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

 

A Great Cloud Of Witnesses: Celtic Thought

20170811 GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSESAs you may know, I’ve spent the last few days in in a beautiful, secluded, thick, old, ‘magical’ forest to ‘re-charge my batteries’, and be ‘primal’. Without creature comforts, no tv, no mobile phone, no internet. And it worked. Batteries ‘re-charged’. And, I’m back.

A lot has happened over the last few months and I needed this break.

There were a jumble of reasons for the need of a break of some kind, and sitting on a log, now, in this secluded forest, overlooking a wonderfully still lake I realise the benefits to me of taking this ‘time out’ in a rural area.

In the tranquillity of these surroundings thoughts pour out in an unstructured way, and I’m content with that. It needs to happen.

Thoughts flooded my mind. I had thoughts of being absent from my Dad. My Mum passed-on about three and a half years ago, my Dad about four and a half months ago. I miss them. I have fond memories of them both, and now the grief at my Dad’s passing-on is changing, like my Mum’s did.

Could it be that the greater the love for someone, the greater the grief at their passing-on. And even if so, this wonderful, new-to-me, strange and unfamiliar place is helping me.

In ancient Roman ‘theology’ they would say that each area, such as this one, has its own genii loci – its own ‘spirits of the place’. To ancient and latter-day Celts, Druids and others we might talk of the elementals and dryads that inhabit each area, and in modern parlance some might talk of the ‘feel of a place’, though I suspect ‘modern’ people are interacting with the spirits of the place without knowing, and yet lack the ability and language to be fully aware or describe it. This place is different, but just as welcoming as any rural, natural wilderness. There is a peace here.

‘…there is still a beauty in grief. Your grief shows that you have risked opening up your life and [gave]…your heart to someone’. John O’Donohue

It’s starting to rain now. Could they be tears? There’s part of me that reckons this may be so, but there’s a deeper feeling, a ‘voice’ deeper inside, deeper ‘out there’, that subtly hints that the rain is a ‘washing away’ of the old, and a ‘cleaning’ in preparation for the new, for the next stage. I remain on that log. Expectantly. And soaked.

Grief changes, and our memories of loved-one may never fade (I hope not), but how we consider them, daily, does change. In this ‘Eden’ of a forest something is changing in me. No longer do I just look back to my parents’ form of bodies, for that for me, would now be to ‘entomb’ them in the past and be backward-looking, and ‘restrictive’. Something has changed. I’m content.

‘Now you glimpse the possibilities of being with them in a new way. If you loosen the sad grip of grief, a new belonging becomes possible between you…the belonging between us and our loved ones in the unseen world. It is a subtle and invisible belonging…’. John O’Donohue.

Birds are still singing high in the trees, and though the light rain is making ripples, occasionally on the lake, fish can be seen coming close to the shore and gobbling food. The clouds are high and sparse, and so the rain is more of a drizzle. There is mist ‘rolling’ slowly down nearby mountains. It is bliss. I’m happy.

Everything seems so right. I look around and there is a natural balance to everything, a harmony, that everything is as it should be. A calmness pervades everything here, including me. For now, we only see in part.

‘Depth is height.’ Meister Eckhart.

The thought comes to me, that it is time to view my ‘loss’ in a different way and if I were to remain at the stage it would be as if I were held back. It’s now time for me to move on. Not to forget, but to remember and to do so with deep gratitude, but in a new(er) way. Now, it is time to realise that my, indeed, our loved ones live on – just as real and energetic as they did before when in physical-body form, but now in an unseen and subtle realm (from our point of view, at present), and just as close to us as ever. Perhaps, more so.

‘From their side, our friends in the unseen world are always secretly embracing us in their new and bright belonging’. John ODonohue.

