Dive Deeper: A Eulogy & Taking The Next Step. A Sobering Thought: What Would Your Eulogy Sound Like?

20161022-dive-deeper-standard-thoughtsYesterday evening we told stories. Having had a friend pass-on, we all got together to reminisce. Oh, and how the stories flowed. There were several common threads that appeared in our sharing, in that evening of eulogising, of laughing and weeping.

Our dear friend kept us all on our toes. If he didn’t think something was right, he would tell you. He certainly kept me on my toes. Did he ‘go overboard’ with his promptings of what was correct? Probably! But, in re-telling these stores we discovered that his ‘pedanticness’ was borne out of a sense of justice that came from somewhere else and from somewhere deep where love resided, and entered the world of the material our of a genuine desire to encourage and help others.

‘Humans are the storytellers of God. There is something that exists inside all of us that can make an interpretation of everything we perceive. We are like God’s journalists trying to explain whatever happens around us.’ Don Miguel Ruiz

Our dear friend was a physically small guy, not tall, at all – a smidgen under five foot infact. But, when he walked into the room, you knew it – his shoulders would sway, his steps were slow and taken with grim determination, and for one moment you could be forgiven that a tall, muscular Olympic wrestler had walked into the room. That was his presence. A small guy, and yet a big guy: something deep within him expressed  a confidence from Beyond.

Our dear friend was an avid football fan. Sadly, not the team I support, and I used to say to him, ‘Don’t worry. Nobody’s perfect’. To which, with a lightning response, he would reply by saying, ‘But some of us are closer than others, Tadhg, but you’ll get over it!’, and say so with a partial wink in his eye. His wit and humour we’re…..umm, unique! He was passionate about living life to the full, of ‘diving deep’, and there was an energy that came from a distant place.

Ofcourse, our physical bodies are important, and we should do our best to look after them, but there is more to each one of us than meets the eye. Something deeper.  We (re-)discovered that yesterday evening. There is an inner call to a sense of justice and action, an energy and confidence from somewhere else, and passion and love etc that doesn’t originate (just) in the physical. There’s more.

‘He who looks through an open window sees fewer things than he who looks through a closed window.’  Charles Baudelaire

In telling our stories about our dear friend, it became apparent that for all the good points we recounted about him, and some of the lovable, unique ‘flaws’, he was a real human. And, being human is good.

In telling our stories of our dear friend, it became clear that there is an inner life: the life of the spirit that continues. Something deeper than the physical.

‘In the depth of my soul there is a wordless song.’ Kahlil Gibran

Interestingly, for those whose theology includes ‘the fall’ of humanity, my favourite mystic, the Lady Julian of Norwich, wrote that the spirit never fell; that your spirit and mine, is in Bliss and ever turned towards the Life-Giver.

That being so, the ‘real you’, the True Self is absolutely beautiful (or handsome, if you want to use that word as an alternative), extremely powerful, and good. And, where there are differences between the spirit and the body, we are encouraged to work through flaws,  of action and reaction in the physical realm, knowing that within each one of us there is Something More! A treasure hidden in clay vessels.

‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.’ 2 Corinthians 4:16, The Book

Ofcourse, we can live purely in the physical, materialistic realm, we can live life on ‘the surface’ like a pond-skater – one of those insects that ‘skate’ across the pond (and so, aptly named), or we can – by using our thought, using imagination, by meditation etc) good deeper, inwardly, and benefit. Then, like a diver, we leap from the pool’s edge and dive deep, maybe into the unknown, but the deeper we dive the greater the potential to really live, really experience life, and find ‘treasure’.

‘In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln’

Having reminisced about my dear friend who has passed-on, it begs the question about how serious, how passionate and how ‘deep’ we take out beliefs, our ongoing life-stories whether we be a (Celtic) Christian, Druid or some other kind of spiritual sojourner?

How committed are we to what we believe? There may be no easy answers, but it could be that for all of us, there is room to go deeper, still, by taking the next step. What will others say about us? What will our eulogy be, after we’ve moved on? These are positive questions, as we live ‘in time’ and so can do many things – right now! So, dive deep, dear swimmer in the great pool of life – into the sacred space of the interior, and then dive deeper. What is manifest and visible, starts in invisible places. Imagine how life could be?

‘But human beings need deepening places, too. And far too many never have any. Think about your deepening places’. Madeleine L’Engle

The Imaginal Realm 1: Introduction [And The ‘Three Boxes’ Imaginal Exercise For You To Try]


In yesterday’s Journal I mentioned about the imagination, and that as adults we seem to consider it a childish faculty, and that we seem to have lost that ability…or have we?

‘Children see magic because they look for it.’ Christopher Moore.

Here’s some thoughts about the imagination. Yes, we’ll look at:

– how we still use our imagination (even though we may think we don’t), and
– why the imagination is a blessing (but is misunderstood and underused), and
– how we can take the first steps in purposefully using the imagination.

And there’s more…

  • there’s a free ‘three boxes’ imaginal exercise for you to try, and possibly benefit from.

The Imaginal Realm 1: An Introduction

There are several areas where our imagination runs riot, even if we’re not aware of that fact. Yes, we still use our imaginations, even as adults (and can use them more so!)

‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.’ Albert Einstein

So, how do we use our imaginations (still)?

