Deep Calls To Deep: Iona Pilgrimage 2017: The Plan

20170913 IONA PILGRIMAGE PLANPeriodically, it is right, I believe to take stock of where we are, where we’ve ‘come from’ and where we’re headed, and where we would like to head to, where we feel called.

It seems an age away, when I last visited the isle of Iona, off the Scottish rugged and wild west coast. Infact it was twenty-eight years ago to the month. Then, in my mid-thirties and with umpteen years of informal study, theological practice and experience under my belt, I stepped out of seminary, after a three year period of formal study. [Tadhg’s Journal: 1989]

Quote: ‘Too often we don’t trust our own deepest truth; it makes us feel too vulnerable or it seems incongruous with the person we think we are or must be.’  Emily Hanlon

And, right now, with various significant things that have happened this year, and a number of major decisions ahead, I need to return to the beginning, to where it all began in earnest for me.

Twenty eight years ago I was on the isle of Iona. Just south-west of the island’s centre is a path that leads westward. It leads to the seashore, but just before you get there, there is a small hill. The hill has two names. Some know it as Sithean, the Fairy Mound, others know it as Cnoc nana Aingeal, the Hill of Angels.

It was in AD563 that columcille, also know as St Columba, sailed from Ireland and settled on Iona, founded the Abbey on eastern part of that island, and from there (officially) set out to evangelise the Pictish tribes (of what is now Sctoland) and the rest of the country.

And so I sat on the top of the hill and pondered. To me, this place is Sithean. It was humbling. Humbling to know that 1426 years ago, that Columcille had sat or stood here, on this very spot – and according to Adomnán, Columcille was seen meeting with angels.

There is a power here.

I know that we don’t need to travel to far off places to encounter, that we can encounter wherever we are, and can even encounter using our imagination, our mind’s eyes or what some call our vision-eye. But, at this time, this place assisted me.

There is a peacefulness about the island, a ruggedness, and yet in the wind one can hear the soul of the island, or is it angels or the fae?

And as I sat there, I lay back, half closed my eyes, and rested. It ‘felt’ as if a ‘thin place’, a liminal-door had opened. In the distance, when the wind changed it sounded like children playing. Then the wind blew from another direction and the sound was lost, and then it was, again, ushered along with the breeze. I could hear the sound of children in the distance, high-pitched laughing and giggling. Playing? I immediately opened my eyes, sat up and looked around. No laughing. No children could be seen. There was just the silence. Silence, apart from the low ‘murmur’ of the continual wind blowing from the sea.

Wherever we are, we are encouraged to expect the unexpected. There is a story from ancient times, of a man sitting at his tent door. In the heat, desert heat, of the day, he looked over at the oak trees of Mamre. Suddenly, he saw three men standing there. He was gracious to them and offered them food. It is said that these three men were infact angels, and some believe that the man had, infact, encountered The Source Of All.

Expect the unexpected.

I lay back, again. Half closed my eyes. Some minutes later the sound of children laughing was back, but this time I remained still. It grew louder. And then suddenly the giggling sound, subdued but distinct, was all around me. I was bathed in innocent laughter. I remained there, not moving a muscle, enjoying the experience – knowing there was nothing I could do to enhance the experience. It was a sacred time, a sacred place. I just enjoyed it. So much so, that after many, many minutes I couldn’t help but fall into a light sleep.

I woke up about half an hour later. The was no sound, except for the howling wind. It had started to rain.

But, this is Scotland and I had come prepared. The rain was fine, but constant. Typical for this area. The Scots call it dreich (pronounced ‘dree-ch’. The ‘ch’ sound is like that in loch. It’s not a ‘k’ sound, but a guttural sound as if you’re clearing you throat).

I walked back to were I was staying, and pondered further my experience at Sithean, the Fairy Mound, or Cnoc nana Aingeal, the Hill of Angels, and that encounter

That evening, I considered the reason I was here.

It is good to draw away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and if that means not going to a remote area like Iona, then perhaps a change of habit and a relocation of a few miles for a couple of days. But, then there’s always the imagination.

I sat there, pondering. As I gazed at the horizon the word reverence sprang to mind. John O’Donohue wrote: ‘Our world seems to have lost all sense of reverence…Ultimately, reverence is respect before mystery…Reverence is also physical – a dignified attention of body showing that [the] sacred is already here.’

Having finished theological studies, it was time to embark on further studies and a ministry centred on Christian Celtic, and then later, Druidic theology, but inclusively. In a way that would draw alongside all people, to share and to learn as iron sharpens iron, and to know them as friends. A fledgling ministry in serving The Way, that would grow, was my Iona prayer, then.

And so it started, twenty-eight years ago. And now with major changes ahead, I plan to go back to Iona, and to Sithean in the next few weeks. It will be a time of return, re-energising, and renewal for me. A time to decide the future of this ministry as vows need to be re-made, tasks finish but new ones approach, and a time to decide whether to write as I do here or write and lead workshops, and more. Good challenges ahead.

In your heart and mind’s eye, your vision-eye, in your imagination, I want to invite you to join me when I embark on my journey to Iona, and will write daily. It will be a time of return, re-energising, and renewal for me. And, hopefully for you, too.

Quote: ‘Life is a journey. When we stop, things don’t go right.’ Pope Francis

However,  articles continue as normal, and your company is always sought now, and even more so on the planned Iona pilgrimage.

Blessings, Tadhg.

 

Nights Of Fog And Clouds: Liminal-Numinous Encounters

20170905 NIGHT OF FOG AND CLOUDS LIMINAL NUMINOUS ENCOUNTERSYes, I’m still in London. And last night was one of those nights where I woke up, at about 3am, and just couldn’t get back to sleep. They don’t happen that often – but I always think such interruptions might prove fruitful.

Usually in such circumstances I would have gone for a country walk, if in Wales, but I’m in London. And, so I relocated myself to the study, and there I sat, and pondered. And waited for an encounter with sleep. It didn’t arrive.

After about an hour – it could have been longer, or shorter, as time seemed irrelevant, and I had nothing really to measure it by – I half drifted off to sleep. It was as if a fog appeared. The study, still visible was rather opaque, obscured by this fog, but not totally – though it wasn’t the kind of fog that I’ve encountered in or near Capel Curig that moved in repsonse to air currents, and there no was smell to it, and no temperature change.

Room fog!

But, something felt different. I could hear myself breathing gently, hear the gentle ticking of the clock on the desk, but there was no other sound, and it seemed as though I should just remain as I was. Content. Content to let whatever was about to unfold, to unfold.

And, then, seemingly seconds later, I wanted to analyse this feeling, and my eyes became wide open, the fog disappeared and I was wide awake and alert again. I had no memory of what really happened, and I can’t tell you if ‘fog time’ lasted a few seconds or minutes or longer. But, something had happened. And, this got me thinking.

In physical locations or in the spiritscape of the mind, fog or clouds are an indicator that something special is about to happen. A(n) herald.

