Three Days Celebration and Exhibition

From the 1st to the 9th of April we have been holding the Candle of Vision exhibition. Organised to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of author, artist and mystic George William Russell, the exhibition featured work from artists working with esoteric themes.. We had work from the four corners of Ireland, both literally and figuratively as we had representation from every province. Running nine days (until the 9th of April) the exhibition was a decided success with many visitors from both near and far. Creating spaces for community to happen is important for us, and we hope to pioneer similar projects in the future.

A digital gallery is also in preparation.

On 8th of April we organised a day of talks, workshops, readings and performances to mark both the AE anniversary, and the annual event of the Three Days of the Writing of the Book of The Law, an important day for Thelemites. The day saw an opening ritual, talks by Anne Crossey on art and esotericism, a talk by Brian Breathnach on the magick of Liber AL vel Legis, a soundbath from Sacred Sound Studios NI, a series of readings, a dance performance by Aepril Schaile, poetry, stories, feasting and other wonderful things. We also launched our library project and a special anniversary edition of the book The Candle of Vision by AE. Plans are already underway for next years event which will be even bigger and better!

Our next event, Feis Beltaine is on the 29th of April. Come along and find out about what we do in person!

Invocation of Horus at the Vernal Equinox

At the Vernal Equinox the Irish Order of Thelema met in Belfast to perform the Invocation of Horus. It was also the occasion of the AGM and the membership met to both look back and look forward.

The day was ended with feasting and fraternity.

Strike, Strike, the Master Chord!
Draw, Draw, the Flaming Sword!
Crowned Child and Conquering Lord!
Horus, Avenger!

EVENT: Three Days Celebration

8th April 2017ev

Craobh Ruadh Community Space, Conway Mill,
Conway Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland

 Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law

Every year Thelemites around the world meet to celebrate the writing of Liber Al vel Legis, The Book of the Law. This book is a charter of individual liberty as the right of every person.  Those who accept this charter are called thelemites. For those who will, it is a path of self-knowledge towards the implementation of your true will or purpose.

You are invited to participate in An Irish Thelemic celebration, which is also open to other like-minded individuals who would like to join our celebrations.

We will have ritual, readings, performance, workshops, talks, vending and will be running concurrently with the Candle of Vision Exhibition. Listings are subject to change

Love is the law, love under will

Irish Order of Thelema


PROGRAM

FRIDAY

All Day:

  • Drying Room Gallery: Esoteric Ink… 12pm to 5pm

SATURDAY

All Day:

  • Drying Room Gallery: The Candle of Vision (9.00 to 17)
  • Vendors: 1st Floor Reception Area (Vending from 9)*

 Presentations:

  • 9.00 AM – Candle of Vision Exhibition Open/ Informal Socialising (Drying Room Gallery)
  • 10.00 Morning Resh and an Introduction to the 3 Days (Drying Room Gallery)
  • 10.15 Opening Ritual -Macha invocation and Reconstruction Ritual (DRG)
  • 11.00 Reading of the First Chapter of the Book of the Law (CRS)
  • 11.20 talk – The Magick of Liber Legis (CRS)
  • 11.50 Anne Crossey
  • 12.20 Noon Resh (DRG)
  • 12.30 – 13.30 LUNCH (pre-orders taken at Vending area until 11.30)
  • 13.30-14.30 Sound bath (DRG)
  • 14.30 Reading 2nd Chapter of the Book of the Law (CRS)
  • 15.00 Ask a Thelemite (Panel including members of OTO, Irish Order of Thelema and A.’.A.’.)
  • 16.30 Thelema in the Irish tradition – frater Storm d’Athrach
  • Aepril schaile Dance Performance – Drying Room Gallery

18.00 FESTIVE DINNER

  • Opening of AE Memorial Library, and the launch of a special edition of The Candle of Vision (Craobh Ruadh) – BYOB
  • Followed by Poets, Bards and Blaggers (open format cabaret/ performances)
  • 21.00 Night Resh, followed by Informal Partying On offsite

 

Please let us know if you intend to come so we have an idea of numbers. E-mail: fortifiedisland@gmail.com 

  This program of events is offered without charge, but donations to the maintenance of our space, or purchases at the exhibition and vending area would be much appreciated.