Firstly, advertisers know how to temp us. Take holiday adverts. We see a brochure containing photographs of a sun-drenched beach, read wonderful things about it, and then over a cup of coffee we ‘dream’ of ourselves on that beach. That’s exactly what the advertisers want – you imagining yourself in that setting. Yes, you’ve used your imagination, and in a good way, and in a profitable way from the advertisers’ point of view.

The imagination is powerful.

Secondly, when we dream when asleep, our sleeping mind is flooded with strange scenarios, smells, sounds etc. When asleep our imagination continues to function – yes, it actually never sleeps and is functioning even as you read this. But, the imagination, when we’re awake’ is ‘drowned out’ somewhat by the general busyness of the day – though it still functions, and still sways us – remember those holiday brochures?. But, when we’re asleep, and the body is immobile, and the busyness of the day is ‘a million miles away’, oh, yes, then the imaginal playground opens up and the fetters are off. Then, we revel in the imagination.

The imagination, active all the time.

Thirdly, there’s that half asleep-half awake realm, that we all experience, as we drift off to sleep or have ‘forty winks’. We might be conscious of our surroundings, but in our mind’s eye we might ‘see’ something in our peripheral vision, or hear something (so, I guess that should really be the mind’s ear, also). Interestingly, as an aside, it is in this state that one can experience the ‘exploding head’ syndrome’! Don’t worry- your head doesn’t literally explode, its just that, sometimes, you can be jolted out of that blissful half-sleep by a loud bang (which is ‘in’ your head, or mind).

So, in what way is using your imagination (more)
a blessing and bring benefits to you?

Your imagination is a blessing, and using it more (or allowing it to ‘play’ in the background) can bring many benefits, which would hitherto not ‘arrive’. For instance, it is said that August Kekulé, the renowned chemist, and very much into the research of chemical structure, was said to have dreamed the benzine molecule’s composition, which greatly aided his (and others) research.

I feel more and more every day, as my imagination strengthens, that I do not live in this world alone, but in a thousand worlds.’ John Keats

Our imagination as it ‘plays’ allows us to ‘think outside the box’, to ask ourselves ‘what if?’ and to see things differently, and so, increased our perception. According to the American Psychological Association imagination can also enhance memory – good news for everyone, but especially those with exams. It is said to make us more empathetic towards others, and promote self-growth and maturity.

‘The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.’ Henry Ward Beecher

Now, some may view the imagination with some distrust. This paragraph gets a little theological so if you want to skip over it, that’s okay. Some, and they still remain friends, have said to me that there are several Bible verses that speak against the imagination and the use of it, such as: Romans 1.21 and other places, where, in the King James’ Version, the word ‘imagination’ appears. But, a little research into this, shows that a more accurate rendering of the Greek word(s) is, infact, ‘understanding’, which is a different faculty altogether. In addition to this, although sometimes where the heart is mentioned it is in the negative, it is always (some might say usually) that the ‘challenge’ is in the ‘arena’ of the heart, and not necessarily the heart itself. Just a a couple of theological thoughts to show that, imagination, per se need not be frowned upon.

‘The individual imagination is not its own invention: its source is elsewhere’, and ‘We are from God and we carry in our minds and hearts the ripple of the Divine mind’. John O’Donohue

The imagination is a spiritual faculty and resource.

But, the benefits are even wilder than we first thought. Your imagination can affect your physical body. We know this can happen, for when we imagine something to be dangerous or scary (and movie-makers play on this when they make horror or thriller movies) our hearts speed up, our breathing increases, and we may feel shock or pain. There are times I’ve seen operations on tv and felt (albeit greatly reduced) some pain! I’m sure you can testify to that, too.

Wilder still. A university research team did some experiments, and the findings were reported in the newspapers. It seems that (merely) imagining exercise can have a beneficial effect on muscles. This is good news to all those ‘hitting’ the gym for sport etc, as combining physical exercise with an ‘imaginal gym’ can enhance performance and give one ‘the edge’ over others, potentially.

‘It’s an extraordinary result,’ says Dr Mosley. ‘The measurements showed it wasn’t due to muscles growing bigger, so it wasn’t to do with a change in the amount of muscle.’

So, how had it happened?

‘The electrical stimulation test gave the answer,’ he says. ‘These results showed by the end of the month of thinking, our volunteers were using more of the muscle fibres they had always had.

‘Our volunteers had gone from using 50 per cent of their muscle fibres to using 70 per cent. They didn’t grow more muscle, but they were much better at using the muscle they had.’

See this link to the newspaper article [here].

So, imagination can enhance untapped efficiency of muscles – to make them more efficient, and from those results, muscles can be up to 40% more efficient!

The imagination can give physical and practical benefits.

Good news for sportsmen and sportswomen, especially footballers, weight-lifters, wrestlers and those requiring strength and stamina etc, if they use imaginal techniques.

How we can take the first steps in purposefully using the imagination?

We can use our imaginations in many ways, and gradually build up our imaginal-prowess! Wherever you are in the ‘use of imagination’ stakes, there is always more. There are always more benefits we can access, both for ourselves and on behalf of others, as energy-workers will know.

Imagination, as a link to that imaginal realm of power and potential, can feature in our prayers, good-wishes, positive-thinking, energy-working, ritual by fellow Christians and fellow Druids, and when we use the Caim [see here], when we move or unblock energy and/or bless others for healing and other positive outcomes.