‘ Clouds and thick darkness surround Him…’. Psalm 97:2a, The Book

Time is skewed as we move into that sacred time-space, the liminal, and we may have no memory of what took place, just a pleasent ‘feeling’ that something significant had taken place as we look back and remember. Liminal encounters are usually experienced in the ‘now’ and ‘unpacked’ later as a memory of what happened. Has that happened to you?

Fog or clouds are an indicator that something special is about to happen or has happened.

On that night I saw a brilliant yellow-green light some 200 feet away from me, through the dense forest. I walked toward it. The air was colder than ever, the fog masked the exact location of the light until I got to within about fifty feet of it. At about forty feet from it – and the light source seemed about eight foot wide – it went out! Was it the Canwyll Corff, the corpse candle myth. Who knows?

Clackitt’s Wood, The Last Word (see here). Tadhg.

The Source of All, the Universe, elementals, That Which Is Bigger Than Ourselves seems to use clouds, fog and the cover of darkness to draw near – whether this is a physical reality, or a just-as-real ‘inner’ visitation in our minds, mind’s eye or vision-eye. It’s as if unbridled power and energy and holiness must be ‘masked’ to ‘come closer’ to us, for our sake.

There is a story told that, in the 6th century, the poet Senchán Torpéist gathered the poets of Ireland together to see if any of them knew the story of the Táin Bó Cúailnge. None of them could give details that gave the whole story. They all only knew parts of it. And this grieved Senchán.

And so Senchán Torpéist sent three of the younger men to seek out a very old man who it was believed could tell them the complete story. They travelled far and eventually came to the grave of an ancient poet called Fergus MacRoich. Two of the young men travelled onward toward the next village for shelter for the night; one of the men stayed, and honoured the memory of Fergus MacRoich with a poem. And then slept by the great poet’s tomb.

Suddenly a mist enveloped the younger man. Now unseen by his two companions, this young man found himself in the presence of Fergus MacRoich. From that awesome encounter, which lasted three days and three nights, he learned many things from Fergus MacRoich. And many of the older stories – some of which were formerly partly lost, others lost completely – were now known to that younger man because of that liminal experience.

From that ancient story we can take heart that: those old stories, knowledge and the wisdom of the ancients, though seemingly lost to us, can be encountered and re-kindled; that there are ways of putting ourselves ‘in the way’ of numinous and liminal happenings using prayer, fasting, ritual, liturgy, meditation and even poetry etc.

Never minimise the effect of prayer, fasting, ritual, liturgy, meditation and even poetry etc. Never play down your status, and the power-from-beyond at your disposal. Never be so caught up in daily living that we miss those liminal events, those ‘Divine nudges’.

‘Thin places’ (see here) may be events and occurrences that cannot be scheduled, but maybe there are ‘thin place’-like experiences that we can encounter in certain ways. Encountering them by the use of music, poetry, liturgy, meditation, the Caim – perhaps because that’s so because we’re making ourselves ‘open’ to the experiences, and the experiences are happening more than we had hitherto had known about. In essence, such experiences happen much more often, but we were/are unaware of them. Until now.

As I sat there, in the study pondering these things I wondered how many times we have almost put ourselves ‘in the way’ of these numinous and liminal events and got distracted and unknowingly ‘pulled away’? How many times the Caim, as a ‘tool’ of ritual and intention might be of (more) use to us – and this started me thinking even more about the Caim (see here).

It was about 4am when I ‘crawled’ back to bed and waited for an encounter with sleep. It was an interesting night, albeit not an uneventful one, though. As I drifted off to sleep my last thought was, and one that I would dearly like to share with you now, is: Look out for fog and clouds in your life. Fog or clouds are an indicator that something special is about to happen to you.

‘The greatest stories are those that resonate our beginnings and intuit our endings, our mysterious origins and our numinous destinies, and dissolve them both into one.’ Ben Okri quotes

 

The Tylwyth Teg: Celtic Mythological Creatures

20170829 THE TYLWYTH TEG MYTH AND MEANINGI’m still in London, and though I love the vibrancy of the city and the wonderful mix of people, and yes the cafés , too, I’m missing the wonderful wilderness that is north Wales, especially as today is a somewhat cloudy, yet too-humid-to-be-in-the-city type of day.

But, I’ve located myself in a corner of Bishop’s Park, at the end of a path that leads nowhere and which nestles against a rather fine small lake with a myriad of ‘bullrushes’ and metre-high lake grasses growing along its sides which afford some kind of seclusion. Few venture this way because the path just ends abruptly. But for me, today, it’s wonderful. I’ve been reading for about an hour, and as I sat on a park bench under a willow tree I began to doze a little, and think about the book I was reading.

The book mentioned a creature, the subject of many a story of yesteryear, told by my grandmother, and one that both intrigued me to find out more and yet made me a little apprehenive. I was very young at that time.

It was the story of the Tylwyth Teg (pronounced ‘ter-loo-ith tehg’). It means the ‘fair folk’, and it was the name given to the fae, the fairies of Wales; a name given to them to placate them as they were sometimes responsible for some minor mischief.

Frequenting watering areas, they were said to be small in statue, have golden hair and dress in white. When happy they would spend their time singing and dancing, especially where there was water. Like this lake!

With that book on my lap, and the heat making me sleepy, my eyes half-closed, and I revelled in that half-awake and half-asleep state, not wishing to ‘travel’ too far in either direction. The grasses around the lake end swayed to and fro, some grass strands seemed distrubed by something and bent ,and returned to their almost-upright state. I could detect no animal and I didn’t want to open my eyes fully to be too analytical and come out of that liminal, half-way experience. But, no small insect could make that kind of ‘assualt’ on lake grass, either.

Maybe it was the Tylwyth Teg?

Ofcourse, that’s what they’re called it Wales, but they are ubiquitous and are known by different names. And, they love water – ponds, lakes, puddles and even the water pipes, sinks and showers in your house. You probably have encountered the Tylwyth Teg, or may have one in your house, even without knowing it.

Signs that a Tylwyth Teg is close, according to my late grandmother,  was confusion amongst people, maybe an argument starts for no reason, the loss of keys and spectacles, and just a myriad of odd happenings that are unexplained. Like long, metre-high, pond grass bending for no apprarent reason. It’s their way of having fun.

Each culture in history has its creatures of the unknown, myths and monsters to avoid. To the Greeks it was Scylla and Charybdis – two mythical sea monsters noted by Homer, and to be avoided at all costs. To the ancient Jews it was the Behemoth – a sea monster of gargantuan proportions. And to the Welsh it was, or is, the Tylwyth Teg. Interestingly, have you noticed that water is a common theme throughout?

In that half awake, half asleep daze, and with the heat of the day at it’s hottest, I ‘travelled’ further one way and dozed off completely. The book felt to the stone path with a thud and I woke up with a start. Nothing had changed, and yet something had changed. The  lake grass was still. I had ‘jumped out’ of liminal space and time, and was back in ‘ordinary’ time (as if there is such a thing), and no one or thing was disturbing the lake side now.

