About Tadhg

I am a latter-day Celt, a Druidic-Christian Minister, and an Anamcara. [Gaelic for 'soul friend'] living in Capel Curig in Wales, and London. I organise one-to-one sessions ('in person', or via Skype, Whatsap etc wherever you are) and workshops for: - archetypal mapping - imaginal/liminal emcouters - kataphatic meditation - apophatic meditation - angelic encounters - caim/circle events I organise group events: I also an inclusive, independent priest (having graduated from the London School Of Theology) and a ceremonialist, leading events from baby-blessing and naming ceremonies to handfasting to unfastening to transition ceremonies for people and animals, and I organise group/open rituals and ceremonies for special events, seasons, feast days etc. I am fascinated by 'thin places', those intersections of time and space, places of power and potential, where The Other seems palpable. I love the great outdoors, am an amateur astronomer, an avid reader, a writer of poetry and prose; and as a sociable guy would really like to hear from you. Namaste.

Moonemclature (sp): A Poem About Full Moon Names

MOONEMCLATURE

As you now, I like to use the ancient and tribal names for the moon, relating to the month in which the full moon appears, in liturgy – especially the Full Moon ceremonies. It tells us a lot about how the ancient Celts, Druids, Jews, Christians, Pagans and others regarded and revered the moon, and the One Behind It All; and it connects us to the past, so that there is a very real link, a spiritual continuity as we look up to gaze in awe at the rolling sphere(s).

For instance, to some, the August full moon was/is known as the Sturgeon Moon because of the fish in the Great Lakes fished by the Algonquin tribes, to others it’s known as the Barley Moon, and to others, such as then Anglo-Saxons of old, the Grain Moon.

Here’s a poem for the full moon for each month of the year.

JANUARY
The night air is still, Quiet Moon,
and frost on the ground is strewn.
Sounds are muted and all is at rest,
Warmed we are, and so truly blessed.
We remember you in our praise tonight,
this betwixt, magical time of twilight.

FEBRUARY
Moon of Ice, we greet you well,
your smile charms us like a subtle spell.
And, as upward we crane our necks to look,
you write love-letters on our heart’s invisible book.
As you look down upon us and see
in us a reflection of the Immutable Three.

MARCH
Open our hearts, our intellect and mind,
and search our ways, so that in you we find,
the reason for the smile on your face.
It is the ‘Moon of Winds’ Creator’s grace.
And, in gratitude and awe,
we cry out, insatiably, for more.

APRIL
We welcome you Growing Moon,
whose face is carved like a sublime, ancient rune,
to remind us to look above and beyond,
to revere your light in that ancient pond,
to honour with all, and with our soul,
honour you, the One Behind It All.

MAY
The Bright Moon is May’s delight,
look kindly on Earth’s children tonight.
May we be blessed forever to be,
One with you, Eternal Three.
That divisions here on Earth, may cease,
as we celebrate this night as your timely feast.

JUNE
We honour you, Moon of Mead,
and lift up our heads, lift up our need,
that in you, you will supply,
our humble requests, hear our plaintive cry.
That we might be blessed in your light,
and revel in oneness this summer’s night.

JULY
We celebrate midsummer, Oh Moon of Corn,
that from darkness, you are now full-born.
Around us mirth and joy is heard,
You light the world by the Creator’s word.
Teach us to listen and observe
to nature’s wisdom, to love all, and all to serve.

AUGUST
Welcome Barley Moon, a beaming light
o’er the golden grain at night.
Reflecting sun, giving food for our table,
you hang there in a sky, in a sea the colour of sable.
Your light now full, this month in size you grew.
Dear bright moon, we welcome you.

SEPTEMBER
Welcome Singing Moon, of mirth and merriment,
of lovers’ poems, and words of lament.
At the close of day, upward many look and think,
and celebrate your beauty in song and drink.
And then in silence and awe,
we contemplate your beneficial, wholesome, tidal law.

OCTOBER
Welcome Harvest Moon, new light reborn,
keeping watch over the cultivated corn.
As the temperatures fall and air begins to chill,
as owl noises can be heard from dale and hill,
so may we, in wonderment, pause and be still.

NOVEMBER
Ah, Moon of Snow, we welcome you,
yellow light in a sea of blue.
Created by the One Behind It All,
Arianrhod, by your name we call,
you, once again, to be,
and seek you, from incumbrance us free.

DECEMBER
Cold Moon hanging in the darkened sky,
your love, your power, your face forever shy.
In awe we gaze upward, and and question, ‘why?’
Why should the Moon-Maker gift us,
with your smile so beauteous?
Cold Moon hanging in the darkened sky.

Ofcourse, there’s more. The above-mentioned poem can be used as liturgy by you in your solo Full Moon ceremonies, and perhaps you might like to use the particular part of the poem that relates to the month that your specific Full Moon ceremony covers. Indeed, within a couple of weeks a new Full Moon liturgy (Modwenna Rite) will appear on my blog, including this liturgy and more, ready for out next, inclusive, ‘open’, global, Full Moon ‘broadcast’ via FaceBook.

Finally, apologies for the misspelling of ‘nomenclature’ in the title of this article. It was deliberate. It so sounded like a (part) Moon spoonerism, that I couldn’t help but misspell it to describe the theme, moon names, moon nomenclature, of this article.

The moon header photograph is copyrighted: All rights reserved, 2020, Pennie Ley (see here). Used  with permission. Many thanks Pennie.

Ah, The Kindly Face (Lunar Poem) & Your ‘Full Moon Ceremony’ Invitation

ah the kindly face

There’s a full moon this coming weekend. In anticipation of that, below is a poem that will be part of the middle section of a Full Moon Ceremony and in addition to the liturgy , and here’s your invitation to that Ceremony.

FULL MOON CEREMONY
Tadhg’s FaceBook Page / Live-Streaming

And, you’re invited from the comfort of your own home!

Friday, 3 July 2020 At 8pm (UK Time)

To view that FaceBook livestreaming ceremony you will need to ‘friend’ Tadhg, and details/links about that, and an outline of the liturgy (printable) are highlighted after the poem. I hope to see you there. (Oh, to participate even more, why not have a candle and matches ready for the event).

Ah, the poem  with the upcoming full moon in mind:

 

Ah, The Kindly Face (Poem)

The blessed Earth-maker moved and the Earth was split, rent asunder,
and its twin was created, yes, the the Moon was formed.
Blessed be the Moon-maker, who made this wonder,
and who created its face to look down upon us.

Ah, the kindly face.

The crown of the moon is Oceanus Frigoris, a place ancient and old.
A reminder that it is, indeed, the Sea of Cold,
and, best seen in winter.