 Meals

Meals are available onsite through a café on the ground floor (pre orders for lunch can be made in the vending area). There are also other options within a short distance. Ask at the vending area for reccomendations.

The evening meal on Saturday will by catered for by members of the Irish Order of Thelema (there will be a vegan option – please let us know if there are other special dietary needs). NB!!! For this reason we need numbers of atendees

Accommodation Options

Overnight accommodation can be found through hostels and hotels. Some of the cheaper examples include:

Belfast International Youth Hostel (from £11 a bed a night)

Vagabonds Hostel (from £13)

Global Village Hostel (from £14)

Ibis Hotel (from £70 a room)

Map

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 Get There (directions, buses etc)

Buses from the City Centre to venue from Queen Street (marked on the map) approx. every 10 minutes. Press to get off when you see Spires Shopping Centre and the Leisure Centre to your right. Conway Mill in on the right after Falls Leisure Centre on Conway Street.

Venue is also about 10 minutes from the City centre, taking Castle Street, onto Divis Street, onto the Falls Road (straight series of roads from the City centre, crossing the West link). Venue is 10 to 15 minutes’ walk from City Centre, the first turn on your right, directly after the Falls Leisure Centre and Social Welfare offices.

Vendors

A vending area is onsite where products made by or of interest to thelemites including crafts, books, merchandise can be left. A volunteer in charge of the vending area deals with money and keeps a record of sales. Successful vendors are asked to make a donation. Information of groups or personal services can also be left in this area.

Got other Questions? Contact Us

Feis Imbolg 2017

The Irish Order of Thelema Feis Imbolg gathering involved a devotional ritual unto the Goddess Brigit via a dramatic ceremony in which one of Her Priestess offered healing and the forging of what needed purified and created within each person present and also in wider society. We agreed Fear is what most needed banished in Ireland and Freedom, Tolerance and Courage what most needed creating. The Temple was packed with around 30 people, some coming all the way from Dublin to enjoy the event. After the formal rite, two new members completed the Community Rite and a communal seasonal feast was shared. It was a beautiful occasion, celebrating early spring via the traditions of our native culture under the universal banner of Thelema.

Three Candles That Illumine Every Darkness

Three candles that illumine every darkness – truth, nature, knowledge

Irish Triad (1)

I’ve been musing on an old Irish triad in the context of the Irish Order of Thelema, and the thelemic worldview. The old Irish triad above has significance as much for the Irish person as a thelemite if we but look closely at these three elements of the path.

TRUTH – In Aleister Crowleys conception of existence, truth is supra rational. Rationally any position can be opposed. But there is that which ‘is’ – Aleister Crowley described this as will – the experience of momentum or beingness. “I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. ‘Come unto me’ is a foolish word: for it is I that go.” This sense of momentum is, at least initially not a self aware force. But truth as an experience of being – or as Crowley surmises in Little Essays Towards Truth – “YE ARE TRUTH”

This acknowledgement of ‘being’ is important, but also that truth is a dynamic and constantly revising sense of self born out of a dynamic engagement with life and living with presence. This brings us onto nature.

NATURE – Many strands of Western esotericism bring us away from the world into theoretical constructs of heavens and transcendence, an escape from our place in the world and likewise ourselves as a dynamic meeting with that world. Much of occultism gets caught up with past lives, fortune telling and the future, and the escape into abstraction. While we may use symbolic narratives we are necessarily called to narrate our experience, and to distance ourselves from the here and now is a logical and theological fallacy. This is not to say there are not experiences of trancendance, but they too are rooted in the here and now and there is no need to divorce ourselves from one to experience the other. With presence there comes a certain reality of living in a place, interacting with its landscape, its culture and its deep sense of rootedness which is a culture rooted in the geographical realities of the land. Why Irish – because that is a very real cosmology, and visceral and present experience – a way of experiencing ourselves, but this need not be the bounds and limits of our explorations either but it is one perspective and reality for me as an Irish person.

