Skye: Deep Calls To Deep: 7

Today, 15 October, was my last full day on Skye, and tomorrow I start the two-day journey back home. In all of this I have been moved by the energy, light and love, the presence of the ancestors, of angels and fae, and That Which Is Larger Than Us. Iona and Skye a two very different, but two equally, very ‘thin places’.

Today I just walked. There was no schedule or agenda. And as I walked the thought of rhythms came to me. We, each move at a different pace, to a different rhythm or tune, but what a wonderful symphony we make when we all come together. Not all can be flautists, not all can be percussionists, but though these are metaphors of our individuality, we can be what we are meant to be – whatever that is. 

There is a different rhythm on this Isle of Skye to the Isle of Iona, and it will be different to,the rhythm you and I experience where we are, right now. But that’s to be expected. And there is nothing wrong, and no difficiency experienced so long as we are aware that the rhythm we move to in our daily life is just one of many available to us. Depending how,you view it, there is our mechanistic rhythm as we work, but,  you are more. There is the natural rhythm of nature which beckons is (in trees and flowers, sunsets and the seasons), and there is the rhythm of,the body, the soul, the spirit, and the Spirit. And, perhaps all these are many  facets of one Immortal Diamond.

I’ve been aware of the energy, light and love, the presence of the ancestors, of angels and fae, and That Which Is Larger Than Us on this pilgrimage. And I hope you have, too, because you have been with me on,this journey. And it still goes on in your dreams I.

I start my journey back tomorrow, amd will have a couple days to ‘acclimatise’ and will the re-start writing articles most weekdays. Over the next few weeks some of those articles will ‘unpack’ some experiences I had on those two wonderfully ‘thin places’, amd I will include more photographs – Iona’s internet connection wasn’t quite up to speed for photographs. And also, over the next few weeks I’ll outline and start some of events, websites, workshops etc, thst were on my mind before the pilgrimage and were confirmed. At the very end of this article I want to share with you, that you were with me and were very much on that pilgrimage as I was, and our wonderful journey together, goes on and on and on….

Blessings from Iona, that Isle of Druids, and light and love from Skye be yours, Tadhg

PS: Next article will be Thursday.

Skye: Deep Calls To Deep: 6

Having left the Isle of Iona, today was my first full day of the wonderful Isle of Skye. Last evening as I drove across the Bridge of Skye I kept a moments silence as I ‘greeted’ the island and it welcomed me. And then, I couldn’t help it. As I drove the car, whether it was a moment of flippancy or (more than likely) a spiritual passion at having arrived, I couldn’t help but sing the Skye Boat song to a traditional Scottish tune, as loud as I could. I laughed and it felt good.

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing

Onward the sailors cry.

Carry the lad that’s born to be king

Over the sea to Skye.

So, today was my first full day on Skye. The Isle of Skye is as mythical, magical, and as deep and profound as the Isle of Iona. Here, too, is the Source of All, energy, the memory and presence of the ancestors, and it too, is a wonderfully ‘thin place’. 

I’m staying in Portree, and in common with these islands, nature wild and rugged is never far away. And so I walked in a green-grey landscape (wonderfully part-grass, bracken and gorse covered hills and grey, huge, mountains), and thought, and meditated, and in my spirit went to that place, ‘ Out [there] beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.’

I walked and the wind howled, and in the wind That Which Is Larger Than Us’, spoke words beyond words and imagining. In such cases the analytical brain is of no use. All that one need do, indeed all that one can do, is to remain silent and be ‘bathed’ in words that have been spoken since before the universe was called into being. That Voice speaks to us all – to you, as you read this, as you’re here with me on this pilgrimage – and the Voice never stops. Wherever we are, we are in communion with the Voice.

And then, as I followed the path, and turned a corner, the Old Man of Storr came into view. 

The weather was getting worse – the wind was picking up and the rain had increased, and thinking of some of the steep slopes I had navigated in getting this far, common sense dictated that I should go no further. I stopped.. That rocky pinnacle, some 165ft (50m) high and pointing skyward was about 1/3 mile away, and it looked awesome. I stopped and just gazed in silence. In awe.

As I’m travelling and my iPad isn’t synchronised to my camera, I’ve got a directed link of the Old Man of Storr: see here https://goo.gl/images/NFoVGh

There is a story that says that the Old Man of Storr was a giant who had lived in Trotternish Ridge. When he was buried, his thumb was left jutting out the ground, creating the famous jagged landscape. There are some who think that that isn’t the giant”s thumb, but another part of his anatomy – but I’m too polite to mention it here: but please email me for details.