One eye is Oceanus Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility, or peace,
where in July  nineteen sixty-nine humankind first set foot on the moon in Apollo eleven.
A fact to remember, in awe, as we gaze, upward, into the heaven[s].

The other eye is Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rain.
It is the larger of the two, so no need for eye-strain.
But, on the day when it pours, and you choose to stay indoors,
it may be the Moon to whom you should complain.

For, the moon controls the tides, and does impact upon our weather
and part of the mouth on that face, Oceanus Procellarum, is the Sea of storms.
And, as you and I look upward, together
we now know.

But, there’s more, and no reason to quibble,
for that mouth
seems to dribble
into Mare Humorum, the Sea of Moisture,
to the south.

The blessed Earth-maker moved and the earth was split, rent asunder,
and the the Moon was formed.
Blessed be the Moon-maker, who made this wonder,
and who created its face to look down upon us.

Ah, the kindly face.

And, as we look up, and wisdom seek,
May we be a star in the (soon) waning Moon
May we be a staff to the weak.1

Ah, the kindly face.

 

Note 1: May we be a star in the waning Moon. May we be a staff to the weak. Quoted from the Carmina Gadelica (slightly adapted).

 

LiveStreaming & Liturgy Notes for the Full Moon Ceremony

Live-Streaming Video: To view this  streaming videos, 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 my morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via my Facebook site then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not on my  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 my 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’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

Liturgy: The first part and last part of the Full Moon Ceremony liturgy will more or less remain the same, and so there will be some continuity. The middle section will change in many parts, with the inclusion of today’s poem, different music and other words, so there will be some good surprises. Do print off the previous liturgy which can be found here. With or without the printed liturgy you are warmly invited, and encouraged to watch/participate at home as much as you wish to. Hope to see you there!

 

Header photo is copyrighted, all rights reserved, 2020, Pennie Ley (see here). Used  with permission. Many thanks Pennie

 

 

Time And The Realm(s) Beyond: A Celtic/Druidic View Of Conflation

time a conflation

It’s January and I’m back at Capel Curig, north Wales, where my late grandmother’s cottage is situated. When I left the cottage the sun was just going down. Now it’s twilight, that ‘magical’ time when anything can happen. I’m walking deep into the forest, here.

We live in a world governed by time. To get to work, meet a family member, even to go shopping we schedule and mark such events by time, and see it as consecutive and linear. That idea seems to suit the way we perceive time for out twentieth century events. Time seems to ‘fit’ well around our human-centric activities.

A few minutes later, as I look up I see the wispy, crepuscular clouds, high above me, just losing their sunlit glow. And, then darkness closes in, fast, and the forest trees around me lose their three-dimensional setting, and ‘distance’ seems to be no more, as trees just look like dark brown paper cut-outs, ‘flat’ in the near distance.

Some may be thinking that it isn’t our activities that shape our view of time, but that time shapes us and affects us, but we’re not aware of it.

Current view: time is ever-advancing, continual and consecutive.

There was once an idea in astronomy that time continued in a straight, ever-advancing fashion until the expanding universe reached the point where it could expand no more, and then it would contract. At that moment, time itself would start to go in reverse (but anyone experiencing that reversal wouldn’t be aware of it). If that was happening now, you and I wouldn’t be aware of it. It would appear normal. Affected by ‘backward-running’ time, but unaware.

Current view: the sequence of events, linear time-wise, is necessary to tell a story or record events. Many admit that as things seems to repeat themselves that time is circular and not linear. Perhaps, it’s both. Things do seem to repeat themselves, but as the weeks and years advance, they do so with minor variations. Perhaps, it is both, and that time is, infact, the shape of a ‘slinky’ toy.

Walking on for half an hour or so I’m at an area where, as children, my friends and I played. Even now this place, Drws i fyd arall (pronounced ‘droo zi fid arrah’) as we called it provokes fond memories and a current air of mystery. Drws i fyd arall was our childhood name for two ‘fused’ and arching trees in this clearing – Drws i fyd arall means ‘door to another world’ and was so named as our childhood imaginations ran riot. Was it just our imaginations that gave these trees their name, or was it these trees and this ‘magical’ area that ‘spoke’ to us and prompted us to describe it so?

Playing as a child with my friends here, happened some fifty-five years ago, but it doesn’t seem as though time has moved on. Logical, scientifically and empirically time has moved on, though. Experientially, and now as I stand before these two trees, my feeling, my intuition tells me otherwise. I believe the ancients, those Celts, Druids, Pagans and others would have held the latter, experiential, timeless view.

The ancient Greeks had two main terms for time: chronos and kairos. To them, Chronos was quantitative, and was time that measured hours and minutes. Think, ‘tick tock’. Their other word for time, kairos. Kairos is time, but it is qualitative. Think, ‘timely opportunity’.

At Drws i fyd arall was I experiencing both chronos and kairos, but ‘majoring’ and receptive to Kairos? There is part of me that baulks at the idea of describing peak experiences in that way, especially as I’m not a dualist, but a unitive thinker, and especially as those divisions are born out of ‘scientific’ thinking without trying to perceive things from those other time-less realms.

At Drws i fyd arall those distinctions didn’t matter. Me, and you if you were here, like our Celtic, Druid, and Pagan ancestors would, I think, have been immersed in the moment – having entered sacred space/sacred time. Outside of strict definitions of chrono or Kairos.

I sat down, looking at the two trees arching over, and in the almost-complete darkness, my eyelids beginning to half-close and it seemed the darkness began to play tricks, as I saw sparks and strands of light, flashes, that appeared and disappeared. One moment, there (and perhaps in my mind’s eye) was a scene of me with my friends when we were all about six years old (including sound), then another scene appeared of me as an older teenager, and then another set of images appeared, as if in front of me, of my friends and I aged about ten (when one of them fell out of a tree). And, so it went on. Seemingly, time-disjointed events, apparently  at random.

It was a few weeks later, recounting this incident, that I realised that if the author of these images were fae, the genius loci (spirit of the place), elementals or the ancestors, then they may not teach in out twentieth century, linear, way. Why should they? They inhabit different realms, have different priorities, and perceive time in a different way.

Not all cultures in the world write from left to right, not all the books in the Hebrew part of the Book are in chronological order (but are in order of size), and some cultures never used the zero in maths or counted in base ten numerals (as some got to 8, and that was it. Our nine would be written as 11). Why then, should those we encounter from other realms not communicate and do things differently.