The imagination is a powerful tool.

‘In difficult times you should always carry something beautiful in your mind.’ Blaise Pascal

For sometime I’ve worked with clients using creative visualisation, imaginal-awareness, those dream-like states for their benefit in one-to-one sessions, mainly.

Exercise: But, here’s one practical exercise to ‘ease’ you into this, and which may benefit you.

‘Everything you can imagine is real.’ Pablo Picasso

And, during November, I’ve decided that will be a separate ministry called Liminal People. I’ve worked with some people in this area over a number of years, but now it’s time for it to separate, to come of age, with its own internet website and expand.

So, Liminal People will organise one-to-one sessions in person or via the internet eg Skype, and organise workshops. Using liminality – that threshold or bridge between here and the other, and using your imaginal powers – I would (continue to) guide clients into that imaginal realm of power and potential, so they benefit.

‘Believe that you have it, and you have it.’ Latin Proverb

Some of my clients, in the past, have wanted to interview and ‘adopt’ an archetype (those powerful personified-attributes we all posses and which ‘power’ our skills and attributes ), others wanted to encounter angels or their animal guides, still others wanted to explore that inner world of the psyche for the purposes of growth, maturity, healing, or because they are inquisitive etc.

So, how about booking a session to enter that imaginal realm, and encountering your guardian angel?

Or booking in to an imaginal gym? [Remember those university research results] to complement your physical gym work?

Or how about wanting to explore strange new inner places, discovering inner’ treasure’, being guided by inner companions, and more?

Everything is possible in that imaginal and highly symbolic realm, and whether one prefers a poetic and symbolic imaginal realm experience, or a more prosaic one, there is room for all ‘adventurers’; and maybe, however we describe the imaginal realm it is a metaphor (and contains metaphors as symbols), a representation of something that is far too big for us to imagine at the present, and so we’re all given (different) glimpses of it.

And, in entering that imaginal stream of power and potential, we benefit. That is, if we enter it.

‘Imagination is an almost divine faculty which, without recourse to any philosophical method, immediately perceives everything: the secret and intimate connections between things, correspondences and analogies.’ Charles Baudelaire.

That’s where Liminal People will come in. And more details of that will follow every few days over the next two weeks. But, if you want to email me with questions etc, please feel free to do so at: tadhg@tadhg.cymru

The ‘Three Boxes’ Imaginal Exercise For You Tryxercise

Exercise: But, here’s one practical exercise to ‘ease’ you into this, and which may benefit you. Try it. Even if you only think it’s fun. I do believe at all levels it is useful. It’s called the ‘three boxes’ exercise

Take time to sit comfortably in a place where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes – that’s all this initial exercise will take. Close your eyes, breath deeply and then relax. And just try not to focus on any competing thoughts. Just remain silent for a minute or two. Then imagine that three boxes appear in front of you. If you believe in angels you can imagine that your guardian angel left them here for you. If you believe in elementals, then a friendly elemental left them for you, or your companion, or the universe, or an archetype, whoever you might believe left them here for you, has left here for you.

But, the boxes are in front of you. Let’s say, that you’ve had a tough day, and need encouragement for tomorrow. Then, in your mind, ask the one who left the boxes for you, to put a word or symbol or object in the middle box. A message from them to you. A positive message, a word, symbol or object for encouragement for tomorrow.

So, ‘….please leave an encouraging word, symbol or object in the middle box, a message for tomorrow’

And then wait. Savour the moment. Enjoy it. There is no rush.

Okay, slowly open the middle box. What’s in there? A word? Perhaps typed? Or the actual sound of a word is liberated when you open the box? A picture? A symbol? An object? Slowly consider what it means. By all means lift it out of the box, if possible. There’s no rush. Explore. Take your time.

Don’t forget to show gratitude by thanking the one who left the ‘message’ for you. Then, slowly you can open your eyes. That’s it. You might like to ponder upon the word, symbol or object left for you, and ascertain what it might mean.

Ofcourse, this is only a basic level exercise, and there is more, much more. Other exercises might encourage you to meet to one who left the boxes, to ‘interview’ them, and interact, to visit ‘inner’ locations’, and inform you about residuality, or to meet other characters etc. Finally, as regards this exercise, if the results are confusing to you, do email me.

‘A prison is never narrow when the imagination can range in it as it will.’ Marguerite of Navarre.

Tadhg’s Journal: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone…


Tadhg’s Journal Excerpt: As I sit here, thoughts tumble through my mind, and a few of them settle. So, my journal today is just a simple thought, based on several eclectic events.  The thought: We don’t know what we’ve lost until it’s gone.

‘I said
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone’

Joni Mitchell

Summer is gone, and autumn is almost over. And, winter is almost upon us. Leaves have changed colour, trees are shedding, and the temperature is falling – especially noticeable in the evenings, nights and early mornings. Okay, we’ve lost summer and autumn is fast receding, but oh what wonderful colours those leave are exhibiting. Each season is a joy and brings many blessings, each season teaches us something, and encourages us to go deeper, but what wonderful colours – russet browns, orange, yellows, and all kinds of red – are visible now, that were hidden before. I can’t wait for winter.

We don’t know what we’ve lost until it’s gone.

