Just Saying:Satirists as catalysts and (anti) heroes

EXCERPT - From Keltria Journal - #43

Just Saying:
Satirists as catalysts & (anti)heroes

— Jenne Micale

Sugar Loaf Mountain - Glengariff County Cork Ireland

Likely, the assembly at Roi Dedonn, known forever after as Tarbga, swelled with satisfaction at the final battle between Finnbennach Ai and Donn Cuailnge. Not because of the cattle raid's outcome, although Conchobar and Medb likely stood to watch the proceedings, garbed in their tribal finery with their hosts arrayed about them. No, they swelled with satisfaction because one of the last acts of the warring bulls – about so much had been gambled and lost – was to trample Bricriu to death.

Bricriu is one of the anti-heroes of Celtic mythology and one of two cáinti, or satiric poets, to play major roles in the Táin Bó Cuailnge. Cáinti were members of the honored class of fili, or poets, but poets of a particular type: with their words, they wielded the power to destroy, to bring the prideful low, and to literally disfigure those who lied or behaved dishonorably. As Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson notes in A Celtic Miscellany, “in a warrior aristocracy, where a reputation for the princely virtues of generosity and courage was of the highest social importance, this might be a disaster” (195). More than simply the Jon Stewart of their day, cáinti were masters of the hex and, like other fili, possibly members of the druidic class.

Freckles: Ireland's Biggest Jerk

I've got an average house with a nice hardwood floor
My wife and my job, my kids and my car
My feet on my table and a Cuban cigar
But sometimes that just ain't enough
To keep a man like me interested....
No, I've gotta go out and have fun
At someone else's expense

-- comedian Dennis Leary,
in the song “I'm an Asshole”

Ireland's greatest jerk had impeccable taste in mansions, a propensity for sunburn and a great love of backstabbing, which he likely considered more of a practical joke. He and his wife were excellent party planners, and he manages – like many a world-class....

Continued in Issue #43 of Keltria Journal.


Cover of Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick -- Issue #42

Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick -- Issue #42

Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #43 -- The Heroes Issue. Is available in its entirety from MagCloud.

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Unverified Personal Gnosis, Truth and Imbas

Unverified Personal Gnosis, Truth and Imbas

by Searles O’Dubhain

Thumbnail photo of Searles O'Dubhain.

Searles O'Dubhain

As Amergin White Knee has taught us in the Cauldron of Poesy materials:

"When the Cauldron of Knowledge is turned by divine ecstasy, rather than by human joy alone, its special grace is a gift that transforms a person, who becomes both sacred and knowledgeable, so that their works include miracles, prophecies, judgments and precedents. It is these people who establish the wisdom that guides our knowledge and regulates the forms of our speech. Though this knowledge comes from within a person, its truth and its power is from the gods and originates from outside of a person."

This is one of the main abilities of the Draoithe (Irish Druids) and the Filidh (Irish Vision-Poets) that distinguishes them from all others. It is the knowledge that illuminates and is known as imbas in Irish and is called awen in Welsh/British writings and traditions. Some modern folks term such inspirations as UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis). This seems to be an attempt to negate prophetic knowledge and inspiration as being only imagined (until it is verified by currently accepted science or through academic logic alone). To apply this term as a blanket to divinely inspired knowledge is to overlook a few truths from that heritage:

In ancient Irish society and tradition, that which was true was considered to have its own power to stand alone in the world or anywhere, to the point that those who heard truth could see its meaning and importance even when it seemed to contradict those things that were supposed to be the “accepted wisdom.”

To this point, it was the Druids and Poets who were seen to be the sources of imbas and the judges of truth in that society. This attitude and basis in that society had an accompanying paradigm saying that no person could be a Druid, Poet or Judge who had ever been demonstrated to have broken the truth and to have presented a falsehood.

Generally, the imbas or awen that was received by a Celtic Seer was seen to be verified in Nature or in the actions/results of the people presented in the traditional tales. If not already a tradition, then  the results of a divine prophecy or a discovered wisdom had to be eventually demonstrated in society by examples or outcomes (remembering that a given for a wise person in Irish Celtic society was that they retained their status and position only so long as they were shown to be true and correct).

As Katheryn Simms observed and stated in her article, the “Poetic Brehon Lawyers,” this idea of truth from imbas bringing real results to the people was not just an Irish or a Welsh notion, but was a pan-Celtic concept:

“The pagan belief that the moment when a judge issued his verdict was an encounter between the human and the divine, and that the will of the gods was outraged by an unjust decision, while just judgements drew down divine blessings, is already testified among the Celts of Gaul in the first century B.C. where Strabo remarks that the druids were chiefly trusted to try cases of homicide, and that when there is an abundance of these they consider that there is also abundance of the land, presumably because their many just judgements drew down the gods blessing on the crops. “

Imbas is not a free ride. It has to be demonstrated to be true wisdom from the gods. Such inspiration and universal truth is not unlike Einstein’s brilliant understanding about the ways in which matter and energy are related. The truth of it came to him in a flash and he spent years (if not the rest of his lifetime) proving and expanding upon this insight. I expect that ancient and modern druids also do the same with their own knowledge that is received from the minds of the divine. It is not enough to receive the revelation; one must also do the work of bringing the new truths back to the people in a useful and relevant way.

