Monday, September 29, 2014

St. Patrick’s Ireland

St. Patrick’s Ireland
By Kristin Olsen

Most of Celtic history is verbal not written.  This leaves the Emerald Isle of the ancients open to any revelation that our hearts, minds and souls see fit to gaze upon.  As we look to the magic and mysticism of the celtic lands, we discover that part of the magic we are drawn to might be the modern interpretation of what the ancient Celtic lands might have been.  This is a portrait by modern writers and it is based on supposition because of the lack of written records.

Lets take a stroll through the realm of Religion and Spirituality.  Celtic spirituality has many faces.  The Celts of old were obviously what would be termed a Pagan culture.  They were pre-Christian and therefore there was really nothing else to be but what we now call Pagan.  So did they worship multiple deities or did they simply pay homage and respect to the things of the earth that they could see and the things of the spiritual realm that they could not see?  Did they name gods and goddesses and put a power or an attribute to these beings?  Or did they simply thank the universe for the trees, land, streams, birds, animals and other things they needed and used in their everyday lives?  Is it possible they were Spiritual without being Religious?  This gives rise to many different religious philosophies that are in current use today.  In reality, we can never truly know what was in their minds and hearts because they did not leave us a written record to preserve these early days.

When you study Ireland’s spirituality, St. Patrick is always discussed.  Ireland is steeped with tradition.  St. Patrick really helped head Ireland into modern Christianity by “Driving out the Snakes.  It is a fascinating correlation because it is believed that snakes are not indigenous to the Island of Ireland.  Most scholars agree that snakes symbolize paganism, which St. Patrick is credited for banishing from Ireland. Snakes as symbols of evil are prevalent throughout Judeo-Christian mythology; most notable story is that of the snake in the Garden of Eden as a tempter of Eve.  Why are snakes really not indigenous to Ireland?  The answer is simple.  There are no snakes in Ireland because they can't get there as Ireland is surrounded by water.

St. Patrick was actually born around 373 A.D. in the British Isles near the modern city of Dumbarton in Scotland. His real name was Maewyn Succat. He took the name of Patrick, or Patricius, meaning "well-born" in Latin, after he became a priest.  At one point in St. Patrick’s life he was sold into slavery and take to the island of Ireland.  There he was re-sold to yet another slaveholder.  He served his master as a sheepherder.  He was Christian and had a lot of time alone on the slopes to think about Religion, God and escaping Ireland.  One lucky day he did just that.  He eventually returned to Ireland to bring God to the Pagan people of this glorious land.  St. Patrick died in his beloved Ireland on March 17th, 460 A.D.  The stone picture is said to be his final resting place.

The Irish have been able to successfully integrate some of the ideas and philosophies from the ancient times into their modern Christian religious philosophies. A grand example of this is St. Patrick’s use of the Shamrock to teach the pagan Irish about the Trinity.  He explained the “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Spirit” to them utilizing the native flower of Ireland.  The three petals represent the tree parts of one God.  For the Shamrock are both one petal and three petals.  Using the imagery provided by the shamrock, St. Patrick was able to show a very visual society the possibility of one God, Christianity.  He used this example as well as others such as the goddess Bridget and Tir na nÓg to convert the island to Christianity in particular to Catholicism.

The Shamrock was a sacred plant of the Druids because its leaves formed a triad.  Three was a magical and spiritual number to the ancients because it represented: past, present, and future; and sky, earth, and underworld, Tír na nÓg (The Land of Youth).  The explanation of the Shamrock should have made perfect sense to them, as they saw the number 3 as an integral part of their physical and magickal world.

Another great example is when St. Patrick introduced the idea of heaven to the early Celtics.  They had tales steeped in tradition about Tír na nÓg (the celtic underworld or land of youth). It was considered a pleasant place and all wanted to visit this realm.  Time stands still on Tír na nÓg.  It is said to be and island to the far west of Ireland.  One never grows old or suffers illness, flowers bloom never died in this land. No sorrow or pain, love is eternal, no wars or famine scar this land.  Can you picture St. Patrick sitting on the Hill of Tara surrounded by the early Irish teaching them of Heaven and comparing it to Tír na nÓg?  He would simply have to hold up a shamrock and the rest is history.  How easy it must have been for them to accept this concept.  There are dozens of other examples, but we will leave those for later discussions.