I had my hearing tested a couple of weeks ago. I know as each year progressed my hearing diminished more and more. I first noticed it eight years ago, and for one reason or another, I didn’t do anything about it. But, bit by bit I began to miss some sounds. When the audiologist declared that my hearing level  accessed at ‘moderate to severe hearing loss’, I knew I had to act.

‘Sweet is every sound, sweeter the voice, but every sound is sweet.’ ‘Alfred Lord Tennyson

We don’t know what we’ve lost until it’s gone.

But, it’s not all negative. The good news is that this morning I picked up a pair of state-of-the-art hearing aids, invisible (almost) and they work wonderfully. I think on a good day I will probably be able to hear conversations on the International Space Station! Maybe, not.

And, last evening I was watching a movie, and just couldn’t get ‘into’ it. It didn’t help that one of the main characters was a wee bit too ‘gung-ho’ for me. There were times when I was mentally re-writing the movies script – am I alone in doing that, or do you do that? I mean, when there’s danger in the form of a zombie (or something resembling one – and I admit I watched the movie only because there was nothing else on tv), but when that zombie is running away from you, why pursue it? Limited ammunition, your family are behind you, the ‘danger’ is receding, so why pursue? If you did, as that character did, your family would then be alone and vulnerable, you might run our of ammunition that you might need later, or the zombie might be leading you into an ambush. I know, I think too much! And, if the scriptwriter had followed my advice, the movie would only have been one-third as long.

But, it seems my imagination is still fully functioning, albeit someway to go in its level of maturity, after that zombie movie. Note to self: Never watch a zombie movie again.

But, many adults do lose much of their imagination as they move from childhood to adulthood (and whatever stages there are in between). Many, not all.

We don’t know what we’ve lost until it’s gone.

But, I have a sneaking suspicion that all is not lost, and that it is dormant or being ‘drowned out’. I say drowned out, because when we’re asleep and the body is relaxed, when the world and busyness of daily life cannot grasp for our attention, we dream. And, generally, those sleep dreams are filled with a myriad of colourful, perhaps noisy, bizarre and illogical events that seem to make no sense, but they may infact be just what we need. Some believe night dreams are just strange thoughts due to random firing of the brains neurons. But, what if much of what we dream is exactly what we need to know. Then, those dreams, filled with symbols and archetypes of all sorts, mean something. Our imagination plays at night in our dreams, and we’re usually unaware of any meaning. We’ve forgotten our dream language and how to interpret dreams. We’ve forgotten to playfully use our imaginations during waking hours.

We don’t know what we’ve lost until it’s gone.

‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.’  Albert Einstein

I’d like to suggest that we can access those dreams, can enter that dream-like state using our imagination, and be the better for it. I’d like to suggest that we playfully use our imagination – a source of power, potential and development – during our waking hours and benefit from it…but, more about that tomorrow.


Celtic Thought: ‘C Is For Coimimeadh’ [The ‘Co-Traveller’]


Do you ever feel as though there is someone with you? Close? Very close? As close as your shadow? You may be right!

Here’s just a thought on which to ponder. As I was reading, several strands of information came together and joined some prior research and memories.

I was reading online of some research done several years ago about the ‘many worlds theory’ on quantum physics. Essentially, there are a huge number of worlds (infinite or almost infinite) which coinhere with this universe of which we’re are part, and so there are multiples of you! Co-existing! Yes, there’s more than one of you – albeit, I’m guessing each ‘you’ in a parallel existence may be slightly different.

‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ Shakespeare

Padre Pio, also known as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, O.F.M. Cap., was a friar, priest, and mystic, and is now venerated as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.The phenomenon of bilocation is one of the most remarkable gifts attributed to Padre Pio. His appearances on various of the continents are attested by numerous eye witnesses, who either saw him or smelled the odours characteristically associated with his presence, described by some as roses and by others as tobacco. Among the most remarkable of the documented cases of bilocation was the Padre’s appearance in the air over San Giovanni Rotondo during World War II. [1]

Peter, in the Bible, had been imprisoned, but a miracle had freed him, and he ran  to the house of Mary, the mother of John. When he got there, he hammered on the door, and when Rhoda, inside, heard Peter’s voice she ran back to the others to tell them, leaving dear Peter still outside! Their reaction was understandable.

They said to her, “You are crazy!” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It  is his angel.” Acts 12:15

But, the interesting thing is that, depending on which version you read – they assumed it was his spirit or his angel! So, something connected to/with Peter, but separate! At least, that’s what they initially thought and what was on their mind – in their ‘theology’!

To ancient (Irish) Celts and Druids this being is the coimimeadh [pronounced koym-imah]. In the late 17th century, Reverend Robert Kirk wrote about the coimimeadh (literally  the ‘co-traveller’) who is part of you (your soul), who walks beside you, generally, but sometimes can go walk-about (in which case you, too, can be bi-locational).

I am not I.
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.

By Juan Ramón Jiménez
Translated by Robert Bly

There are some common themes here, I think: We are not alone. We have a companion (or more than one) and some will call this doppelganger the ‘you’ in one or more of the ‘many worlds theory’ planes of existence, perhaps. Others might say your companion is your True Self or your Higher Self or glimpses of your spirit, others might say it’s a friendly elemental, or that it is your guardian angel(s), or, maybe even an energetic, personal, real-but-elusive, metaphor of…… [fill in the blank].

What do you think?