The three main scenes that appeared before me, upon reflection, seemed to be a group of my very young friends and I playing together, wonderfully oblivious to anything around us, but in community. The second scene showed me, alone, deep in thought and appreciating nature, and appreciating actions and consequences. The final scene was back, nearer in time to the first scene (but a few years on) and showed my friends concern (and mine) for a friends who had falled from a tree, and being concerned about him, and being concerned about the tree (though I suspect it was a concern that a branch we used to swing from was unusable now).

As an adult, if I re-arranged those scenes into chronological order then it would appear as disjointed stories, just lovely memories, and nothing more. In keeping the scenes in the way they were presented – ‘crazy timing’ from our point of view – they did, indeed, made sense, and delivered a ‘message’. Perhaps, something like this: initially we all might have be concerned about our group, ourselves or our community, and only look to our own group interests. Then we grow and look outward to the needs of others. And, third, the scene showed a ‘marrying’ together of community, outward concern and maturity, and bringing the two into harmony: perfect balance.

I left that clearing, somewhat confused then, but ‘unpacked’ the images and sequences, and they made sense – an otherworldly, ‘differently-timed’ sequence of events, but they contained a deep and profound meaning, all the more potent because I had to strip away twentieth linear-time understanding, and surrender to the moment.

Could it be, that for the author of these images, fae, the genius loci (spirit of the place), elementals or the ancestors, time is perceived, as they communicate to us, in order of importance rather than chronological order? I think so. It’s for the same reason that dreams seem odd in that they usually don’t follow  sequential time, from our point of view, but appear random – or, perhaps are cast that way so that an overall message is conveyed rather than just a memory of events, as one might see on a holiday. The latter being great memories but rarely containing a profound meaning of other-worldly important. Time, then for them, would be conflated.

Jarod Kintz wrote: I had a dream about you. We were racing to be the slowest person on earth. You were winning which meant you were losing. You were gloating because you were a winner and I was taunting because you were a loser.

It is one thing to accept this conflation of other-worldly time and see it as different to linear time, it is another thing to, sometimes, to surrender to it and experience. There are sometimes, when the encounter is so ‘abrupt’ that we’re living that ‘nowness’ of time as we experience numinous events even before our cerebral faculties are aware (and that brings us back to dream encounters, where much of our logical cerebral brain cells are ‘asleep’).

In closing, I’ve learned to accept what these peak experiences give us, in the order they produce the event, as the sequence is as important as the contents, and may indeed, contain greater truths they want to convey. Think of those movies, where, after just a few minutes into the action, a subtitle appears and says something like ‘Fifteen years earlier’. Yes, the story is important, but the sequence – even if not following chronological order – adds to the message being conveyed. What do you think?

 

The Caim: A Circling Ritual: Live Streaming: Your Invitation For 19 June 2020

CAIM 111

The Caim, a circling ritual is ancient, profound and powerful. And, you are invited to participate in a livestreaming broadcast.

Yes, you’re included.

The first ten minutes or so of the livestreaming  will outline what a Caim is, and how adaptable it is. The main ritual, is inclusive so you are invited to participate wherever you are. If you wish to fully participate, you’ll find a liturgy that you can print out, below. And, then we’ll end the free event with a question and answer session or similar. It’ll take about an hour in all.

THE CAIM: A CIRCLIING RITUAL
8PM UK TIME, FRIDAY, 19 JUNE 2020
YOU’RE INVITED!

So, at a new location for this event, do join Tadhg for a lockdown special Caim ritual.

Important: The livestreaming will take place on my Facebook website, so do ensure you can view it – you’ll need to be on my Facebook friend’s list – and if you’re not, or are not sure about that. do see the few paragraphs right at the base of this article.

 

THE CAIM

Introduction

The Caim is a circling ritual. Unlike a ceremony, it’s purpose it to evoke a change. Here’s an outline of the Caim, followed by one example, among many, of a Caim, a Circling ritual for peace and envisioning the people – something sorely needed in the world at this moment of great woe and flux.

Below are some thoughts

If the Caim you conduct is yourself, alone and informal, then it can be quite personal (and, if an individual is the central part of the ritual (eg for healing) then his/her name can be used. Attire can be very simple, maybe with the use of token elements of dress, unless you wanted something more grand. Also, in such cases, the Caim might only last a few minutes, and consist of opening, ‘the works’, and closing the Caim. Much of ‘the work’ can be imaginal and inward, as you meditate n that person or ecological need etc. Indeed, the Caim could be completely ‘physical’ action, or completely ‘imaginal, or a combination of the two. It could last fifteen minutes, or just five minutes, or in an impromptu but necessary situation less than a minute (a ‘micro’ Caim). There is, in an informal Caim with just yourself, more scope for improvisation and ‘flamboyance’.

If the Caim you conduct for a group of people, then it will be (more) formal, and if used for the healing of individuals then it is best not to name names. If it is for the needs of the community in general, ecological areas or distant lands, then local area to country names can be used. Attire then, and actions, can and should be grander to inform and encourage participants. The ritual, then, might take much longer and last almost an hour. Much of ‘the work’ is then ‘physical’ and symbolic – outward, but inferring inward happenstances – to ensure that participants can visually observe. There would be little ‘imaginal’ work (except during any time of prayer, meditation and reflection). Wherever possible encourage others to read readings, prayers etc that you have pre-arranged – so there are no surprises – and do ensure that you have given participants plenty of notice.

Below are some ideas about personally preparing to ‘open’ a Caim.

The Caim Ritual: Preparation

For the person leading the ritual, it is preferable to have a time of personal preparation. This can be a short time of prayer and meditation before ‘opening’ the Caim. This can range from a minute or two, to a little longer for more formal or longer rituals.

Entering sacred space, and there are many ways of doing this – can entail sitting quietly, meditating, or perhaps where other people are involved or it is a more formal setting (and some kind of action is need) the lighting a candle is the simplest way. It marks an entering into liminal and sacred space and time – a place of power. It’s at the preparation stage you need to consider attire (and to dress appropriate to the informality/formality of the event, and appropriately to the numbers of those attending), and the use of a candle, matches and other ‘tools’.

 

THE CAIM: A CIRCLING RITUAL (LITURGY FOR PRINTING)
THIS THEME; A FORMAL RITUAL FOR PEACE AND ENVISIONING THE PEOPLE

 

For this ceremony you may need:

  • A candle
  • Safety matches
  • A stick, ‘wand’, walking stick, ceremonial staff/‘hiking pole’ or (a pointed finger!)’

 

1. Opening The Caim

Calling The Quarters
Calling the Quarters, as we turn in sequence (clockwise/deosil (pronounce joss-all)) to face the four cardinal compass points, it helps us to become fully present so we can deeply connect to the world around us, and create a safe and sacred space for us all, as community.