With our grasp of the truth of things is a sense of wonder and awe at all of existence – dwelling neither too long on the sorrowful, or the joyous, for both are part of the reality we form. We can both get lost in the trance of sorrow (its all suffering and shit) and in the glittering image (oooh, shiny angel) but as thelemites we are told to achieve both weddings, to live with both realities, not seeking to escape one for the other but to come to a balance of extremes and to reflect our own nature, and our Work and place in the world as an expression of our true selves.

KNOWLEDGE – We know nothing. No Thing. In the qabalistic framework knowledge is corresponding to Da’ath, located in the abyss between the supernals and the rest of the tree. The crown of knowing is ultimately revealed as illusion which we are either revel in or move beyond. Consider that knowledge has a position – a perspective which probably also has its counter image. It is stuck in absolutism, this or that and is dependent on a fixed point – a ‘thing’.

This is not to say learning is without merit, for by widening our world we take into account wider perspectives, and though we may still encounter these as this or that, we can also begin to use ever widening perspectives to experience that there are also things that are comparable or the same, or just a little different, and thus begin to erode the borders of ‘absolute truth’ as rooted in a position. Truth is supra-rational – it is beyond a single position and embraces them all, the good, the bad and the ugly. A widening of knowledge and experience allows us to experience ourselves as both the good and the bad, the light and the dark, the active and the passive – and that which is beyond them, the reconciler between. And indeed their are certain fields of self experience in mysticism and magick which are transcendental of such dualism. What if one could empathise with and encapsulate vastly different positions? And what if one could simply be? The rational and the roads of learning are roads to the supra-rational, but they are the map, not the territory. Cleverness can as much be a trap as a liberator because we are fond of our cleverness and the status knowing gives us, and brings us ever deeper into a dualism of knowing and not knowing and the trap of ‘being clever’ rather than just ‘being’. Intellect is a tool, a means to an end but it is by no means the end of the journey in the Thelemic tradition.

  • Truth is our goal
  • Nature is our field of operation (here and now)
  • And Knowledge and Experience are roads to get there

These universal elements are three candles that illumine every darkness, and which lead us to the achievement of our will and the completion of our Great Work.

Frater Fionn

NOTES

1) Triad number 210, from The Triads of Ireland by Kuno Meyer (1906)

Settling The Manor At Tara Part 7

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Part 7: Afterward

This journey through the provinces and through Irish myth is also a journey through the landscape of our lived experience. Beyond the information of this series there is a living breathing community, a body of initiates actively working with these symbols. We are always receptive to hearing from people interested in our Work.

For those who feel in accord with our work we encourage you to look at our Introductory brochure which offers a broad overview of our work.

After this you may wish to look at our constitution which offers further overview of the journey through the provinces in the initiations of the Irish Order of Thelema.

Finally contact us and see how you can be actively involved with our ongoing work.

Settling The Manor At Tara Part 6

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through the Provinces

Someone once described the Work of the Irish Order of Thelema as Thelema with shamrocks. This is an amusing observation. Yes we are thelemites, and yet most of this series has relied on Irish traditions. We are deeply embedded in a sense of place and culture, but also in our modern time and the particular character of living here and now on the island of Ireland. This is expressed as Déan cibé atá do thoil féin is é an dlí iomlán, or

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

These elements may not be universally applicable to all but for those who work with these expanded correspondences they are a potent symbol set.

To the base of Irish traditions as a workable mandala, we can begin to add the layers relating more specifically to thelema. One of the elements we work with are the four emanations of the law, emblazoned on our lamen as light, life, love and liberty. As emanations, there is an implied fifth point in the centre as the law, from which these emanations emit, and express from. If we look carefully at the lamen of the order we see the word of the law, THELEMA, firmly standing at the centre. We find writings around these emanations in De Legge Libellum, and in the Heart of the Master.

Three of the four emanations of these are recognisable in wider streams of western esotericism through the ancient and primitive rites of Freemasonry (especially the rite of Memphis and Mitraism). Equally the mother lodge of the Golden Dawn, from which the cipher document of the Golden Dawn allegedly originated, was called Licht, Leben, Liebe, and these words form a significant part of the John Gospel. To this Thelema adds liberty as the watchword of our age. We also encounter these four emanations on the probationers oath of the A.’.A.’.