As I sat there, having retrieved the book, it occured to me the meaning and value of stories about the Tylwyth Teg. We live in a world, which in many senses is very predictable now that we have a vast amount of scientific data, number-crunching computers and the internet that means I can witnesss things on the other side of the planet in a second (which, when I was a child would have taken hours by wires and radio waves to arrive on the black and white tv set).

And, yet there is a lot we don’t understand. Things seem to go missing around the house, upset or illness or ‘bad’ fortune just seems to come out of the ether, and its as if there’s an invisible hand at work. My grandmother, ofcourse, would say it’s the Tylwyth Teg.

You may not believe in the Tylwyth Teg (or whatever they are called locally) but I draw comfort from those old stories. For they teach that however much we think we know, there is more. However much we plan, some plans will go awry. However much we want always to be happy, life has a habit of ‘kicking us in the solar plexus’ and upsettting us. We always want good news, but sometimes it’s not so good. Ofcourse, life is a mixture of events and emotions, oh but how the tough ones sting. The other lesson the Tylwyth Teg teach us is that mischevoius as they are sometimes, the can be positive and beneficial to – good and sometimes not-so-good, just like some life-events. At the end of the day, we can reason that sometimes we are not at fault. ‘Do you best, and what doesnt work out is the fault of the Tylwyth Teg’, my grandmother would say.

So, who was bending that lake grass and threw my book on the stone path? Ah, a passing Tylwyth Teg, ofcourse.

I’m not sure what is happening in your life right now. But sometimes, just sometimes (and discernment needs to takes place here), sometimes it isn’t our fault but a nearby Tylwyth Teg. And even then, don’t really get upset with the Tylwyth Teg, as its in their nature to be playful or mischiveous, and they’re not always like that, and what seems bad today has a habit of changing…especially when the Tylwyth Teg gets bored of being mischievous or leaves. Take heart. Things change.

 

 

To Be Here Is Immense: Celtic Thought About Life & Time

20170822 LIFELINE TO BE HERE IS IMMENSEI’m sitting on a somewhat rickety bench seat in Fulham cemetery, in central London. It’s about mid-day and it’s August, and its overcast and cloudy. A wee bit humid, too, and it could threaten to rain, but so far it’s dry.

I’m alone.

There are parts of this cemetery which are more recently used than others and consist of fairly ‘well-manicured’ lawns. The part of the cemetery where the bench seats are – their are three of them – are in the oldest part of the cemetery, and the least used part now, and there nature is ‘wilder’. I like that area. That’s where I am.

With many tall trees and overgrown shrubs around me, the noise of nearby buses and other traffic is hardly noticeable. It’s like being in another place. Another world. It is, after all, known as ‘God’s acre’.

It feels as though I am alone. And yet…

As I sit here it feels as though things have always been this way. But, each one of us had an arrival date, each one of us navigates our way through a myriad of days, and as the names and dates on the gravestones reveal, there will be a time when we will all ‘move on’.

There is a Presence in this place. I don’t feel alone anymore.

Some might say this Presence are the souls of the departed here, others might say it’s angels or the Source of All. Still others may talk of dryads and elementals. Who knows? Whatever we call that Presence, and I think there’s room to ponder there, we’re acknowledging two things: the Presence connotes life (or should that be Life) and the paradox of this place; and that each one of us can, if we’re not distracted or too busy, be aware of the Presence.

‘To be here is immense’. Rainer Maria Rilke.

Almost in front of me is a large gravestone listing three members of the same family. The husband died in 1903, his wife died in 1908, and oh, that dear woman’s mother died two years after her. These three have gone from our sight, but the Presence is a ‘guarentee’ that life goes on, albeit in another form. Gone, but their memory lives on. It lives on in my mind as I have just read the gravestone. But, there are others alive today that came from their ancestral line, just as these three people came from their parents’ ancestral line.

‘In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.’ Robert Frost

None of us is alone.

We are all part of that which has gone before, and we all contribute to those who are yet to come (or those who are here now and maturing, or contribute in a myriad of ways to others’ lives now, if not genetically). Like runners in a baton race – receiving and giving.

We can metaphorically look back at the ancestors with gratitude, look forward with anticipation and hope, and look around us, today, with wonder and awe…..perhaps at the very fact, that we can actually do that!

‘To be born is to be chosen. To be created and come to birth is to be blessed. Some primal kindness chose us, and brought us through the forest of dreaming until we could emerge…’ John O’Donohue.

As I sit on this wooden bench it’s easy to forget the marvel, the miracle, that is Life. As I gaze around at wild nature, but it’s the same wherever we are – or wherever you are – the fact that we are aware of those who have gone before us, those we know now, and can envisage those who might yet come, that we can look around us and be aware ‘is immense’.

And yet, ‘amnesia’ sets in, and we can so easily forget our part in that long ancestral line or the calling of the Presence to ‘be’, and to ‘do’. Then, the visible seems to overpower the invisible, our hurried present seems to ‘crowd out’ the Presence…except in those still moments of solitude when the Presence, or angels, or dryads or elemental or the ancestors, or whatever our theology ‘permits’, still cry out to us. I have a hunch that the Originator of this ongoing message is more concerned about us hearing the message than debating who is, or what is, or what the Originator looks like.

‘We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead… And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.’ Paul Tsongas

The wind is picking up, and it’s time for me to leave. I stand up slowly, momentarily aching somewhat from sitting in a less-than-anthropometically designed, old bench seat, but it was wonder…and, I cannot leave without pausing for a moment and giving a nod of my head. To do less seems disrespectful to the Presence, and to others, such as the ancestors. Life is sacred. Life goes on. There will never be a time when you won’t be!

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

 

‘Tis Mystery All: Perception: The Need Of Soft Eyes And Soft Feet

20170815 TIS MYSTERY ALLI’m reminiscing. I’m in London and in my very little garden, and there’s part of me that remembers Capel Curig, in the deep in the wilderness of north Wales, many years ago.

As a child the garden of Ty Gwyn (translated as the ‘white house’, and so called because of its painted external stone work,) and where I live now when in Wales, seemed large and mysterious. It doesn’t seem as large now, though it is a fair size, but it is just as mysterious.

‘Mystery is a resource, like coal or gold, and its preservation is a fine thing.’ Tim Cahill

As I grew older, becoming physically bigger, the garden seemed to reduce in size. And yet, at the far end of the garden the rivulet, that I called Bach ac yn gyflym (meaning ‘small and fast’ in Welsh, because that sums up this rivulet) seemed to mark the boundary between the somwhat mysterious (that was all around me – it’s Wales, after all) and the very mysterious (that which was ahead of me and over the boundary marker of the rivulet).

Beyond Bach ac yn gyflym lay the ‘lightning tree’ and two arched trees, that as children, we called the ‘door to another world’. We played for many a long hour in those places – cautious about what might happen and daring each other to just be there for what might happen. Beyond those areas was ‘even more’ mystery. Beyond that was, to us, the ‘Yr ardal anhysbys’ or the ‘unknown place’.

