EBA22BAB6259Fairy mound, also known as Cnoc nan Angeal, that is the Hill of the Angels. Before Columcille set foot on it, it had been used by Druids for a millennia. It is a place of Encounter. The Druids gained the Wisdom of the Ages there, and Columcille (or Columba as he’s also known) conversed with angels. I couldn’t help but stand on the top of the mound, too.

Atop this high place,
you are called to both finish and start.
One liminal door closes, dear pilgrim, but another liminal door opens.
Go, with the Ancestors’ blessings.

And, from there, a two minute walk took me to the beach, the Machair. The sky was mainly grey cloud, the wind howled, the waves, some thirty foot high, crashed to the 762ADCF2-A981-4230-A559-F8FAEA223B89distant rocks. To say it was fresh was an understatement. It was bracing, it was a fierce storm, it was one of those wonderful-to-be-alive moments. And, there was more. This, too, is a ‘thin place’ of a ‘thin place’. As I stood, windswept on that beach, in the storm, paradoxically, there was a calmness; in the noisy waves there was a silence beyond all sound; and in the remoteness of the beach – there was no one seemingly about, apart from me – it felt like a thousand invisible, ageless, witnesses crowded in.

What we see is a fraction of what is.
With a seeing beyond seeing,
we glimpse the Universe as it is, alive and full of love.
We see the communion of the ones that have gone before us.
We are never alone.

The sun was sinking below the western horizon, and I made my way back to where I was staying for the week. That was then, but what of now? Your invitation! In the light of some others organising lockdown and virtual ‘tours’ and retreats on other themes, I wondered if you would be interested in an creative-visualisation. hour-long visual-meditation of an encounter on a ‘virtual’ Iona experience? I will send details, if you are interested, if you email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com

The Call is always present, calling those it wills.
Sometimes loud, sometimes softly,
sometimes in the wind, or Sun, or water, or earth.
Sometimes the call is  in that imaginal realm,
but is no less real.
Open your eyes of your heart. It is calling you.

 

 

BLOG 111 EPHEMERA FULL MOON HARVEST MOON

Ephemera: Harvest Moon: Facts & Myth (Lunation 1207)

EPHEMERA FULL MOON HARVEST MOON

The next full moon is almost upon us. And here is:

  • some facts about this full moon
  • a moon-related tale form ancient Wales

We know, scientifically, that without the moon, the Earth would be a very different place than it is today, and that it is unlikely that it would have been able to sustain life at all. Just a coincidence that we have a moon of such magnitude?

We know the Earth is is that ‘Goldilock’s Zone’, of just being the right distance from the Sun to harbour life. Too close and the surface of the Earth would ‘fry’, too far away and it would be too cold for life. Just a coincidence?

I cannot accept that it’s just a coincidence. The One Behind It All was, and still is at work, and so as you and I  see the next Full moon, let us gaze in awe and silence at the marvel, that is the Moon, and The One Behind It All, the Universe, The Source, Love, The Friend, or any other suitable Name we wish to utter.

Facts & Lunation

The next Full moon tomorrow, Monday, 3 August 2020 at 4.58pm (from a UK viewpoint for this article) in the constellation of Capricorn.

This Full moon marks the midway point of Lunation #1207. A lunation is the astronomers’ name for the lunar month (of approximately 29 1/2 days), and starts with each new moon. This system of moon counting was invented by Professor Ernest W Brown in 1933, and he started the count with lunation number 1 at the first new moon of 1923. And the count has progressed from there, so we are now at the midway point of lunation 1207. For the inquisitive amongst you that might be asking what about the counting of lunar months before 1923 from a later perspective? The answer is, astronomers give them a negative number working back from the last new moon of 1922 which would be lunation -1.

“Harvest moon: around the pond I wander and the night is gone.” Matsuo Basho (1644-1694, Japanese poet)

Infact, this Full moon may be disappointing low in the sky, and won’t drift above the horizon until about 9.15pm, reaching its highest point at around midnight. If it’s a clear night, do look to the right of the moon (and up a little) and you might be fortunate enough to see the planets Saturn and Jupiter nearby in the constellation of Sagittarius.

