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 Illumination Tales 

Illumination Tales is a story and song cycle based on the Irish mythological hero/poet, Finn mac Cumhaill and his archaic appendage, the thumb of knowledge. This knowledge thumb crops up in Welsh and Icelandic sagas too, yet the earliest conception occurs in the Fenian branch of Irish mythology wherein Finn unwittingly acquires the universal wisdom of enlightenment and poetic inspiration.  Finn thusly becomes elevated above the mundane level of society into the liminal, numinous realm of the Gods.  


Finn possessed what are the three qualifications of becoming a poet in ancient Ireland. Dichetal di Chennaib, Teinm Laida and Imbas Forosnai. These are the esoteric means by which inspired poets would utilize the full range of their mantic powers. Satire, curse, prophecy, vision, divination, enchantment and revelation; the sacred voice of the Irish poet was both feared and revered. Finn was no exception to this rule. 

Illumination Tales Dalrymple MacAlpin.jpg

  Woe be to anyone who has nothing more to learn and nowhere else to grow. For to always know and never guess? That is the lonely road of unhappiness. The broad road there which has no end. This road I choose instead. 

~Illumination Tales


The thumb of knowledge tales revolving around Finn mac Cumhaill are found surviving in a scant few precious lines of text housed in rare and extremely treasured manuscripts. These stories only offer a tantalizing glimmer of what the 'whole' must have contained. A fleeting bit of dialogue here, an obscure topographical reference there and then a hopeful fragment cut off mid-sentence. In my own rendering of these stories, I have endeavored to find that missing 'whole' and breathe new life into the dusty vellum of antiquity. When reaching back to the roots of these myths, I have opened a door to a landscape shrouded in what I call,

The terrific and terrifying mysteries.