Essential Celt: You, Your Worth, And Everything You Wanted To Know About Wabi-Sabi


It’s Monday morning. I looked in the mirror. I was hoping that the image displayed would be that of a rugged, ‘enstubbled’, ‘Hollywood actors’ face beaming back. It wasn’t.

I looked half asleep. Because, I was. I looked unshaven. Because I was, but unkempt was the word that also sprang to mind. And, whereas Hollywood actors never have a hair our of place even when waking up in those movies, I can only say mine was ‘zingy’ (what’s left of it), and pointing in all direction. Had I slept in a wind tunnel?

I didn’t look so good, then.

You are more. We are more.

‘A person’s beauty is sophisticated and sacred and is far beyond image, appearance and personality.’ John O’Donohue

The Japanese have a great word (or is that two?): Wabi-sabi.

I know the purists might say that this being a Japanese concept, it has nothing to do with Celtic ways, (Celtic) Christianity or Druidism etc, but I (respectfully) disagree. The essence of a person, what makes you ‘you’, your worth and your status, your presence in the Universe, has everything to do with these ancient ways, as the ancient Celts and Druids ‘looked deep’ into things, weren’t superficial (as some of our advertising that bombards us’, is), and had a great(er) understanding of being; we can learn a lot from them and this Japanese word. There is an overlap, a commonality, here.

Wabi-sabi, then, represents Japanese aesthetics and their particular world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is ‘imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete’ It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching, but it speaks volumes to us as latter-day Celtic Christians and Druids etc. We can learn a lot here, and that can only benefit each one of us on our spiritual journey..

You are more.

So, remembering Wabi-sabi, when I look in the mirror: those are not wrinkles, those are laughter lines.

That is not a blemish, it’s part of my uniqueness.

And that ‘zingy’ hair? Where’s the hair gel?

Okay, there’s stubble there….but in a few minutes it’ll be gone.

And, when I look even closer: that scar, isn’t ugly, but, rather it’s a badge of honour to show the life I’ve lived, the traumas I’ve overcome and that life, a gift from the Source, goes on.

And, we’re more than what we see ‘externally’. But, nevertheless, what we see externally is natural, authentic, honest and therefore beautiful. But, we are more. We have an invisible life and being, that is eternal, but for now, we see as in a mirror, darkly.

But, you are more. We are more.

You and I are beautiful (or handsome) just the way we are.  One of my favourite contemporary poets, Anis Mojgani , wrote:

Come closer.
Come into this. come closer.
you are quite the beauty.
If no one has ever told you that before know that
now. you are quite the beauty.
There is joy in how your mouth dances with
your teeth. your mouth is a sign of how sacred your life truly is.
come into this. true of heart come into this.
You are true of heart. come closer. come closer.
Know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make
something of worth.
He woke from His dreams scraped the soil from the spaces
inside Himself made you and was happy.
You make the Lord happy.
Come into this.
Come closer.

Part of the spiritual journey of (Celtic) Christians and Druids, and others, is to look beyond, is to perceive nature and life in a different way, and cherish it as a gift from the Source of All. Part of that spiitual journey is to see ourselves as beings of worth, great status and power (and responsibility, too), part of nature and yet stewards of it, and to know that we are much-loved by the Source of All.

You are much more.

‘…He will rejoice over you with singing.’ Zephaniah 3.17 (part), The Book

It is easy to succumb and live life at a ‘surface level’. Mondays, advertising, politicians etc seem to encourage a surface, short-term-memoried existence, but you are more. Life is altogether more fantastic, more stranger and deeper than we can imagine. There is more to you than meets the eye.


The Telling Place: ‘The Child & The Beach’


The ancient Celts, Celtic Christians and Druids of old would have sat around the evening’s camp fire  and told stories to each other – the ‘telling place’. Some of these stories would be of their tribal history, great leaders and heroes of the past, perhaps for amusement, and sometimes the stories would be great cosmic stories of creation, and sometimes stories with a deep moral buried within and which the hearer would have to discern. Latter-day Celts, Celtic Christians and Druids still tell wonderful stories, and here’s a meaningful story just for you:

An adult was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As they walked they could see a young child in the distance, seemingly playing.

As the adult he drew nearer they noticed that the child kept bending down, picking something up, and then running to the edge of the sea, and throwing it into the water. Time and again the child kept hurling things into the ocean.

As the adult approached even closer, they were able to see that the child was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time the child would run to the water’s edge and throw them back into the sea.

The adult asked the child what they were doing, and the child replied,” I am throwing these washed-up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen.

“But”, said the adult, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach alone, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The child smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as they threw it back into the sea, they gleefully shouted, “It makes a difference to this one.”

Little by little, in large and small ways, we can make a difference. Never give up.


Ephemera: 16 October 2016 & More: Last Full Moon Of Autumn


Yes, another full moon is about the grace the sky. There will be a full moon on Sunday, 16 October 2016: This full moon, located in the constellation of Aries, is known as the Harvest moon to ancient and latter-day Celts, and the Blood moon to those of old medieval England, and others.

‘The sky is studded with the crystal light of stars and the moon casts mint light over the fields.’ John O’Donohue.