But there are other stories. One tells of a brownie – a Scottish hobgoblin – who is said to have done good deeds for a family he chose to serve. On Skye, it is said that a man called O’Sheen saved the life of a brownie and the two became good friends. O’Sheen died from a broken heart following the death of his beloved wife , and the devastated Brownie took it upon himself to chisel two rocks – one in memory of O’Sheen and a smaller one to remember his wife.

And, so I headed back to Portree, a little wiser, and having experienced the might and majesty of the Old Man of Storr, and witness nature wild and rugged, and it was good.

Yes, the Isle of Skye is a wonderfully ‘thin place’, that has an effect on the individual far beyond mere words, and that ‘viriditas’ is not only accessible here, but is present where you are, right now.

Iona: Deep Calls To Deep: 5

Reflection: 12 October 2017. Today is my last full day on Iona. I just had to revisit St Oran’s Chapel and a few other places, again. But, I also wanted to visit a hill just five minutes or so from where I’m staying, and just a few minutes short of the Machair.

On the Isle of Iona, this Isle Of Druids, surrounded by great, craggy, huge prominences this small hill – probably fifty feet across and thirty feet high, is easy to overlook. And yet, it is so significant. It is known by various names, Cnoc nan Angeal or The Hill of Angels, and to some it is Sitheon Mor or the Hill of the Fair (the Fairy Hill).

It is a place of deep connection, another ‘thin place’ on an island that is itself a ‘thin place’. For several millennia before St Columba/Columcille set foot on the island, Druids,and others would come here, to this very hill that overlooks the sea, and would commune. Whatever name they used, and however they saw that connection, something too place then, and it takes place, still. Encounter.

When St Columba/Columcille set foot on the island at Pentecost in AD563, it,is recounted by Adomnan writing some years later, that Columcille would regularly climb this hill and converse with angels. It is a place of power, energy, a place that is liminal, both straddling this world and the Other.

I just had to climb to the top of Sitheon Mor. And I’m glad I did. Did I hear the fae or Angels. Not directly. But I do believe the spirit converses with spirit, and though we may be unaware now, in years to come through memory or when we are ‘there’ and the ‘blinkers are off’ we will know then that we have (indeed wherever we are, and not just at Sitheon Mor) been in the company of the Fae, Angels, That Which Is Larger Than Ourselves etc, and always have been.
But, right now as I stand on the brow of the hill, and with the wind ‘moaning’ it sounds very much like the murmurs of the Fae or Angels speaking to me.

But, then I am born into this time and it is so easy to distance myself from spiritual reality by saying the wind sounds like the voices of elementals and Angels. In using the word ‘like’ I have distanced myself – it is like, but not exactly so! So, writing as others would have written in times gone by, as I stand on this hill, I will be so bold as to say, the voices of the Fae and Angels come in the howling of the wind and speak to us. There , I’ve said it. And, if you’re reading this, then you too, are with me in spirit and are part of this wonderful and ongoing conversation that Druids, Columcille and others have had.

It’s now getting late, and so I’m leaving Sitheon Mor. Tomorrow, I head for toward the Isle of Skye, but with the firm promise of coming back to this Isle of myth and magic, a place the speaks to all those who have ears to hear, this very ‘thin place’. Iona.

Iona: Deep Calls To Deep: 4

Reflection: 11 October 2017. Today, with the weather was mild for a small island, but still cloudy, overcast and with that sea-breeze ever-blowing, and being suitably kitted out I headed , this morning, to the Machair. The Machair (which means ‘raised beach’ and pronounced ‘makker’) is about an eight minute walk from where I’m currently staying, and it is an awesome place.

I wanted nature raw and wild, journeyed to encounter, and sought to bathe myself in the spiritual, and this area is suffused with it all, and more. As I walked along the beach, with the waves crashing into some mighty rocks with a thunderous noise, the wind howling like a moan, constant and ‘bracing’ it is easy, it seems, to forget ‘modern ways’, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. The island is a liminal spot on the map, a threshold between Here and There, and though the natural forces of physics still apply, there is the perception and awareness of a murmor, a whisper, an energy of something deeper at work. Could it be that this is always the case wherever we are, but that our awareness changes, and in such a ‘thin place’ as this awareness is heightened?

