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.


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

  1. Wow …this caught my attention immediately! Wabi-Sabi happens to be the name of my WordPress Blog site (that I haven’t written on in over a year). I chose the name because of the explanation I came across: finding the beauty in the imperfect. It is a concept that I struggle “with,” and “strive for” daily. You put this in perspective beautifully here! Blessings from Vanora.


    • Hi Vanora

      Great name. Thankyou for your comment. Yes, wabi-sabi is a great concept. I also checked your blog. It looks very good deed. I’d defintely encourage you to blog, regularly….even if it’s only once a week. Blessings, Tadhg


  2. I’m often intrigued by the similarities between Celtic and “Eastern” philosophies, especially in Japan with Shinto and Zen, and I love the concept of Wabi-Sabi and the beauty of imperfection (it pretty much describes everything in my house and garden pretty well too!). It’s worth remembering that Nature doesn’t do perfect, but it does do beautiful.


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