The year is 2021 and our world is still struggling under the effect of a global pandemic. COVID 19 has killed millions all across our planet and changed some of the fundamentals of employment, healthcare, and community. Everywhere isolated people gaze into their screens and wish for a “return to normal”.
I hope that their wishes do not come true.
It’s what I do, what folks say I’m good at, but what happens when words are not enough That happens when patience and acceptance can no longer excuse reprehensible behaviour? When words fall upon deaf ears and ignorance changes to become a wilful intent to deny the truth of the situation, then all of the words a person may use in education, negotiation, or reconciliation are as a whisper against a storm.
Then the time for words ends and the time for deeds arrives. The only way to be heard over the storm is to become a storm. The only way the willfully ignorant can be made to acknowledge truth is by being louder than the fingers they put over their eyes and ears, becoming the embodiment of your truth and rising with the storm of stand for that which is Right for all and not just for yourself.
The world is rocked and burning right now. As I write these words global protests have taken over from global pandemic. What could be more harmful to our species than the Covid-19 virus? Well that's not hard to say, because it’s the same thing we have been battling against for generations. Racism.
On the table beside me the mobile phone starts to buzz, shaking itself with silent vibrations. I glance down and see its the Goddess Morrigan calling. I stare at it for a what feels like a minute but is really only a few seconds before making a decision.
I let it go to voicemail.
So, here's the story. I replied to a post in my social media circles recently and a group moderator approached me to make a post out it because they felt there was value to my perspective. The initial post dealt with a persons concern about engaging with the Irish Goddess of Battle, Poetry, Prophesy and oh so much more. The Morrigan is a powerful figure in the lore of our land and the existing living pagan beliefs of today. This is the Goddess who gives the Dagda a foretelling of the imminent Fomorian invasion, and then promises to take the valour from the kidneys of its leaders. The Goddess who later turns up with two fistfuls of blood having done exactly as she swore to. The Goddess who caused the sky to rain fire upon the Fomorian armies, observed the entire war, and brought it to a close by composing her poetry over the battle field. This is only the smallest example of the Morrigan's influence on Ireland's past and nothing compared to her influence in the world around us today.
This is my story of meeting the Morrigan and of personal sovereignty.
Today in questions from my community we have this amazingly awesome, if slightly complex question.
'What are the duties, responsibilities, of being the Bard?' or 'What does it mean when someone steps into a bardic role.'
As anyone who is in my social network will know, I really love a good question. The kind that brings about a deep discussion and gets the mind firing. For me a question is an open invitation to exchange ideas and share perspectives and that is something that I really value. I will have all the time I can spare for a well thought out question.
So lets talk bards then. The first thing that comes to mind when general folk think of the word bard is either William Shakspeare, known in some literary circles as The Bard, or if your me... a D&D player class who is all about entertaining. The show and dance, the mischief and magic. A jester or jongler out to make their living by tumbling, juggling, or prat falling. What I was intrigued to find in my exploration of ancient Ireland was something all together different to my preconceptions.
You may have heard this one.
“He has the body of a God.”
I have told this joke, usually in reference to myself and the weight that I carry. Not as a reference to an uplifting and jovial figure of spiritual teachings. Oh No. This was definitely self deprecating humour. It’s a weird thing when you really take a moment to objectively think about it. An interaction specifically designed to diminish oneself in front of others. Now in my personal opinion it’s one step better than targeting others with damaging ‘jokes’ or comments, but even then why do we do it at all?
So I have had trouble with my words of late. I know, I know, doesn't seem likely but it’s true. You should see some of the stuff I have deleted in the the attempts to get this post written, never mind the other works in the wings. Thing is though, unless I turn up and try every day then there will never be any progress. Inspiration is a great thing, but not something one can rely upon to ensure success at a creative project. The only way to get anything done is to turn up, again and again. To make routine and habit the guiding mantras. So here I am, turning up.
My feet are restless. It happens from time to time.
It takes effort to remain still something I am normally very good at doing. I have often spent a long time seated by a fire gazing into the flickering orange light and allowing my mind its freedom to wander. Allowing thoughts to come down to their natural conclusions without forced efforts or labourious intent. This is not one of those day. This was the other kind of day. The ones where the brain starts plotting and planning before sleep has even left it. The days that your already tired of thinking before you even open your eyes to the new dawn light. I don’t like these days. They rarely bode well for patient and considered action, lending themselves much more the haste and truculent endeavour. Restless feet. That’s what I call it. Where you cannot stick to one task that keeps you in place for too long. The feet take you on and on allowing you no rest. Oh you can try sit and force the feet to stop, but all too soon the tapping starts, or the leg bounce, and even though you are engaging your mind in whatever is in front of you, the feet still itch and twitch.
"I am a bad patient."
We all know someone who uses that line whenever some period of illness falls upon them. Heck it may even be you, yourself reading these words. Of course there are many variants on the theme of 'bad patient', but given a recent spat of illness I have been working through, let me share with you what I mean when I use it.
I have had the opportunity to consider what the term means when I apply it to myself and how I have been raised in an environment where my value as a person has become twisted up with my visible productivity or masculinity.
I have hate.
I have to acknowledge that as readily and honestly as every other emotion I possess and are subject to. It’s important to openly accept that it is an emotional state that I inhabit at times. To do any less would be to disregard its power and impact upon me and the life which I choose to lead. Ignoring or suppressing any emotion doesn’t stop it from existing within. It just blinds us to its influence upon our thoughts words and deeds. In that crafted ignorance of self we can do more harm to ourselves and others than we would ever conceive of consciously. So I say it to you here, I have hate, so that you may witness me and be aware of my accountability to the management of my emotions.
I remember hearing about Gavin’s death.
It had been years since I had shared a school classroom with him, or even the same neighbourhood. My mother came home from visiting an old friend in the north Dublin suburbs where we had used to live. She came into my bedroom, the knock on the door announcing her arrival and more. I knew from that soft rapping that there were gentle words to follow. She told me where she had been and why, then moved the conversation on towards the true topic.She had ran into a woman who was asking after me. Gavin’s mam, saying how she always remembered me as being the same age as her Gavin, and that we had been good friends. I didn’t disagree with her. My mam is a great talker but when the words are heavy with emotion they can sometimes stumble, so I felt it best not to interrupt. She looked at me with those eyes of hers, brimming with love and concern, and told me that Gavin had taken his own life.
We all have thoughts and perspectives and opinions. Its simply part of the human condition as a socialized species. So In the interest of insight, this is where I will share my perspective and opinions.