Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Celtic Way of Seeing: Meditations on the Irish Spirit Wheel

The Celtic Way of Seeing: Meditations On the Irish Spirit Wheel By Frank MacEowen (2007)

This is a neat little book about utilizing the ancient Irish correspondences of the four directions and center as a psychological healing tool. The idea is based on a story from the 6th century and back called “The Settling of the Manor of Tara” where the inner and outer became unbalanced and the wise ones were called to set things aright. The tool was the same. MacEowen describes how we can use these correspondences like an inner feng shui. Basically, the center relates to sovereignty, east to prosperity, north to battle, west to knowledge, and south to music. Of course, there is much more detail to the correspondences than this.

One is introduced to some interesting ideas in the Celtic tradition such as Oran Mor: The Great Song (as divinity), the bardic poetry called geancannach, or “love talk” - a devotional practice where on praises nature akin to a lover, the curious practice of sleeping on or near the graves of one’s ancestors for inspiration, the idea of cultivating “mythic memory”, and the psychological usefulness of anam chara, or soul friend that one can open up to who gives counsel. Regarding knowledge there is a section on the “energy of longing.” ie. yearning for the divine, or in Celtic terms - hungering for the Otherworld.

A quick and fun read that can have useful implications in assessing one’ssituation and planning how to make the best of it - kinda like divining. Of course, there are similar teachings in the various feng shuis of the east, the Medicine Wheel teachings of the western Native Americans, and other teachings involving mandalas, There is a lot here about “enlightened warriorship” - which brings to mind an Irish saying from the book,

“Never give a man a sword unless he knows how to dance.”

Regarding ritual he gives an interesting quote, “It is a form of communication. Ritual speaks directly to a very ancient part of us. In a sense it is the oldest form of transformational psychology, in that it creates change on the level of the soul.”

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