In fact, let us not mince words… The Management is terrible! We’ve had a string of embezzelers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact. But who elected them? It was you! You who elected these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you! While I’ll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate. You have encouraged these malicious incompetents, who have made your working life a shambles. You have accepted without question their senseless orders. You have allowed them to fill your workspace with dangerous and unproven machines. You could have stopped them. All you had to say was ‘No’….
V, in V for Vendetta.
Radio Free EarthRites will be down for awhile. Whilst changing out phone lines in the UK, our server was cut off, and due to the British mindset, it isn’t going to be fixed anytime soon. I will keep you posted for when it will be back up.
Rowan starts school today at The Art Institute of Portland. We went out and picked up 3 books, to the tune of close to 300 dollars! Not a hardback to be found among them! Amazing….Anyway, he has had a hard time of it over the last few days, catching a stomach bug along with his Mom that I gifted them from who knows where. I think he is on the mend now…
Worked much of the weekend on the magazine. It is finally taking shape. It seemed to take longer to develop the theme for this edition. I have been sidelined frequently with other projects at this point…
Anyway, looking forward to this Wednesday!
On The Menu:
Dale Pendell Will Be In Portland at Powells’ Hawthorne
Bells & Robes…
H.U.V.A Network live at Les Dominicains 2/6-07
Drag the Archaic into our Present for the sake of a Future
The Poetry Of The Dao Te Ching
h.u.v.a. network / time circles / distant system rmx
Art: John Duncan
Be There Or Be Square:
Dale Pendell Will Be In Portland at Powells’ Hawthorne Wednesday, October 8th 2008 07:30 PM
In Walking with Nobby (Mercury House), retired professor Norman O. Brown and author Dale Pendell, during walks taken along the coast of California, discuss many concepts and characters, including paganism and world religions, Dionysus, Marx, and Freud, presented as footnoted conversations.
This should be a good one! If you haven’t heard Dale speak, you are in for a treat. Some of the most stimulating subject matter, and entertaining ideas I have come across… I am very excited to have Dale back in Portland. This is a must see event!
So we will see you there, right? Mary, Rowan & I will see ya there
Bells and Robes
Ummon asked: `The world is such a wide world, why do you answer a bell and don ceremonial robes?’
Mumon’s Comment: When one studies Zen one need not follow sound or colour or form. Even though some have attained insight when hearing a voice or seeing a colour or a form, this is a very common way. It is not true Zen. The real Zen student controls sound, colour, form, and actualizes the truth in his everyday life.
Sound comes to the ear, the ear goes to the sound. When you blot out sound and sense, what do you understand? While listening with ears one never can understand. To understand intimately one should see sound.
When you understand, you belong to the family;
When you do not understand, you are a stranger.
Those who do not understand belong to the family,
And when they understand they are strangers.
H.U.V.A Network live at Les Dominicains 2/6-07
Drag the Archaic into our Present
for the sake of a Future
We Irish, born into that ancient sect
But thrown upon this filthy modem tide
And by its formless spawning fury wrecked
Climb to our proper dark, that we may trace
The lineaments of a plummet measured face
– W.B. Yeats, The Statues
Since we have been given the admonition to avoid the conquest, as there will be sorra galore soon enough, I will instead contain myself to elucidating the archaic qualities of the Irish, which for me represent examples of a world-view worth conserving and transplanting. First we will look at the Megalithic culture of the Atlantic coast of Europe and contrast it with the Iron age Celtic culture as seen in the Táin Bó Cuailnge. The most vital bit of information I discovered in Every Earthly Blessing relates how the saints were associated with the Druidic and Poetic schools, and consequently often used the leitmotifs, of these ancient technicians of the sacred in their own hagiographic constructions. This consequently makes the Irish church and its patrons much closer to the Indo-European Paganism eradicated on the Continent by the Roman Church. The survival of this religious caste and its corpus into the 17th century, in both the manuscripts of the Irish Monasteries and the poetics of the Bardic Order, gives us an opportunity to reconstruct aspects of the Gaelic world-view prior to it being tossed in the boiling cauldron of the European Nation States. Much of the material we have on the religious castes of Ireland comes through the less then objective lens of their conquerors and would-be conquerors. Consequently we have a shadowy and biased view of them, especially the much-maligned final leg of their tripartite organization, the Vates or Seers. Yet in looking at them we can discern both the reason for their dismissal and their importance in the transition from archaic shamanism.
