Posted by: Brian | June 29, 2013

A Toast and a Tale for Lughnasadh

“About the Calends of August she died, on a Monday, on the Lughnasadh of Lugh; round her grave from that Monday forth is held the chief Fair of noble Erin.
White-sided Tailtiu uttered in her land a true prophesy, that so long as every prince should accept her, Erin should not be without perfect song.
A fair with gold, with silver, with games, with music of chariots, with adornment of body and soul by means of knowledge and eloquence.”
~“Tailtiu” lines 45-56. ~ The Metrical Dindshenchas~


(by the very talented Peter Kulpa in an evironment with very tricky lighting and acoustics, at a Lughnasadh event last year.)

Lughnasadh, translated as the ‘Assembly of Lugh’; is traditionally celebrated on August first or the first Sunday in August. This holiday coincides with the weaning of the lambs born around Imbolc and the shearing of the sheep. It is also the time of first harvest. This day celebrates the protective power of Lugh; the god who opens the way that we might begin the harvest of wild and cultivated crops. Lughnasadh is celebrated with market fairs and games, offerings to the god on hill tops, bonfires, and horse races through water. Just as Brighid tempers the cold winter elements at Imbolc, Lugh tempers the heat of summer at this, the hottest time of the year. Thunderstorms on this day are considered a good omen.
Lugh represents the union of opposites and the victory of law over dissolution and chaos. He presides over communication, commerce, mercantile endeavours (buying, selling, trading, travelling, and moving persons or resources across ‘borders’), oaths, and social contracts. He is a god of the harvest, protection, healing, victory, success, skill in any endeavour, shoes/shoemakers, inspiration, journeys (both worldly and Otherworldly), doorways, borders, games, especially Fidchell/Chess, horse racing and ball sports, especially hurling. He is also strongly associated with Sovereignty. Lugh is the remover of obstacles, the bringer of swift victory, and of excellence in all its forms – and Lughnasadh is his festival.
However, in line with his generous nature, Lugh shares this holy period with a number of other deities. These include goddesses such as Carmun and Tailtiu. So, after much preamble, it is these goddesses which will be our subject here.

Carmun is associated with the great assembly in Co. Wexford, Leinster. Her story is recorded in the Dindshenchas (MD III 2). It describes her as a provident power able to give forth and withhold the abundance of the land. Her father-in-law is described as ‘right hospitable’ and his father as ‘rich in substance’. They come from the East, the direction of Prosperity. However, her husband is named ‘fierce’, and her three sons, ‘violent’, ‘dark’, and ‘wicked’, showing our ambivalent relationship with the natural world – the source of all our food and also of great danger.
Lugh captures Carmun and drives away her sons. She is kept in a grove, her abundance producing powers thus controlled by the god of the tribe, and the tribe itself, while her dangerous offspring are no longer a threat. When she dies, Lugh inaugurates a festival on his holiday in her honour to maintain a good harvest. Whether this is to keep her subject to the tribes needs or to placate her spirit is uncertain, as it is described as merely commemorative. But even as commemoration, it is attributed with power.

By far the most famous goddess associated with the assembly at Lughnasadh is Tailtiu. The Dindshenchas (MD IV 146, quoted above and in detail in the video) say that the Telltown Lughnasadh assembly was instituted for Tailtiu. Her name is related to the Roman goddess Telus, who they equated with Gaia, and likely means ‘Great Land’. She is depicted as the Fir Bolg queen who instituted agriculture and was the foster-mother of Lugh. She died clearing the land that would become Co. Meath, and so Lugh instituted funerary games to be held on Lughnasadh to honour both her and her accomplishments.
Brón Trogain, ‘the sorrowing’ is what Lughnasadh is called in Tochmarc Emire, the Wooing of Emer, and the Acallamh na Senorach refers to it as Lughnasadh but calls the month which it begins ‘Trogan’. This name, so contradictory to the festive and victorious nature of Lughnasadh celebrations, may refer to the death of Tailtiu and related goddesses. This may represent the land’s loss – an obviously conciliatory act, as it is we ourselves who are the one’s about to do the taking.
Just as Carman is associated with a place of the same name and Tailtiu is associated with the great assembly at Telltown in Co. Meath – the ritual center of Ireland – other places also had particular goddesses. For example, Búi or Nás, associated with their assemblies on Lughnasadh.