It wasn’t that we were afraid, as children, to venture further into that unknown area, but there was part of us that wanted to preserve the mystery, to be in awe of it, and to regard it as a reminder of….

A reminder of what?

Sitting here at the garden table in a very small London garden, thoughts form and suggest an answer.

Crane your neck, arch your head heavenward at the night sky, and on a clear night you will see a myriad of twinkling stars. Some close, comparatively, some many hundreds of light years away. But, as you look at the cosmos, scientists tell us that about ninety percent of the universe is invisible, invisible to our our meters and scientific instruments, invisible to us. And, they don’t mean that some things are just too distant to be seen – though that is true – but they mean in essence. If you hold the tip of one hand’s index finger at arms-length, then ninety percent of matter between that finger tip and your nose is invisible. A real mystery.

As an adult I like mystery. It keeps things in proportion, reminding me that I don’t know as much as I thought I did.

As I child I was in awe of mystery, and hope that that’s still the same, now, as an adult. It is…sometimes. And, as a child my friends and I, until we were older, never ventured into ‘Yr ardal anhysbys’ or the ‘unknown place’. We revelled in the mystery. It harkened back to something other-worldly, of an ancient age, of a time-before, of sacred-time, sacred-space, of liminality (or ‘thin places’).

‘Under the guise of emptiness, the invisible keeps its secrets to itself. Yet the invisible remains the great background which invests your every gesture and action with possibility and pathos’. John O’Donohue.

It is easy to miss mystery. This can happen as our knowledge increases, and it can happen when we’re too busy or pre-occupied with modern life. It’s for that reason that I really enjoy and benefit from apophatic meditation (a meditative state focussing on nothng in particular), and kataphatic meditation (such as the Caim, or creative visualtion etc). And, as a child with a more limited vocabulary and without such understanding, we had ‘Yr ardal anhysbys’ or the ‘unknown place’ – a real place of mystery.

Perception matters. If we don’t ‘see’ the mystery or at least catch a glimpse, impression or ‘feeling’ of it, then we will miss it. The harsh light of modernity cannot uncover mystery. Mystery is subtle, it’s illusive and even shy, but it is real for those who revere and honour it, and are patient enough to wait for its emergence.

An Anishinabe (First Nations) man from Canada wrote:

The Four-Leggeds and the Windged Ones live to a different rhythm. Theirs is the rhythm of soft eyes and soft feet. Two-Leggeds have hard eyes and hard feet. When most humans go into the forest they enter with so much of the world on them that any possibility of feeling the sacred is removed. When we go into the forest we must become soft like the animal people and the tree people’.

I believe that ‘softness’ of perception is what children have, innately. And it was that that I was remembering at the garden table in my little London apartment’s garden. It was a reminder of how it used to be – a world of mystery, everywhere. Of having a ‘softer’ perception.

And, as adults we can lose that perception of the reverence of awe and mystery. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Even as adults we can regain soft eyes and soft feet, and ‘see’ the sacred all around us. Such seeing is a skill, and like a muscle, it can be developed and honed with practice.

‘To respect a mystery is to make way for the answer.’ Criss Jami

 

Tadhg’s Ephemera: The Bright Moon. Full Moon On 10 May 2017

20170508 BRIGHT MOON 10 MAY EPHEMERAIt’s that time…the time of Spring, pleasant weather, the time of the full moon, and when many consider this is a good time for releasing what is holding them back and working on new commitments, both in spirit and love, committing to an engagement, hand-fasting or marriage, or making some other commitment.

‘The world’s favourite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.’  Edwin Way Teale

Essentials
On the evening of Wednesday, 10 May 2017 there is a full moon in the constellation of Libra (on the ESE horizon at 8.05pm from a London, UK perspective and rising gently to it’s ‘highest’ point that night just after midnight when looking southward).

This full moon is known as the Bright Moon.

Still others, though, such as other Celts, Celtic Christians, Druids and Pagan friends may refer to it as the Grass Moon, the Milk Moon or the Flower Moon.

‘Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.’ Psalm 89:37, The Book

It’s well and truly spring (in the northern hemisphere) and a time for growing plants and flowers,  and so, aptly, May is named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. And, doubly so, at this full moon in May.

Myths About The Moon
There are a number of myths about the moon, as these are:

Ancestor offerings: In some Chinese religions, offerings are made to the ancestors on the night of a full moon.

A full moon makes you ‘crazy’: Ever since ancient times, full moons have been associated with odd behaviour, sleepwalking, or violence . The words ‘lunacy’ and ‘lunatic’ come from the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna, who was said to ride her silver chariot across the dark sky each night. In England, in the  18th-century those on trial for murder could seek a lighter sentence on grounds of lunacy, if the crime occurred at the time of full moon. Also, the book,  ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, was said to have been inspired by the strange , and yet very true, case of Charles Hyde, a London man who committed a numbers of crimes, all at the time of the full moon.

Even the BBC News reported, a few year ago, reported  that some British police departments have decided to add extra officers on nights with crime increases that occur at the time of a full moon (though there are many that think this may have to do with the response to opportunistic crime and more light at night be available for foul deeds because of the full moon).

Aliens on the Moon: In the 1820s,  Bavarian astronomer Franz von Paula Gruithuisen recorded that he had spied alien cities on the moon with his telescope. He called them Lunarians, and though many people derided his finding, he did at least have a modest-sized moon crater named after him.

Even today, there are those who believe their are aliens on the moon, maybe on the side of the Moon which doesn’t face Earth, and some believe images, from Chandrayaan-1 (an Indian Moon probe) appear to show a series of lava tubes snaking under the surface of the Moon, as it made by an intelligence, with thousands of scatted, perhaps, connecting caves.

It makes you think!

Full Moon ‘Releasing’ Ritual
This is a releasing ritual, releasing you from all that is holding you back. As with any ritual, it is an outward sign and activity of an inward occurrence. It can be done outdoors on the night of the full moon, but equally, it can be done indoors.

So, find a quiet place, and:

1. Light a candle (to denote entering into sacred space/sacred time). If you want, you can place crystals, power-rocks and other positive-tools around you.

2. De-clutter your mind of thoughts, clear your energy. This can be done by imagination, and so why not close your eyes and visualise that you are standing under a silver waterfall. As you so do, in your mind’s eye, imagine that all negativity being  washed away.

3. Take a few deep breaths to ‘center’ yourself, to move deeply within your being, and then ‘ask’ what it is that you wish to be released from. What is it that is holding you back? What is a limiting belief? What no longer serves a positive purpose in your life. In your mind’s eye, write it on a piece of paper. Wait for a short while.

4. As you breathe in, think of that piece of paper with that limiting belief written on it, and as you breathe out, imagine that that piece of paper moves into the candle and is burnt up. It no longer exists. Do this several times. [Remember, this is all taking place in your imagination, so please don’t actually set fire to anything you have with you!].