It’s stopped raining, but I am joyfully soaked. A jumble of thoughts still flood my mind, but that’s all right. I find myself laughing – not a hearty laugh, but not a keep-it-to-myself laugh, after all there’s no one around. No one, except nature and elementals, dryads, companions, and angels maybe. Who knows? And that’s the overriding thought as I get up off this log, and as cold, wet clothes now brush against parts of my body as I walk – not entirely clothes-comfortable – but it makes me laugh even more. Oh, the overriding thought….is that there’s more. That’s my favourite Welsh phrase that I quote and which has been quoted to me in sacred places, in liminal encounters, and in ‘thin places’.

There is more! Mae mwy (pronounced ‘may mee-oh) as it is in Welsh. And there is more. There is more to our surroundings than we have so far imagined if we have eyes to see. More to life. And, for those who have loved-ones who have passed-on there is more, for them, for you, for me, and not only by way of fond memories, but the fact that they are still with us, loving us, encouraging us, embracing us in real, but albeit subtle ways.

‘…we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,..’ Hebrews 12:1b, The Book

I rose up, walked back to the small cottage I was staying in, soggy but joyful, cold but content, missing my parents, yes, but ‘energised’ by the fact that they live on – as do all of those that we have said ‘goodbye’ to as they enter Bliss, that which some call the Summerland, and still others call it Jannah. In the Welsh language it is called Caer Wydyr (the glass fortress). Life goes on there, and the ancestors are not far from any us.

Take heart. Blessings to you and yours, here and there, Tadhg

(Many thanks for your prayers, well-wishes and energy sent during my break. Greatly appreciated and felt).

Learning To Breathe Under Water: Celtic Thoughts On Life

20170718 LEARNING TO BREATHE UNDER WATERI’m sitting in the garden again. The sun has just risen. It’s early. The day is fresh. I’m sitting at the garden table with a coffee in one hand and a book of poetry in the other hand.

Hush. The Presence is here.

My actions feel like a pre-ordained ritual and the book of poetry a time liturgy. Around me are ‘pews’ cunningly disguised as hedges and fences, and the ‘parishioners’ are trees and their branches are really hands raised heavenward in praise. Nature is my church. The Source of All is all around us. The God of Green Hope is gracious to all.

And, I thought deep thoughts as I sat at the garden table, and I read some ‘liturgy’.

There are times in life when things don’t run smoothly. We so often want the life-journey to be smooth and without any ‘judders’, and yet life is seldom like that. I do believe the aim is not to get to the end of this life without any cracks and dents. But maybe the aim is to have lived fully the hand that has been dealt us, and as we stand, one day, covered in scars, slightly scorched, and covered in band-aids, and to look That Which Is Larger Than Us in the eye and give thanks for the ride that involved love (and yes, because we loved there will be heartache too, maybe in proprtion to our love).

I build my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you,
not on the shifting sand.

Each one of us is different. Unique. What we experience, a facet of reality, will be different to the way it is experiened by everyone else. Our reactions will be different, too. The thing we have in common…is that we’re all so different. And, so our life is like a house by a storm-tossed sea that we inhabit…for now. We do our best, we make the most of things. And life is good.

And I built it on rock.
A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbours.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences,
respectful, keeping our distance
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.

We get familiar with the way things are, and yet if we’re honest, bit by bit we know things are changing. I find it easy to make new friends. I love it when their are new births to celebrate, new joys like new jobs that arise, or a handfasting or engagement, or wedding etc (whether it’s of a family member or close friend, or I’m the celebrant at such events).

Boundaries are wonderful things to hem in joy. But, I weep when a family member or close friend goes ‘home’, and passes through that boundary. Are we not all alike? Isn’t the beach a boundary between the land and sea, like a ‘gap’ between here and the Other, metaphorically, like the barrier between life and Life here-after, Heaven, the Summerland or Caer Wydyr (the glass fortress).

Always the fence of sand our barrier,
always the sand between.

And yet, life like sand in an hour-glass continues to flow. Time flows. Relentless. Make the most of each day. Life maybe built on solid rock, but sand around it flows. Tempus fugit.

And then one day
(and I still don’t know how it happened)
the sea came.
Without warning.
Without welcome even.