Here, I found nature raw and wild, encountered the Source, and was bathed in deep spirituality – or rather , it found me. I say it, because I can’t use he or she to describe it, but what is here (and where you are) is ‘personal’ and goes far beyond our imagination and limiting words. The sea roared and I felt power. The wind howled and it was as if I could hear the voices and joyous songs of those who had gone before – Celts, Christian, Druids and others. This is aptly named ‘the Isle of Druids”. ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,’ said the Lady Julian, one of my favourite mystics, and here, right now, away from,the ‘hub-bub’ of ‘modern life’ another voice can be heard saying the same. This  Voice is all-powerful, it is Love, and it is encapsulates all that we are and more – us, the good times, the not-so-good times, it embraces everything and makes something wonderful out of it all. All things really do work to the good.

I walked for hours, thinking, meditating and just ‘resting’ in that place ‘…beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing…’ said Rumi, ‘I will meet you there….’. And, at this place, the Machair, you (reading this) were with me, but there’s more. It was as if time meant nothing, and those that had gone before us (and perhaps those yet to be born into our families) were here in this place, altogether, in this liminal space, this ‘thin-place’. Yes!

Whatever the speed of our lives, whatever events are taking place, the ‘tune’ of the modern world may be one that we need to listen to, to operate in our workplaces and in the ‘modern’ world, but wherever we are, there is another ‘tune’. Rather, it is the muted drumbeat of Life itself, that, if we pause, listen intently, meditate, we can still hear it and heed its calling. The Voice speaks still in a myriad of ways, whatever name we give it. The Voice speaks and mentions you by name, fellow pilgrim, and truly deep calls to deep.

Iona: Deep Calls To Deep: 3

Reflection: 9&10 October 2017: 9 October was another travelling day – a 210 mile car drive, a ferry to the Isle of Mull, a fifty-minute across the island on its circuitous road from one port to another, and then another ferry to the Isle of Iona.

I stepped off the ferry (9 October) onto the the Isle of Iona, that Isle of Druids, at 6.30pm. Spiritual? Nature? Profound? As I stepped onto Iona the wind howled, the temperature seemed just a little above refrigerator temperature, and it was raining. It was cloudy and darkness was looming.

I knew well the ‘s’ shaped trek of over a mile, and through rugged and hilly terrain that I was to take, and with failing light, I set off. The instructions were clear: you’ll go through several gates along the way, please ensure you close them once through. I did so.

And then I had to go through a gate that had a sign on it: ‘Beware of the bull’. I had hoped that this was some kind of joke, but my pace quickened nevertheless. And, then it slowed. There was a bull, and the bull was seventy-feet it front of me. A huge, dare I say ‘ginger-coloured, hulking bull. As calmly as I could I plotted a wide half-circle around him – I wish I had paid more attention to geometry at school. I then noticed that the bull, fortunately, was more interested in the cows in a neighbouring field. So, I arrived at the next gate quicker than expected, but very relieved.

Today, 10 October, by contrast I walked the thirty minutes from the cottage where aim staying to St Oran’s Chapel, and a few yards further on to the Abbey. The Chapel is a simple stone building, with little inside except a rough altar, a rough cross, and one of those light-a-candle-rack in the corner. The room was simplicity itself. Hewn of rugged stone, it bore none of the niceties of modern-day living, modern-day church buildings, and it was dark and it was dusty. 

And, yet it ‘glowed’ with energy and power, and the songs of monks and pilgrims permeated from its walls as whispers. I was surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. As you read this, you are with me, and so I am not afraid to admit that as I lit a candle for all those that had ‘gone ahead’ – my parents, my ancestors, and those who have ‘passed on’ that you know by name – I sobbed like a child. Not because of sadness, though I’m sure that we all miss them, but tears of love and anticipation. In this place they don’t seem far away. They continue on, and one day we will all be united. This place transcends any denomination or faith. It testifies to Life itself and in all its many and varied forms. This small, dark, dusty room on a remote Scottish Island shouts that out, loud and clear. Those Christians knew this, and the Druids and others before them.

Spiritual? Natural? Profound? Oh yes. The bad weather when I stepped of that ferry, the bull, this wonderful ‘thin place’, St Oran’s Chapel with the varied faith of many down the centuries, indeed the whole is island, this Isle of the Druids is a deeply spiritual, natural and profound place – and you, in one way or another, are with me now.