This type of breathing in/out with visualisation is like tonglen, in reverse.

5. After a short while open your eyes, fully enter this ‘realm’ by gazing gently at the candle for a few minutes. There is no rush. And then, to denote a closing of that sacred space/sacred time, blow the candle out. Wait for a few minutes. Doing things slowly, here, is good.

6. Ofcourse, this is a ritual, an outward sign or action of an inward occurrence, and you will still need to ‘do’ the necessary things in the physical realm to bring about a releasing of what is/was holding you back, and to work towards a positive outcome.

[Always concerned for you, I would ask that you do take appropriate professional advice if your ‘releasing negativity and embracing positivity’ in this ritual (and afterward) concerns money, land, health, relationships etc]

7. Keep a journal of your experiences in that ritual, what you did to ‘earth it’ and work towards releasing negativity and working towards positivity, detailing actions and how you felt at the time. It’s always good to look back, weeks, months or even years later.

Let me know what happens, if you wish.

‘May and June.  Soft syllables, gentle names for the two best months in the garden year: cool, misty mornings gently burned away with a warming spring sun, followed by breezy afternoons and chilly nights.  The discussion of philosophy is over; it’s time for work to begin.’ Peter Loewer

Gardening
Being a concerned about  nature, my suggestion is: that for those wishing to cultivate and benefit from nature, even a window box if you live in a city and haven’t got access to a garden, how about planting:

For shady, north-facing locations: English daisy, Fern (maidenhair, tassel, Boston, asparagus, Impatiens. Pansy, Parsley, Snapdragon.

Sun-liking, south-facing locations: Lavender, Marigold, Miniature rose, Rosemary (which is particularly good at attracting bees. We definitely need to look after bees).

‘May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.’ Fennel Hudson

And Finally…
…Wishing you a blessed May full moon, Tadhg

Power-Blessings 104: Mutual Support…In That Field Beyond: [4/4]

20170505 MUTUAL SUPPORT 4OF4 BLESSINGWe’re all different. We live in a world were the rights of the individual and individualism are writ large. And, though we enjoy many freedoms because of it – or am I just believing that because, like you, I was born into such a time as this – it can be rather solitary as an ‘aware person’, a mystic-Christian, a Druid, a hedge-witch, an ‘edge-walker’, or however you and I describe ourselves.

‘Be different. Be original. Nobody will remember a specific flower in a garden filled with thousands of the same yellow flower, but they will remember the one that managed to change its colour to purple.’  Suzy Kassem

At the end of this week of looking at Power-Blessings, we now turn our attention to looking at encouragement and, indeed, further encouragement to maintain, grow and advance the good work that we have been ‘called’ to do; to explore mutual support; to take it all one step further.

It would be easy to list good books, links to other websites and talk about ‘how to do…’ this or that, but I won’t. Each person reading this will be different, maybe so different (and that is a blessing) as to render all that irrelevant. But, it is important, I think, to share good practice (even if it is a different ethos or way of working to our own personal approach) because then we can learn from each other and adapt what we share to serve our local purposes.

‘Those who love peace must learn to organise as effectively as those who love war.’ Martin Luther King Jr.

A loose organisation, at least (unless you’re already part of one of the many, useful, groups of the internet that do provide support to ‘aware persons’,  mystic-Christians,  Druids, hedge-witches, ‘edge-walkers’ etc) may be beneficial. If you’re not part of such group, and I do recommend joining at least one that is closest to your work, then I’d like to hear from you. It’s all about mutual support – even if it’s a periodic email…but I’d suggest there’s more we can do.

‘Make connections; let rip; and dance where you can.’ Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard writes about Holy the Firm, in her book of the same name, and describes it as  substance that medieval alchemists and mystics etc were interested in. It’s a substance, they thought below earth, minerals, salts, and it acts as a bridge between the material and the spiritual world. Opinions vary as to whether it is a purely physical substance or a spiritual one, as it is between both! Perhaps, the thrill is in not knowing, and accepting it as ‘and/both’ (rather than our scientific age’s obsession with ‘and/or’). It’s like a sacred gap!

The late Thomas Merton (a Trappist monk), Cynthia Bourgeault (an Episcopal priest, teacher, author and retreat leader) and others talk of ‘le point vierge’ (‘the virgin point’, though it  sounds better in French, and is usually referred to in French). They describe it as the point, deep within each of us, were we can meet the Source of All in a real, and experiential, and experimental way; beyond pictures, beyond ideas and without metaphors intimately….in the post-ritual-activity stillness..’. It’s like a sacred ‘nothingness’; that is, no thing!.

This idea is taken up by Rumi, and precedes the above mentioned by many centuries. He wrote, ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass [even] the world is too full to talk about.’ It’s like a  sacred beyondness.

‘An important part of response to divine love, once it has been received, is to pass it on to our neighbour in a way that is appropriate in the present moment.’  Thomas Keating (Trappist monk)

So, how can we assist each other, encouraged each other  and grow, mature and advance our work. I’d suggest:

  • we share best practice by email, and
  • we support each other by meeting with like-minded people (and I’m currently thinking of what I can do with this idea, so do keep reading the articles here over the course of this month as ideas and events are formed and planned, and
  • we can energise each other, perhaps by setting aside, a time each month (maybe part of a ritual, or indeed the whole of a ritual) to think of each other, specifically, and to send positive energy, well-wishes, power-blessings, light etc to each other…but intentionally, named, visualised, specific.

What do you think of this, as a initial practice?

In thinking about that last idea and developing it here, in the work that I do, I want to set aside time just for you! Whether we call that space place between the physical and spiritual realm by the name ‘Holy, the Firm’, or as ‘le point vierge’ or as a celestial field far beyond our ideas of right and wrong…or as the Caim (my term and practice, here, for entering that ‘gap’, liminal space, sacred space etc).

‘Life is a full circle, widening until it joins the circle motions of the infinite.’  Anaïs Nin

In essence a Caim ritual is about forming a circle (or think of an energy bubble in your mind’s eye), visualising the harvesting of celestial energy, moulding it, and sending it, and being prepared for reciprocity, and the latter is a moving into that still-point, le point vierge etc). Ofcourse, it’s more than that (but, if you’re interested in the idea of finding out about a (simple) Caim, please see here and here).

So, I’m resolved to perform a Caim each new moon for you!

But, to make it personal and meaningful I’ll do that (only) if you email me and ask me to do so, and in so doing I’d ask for you do to similar for me. Ofcourse, your background, ‘tribe’ and beliefs will be different to mine, and therefore any ritual you do may be very different to mine…but I don’t think that matters. Infact, I’d expect that, and see it as a blessing of our ‘kaleidoscopic’ diversity and intentionality.

So, are you up for it? (If so, just email me, so that everything is confidential, and will be kept confidential. Email: tadhg@tadhg.cymru

Whether or not you do….you still have my gratitude on getting this far with this article, and receive a blessing from me right now to empower you (even more so) in the good things that you are doing.