This aspect will not be of interest to all of you but transmits an important esoteric formula. In the probationers oath of the A.’.A.’. we encounter these four emanations in the four corners, enclosed in triangles, and with additional words underneath. These are specific to these emanations as encountered in the outer college of the A.’.A, but communicate a formula of wider significance. In the A.’.A.’. we meet a path of unfolding based on aspiration and attainment, one of the analogies for which is the building of a pyramid. Each pyramid has words starting with the letters L P D in them.

0001

In each of the pyramids on the probationer oath we have a successive building up – first the foundations hewn in the living rock(D), the ascending walls (P) and the capstone (L). D corresponds to the Hebrew letter Daleth (d – the Emperess), P to the Hebrew letter Pe (p – The Tower) and L to the Hebrew letter Lamed (l – Adjustment). We find in this the thelemic formula of 2=0 or (+1) + (-1)= 0 – the balancing and encapsulating of extremes. We can also view these as the three figures encountered in the Book of the Law as Nuit, Hadit and the child of the Aeon Heru-Ra-Ha (described as Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor-Paar-Kraat).

While the A.’.A.’. works with the path of aspiration (building the pyramid), the Irish Order of Thelema works with the developed forms of these as a recognition of innate capacity. Thelema does not posit spiritual development, or becoming more, or better, but a process of unveiling, simplifying and becoming better able to embody who you already are. Our initiations are recognitions of the law of thelema and its developed emanations as a human birthright.

This can be seen in our temple spaces, where the four emanations are placed in the four quarters. At the centre sits the lamen or a volume of sacred law (The Book of the Law). They are attributed in our Order as follows, but in other traditions such as the A.’.A.’., they are differently attributed.

0002

These are some basic elements of our initiatory system. I emphasise some because the nature of initiation is that it is cathartic, that it effects change, and for it so do so, it is necessary to keep the exact content of the rituals and degrees secret and safe. Each initiate is bound to this by oath.

I would however like to take some time synthesising all of these layers into a unifying image of an initiatory journey, and in broad terms its means of operation. It should be noted that these are reflections on the work as I have encountered it and may not reflect a universal experience. In the Legge Libellum we are told:

“The great bond of all bonds is ignorance. How shall a man be free to act if he know not his own purpose? You must therefore first of all discover which star of all the stars you are, your relation to the other stars about you, and your relation to, and identity with, the Whole.”    – De Legge Libellum

Our initiatory cycle begins in the North with the rite of Cath, the primary theme of which is DISCIPLINE. In the provincial attributes we encounter the quality of battle, and also the element of air, and the sword. We also encounter the emanation of liberty. The cath rite and coursework focuses on taking on a self-DISCIPLINE, showing self-reflection and intellectual discernment, towards the goal of achieving liberty.

The next initiation is in the west and the rite of Fis, meaning knowledge. Here we also begin to start a process of PURIFICATION, out of the self-knowledge acquired at Cath, and we begin to recognise and leave aside those parts of us that are not of our will, and are inessential to our life’s purpose. Here we meet the emanation of light, as we go through a process of stripping away the inessential, we come closer to recognise the glittering image of our own star nature.

From here we travel to the East and the initiation of blath meaning prosperity. This involves a process of GROWTH, after stripping away the inessential, coming to recognise our strengths and further developing and embodying them.

We travel now to the South and the quality of harmony. Here we begin the process of INTEGRATION. The process of harmony brings the balanced harmony of one with all – the law of not only individual attainment, but the development of a social environment where this same innate star nature is recognised and actively enabled.

At the centre we meet the quality of sovereignty. Here we meet both the quality of self rulership in the king, and the quality of personification of the path preceding by living out of the lessons of each initiation.

0003

In the centre we can imagine we encounter the fifth element of spirit, but we encounter in thelema, and in Irish tradition an innate link between the concepts of spirit and matter. In Irish tradition kingship is bestowed on Amergin by three personifications of the land, the last of which was Eiriu.