If we only had a passing familiarity with these goddesses, it might be tempting to conflate them as local variations on the same deity. But the themes they express are different: Tailtiu and the Fir Bolg generally seem to represent the generosity of the land; Carmun, though still a fertile power, had to have her gifts wrested from her and her sons kept from wreaking chaos; and Nás seems to have more to do with politics and Sovereignty than concerns of the harvest. They express different themes as to how Lughnasadh can play out, and so there are stark differences in their relationship with the god Lugh, adversary, foster mother, or wife, but in each place or time, he makes them the matron power of his great assembly.

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Posted by: Brian | April 16, 2013

Song of Amergin mention at TEDxMaui 2013

In this inspiring TED talk, Kim Rosen, the author of the book “Saved by a Poem”, explores the transformative power of poetry as well as the importance of indigenous language.  In doing so, she briefly mentions the Song of Amergin, so I thought I would share it with you all here.

Posted by: Brian | March 25, 2013

Latha na Cailliche

Here is a short Film in honour of Latha na Cailliche (March 25th)

cailleach aig a bheil cailleach

There are strong Rogerian and Jungian components to my clinical practice, as their theories, implicitly or explicitly, have a Spiritual component, and can even be viewed as expressing the fractal, self-similar, microcosm/macrocosm view of the human person that plays some greater or lesser part in so many of the world’s religions.  For this reason, I would like to follow up on my original post about Spirituality, with the role of psychology in my understanding of Spiritual Care.

Rogers entire theory is based upon the “actualizing tendency”, which serves as the built-in motivation present in every living thing to develop as much of its potential as possible and to make the very best of its existence.  Rogers applies this actualizing tendency to all living creatures.  He compares humans, actualizing their potentials by creating and manipulating society and culture, to animals and plants coevolving or exploiting particular niches in ecosystems.  Rogers even went so far as to systematically and rationally apply this understanding to ecosystems themselves.  The universal applicability of the actualizing tendency to all living beings, and even systems of living beings, is scientifically and spiritually compelling.  It is in harmony with evolutionary principles, as currently understood in the life sciences, and with the essential goodness of life, a principle upheld by most faiths. I see the actualizing tendency as a functional definition for Spirit, constrained by the empirical nature of the field in which Rogers worked.

Jungian ‘analytical psychology’ is more overtly Spiritual, as it often incorporates the broad spectrum of human spiritual experience, including the mythology and folklore of ancient and indigenous religions, to gain a deeper understanding of the human psyche.  It is also a branch of psychology that acknowledges spirituality as a necessary component of our over all well-being.

“[Jung] had established these two facts:

1. The human psyche has an autochthonous spiritual function.

2. No patient in the second half of life has been cured without that patient
finding an approach to this spiritual function.

It might be assumed that, after such findings, theologians would have flocked to Jung’s consulting room; but this has not happened…. [T]hey might have at least been glad that an experimentally proved theologia naturalis exists.”[1]

Despite showing the profound interrelatedness of religion and psychology, Jungian ‘analytical psychology’ draws criticism from both certain psychological and certain Christian schools of thought.  In failing to take sides, both sides find analytical psychology suspect.  The fact that spirituality is endorsed at all alienates secular or reductionist psychologies; and the breadth of spirituality endorsed alienates any version of religion where ideological entrenchment and ‘one-true-way’ thinking is normative.  Some Christian theologians commenting on Jung “have [even] argued that he should not have ventured into theology in the way that he did.”[2] In the negative responses of both secular/atheistic and narrowly Christian commentaries, the violation of self-imposed boundaries is predictably followed by a defensive response– often with the energised emotionality that would indicate a neurotic trigger.[3]

Other thinkers have benefited from a more synergistic relationship between analytical psychology and Christianity, though serious explorations of other expressions of living religion are usually left out of that line of enquiry.[4]  Despite this oversight, I find that exploring the Jungian/Christian dialogue relevant for me professionally, because many of the people I work with are Christian, and to the whole exploration of Spirituality generally, since it is the only in-depth dialogue of Jung and religion available.  Beyond that, it is important to note that not all modern theology is rooted  in, or exclusively made relevant by, Abrahamic scripture. Some of the concepts can shed light on Pagan and Celtic thought, either by comparison or by contrast.  I will touch on that again in future blog entries, with a particular attention to eco-theology, process theology, pastoral theology in a multi-faith world, and the epistemological notions of Bernard Lonergan.

