I was completely unprepared. Upon landing in Dublin, Ireland I broke into tears. Walking down the terminal my body felt like it was burning. From inside my cells, a fiery ache began. I felt the kind of release that happens when you are separated from something for years by force and then united with it again. I felt my body hook into the land beneath my feet and the sky overhead in a desperate way, like a toddler clinging to its mother. The story of Ireland and the story of the women in my family intertwined with it, came back like a download. It took me at least 10 minutes to figure out what was happening…
My great grandmother on my mother’s side immigrated to the United States from Ireland. Her last name was Clancy. She belonged to the County Clare. Like so many people who left Ireland at that time, it was not really a choice but more a necessity. And despite her soul being bound to this land, she did not return before her death. Neither did her daughter. Neither did her daughter’s daughter (my mother). But I did… In the afternoon of November 11th. I did not feel belonging in my blood family growing up. Therefore, I did not anticipate that by landing in Ireland, so much of the ancestral memory would be activated within my body. I can now personally attest to the fact that you may be able to take someone out of Ireland. But you can never take Ireland out of them. It is passed down from generation to generation. Ireland is inescapable within me. My landing here has soothed something in my female lineage. I understand my mother after being here. I don’t think you could find someone more stereotypically Irish in America than my mother. I understand more about myself as well. There are places on earth that my heart loves more than Ireland. There are cultures that I like better than Irish culture. But I have never met a place or a people that I relate to so strongly. After touring around, and in their own words, the people with me on this tour have officially agreed that I am “SOOOOOO Fuckin’ Irish”. Here are some examples:
1. The reddish tint to my hair
2. My light green eyes
3. I worry Incessantly
4. My passion
5. If you kick me to the floor 100 times, I will stand back up again and keep fighting 101 times.
6. I literally do come from a line of Celtic witches on my mother’s side. I carefully selected this lineage to enhance my own purpose in this life.
7. I have a wicked bad (catholic level) attachment to morality
8. I have suffered immensely from religious influence (especially the Christian faiths)
9. I am superstitious as hell
10. In my opinion, the best food on the planet is potatoes. I am obsessed with them in every single form you can cook them in. And yes, this means that i’m a health freak who cannot turn down ‘chips’ (what American’s call French fries) to save my life.
11. No matter what anyone says to the contrary, the second best food on earth is pie.
12. Soup is not food. It’s an emotional need.
13. My body is literally made for the Irish climate.
14. I feel very connected to the flux of the weather
15. My background is sadness and grief
16. If someone plays a harp, a bagpipe (especially an alien pipe) or an Irish flute it is all I can do to keep breathing and not cry.
17. I can’t stand criticism. It keeps me up at night.
18. Positivity does not come naturally to me as a person; I have to work at it.
19. I am a writer. Writing is what I love doing most in the world.
20. I believe that real men play sports without helmets and padding (rugby anyone?)
21. Men in kilts turn me on
22. My style of humor tends to be self deprecating
23. To me, everything has special meaning and symbolism. I am so sentimental it’s painful.
24. I’m painfully proud
25. I don’t sweat, I just turn bright red
26. I LOVE telling stories and talking
27. I’m super friendly
28. I swear like a sailor (swearing is my second language)
29. Tea is my cure-all for everything
30. I find it really hard to let go of traditions that I have positive associations with (especially holiday traditions)
31. I’m feisty
32. I never forget anything
33. I’m super witty
34. Like a pack rat or a fox, I have my little hiding places in super unsuspecting places where I stash things that I treasure.
Pretty much the only thing NOT Irish about me is that I do not procrastinate and I don’t drink alcohol. But long story short, Ireland is magic. The people of Ireland in general are so full of soul that it seeps out of every pore. I don’t like the people of Ireland. I love the people of Ireland.
Something that sets the Irish apart from other people in the modern world is their connection to the environment they live in. Even the most unconscious people in Ireland are ‘hooked in’ to the land and 'hooked in' to the sky here. They are really more like indigenous cultures in this way. Even if they are not conscious of it, they do not think of the land as belonging to them, they think of themselves as belonging to this land. My heart aches thinking about them being forced to leave this land (like so many of them were). For an Irish person to be dislocated from this land would be for them to lose a sense of belonging and a sense of who they are. They are bound to this land as if they are part of the landscape instead of beings that move upon the landscape. I think this is why Irish people are obsessively focused on the weather and obsessively concerned with what it is doing.