Blessings Tadhg

Iona: Deep Calls To Deep: 2

Reflection: Day 2: 8 October 2017: I’ve just awoken from a wonderful restful night’s sleep in a Travelodge in Helensburgh on the western coast of Scotland. The room overlooks the sea. To say the air is bracing is an understatement. It’s cloudy and they’re thick grey clouds, too. The temperature has dropped, and there’s some ‘drizzley’ raining the air, but it is absolutely wonderful. Nature raw and wild. It’s good to be alive, to be aware, and to…be in your company in a deep, spiritual way as you join me on this pilgrimage.

I am amazed at the number of people involved in our journeys. Not just mine, but yours. Our physical journey, our daily journeys and our spiritual journey back Home. Seen or unseen there are ‘armies’ of helpers, some of which we are aware and some not.

Family and friends daily engage with us and support us, those in the services (police, fire, hospital etc) work away tirelessly in the back ground, at the Travelodges that I’m staying in, their are a myriad of people that work away to make my stay a good one. Thankyou, Travelodge.

But, what of the unseen spiritual forces for good? When Israel was in exile it learned about intermediaries and called them Angels, messengers. Others know them by other names. To Celts, Druids and Pagans and others, especially the romantic people there are the fae, dryads, tree-spirits, sprites, the bŵg (to us Welsh guys) and the spirit of the place, or the Spirit. Whatever, we call them they are there, sometimes working for us without reward, and without complaint.

As I drive toward Oban tomorrow (9 October) my aim is to be (more) aware of, and more appreciative of the seen and unseen people, and the unseen spiritual and benevolent beings who assist us on our way and my encouragement is that maybe you could do the same.

Tomorrow will be ‘gratitude’ day as I finally step onto the Isle of Iona, that Isle of Druids. More about that soon. Deep calls to call.

Blessings, Tadhg
(Photographs will appear from 9 October as Iona ‘comes into view’) 

Iona: Deep Calls To Deep: 1

Reflection on Day 1: 7 October 2017. Today I drove from London to where I stayed overnight, to a Travelodge in Burton in the Lake District. I have to admit although I get some of my deepest thought during long car rides, the motorways of the UK, and maybe other places, too, are not generalLy the most inspiring if you go by eyesight perception.

And yet…

And Travelodges? The good thing about them is you know what to expect. The not-so-good thing is you know what to expect. There are no surprises.

And yet…

And yes, you may have noticed a bare-bones approach to this article. It seems I was too confident in planning to install the usual photo and appropriate banner head for each day, but I am hoping the text will make up for loss of picture.

And yet…

In all of this, the journey so far has been good. I mentioned about having some of my best thoughts on long drives, and this thought just wouldn’t leave me, yesterday. Apart from,the fact that in a metaphorical, and yes, in a deeper and more profound way you are all with me on this journey, the thought about ‘heading to’ and ‘heading away’ wouldn’t leave me.

As regards what I, what we, are ‘heading to’? That is a mystery and something to be enjoyed and fascinated by in equal measure. The thought ‘heading away’ was easier as I drove along the motorway. Each mile put more distance between my starting point and my present position, and the place names became more unfamiliar, even the air temperature dropped, and some people here have the strangest of accents – as if I don’t, to them!

And yet…

It was definitely a ‘heading away’ day. On this pilgrimage it seems that what lay ahead is deepened, may only take place, if there is a shedding! And, yesterday was that kind of day. Not all things, but cumbersome things that were holding me back were being shed. Today, I think it will be more of the same.

When a snake sheds its skin it’s because new skin has grown underneath, because it has own grown its former bodily skin. Maybe, in some cases we are the same. Somethings, not all, but somethings that are holding us back, however painfil it is, must be shed…to make way for the new, the stage we find ourselves in, for the next step on our ever-changing level of maturity, the make way for the mysterious, and for the Mystery.

Tomorrow will be another day of shedding as I journey onward and encounter Scotland in all its glory. Photographs soon.

Blessings, Tadhg

Alban Elfed: Autumn Equinox 2017

20170920 ALBAN ELFED AUTUMN EQUINOXIt is nearly the time of the Autumn Equinox (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). Infact, it is this Friday, 22 September 2017.

It’s the time when, for the second time this year, the length of day and night is equal, but thereafter night grows in length as winter approaches and the length of daylight diminishes, and as the circle turns. Autumn equinox approaches.

‘Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.’ George Eliot

Having considered the first harvest in early August of corn etc, this time marks the time of the second harvest, of hardier fruit, nuts and berries.