In Thelema we encounter the earth as a living thing. There are several important indicators of a theology of immanence, of spirit in matter. This is found in the formula of Nox, the sign of which is the crossed circle, in the depiction of the earth as green (as opposed to the traditional dead depiction in alchemy and western esotericism where it is black) and several other places. This ties in with the idea that our spiritual or star nature is not separate from or above us, but inherently within us (even if obscured by our own complications).

We can also see this entire process as a magical ritual. In Magick in Theory and Practice we meet a comparable pattern as an outline of a magical process and offers us an equivalent to the Z documents in the Golden Dawn – a theurgic system which is mirrored in the mystery drama of initiation. The basic progression is as follows.

BANISHING
PURIFICATION
CONSECRATION  (Oath)
INITIATION/ INVOCATION
CHARGE TO THE SPIRIT

We can look at them in the context of the initiations as also progressing along the lightning flash from north to west, to east to south and to centre.

In the north and Cath we create a space through banishing, in the West and Fis we strip away the inessential through purification, in the east and Blath we engage in consecration through the special dedication of the most true part of ourselves to honest and efficient expression, in the south and seis we seek to integrate these qualities as a process of invocation. Finally, as the centre, we work out of the qualities we have encountered, not intellectually, but as a living embodiment of the law. We have in effect become personifications of the law as living talismen of light, life, love and liberty.

0004

There are many layers we can add to this, but this overview will hopefully give enough sense of some of the diverse influences and elements in our initiatory cycle.

The following diagram tries to tie together the various threads described into a single cohesive image. It hopefully depicts, in picture form, the convergence of the various elements addressed in the series

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Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Settling The Manor At Tara: part 5

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Part 5: Elemental Attributes

We are not offered directional attributes in these descriptions of the masters or great teachers from the four cities, though we can perhaps come towards an understanding through the four treasures of the Tuatha de Dannan and how they are attributed to this circle in the Western tradition. In a lot of contemporary western esotericism including the Golden Dawn, Wicca, neo-Druidry and most post Golden Dawn Magic and certainly in post Golden Dawn magick, we have come to an elemental attribution of air in the east, earth in the north, water in the west, and fire in the south. Working from this tradition one might surmise that the sword is found in the east, the stone or lia fal is found in the north, the cauldron is found in the west, and the spear in the south.

00000

While satisfying if we disregard the provincial qualities, there are some jarring correspondences when we consider them.

However we find a different directional and element correspondence in some thelemic rituals, and a switch is described in the Vision and the Voice. We can see some allusion to this also in the Thoth tarot, in comparing the positioning of the four tetramorphs there, and in previous decks. This switch involves placing air in the North, and earth in the East. If we also invert the related treasures, we get lia fal, the stone of destiny in the East (the place of prosperity) and the sword in the north (the place of battle).

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 This also offers a pleasing correspondence when we take into account the four typologies of Jung we initially used to frame our discussion, with intellectual discernment or thinking in the north and air, and sensation in the East in the element of Earth. How we place and use the masters, cities and weapons are idiosyncratic to how we work, based on some of these considerations, and from practical experience and experimentation. For those walking the path of forming a modern synthesis, mileage may vary in terms of these correspondence sets, and some may be idiosyncratic to how we use them, and we encourage individual exploration and meaning maps.

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Settling The Manor At Tara: Part 4

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures

Other corresponding layers can be added to this framework of the five provinces, being the four directions and the centre. Associated with this realm of fourfolds (and centre) is another ancient description – of four ancient cities, four masters, and four jewels or treasures. We meet the masters at the opening of Cath Mag Tuired, The Battle of Moytura, and in the Yellow Book of Lecan (in prose form):

There were four cities in which the Tuatha Dé Danann learnt wisdom and magic, for wisdom and magic and deviltry were of service to them. These are the names of the cities: Failias and Findias, Goirias and Murias. From Failias was brought the Lia Fail, which is at Tara, and which used to cry out under each king who assumed the sovereignty of Ireland. From Gorias was brought the sword which belonged to Nuada. From Findias was brought the spear of Lug. And from Murias was brought the caldron of the Dagda.