Life is never smooth. Unexpectedly there are ‘ups and downs’, life-traumas, ailments (and doesn’t it seems that when such things are witnessed in family and dear friends, and we look on, it is worse than it actually happening to us), the loss of family and dear friends and other ‘judders’ occur. Such events catch us by surprise.

This is life, isn’t it? For now.

Not sudden and swift,
but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.

And, as I sit here drinking the final gulp of coffee, thoughts continue to flow.

So many family and friends have it tough. Perhaps if they look at my life they will think the same. We each have life-trauma we keep covered, but it’s there, and it’s a mark of our ‘human-ness’. And yet, when we’re ‘going through it’, the last thing we want is an academic appraisal, someone to tell us that ‘they know’. It feels so personal. It is! How can anyone else know. We experience life differently, and react differently.

If this is ‘you’, then you’re not alone.

And I thought of flight, and I thought of drowning, and I thought of death.
But while I thought, the sea crept higher till it reached my door.
And I knew that there was neither flight nor death nor drowning.

When ‘judders’ occur, we change. When I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer about ten years ago (and by the grace of God and the NHS health-care system in the UK ‘defeated it) my motto was ‘business as usual’, but deep down I knew nothing would be the same.

We adapt.

That when the sea comes calling you stop being good neighbours,
Well acquainted, friendly from a distance neighbours.
And you give your house for a coral castle.

This maybe life for now. There is an ancient story about King Solomon wanting a ring that would make a happy man become sad if he looked at it, and a sad man happy. He sent a servant by the name of Beniah to look for it. He had a year in which to find it. Beniah travelled the globe, returning without it and with only one day to go. And yet. on that final day he found the ring in the local market. That evening he approached King Solomon. As soon as King Solomon read the inscription on the ring the smile vanished from his face. The jeweller had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: gimel, zayin, yud, which began the words “Gam zeh ya’avor” — “This too shall pass.” At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things. Yes, everything changes.

And you learn to breathe under water.

We change.

Life teaches us that when the wind blows; lean into the storm. When the sun burns, seek shadow. When it rains, seek the shelter of a mature tree. And, when we seem to be engulfed by water, up to and over our heads, we adapt, we really do – you do – we, metaphorically, learn to breathe underwater. It’s a times like that that we ‘step out’ of ‘normality’.

It is one of the reasons I believe that I am blessed with great friends who are latter-day Celts, Celtic Christians, Druidic Christians, Druids, Pagans and others, who ‘see’ life differently, share their buoying-up worldviews and beliefs with me, and I see life differently, anew, bigger than the life-trauma, bigger and brighter than anything previously imagined. As in says in ancient text: For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

With no more coffee left, I had finished reading that poem – the liturgy for life. For all its difficult times, and whatever we’re going through right now life has a habit of reminding us that we’ve come this far, and to take heart for the rest of this wonderful journey, that we will make it through this ‘storm’.

And that barrier between life and Life here-after, Heaven, the Summerland or Caer Wydyr (the glass fortress), that event when this life ends is really just the beginning. Mae mwy – ‘there is more’, is my favourite Welsh phrase. Oh there is so much more. But, not just yet. Today, we live life to the full and seek joy – which is not dependant on felt events – and are blessed in doing so, whether we feel it or know it or not. Hush, the Presence is (t)here.

You are blessed.

(The poem read at the coffee table this morning, this life liturgy, was by Carole Bialock and is entitled ‘Learning to breathe under water’, and is used here interspersed through my writing as indented block-quotes)

Sweet Surrender: Celtic Thought

20170627 SWEET SURRENDERI’m still in London, and today for some reason I was up before sunrise, but it was good to do.

‘Amor vincit omnia, et nos cedamus amori.
Love conquers all things, so we too shall yield to love.’ Virgil

At that time of the morning the air was clean (relatively), London traffic and noise hadn’t started, and I was alone with a cup of coffee in my tiny, but greatly appreciated garden, and alone with my thoughts – albeit a myriad of thoughts, some vying for dominance, some seemingly passing through.