Isle a ho boys, let her go boys
swing her head round into the weather
Isle a ho boys, let her go boys
sailing homeward to Mingulay
-traditional (Casey Neill Trio), Mingulay Boat Song
Along the Atlantic seaboard of the European continent from Ireland to the Mediterranean islands of Malta are megalithic structures, which mark the steps of a migration of people from the cradle of civilization to the very periphery of the farthest Western shores. The purpose of these monuments, often described as communal burial tombs, remains an ambiguous assertion. Some call attention only to their contents of bones and material remains and maintain they were tombs for an elite social order. While others interpret their placement and architecture and suggest they are astronomical observatories designed to measure the solar year and thus act as an agricultural calendar. Some suggest that their purpose was more religious and the Winter Solstice ritual at Newgrange, or Brugh na Bóinne, in the interaction of dark and light, cave and sunbeam, the sacred marriage of the chthonic: feminine earth and the luminescent masculine sky is enacted.
In the film The Atlanteans, there is a concerted attempt to draw a connection between the North African and Mediterranean cultures with Ireland through the vehicle of maritime trade routes and cultural similarities. With only a brief mention of these megalithic structures, it is no wonder that the effort comes off as incomplete. These megaliths point to a cultural source for the ancient Irish not solely in the Celtic world of the European heartland, but in the wine-dark sea of the Mediterranean and the north coast of Africa. I see an important linguistic point to address in the argument; how long has the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language tree been separated from the main trunk, or from the branch associated with Greek and Italic? The American Heritage Dictionary suggests that Proto Indo-European was likely spoken around 5th millennia BCE, which fits approximately with the time this migration of the megalithic builders began. Perhaps this is also around the time of the first Kurgan invasions of the Indo-European lands, which began a major cultural shift from the matrilineal or kin relations to patriarchal or power relations, from an egalitarian to a domination model of social interaction.
In the Bronze Age the mythic template was the Goddess and her consort, the Dying God of Vegetation. This is itself an overlay on the Hymn to Demeter, or the relations between a Mother and Daughter, the major trope in Eavan Bolands Pomegranate (or see Brugh na Bóinne and the Triple Irish Goddess by the author). It represents the turning of the agricultural round and the connectivity of lifes cycles, from birth to death and back again ? letting go and embracing change (a salmon leap?!). In the Iron Age the myth becomes the heros individual fame or infamy in cattle raids and the subjugation of women as possessions, whether in the battle for the Brown Bull in the Táin or the capture of Helen in the Trojan War. This is a move from the agency of being as seen in the Gaelic ag, to the subordination of having, not a descent of godhead into the individual as the heros birth represents, but the original fall from our connection to the universal.