”But even when the moon looks like it’s waning…it’s actually never changing shape. Don’t ever forget that.”  Ai Yazawa

To some, this full moon is known as the sturgeon Moon, the Dog Days Moon, but I like to think of it as the Grain Moon or Corn, the Harvest Moon, that being so relevant to the Lughnasadh celebration yesterday or last Friday, the first harvest of the year.

Others might call it the Dispute Moon. The reason for it to be called the Dispute Moon is many and varied, and may simply be so because, as autumn and winter approaches, one’s survival centred on the good-will of others, and the upcoming months wasn’t a time when disputes should be started or continued.

There is an ancient Celtic story that Cerridwen, the Welsh muse or goddess of inspiration, mentioned in the Black Book of Carmarthen, is a personification of the Moon.

”She used to tell me that a full moon was when mysterious things happen and wishes come true.” Shannon A. Thompson

Moon Myth/Story

True, there are stories of Cerridwen in daily life, living near lake Bala (and having stayed at Bala I can highly recommend that area of Wales) and giving birth to a son and a daughter. Sadly, it is said that her son, Morfan (also called Afagddu) was ugly and so she compensated by making him wise by using magic. But, these things never run to plan.

There is also a view that, alternately, or perhaps as well as having an earthy life, Cerridwen was the Moon personified. Her name, from Welsh to English can be interpreted (depending on how you divide her name) as being ‘fair’ and ‘loved’, or ‘crooked white one’. The latter, I hold dear, as it does sum up the shape of the bright crescent moon hanging in the sky, appearing stooped or crooked. And, doesn’t the Moon inspire and invoke other-worldly wisdom? Dear Cerridwen. Dear Morfan.

Conclusion

So, if ever there was a time to celebrate, maybe with bread and something alcoholic, the full moon, in the wake of the first harvest of the year is such a time, as you gaze in awe up to out celestial companion. It’s a wonderful time to  say a word or a prayer, raise a toast or offer a libation to the One who inspires us all, or just look up in silence and ponder the Moon-maker, The One Behind It All, The inspirer.”

It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.“ Galileo Galilei

May the blessing of the Moon-Maker shine on you and all whom you love, and make you holy. Blessings, Tadhg

 

Harvest Celebration: Lughnasadh / Lammas (Outline) & Your ‘Live-Streaming’ Invitation

30072020 HARVEST OUTLINE AND INVITATION X

It’s nearly time for our celebration of Lughnasadh, or first harvest – Lughnasadh is the Irish Gaelic for ‘the commemoration of Lugh’ which was prevalent event in England in former years. If you live in England think of the area in London called Ludgate formerly called Luds Gate. This time, for some, is also called “Lammas”, from the old anglo-saxon  –  their word for loaf mass, a mass where the first loaf of bread of the harvest is consecrated.

Here is:

  • a very brief outline of Ludhnasah, and
  • a hymn for it penned by Tadhg, and
  • a few verses about John Barleycorn from an ancient, mythical folk tune, and there’s more.
  • at the base of this article is your invitation to view/participate in our ‘live streaming’ Lughnasadh ceremony online, on Tadhg’s Facebook page, on Friday, 31 July 2020 at 8pm (UK time) though the event takes place in the northern hemisphere on 1 August (or the evening before). Do feel free to print this ‘article’ at home, for your personal use, as some of it will be used in the ceremony

In an agricultural society the begin of the harvest was a natural occasion to celebrate and to give thanks to the Divine for Its gifts. And, there is no reason in our technological society why we, too, should give thanks to the Lord of the Harvest, the Great provider.

This time of the year would, for our ancestors, have been a time of great joy, as the times grow darker. They would have started storing food for the winter.

But, the idea of celebrating harvest, giving thanks, storing for the winter goes back, goes back way before the times of the Church, way before even the Celts and Druids of the UK, and many thousands of years before that – and so it truly is an ancient and cosmic-celebratory time which no one religion, faith or tribe can lay exclusive ownership, which is entwined in our ancient and later day tribes’ survival and the honouring of That Which Is Larger Than Ourselves, the Great Provider.