Returning to my main point; despite the constraints placed on Spirituality by Rogerian language and shattered by Jungian language; I see these descriptions as pointing to the same thing chaplains describe when, “[b]y spiritual, we mean the fundamental capacity to have faith, to make meaning, to create community and culture, to long for and practice love, peace, and justice, and to be oriented toward wholeness”[5], or in the key words of my own practice, personally, clinically and in the pagan community: Spirituality is the principle and process of Being, Acting, and Knowing from a stance of authentic Connectedness, Meaning, Values, Purpose, and Becoming.


[1] Meier, 1989, p.127

[2] Watt, et al. 2008. p 294.

[3] Hollis 1996, p.9-10

[4] Watt, et al. 2008 pp. 295-298.

[5] Spiritual Caregiving in the Hospital, p3

Posted by: Brian | October 22, 2012

The Song of Amergin by Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin

‘The Incantation of Amergin’ interpreted and arranged by Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, from the album ‘Songs of the Scribe

 

For many people, the first introduction to the Song of Amergin came through Robert Graves “The White Goddess” (1948).  Graves states that, “English poetic education should, really, begin not with Canterbury Tales, not with the Odyssey, not even with Genesis, but with the Song of Amergin.” However, despite this apparently reverential beginning; Graves does not actually put forward the Song of Amergin as we have it; rather he begins by utterly changing this ancient poem to better fit his own pet theory, connecting the lines from this poem to the Ogham alphabet and the ‘months’ of the year.  This creates a vague pattern, unprecedented in either nature or the Gaelic source culture he purports to respect.

Graves provides neither the original Irish poem, nor anyone else’s English translation. Instead he just sets off on his own imaginative journey.

In order to create proof for his notions, he translates the lines of the Song very loosely, which, given the dense and obscure nature of the poem, is completely acceptable.  However, he then proceeds to rearrange the lines, with no consideration of what they might mean in their original order, and invents completely new lines to give it the flow and meaning Graves, himself, wants this poem to have.  The result is a perfectly lovely poem, but it has no real connection to Celtic tradition, myth, or cosmology, save through the mind of Robert Graves.

Grave’s Song does not even begin with “I am Wind of Sea”; so the primordial significance of this line and it’s connection to the last line of poem (which was dropped entirely) reveals his unfamiliarity with the tradition he is pretending to illuminate while pursuing his unique vision.  Instead the poem proceeds like this:

I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?
I am a spear: that roars for blood,
I am a salmon: in a pool,
I am a lure: from paradise,
I am a hill: where poets walk,
I am a boar: ruthless and red,
I am a breaker: threatening doom,
I am a tide: that drags to death,
I am an infant: who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen, arch?
I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.

It’s really is lovely, but bears only a vague and passing resemblance to the original, which he pretends to respect so much.

Having rewritten and rearranged the lines of the Song of Amergin; Graves, likewise, rearranges the letter of the Ogham alphabet and even drops a couple of consonants as ‘late additions’.  This reduces the basic letters of the Ogham from 15 consonants and 5 vowels, to just 13 consonants and 5 vowels.  He does this so that he can connect each consonant to one ‘lunar month’ and so, since each Ogham letter is associate with (among *many* other things) a tree, the ‘Celtic Tree Calendar’ is born.

This is an invention unprecedented in the original lore.  However, Graves’ Celtic Tree Calendar’ spread like wildfire through a growing neo-pagan movement hungry for meaning and short on facts about Celtic calendar folklore.

Graves suggestion is this:

Name
Beth
Luis
Nion
Fearn
Saille
Uath
Duir
Tinne
Coll
Muin
Gort
Ngetal
Ruis
Extra day
Equivalent Dates
Dec 24 – Jan 20
Jan 21 – Feb 17
Feb 18 – Mar 17
Mar 18 – Apr 14
Apr 15 – May 12
May 13 – Jun 9
Jun 10 – Jul 7
Jul 8  – Aug 4
Aug 5  – Sep 1
Sep 2  – Sep 29
Sep 30 – Oct 27
Oct 28 – Nov 24
Nov 25 – Dec 22
Dec 23
Tree
Birch
Rowan
Ash
Alder
Willow
Hawthorn
Oak
Holly
Hazel
Vine
Ivy
Reed
Elder

The result is a calendar that bears no resemblance to any traditional Celtic time keeping system we have on record and ignores culturally relevant holy days, like Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine, and Lughnasadh.  Graves’ newly invented calendar is less poeticless accurate, and over all less interesting than what the ancients have left us; which he connected to his own rearranged Ogham and his reinvented Song of Amergin. The fervor with which it spread in the ‘60s and ‘70s is rooted only it’s availability and not in its connection to either ancient tradition or the self evident rhythms of natural world – and 50 years later we are still living with the fall out.

