There is something deeply engrained in our makeup as a species to seek out our roots. To water them with knowledge and expressively branch out into the universe with greater understanding. To discover what makes us grow. We are constantly reaching for the stars, the skies, the freedom to be and encompass all we find about ourselves. We are constantly seeking advancement, in technology, in love, in life, in faith -- we progress, no matter how much we seem to regress. We are, for all intents and purposes, a tremendously resilient and determined body of life.

In this time of change, at the turning of the Celtic year, when we're knocking on the door of Samhain, it is important to look not only at the passing of Fall into Winter; but also at the promise of Spring to follow. Our teacher tonight, Regina, a folklorist and instructor, pointed out that even as the leaves fall from the trees, there is hope in the form of new buds waiting beneath the multicolored wings of foliage. Enfolded in every supposed tragedy, hope springs eternal -- there is optimism in death, there is rebirth that will come when the ashes are swept away.

This embodies, to me, the source of the Celtic spirit. It is the resilience and perseverance of a people who have suffered a great deal, but take even greater joy in the life they are given. The Irish excel at their ability to put aside their problems for the sake of helping others. They are, by far, as I've discovered my first day here, the friendliest folks one could hope to encounter when traveling abroad. Their land; cleared for the making of ships and progression of farms and conquest by outside parties, continues to flourish: as lush and agate as one could imagine, an agape expression of terrestrial celebration. There is a distinct feeling of mutual understanding from the land to its people. Houses are gently wedged in dales lined with jagged stone -- all while lichen marks the rocks to reclaim them for the earth. The sloping hills shaped by glacial movement dip in a graceful bow to the valleys below. Everything works in tandem with one another, cyclical as the spinning of the Ogham Wheel.

Another perfect example of systems working in tandem are Trish and Michael. Never have I had the genuine pleasure of two such loving people welcoming me into their countrywide home. They do make this place feel like returning home, another spinning of a wheel, another turning of the tide -- all for the better. Debbie, another member of the tour, mentioned something that stuck with me: Michael's love shines through everything he does. And I would like to add that, reflecting on what we learned tonight from the tales of lore and legend, the hearth and the home working in sync with one another to create a stable environment in Celtic tradition is not unlike Trish and Michael themselves. Michael is the home, and Trish is his hearth -- a heart of flame forever coaxing peace and guidance in a sanctuary of new beginnings. Home comes in the form of total strangers, save for the fact they too feel as though they've been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Old souls linked by wishes on stars made realities -- from authors, to healers, to spiritualists and all manner of pilgrims from so many corners of the world. We are safe to take this journey as guided by twin flames Michael and Trish.

It could be said that we all go on trips to begin anew. On holidays, we can explore our questions about ourselves and the world we live in. We can improve individually and globally by sharing our thoughts, feelings, expressions, and, of course, traditions.

Regina, in speaking with us tonight, expressed concern over the dwindling spark of traditions amid the Irish peoples. The kindling that is centuries of practice needs fanning; the soot and the cinders swept out the door to usher in new eras of teachers to blaze a trail to the future. She spoke with quiet, focused enthusiasm regarding the goddess Bridgit [later reinterpreted as Saint Bridget], whose flame inspired countless stories and protective rituals. She herself tends a hearth that is stoked with love: Regina's words are echoed by nods of her mother, Kathleen, whose pride in her daughter's efforts to preserve their culture is unrivaled -- as is Regina's ability to enrapture us with knowledge. We sat in awe for hours spellbound in a cozy room, passing stories and artifacts between ourselves as we learned the meanings of holidays and practices formerly understood on a majorly commercial basis. It became a reiminaging of ideas, a sharing of thoughts and intermingling of souls. We all grew tonight, aglow with interest and pensive reflection.

As explorers, we seek opportunities for change. There is a new year to be had, even on the threshold of supposed seasonal decay. Death in the tarot, for example, is not a symbol of actual destruction, but a symbol of change. There seems to be, in turn, no actual death in the coming of Samhain and Winter itself, but rather, a continued growth that may be more easily overlooked. Winter is a hard time, and it is a long, dark time, but the world comes out brighter and better for it when the frost thaws and the buds open.

And the frost does thaw. And the buds do open.

We sink deep our roots, we reach for the sun, and we rise from the ashes as the journey begins.

Our fire shall never go out, so long as we remember to tend it. Nor shall we be uprooted, no matter how harshly the winds of Winter howl for our Fall.

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Tags: celtic, folklore, memoirs, myths, pilgrimage, samhain, seasons, tours, tradition, travel, More…travelogue, west

Comment by Wild West Irish Tours on October 25, 2016 at 6:32pm

You touched our hearts. thank you. 

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