Some time ago, with Lughnasadh or Lammas in mind, and with the idea of giving gratitude to the One Behind It All, I wrote the following Hymn For The Harvest:

 

HYMN FOR THE HARVEST

Lord of the harvest we come to you,
we thank you for the ripened grain
(for) the circle turning year by year.

Great provider of all humankind,
we thank you for the sun and wind,
the earth and all life-giving rain.

Surely, surely, you are good,
The God of Green Hope, good to all.
The Sacred Three, The Three in One.

Nature once in vernal green enrobed,
gives up its bounty, gifts for all
(and) prepares to sleep as autumn comes.

On our table you supply our bread,
We share with all, for all to be fed,
And joy in our heart at what shall be.

Surely, surely, you are good,
The God of Green Hope, good to all.
The Sacred Three, The Three in One.

Inspired by: Lord of the Harvest, Hymn by Joseph Anstice, 1836
To the tune of Siuil a Ruin. Link for that tune is here.
‘Green hope’ a reference to Romans 15:13, ‘The Message’, The Book.

 

THE STORY OF JOHN BARLEYCORN

It’s about this time of the year that many will recite, or sing the mythical song about John Barleycorn. Now, there were many variations of the song, and some have come down to us today. It’s mythical in that it’s a foundational story and was the very centre of peoples lives if we go way back.

How far back?

The first known written copy of the song appears in a manuscript penned by George Bannatyne in AD1568 (parts of the song are indented below). He was a wealthy merchant from  Edinburgh and included the song of John Barleycorn in a collection of several poems, songs and other writings which he seems to have committed to paper as a simple amusement.

However there is some speculation that it was known and sung hundred of years earlier, and others think it  goes way back to our civilizations’ tribal beginnings.

Why is it so profound and important?

John Barleycorn, could be seen as a symbolic figure; a poetic personification of the barley; the corn itself. Taken at this level the song  describes the process of preparing the ground, sowing the seeds, watering and waiting for the crop to grow, followed by harvesting, threshing and milling. Finally, the products of brandy and bread made from barley are extolled for their virtues as staples of the diet of early agrarian peoples and upon which laborers, craftsmen and lords alike depended for their sustenance.

There were three men come out of the west,
Their fortunes for to try,
And these three men made a solemn vow,
John Barleycorn should die.

These are the first indications that the story in the song has its origins in a religious or magical ritual actually enacted in the pagan, agrarian past. If such is the case, then it would be reasonable to assume that the role of John Barleycorn would have been played out by a real person for the ritual – what we would call an enacted parable, today. And, that role-play is, indeed, acted out, today.

Did you notice that there are three men and that they come out of the west?

Why three? Why from the west?

The number three has been clearly demonstrated to have religious or magical significance in most human cultures around the planet since ancient times.  The image of the Triad was adopted in later centuries by the Christian Church as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. In agrarian England – think of the triskelion or triquetra – it was originally ascribed to the worship of the Earth Goddess, who was represented in three aspects as a young maiden, a life-bearing mother, and a wise old crone.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that in the earliest Celtic writings and myths, the male heroes frequently set out in groups of three to undertake their sacred quests. It’s more than just a song – its about the cycle of life and humankind’s progress in it.

And, ‘The West’ was a euphemism for the ‘otherworld’ or ‘faerieland’ – the mystic isle across the western sea where myth and magic were commonplace, immortality could be found in the dwelling place of the gods.

Why they would come to kill him?

They let him stand till midsummer
Till he looked both pale and wan,
And little Sir John he growed a long beard
And so became a man.

They let him stand until midsummer day. He grew a beard and became a man. In the ancient pagan cultures, midsummer was the most important festival of the year, celebrated as the longest day, the victory of light before the long descent into Winter darkness.

This song is about the cycle of death and rebirth was of tremendous and practical importance to our agrarian ancestors.

John Barleycorn grows a long beard. In part, this is a simple reference to the ‘bearded barley’ which has long hair-like strands coming off the ear of corn when it is ripe for harvest.

They hired men with the scythes so sharp
To cut him off at the knee,
They rolled him and tied him by the waist,
And served him most barbarously.
They hired men with the sharp pitchforks
Who pricked him to the heart.
They wheeled him round and round the field.