As we turn we can simply point to the ground, of the four cardinal points, or use a ‘wand’ or ceremonial staff/‘hiking pole’, or an outstretched finger, to scribe a circle as you move around.

Everyone Facing East (Lifting up holy hands: Orans style)
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the wind, with the breath of change.

All: We welcome you.
Or: Awen

Everyone Facing South (Lifting up holy hands: Orans style)
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the flame, and justice.

All: We welcome you.
Or: Awen

Everyone Facing West (Lifting up holy hands: Orans style)
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the tides, and of peace.

All: We welcome you.
Or: Awen

Everyone Facing North (Perhaps lifting up holy hands)
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the land, and of new growth.

All: We welcome you.
Or: Awen

Everyone Facing The Centre (Lifting up holy hands: Orans style)
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with your power, and your love.

All: We welcome you.
Or: Awen

 

The Caim candle may be now lit.

 

2. The Work

It is here that the main theme for each individual  Caim is conducted eg a blessing on a person or group; on a local community or country; or an ecological disaster or need; or other need where a blessing or power is needed; on animals, or pets, or wildlife etc. Use words, pictures, music, physical movement, drama or symbolism, as appropriate.

You might consider researching a need, and voicing it here, for just a few minutes. For instance, at this event we will be focussing on the need for justice by certain groups of people in …. and the need for them to have a hope and vision for the future. So…

Give an outline of intentionality and the need of….

One or more of the following may be used:

Breathe Prayer: Tonglen:
This is simply, symbolically, deeply inhaling negativity and pain; simply, symbolically, deeply exhaling peace, love, spaciousness and relief. A picture of the person, landscape, country or nature picture can be used as a focal point.

‘You breathe in the pain of a specific person or animal that you wish to help. You breathe out…spaciousness or kindness…’ Pema Chödrön

Encouraging The Group For Tonglen
The Leader says the words, ‘Breathe in’, and breathes in
All do the same.
The Leader says the words, ‘Breathe in’, and breathes in
All do the same.

(Repeat five times.)
The Leader says the words, ‘Breathe normally’.

Palm Stone Placement On Map/Area Or An Object On A Representation Of Need
The Leader explains: Now, Larimar is a special stone, known by some to have healing properties, and to associated with the elements of water and fire – both necessary for healing, both relevant to this ritual. Both symbolic for peace. The placing of the Larimar stone on the map is symbolic (and, so you can substitute something else for it).

Place the palms stone on the map.

In addition, we can write the word ‘peace’ and ‘vision’ on the map (or write whatever is needed by people, the environment, animals and nature).

Write the words ‘peace’ and ‘vision’ on the map

 

Words Of Power
One or more of he following poems, phrases, prayers or blessing can be used:

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.  (Victor Frankl)

There is a Light in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways. (Richard Attenborough)

The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe. (Joanna Macy)

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. (Jonathan Swift)

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are. (Hafsat Abiola)

May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
And now may …. be blessed kindly in all ways. Amen. (Scottish Blessing)

May you have –
Walls for the wind
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks bedside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire. (Celtic Blessing)

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life. (John O’Donohue)

 

Other resources can be used here. See ‘Other Resources’ supplement below.

 

3. Conclusion

Closing The Quarters
Closing the Quarters, as we turn in sequence (clockwise/deosil (pronounce joss-all)) to face the four cardinal compass points, it helps us to become bring us closer to acknowledging we are leaving this time and place of sacred space.

As we turn we can simply point to the ground, of the four cardinal points, or use a ‘wand’ or ceremonial staff/‘hiking pole’, or an outstretched finger, to scribe a circle as you move around. Some like to do this closing event in reverse. If so, you will need to turn anti-clockwise/widershins, and reverse the order of the statements below.

Everyone Facing East (Lifting up holy hands: Orans style)
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: We thank you for your presence with us today.

Everyone Facing South (Lifting up holy hands: Orans style)
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we thank you for your presence with us today..

All: We thank you for your presence with us today.

Everyone Facing West (Lifting up holy hands: Orans style)
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: we thank you for your presence with us today.

Everyone Facing North (Perhaps lifting up holy hands)
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: We thank you for your presence with us today.

Everyone Facing The Centre (Lifting up holy hands: Orans style)
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we thank you for your presence with us today..

All: We thank you for your presence with us today.
Notices may be said here.
A Final blessing may be said, such as:

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
deep peace of the flowing air to you,
deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
deep peace of the shining stars to you,
deep peace of the Son of peace  to you (and yours), forever.
(Unknown. Early Scottish)

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
and until we meet again,
may God/the Source of All hold you in the palm of His hand.
(Old Celtic Traveller’s blessing)
The Caim candle may be now extingished. Ritual ends.

 

 

Other Resources/Supplemental
The following may be used, either as a poem, an instructional-enacted poem-drama, especially by yourself, or by one or more in a group setting.

The Voice (Part of a poem by Tadgh)

“And so I speak of humanity’s cosmic task,
To be revealed, evidenced, enjoyed, without any mask.”

“And so, don’t just sit, but take heed and do,
these are worded-actions-prayers for many, and for you.”

“And so, again I say, as above, so below,
remember these things; they are things you should know.”

“Through prayer, does that which is unseen, unmanifest,
reveal itself and take form in the blessed.”

“And so, I mention,
with your hands at your side, walk humbly,
take seven half-steps forward, its a journey of intention.”

“And now, raise your hands in simple ‘surrender’,
and point both to Heaven, that domain of awesome splendour.”

“Widen your arms, and so scoop, and harvest
pure energy, pure ‘gold’, and be prepared to be feel blessed.”

“Draw in that power, by folding your arms like an ‘x’ on your chest,
and feel its benefits, its warmth; you’re at peace, at one, ‘at home’, at rest.”

“Then stretch forth your arms, and mould with your hands
as if a ball, that ‘globe-like’ power-blessing from the ouranic meadowlands.”

“With one foot leading, and with knees part bent,
sway back and forth, in preparation for that ‘goodness’ to be sent.”

“In your mind, name the loved-one, the recipient, the friend,
and in your heart, see them, imagine them, to that end.”

“‘Push’ with your hands, that power-blessing from you to them,
and sigh the sound of the ages, the ‘so be it’, the ‘amen’.”

“And then, your hands drop to your side,
power has gone out; but there is no lack,
for the power-blessing that went forth, also comes back,
in another way and at another time, and so you, too, are blessed.”

 

Important: FaceBook LiveStreaming Viewing Information: Ensure You Can View It

To view this  streaming videos, you need to be a friend of mine on Facebook. So: If you’ve been able to see my morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via Facebook then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not on my  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. See below.