Ironically even though the Táin is a heroic saga for an audience of prepubescent boys, being at its heart misogynist, it contains elements that point out the path this shift traversed. Deirdre, the self-possessed Maiden refusing to be a sacrifice to a vainglorious kings pride and desire, and likewise the curse on Ulster by Machas A mother bore each one of you, in the film A Celtic Trilogy are examples of the agency and respect women had. As is the connection of Medb with the Goddess of Sovereignty and her claims of preeminence over Aillils in the Pillow Talk section of the Táin. The agency of these women directly contradicts the image of women as chattel and the cause of mens struggle for honor or infamy found in the Táin. In addition to these triune Goddesses, the story of Nes, mother of Conchobor, and her maneuvers to get her and the Druid Cathbads son on to her husband Fergus throne at Emain Macha, illustrates the agency women had in the political sphere. In fact without Lugh, who some sources suggest is actually a British solar deity not indigenous to Ireland, the only aspects of the divine present would be the triune Goddesses Nemain, Badb, and (as the) Morrigan; albeit their function is confined to the masculine arts of warfare. Morrigan is likely another manifestation of a Goddess of Sovereignty, her name being mor great and rigan queen(s). So why werent there queens in Ireland? Was it this masculine overlay that turns the maiden into a sheep between two rams, the pregnant mother into a horse race contestant, and the crone, as the sacred hills of Ath Lúain and Brugh na Bóinne, into the mutilated body of the Goddess of Sovereignty? If these stories are propaganda for the patriarchy, why are these remnants of a matrilineal culture where wisdom, inspiration, and agency, as seen in the blood which is not Gods, but instead belongs to thee all of creation, still remaining so prominently in the text? What lesson is learned by the juxtaposition of these starkly different foci in the tales, the misogyny of the warriors deeds of exploitation and honor, and the Goddess with her daughter a salmons leap up the great yew tree teaching the power of the Gae Bolga, to the hero?
I am the God who created in head the fire
Who is it that throws light into the meeting on the mountain?
Who announces the ages of the moon?
Who teaches the place where couches the sun? (If not I?)
– Amergin the Milesian, The Mystery
The first references we have to Druids, which is also concurrent with the first notice of the Keltoi is around the 4th century BCE, well into the Iron Age. The Indo-European root of Druid is deru – meaning tree (concrete), and solid, strong or true (abstract). The definition given for Druid is strong seer in turn points to the IE root weid – meaning to see (concrete) and wisdom or knowledge (abstract) (AmHer, 2099, 2131). Druids were part of the tripartite priestly class made up of themselves, the Poets or Bards, and the Vates or Seers. They encompassed the powers of the other two, with the additional responsibility of being kings council and natural philosophers. Much of the lore we have of their function is seen through the occluded lens of their Roman adversaries and Christian commentators, for they were doubly damned by being the priestly class of the Pagan Celtic culture. As the Táin is a repository for certain elements of the pre-patriarchal, or matrilineal, so too the Christianity of Erigeana contains remnants of the Pagan cultural tradition of the Druids, Poets and Seers.
There is an argument in Indo-European studies that these technicians of the sacred were the inheritors of a shamanism itself as old as the Neolithic. In effect the Oral Traditional material contains many references to the activity of this priestly class as mediators between the divine and the temporal, from the Indus to the Sinann. One of the common motifs of the Druidic references, and by default, due to the absorption of the Druidic/Bardic colleges, many of the lives of the Irish Saints, which points to this shamanism, is the shape changing and close association with animal totems. Whether it be Patricks transformed deer escaping the kings insult and anger, Kevins mothering a nest of blackbirds, or Bedes otter moccasin walk across the strand, these suggest not so much a connection to the family of things as the ages old accretion of Paganism. The frequency with which the early saints are associated, both with animal presence, and with or as Poets suggests that infiltration might be a more apt description of the process of Irelands conversion of Christianity.
An example of this difference between the animism of Druidry and the appropriation of animal motifs by the Irish saints is the fox. The fox is the original animal totem of a Poet named Crimthamn, who would later change that totem to a dove when he took the name Colm Cille. Likewise the fox is imaged in the stories of saints in Every Earthly Blessing as malicious and in need of forgiveness because of its innate tendencies. Is it these innate tendencies of cunning and wiliness that made them appropriate totems for a Poet or Druid? Oddly enough, the cat Pangur Ban is neither a vegetarian, nor criticized for cruelty towards the mouse. This need to tame the wildness of these trickster animals is in essence an ongoing manichaeism between order and chaos. That academic dichotomy gone forever/It is not that they are tame/But that we become wild. And that was what was feared most and hence required eradication, the wildness of it all.