Celtic Magic is something that is everywhere; it is a gift from the almighty (whatever that may be in your particular religious or spiritual path).  For me the magic comes from my ancestors, their lands and beliefs. Visit me at

Friday, September 26, 2014

just a little poetry to start the fall season in western wa

Yesterday collided with today
A momentous roar
A sad song
A pleasant thought
A painful memory
A smile eroded by bitter sadness parts my lips
Yesterday collided with today,
Today shows me a past of pain, anger, dominance, suffering
A small glimmer of hope, longing, possibilities
And hopefulness smashed before fulfillment can meet
Today shows me the future
A future without you
A future with peace, no chaos, no anger
No resentment, no dominance
The future is unfolding now
It waves goodbye to the past and teases
The future to explode in
Brilliant light and peace
copyright kristin olsen 2012

Freedom from my upcoming book "Through the looking glass"

         We are often told that life goes by so quickly.  Each moment should be treasured and enjoyed.  Each second, each minute, each hour, each day, each sunset, cotton candy and rainbow filled wonderfully glorious months flashing through our minds eye.  Savor the moment, breathe deep the songs of birds and the smell of popcorn and fires lit at Sunday BBQ’s.  Let me tell you a tale of moments frozen in time, frozen in fear.  Let me talk to you now, shh, don’t speak too loudly or listen too closely as I murmur in wee breaths and fearful sounds a tale of time passing.  Of time passing like the flapping of a dragonfly’s wing in suspended red flash time.  Listen; open your ears to hear my heart beating as I lay in silent tears.  Begging, pleading for time to rush as fast as possible so the illuminated sunlight will vanish from this beastly day and pass and turn into the darkness.  Only then can I bravely hide my fear and loathing and hatred amongst the pillows and pungent satin bed linens.  Hide so that the person I am cannot possibly ever know the person I have become.  This transition is necessary to live inside this dream of not so golden skies and blissfully pleasured passions, but instead in terror, shear terror and hatred.  Too afraid to speak my own thoughts or breathe without permission.  

         Listen as I speak finally of a life lived, loved and of precious moments that can never again return. Lost in a silent few years that passed forever into the abyss of sadness.  The tale is not unheard of by many.  I speak of the tale of horror and domination and of anger and sadness and of control and brutality.  It is one of fear and compassion; it is of love surrendered for the very act of surrender.  It is this very act that saves the heart, mind and soul and possibly the very life.  Hear this tale so that you might learn, remember, scream, yell and feel the indignity well up into your veins and like a volcano, explode into your heart and then burst through in brilliant recognition to the very mind that has tucked this all into a corner of silence.  Hear this I beg you so that you can escape.  Your children can escape and you can find peace and serenity and love and passion and pleasure.  So that you can see the wings of the butterfly gently moving in the breeze and you can feel your breath upon the air.  To never again have that feeling of pain inside your soul that begs the day to end and quickly at that.  To hear only instead your heart rejoice in saying that each moment can pass as it will according to the grand design of the universe for you fear no more.  

You are free and life is amazingly brilliant.  Again hear me as I speak of the unspoken, of the pain of the abuse and it’s very gut filled stench.  Hear me now as I speak of escape and hear me as I cry and bleed and scream.  Life is more than living another’s will.  Life is more than physical and emotional bruises and bloodied hands and faces.  Life is a grand adventure and should be ridden as a bountiful white steed in perfect beauty and brilliance.  Never again to miss a child’s smile, a first step, a telling gesture, a passionate kiss, or a wink from a stranger. Never again to rush through the day, praying for the dark to hide and missing the living of the day for the fear of the living.  Join me now as we release the dreams of our own heartache and choose to not be victims any longer.  Join me know as we choose freedom. ©® Kristin Olsen 2012