To become a Facebook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on my Facebook site – that link in the paragraph 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’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

 

 

 

Experiencing ‘Thin places’ As The Ancients Did

20200617 EXPERIENCING THIN PLACES

Have you ever experienced a ‘thin place’? Here’s a brief outline of what a ‘thin place’ is,  how you can experience them, and a poem about them.

What Is A Thin Place

Have you ever travelled some distance to an ancient site, and almost heard the cry of the ancestors call out to you over the millennia from that place? You might have been walking in a forest, witnessed a flash of sunlight break through the forest canopy, and felt a deep stirring within?

Perhaps, you were in a rush, walking through a city street, and you stopped to cross the road and someone with a baby in a push chair stopped beside you and the baby smiled at you, and you felt a ‘warmth’ from somewhere else move in your core. These are all examples of  ‘thin places’.

Druids and ancient Celts held the view, and latter-day ones, and others, still hold the view, that there exist places, times and events where the separation between here and the Other, that veil, that threshold to the spiritual realm, can be unusually ‘thin’ and can be touched, encountered, felt, experienced. These, they called them ‘thin places, and they still exist today, and you can experience them, too.

‘There is an indefinable, mysterious power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it. It is this unseen power that makes itself felt and yet defies all proof, because it is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses. It transcends the senses.’ Mahatma Gandhi

In one sense, the ancient Druids and Celts never ‘suffered’ with dualism as we do, and so it seems odd to speak of here and the Other. Perhaps, a way forward is to understand that that Oneness always exists. But, with our minds focussed on the busyness of the day, we need some encouragement and opportunity to have that awareness revealed to us. Like a muscle, such awareness grows over time, so that we can be more easily aware of ‘thin places’, and enjoy them.

So, a ‘thin place’ or caol áit (a Celtic/Gaelic word, pronounced ‘kweel awtch’) is a time, place or event where we are aware of the closeness of the Other.

Throughout the United Kingdom there are places described as holy or sacred by others – not just religious buildings, but, more than likely old oak or yew trees (some hundreds of years old), streams or valleys, standing stones and many other notable places which have been (and still, are) visited by celts (ancient and latter-day) and other spiritual pilgrims, such as fellow-Druid friends, and Wiccan friends etc. But, other places, such as forests, even city streets could be a ‘thin place’ as well as an ancient site in the country where you live. Geographically, though they abound in Wales and the other three countries of the UK, but, they are worldwide, there may be one or more’ thin places’ near you. They may not occur in just ancient places or places of grandeur.  Your local park? Your kitchen? Your backyard? Who knows?

‘The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience’.
Emily Dickinson

There could be times when ‘thin places’ occur – long-lived over the centuries or fleeting. You might experience a ‘thin place’ in an area on day, and when you go back to replicate the experience – nothing. The moment has gone. But, who knows what other times of opportunity (kairos, rather than chronos), will present themselves to you in the future, if aware. To be sure, sometimes ‘thin places’ will feel powerful and ‘electric’, and at other times may hardly be noticeable and almost ‘shy’. But, wherever you find one, revel in that moment, that encounter with the Other’. They always convey deep meaning.

‘I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing
happens! Nothing…Silence…Waves…

–Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?’

― Juan Ramón Jiménez

And, then there are meaningful events where you might encounter a ‘thin places’. These might be  at various events, such as at the birth of a baby, at the passing on of a loved one, or at the announcement of some amazing or traumatic event, an impending storm, when we view beauty, for example. All of these can be the ‘judder’ that we experience in life that speaks of, and points to That Which Is Bigger Than Us, through the encounter of a ’thin place’. At times like that it catches our breath, time seems to stand still and we’re ‘catapulted’ into a higher reality.

How To Increase Awareness

‘Thin Places, as described above cannot be manufactured, but who knows how many we pass because we’re unaware? So, how do you increase your opportunity of finding  them? Well,

  • you could do some local research of ancient sites and ruins, especially ones marked in some way by those of yesteryear, or look for forest paths that take you to quiet areas, and
  •  you could hone your alertness. You might notice that there’s a strange feeling of quietness in a place, like the feeling of an approaching thunderstorm;  or you get a skin or inward sensation that is beyond description, then it may be a ‘thin place’, and
  •  be aware. You might pause in an area where such an occurrence is likely. Yes, use your senses eg sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, but don’t forget that sixth sense ie intuition, and if needed, do check out the likelihood of a ‘thin place’ by meditating, by half closing your eyes and seeing with the ‘inward eyes’ of the imaginal.
  •  ‘open the door’. It might be beneficial to conduct a ritual in the open, and especially where you feel a ‘thin place’ may exist. If there isn’t a ‘thin place’ there, then you have still conducted a beneficial ritual. If you notice, however, that the ritual becomes very easy to do, ‘races along’ as though turbo charged, or you feel or notice the input of the ‘invisible others’ than you have ‘found’ a ‘thin place’. This could manifest itself as a feel, an event of synchronicity, or in nature, perhaps, by the inquisitiveness of an animal that approaches and stops to look on,  Ofcourse, it could be that the ‘invisible others’ have found you, and in your honest desire to look for to a ‘thin place’ they have brought it to you!

So, have you experienced a ‘thin place’ – a place, time, or event where the gap between here and the Other has been unusually ‘thin’?

Poem

Here’s a poem I wrote some time ago about ‘thin places’:

Atop a high mountain or in the dark valley below,
in the corner of your room, or in the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre,
may you find a ‘thin place’.
A place, or time, or event so unique, so full of wonder, so sublime.

A place where Heaven and earth collide,
and the diaphanous veil of separation is unusually thin.
A time where you can almost feel angelic wings beat against your cheeks,
and see the Divine smile shining through.
An event where your heartbeat quickens,
and you experience the mystery of the Other in the mundane.

A ‘thin place’ is a threshold, a limen, a holy bridge,
a door to the Throne Room, slightly opened.
It is a moment in time and space,
in which we can dwell, and dance, and move, if aware.

A ‘thin place’ is an encouragement, a sacred invitation to draw near,
to approach barefoot, in humility, in reverence and awe.
It is both seen and unseen.
Invisible we see you!

May you, in the wilderness of the countryside or the city,
find a ‘thin place’, and be blessed.

