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Keltria Journal

Issue 30 - Beltaine/Summer 1996


THE ONCE AND FUTURE CELTIC CULTURE

Reflections on The Realm of Sky

by Frank MacEowen

One of the primary influences of the Realm of Sky has to do with the future. Sometimes it is difficult to actually hold the future in mind, when there are so many things taking place in the present which demand our attention. Nuclear submarines float just off the coast of China; a man has just walked into a school in Dunblane, Scotland and shot seventeen little children and their teacher to death. How can we possibly entertain the Realm of Sky, with its expansiveness and possibility, when all about us seems to be spiraling into chaos, examples of further limitation?

Holding all times in mind simultaneously seems to be of paramount importance, because the future is crucial in how we live now. It is of importance for Druidry and Celtic culture, but it is also a necessary variable when living and acting in the present. What we do now ultimately shapes who and what we will be, as well as what the face of our traditions and cultures will look like hundreds of years from now. One of our major obstacles is our perception of time and the ability to have tangible awareness of each timeframe. This alone can aid and support, or it can subdue and push down any inspiration or cultivation, whether we are referring to politics, spirituality, or our own development.

A very simple, yet deeply profound offering I would like to put forth to the Groves of Keltria has to do with perception of time and language. This will come in the form of some ideas, as well as an experiential exercise I use in my work as a Transpersonal psychotherapist and as a Scottish Druid. The reason it is so simple is because language shapes our reality, and if we begin to give some awareness to the way we speak about things, we begin to alter our reality. In the same way that the spiritual law "as above, so below" is at work, there is also a parallel law at work and this is "as within, so without." What we hold within ourselves to be reality, we then begin to influence The Great Pattern in such a way that this reality comes into being.

One example of this is the Native Americans. Children growing up in North America generally learn a small amount about Indian people. However, their textbooks make statements such as, "The Sioux once were a proud and thriving people living in present day South Dakota," or "The Cherokee used to perform a Green Corn Dance." The fact of the matter is, the Lakota people of South Dakota are still a proud and thriving people living in South Dakota, and the Cherokee of both Oklahoma and North Carolina continue with the Green Corn Dance and Stomp Dance ceremonies. However, the children who have learned about these cultures through the lens of hearing about them in the past tense, sets up an awareness that these people are no longer around. You would be surprised at the number of Americans who have no idea that there are 360 different Native American tribes, all with radical language and cultural differences. But, most of us were taught to quarantine these people into the Realm of the Past.

Therefore, I ask you very simply to entertain how you speak about Celtic culture. Do you speak about it in the past tense? If someone asks you about Celtic culture, do you reply, "Celtic culture once thrived throughout the British Isles," or "The Scottish people were once a proud people living in the Highlands." Or, do you speak in the present tense about these things? Bring some mindfulness to the tense with which you speak on these matters. If we talk about Druidry as something existing only 1,000 years ago, then it will remain in the realm of 1,000 years ago. If we speak of Irish, Welsh, or Scottish traditions or culture(s) from the past tense, then we ultimately separate ourselves from that which is alive. We cut ourselves off from the umbilical cord that is here to feed and nurture us.

One of the other elements of Druidry has very much to do with reincarnation. There are many people that hold this concept as a possibility, but have no real experience as to whether or not there is any validity to it. Yet, from my place on the circle, having experienced both near death experience as well as a dynamic reconnection with my ancestral spirits, I have come to feel quite literally about our rebirth. This has implications for the Realm of Sky and for the future. If we do, in fact, come back, what does this mean for the future of Druidry and of Celtic culture? What will the Once and Future Celtic culture look like? Perhaps entertaining the questions as guiding questions for the quest is more important at this point than needing to find answers. The questions will pull us towards the future and what we need to know.

As I say in some of my work with people, "We are our ancestors, in remembering them, we remember ourselves." Everyone, from the writings of Philip Carr-Gomm in Elements of the Druid Tradition to Oren Lyons, Onondaga Faithkeeper of the Iroquois, speak to the tangible reality that our ancestors stand behind us and the future generations (and future culture) stand out in front of us. We are merely a still point on the continuum of tribal experience. As Oren Lyons says, "I am here today because someone seven generations ago was praying for me. Now that I am here, the ancestors come near, and we both pray together for the seven generations yet unborn."

This is a truly powerful testament to indigenous worldview. This same ability to hold in mind the past, present, and future is a cornerstone of Druid tradition. It is something to be cultivated, like a fertile field. What would it be like to begin to perceive yourselffully presentin your own life, mindful that you are an extension of your ancestral line and your Celtic culture, whatever it may be? See your ancestors standing behind you. Envision them, one generation after another, standing behind you, supporting you. Be aware that you are the future that they were dreaming of and holding in their minds. As you do this, allow yourself to also entertain the once and future Celtic culture.


This material is Copyright 1996 by the author identified. Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick posts this article on the Internet by permission of the author. It may not be republished or reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author or Keltria Journal. Links to this page may be established.

This material was first published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magic. For a copy of the issue that this article ran in, send $3.95 to Keltria Journal, P.O. Box 1060 Anoka, MN 55303-1060 and request the issue identified at the top of the page. For other subscription and ordering information, see our Order Form.


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