Another important indicator of Druidical residue is the frequency with which monasteries are associated with Oaks or dairí, which is most likely a cognate of the IE root daru Kildare or Oak Church and Derry being the most obvious examples. In European Paganism it is suggested that the reason the Oak was singled out as sacral is its inability to ground lightning, often described as being lightning-blasted, showing the favor of the sky Gods. It is possible that the Oak is consequently to be associated with the Iron Age gods of displaced responsibility, and that a likely candidate for an earlier pre-Celtic world tree is the Yew. It is associated both with death and immortality, and its relative placement at burial sites, suggests use by Saxons, Celts or even the enigmatic Megalith builders of the late Neolithic.
Mise Rafteraí an file
Lán dóchais is grá
Le súil gan solas
Le ciúnas gan crá
Dul siar maistir
Le solas mo chroí
I am Raftery the poet
Full of hope and love
Eyes without light
Calm without sorrow
Going west on my journey
With light in my heart
Fán agus tuirseach
Go deireads mo shlí
Féach anois mé
Is magaith ar balla
Ag senim ceoil
Da phócaí folarnh
Wandering and weary
To the end of my way
Look at me now
With my face to the wall
For empty pockets
– Anthony Raftery, Mise Rafteraí
A certain irony can be seen in the way that the Irish monks and many of the saints have affiliations with, were trained as, or maintain the traditions of the Poets. This further points to the possibility that the Druidic and Poetic functions of the Pagan religious caste infiltrated the Christian clergy in Celtic Ireland and consequently mediated the form it took there. Because of the power of this caste, whereas elsewhere in Europe the Church was bringing a destruction to Pagan venerated wells, sacred trees and groves, Pagan Ireland maintained these sacred spaces by converting their activities to Christian use; thereby preserving their ability to inform us of their earlier connections. In the same way that we can see the residue of Druidic shamanism in the use of animal totems by saints, the close connection between the Poets and the saints and monks highlights how thin the veneer of Christianity was on the Pagan practices of Celtic Ireland.
The Poets and the Bards were the information technology of their time because of their ability to encode and preserve the Oral Traditional material of Ireland. In their stories and songs we get a picture, although incomplete, of the Gaelic world-view. Their preservation of the Gaelic language made it possible for us to look back past the Greek and Roman models of social organization and see vestiges of an earlier Indo-European culture in the psycholinguistics of its syntax. Their destruction is illustrated in both the Raftery poem above, and in the Brian Friel play Translations, where the Gaelic names from the Dindshenchas are being Anglicized by the English. The repartee between the Hedge School master and his students could be taken as an example of how their academic discourse carried on. Before the monks copiously reproduced the classics, these Poetic students were trained to have the Greek, Latin and Celtic cultures all present and interacting in their education. Their importance to a conception of a national culture (which they were on the verge of birthing before the English exiled the Wild Geese), as well as the continued destruction of these sages of ages past is suggested in a poem by Ted Hughes Hear it Again excerpt here:
Tyrants know where to aim/As Hitler poured his petrol and tossed his matches
Stalin collected the bards /In other words the mobile and only libraries
of all those enslaved peoples from the Black to/the Bering Sea
And made a bonfire/ Of the mainsprings of national identities to melt
the folk into one puddle/And the three seconds of the present moment
By massacring those wordy fellows whose memories were/bigger than armies.
Their colleges had to have been seats of great learning, for invaders and conquerors dont easily admit to the existence of admirable qualities, and the tendency for Irish monks to establish monasteries and colleges as far afield as Russia is well established. Anytime one of these Poets or Bards passed into the West without transmitting their songs and stories what was lost amounted to an entire library being incinerated. A library, not simply filled with dusty old tomes and colorful manuscripts constructed by monks, but a multi-media collection, made up of poetry, song, and stories, covering history, genealogy, geography, and religion (a religion not based on the received and mediated word, but the manifest living word). These were not mere artifacts from a golden age long past, they were the living and breathing cultural traditions, which continued to interact with the people and shape their world-view; even in the face of outside attempts at cultural conquest from Roman Catholicism and the English.