‘Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.’ Lao Tzu

I’m not one to lose my temper, infact I’ve been described as being ‘quite Buddhist’ (and no disrespect to Buddhists, as I think that’s a compliment). On a few occasions I have been known to try and use reason and logic to present a case, but sometimes the other party are just not having it, and in such cases, inwardly, I declare, ‘I give in, I surrender’. Not in a nasty way, but that I’ve used all the resources I have at my disposal and there’s nothing more to be said . And so, in those cases I change tact and surrender. I quit talking, after all, what more can be said?

‘Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.’  Ann Landers

As I recounted those occasions, the word ‘surrender’ remained with me.

Have you ever been in the presence of someone you truly love, and when you first meet them, there’s that time of frantic, nervous conversation and of getting to know each other. Do they drink latte or skinny wet latte, espresso or double espresso, Americano, short or long macchiato, ristretto or even tea, amongst other things? These things are important. But, there comes a time, when just gazing into your lover’s eyes is enough, words only get in the way and you surrender to the moment of stillness.

There’s that word again. Surrender.

Sweet, sweet surrender, live, live without care
like a fish in the water, like a bird in the air.’ John Denver, song.

Surrender has got bad press over the years, at least it seemed to me as I continued to sip that ever-so-welcome cup of coffee this morning as the sun was about to rise. Surrender can seem like a cowards way out, a giving up when perhaps one shouldn’t, or taking the easy route. But, surrender is a wonderful word.

Those who frequent forests, who witness a sunrise at the beach, those who gaze upon lofty mountains in the distance, perform a ritual in a wood and appreciate all that is green and alive, those who look upon a new-born baby’s face or the face of a loved-one know no words to sum up those experiences. When you encounter That Which Is Larger Than Ourselves the only response is a holy and awesome surrender. The event is beyond words. Surrender is the only, and thankfully the most wonderfully appropriate response.

Some time ago I wrote:

Wonder sees beyond the physical world,
with eyes beyond eyes.
Wonder makes us still and tremble in awe
as we consider our lowliness and humility of heart.
Wonder is never small, never a dim light and never disappoints.
It can be fleeting, momentary, even fragile, but it is never meaningless.
It is the sun rising above the horizon as the cool wind blows.
It is a flock of birds making huge circles in the sky as they prepare to migrate.
It is the friendly hand extended by a stranger when we stumble.
It is a baby’s innocent smile, a lover’s kiss, a kindly word or deed.
It is the knowing, empathetic, tearful glance when words fail.
It is the unexpected,
the daily synchronicities of the Creator we so often ignore in our busy-ness.
Wonder is the Creator’s gift to us to declare who He is,
what He is doing, and how He loves us.
And, as we observe and so participate in wonder,
it is His way of including us in the cosmic dance of creation.

That which can arrest us, jar us out of our only-seeing-the mundane world around us – and don’t feel too bad about that, as I do believe we are ‘amphibians’, that is aware sometimes of the numinous, but at other times unaware (and when at work or driving etc those may be good times to be unaware of the numinous) – can occur at any time.

‘Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.’ Eckhart Tolle

As I sat there with just a little coffee left in the cup I was pleased with the thought of ‘surrender’ rattling around in my mind. If you encounter the numinous today, my encouragement to you is not to analyse it, not to verbalise it, not to objectify it – in each of those responses we ‘step out’ of the moment – but to surrender. Surrender, enjoy and bask in the love of the Lover of All, whoever that Love is manifested.

‘When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.’ Lao Tzu

____________

Yesterday, the photo link to the article ‘Be Of Good Cheer: Words Of Encouragement For You’ may not have taken you to the article, but rather to just a photo store. Apologies. If you thought there was no article yesterday, it can be accessed and read here. Blessings, Tadhg

Celtic Lifestyle: EarthGrief: An Introduction

20170529 EARTHGRIEF AN INTRODUCTIONWhatever we attach ourselves to, will cause us give ourselves fully in love, and the more attached we do that, the more we will experience grief one day. I don’t want to sound negative or morbid, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t give ourselves to another – of course not. After all that’s part of what it is to be human and alive, and what it means essentially to live in the present.

