A few years ago I made a trip to Ireland in the company of women, priestesses set on a pilgrimage to ancient sites of Irish Goddess history. During our pilgrims’ progress I found myself making a vow to the Irish Spirit of Place. I promised it a book, a promise I kept, though it took me a year to write it:
To Ireland, where magic still rambles
through the landscape and stories hover
round evert well spring, bush , crag and rill.~ Christine Irving, Dedication
The book is divided into six section: The Land, The Cow, Tree, The Tuath Dé, Inisfallen and Immigration & Exportation. Each one explores an aspect of Irish past and present history. In Ireland, the past and present are impossible to separate, woven as they are into an intricate Irish knot.
The Sense of Place is palpable in Ireland. It whispers in one’s ear, breathes in one’s face, breezes through the lungs, and hums in the blood. Every story has the end or beginning of another tale embedded in it’s body, and every imaginable human drama has played out across Ireland’s landscape. The The Irish have a fierce history of violence, and horrific consequential mistakes, but the thread of wisdom, that also runs the entire gauntlet of entangled history from beginning to end, is pure gold and steel-strong.
Some of my poems includes both…
Battle Crow Badb comes cawling wearing guise of crow forewarning doom, foreseeing verdant fields churned muddy with men’s blood; arm, leg, head, hand and tender crops trampled underfoot, severed limbs hacked by axe and sword. Shillelaghs batter bone, burst kidneys, shatter spleen. She screeches frustration, screams rage into the wind, man, once again, destroying in short hour what woman took a lifetime to raise up.
But there is another lighter side to Irish lore, though, even here the dark is always patterned with the light and neither takes precedence. The Old Ones were nothing if not pragmatic. Every tale no matter how fanciful contains a teaching and reflects the workings of the universe with great faithfulness and skill…
Huathe – Hawthorn- Ogham Letter H On Visiting A Faerie Tree I want to gift the Hawthorn tree with pink- this strip of cloth I saved from Sister’s quilt. Its pretty pattern will appeal, I think, the fabric stout enough to form a kilt for fairy folk who fancy comely clothes, perhaps a waistcoat buttoned up with gold or ballgown bright in which to primp and pose. They like a cloth both beautiful and bold. I see you’ve brought a remnant wide and blue, so come with me and tie your rag to tree, with courteous respect, I beg of you and praise the Fay for they love flattery. Be careful what you wish of their largesse, they love to trick in ways you’d best outguess!