Beyond misrepresenting Celtic religion and culture, Graves imaginary Tree calendar also misrepresents Nature itself. It creates a system of 28 day months (which is the time it takes for the moon to go around the Zodiac), but is not the 29.5 day cycle of New Moon to New Moon.  This difference is due the fact that the Earth is also in motion and resulting in the full moon appearing in a different sign each month. Many traditional time keeping systems, including the Celtic Coligny calendar, take into account by some pattern of alternating ‘full’ (30 day) and ‘hollow’ (29 day) months, and then adding the occasional inter-calendary month to keep the lunations aligned with the solar year. Various other Indo-European calendars including the Athenian calendar and several from India also follow similar patterns. In contrast to these ancient systems, Graves’ calendar is one or two days short each month and quickly falls out of alignment with the phases of the Moon.

While I can appreciate that Graves felt that poetic inspiration, or “analepsis” (as he termed it) was a valid historical methodology, he was clearly not very good at it given how his results vary from so deeply from the cultural and natural realities he was seeking to poetically capture.

Robert Graves bemoaned the fact that his work was “loudly ignored” by most Celtic scholars,[1] but that should perhaps be considered a kindness, given that when scholars did look at his work he was sited for things like having “misled many innocent readers with his eloquent but deceptive statements about a nebulous goddess in early Celtic literature” among other things.[2]

Personally, I’d like to see Robert Graves’ fantasies laid to rest, that they might stop obscuring the memory those who came before us, so that the fanciful thought of one person might stop polluting popular perception of the past and popular perceptions of the natural patterns evident in the Living World around us.


[1] White, Donna R. A Century of Welsh Myth in Children’s Literature. p. 75.
[2] Davidson, Hilda Ellis (1998). Roles of the Northern Goddess, page 11.

Posted by: Brian | July 8, 2012

Two New Articles

Here is a pair of articles that might be of interest:

Religious Belief: How It Helps Conservatives by Sara Robinson

and

‘Religion’ is not a synonym for ‘Christianity’ by Jason Pitzl-Waters

My next post, later in the week, will likely be a follow-up to my Introduction to the Song of Amergin, exploring Robert Graves.

Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2012

RTÉ Article: Vandalism at Tara

Here is an article from RTÉ News

Investigation after Hill of Tara monument vandalised

The stone was struck, possibly with a hammer, at 11 places, on all four of its face

In addition to what is stated in the article, it should be noted that in 19th-century oral tradition, the pillar stone currently at Tara was known as Bod Fhearghais [penis of Fergus] and it’s absolute identification with the Lia Fáil is not uncontested.
All agree that the stone was supposed to shout out under the feet of a rightful king, so it is quite likely that actual Lia Fáil was probably an unhewn flat(ish) stone rather than a phallic monument. Fergus Mór mac Eirc was said to have taken the Lia Fáil to Scotland. It is also held that it was carried to Scone then finally removed to Westminster Abbey in the 13th cent.
Regardless, I think it’s terrible that anyone would deface such an important cultural and sacred site.
Posted by: Brian | June 25, 2012

An Introduction to the Song of Amergin

Am Geath i m-Muir
I am wind on Sea

So begins the Song of Amairgen, the ancient mystical poem uttered by Amairgen Glanglun, the legendary bard, as he first stepped foot upon thelandofIreland, on the shores ofKenmareBay.

And while this blog is intended to cover wide and varied topics from contemporary Spiritual Care (chaplaincy), modern paganisms, and Celtic religion generally, I will – time and again – be returning to this beautiful, syntactically dense, mysterious poem as a source of connection, reflection and meaning making.

In case you’re asking yourself WTF – which is, of course, “Why the fuss?” right? – Here is a beautiful rendition of The Song, recited by Lisa Gerrard, of Dead Can Dance.

Am gaeth i m-muir,
Am tond trethan,
Am fuaim mara,
Am dam secht ndirend,
Am séig i n-aill,
Am dér gréne,
Am cain lubai,
Am torc ar gail,
Am he i l-lind,
Am loch i m-maig,
Am brí a ndai,
Am bri danae,
Am bri i fodb fras feochtu,Am dé delbas do chind codnu,
Coiche nod gleith clochur slébe?Cia on co tagair aesa éscai?
Cia du i l-laig fuiniud gréne?

Cia beir buar o thig tethrach?
Cia buar tethrach tibi?
Cia dám, cia dé delbas faebru a ndind ailsiu?
Cáinte im gai, cainte gaithe.