‘I am a living member of the great family of all souls; and I cannot improve or suffer myself, without diffusing good or evil around me through an ever-enlarging sphere. I belong to this family. I am bound to it by vital bonds.’ William Ellery Channing

 

Tadhg’s Journal: ‘Drws I Fyd Arall’: Encounter Or Imagination?

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This morning, having gone to bed earlier than usual last evening, I was awake early. And, having done all that was necessary – ablutions-wise, it was still only 7am! At times when I can’t sleep, or awake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep (something which rarely happens, but I always feel is significant), or wake up (too) early, I always head for  Culpepper’s Wood, when in north Wales.

‘The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.’ John Muir

So, at about 6.20am this morning, with a couple of layers of external clothing on, and donning my faithful woolly hat, I ventured out for the short walk, only to be met by an oh-so-cold blast of air as I opened the kitchen door to leave the cottage. My…it was cold (and that was a British understatement). It was a good-to-be-alive, but please, ‘no colder’, sort of air-embrace. If I wasn’t awake before, I was wide awake then, and more so, as I ‘battled’ through the morning, freezing fog so common in these parts.

I slowly made my way to Culpepper’s Wood.

I’ve mentioned before, how as a child, my friends would avoid the area in the middle of Culpepper’s Wood which contained Y goeden mellt, the Lightning Tree (see here). We would all avoid it, except for me. I loved the power and mystery that both seemed to repel and invite, in equal measure, even as a child. And more recently, I wrote of a mysterious and meaningful ‘encounter’ there (see here).

Today, I passed Y goeden mellt, the Lightning Tree, having paused in its presence just long enough to be respectful, and walked further into the forest for another few minutes. Beyond the Lightning Tree is another area that all my childhood friends liked, and felt safe, and played in, as did I.

‘I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives…
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.’ Wendell Berry

It’s interesting how recollections as an adult of childhood occurrences can change over time. I was looking for two, very tall, thick silver birch trees. As a child, these were two huge trees, exactly 153 steps beyond the Lightning Tree (and I did measure the steps, then, but none of my friends at that time, would – they really didn’t like the Lightning Tree at all). Slightly fewer steps now, as an adult. And, there they were – looking a little thicker, older, weathered, both bowed a bit more that I can remember, and not-so-tall. Probably about fifteen feet in height, and still arched like an ancient door.

Ah, the door! As children, and our child-imaginations ran rife at the time, we called these two trees  Drws i fyd arall [pronounced ‘droo zi fid arrah’].

‘We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.’ Walt Disney

I’m not sure, as children whether some or all of us had access to some unknown source of esoteric wisdom (or maybe that’s inbuilt in children, and there’s a thought?), or whether we had all watched too many sci-fi programs on tv.

This was well before the days of Star Wars or StarGate (and the myriad of off-shoots), but comfortably placed in an era when ‘Lost In Space’ was first aired on tv.

Oh, how we all related to our-same-aged Will; and emulated the robot when it bellowed out, ‘Danger, Will Robinson’, as it seemed to do far too often; and how we hissed when Zachary Smith got up to no good. Indeed, it was probably one or more episodes in particular that might have been behind us calling these two trees, Drws i fyd arall. Zachary Smith was usually the one to find some alien artefact, conceal it from the rest of the team, try to use it for his own ends and end up with problems…only for others to resolve the problem at some cost.

There were several ‘Lost In Space’ programs where Zachary Smith had come across a alien’s ‘standing mirror’, which he thought was just a mirror, but unknown to him (initially), it was some kind of alien transport system – yes, stepping through the mirror would take you to an alien world that was totally different, and so you would know things have changed, or it would allow access to a parallel universe where only subtle changes might occur (and so you might now know that you’ve been transported, initially). It was cross between StarGate and Sliders, but many years before both – what a brilliant idea.

And so, early this morning, having walked on further than the Lightning Tree, there were the bowed, arched, silver birch trees: Drws i fyd arall.

It was like a home-coming. There they were. Drws i fyd arall as we called them, or in English, ‘the door to another world’ was right in front of me.

As children we had endless fun passing through these arched trees, that door to another place. Our imaginations ran riot. Today, I stopped to look, sat down, and dwelt on those old memories.

Each one of us has our own Drws i fyd arall, our door to another world. We might not want to imagine stepping through that portal to another level of existence (though you might find it fun and/or beneficial to try), but we might, as adults, distance ourselves from that, and call it potential or opportunity, or choice. That’s the grown-up thing to say. We might call it prayer or meditation. How we use it is important. Take prayer or meditation, for instance. One can dip ones toe into the water, have a shopping list of prayers, or meditate ‘lightly’ and reap some benefits; or one can dive deep and deeper still, and go beyond to be alone with the Alone. One is ‘distancing’ and partial, the other is all-embracing, powerful and culminates in an encounter.

I sat down, and stayed looking at Drws i fyd arall for about ninety minutes, until the sun came up at 8.05am. I was in no rush. And then stood, to head back to the cottage. Walking just a few yards, with so many wonderful thoughts in my head of childhood memories of what Drws i fyd arall meant as a child, and now as an adult, I looked back. It seemed to call.

As children, we would have no hesitation running through the two arched trees and pretending we had entered a door and everything was different, as though we were in a strange place – and after Brexit and events of the last few weeks, it seems as though we might have been transported to an alien world, in fact!

‘I have a thing for doors. I always think of them as a threshold to something new.’ Jada Pinkett Smith

But, it seemed to call. Turning and getting closer, there was part of me that wanted to walk through Drws i fyd arall or ‘the door to another world, and part of me that thought that to do so was ‘as silly as a box of frogs’. For some minutes, a mind-battle raged. Ofcourse, I knew that I wouldn’t literally be transported to an alien world if I walked through these two trees, and I knew the outcome (of passing through them or not) would be the same.  Or, would it? And so, I tarried for a few minutes, before trekking back to the cottage.

Ah, now you want to know if I once again walked through Drws i fyd arall or ‘the door to another world?

Well, I did! And it was fun! Frivolous! It brought back some great memories! And confirmed one thing: I may not have been transported to an alien planet, but by succumbing to Drws i fyd arall I chose to allow the ‘magic’ of the place to win the day and enter, for imagination to gain the upper hand on this occasion,  to embrace the unknown, and go forward positively with a smile on my face. For many people in these tough and strange times that might be such a change in outlook that it would be like them entering a different dimension.  But, maybe that’s what  Drws i fyd arall or ‘the door to another world’, is all about. A metaphorical-yet-real change of perspective that alters everything. A portal to another place (of attitude, rather than location)?

So, have you found your Drws i fyd arall or ‘the door to another world’?