It’s a time of rejoicing, celebrating in large ways and small, a time of reflection and of taking stock, and a time to give thanks to the Source of All, however we express that gratitude. So, you have a couple of days to plan something – and whatever you can do I’m sure it will enhance your appreciation of the season. If you need some practical hints, do see an earlier article on this very theme (see here).

‘Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.’ William C Bryant.

For ancient and latter-day Celts and Druids, particularly of Welsh extraction, but not only, the Autumn Equinox is known as Alban Elfed – the Light of the Water. Very apt as the dominant compass point for Autumn Equinox is west (which you might consider facing if involved in a ceremony, ritual or reciting an appropriate poem or prayer for this time). West is also represented by one of the four physical elements, and this is water. Hence, Alban Elfed, is the Light of the Water.

Some weeks ago – and you know I love haiku – I wrote the following with Alban Elfed in mind, and the poem can be used as a poem to celebrate this time or as party your liturgy to honour the event:

Nature’s circle turns,
and night and day are balanced.
Time for heartfelt thanks.

Water, that gives life,
often taken for granted,
appreciated.

The earth’s provision
at this bless-ed harvest-time,
for all people, stored.

Easterly winds blow,
renew our spirit’s within.
Congruous lifestyle.

Warming sun of all,
now, in this season balanced.
Sun of righteousness.

Nature’s circle turns,
and with gratitude given.
Source of All be praised.

This Alban Elfed I would encourage you to find time, maybe in the evening, to recollect the last year (and even make of list) and to give thanks. Expressing gratitude can done be in a number of ways, so choose one that you’re comfortable with: maybe lighting a candle and praying a gratitude prayer to the Source of All, inviting friends around for a harvest meal, meditating for a short while on the bounty of nature, reciting a relevant poem or expressing yourself in a simple ancient ritual, or in some other way.

‘Blessed be you Balance-Holder,
unafraid of the dark from which all newness must begin,
giver of light that draws us on and out into fullness.
Help me to balance my need for outgoing and restoring this day.
(With thankfulness for my going out, restore to me my rest this night).’

(Tess Ward, The Celtic Wheel Of The Year: Celtic And Christian Seasonal Prayers).

Blessings to you and yours at this time of Alban Elfed, Tadhg

 

Gwyar: Standing In The Flow: Celtic Understanding

20170919 GWYAR STANDING IN THE FLOW CELTIC UNDERSTANDINGI’m in London, and I’m walking towards the River Thames which is less than one minute’s walk from where I live, when in London. It’s a river named by Celts of old as Tems, and by the Romans as Tamesis, and it means ‘dark’, because it was (and still is) a river that lifts up the mud and silt on the riverbed, and that colours it.

But, it flows through London, and for transport and particularly trade over the centuries it is the city’s jugular vein. The city has changed over the millennia, but the river still flows.

In Wales, and to Welsh guys like myself, the word that springs to mind and is oh-so relevant is an ancient Welsh and Druidic term, Gwyar. Pronounced as ‘goo-yar’, it means water (or wine or blood, depending on how you translate it – and isn’t it the case, certainly in ancient text how those three liquids are used in literature, liturgy, interchangeably) and generally in Druidic groups it is the flow of the liquid that the word describes.

‘Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.’ Genesis 2.10, The Book.

The River Thames flows through London, relentlessly, and unpertubbed by the machinations of humans

Gwyar is flux.

In Celtic, Celtic Christian, Druidic and deep spiritual matters, Gwyar is the flow of Spirit in us, through us, around us. It is movement, it is change, it is power. It is connection, the interconnectedness of all things, it is communication.

And so, in liturgy, poetry, prayer, invocation, singing or chanting (and musical wind instruments) it is the Spirit moving through our voice, our very breath. When drumming or shaking rattles, Gwyar and its energy is found in the depth of the rhythmic drumbeat. And, also other musical intruments and the sound of a singing bowl, they exhibit Gwyar as their sounds penetrate our ears and connect us with those deep liminal spaces deep within.

Gwyar is the flow.

In nature’s cycles it is the turning of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the tide, the cycle of rain and mist which drains into rivers and the sea.

Richard Rohr talks a lot about Love. He says, quite rightly that if it’s not flowing out of you, it’s probably because you’re not allowing it to flow toward you.