Lunar details: Because this full moon will be slightly closer to the Earth than many of its recent orbits, it will appear slightly larger the usual (and more so if you see it closer to the horizon – this is called the Ebbinghaus illusion). Some would dub this full moon a ‘supermoon’ because it is slightly closer to the Earth (but definitions of what constitutes a supermoon vary). Maybe calling this full moon ‘almost a supermoon’ is, probably, more accurate – but it’s a natural phenomena and happens several times a year, so there’s no need for alarm. Just enjoy the spectacle.

Have you noticed the air temperature dropping, especially late evening to the early morning as we move toward the end of autumn. Indeed, this is the last full moon of the autumn (as the season of winter starts at the end of the month).

‘And Fall, with her yeller harvest moon and the hills growin’ brown and golden under a sinkin’ sun.’ Roy Bean

This full moon will be near a bright star: Omicron Piscium also known as Torcularis septentrionalis, which is 142 light years away (according to Wikipedia, though others place it at 250-260 light years away). In Chinese, it’s known as 右更 (Yòu Gèng), meaning Official in Charge of the Pasturing.

‘The moon has become a dancer at this festival of Love.’ Rumi

On this day: 16 October: Angela Lansbury, English-American actress, singer, and producer, was born (1925) – I really do like her a lot, especially in ‘Murder, She Wrote’; Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope John Paul II (1978); Desmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1984); The Skye Bridge was opened (1995); and 16 October is also World Anaesthesia Day, commemorating the first successful demonstration of ether anaesthesia in 1846.

‘The moon will guide you through the night with her brightness, but she will always dwell in the darkness, in order to be seen.’ Shannon L Alder

Suggestions(s): Many use full moons as a time of release, and use ritual, too. So, how about (1) using this time of the full moon to reflect and see if anything is holding you back, personally, and releasing it. And, (2) maybe use the Caim this time  – see here – as a power ritual to lift up and bless the American people, especially as they draw ever closer to the time of the presidential election.

Essential Celt: ‘Dealing With Those ‘Road Bumps’ On The Journey’ Or ‘Become The Lake’


So, looking ahead, I could see that there were a series of bumps in the road as I was driving along. Tim was sitting beside me, ‘riding shotgun’. ‘What will you do?’, said Tim.

Immediately, three options sprang to mind: (1) avoid the bumps, if possible, or (2) head into the bumps in the road, but go very slowly, or (3) head into the bumps but increase speed to get through them quickly.

Ofcourse, the road bumps options, above, is an analogy representing some of the challenges we may face in our amazing journey of life here on Earth – and though there may be many options when faced with life’s complexities, we’ll look at three, to ponder over.

These life ‘bumps’ can take all kind of guises, and each person will react in a different way. What is a small ‘challenge’ to one person, may be an enormous ‘challenge’ to someone else. And though my prayer for you (and myself) is that there will be no (more) bumps in your life, I am afraid they will happen. So, what to do?

Choice #1: Avoid the ‘bumps’, if you can: One course of action might be to avoid life’s challenges, if at all possible. However, this might not be possible and then other options have to be considered. But, avoidance may be the best way forward, by going around the ‘bump’s, by taking action to steer a course around such obstacles, challenges of life. How, you do that depends on the event, and you. The positive effect: an easier life. The negative effect: you might actually miss out on an important life learning experience.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Depending of the life event, I always advocate expressing gratitude for having been able to avoid the event. But, as Rumi wrote, such life ‘bumps’ may have a positive role to play in our life. So, even if you can avoid a particular life’s ‘bump’, it may be necessary to purposely go through it, experience it, and learn from it. Now, there’s something to think about.

Choice #2: Head into the ‘bumps’ but go slowly: If we have no choice but to encounter a ‘bump’ in life and have to go through it, then going slowly, gingerly, savouring each moment, weighing each action and reaction and making an informed choice, may be the best option. I’ve found that in doing so, I can do so grudgingly (and then the life ‘bump’ seems be magnified and seemingly stays around longer), or I can do so gracefully (whilst being authentic – after all, there’s no sense in being incongruous) and then I’ve noticed the event seems more ‘copable’. Ofcourse, expressing gratitude, albeit very difficult at this time, may be beneficial, too.

‘Keep your chin up. That crown is too expensive to hit the ground.’ Anonymous.

How you react to these life ‘bumps’ will depend on the event and you. I can only say that for me the following works: keeping a daily journal and writing in it how I honestly feel (writing seems to help), finding a close friend that will (just) listen, getting expert opinions and taking reasonable action, trying not to worry, trying to find the learning experience within the event, praying (yes, I know its old-fashioned, but it seems to work and has helped me) and undertaking a ritual (maybe a Caim) and invoking the favour of the Source (and I am indebted to my (Celtic) Christian friends, Druid friends, Pagan friends, and my Muslim friends etc for their prayers, rituals etc), being objective and ‘ditching’ subjective and excessively-worrying thoughts, meditation, forest-walks (solvitur ambulando), to remind myself that I am not this event, and to have hope. And,  to remember the following story:

“One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah,, his most trusted minister. He said to him, “Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. You six months to find it.”

“If it exists anywhere on earth I will bring it to you, your majesty,” replied Benaiah,  “I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?”, he said.

“It has great power,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad; and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.”

Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.  Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah, who was trevelling far and wide, had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before his six month quest was up, Benaiah who was back home, decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a ring of great power that makes the happy wearer forget his joy, and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah.