Drws I Fyd Arall (Revisited) & Your Invitation To Three Live-Streaming Broadcasts

LIVE THREE

Below is an article I wrote some time ago: The Voice. Since the dawn of time humankind has heard that inner voice. Many tribes of old, the Ancients, Druids, Celts,  and Ancient texts  all testify to the Voice in the desert or wilderness places, or atop high mountains. The Voice I wrote about spoke of a ritual. And so, ritual features in one of the live streaming videos to be broadcast this week. But, there’s more…

Three Facebook Live Streaming Video Events: And You’re Invited:
– Monday, 8 June 2020: The Alphabet Of Ritual
– Wednesday, 10 June 2020: Things That Go Bump In The Night: Energy, Elementals & More
– Friday, 12 June 2020: Tadhg’s Table Talk

All events take place at 8pm (UK Time). Monday & Wednesday events are seminar-style so do have pen and paper to hand. They will last about 50 minutes. Time for comments and questions, too. Friday is like the after-dinner experience of a chat with friends over coffee and will probably last about 90 minutes, so do have a cup of coffee ready. It’s participatory! It’s free! It’s inclusive! All welcome.

Important: To view and/or participate in any of these live streaming events you will need to be a FaceBook friend. If you’re not, or are not sure, please see ‘To View….’ at the end of this article. The broadcasts will be recorded.

Article: Drws I Fyd Arall (Revisited): The Voice
One night, several years ago, I woke up from a shallow sleep and went for a walk to this place, and this is what I wrote:

A warm feeling enveloped me. Palpable. And not only an external feeling, but internal too, pervading my whole being. And then, as has happened albeit infrequently in this place in the past, I heard the Voice once again. Some will say that it’s only imagination, but I can only say, to me, it was and is, more, oh much more. From an interrupted, shallow sleep I awoke early, and walked into the night, as if called by a Voice deep within. An elemental? An ancestor? My imagination? The Bat kohl?

The air was cold and damp,
the darkness seemed to envelope me,
the trees ‘closed in’, and all was quiet.

Nothing stirred.
Nothing at all.
And with some trepidation,
into a forest clearing I slowly strode.

A fallen tree provided a seat,
and I sat, and waited.

The air felt ‘electric’ as though something would happen,
like a ‘silent storm’ approaching.

And I waited. And shivered.
Waited. And got damp.
Waited.

And then from within, or without,
almost undetectable, a quiet, loving, voice was heard.
The Voice.

Slowly, unhurriedly, powerfully, the Voice said:
“As above, so below,
there are things you should know.”

“Human words are powerful, they are a door,
your actions are effective, they are pure metaphor.”

“And so I speak of humanity’s cosmic task,
To be revealed, evidenced, enjoyed, without any mask.”

“And so, don’t just sit, but take heed and do,
these are worded-actions-prayers for many, and for you.”

“And so, again I say, as above, so below,
remember these things; they are things you should know.”

“Through prayer, does that which is unseen, unmanifest,
reveal itself and take form in the blessed.”

“And so, I mention,
with your hands at your side, walk humbly,
take seven half-steps forward, its a journey of intention.”

“And now, raise your hands in simple ‘surrender’,
and point both to Heaven, that domain of awesome splendour.”

“Widen your arms, and so scoop, and harvest
pure energy, pure ‘gold’, and be prepared to be feel blessed.”

“Draw in that power, by folding your arms like an ‘x’ on your chest,
and feel its benefits, its warmth; you’re at peace, at one, ‘at home’, at rest.”

“Then stretch forth your arms, and mould with your hands
as if a ball, that ‘globe-like’ power-blessing from the ouranic meadowlands.”

“With one foot leading, and with knees part bent,
sway back and forth, in preparation for that ‘goodness’ to be sent.”

“In your mind, name the loved-one, the recipient, the friend,
and in your heart, see them, imagine them, to that end.”

“‘Push’ with your hands, that power-blessing from you to them,
and sigh the sound of the ages, the ‘so be it’, the ‘amen’.”

“And then, your hands drop to your side,
power has gone out; but there is no lack,
for the power-blessing that went forth, also comes back,
in another way and at another time, and so you, too, are blessed.”

Having done everything as directed,
I stood there in awe.
The air was cold and yet I felt warm,
the night so dark but in my mind’s eye it seemed to glow.

The Voice had gone.
The Voice? An angel? The Deity? The Awen?
You decide.

I do believe The Voice speaks wisdom to us all. I don’t think we need to go to special places – though sometimes that seems to be something that we, as humans, need to do that to prompt us, to jog our memories or put us in the right frame of mind of openness. But, I do believe The Voice speaks still, perhaps in the city. Can you hear it?

The idea of ritual will be one of our evening broadcasts this week by Tadhg.

To view…
To view any of the three live streaming videos, you need to be a friend of mine on Facebook. So, first:  If you’ve been able to see my morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via Facebook then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not a current FaceBook friend do check here. If don’t see previous videos there or if you can’t gain full access to that webpage then you’ll need to become a Facebook friend

To become a Facebook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on my Facebook site, I’ll accept as soon as I can, and then do try the link above 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’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

 

 

June’s Full Moon & Your Full Moon Ceremony Invitation: Friday, 5 June 2020 At 8pm (UK Time)

MOON 2

Tomorrow (Friday) evening sees the June full moon in all its glory. Yes, it’s time to celebrate again. Below is an outline of the details of this moon – what sort of moon is it? A wolf moon? Wine moon? And you’ll find some astronomical data. But, you’ll also find your personal invitation to join in our second Full Moon Celebration online.

Full moon data &
Your personal Full Moon Celebration invitation. It’s live!
See below. Yes, you’re invited!

The next full moon is almost upon us. There is something mystical, ‘magical’ and calming about the full moon as it brightens and glides higher into the sky. No wonder the ancients paid particular attention to the Moon and each month it ushered in.

Full Moon Data
This full moon will be in its fullness on Friday, 5 June 2020,  just after 8pm (UK time) in the constellation of Scorpio. At that time it will be below the horizon (from a UK aspect) but IT will climb higher as the night goes on. It will be just above the horizon at 9.15pm and, in the southern sky in the northern hemisphere, it may be viewable to many nearer midnight or later.

Some will know this full moon as the Strawberry moon, to me and the ancient and latter-day Celts and Druids it is the Moon of Horses; to Wiccans many call is the Dyad Moon; and the Chinese people call it the Lotus Moon. In the southern hemisphere where the seasons are switched this full moon is known by some as the Oak Moon, the Cold Moon, or the Long Night’s Moon.

But, whatever name you call it, the full moon is a time for celebration: perhaps by walking in the light of the full moon (and have you ever seen your moon-shadow?) and pondering its awesomeness, raising a glass of wine to its glory, meditating on the Moon-Giver, or reciting liturgy or a poem in its honour and to honour the One Behind It All?

Ofcourse, all that can be done after our live celebration – after all, the moon won’t be visible until nearer midnight.

The ancients loved their stories (and perhaps we still do, but do so by+ going to the cinema, watching a movie on tv), and here’s a mythical and magical story from ancient times, though not notably Celtic or Druid in essence but still entertaining and through-provoking, about the moon.