I am Wind on Sea,
I am Ocean-wave,
I am Roar of Sea,
I am Stag of Seven Tines,
I am a Hawk on a Cliff,
I am shining tear of the Sun,
I am Fairest among Herbs,
I am Boar for Boldness,
I am Salmon in Pool,
I am a Lake on a Plain,
I am a Hill of Poetry,
I am a Word of Skill,
I am the Point of a Weapon (that pours forth
combat),
I am God who fashions Fire for a Head.
Who knows the secrets of the
Unhewn Dolmen?
Who (but I) announces the Ages of the Moon?
Who (but I) know the place where falleth
the Sunset?
Who calls the Cattle from the House of Tethra?
On whom do the cattle of Tethra smile?
Who is the troop, the god who fashions edges
in a fortress of gangrene?
(I am) a Song on a Spear,
an Enchantments of Wind.

From early in the 20th century, there are scholars who have suggested that the poem has spiritual and cosmological meaning, connecting the nature of the world to the nature of the soul.  Likewise, from the same period there have been scholars (usually without formal training in the nature of Indo-European religions) who have contested this notion.

As an example of the later, Marie-Louise Sjoestedt in Celtic Gods and Heroes (19) says, “It has been suggested that this poem, which is a tissue of obscure formulas that puzzled even the mediaeval commentators, echoes the druidic doctrine of metempsychosis; but it simply expressed the pride of the sorcerer, whose art has just brought him triumph over his enemies, and who now parades his talents and declares his power. For we know that one of the gifts which all primitive peoples attribute to their sorcerers is that of shape-shifting.” (p. 23-24)

Sjoestedt’s explanation makes clear that she could not possibly imagine deeply spiritual thought, or complex multivalent thought, among so called ‘primitive peoples’ – a bias which has repeatedly been proven incorrect the world over.

Personally, I don’t see this poem as just the swaggering of a simple and arrogant magician-priest, and I’m not alone in that opinion. Well versed in at least one other Indo-European religion, Alwyn and Brinley Rees, in Celtic Heritage offer a far deeper explanation, and one that seems to speak directly to Sjoestedt while at the same time remembers that we are reading medieval text, not unadulterated ancient myth: “The Celtic substratum of our story is particularly evident in the obscure poem which Amairgen utters as he first sets his right foot upon Ireland, a poem which gives the coming of the Sons of Míl a significance beyond that of a mere historical invasion.” p.98 “Potentially, the whole creation is bound up in Amairgen, and Indian parallels preclude the dismissal of his speech as simply an expression of ‘the pride of the sorcerer’. Thus Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita declares himself to be the divine seed without which nothing animate or inanimate exists. He is the Atman, he is Vishnu, Shiva, Brahman, and all the gods, the beginning, the life-span, and the end: ‘I am the radiant sun among the light-givers… among the stars of night, I am the moon … I am Meru among mountain peaks … I am the ocean among waters … Of water-beings I am Varuna: Aryaman among the Fathers: I am Death … I am the Wind…’ He is pre-eminent among hymns, poetic metres, the letters of the alphabet, the months and the seasons: ‘I am the dice-play of the cunning, I am the strength of the strong …I am the silence of things secret: I am the knowledge of the knower … What I have described to you are only a few of my countless forms.’ Vishnu, dormant during the interval of non-manifestation between the dissolution and recreation of the universe delivers himself of a similar series of ‘I am’ utterances. … Similarly Amairgen on the ocean of non-existence embodies the primeval unity of all things.  As such he has the power to bring a new world into being, and his poems are in the nature of creation incantations.” (p.99-100)

In addition to connecting the Song and its utterance to, not only the whole of existence, but the act of creation, as a corollary to that, Rees and Rees connect it to transmigration of the soul: “Amairgen…is everything, and it is a fair inference that among the Celts, as in India and other lands, there existed alongside the belief in individual reincarnation a doctrine that there is essentially only One Transmigrant. As Ovid expressed it: ‘The spirit wanders, comes now here, now there, and occupies whatever frame it pleases. From beasts it passes into human bodies, and from our bodies into beasts, but never perishes.’” (p.230)

The Rees brothers draw this conclusion, not from the Song of Amairgen alone, but from a look at the tradition as whole, through the material we have left.  The book, Celtic Heritage, practically culminates with the notion that Celtic religion depicts, “in the concepts of the boundary, the centre, intercalary time, ‘to-day’, betwixts-and-betweens…multiple names, multiple skills, puns and, we may add, metaphors, an ambiguity, or a multiplication or concentration of meaning which makes them fitting symbols of the unmanifest, which is itself the world of chaos and at the same time the ground of all being.” (p.348-9)

This would later be reflected in the words of Alexei Kondratiev, in The Apple Branch (1998), saying that in “Celtic religion… everything interpenetrates everything else, and nothing is only itself” (p.156)

In this light, the Song of Amairgen is not unique, but simply one beautiful instantiation of the Celtic understanding of the interplay between self and totality, and between unity and multiplicity.  In this sense, any such hard distinctions are dependent more on how one approaches existence and at what resolution, than any absolute privileging of one paradigm over the other.