He watched the older man take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave some words on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile. This was the ring. That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday with great festivity, and King Solomon appeared.

“Well, my friend,” said King Solomon, “have you found what I sent you after?” All the ministers laughed, and Solomon himself knowingly smiled. To everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty!”

As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweller had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: gimel, zayin, yud, which began the words “Gam zeh ya’avor” — “This too shall pass.” At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, and that everything on earth changes.”

Choice #3: Head into the ‘bumps’ but increase speed: This is a variation of Choice #2, but (as one would expect) faster. There may be good reasons for this, but much of what was mentioned above still applies. But, there is a danger that any underlying learning experience may be lost.

When I was undergoing three cycles of chemo (some ten years ago, and received the ‘all clear’ five years ago), I read one of Mark Nepo’s books, and in it he wrote:

An aging sage grew tired of his apprentice complaining all the time, and so, one morning, he sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water, and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter”, said the apprentice.

The master laughed heartily, and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and throw it in the lake. The sage said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

‘Very fresh’, said the young man.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this, the master sat beside this  young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, and said, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things …. stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

Becoming the lake is expanding our horizons, during those tough times, developing new habits, and experiencing more of life, to overcome the limiting ‘road bump’ and to experience more of life. It seems to work.

What do you think?

This article is only an outline, and my heart goes out to all those that are experiencing a life ‘bump’, perhaps a major ailment at the moment. The abovementioned is really for those, maybe all of us, when we’re not going through such life ‘bumps’ and to prepare us. Actually, enduring such a life ‘bump’ can be altogether too personal and too painful. It’s then that that special friend, prayer and ritual is ever-so more important.

Essential Celt: The Purpose Of The Journey Is To…


Having come from the Mystery, we enter this world of mystery and awe, and embark on a voyage of (re-)discovery. Yes, the journey continues, here.

I’m sure we can all remember times when, as a child, things seemed new and bright, and the unknown was alluring. Or, have seen that in other people’s children. Then, our imaginations ran riot, and time itself seemed to move so slowly. Our perception, then, was keyed to see ‘magic’ in all things, or maybe it was the Mystery in all things that was hidden just below the surface, that was our first mission of finding it. A remembrance of ‘home’.

‘….sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.’ Kahlil Gibran

Years passed, and we grew, we grew up, matured, and things that once seemed new and bright, became somewhat familiar and dulled. Routine set in. And our mission of (re-)discovery took second place to more pressing matters. It still is possible to recapture that sense of Mystery in all things, but it seems in our oh-so-busy-and fast society we have to work at it, and it seems to be apparent that it is only sometimes that this Mystery is accessible to us. But, maybe, all this may be part of the plan of encounter: we have to work, earn money, pay the bills, shop, eat etc to live in the world, and so the ‘mundane’ squeezes in, but, such everyday chores are only part of the journey. The journey continues.

There will be times, then, when it seems the Mystery is more accessible and we should cherish those moments, and deliberately put ourselves in the Mystery’s way. And, there will be times when we don’t ‘feel’ the closeness of the Mystery at those ‘mundane’ times, but the Mystery is still there, so take heart, and I’d say were even more evident in those seemingly ‘mundane’ chores. The journey continues.

But, where is this Mystery and what is our purpose on this journey? Perhaps, our purpose is simply to encounter the Mystery, once again, as we once did before birth?

‘You were sent to the earth to become a receiver of the unknown. From ancient times  these gifts were prepared for you; now they come towards you across eternal distances.’  John O’Donohue.

How each one of us encounters the Mystery is many and varied. The Mystery is all around us – we swim through the Mystery. You can encounter the Mystery in religion and various spiritualties eg (Celtic) Christianity, Druidism, Paganism, another religion, and more!

You can encounter the Mystery in dreams, or when you meditate, in ritual (one of my favourite ways), in prayer, or in that period of relaxation when you’re about to fall asleep, in a phrase you might hear on someone’s lips, in a verbal blessing, when listening to an awesome poem or piece of music that sinks deep and touches your heart, in a fleeting numinous thought or feeling of closeness or of being loved,  during a walk through a forest (another favourite way of mine), when you see birds swirling in the sky ready to migrate, in a babies smile, in accomplishing a piece of work or overcoming some hardship or trauma.

You can encounter the Mystery when undertaking a new skill or some form of education or personal or spiritual growth, or in our daily chores of shopping, cleaning, exercising, or working with or assisting others etc. You can encounter the Mystery in a million ways. And, indeed, do!

In that respect, there is no mundane – except for those who are not alert to the Mystery. Alert or not,  The Mystery, for now,  though, seemingly hides. But, take heart.

‘[The Mystery] doesn’t hide Himself from you so that He can’t be found; He  hides Himself from you so that He can be found.’ Tommy Tenney

And, so having come from the Mystery, we enter this world of mystery and awe, and embark on a voyage of (re-)discovery to encounter the Mystery. In that community-orientated prior realm of the Mystery, we journey here, but still we need each other, and still need to be aware of opportunities to work in conjunction with the Mystery. This is made easier in community. Community is important for the journey to continue. We really do need each other.

‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’. Mary Oliver


Essential Celt: Even Before We’re Born The Journey Begins….