 

Celtic Daily Living: The Three Realms

three-realms

We live in an age where  some   try to ‘package’ spirituality and sell it to us. How many times have you and I been asked to place our  hands on the tv screen and then send money, or type ‘Amen’ on a FaceBook page to receive a miracle? Many others, thousands upon thousands do it. They do it, without understanding  that miracles and grace they so eagerly want, infact flows to all, and is  acknowledged by those aware of it, and this occurs unconditionally.

So, how do we tap into that energy, that power, that grace-conduit, unbridled and deep spirituality?

I believe there are (at least) three realms, levels of existence.

‘Three is a magic number
Ya it is, it’s a magic number
Somewhere in that ancient mystic trinity
You’ll get three
As a magic number’

(Song lyrics)

Buddhists talk of three realms (which they call the Trailokya) consisting of:

  • the highest one described something akin to heaven (or four heavens, infact) called Arūpaloka;
  • the in-between one is the world of form (our Physical world) called Rūpaloka;
  • and a lower one, Kāmalokae. With respect to Buddhists, I’d like to build on, and slightly alter definitions, at least for this article.

Perhaps, we could view creation consisting on three realms for simplicity-sake, for now and we might ‘build upon and add to this later) sake. Certainly the ancient Celts were fascinated with numbers, and especially the number three! So, perhaps we could say there is:

  • the Realm of the Spirit (or the Ouranic Realm), and ‘under’ that,tic-tac-toe-1777815__180
  • the Realm of the Soul or Psyche (which unpacks thoughts using symbolism, dreams etc),  and ‘under that,
  • the Physical Realm, the one we all know the best.

If we don’t understand the relationship and power of each of these realms, then maybe our life will be less than it could be – like a car ‘firing’ with one engine cylinder dormant. It’ll move along the road, inefficiently, ‘lumpily’, you’ll have a bad journey,  not a good ride. Car engine damage eventually ensues.

Understanding and balance between these realms, then, and how they relate to our lives is what is needed. What do you think?

But, first a closer look at the three realms. The three realms are:

number-11. The realm of (the) Spirit: Some call this the Ouranic Realm:  My favourite mystic of yesteryear, the Lady Julian, believed that the ‘fall’ (if that’s how some interpret the early  Genesis story of humankind) did not affect humanity in this realm of (the) Spirit. We are therefore continually in bliss, come what may, and nothing can separate us. We can draw comfort from that.

The problem with  only living with this mentality, is that we separate ourselves from daily life, it could lead to arrogance, perhaps, and we really miss out on life’s lessons. We end up, then, as holy people, but unable or unwilling to relate to, or work with others, and that’s not really holiness at all.

Living a life with this realm in mind, as a balanced form of living, and living the otherconsciousness-1719995__180 realms as well, is what’s needed.

We approach this realm through participative religious or spiritual liturgy and ceremony/ritual etc, which is why the latter is important. It needs to be participative, as that ushers us into the liminal – that threshold between here and there – to access this realm (albeit in part, ‘at a ‘distance’ etc), whereas passively looking on is liminiod – a near miss but with only a second-rate feeling of encounter. How sad if many are accepting the liminiod and missing the ‘full-blown’ liminal encounter?

‘Love calls – everywhere and always.
We’re sky bound.
Are you coming’. Rumi

From here, good thoughts and ideas ‘descend’ to the Realm of the Soul, as if ‘out of the blue’.

number-22. The realm of the soul: Some call this the Psychic Realm: Don’t be phased by the last term; it really means the arena of the soul, the psyche, the area of mental faculties that we all possess. Hollywood has something to answer for, for its poor portrayal of this word and realm, and fear-mongering.

To only live in this realm will make us feeling we have achieved something, but without living in balance with the other two realm we only travel so far. Many people who subscribe to an organised religion may be operating only at this level, and wonder why things are not working out, are out of balance?

‘Change your thoughts and you change your world.’ Norman Vincent Peale

Maybe, what is needed is to live at this level, is study, reading, living it, understanding the symbolism of this level, but be aware that there’s more?

Prayer at this level is likely to be only a shopping-list type of prayer (and as part of a balanced prayer-life there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s more). Move beyond that to the stillpoint, and you suddenly encounter the Source of All and graze that realm of the Spirit! Absolutely wonderful. Meaningful. Powerful. A time and place of encounter! It is the place of the imagination and dream-images, symbols that ‘seep down’ from the Ouranic Realm. A place to enter, and stay a while. Yet, some fear it.

‘Everything you can imagine is real.’ Pablo Picasso

But, ofcourse, only operate at this level and we miss such a lot. It’s here, that I encourage discerning men and women into the Imaginal Realm (which is part of this major realm) in my LiminalPeople ministry.

number-33. The Physical Realm: This is the easiest one to understand. We can look around and see it, hear it, feel it, shape it etc. If we’re aware and living in cognizance of the other two realms, then things really happen.

To recap: Thoughts start in the Ouranic Realm, permeate into our Psyche, that Psychic realm – usually as pictures, desires, symbols as that is the ‘language’ of the soul and the imaginal realm, and then flow ‘down’ to the Physical Realm, and appear, are manifested around us, essentially.

‘This world is but a canvas to our imagination.’ Henry David Thoreau

Ofcourse, if all three realms are not operating in balance, if we favour one – and many people favour the Physical Realm and/or the Psychic Realm then ego takes over, and what is manifest is sadly ‘misshapen’, skewed, negative and short-lived, if it is manifested at all.

number-4Balance: Balance is need in our lives, and awareness comes first to know how to ‘dwell’ and ‘use’ the power and opportunities of each realm. What do you think?

One way is to use the Psychic Realm as a ‘half-way- step in our understanding of the other two realms. In that Psychic Realm, or the Imaginal Realm (as I call it with discerning men and women who attend my sessions, worskhops) we receive information and power from ‘above’ and that would be (1) the Ouranic Realm; process those symbols of meaning and power in (2)  the Imaginal Realm (and so we ‘work’ there in my sessions –  it’s rather like a guided and directed ‘day-dream), and use affirmation and intentionality for it to manifest itself in (3) the Physical Realm.

‘The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner.’ Gordon B Hinckley

If all three Realms are used appropriately, benefits follow. Live only in one or two Realms,balance-154516_960_720 like many in organised religion, and benefits and manifestation are difficult. We have a form of understanding but lack the power of all Realms working in co-operation. 

So, using the Imaginal Realm, that realm of the Soul, is one way forward for some to start or go deeper, and that will be the theme of the ministry of Tadhg’s  LiminalPeople and it’s website. It’s through the Imaginal Realm, as one way of many, that we can tap into that spiritual power and benefit. You can have a sneak preview of the first webpage of LiminalPeople now, at:

www.liminalpeople.org

Do bookmark the front page please, and I’m hoping it’ll be fully functional by 16 November, and you may benefit. More details in a few days about the website.

 

three-realms

‘A Close Encounter With Nwyfre Of The Third Kind?’ Or ‘The Truth Is Out There’.

20161103-nwyfre-standard-thoughts

Words have power. With a word the cosmos was called into being, people were raised from the dead, and with our words events are called forth, promises are made, and the future unfolds.