Suns in the mirror, red and gold
in the sky behind me,
one huge crimson blazing globe –
Glas Gaibhneachs heart milk through a sieve
her drops of blood strained out
like a picture of the Sacred Heart.
Three scarlet brightnesses are there
and pain so sharp, and sob so short.
I stared at the drops
afraid but almost unaware –
like Sleeping Beauty when she gazed
at her thumb pricked by the wheel,
she turned it over, and over once more
as if her actions were unreal.
When Deirdre saw the blood on the snow
did she know the ravens name?
Then I realize I drive towards you
my dearest friend and lovely man
(may nothing keep me from your bed tonight
but miles of road and truffic lights)
and your impatience like a stone
falls upon us from the skyand adds to our uneasiness
the awkward weight of my hurt pride.
And more great loads will fall on us
if the omen comes to pass
much greater than the great suns globe
that lately bled into glass
And so, Great Mother, cave of awe –
since its towards you we race –
is it the truth? Is your embrace
and kiss more fine
than honey, beer, or Spanish wine?
– Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, An Rás (The Race)
Another aspects of the tripartite Indo-European religious caste, the vates, Ovates, or alternately in the Gaelic Literature, Seers, were incorporated in the new religious system, this is seen in the frequency with which saints prophecy. It is well known that the Romans made slander of these Seers, particularly the form of their prophecy, by the continual discussion of reading omens in the spilt organs of animals (and humans, if we can believe their claim to ubiquity in that). As European Paganism shows not only was this haruspicy practiced among the Romans, but human sacrifice was something they were familiar with as well. They had of course long since abandoned such barbarity, although this didnt stop them from using their knowledge of it as political and religious propaganda to discredit the Celts. Prophecy and Seership is common among Indo-European cultures, including the Greek and Roman, the Pythian oracle at Delphi is one of the most well known examples.
This brings up another point, which illuminates the bias of the Roman historiographers. Many of the Celtic cultures, like the Romans and Greeks, had female Seers, yet few appear in their descriptions of this religious caste. Both genders were allowed access to their schools and women functioned within the caste as Seers, Poets, as well as Druids, yet few examples exist. One of the most powerful envisioning of a female Seer, or any seer for that matter is Fedelm the poet-seer who warns Medb of the disaster she was embarking on in the Táin. I am struck as much by her description as I am by the line I am Fedelm. I hide nothing, Is this perchance recognition of another role of these caste members responsibilities to, not only speak honestly, but to witness, or act as Brehons? The similarity between the functions of the Druids, Poets, and Seers, the tendency of these functions to overlap, and the close relationship with power, suggests in those words, not so much truth in prophecy as it does her responsibility to tell power of its would-be folly. The weaving-rod, which according to the notes is associated with prophecy, points to the potentiality that these traditions, particularly of prophecy being originally the purview of women. Weaving is perhaps one of the oldest arts and to my mind it is exclusively feminine. It is directly connected in numerous cultures with magick and the occult, or to use the Gaelic phrase, contact with the Otherworld.
This heightens the discrepancy we are given in the Táin with regard to the Iron Age Celtic culture, where womens role, though still evident, are generally being eroded and replaced by the power of men, might, and kings. The Brehon laws suggest that this patrician attitude was not indigenous to Ireland, and is likely therefore a derivation from Greeco-Roman influence or the Continental Celtic culture. The ability of women to participate at the highest levels of the Indo-European religious caste in Ireland, at a time when Roman women were viewed as possessions, which had no place in the business of power, suggests that perhaps we lost something when we accepted the consolidation of power at the hands of European national interests and the Roman Church. Fedelms ability to face a Queen, if not The Queen of Ireland in the guise of Sovereignty, and to tell her that the course of action she was about to undertake would be disastrous, is representative of the degree of agency women once had in their relations with power. An agency we stepped away from in the twist of the matrilineal to the patriarchal, from the blood-line of a Mother, to the blood-sacrifice by the Father.