‘It can flow toward you at every moment: through a flower, in a grain of sand, in a wisp of cloud, in any one person whom you allow to delight you. You might be experiencing this flow of love when you find yourself smiling at things for no apparent reason.’ Richard Rohr. This is Gwyar.

And so, Im now at the banks of the River Thames. The river is high, the tide is in. It does have a dark milky colour as it flows, and it is London’s faithful companion. Affectionately known as Father Thames, the title is lost is the mists of time itself. A god, perhaps? Or, just a personification?

Gwyar is ubiquitous.

The action of the River Thames, of any moving body of water, a river, a stream, a water fall etc, is a good example of gwyar, which itself, is a good metaphor of the energy of all that is Holy, the Spirit of All that moves in us, through us, around us. But, the water analogy has its limits. For, as I gaze at the River Thames, water, gwyer is all around us. Ubiquitous. For gwyer you don’t actually need to step into water, it is flowing in and through you right now. The water analogy fails to fully comprehend the deep meaning of the word, unless in your vision-eye you see streams of water moving all over the place, up and down, around corners, through that person, flowing here and flowing there in deep swirls around the corners of streets etc.

‘When the flow is flowing, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. You don’t have to be a priest on the altar or a preacher in a pulpit, that’s for sure. You can be a homemaker in a grocery store or a construction worker at a work site; it doesn’t matter. It’s all inherently sacred and deeply satisfying.’ Richard Rohr. This is Gwyar.

In all that we do, work, at home, at school or college, in ritual, at play, at rest etc gwyar, the flow of That Which Is Bigger Than Us moves through us, and in that sense we need not worry or be concerned. We stand in the flow. But, oh what joy, and fun, and energy we can utilise when we are aware of Gwyar and co-operate with Gwyar, when we have a true discernment and understanding of it in all that we do (and are).

Gwyar-awareness.

Then, even mundane things (if anything is really mundane) come ‘alive’, have deep meaning, and we can experience the flow of supreme joy in all circumstances. This is gwyar.

 

Perceiving Anew: Orthopraxis: The Altair Teallach

20170906 PERCEIVING ANEW ORTHOPRAXISYesterday we looked at the idea of recovering Celtic and Druidic influences, of stories, knowledge and wisdom, and how right thinking can ‘put us in the way’ of the path of the ancient-future memory-stream of the ancestors, and open us up to those old stories, and ancient knowledge and wisdom. (See here).

Orthodoxy. To catch a tiger, you have to think like a tiger.

Today, we’re looking at one way at how we can move into ancestor-linked memory-stream and connect to all that is holy, that which some call the Source of All, That Which Is Larger Than Ourselves, or the Great Provider etc.

‘In a remote part of the galaxy there lived, what many would describe as an unremarkable bipedal species, that seemed to have an aggressive nature. And yet, at times they could work marvellous deeds. They were complex. The Source of All had created then with mind, body and spirit, but they usually ignored two of these, and many of them operated only at a physical level. But, not all.

Some of them had glimpses that there was more. That is, that in some inexplicable way they were all connected to each other, and even connected to the Universe itself, and by some kind of luminous web  They had access to unbridled power. And yet, even many of those who were of it were unware of what to do.

From a distance, the Watchers looked on.

Orthopraxis.

Orthopraxis, essentially is the approrpriate and necessary action of doing something, in a certain way, to achieve a certain end. If orthodoxy is the ‘thought’ behind the ‘doing’ to ensure intentionality etc; then orthopraxis is the ‘doing’ that stems from the ‘thought’, and is the other send of the see-saw.

Lights, camera. action!

If we want to do something that puts us in the path of the ancient-future memory-stream, then it must start with a thought, result in an action, and use a midway stage – the imagination.

So, imagination is an important stage, but is sadly one that is frowned upon in our society. And, yet it is a valuable ‘tool’.

As we think about it, I’ll encourage you to use your imagination as to what should be included, and then consider what actions might be taken in using it. Orthodoxy, imagination, and orthopraxis in harmony. And, three is such a significant number.

In thinking about one practical way in tapping into the spiritual store that is available to us, I’d like to suggest the altair teallach, a hearth altar.

One ‘tool: The altair teallach, a hearth altar

A hearth altar in your home, is only one tool – amongst many that we’ll look at over the upcoming weeks and months – but if the thought doesn’t appeal to you, please read on as you might find something that you can adapt and use elsewhere.