There is a very interesting Chinese myth about this woman who was said to live on the moon. There are several variations of the myth but the essential story is that she and her husband were once immortal beings but were made mortal because of their extremely bad behaviour.

They attempted to regain immortality through the use of an immortality pill to raise them back to lofty heights, but Chang’e became greedy and took too much of  it, and ended up floating high into the sky and on onward  to the moon where she remained stuck forever. Perhaps, it is Chang’e’s face that looks down upon us?

She is the subject of much Chinese poetry and is one of the central reasons for celebration each Autumn during the Chinese Moon Festival. And, Chang’e was the name of the lunar probe sent to the far side of the moon by China about sixteen months ago.

Your personal Full Moon Celebration invitation. It’s live!
Yes, we’re about to hold out second, online, live, Full Moon Ceremony online, and you’re invited, and at home during lockdown you can participate and join in the liturgy, or just let it ‘sink’ deep, either ‘live’ or as a recording.

Live Full Moon Ceremony ‘Broadcast’ via FaceBook
Friday, 5 June 2020 at 8pm (UK Time)
Join us! 

So, first: To see  the broadcast and join in you need to be a FaceBook friend of mine. If you’ve been able to see my morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via FaceBook then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not a current FaceBook friend do check here. If don’t see previous videos there  or if you can’t gain full access to that webpage then you’ll need to become a  FaceBook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on my Facebook site, I’ll accept as soon as I can, and then do try the link above 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’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

Second: You can watch the broadcast and take it ‘in’ as a form of meditation, and that would be good. But, to fully participate, why not go to last month’s article and download or print out the liturgy so you can follow, and recite parts in response, and fully participate. The Full Moon Ceremony liturgy can be found here.

So, I hope to ‘see’ you at our second Full Moon Ceremony. Come and participate! Some new material and music added!

Meanwhile, wishing you and yours the blessings of the Moon-Giver at the time, Tadhg

 

House Blessing Ritual: Lockdown ‘How To’ Special

HOUSE BLESSING LOCKDOWN

Is it really four years ago since Gruffyd and Megan moved into their first bought-together house.? It is. They wanted me to lead a house blessing ritual, and four years later, they are about to move again. No firm date has been fixed – and who knows what lockdown rules will be – but moving they are this autumn, and I’ll have the privilege of leading their new house blessing ritual.

What follows, then is a lockdown, outline on a house-blessing that you can also use to bless your home. All very spiritual, Celtic, Druidic etc. You’ll notice that they blessings are all very ‘down to earth’. Those who have gone before us, from ages past, blessed the grand and the minutiae of life, both the fountain and the faucet. So, enjoy.

Then, they wanted a quiet ceremony, a private one, and one that was short, and semi-formal, having already worked with them prior to this, to explain how we could bless each room in turn etc, and whether they wanted to recite some of the prayers and responses.

I can remember the occassion well.

I arrived at 10am that morning. As agreed, I wore my white alb and black scapular, and had with me three dorchau pen (Welsh for ‘head wreaths’, of the green fern and other green-leaf sort), one for each of us. It’s what Gruffyd and Megan wanted, and I do so love ritual and liturgy when done in a deep, reverential manner, focussed on the One.

I led Gruffyd and Megan around their house, with me blessing each room and them responding liturgically. In each place water was sprinkled as a symbol of blessing after each prayer, and sometimes (as is tradition in these parts) salt.

You might like to use (and adapt, as necessary) some of the prayers used. Some like to ‘re-bless’ their house annually as a way of re-dedicating the space, and so invite me to do that, but you could do this, too, in your home, if you wanted, now and annually.

And, so at Gruffyd and Megan’s home, with a clear blue sky and with the brilliant sun shining down, a slight and refreshing breeze coming off the southerly mountains and warming the rugged landscape, and with Welsh bird-song filling the air, we all stood at the open door:

I spoke a blessing at the front door and hall:

Blessed are you, Welcoming Source.
At this front door and hall, may those who come and go from this door,
know you as the constant Companion on the way.
Coming and going may
they may be sustained by your presence.

Bring to this door both friend and stranger,
those who come in peace,
and guard this place from any who come with hostility in their heart.
May every grudge or malice be left on the doormat,
and may those who brought them leave them there,
and, when leaving, may they forget to collect them. Amen

We then moved into the living room/dining room, and I prayed:

Blessed are you, Inclusive One,
for you have established this room
for the purpose of relaxation and the enjoyment of company.
May your blessing fall gently upon all who share this room.
May all who gather here
be knit together in kinship on earth,
and find, as a foretaste, a glimpse,
of the communion of your saints in heaven. Amen

Then we moved into the kitchen. I prayed:

Blessed are you, Provider of Plenty, and of Grace.
You supply our every need
from the store-house of your great riches.
May this kitchen always be filled
with food in abundance.
And may the preparations here
be filled with joy and love.
Bless the hands that work in this place,
and bless those who eat what is prepared here. Amen

And, then in the bathroom, I prayed:

Blessed are you, Fountain of pure water.
You made us as whole persons
— bodies, minds and spirit —
and you called us good.
May this place be a place to
keep our bodies clean and healthy,
a place to feel refreshed, and wash
away all that clings to us, unnecessarily. Amen

And, then on into the two bedrooms. In each, I prayed:

Blessed are you, Night-Singer, providing shelter and protection,
for you are the true rest of all people.
May you cover each person
with your gentle hands, and
may an angel reside here with protective wings outstretched.
Bless those who sleep here
with hours of rest and refreshment,
that in sleeping they might rest in peace,
and upon waking they may rise to serve you and others
in their daily life. Amen

And, finally we moved into the garden, where I said:

Blessed are you, Verdant Greening of All Creativity.
We gather together to ask your blessing on this garden,
what is grown here and the way it provides enjoyment, relaxation and beauty. Amen

We moved back into the house, where as arranged Gruffyd and Megan read a blessing from the Carmina Gadelica:

God bless the house,
From site to stay,
From beam to wall,
From end to end,
From ridge to basement,
From balk to roof-tree,
From found to summit,
Found and summit. Amen.

There followed a great lunch, great fellowship, and lots of photographs – family and friends can see these on Gruffyd and Megan’s FaceBook site.

You might like to adapt the abovementioned for your house-blessing, or by all mean contact me if you live within the UK.

 

Note: If you came upon this article via another FaceBook or website, do ‘sign up’ on this  TadhgTalks’ site by clicking the very blue ‘Follow Tadhg Talks button’ (or, the follow by email link, below that blue link button, by adding your email address), and that way you won’t miss a thing and will be informed immediately there’s a new article or upcoming online event.