We are merely restoring to the corpse buried in a manuscript
the soul that once animated it.
– Kevin Collins, Cultural Conquest of Ireland
The title of this paper is my own personal raison dêtre, it informs much of my academic work. I look for the connections, which point towards a world-view that is not dissimilar from that expressed among the Archaic Gael. This is a place where gender and ethnic considerations are moot in light of the concerns of the tribe or tuatha. A world-view invested in the place and space, in time and tide, of our spinning, hurtling spaceship earth. Where the realm of the Otherworld has as much importance and function as the boiling cauldron of the daily grind. The Archaic is manifest for me in the connection and connectivity of the blood, which is not Gods, from which we all spring. It is invoked and evoked by the efforts of various technicians of the sacred who are priests of the eternal imagination transmuting the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of everliving life in poetry, in ritual, or in prophecy. They are the pontifex maximus the bridge builders who cross the boundaries others only see as obstacles and limitations. They are the bridges between the world-views of Pagan Ireland and Roman Christianity, because of them we have a fuller view of what Christianity could and should have been, and yet may be. My task is not to escape into the mists of prehistory in some fantastic transcendence of our filthy modern tide. It is to strive in hope of re-visioning a whole and healthy story which lives and breathes, and which is a model for right livelihood for all in this great tide of pulsing and throbbing life.
I hope that this has elucidated some of the differences I see between the early Indo-European Megalithic Builders and the Iron Age Continental Celts, and why they are important in relation to the change in gender focus seen in the Táin. Likewise, the discussion of how the Indo-European religious castes were instrumental in the adoption and adaptation of Christianity in Ireland. I realize that there is little of the I you might have been seeking in this paper, these are issues which are highly significant to me and the work I have done and will continue to do. They are not merely mediated through the obfuscating lens of academia, which has become my primary mode of discourse they are a passion. I still write poetry and sing and chant, participating in the living and breathing of these ideas as much as I dissect and reintegrate them for the academys gristmill. I leave you with a poem about the Patriarchs of the Old Testament:
Thats right sheep & goats, you too cows,
Eat the grass, eat it down to the ground.
Damnit I want sand I tell ya, sand.
The more sand there is, the more sons I get.
One day all this sand will be mine, & my sons.
Well destroy the cities, & take their goods,
All the old oaks and shrines in the hills,
Well build altars to YHVH and burn the animals,
Itll be a great big party for all the family,
Everyone will talk about it for days, forever;
Because we have a blessing especially from God.
The Poetry Of The Dao Te Ching
Whoever is planted in the Tao
will not be rooted up.
Whoever embraces the Tao
will not slip away.
Her name will be held in honor
from generation to generation.
Let the Tao be present in your life
and you will become genuine.
Let it be present in your family
and your family will flourish.
Let it be present in your country
and your country will be an example
to all countries in the world.
Let it be present in the universe
and the universe will sing.
How do I know this is true?
By looking inside myself.
He who is in harmony with the Tao
is like a newborn child.
Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
but its grip is powerful.
It doesn’t know about the union
of male and female,
yet its penis can stand erect,
so intense is its vital power.
It can scream its head off all day,
yet it never becomes hoarse,
so complete is its harmony.
The Master’s power is like this.
He lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expects results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed;
thus his spirit never grows old.
Those who know don’t talk.
Those who talk don’t know.
Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.
Be like the Tao.
It can’t be approached or withdrawn from,
benefited or harmed,
honored or brought into disgrace.
It gives itself up continually.
That is why it endures.
If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.
The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be.
Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes common as grass.
h.u.v.a. network / time circles / distant system rmx