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The Country of The Young

A year of revelation~

A very merry new moon to you all! Now let's get started. Would you agree that time is acting kind of funny right now? It is sort of drifting us along a meandering path of peregrinations without offering answers to our questions and asking none itself. The world lies in a liminal boundary outside of time as people everywhere go inside themselves and for once find their own answers. I would say 2020 is a year of revelations. For some even a year of epiphany. If your inner attic ligTír na nÓg~ht is illuminating the neglected shadow in the corners of your mind, you my friend are not alone. Your neighbors are most likely rummaging around in their own creepy crawl spaces. And yes, I still believe the gold is there, at the end of the rainbow, waiting patiently for us to finish that game of hide and go seek.

Illumination Tales, Tír na nÓg

This month’s look into the world of Illumination Tales takes us into the lore concerning the first qualification of becoming a poet; dichetal di chennaib, chanting from the points, or rather, reciting poetry extemporaneously. This kind of verbal skill persists today in the form of poetry contests, riddling duels and jousting word smiths put on the spot to create word-art instantaneously, without pre-meditated forethought.

Yet when early Irish poets practiced this form of poetic training, for them it was more than just an exercise to stimulate mental cognition. The reciting of poetry was a venerable and sacred profession, used to tap into the greater wisdom of the world and thereby elevate oneself to see the mundane as sacred, to see beyond the veil into all worlds at once, the future, the past and the ever-present revolving spinning wheel of today. Poetry, in early Irish lore, was highly respected and even feared. For the true poets could alter the course of your destiny with a single word of power and in the same breath, bring about the ruin of an unjust King.

So, when writing the song, “Tír na nÓg” for Illumination Tales, something happened which was to me, quite beautiful and perfectly in tune with this story. I was driving my son home from school one crisp autumn day and while in the car we always like to say silly things to each other. This day however we were both introspective and quiet, but I decided to break that silence by singing to him. I thought in my head, “I want to sing Rowan something sweet, something gentle and soothing..” What came out of my mouth was the song you hear in this month’s Illumination Tales video. It was completely spontaneous and extemporaneous and in keeping with ancient Irish tradition. I went home and figured out the tune on the harp and in a matter of minutes Tír na nÓg was born. It was sung to me on the windy road, all I did was listen and sing it back.

Tír na nÓg~

I know of a land called Tír na nÓg,

where the faeries sing so you can’t grow old,

Remembering a time when the world was new

And everyone believed that stories were true,

They were true,

I’ve seen that place inside my dreams,

I know it’s as real as you or me,

Grow quiet for a spell and listen close,

That piping in the hills is the faerie folk,

It’s the faerie folk,

They dance in a circle all night long,

And they say you’ll go mad if you hear their song,

Yet I did hear it once in the twilight mist

Trying to catch the Will O’ the Wisp.

I know my dream one day will come true,

I know my dream is a part of you,

So come along with me and see what you can find,

There really is no such thing as time,

There is no such silly thing as time in the land called Tír na nÓg.

Puppets In Prague~

Back in June of 2016 I was accepted to study at the international school in the Czech Republic, Puppets In Prague. For one month I was steeped in a world of pure imagination. I learned how to carve puppets true yet more than that I learned what puppets really are and who they can be. Now in 2020 the school, like so many others around the world, went online and I was enrolled again with the good graces of zoom technology to connect me to some amazing talented people. I was able to deepen my knowledge of wood carving through live chats with my teacher and sharpen my skills and chisels along the way. So yes, in case you were wondering, you can even learn how to carve wooden puppets through zoom. And before you scroll down to see pictures of the newest member of the family, I am afraid you’ll have to wait until the next new moon as he is still needing to be painted and strung. For now, here he is, the miller of the Rumpelstilzchen opera, quite confident in his nakedness. I am wondering what his first words will be…

And meet my fellow students... (Teachers in top left corner.)

Here is a a link to the school, taught by puppet master Mirek Trejtnar and Leah Gaffen.

Word to the Wise~

Peregrination~ A long meandering journey.

I found this word while reading The Festivities at The House of Conan, which is part of my Fionn mac Cumhaill studies. This is the oldest book in my library, published in 1854. The word peregrinations cropped up on page one and I immediately remembered my grandma using this word and placed it in my mind as an old-fashioned term due for an immediate comeback. So slip it in to your day to day and help me reclaim a word which deserves to roll off the tongue more than once every hundred years. Despite our own personal peregrinations being somewhat limited at the moment, I do however look forward to seeing all you travelers on the rusty tracks and dusty paths after the new world dawns triumphant above our ever hopeful heads. See you there!

Farewell for now~

Until the next new moon brings us together again within The Craneskin Bag, merry meet, merry part and merry meet again,

Your friend,

Tall and thin,

Through thick and thin once again,

~Dalrymple MacAlpin

New Moon, July 20th, 2020


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