But, grief is a fact of life.

In the book, ‘The Wild Edge Of Sorrow’, the author, Francis Weller writes about five ‘gates’ of grief. ‘Each of these doorways leads to the communal hall of grief, and each helps us to understand the many ways that loss touches our hearts and souls…’.

One of these ‘gates’ opens when we acknowledge the losses of the world around us.

As a Druidic-Christian, and knowing other Celtic Christians, Druid and pagan friends (and others), there is a painful realisation that the world is reeling in agony at the unlimited effect of rampant commercialism.

‘What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.’  Mahatma Gandhi

Which one of us hasn’t prayed a prayer or conducted a ritual for some part of the world’s geographical environment, diminishing rain-forest or endangered animals?

We are affected. Our psyche feels this devastation because the greater part of our psyche lies outside of our body: the body does not live in the psyche, rather, we live within the psyche. And, everything is connected because everything possesses a soul. This earth-connection is the anima mundi (the soul of the world). This devastation of the planet is known, by some, as EarthGrief.

‘A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.’ Franklin D. Roosevelt

It’s not that we witness, say the destruction of a forest, and feel sorrow at it as if from some distance, but in being connected we are hurt, too! If we don’t feel that hurt, then it may be a case of our perceived great separation from the planet – nature deficit disorder.

We are connected in essence; but we may perceive ourselves as separate. We are hurt because of it; but we may not be aware of that hurt. Because we’re unaware, EarthGrief continues.

‘I love to think that animals and humans, and plants, and fishes, and trees, and stars and the moon are all connected.’ Gloria Vanderbilt

It’s not a case of wanting to make you feel dreadful, of causing a sense of guilt, or of putting you (or myself) in a position where we throw our hands up in the air and forlornly cry out, ‘I can’t make a difference, can I?’.

Perhaps, initially, it’s a case of giving the term a name: EarthGrief.
And, then perhaps, it’s a case of acknowledging, in ritual, the sense of loss because of EarthGrief. There are a myriad of other things we can do, but those two make for a good start.

Francis Weller writes, ‘There is a ritual that my community does annually called Renewing The World…[It] lass three days, and we begin with a funeral to acknowledge all that is leaving this world. We build a pyre, and then together we name and place onto the fire what we have lost…The first time I did this ritual, I was planning on drumming and holding the space for others. I made an invocation to the Sacred…

Francis Weller goes on to describe the sense of grief that they all felt in that ritual and which, physically, pulled their bodies onto their knees, as many people sobbed.

It wasn’t a case of morbidity or an over-indulgence in grief, for griefs-sake on their part, but an admission of real connectivity, of  EarthGrief, and a growing awareness that it need not be this way. 

Chellis Glendinning says we are born ‘as stone age children’. We enter the world, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as people ‘designed for’ and connected to nature, and this state he calls the primal matrix. However, what was once a seamless flow into a connected world has become a perceived breach: we are still connected in essence, but we just don’t know it, and act accordingly.

‘O most honoured Greening Force,
You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.
You are enfolded
in the weaving of divine mysteries.
You redden like the dawn
and you burn: flame of the Sun.’ Hildegard of Bingen,

But, now we know. And, that’s a good start. Firstly, to give this plight a name, and secondly, to perform our own solo and/or collective Renewing Of The Earth ritual.

It’s a start!

Remember Manchester. Tadhg’s Journal & A Call!

20170523 Remember Manchester JOURNALRemember Manchester.

Today is one of those days when I feel ‘flat’ and want to write little. Do you experience that kind of energy-less, kick -in-the-pit-of-the-stomach feeling, that lethargy at the arrival of sad news?