The dominant negative vibration of Dublin Ireland is: Bereavement. I must admit that after spending time out of body in Ireland, I think the dominant negative vibration and the dominant positive vibrations of Dublin are no different to the dominant negative and dominant positive vibrations of Ireland in general. The people here are bereaved. In general, the Irish have a very hard time letting go of things where there was an attachment. They are attached to outcomes, people, places and things. And when they lose those things, they never forget it. They hold on for dear life as if the grief itself was the only way to stay attached to what they loved. The grief becomes a memorial of loving that thing and staying connected to it. As a result, the people of Ireland hold a PHD in suffering. This is also why Irish people never throw things away.
Growing up, I would watch my mother hold on to things she hated, just because they belonged to someone she loved. I would watch her do things like use a can of soup after it was used and cleaned out as a stand to display something on top of the mantle. I never understood this behavior, until I came to Ireland. The Irish are natural hoarders. To the Irish, everything has a special meaning and a special symbolism. Sentimental is the understatement of the century. During the workshop, I used an analogy for what the Irish need to learn to do… “When your house is burning, grab a pair of sunglasses and watch it burn”. It is an analogy used to demonstrate the art of nonresistance and letting go. Given what has happened in this country throughout history, the pain that has etched its way into the people is expected. The succession of ‘sufferings’ have piled up like layers inside people. But there is no resolution for any of these layers. And so the people grow heavier and heavier and prouder and prouder around their bereavement. Instead of healing those wounds by using them to become more conscious and loving, the people of Ireland have developed a fighting spirit that proudly cries, “We will never let it happen again.”
The dominant positive vibration of Dublin Ireland is: Goodwill. In general, the people of Ireland are deeply good people. They are concerned with being good and doing good. This obsession with goodness is often just a reflection of the process of socialization. Essentially, a child learns that to get approval/love, they must be ‘good’. So as an adult, they say and do good things so as to get love. Being ‘good’ becomes the method of manipulating so that they can get love. But in fact, the Irish are a bit different. Though this dynamic of being good simply to get love exists within them, underneath that they have an innate conscience. This conscience is like an unbreakable compass within them. The goodwill of the people here comes from this unbreakable conscience underneath it all. It is an intangible asset that cannot be taken from them.
Another thing that I must mention about the Irish which is not the dominant positive vibration of the people, but is my personal favorite thing about them is their resiliency. There is a spirit in the Irish that when bent or broken, stands up to face its opposition just the same. It feels as if you could knock them down over and over again and they would still keep getting up until you took their lives from them. This trait is also tied deeply into that internal compass I spoke of earlier. Their pride comes with both shadow and light. The light side of their pride is that they cannot live with themselves if they submit to defeat. And while this is a highly resistant mind set, it is also an epic mindset. It is a character that demands both respect and honor.
After the workshop we held in Dublin, we drove up north to the Boyne Valley. We stayed in a 300 year old traditional Irish home that had been remodeled. It was so confusing for me. The house had been one way for so many hundreds of years (dark with one very large, rectangular room, dirt floors, the thickest stonewalls you’ve ever seen, a thatched roof etc.) that the remodeling was like a film thin veneer over the place. I kept turning around to see the imprints of the people who had lived there back when food was collected locally from the shore and cooked over an actual fire and baths were no more than a basin and pitcher of water. Imprints of a time when the entire family slept in one side of the very large room. The inside of the home was now painted white, completely lit and full of cozy furnishings. But I could not get what my eyes were seeing in real time to dominate over what my clairvoyant sight was seeing. Nevertheless, staying there was a really cool experience. When I slept, I felt the coziness of non-partitioned sleeping. I felt how good it felt to the previous occupants to hear the breathing and feel the warmth of all of their loved ones in one room, with the walls being so thick that the weather had no hope of communicating through them.
I dreamed that I went out onto the marbled sand of the beach and saw a woman swimming in the water. There was something spooky and feral about her. even though she was far off in the ocean, I could sense her black dark eyes. Behind her, she drug hundreds of feet of root beer brown colored kelp. Like a net, she drug it behind her and the fish that were stuck in the kelp flailed their grey bodies, splashing the seawater into the air. I watched her use superhuman strength to drag them all behind her onto the shore. As she came out of the water, I saw that she was naked. She was exquisite. Her skin was almost grey as if it had never seen the sun.