When his time had come, John Barleycorn was sacrificed, his broken body was dragged through the fields to ensure  future fertility.

John Barleycorn is the personification of barley, and because our ancestors life depended on it, he was the personification of life itself – life that grew from a seed, was cutdown and harvested and we benefited, died, only to return to life the following year.

 

YOUR INVITATION TO OUR LUGHNASADH CEREMONY
FRIDAY, 31 JULY 2020 AT 8PM (UK TIME)
INVITE & DETAILS OF HOW TO VIEW

If you haven’t already ‘friended’ Tadhg on his Facebook page, please see below.

Live-Streaming Video instructions: To view this  inlcusive, participative, live-streaming video, you need to be a FaceBook friend of Tadhg’s as that it where the ‘broadcast’ can/will be seen. So: If you’re already a friend, or you’re been able to see many of the morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via my Facebook site then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not on Tadhg’s  FaceBook friend’s list, or are not sure, do check here. If don’t see many previous videos there, or if you can’t gain full access to read that  Facebook webpage then you’ll need to become a Facebook friend.

To become a Facebook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on Tadhg’s Facebook site – that link in the paragraph above. He will accept as soon as he can, and, when he does, please try the link again  to see if you can gain full access, in readiness for the ‘broadcast’ on his FaceBook page. If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email him, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

 

‘Telling Place Event’: Account & Your Invitation For Friday, 24 July, 2020

20200721 TELLING PLACE

Here is both an account of a telling-place event that took place in London one winter’s evening, and an invitation to you to participate in a live-streaming ‘lockdown’ Telling-Place, via Facebook and the internet, wherever you are, this Friday.

It’s global, it’s free, it’s different and profound, and you’re invited, and can participate from the comfort of your own home. [Yes, the scheduled Table Talk event has been changed, but I hope you’ll find this change into a Telling Place event, beneficial, deep and something altogether different. It will be recorded.

You are still invited to gather with coffee, participate by sharing in the comments section (and those who wish, by prior arrangement can share stories as a guest ie split screen). Perhaps, in addition to gathering at home with a coffee, you might also like to dim the lights and have a candle or two (or more) ready to be lit when we all light them).

Details of the next, online Telling-Place invitation (formerly a Table Talk Event) are at the base of this article.

The ancients knew the value of story-telling when they met together at ancient Telling Places – on a dark, cold evening, a bonfire would burn in the middle of their circle at the edge of the village or in the forest. There, fragments of memory were woven together, and ‘bits’ become ‘whole’; and all added to the complete story, as stories were told.

Everyone was included – some participated by listening, others by telling a story. Slowly, fragments of memory, separate and ‘isolated’ were re-membered, joined together. The opposite of dismemberment.

But, there’s more.

Those that witnessed the Telling-Place event were ‘re-membered’, in that they too, were joined to the ancestors, those that had gone before, and if we were able to look ‘up’ the timeline we would see them joined with those yet to come. All joined together. And, you can experience the same at the next Telling-Place event.

‘You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.’ Toba Beta

Last year at an event in London, amalgamating the ritual of forest-located former Telling-Place events, a group gathered in a building.

At one such Telling Place in a building in London, Tadhg spoke to those that had gathered there. “Tonight, is a time of listening, a time of sharing a story (whether something from your own life-story that is not too personal and which can be shared), or a story that you have heard and which means a lot to you. Stories of dark and light, stories of creation, of endings and beginnings, down and up, of people and places. Stories that cause us to think deeply. Stories and a few activities, yes a few activities that you will be invited to join in with, that make you go ‘oooh’, or ‘ahhhh’. Stories of  myth, ‘magic’, and imagination.”

A short time was given over for people to amble and introduce themselves to four other people in fifteen minutes, as they tucked into some delightful food from the smorgasbord and filled their glasses with various chilled fruit juices. Everyone talked enthusiastically. A hub-bub ensued, sounding rather like the friendly drone in a bee hive.

Now back at their tables, everyone settled down.

Tadhg explained as he went along, and opened the Telling Place officially.