Today I’m thinking of all those innocent people in Manchester last evening: men and women, and dear children out enjoying themselves, laughing and joking, enjoying life, and someone then cuts short his life, and takes more than twenty people with him.

So sad.

And, what about the grieving family and friends? Today, parents will be without their children, children without parents, and so it goes on. Loss.

Remember Manchester.

Unfortunately, that kind of atrocity has gone on since time began, and it happens in other parts of the world. That doesn’t make it easier, though, for those grieving today.

What should our reaction be?

Hate? Revenge? Kill the murderers and snuff out one life before he, or she, takes many? Impose curfews. Dehumanise migrants? Arm citizens? Build a wall (physical or psychological)? Give into fear? To do any of that gives in to those who value life so little. To do any of that makes us no better than the murderer(s). To do that…gives in.

Perhaps our first thoughts should be with the grieving, and to remember them. To send them light, positivity, power and our prayers. Yes, them, first. Is that something we can do – I sincerely ask my Light-worker friends, Celtic Christians, Druids and others. Isn’t it times like this that ‘tribal names’ and distances between us mean little, and love and common humanity means much more? Yes.

Remember Manchester.

Our second thought? To go that one step extra, and show love. Not only love to the lovely, those like ‘us’, and those of our ‘tribe’ in our daily lives, but those others that some deem unlovely and different. Yes, it has to be love for all.

If bad or evil can be represented by darkness, it is not overcome with (more) darkness. Only light overcomes darkness, and the ‘weapons’ of light are wholly different to those of darkness.

‘The most precious light is the one that visits you in your darkest hour!’  Mehmet Murat ildan

The clouds may be hanging over that darkened city now, and for now in your rituals, and prayers and actions, I would ask you please: send light to Manchester. Please….

Remember Manchester.

 

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

 

Celtic Thought: Are We There Yet? [Connectedness In A ‘Disconnected’ World]

20170424 ARE WE THERE YET CELTIC THOUGHTI’m sure you asked the same or similar question when you were a child. Maybe, like me, you were in the back of the car, drifting in and out of sleep, journeying back home, and during those waking moments you would ask nearest adult, probably several times, the question, ‘Are we there, yet?’.

Now, as an adult we might rephrase that question, and apply it to other instances, but essentially we often ask that same type of question, whether it applies to a physical journey, a task in hand, repayments left on the mortgage, our place in the universe or in relationship to the Source.

And, where it matters most, say, in relationship to those cosmic, huge questions, those last two questions mentioned above, the answer could be…is, an outstanding, ‘yes!’. Surprised?

There is a school of thought that says we’re on Earth, and space starts a few miles above us. Point a telescope upward and you’ll see stars.

I asked a child family-member, ‘Would you like to go into space?’ They, ofcourse replied with a resounding, ‘Yes’. And, I replied, ‘Well, you already are!’. Naturally, they were a bit disappointed, having a childish understanding of what I was on about and really hoped that somehow they could be ‘catapulted’ above the Earth’s atmosphere – but, as regards their understanding, it’s okay, because they are a child!

‘Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another.’ Plato, The Republic

As you probably know I’m an amateur astronomer, and the proud owner of a 12 inch telescope. Point it 180 degrees to the east at night and you would see a myriad of stars, Point it in the opposite direction and you’ll see just as many stars. Stars to the left, to the right, stars above and below. Yes, we are in space. Not separate, not different, but in space in one glorious feat of connectedness. Part of the universe, already. It’s just that some don’t think that. It’s true, but they don’t get it! Ego confuses the issue. But, in essence if we asked the question, ‘Are we there, yet?’ ‘Ofcourse we are!’, is the reply.

‘The wonder is, not that the field of stars of so vast, but that man has measured it.’ Anatole France

We’re included, not excluded.

