Archive for February, 2009
While we think of land as being solid and permanent, ‘terra firma’ as it were, the Earth’s land-masses and islands are constantly changing through geological activity. Volcanoes create new islands and add to existing ones, while earthquakes, erosion and flooding destroy land.
Land is associated with the Nature Spirits and the Present. The Nature Spirits, the Sidhe, the Good People are believed to live in mounds and caves under the earth. In both Ireland and Britain, there are pre-Celtic burial mounds and ruins that the Celtic peoples incorporated into their mythologies. As you can see there is a rather blurry line between the fairies and the spirits of the dead. Dead bodies are buried and their bodies nourish the land. So it makes sense that they become part of the energies of the land as well. Here in Minnesota, Wisconsin and other areas there are burial mounds left behind by the Mound-Builders, a mysterious people that came here before the current Native peoples. Such places are great for leaving offerings and commune with the spirits of land.
As to the Present- we speak of people who are ‘grounded’ or ‘down-to-earth’- concerned with practical everyday matters, and not mulling over the past or overly worried about the future. As opposed to the ‘airheads’ and ‘space cadets’ among us. I’ve been called those names plenty of times, believe me- but hey I’m an Aquarius, an air sign. But that’s the next post…
All life on Earth has its origin in the seas. Life was possible on Earth in major part because there is water here- in fact as it’s often been pointed out the Earth’s surface is 70% water. Our bodies are mostly water as well- and the Gaels and other Indo-European peoples saw the human body as a microcosm of the universe. Thus salty blood is the sea of our bodies.
Modern Druids often associate the Sea with the Past, the Ancestors and Dead. But why is this? Well, I can think of some reasons based on traditional lore, but I also have some personal associations. The ancient Irish saw the Otherworld as being across the sea, and told tales of immrama– voyages to these places often depicted as islands (which though land are part of the Sea Realm) Also, here in the United States our ancestors all at one time came from over the sea. Personally, the ocean makes me think of my late grandmother who moved from Philadelphia to Florida later in her life. Living in land-locked areas of the country all my life as I have, the sea always seems like a special place one goes on vacation. I have amassed a sea shell collection from ones I found both the New Jersey and Gulf shores, as well as ones Gram gave me. I like to use a large abalone shell to represent the Sea on my altar. I have not yet had the chance to visit the Pacific Ocean, but I look forward to doing so one day.