A candle was lit, and in doing this simple ritual, Tadhg explained that it was as though we had been pulled out of physical time, as a group, and into sacred space-time, and were propelled back in time to engage with the Ancestors in story, the original, archetypal Telling Place.

Tadhg spoke these words: ‘The Wise Ones spoke of the illusion of time and space, and how we view it as linear. It is circular. They also spoke of connectedness, of the ‘Great Chain Of Being’, or of being ‘at one’ with our forebears, the Ancestors. He raised his hands, momentarily, and declared that the Ancestors were here!

The drumming stopped.

“This remembering”, Tadhg continued,  “is called anamnesis: a remembering that makes the original event present to each of us. In a very real sense, ritual negates distance in time and space. It bring us, into that timeless realm of the sacred in which the time and space that separates us  from the original event, the first Telling-Place, perhaps, or what separates us from the Other just disappears. Everything is concurrent.

‘We keep stories alive because to re-member is to put broken pieces back together. We keep learning from stories how to make things whole.’ Mark Nepo.

It’s not just remembering. It’s a re-experiencing and a re-connectedness to that earlier event – in this case story and the Ancestors. Anything less that that, is merely mimesis, an imitation or re-enactment. This is more. This is anamnesis.

Tadhg told a story, and after twenty minutes Tadhg concluded the story and sat down, and some others from the circle, as they felt led, shared ancient stories, stories of life, and some shared parts of their life-story.

Two shared stories from their own life, stories of challenging times and of overcoming. Two other shared stories, fables, that had meant a lot to them and which were well received by all. The evening continued well, with each person giving support and praise to others, as well as receiving it. It was so uplifting.

Tadhg lit another candle.

At this point he explained that, at the end of the year it was a good time to review the positive and the not-so-positive events of the year, and to deal with them. He suggested that each person takes two pieces of paper. One would, if that person so wished, would be displayed on the wall later and would contain one or two positive highlights of the year. It would be a form of written gratitude to the Source of All.

‘The imagination of early childhood has no limits. This is why children are fascinated by stories. A story has permission to go anywhere…. The child rarely experiences the story as an observer. The child enters the story, it experiences the drama from within.’ John O’Donohue

The other piece of paper, would be private, and would highlight negative points and negative thoughts and actions that had happened during the year. People wrote feverishly. A few minutes later each person put the gratitude sheet on the wall; each person took the sheet of negative thoughts and actions and, at Tadhg’s suggestion,  symbolically dealt with them by placing them into the shredder machine.

Tadhg said a few words, a prayer…ensuring that that negativity was truly gone!

More stories were shared.

Tadhg lit another candle, and talked about remembering those who had gone before us – to remember them with joy. He talked about how our ancestors would have used this time to celebrate the lives of the Ancients, and because of the season, he spoke of Modranicht, called  “the Night of the Mothers” or simply “Mothers’ Night”. And, because it was the end of the year, everyone had been asked to bring a copy of a photo of a relative who had passed on, that they wanted to honour, and some also shared stories of those relatives – many quite witty stories that made many smile, and all uplifting – about loved-ones that had passed-on.

Later, Tadhg lit another candle. This time, as some time had elapsed and the evening was drawing to a close, he asked each person to close their eyes, to meditate, and to use their imagination.

“Here is an imaginal ‘Encounter-Message’ exercise: If you would, imagine that this room is filled with your Higher Self, or an elemental, a goodly spirit, an emissary from the Source of All, from the Universe, an angel or fae perhaps. Don’t worry about what they look like but imagine they have a message for someone in the room – not you – but for someone else, and it’s one word, or two, but no more than three, and it’s uplifting. “

“You can imagine them speaking this to you” , Tadhg said, “or writing it down. Now, when you have it, open your eyes and write it down on a piece of paper.”

Everyone wrote something, and everyone then shared the word, two or three that they had been given, not knowing who it was for. Although Tadhg said those present that they may want to share any word heard if they felt it was relevant to themselves. Others, he said, might just quietly like to ponder upon a word heard, silently, that they felt was relevant to them. There was no pressure.