There is a delightful and an ancient Gaelic/Welsh word, ‘nwyfre’ (pronounced ‘noo-iv ruh’), which is deep and profound, and full of power, and beneficial to know as it may change our perception. It is a word that allows us to ‘peep behind the curtain’ – that veil that masks what really is, from that which only appears to be so. It’s a ‘thin’ word.

There is a thick forest not far from where I live in north Wales, old and dense; ancient. I love it. As a child most of us, not me, would avoid part of the forest where it was thickest because of a feeling of intense fear. Perhaps part of our childish imagination at the time, or maybe more? That area, even more dense than the surrounding forest, contained, what we called ‘Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree, and most of my friends hated it, but not me.

‘The things that frighten us just want to be held.’  Mark Nepo.

I’ve visited there sometimes since –  and my respect for Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree has grown more and more over the years. For more about my earliest encounters with Y goeden mellt’, see here.

‘..stands a lightning tree.
It’s limbs all torn from the day it was born for the tree was born in a thunderstorm.’

(The Settlers song, ‘The Lightning Tree’.)

As an adult, I learned that Y goeden mellt has power, or is it power that we give it? Nevertheless, it was a place to visit when one was awakened in the depths of the night and one couldn’t sleep, or when it ‘called’ by it. Deep thoughts, meditation or was it a dream occurred some time ago, there, a ‘dream’ about the ancestors. It is a ‘thin place. See here.

‘Oh Trees, Trees, Trees…wake. Don’t you remember it? Don’t you remember me? Dryads and hamadryads, come out, come [out] to me.’  C S Lewis.

And, then last evening I went to Y goeden mellt, with a friend, at dusk. We entered the forest, walked for some time into the thickest part of the forest, and then moved into the usually unvisited clearing. And, there in the centre was Y goeden mellt, the Lightening Tree.

Under my breath – I thought it might ‘spook’ my friend if I did what I usually did out loud – I greeted the Lightning Tree with something like, ‘Hello, my dear and ancient friend’. And, I lowered my head, temporarily, as a sign of respect. I think my friend saw that nod, but he remained quiet.

My friend found the fallen tree trunk which makes for a comfortable seat – not too close, not to far away from the Tree, and sat on it. I sat beside him. We were both quiet for some time, as the light fell, in awe of the majesty of the setting.

‘What do you see?’, I asked.
‘Trees!’, was his reply.
‘And, what else?’ I asked.
‘Trees, trees and more trees.’, he said, smiling.

I thought for a while, and then said to him, ‘And what about nwyfre?

On hearing that word, he immediately  looked up, gazed at the sky and the tops of the trees, and said, ‘A little nwyfre, sure….and it’s nice’.

Nwyfre, traditionally and literally is to do with wind and the sky. If you can imagine fast flowing, light clouds in a blue sky, say, or the wind ‘howling’ of the tops of trees, then that’s evidence of nwyfre. But, it’s more – to those with deep awareness, insight, enlightenment, to those who are poets and those who might have a ‘romantic’ inclination, it’s more.

‘The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone….’ John 3:8a, The Book.

Nwyfre, at its deepest and most profound, and I would say its most real level, is: Spirit, and the connectedness of everything because of Spirit, and the flow of energy (love etc) between everything.

As my friend looked around, he saw a gnarled tree in a clearing and localised atmospheric pressure skipping cross the tops of trees. He declared it was ‘nice’.

No disrespect to my friend, but there is more.

As I sat, gazing at Y goeden mellt, memories, and experience(s), respect and the feeling of being in a powerful place flooded my mind. I realised (and realised this some time ago), that much of this was in my mind. Call it a series of inner experiences, a jaunt into the imaginal realm, or a particular use of ones imagination, call it what you will, I know such experiences have happened in the past, and unbeknown to my friend, were happening now.

For him, nwyfre was a natural event.

For me, nwyfre is that and more. I knew it to be real and deeper and more profound, albeit using different ‘senses’. We see, only what we expect to find.  And, as I looked around, and my imagination ‘fired up’, I could see the gnarled tree that my friend was looking at, but I saw Y goeden mellt, a powerful being, imbued with the same life-forced that flowed through me (and through my friend, even though he was unware of it). It was as if a trillion fire flies flew along its branches and roots like veins in a body, and then they flew outward to surrounding trees, lighting up the clearing with almost neon, golden, lights in a myriad, swirling patterns. Light. Energy. Love. Power. Connectedness. Oneness. Love…all, in my mind’s eye.

My friend, saw a gnarled tree. I saw more, as we sat there for about an hour in the ‘silence’ of the forest

‘There, in the silence that’s never quite silent, I realized that, if there are at least seven thousand wants to speak, there are at least seven thousand ways to listen.  Mark Nepo.

We were just about to leave, when my friend said, ‘That’s weird!’. Ofcourse, I just had to ask him to explain, and he did. He said that although it had got darker, he could see little blips of light in his peripheral vision. Not wanting to flood him with information about the deep meaning of nwyfre and wondering that, perhaps, he was starting to see reality at a deeper level, I said we should stay a few more minutes to see what happened. He didn’t agree. ‘It’s nothing’, he said, ‘just an illusion, just phosphene!’. And, with that he got off the felled log, and we hiked our way out of the clearing, with him in front of me. That was good, because, as is my custom Y goeden mellt got a nod from me and a barely-audible ‘good-bye’ as we left the clearing.

Back at the cottage, we talked about that experience. He was adamant that what he saw was an optical illusion. I wasn’t so sure, and said to him, ‘Perhaps it was more. Perhaps you actually caught a glimpse of nwyfre with your eyes, you mind’s eye?’

He replied, ‘Maybe, but whatever it was, it was nice’. I couldn’t leave it there, and said, ‘Only nice?’.

My friend, I believe, caught a glimpse of nwyfre in its fullness: Spirit, and the connectedness of everything because of Spirit, and the flow of energy (love etc) between everything, seen as an intricate and living web of light. He saw a glimpse, mainly dismissed it, but the ‘key has been dropped’. He had been introduced to that which ‘is beyond’, a ‘thin place of understanding’, and it’s up to him now to take it further (or not). I might just drop another key, prompt him with another encounter and learning opportunity. I might just invite him back, again, to encounter Y goeden mellt to witness nwyfre.’

‘Four hundred year old trees, who draw aliveness from the earth like smoke from the heart of God, we come, not knowing you will hush our little want to be big; we come, not knowing that all the work is so much busyness of mind; all the worry, so much busyness of heart…. ‘Mark Nepo

But, what about you?

In your mind’s eye, your imagination, in that imaginal realm that can be accessed in a number of ways ( such as through meditation, centering, deliberately entering a waking-but-day-dreaming state etc), you too, whether in a rural area or urban area can witness nwyfre in a way that is personal to you, and just as profound, wherever you are. So, what are you waiting for? Nwyfre awaits!