Being true and wise is wonderful but one must also be useful and productive. That is why the demonstration of imbas is to be found in the results that grow from its seeds rather than in claims or even discussion. The tales are filled with how prophecy and the uncovering of hidden things is accomplished or demonstrated to be true. These tales formed the basis of society’s codes of living and morals to the point that prophecy and divine truth were considered to be usual rather than exceptional (or to be challenged as untrue out of hand, as is often the case in our more disillusioned and skeptical modern society). The use of the term UPG, a classification and claim that something is merely made up or an illusion, as a club nowadays to quash inspirations and unusual wisdom to the point that thinking remains within the confines of accepted wisdom, is also a great wrong. Society must continue to advance in its life or it risks the death of stagnation and rot that accompanies the imprisonment of any idea or material thing. Innovation and inspiration deserve open fields upon which to exercise their creative truths to the benefit of all. To keep these in a box only makes for humus and decay, to the point that only nature in her long-term laboratory can transform them into anything new or renewed.

So, let’s rejoice in imbas and rather than calling it UPG, let’s get up and go out into the great laboratories of existence, science, and Nature, to ascertain what the power of truth has uncovered for us via inspiration and knowledge provided to us by the gods. It is only through the verifiable and proven results that we should be known as druids and not by our own or anyone’s claims, or even the acclamations of others, for there really is a truth against the world. Sometimes, one must journey far to find it and bring it back to the people and the lands where life is lived.

-SO

The Bard’s Path: Storm

Storm

by C. L. McGinley

Let me be the compass
With which to chart your journey
Through the darkness of this night;
Without the shining stars to guide you,
Set your course by me.

Let me be the beacon
That helps you navigate the storm.
Where the horizon glimmers hope,
Winds of change lose the power
To blow you from your heading.

Let me be the hand that lifts you
From the depths of your despair,
From the surging sea that threatens
To engulf you in cold and fear.
I do not hope to save you from the torrent,
Only to buoy you from the swell of this tsunami
To the blessed relief of smoother seas.

Review: Reiki for the Heart and Soul

Reiki for the Heart and Soul: The Reiki Principles as Spiritual Pathwork by Amy Rowland.

Review by Rovena Windsor

I approached this book with no prior knowledge of the subject but with a curiosity about the topic.

One of the first things I do when I get a new book is check out the footnotes or

Reiki for the Heart and Soul

bibliography and the suggested reading list.  This tells me quite a bit about the scholarship.  I prefer books that act as a guidepost pointing me in the direction of further study and Ms. Rowland does this.

What is her goal for this book?  The title says it all:  Reiki principles as a spiritual pathwork or, in other words, to show the reader how to use the Reiki principles for personal development and spiritual growth - - not a bad goal.  She makes her case that this aspect of the training is not being adequately addressed in most Western Reiki training.

What are the Ms. Rowland’s qualifications to write such a book?  She is a certified Usui Reiki Master for over 20 years and a Reiki teacher since 1994.  She is also a certified hypnotherapist as well as a clinical therapist.

I am first struck by the description of the first Reiki technique and how similar it sounds to grounding techniques that we have all be taught.  This similarity between the things I have been taught and what she is advocating runs throughout the book.

She presents the goals of Reiki as a spiritual path, an expansion of our awareness of our personal potential and healing of the mind, body, and spiritual both of the client and the practitioner.  Ms. Rowland says to start where you are -- very practical advice for anything.  She does not show any physical representation of the three Reiki symbols so as not to violate her oaths.  The purpose of the first symbol is power and protection; the second is mental-emotion healing and intuitive insight; and the third is distant healing and connection to spirit.

The Reiki principles are more of a creed that has many similar versions of it as with anything that was originally an oral tradition:  Don’t be angry today.  Don’t worry today.  Be grateful today.  Work hard today.  Be kind to others today.  The five principles are universal principles.  The majority of the book is spent discussing how to develop a working relationship with each of the five principles.  There is a chapter on each principle.  There are exercises at the end of each chapter.

I would recommend this book for a variety of reasons.  It is written in a clear, easy to understand style.  Anyone with a curiosity regarding Reiki should come away from this book with a basic understanding and should know if Reiki is something they wish to pursue further or not.  The suggested reading list is divided up according to the chapters in the book.  This should help the reader target the books they need more easily.  Even a reader that is not interested in learning Reiki could learn a great deal about how to incorporate these principles into his own spiritual practice.

Reiki for the Heart and Soul: The Reiki Principles as Spiritual Pathwork (Paperback); 256 pages; Healing Arts Press; ISBN: 1594772525; ISBN-13: 978-1594772528 - Recommended.