She pulled the kelp and the fish behind a rocky outcropping. There, I saw her take a fish with callous precision and bite into it while it writhed to be free of her. She ate it like a bear would eat a fish. I hid so that she wouldn’t see me. There was something predatory about her. I felt afraid of having to face her. From my hiding place, I watched her lay back in the sun for a few minutes before she heard a voice far off on the beach. At first she acted like she didn’t know where to hide. Then she stepped off of the rock and began grabbing at her feet, near the kelp. At first I thought she was trying to cover and disguise herself with kelp. But when she pulled the brown skin at her feet up over her legs and body, she transformed into a seal. She scooted on her tummy into the surf and ducked under the wave break and was gone.
It was not a random dream. The Irish and other Celts have myths about beings like this. They are called Selkies. Creatures who live as seals in the ocean, but who shed their skins to become humans on land. It was an eerie dream. A dream rich with the feeling of poetic sorcery.
The very next morning, we all traveled with our two Irish friends/guides Sauce and Declan (two brothers who etched their way into my heart last May) to New Grange. New Grange is a spiritual site that people travel to see from all over the world. People are a bit confused about it and have many theories about it because it has been dated to around 3150 BC. It is Neolithic. This means it pre-dates the Pyramids at Giza by about 600 years.
We walked in through the stone birth canal like passage leading to a chamber with three open room like cut outs featuring basin stones where the remains of five people were found when the tombs were first excavated. I cannot describe both the spinning sensation and the feeling of thousands of tons of rock and soil overhead. Having been there in person finally, I can tell you that Newgrange is situated in a vortex. The people who lived there in the Stone Age would have felt this even if they did not understand it conceptually. You can think of a vortex like a chakra for the earth itself. This is why the land around this vortex is so particularly fertile. Some vortexes serve as a channel to other places in our universe. Others serve as channels to other dimensions. The Vortex at Newgrange is a seventh dimensional portal. What this means is that the people who built this structure (or shall we say the individual (s) who had it built) were able to perceive and conceive of the idea of another universe outside our own. But they made sense of this other universe in the context of death and life. They thought this other universe was where people went after they died. The realm of the afterlife.
They were also obsessed with the cycles of the sun and moon. To the people of this time, the sun was life. Everything in their life was at the mercy of the sun. They worshipped the sun. They kept elaborate track of the celestial bodies. They associated the sun so strongly with life that they used the light of the sun to attempt to restore life to the spirits of the dead. Essentially, scientists say that the structure at Newgrange is a passage tomb, a burial cairn. But it is not only that. It was not only erected to mark this vortex spot and serve as a tomb, but also to accumulate and make use of its energy.
When I observed the most ancient thoughts of the people who used it (the ones I could still perceive there after thousands of years), I was interested to see that to them this tomb/energy accumulator was thought of more like a womb. They did not know where babies came from scientifically. They assumed spirits were gestated in the womb and then came to life as babies. It was only natural that they thought the dead should be returned to the womb. This cairn was the site of many religious rituals, such as initiations. It was not only used for rituals involving death. It is like a Stone Age cathedral so to speak.
Being in Newgrange for me was like being drugged. It is a disorientingly strong vortex. And the ‘use’ it is associated with (as a tomb) as well as the projections from all the non-historian tourists actually gives it the feeling of a haunted house. But it certainly is powerful.
Later that same night, we all went to a beach on the eve of the super moon and walked out into the rising tide in the pitch darkness. A day before, I had been ‘directed’ at the Synchronization workshop held in Dublin to have all of the attendees write down what they want to let go of (but feel like they need assistance to let go of). I was directed to take all of those intentions to a sacred site and to perform an elemental ritual to personally release them for people. And so, I did. They were consumed by the elements. They were returned to ash and then to the sea. The smoke did not rise upwards. It was sucked into the rising seawater. Pages were peeled off one by one by fire and by air. It was a beautiful ceremony. The minute it ended, the tide signaled the closure and ushered us away from the shore.
In the morning, Ale and I woke up early and went for a run. We followed the empty roads through the traditional Irish houses. We ran through the marsh and climbed over stiles to reach the shoreline. We watched the sun rise over the ocean. To our left, the remains of a shipwreck rotted away to rust on the beach. Gulls yelled between each other. The sand below our feet was like soft marble. And far out beyond the wave break, a seal began to play hide and seek. She would disappear below the surface of the water and pop up in a totally different spot. She played this game of disappearing and reappearing until she decided to swim south along the coastline. The morning was exquisite.
I will leave this place with Ireland not only in my DNA, but also in my heart. When I come back the next time, I will explore the homeland of my family in the County Clare. Until then, I leave you with the old Irish proverb, which only now I understand…
Ireland, sir, for good or evil,
No other place under Heaven.
And no man can touch its sod
Or breathe its air without becoming
Better or worse.