Celtic Christianity

One of the major gifts of my Celtic ancestors spirituality that I love and am grateful for, is an appreciation and sensitivity to the immanent presence of God, which means that God is everywhere. 

Steve Rabey says in his book In the House of Memory, “What St Patrick gave the Irish was a faith that took the best of traditional pagan beliefs and redefined those in Christian terms.

 The Celtic Christians didn’t tear down and destroy the stone circles and monuments that had been around for ages, as some zealous preachers would do centuries later. Instead, they merely inscribed crosses on them alongside the pagan symbols.” 

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So I don't think Christian Celts get too worked up about some of the festivals like Halloween or Samhain because we have integrated the best of their symbolic aspects and take them lightly and have left alone some of the weirder and scarier aspects. 

This is an excellent article well worth a read on the Celtic Cross History and Symbolism. Lots of photos also from here.

Samhain - A Very Irish Feast: The Roots of Halloween in Celtic Ireland (thewiccangecko.wordpress.com)

and a nice post here on the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain and it links to Hurricane Sandy too. :-))

For Celtic Christians, God was a key part of all things natural and beautiful. Whereas the ancient Celts worshipped pagan gods for nearly every natural setting, Celtic Christians praised God’s design and creation of all things natural. 

“The hills, the sky, the sea, the forests were not God, but their spiritual qualities revealed God and were connected to God. It is in these places where the seen and unseen worlds are most closely connected and inhabitants of both worlds can momentarily touch the other. 

There are always places and times where it is possible to touch and be touched by God, as well as the angels, saints and those who have died.

I was captivated by these poems by Kathleen Raine which I came across by chance today.This is an extract from her obituary in The Telegraph.

"Kathleen Raine, the poet and scholar who died in 2003 aged 95, was one of the last writers whose philosophy had been forged in the cauldron of the late 1920s and early 1930s; but unlike such politicised contemporaries as Wystan Auden and Stephen Spender, she wrote in the romantic, visionary tradition of John Clare, Blake and Yeats, which valued above all things nature and the power of the imagination.
She had high-minded tastes, among them for such disciplines as neo-Platonism and Jungian psychology, and lamented what she described as the materialistic sensibility of the modern public. 

"For most people today," she said in 1992, "to say one has seen sublime or beautiful things is seen as some sort of hypocritical self-aggrandisement, even though it is only in moments when we transcend ourselves that we can know anything of value."

 The Wilderness by Kathleen Raine

I came too late to the hills: they were swept bare
Winters before I was born of song and story,
Of spell or speech with power of oracle or invocation,

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The great ash long dead by a roofless house, its branches rotten,
The voice of the crows an inarticulate cry,
And from the wells and springs the holy water ebbed away.

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A child I ran in the wind on a withered moor
Crying out after those great presences who were not there,
Long lost in the forgetfulness of the forgotten.

                                               Only the archaic forms themselves could tell!
                                      In sacred speech of hoodie on gray stone, or hawk in air,
                                      Of Eden where the lonely rowan bends over the dark pool.

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                             Yet I have glimpsed the bright mountain behind the mountain,
                               Knowledge under the leaves, tasted the bitter berries red,
                         Drunk water cold and clear from an inexhaustible hidden fountain.


Night comes, an angel stands
Measuring out the time of stars,
Still are the winds, and still the hours.

It would be peace to lie
Still in the still hours at the angel's feet,
Upon a star hung in a starry sky,
But hearts another measure beat.

Each body, wingless as it lies,
Sends out its butterfly of night
With delicate wings, and jewelled eyes.

And some upon day's shores are cast,
And some in darkness lost
In waves beyond the world, where float
Somewhere the islands of the blest.

This one seems particularly apt, as the Eastern coast of the USA waits for the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

Special prayers and blessings for all over there caught up in it, that you may be safe.

                                                                      Hurricane Sandy Image source


God in me is the fury on the bare heath
God in me shakes the interior kingdom of my heaven.
God in me is the fire wherein I burn.

God in me swirling cloud and driving rain
God in me cries a lonely nameless bird
God in me beats my head upon a stone.

God in me the four elements of storm
Raging in the shelterless landscape of the mind
Outside the barred doors of my Goneril heart.

and a more mellow counterfoil to Storm is this invocation for protection..
taken from Christine Sine's Godspace Blog.

God Circle Us

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