Bibliography

Kondratiev, A. The Apple Branch: a path to Celtic Ritual (Cork: The Collins Press, 1998)

Sjoestedt, M-L (trans. Myles Dillon), Gods and Heroes of the Celts (Berkley: Turtle Island, 1982 (originally 1948))

Rees, A & B, Celtic Heritage (London: Thames and Hudson, 1961)

Posted by: Brian | April 9, 2012

Local Events

The first half of 2012, has filled up pretty quickly for me, and I’m looking forward to all the exciting things I’ll be doing (and the wonderful people I’ll be doing them with) in April, May, and June!

***

 April 12-15, I’ll be inLondon,ON, for the Mystic Roots Conference.

This year’s theme is “Unlocking the Secrets to Time”, so I’ll be looking important pieces of the Celtic past and how they can inform our present.

On the opening night I’ll be telling a few ancient stories, and connecting them to experiences in our modern lives; stories of, wisdom lost and recovered; stories of confronting the harshness of reality; stories of seizing your boldness, talent, and fate to become who you are really meant to be, here and now!

Then my presentations will include:

The God Lugh and the Feast of Lughnadadh
Patron of shoes? shopping!? horse-racing and hockey!?!Lugh Lamhfada: lord of oaths, protector of the harvest, god of kingship, and so much more… (Re)discover a world of chaos and order, romance and intrigue, contests and battles, magic and monsters… What does this god tell us about the world and ourselves? And what does all this have to do with opening the harvest! Discover the legends and seasonal customs associated with not only Lugh, but the powerful goddesses in his story, and the August festival of Lughnasadh.

We Are the World: a look at Creation, Sacrifice, and Healing
We are star stuff… since the beginning, the Celts and other Indo-European cultures have expressed our connection to the rest of the Living World by connecting the many elements to the various parts of the Living Person. This participatory workshop explores the intimate relationship between the Dúile (meaning ‘elements’ or ‘living beings’) and yourself, through both history and experiential participation. Explore the mysteries that connect you to the Wind, Sky, Sun, Moon, Cloud, Greenery, Land, Stone, Sea, and so much more.

On Darkness and Light
Why does the year start at Samhain? Why does the day start at sunset? Why is the darkness first? We will answer these questions and more in this exploration of the Celtic view of Darkness and Light. Though a blend of history, archaeology and sacred stories, come see how these primordial powers relate to each other and how we can relate to them through Celtic mythology and our own religious experience.

***

May 5th, I will be inToronto officiating a Bealtaine celebration with Embolden.

Details are still forthcoming, but we will be celebrating with the Os, the Beltane Carlene, and Sacred Fire – a wonderful confluence of folk customs from around the Celtic world!

***

May 18-21, I’ll be inTorontofor Gaia Gathering, the Canadian National Pagan Conference.

This year’s theme is “Building the Mosaic” which represents the diversity of individuals that make up the whole of our community. By bringing together pieces of our respective communities and local groups during the conference, we build a representation of the larger Canadian Pagan Mosaic. I will be one of the speakers at the keynote event, which will be a mosaic of speakers from the greaterTorontoarea.

I will also be speaking on panel discussions for “Reconstructionism” and “Are you willing to pay for your Spirituality?”

***

June 13-17, I’ll be north of Toronto for Wiccanfest (don’t let the name fool you, many traditions come together for an amazing weekend of fun, growth, and shared experiences).

I’ll be doing one presentation (TBD), hosting a session of sacred stories (TBD, but perhaps having a ‘boys to men’ theme), and a ritual (likely related to Nechtan, since the 17th is his day).

 ***

For those of you living in or around southern Ontario, I hope to see you at these and other great events, as this is only a fraction of the wonderful things going on in the region!  We also have Northern Lights Gathering, Spirits of the Earth, Kaleidoscope Gathering, and so much more!!!

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