In ancient Ireland, the ceremony of crowning a king included a marriage ceremony in which the king would marry the land, or more accurately marry the Goddess of the land.
This marriage meant that the King swore to protect the land and the people, and be a caretaker of the earth. In return, when a King was favoured by the Goddess:
• he would rule with wisdom,
• the land would be fertile and prosperous,
• the country would always be victorious in war.
When that sacred contract was broken, the land was no longer fertile.Continue reading
Several years ago, when the pop singer Madonna was studying the Kabbalah with Rabbi Philip Berg, she invited Rabbi Berg up on stage at the end of one of her concerts and asked him to give the audience a blessing.
That was a lovely sentiment, but an unnecessary one. Because I’ve learned that we can all give blessings.Continue reading
June 20, 2016 is an auspicious day: both the Summer Solstice and a Full Moon – it’s the first time these two events have coincided in 70 years!
The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the time to celebrate life in all its aspects.
It’s also the time to call in all the positive things you want in your life, and release what no longer serves you.
The Full Moon also brings in powerful energies for manifestation of what you want.
Read this post to learn how…Continue reading
Being a single, self-supporting woman for most of my adult life, I have mastered the art of taking good care of myself – whether at home or on the road. But an experience with European hospitality taught me I may have gone too far to the independent side.
Some years ago I went on a horseback tour of the Connemara region of western Ireland with Willie Leahy, master horse breeder and quintessential charming Irishman.
A week of riding fine Irish horses through bogs, up green hillsides, around lakes and back roads where cars couldn’t go was a great way to see my homeland for the first time.
There were 14 in our group: 7 Americans and 7 Europeans and we had a choice of staying in 4-star hotels or charming bed and breakfasts. I chose the bed and breakfast because I felt it was the best way to get a feel for the people of Ireland.
As it turns out, I was the only American who chose a B&B – all the others stayed in hotels! And only one European chose a hotel – all the others stayed in the B&Bs.
For dinner the entire group ate together in a local restaurant; lunch was a picnic in a field along the way and breakfast was at our respective lodging. So I had breakfast every morning with the European contingent.
Most of us have heard the Native American term “it is a good day to die.” It was usually said in the movies by a Native warrior as he rode off into battle. But how often do we think about what that really means? Do we live as though each day is a good day […]Continue reading
The Irish are known for being clever, particularly when it comes to getting out of a sticky situation. So it’s only natural they have such a glorious celebration on March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day, celebrating all things Irish.
And it’s not just the humans who are clever. So are our animals, as this story demonstrates.
Many years ago a wealthy Irish man decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by going on Safari to Africa. And he took along his faithful Irish Setter for company.
Most of us think of October 31 as Halloween, a time to dress up in costumes and make merry.
But it originated as so much more. In Celtic times, it was a time to honor those who have gone before us. The masked figures represent the spirits of the dead: our ancestors.
A WEE BIT OF CELTIC HISTORY
The ancient Celts, going back 4,500 years, divided each year into the dark half and the light half. The end of the light half was marked by Samhain [pron. Sow-ihn], a time when they were stockpiling food for the winter and giving thanks to the Sun God.
It is also a time of year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest – an appropriate time to invite the souls of the dead to come back for a visit. Candles kept in the window guide the souls back home and a place is set at the table for them.
Next week being a major Celtic spiritual day [sorry, you will have to wait for next week’s post to find out what it is], I wanted to lead up to it with one of my favorite Irish stories. Please pardon the colloquialisms; you must imagine it being spoken with an Irish brogue:
There was a man there long ago, and he had a great name for himself as being very holy.
He was the first up to the chapel on Sunday, and there was never a mission he wasn’t at, praying all around him. And he was being held up as a good example to the sinners as a very holy man that never missed his duty.
Well, he said to himself, it would be a good thing for him to count all the times he was at Mass, so he got a big timber box and he made a hole in the cover of it, and he locked the box so that no one could interfere with it in any way, and he hid the key where no one could possibly find it.
This recipe comes from my Nana Sue, born in Larah, County Caven. A warm woman with a sharp wit, she raised six children and loved to cook. This recipe has been handed down to each generation.
Best served fresh from the oven, I swear men have asked me to marry them after tasting it.
Other than the marriage proposals, the best part is that it’s not a yeast bread, so it’s very easy to make. It’s the interaction of the baking soda and buttermilk that makes it rise.
This is standard fare at my house in March, and not just on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s divine!
Serve 6 -8
3 lb. corned beef brisket [if it comes with a spice packet I use that plus the spices below, so it’s double spiced]
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2” chunks
8 baby carrots, peeled
“May the road rise to meet you; May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.” — Irish Blessing
History is written by conquerors, and, frankly, I don’t think their accounts are to be trusted.
Being 100% Irish-American, I’ve never felt good about the bad rap the Irish have gotten over the years. Most of the stereotypes are inaccurate and undoubtedly started by the English as a way to assuage their guilt for having decimated the country.
For example: Ireland used to be covered with forests, but the English cut down all the trees to use in their own empire building. During the Great Famine, there was more than enough food in Ireland to feed the entire country, but, again, the English exported it to feed themselves.
“We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.” - Winston Churchill
But enough about the English, I’m here to celebrate the Irish.
“The thing that is wrong in the world today is that people have forgotten their instructions.” Onondaga Chief Leon Shenandoa in “To Become a Human Being”
And what instructions might those be, you ask? Every indigenous person would know: the instructions passed down from the Creator, the elders, the ancestors, on how to live a life in harmony and balance with the world around them.Continue reading