Here’s a thought: Ancient Celts and other early tribes and spiritualties had a very different perspective about time, life and death than we have. They saw the world in a totally different way. More unified, whereas we see it in a dualistic way. More harmonious, whereas we analyse it in various ‘departments’. More connected, whereas we regard it as separate from us, and so on.

But, what about the life and death of the individual? What about the march of time?

There is a wealth of literature about life after death in the world. And lots, about life before birth  to be found in the Eastern world and very ancient religions and spiritualties, Islam, for instance; there is, sadly, a paucity of such information and understanding  in the West.

And, yet, living ‘in time’, whether we view this as real (for now) and/or an illusion, we are ‘wired up’ to think of ‘before’, ‘now’ and ‘after’ in one long time-line, it seems.

If you came out of somewhere, then you had to be somewhere before you came…As well as having an ‘afterwards’, every person has a ‘before…Each of us comes from somewhere more ancient than any family’. ‘ John O’Donohue

So, here are a few thoughts to ponder upon. Nothing dogmatic. Just a few thoughts for you to mull over, from a different perspective, perhaps from an ancient Celtic viewpoint? Not advocating the thought of re-incarnation with its multiple births and multiple deaths, but rather, suggesting a ‘what if’ scenario: what if we have lived before birth? Pre-life!

‘Dans la nature rien ne se crée, rien ne se perd, tout change. In nature nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything changes.’.  Antoine Lavoisier.

The abovementioned phrase is an interesting one, and one that many subscribe to, and in a scientific manner many draw assurance from it that life goes on after death, albeit in a different form.

But, if nothing is lost and is merely transformed, why should that process only start after our demise here? Taking that phrase at face value almost demands that we consider the process to have already started before our birth here, and part of the transformation process is what actually brought us here.

According to the Talmud, it’s written, that even before we’re born, just before we’re conceived, infact, and before we find ourselves in the comfort of the womb, we had some sort of pre-life. Our own personal angel, perhaps our guardian angel instructed us in all that is to take place, and actually teaches us all the wisdom we will ever need to know on the Earth. And then, just before we move into this realm of time…the angel purses its lips, raises its index finger to its lips in a kind of teacherly hush gesture, and then moves that finger to our lips, just under our noses. Hush! And, everything the angel taught us is immediately forgotten. And, then we move into this world of time. And, that is how, it is said, each one of us receive that small indentation in the skin beneath our noses which is just above the centre of our top lip, which is known as the philtrum.

‘Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.’

William Wordsworth

Could it be, then, that we have lived before being born here, and lived in a timeless, eternal realm of the spirit? A wonderful place – a place of wonder! And then, for some reason we seemingly left it to enter this world of time, for a period of physical life, only to return to that timeless realm upon our demise here?

Ofcourse, if that is so, then perhaps, the idea of leaving that timeless realm to come here, is an illusion. For, though we hopefully will spend many decades here, in that timeless realm of our origin we are absent (literally) no time at all. Many years here, for instance,  would be the blink of an eye, there. It would be no time at all – how could it be anything other, in that realm of no-time? And so, perhaps, we never left! But it only seems so, from this ‘world of time’ perspective.

‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born…’ Jeremiah 1.5a, The Book

And then, if we never left…and this does, I admit, sound strange, then those who came before us, and those who are yet to come are in that timeless realm, now, and, this is where it gets even stranger, so are we. Now.

From our viewpoint:  Birth into time. Departure. The Afterlife.


In actuality: Pre-life, forgetting, a (seeming) birth into time (also), a seeming departure, a seeming return…but we never really left. We just think we did.

However, I am not suggesting that life ‘in time’ is a dream-like illusion. I believe it is real, and being here is necessary, and what we do here is important. It’s just that for this ‘time’ we are in two places at once, and as one of those realms is the realm of ‘no time’, this is could be said to be entirely reasonable to believe. (But, if you want to imagine that our life here, in actuality, is compressed into a nano-second, and that we’re absent for a nan-second from that eternal realm’s point of view, and then return to that realm, that works, too).

There is a ‘story about a little girl who wanted time alone with her infant brother. Her parents were suspicious of her motives. What if she did something to harm the baby? The big sister was so persistent that her mom and dad finally decided to allow her ten minutes alone with him in his room. After they closed the door, they listened quietly. They felt chills when they heard their daughter say, ‘Baby, tell me what heaven is like. I’m starting to forget.”

I find all this tremendously reassuring. Birth then is a welcoming of an old ‘new’ soul, and ofcourse to be celebrated. Wet the babies head who may be a few weeks old, but in a real sense he/she is a fellow timeless traveller of an awesome heavenly origin. Death, like that seeming departure from that eternal realm into this one, and then the return back home, is then, a wonderful transformation of state, a very real continuation. It’s a going home (that we never really left, but the ‘scales fall from our understanding’). Will you see your loved-ones again. Yes, when you get there. But, then (in that timeless realm) you’re already there, maybe having a wonderfully long, joyous conversation with your lived ones, right now. But, as you’re ‘in time’ you just don’t know it – from this ‘in time’ viewpoint.

Ofcourse, you may not agree with any of this. And as a (Celtic) Christian, Druid, Pagan, Light-Worker etc, you may have your own views. As I said, I don’t intend to be dogmatic, but as a fellow-traveller I would value your views and input. So, what do you think?

‘Time is not a thing that passes … it’s a sea on which you float’. Margaret Atwood.