Ireland, October 2015 – Nancy’s Reflections
Ireland in October 2015 was a culmination of all of my journeys there since 1994; during the first week of last fall’s trip I was accompanied by 7 women and we stayed in the West because of its connection to Ancestors and Wisdom in the Irish mandala of the 4 directions and centre. The second part of the time away was spent with 12 others in the Republic and Northern Ireland, with an interesting and spontaneous weaving between the two pilgrimages. It was not only because Brenda, Lori and I engaged in both as a triad of leadership, but also because the Shining Ones directed us to enrich the experience by adding more texture and layers of energy. Our mascot figure, Mrs. O’Hag seemed to think so too and rode in the van (see photo) like the Lady Death figure she is, pointing her bony finger or dancing in the parking lots.
It seemed to be a pilgrimage of parking lots; we spent an amazing amount of focus gathering ourselves into the vehicle at Waterfall Lodge during the first week. On the second pilgrimage we were meeting up from 13 different directions and pouring 13 people into the vans after one more picture, one more walkabout, or one more item not to be lift behind. When we got our diverse groups together for each new start we began singing and mapping and napping and giving useless commands to the drivers, who put up with us. Did I mention we had 13 leaders on our Voyage of Mastery? Why of course, naming anything by that appellation draws teachers and guides and sages and it was like driving with the 13 Wise Ones, or was it Wise Guys. It should not have been a surprise after having started the first day with the story of a goose, bird of protection, causing a plane delay. Lori, Brenda and I had already been broken in by Great Mystery at the beginning so that we let time mean less and started to dance with the changes the universe brought to us at many turns. We got used to non-human plans continually short circuiting human ones and we were taken into the labyrinthine paths of the fay. We loved it.
I think we loved it because we prepared by letting the spirits of the ancient places know that we were coming, and because we had our intentions aligned beforehand and were willing to surrender to the greatest good. We were willing to live with one another as a community of pilgrims and to embrace the unexpected. I travelled with magicians and witches and druids and clowns; I danced with goddesses and gods and shamans and crones. I flew with faeries and dragons, sat in circle with seekers and healers and artists. We gradually all joined our voices to sing and whisper and proclaim with the spirits of those who have crossed over to the Other Side. It was difficult at times to say what or who was being healed, as each person’s medicine is for all of us and the planet. I just know that we were sparkling.
So many native Irish poets have expressed how the visible and invisible worlds come together in an intense sensuous present that is married to the airy and immortal one. We read lines from the modern bards who are from the remnants of a druidic society and it is they that still keep oral knowledge alive to balance our physical and spiritual lives. On the two pilgrimages we got to live within the paradigm of that poetic and indigenous reality, and got to appreciate that both body and soul got taken care of by our very-much-alive hosts as well as the spirits of the ancestors. Pilgrimage in Ireland happily confuses the ordinary mind and so you have to drop into your heart to experience the mystery of our interconnection. Beauty of the imagination still rules. This was reflected in the countryside and in the people. In how many places does the restaurant owner draw up his chair to play fiddle or another one play “Oh Canada” after our elections? Each eating spot was a bit like one big birthday party, just being spontaneous and celebrating whatever suggested itself to be happy about. It was the Joy Luck Club every day at when we feasted. And just as real as the the times when we could see the spirits in the mist coming from the Boyne River or feel the mystery of Loch Finn and the song of the mountains in Donegal echoing through time.
Merging with the land was so effortless for me after 21 years of going to Ireland on and off, so in fact there was more culture shock in coming home to Canada. It takes a lot to return to the clock and the North American approach to time. It is not only the spirit of the land of Ireland but the moon and the stars that affect us when we travel there; we are led by many allies, ancestors and guides and put on notice that the lunar calendar will rule. We are given directions that follow a different drummer than the one with quick meals at a fast food chain, grid roads, and instant gratification. We appreciated tastes of well prepared food coming from the loved soil of the Emerald Isle. We had tastes of the hospitable culture that opens doors in ordinary reality as well as its metaphysical doors. Finally, without having to disappear for years into a faery mound with Nora, Tom, and Anne, we all received tastes of the eternal while there, to bring home to wherever we are, body and soul.
As affirmation for me, after writing this I came across a website that reminded me to mention Brigit as our guide on the journey; we did go to a Brigit well in Liscannor, Co Clare, travelled to 2 Brigit’s wells in Kildare and to St. Brigit’s new centre, Solas Bhride in the same town; this article will also tie together for you some more of the faery light threads that affected our trip.
When invited to contribute to this site some of our pilgrims made these offerings, Including Jeff our Navigator, who sent in an itinerary of the Voyage of Mastery. Enjoy the accounts, the songs and the action of our expression of commitment to the earth.
You can also see us and more pictures on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Travellers-Joy-Tours-with-Spirit-190872067931906/
In memory of;
Keith Thompson, Aug 7, 1948 -April15, 2012
Jean Campbell, July 5, 1934 – June 5, 2015
John Hannah who passed on Aug 27, 2014
Layd Old Church, Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim Oct. 19, 2015
Our B and B hosts were Katherine and John at Waterfall Lodge, Oughterard, Co Galway,
Deirdre and Anthony at Boyne View B&B, Trim, Co Meath
Mary and Robbie at Clanabogan Country House, Omagh, Co Tyrone
Orla, Carmel, Mick and Tom at Stockhouse Restaurant, Trim, Co Meath
Our ceremonial hosts at Fourknocks were Tom and Anne Newman, Nora Judge with Bernadette