The altair teallach, a hearth altar, originally would have been the space immediaetly around an open fire in a wall or corner of the room, of yesteryear. Maybe you still have an open fire, a hearth, but if you don’t, don’t worry. Interpretting the term liberally it can be , say a table that is a focal point in your house, and/or it could even be some essential items that can be wrapped in material and transported wherever you go, and so can be a simple affair.

As they gazed at the blue-green planet from afar, several Watchers moved closer, intrigued by some unusual activity. The Watchers could sense unusual power. Looking at several people at once, they noticed a common thread. Intentionality. Altruism. Peace. Love. And more. One person they witnessed fell to his knees in prayer, another stood and invoked the Caim and interceded for others, another lit a candle on their altair teallach, and yet another called upon the elements.

The Watchers stood in silence, in awe at what was happening, noticing that as such people acted so doors of liminality opened up, ‘thin places’ appeared, and places of encounter developed, and in each case great power known to the ancients poured in. But, in ways invisible to those men and women. The Watchers marvelled.

But, what you put on or in your altair teallach depends on what you want to use it for. The current altair teallach in my study, which will be changed in about a month’s time,  is currently set up to include elements to mark the passage of time, to remind me of good memories and to be grateful.

The altair teallach is a portal, a liminal place, an access point to the Great Store House Of Energy.

The header photo is one such altair teallach. To give you an idea, I’ve used:

  • candles/candlelight to bathe the room in a more natural light and not stark modem lighting, so it’s easier to enter a meditative state, and
  • photographs of a few family members who have ‘passed on’, to honour their memory,  and
  • ancient sacred text that is so dear and deeply spiritual, and uplifting to me, and
  • a pectoral cross and chain that I use in ceremonies as a reminder of when I was ordained, and
  • a copper model ‘boot’, that came from my grandmother’s old-fashioned, open-fire hearth, to remind me of all my ancestors, and
  • four palmstones to represent the four material elements and cardinal points, and
  • white flower(s) to denote purity and spirituality, and
  • an angel model (given to my mum, but taken back now she has passed on, to remind me that we are surrounded by visible and invisible, protective, beings who intercede on our behalf.

But, you might want a more complex or simpler altair teallach for, say: for

  • energy,
  • for forgiveness,
  • healing for yourself or another
  • blessing a person, or state or nation
  • to de-stress
  • to go deeper spiritually into your spiritscape
  • to encounter The Source
  • to gain knowledge and wisdom from the ancestors
  • to give thanks on the birth day (or ‘ascension’ day) of a departed family member or friend
  • to unwind at the end of a difficult day
  • to seek guidance to remember a happy memory
  • or for a word for the day.

The list is endless.

You altair teallach, then, may include candles, flowers, photgraph of relevant relatives or places you’re praying about, sea-shells, something you’ve made, a gift from a friend etc. What you use it for and what you put on it will depend of the use you have for it, and your background and beliefs. It’s adaptable, and so do enjoy it.

The Watchers moved closer to each person in wonderment at such a rare and wonderful sight. Men and women tapping into the power of the universe, in faith. And then all at once the Watchers drew back, just a little distance.

And from above, visible to the Watchers but invisible to the men and women who were the recipients of it, a light of pure power poured into them. Their thoughts, actions, intentionality and faith, had opened the very Store House of the Universe. The Watchers half-smiled knowingly, but remained silent. They Watched.

Streams of powerful light flowed from above into those men and women, and then like a dam bursting open, a multitude of lights sprang from those men and women to many others: to people in need, healing power sent to family friends, love sent to others, blessings to places on the Earth in need, and so on.

And then as each person ended their prayer or ritual the light diminished, but the effect didn’t. The Watchers remained, intrigued as to what these men and women from this remarkable species might do next.

Ofcourse, sceptics will say nothing happened. Others might say such thinking, and imaginative usage and actions were wasted. But to those invisible helpers, these Watchers who can see this Light and the connecting luminous web, and those of that remarkable bipedal species who could sense such things, they knew that that energy-sending was vital and had had a positive effect.

But, there’s more.

You may have thought deeply about it, and have done a very good work at creating an altair teallach, but what are the deep benefits, how do you access the power source it taps into, and how do you prepare yourself to encounter such Power? To do things by mere rote, to quote from a book of liturgy and not go deeper misses the point. To do that leads to a lack of power. But if we go deep, sow bountifully, then how much more effective will be the result. There is more, and that will be tomorrow’s theme.

‘…whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully’. 2 Corinthians 9.6b, The Book