TableTalk #2: Livestreaming Event On Thursday, 28 May 2020. Your Personal Invitation

TABLE TALK2

Following on from the success of the livestreaming ‘Tadhg’s Table Talk’, here’s your opportunity to pull up a chair, grab a coffee and indulge in Table Talk #2  – the kind of chat we all like after a good meal, as we relax and stretch out, and spend time in good company. Yes, you are invited: you can watch and/or participate.

In the comfort of your own home, during lockdown, you can listen, comment, or even email questions to Tadhg about life’s big issues, as he does a live-stream broadcast on FaceBook, this Thursday evening.

Who knows what might be the topics aired and shared. Maybe: You’ll experience a Telling Place: Hear a story or two shared? Find out what a ‘thin place’ is? Just what happened to Bran’s head? What’s the difference between a ritual and a ceremony?       And more!

Now, the broadcast will take place on Tadhg’s Facebook page this Thursday, 28 May 2020 at 8.15pm (UK Time), and it will be recorded.

Please also read the following two important points.

Firstly, you need to be a ‘friend’ on Tadhg’s FaceBook page. If you check that page (click here) and see only a brief outline and not many/not any recorded broadcasts then you will need to ‘friend’ him from that page to view the broadcast, he will accept and then you’re ready to view and/or participate. If you can see many previous recorded broadcasts on that page then you’re already a friend and are ready to go!  Any ‘challenges’ please email Tadhg: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com

Secondly, do keep in touch. Out of respect to admin on the pages where this livestreaming article/invite appeared, future livestreaming notifications might be reduced there, but will appear (always) on Tadhg’s FaceBook and TadhgTalk websites. To stay informed it maybe be best to ‘follow’ or ‘friend’ Tadhg on his FaceBook page -see link above, or ‘follow’ the TadhgTalk blog, if you haven’t already done so.

I look forward to seeing you there. Blessings, Tadhg

The Story Of The Blackthorn Tree: A Lesson In Respecting Nature

BLACKTHORN TREE

The grandfather clock ticked loudly in the hallway, and every quarter of an hour there would be a loud thud, and a few seconds later it would chime. The kitchen, a place chosen by my grandmother in all the cottage, was  where she spent most of her time, in her rocking chair, near an open hearth – it’s what country folk in this rugged part of north Wales did.

Now, This is some years back, and I was probably just wee lad of about five years of age.

A storm was raging outside – valley weather can change suddenly and be most severe, and being a young boy I couldn’t help but look out at the window. Rain lashed against the window panes, wind blew the trees about outside, especially the large one at the end of my grandmother’s garden, and thunder and lighting raged across the sky, intermittently. But, I was fairly warm and comfortable – as snug as a bug in a rug.

‘What type of tree is that, at the end of your garden?’, I asked my grandmother, still looking intently out of the window.

‘If you come here’, she said, ‘I’ll tell you, and I’ll tell you a little story about it, too’, she replied. My grandmother was a prolific story-teller, a seanchai, and everyone in the family loved her deep and profound stories.

I could never resist a good story, either, and still can’t, and so I stopped peering out of the window, ambled to the foot of her rocking chair, and sat on the floor – the floor consisted of paving stones in the kitchen, but warmed by the heat from the open fire. I was even more comfortably warm, in complete contrast to the coolness near the window and the storm outside.

She said, ‘In nature, everything is in equilibrium, in balance. Sometimes the weather is sunny and dry; sometimes it is cold and thundery, like now. Everything balances out.

In nature everything should be respected, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because life on this planet depends on it, even you and I. And that tree, the one you asked about, is a noble blackthorn tree.

Now the blackthorn tree is a canny tree. It produces lovely flowers and awesome berries, that I sometimes boil, but it demands respect, and you never want to touch it carelessly. It has two inch long spikey protrusions on it, like needles. Some of the farmers here use them as cattle-proof hedges.’

She moved her head closer to me, momentarily, and in a hushed voice, asked, ‘Would you like to know a secret story about the blackthorn tree’. She knew I couldn’t resist a good story, and so I nodded eagerly, and as the hallway clock juddered and chimed once more, she continued.

‘There was once a farmer, who really didn’t care about the land he farmed. He was just in it for the money, and he was never satisfied. He was always looking for ways to get more and more out of the land, to get richer and richer. He noticed that in the middle of his field stood a lonely, but very large blackthorn tree. It had been there since before he was born. It was a noble, majestic specimen, and a very fine and proud tree, too.

The locals used to believe that the Lunantisidhe, moon-fae, used to live in blackthorn trees or used to live nearby them and looked after them. They are good creatures, but it would never do to upset them. Also, some people believe that the Cailleach, that old crone that you’ve probably heard outside on occasions, carries a staff made of a blackthorn branch. – and with it she can summon up a storm. Perhaps , like the one outside?’.

I quickly looked toward the widow and back. It’s true I had heard the Cailleach several times, but also remembered that my grandmother always said that there was nothing to fear from her, if you gave her due respect.

My grandmother continued, ‘That money-mad farmer was insistent that that blackthorn tree had to be felled, and that would give him more land to farm, more crops, and more money. He asked for help, but not one of the locals would help him chop the tree down. They knew the farmer didn’t really respect the land, was besotted with money, and they knew the myth of the blackthorn tree and the very protective Lunantisidhe, or moon-fae.

The farmer grew angry with them, and the next morning, as the sun came up, he took an axe to the tree. It took him hours and hours, and as his axe cut into the tree, so it looked like blood was coming out of the blackthorn tree. Certainly, the farmer’s arm was bloodied, as some of the long thorns from the tree scratched and dug into his arm.

Once the tree was felled, the greedy farmer stood back, sweating and with sore, aching muscles cursed the tree for the work it had caused him.

He turned around. His jaw dropped and his heart raced. His farm house was ablaze. And being made of wood and with a thatched roof there was no way of saving it. His house was completely destroyed. And, as the timber burnt and cracked, and crackled, and flames leapt into the air, in the breeze whispers could be heard to those that had ears to hear. It was the angry voices of the Lunantisidhe who had sought revenge, by balancing nature. The tree had lost its life at the hands of the greedy farmer; the farmer had lost his home. All because he did not respect nature, the blackthorn tree or the Lunantsidhe.’

She finished the story, and I couldn’t resist going back to the window, to gaze outside at that storm and that noble blackthorn tree standing at the end of her garden. If I listened hard enough would I hear the Lunantisidhe?

Now, I’m much older. But, in that story of myth and magic, and told many years ago, is there a moral there for us as individuals and as a society when it comes to appreciating and protecting nature?