Other stories followed. After a few minutes had elapsed since the last story-sharer had finished and sat down, the Tadhg stood. The bodhrán sounded a slow drumbeat as Tadhg moved in an anti-clockwise direction, pausing at the four cardinal points, and ‘closed’ the meeting by moving back to the centre of the circle and raising his hands momentarily. The drumming stopped. Everything was still, and oh-so quiet.

Tadhg said a short blessing-prayer and sat down. Slowly, ‘normal’ time and interaction resumed.

The event closed with the extinguishing of the candles.

Tadhg explained that each of us were now moving back into mundane time. He suggested we all stand, and applaud – applaud each other for making the evening such a joy, applaud the Other and Ancestors, and others for being present, and applause as a form of ‘grounding’ to ensure that we had ‘fully’ come back into ‘mechanical’ space and time.

One by one, people left. That evening tears were shed, smiles were witnessed, and many were transformed. Each had had an encounter with the Other. In the distance, as car doors opened and closed, the hushed whispers of ,‘See you at the next Telling Place’, could be heard in the still, silent frozen air of that December evening.

‘I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?’ Zhuangzi.

 

Your Invitation To The ‘Telling Place’ FaceBook Event
(Formerly a Table Talk Event)
Friday, 24 July 2020 At 8pm UK Time on Tadhg’s FaceBook Page

This will still be an inclusive event, slightly different, but hopefully as deep and profound as other events. You are still encouraged to participate as fully as you wish, make comments as we go along, and definitely come prepared with a cup of coffee. You might also like to have a candle or two (or more) and matches to hand at home to light the Telling Place Candle(s) all together when we start, to show our connectedness. You might also like to have pen and paper to hand as we’ll also do an imaginal ‘Encounter-Message’ spiritual exercise, too.

This will be an adapted Telling Place event so that you can participate via lockdown, wherever you are. Do make adjustments for the differing time zones, please. It will be recorded.

If you haven’t already ‘friended’ Tadhg on his Facebook page, please see below.

Live-Streaming Video instructions: To view this  streaming video, you need to be a FaceBook friend of Tadhg’s as that it where the ‘broadcast’ can/will be seen. So: If you’re already a friend, or you’re been able to see many of the morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via my Facebook site then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not on Tadhg’s  FaceBook friend’s list or are not sure, do check here. If don’t see many previous videos there, or if you can’t gain full access to read that  Facebook webpage then you’ll need to become a Facebook friend.

To become a Facebook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on Tadhg’s Facebook site – that link above. He will accept as soon as he can, and, when he does, please try the link again  to see if you can gain full access, in readiness for the ‘broadcast’. If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email him, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

 

Seasons, Turn, Turn, Turn: EightFold Wheel Of The Year Workshop: Invitation

20200715 SEASONS INVITE

Your are personally invited by Tadhg to a free workshop about the Celtic/Druidic ‘Eightfold Wheel Of The Year (and other notable dates), which will enhance your understanding of them,  and benefit you in your daily life, solo or group ceremonies and rituals, and enhance your appreciation of the changing seasons

To view that FaceBook livestreaming workshop you will need to ‘friend’ Tadhg unless you already are a friend; otherwise details/links about that are below.

Workshop Details

Friday, 17 July 2020, at 8pm UK Time
Tadhg’s Facebook Live-Streaming Workshop: Free Invitation

SEASONS: TURN, TURN, TURN
The Eightfold Wheel Of The Year & Other Notable Dates

grab a coffee, pen and paper for notes

Using accurate, brief information, music and stories. Tadhg will outline the benefits to you of marking the seasons to make life even more interesting.

Live-Streaming Video: To view this live-streaming video, you need to be a FaceBook friend of Tadhg’s as that FaceBook page is where the ‘broadcast’ can/will be seen. So: If you’re already a friend, or you’re been able to see many of his morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via my Facebook site then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not on his FaceBook friend’s list or are not sure, do check here. If don’t see many previous videos there, or if you can’t gain full access to read that Facebook webpage then you’ll need to become a Facebook friend. To become a Facebook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on that very Facebook site – that link above. I’ll accept as soon as I can, and, when I do, please try the link again to see if you can gain access, in readiness for the ‘broadcast’.

If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, or you would like further details please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.