Ancient Celtic Teachings

I love days like this. The hills are enveloped in mist and the trees sing as the wind blows through them. It’s as if the heavens have came down to earth bringing the gods and goddesses to reside once more, as they have always done, in the hills and the stones and all living things.

I have felt so lost over the last few weeks and while on paper I could map my connection to the world in practise I have somehow unwittingly created a dam. That dam is built from letting myself get irritated by the petty details, eating crappy food washed down with even crappier TV.

I need to sit down beside myself, lay out how I wish to live life and have all facets of me sign up to that contract. It’s easy enough to submerge yourself in workshops and retreats but today it’s holding on to what you’ve discovered and not let it become diluted with so many distractions.

I’ve hopped on one leg and sang Cherokee waking songs, I’ve survived 5 hour sweatlodges and danced all night around roaring Pagan fires but somehow those insights fizzle out. I need one focus, the help of a tradition to see the way.

‘What happens to a culture without a living mythology is that it gets
addicted to whatever numbs the pain of archetypal starvation and the vacuum of meaning’ Suzi Gablik – The Reenchantment of Art

Yesterday I participated in a workshop at St Mungo’s museum, lead by FionTulah, head of the Ceile De order. The afternoon was based around chants called Fonn which exists as a song or chant but also describes a state of mind, and of the land itself. She explained that the fuinn work on different levels, harmonising the parts of us which relate to the siritual, otherworldly and the physical.

I’ve experienced chants and meditations of various cultures but even though I don’t speak Gaelic it feels like a link to my Scottish and Irish ancestors. I feel I am participating in something that they were part of, I am touching a living tradition. While the words might be unfamiliar the Ceile de’s vision of the world is oh so familiar.
Caim agus Corrach translates as Grace and Coracle. I’m familiar with my dad talking about how to make a Corricle and can almost smell the tar pot used to paint the skin. As Fion explained there are many instances in mythology of people being set out (often banished) in a coracle with no oars left to the mercy of the prevailing winds.
But within this small chant lay what I needed. On that day Fiontullach was most definitely my Anam Cara (soul friend) prescribing the Fonn my heart and soul needed. Grace is envisaged as the space around you, an aura, the expanse of the soul carrying the body, not the body carrying the soul. It is your state of mind rooted in spirit and not on outwardly fleeting external ‘things’.

The coracle is your journey through uncharted space, so that even when you may feel lost and unsure in life you must be grounded in yourself, and understand you are exactly where you need to be and to try and appreciate the uncertainty.
And in the chanting of those words I realised that while I had scoured the volumes of Carmina Gadelica for references to the Goddess Bhrighde nothing can compare to having those stories read to you. The full power of the myth evokes images, you are placed in an unbroken linage with the truths and the energy resonating inside.
This is the paper on which I’m writing that contract to myself, the roots which I hope will continue to stretch out and keep me balanced.


2 thoughts on “Ancient Celtic Teachings

  1. Jude, what a beautiful, soul-reaching and soul-touching post. Why is it so profoundly difficult to live that alive, mythic heart within ourselves in the outer world? I think it speaks to the breadth and breath of imagination — the incredible landscape within us that makes it not a simple matter of making a decision and sticking to it. Identify your mythic nature–yes–and post it on your mirror, or on your blog, or wherever, someplace where you can see it, breathe it, remember who you fully are even when you don’t believe it. Then take a baby step *as* that whole you — or at least look back at your day, and notice where you were indeed that mythic self fully alive and living her art/heart …. I love that you mention “Caim agus Corrach” — Grace And Coracle — I keep meaning to record that Fonn in particular and put it on my blog …. Anyway, thank you again by your beautiful post. I am moved by it.

    Wild blessings,

  2. Hi Jane,

    I really appreciate your words and the time you’ve taken to fully digest what i had written. You’ve reflected back to me the intention in there so I can view it in a different way, to learn from it anew. I like your use of ‘step’ I can see me using that to step more fully into that person we know we are, to be more fully grounded in ourself.

    In peace,

    Jude X

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