There is a theological view that we’re separate from the Source of All. And, if we like those renaissance paintings where God is depicted as above and maybe sitting on a cloud, and humanity is below, then we can be forgiven for thinking that we’re separate. God up there, us down here. However, one commentator whom I shall call ‘The One Who Knows’ prayed a prayer to the Source along the lines of,  ‘That they may be one, even as we are one’. Taking that at face value, then we’re already one, already connected. Yes, we’re already there and always have been, essentially. It’s just that, existentially, some don’t know it. Ego confuses the issue.

‘For in him we live and move and have our being…’ Acts 17.28, The book (part)

We’re included, not excluded.

Ofcourse, the same could be said of people (that we’re essentially separated from others), or nature (that we’re somehow so different as to be separate from it), and so on. Is it so, or do we just think that? Included and part? Or Excluded and separate?

And, if we believe  we’re separate (even when we’re not) it could mean, and I would suggest it does mean, that we’re mistaken to the point that we’re are not (fully) exercising the Source-given responsibility, and not utilising loving-energy toward each other and nature around us, in what we think and say and do, that we should be exercising. Egoic limitations then abound.

‘Unless one’s philosophy is all-inclusive, nothing can be understood.’ Mary Ritter Beard

But, what do you think?

Celtic Thought: Life Is Like…

20170413 LIFE IS LIKE...CELTIC THOUGHTAt the far end of my cottage’s garden in Capel Curig (in north Wales) is a rivulet. Hidden by trees and gorse bushes, it rushes by the northern boundary, invisible to all, except to me and a few locals. It’s so small – you can leap over it – it has no name, except for the one I gave it. To me, this ‘watery companion’ is: Bach ac yn gyflym. Welsh geographical place-names are very descriptive, and it seemed right to call this rivulet by this name. It means ‘small and fast’.

Here’s a few thoughts as I watched Bach ac yn gyflym flow by, and as (for some) we are nearing the end of a specially remembered week that culminated in dramatic events, that many take to heart.

Metaphorically, life is like a stream, perhaps something like Bach ac yn gyflym. I was going to write about encouraging you to step into that Life-stream, but I do believe we are all in it, already.

“You wander from room to room hunting for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck!” Rumi

This stream isn’t just life events as we experience them with all their surprises, twists and turns; it is that, but it is also more. There is more! Mae myw! It is Life, the Life-Giver itself (and apologies for that impersonal pronoun when Life itself is anything but impersonal, but Life is also beyond ‘he’ or ‘she’, and yet encapsulates both/all).

This Life-stream embraces us as we live life, and my encouragement then to myself and others, bearing in mind we are all already in that flow, is to encourage each of us to have an awareness and/or remembrance of being part of it.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1 The Book

As I sit and watch Bach ac yn gyflym flow by I witness leaves and debris float by. Some of it swirls into little eddies caused by indentations in the river bank, and stay there for a while. Out of the main flow of the stream, they may look or ‘feel’ safer and linger for a while, but the power they experienced just seconds before is diminished. And then, maybe unexpected to them, but not to me as an observer, the current catches them and off they go at great speed to their destination.

Maybe, we too, can feel safe or get comfortable, or maybe too safe and too comfortable, and object to the buffeting of life. In being too cosy, like those leaves in that riverbank indentation we can feel safe, but lose access to power and energy. Even in that ‘safe’ position we are still in the Life-stream, but maybe unaware. Even in that ‘safe’ position we have access to that power and energy. But, we don’t use it….after all, we’re (momentarily) unaware of it.

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”  Rainer Maria Rilke

Being aware of our status (we’re all in that Life-stream) and aware of the power and energy (and that it is available to us), will, I think, put life events into perspective. There is no ‘maybe’ with a river, no need to barter, no worry of it stopping, no concern about where it is going or its destination. It flows. It knows. It is.

It’s flowing now, carrying us in an amazing ever-changing movement in that Divine, energetic dance, and if we’re quiet we might just ‘hear it’ and experience its all-embracing love. And then, the next step is to revel in that Life-flow wherever we are or whatever our circumstances might be, to enjoy its energy for good (purposes), and to pass (recognition of) it on to others. What do you think?

“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” John O’Donohue