Four wizards were in these cities. Fessus was in Falias, Esrus was in Gorias, Uscias was in Findias, and Semias was in Murias. From them the Tuatha Dé Danann learnt wisdom and knowledge. No battle was maintained against the spear of Lug or against him who had it in his hand. No-one escaped from the sword of Nuada after he had been wounded by it, and when it was drawn from its warlike scabbard, no-one could resist against him who had it in his hand. Never went an assembly of guests away unsatisfied from the caldron of the Dagda. And the Lia Fail, which is at Tara, never spoke except under a king of Ireland.[1]

Later in the same piece Fessus is referred to by the name Morfessa, also tallying with the other account in Cath Mag Tuired. The text continues:

Four cities,-—just their renown-—
They held in sway with great strength.
On this account they passionately made competition
For learning their genuine wisdom. 

Failias and bright Gorias,
Findias (and) Murias of great prowess,
From which battles were won outside,
(Were) the names of the chief cities.

Morfis and noble Erus,
Uscias and Semiath, ever-fierce,
To name them,—-a discourse of need–
(These were) the names of the sages of nehle wisdom. 

Morfis (was) the poet of Failias itself,
In Gorias (was) Esrus of keen desires),
Semiath (was) in Murias, the fortress of pinnacles,
(And) Uscias (was) the fair seer of Findias. 

Four presents (were fetched) with them hither,
By the nobles of the Tuatha DO Danann:
A sword, a stone, a caldron of worth,
(And) a spear for the death of great champions.

From Failias (came) hither the Lia Fail,
Which shouted under the kings of Ireland.
The sword in the hand of the nimble Lug
From Gorias (it was procured), -— a choice of vast riches.

 From far-away Findias over the sea
Was brought the deadly spear of Nuada.
From Murias (was conveyed) a huge and mighty treasure,
The caldron of the Dagda of lofty deeds.

The King of Heaven, the King of feeble men,

First thing to strike me with the stories is its foreignness. The four cities are described as being in the Northern Isles. In itself, vague mythological landscapes and happenings may not seem unusual, but for Ireland, and the people in Ireland the myths are integral to the land. Places still bear the name and memory of what was purported to have happened there. Ancient mythological cities and places of fantastical deeds often have very identifiable sites, often with archaeological evidence that they were places of significance. So for four mythological cities to be described as the source of knowledge and occult power with no physical coordinates on the land is most unusual.

Not only are they not on the land, but if we travel Northwards, we do not find a physical correlate in any Northern European sites.

From these three components, being the four masters or wizards, the four cities, and the four treasurers we can begin to look at these elements.

City Master Treasure
Falias Morfessa/ Fessus Stone (Lia Fal)
Gorias Esras Spear of Lugh
Findias/ Finias Uiscias Sword of Nuada
Murias Semias Dagdas Cauldron

We can examine these through the lenses of etymology, mythology and context to discern some of the significance of these components. Isolde Carmody[2] published some of her etymological findings around the names, and they are integrated into the following.

Falias

Fail is an antiquated term for Ireland. It is echoed in the modern political party Fianna Fail, traslated as Irelands warriors. It has its etymological roots in the Irish word for fence or enclosure.

Morfessa/ Fessus

In most sources the Master is described as Morfis or Morfessa. This appears to have its roots in mór, “great”, and fis, “knowledge” or “wisdom”

Stone of Ireland (Lia Fal)

The Lia Fal is literally the stone of Ireland. It is the stone said to cry out from beneath the Kings of Ireland. It was located at the Hill of Tara. A stone still tops the hill though it is unlikely it is the original Lia Fal.

Gorias

Gor is an adjective with the root meaning “warm”, and may denote a place of warmth, either physical or emotional.

Esras

In her analysis Isolde Carmody says the following: “This seems to derive from essair, an abstract noun from as-ser-n, “strewing, littering”.  As a noun, essair refers to things strewn about, particularly rushes or straw strewn on a floor or palette for bedding.  The name of this “teacher” can be understood in one of two ways: either as a teacher who “strews” or scatters knowledge about, or as one who provides a comforting bed in his warm (gor) city.”

Spear of Lugh

In the texts the spear and sword are sometimes switched. As we have taken a particular text above we have attributed the spear to Gorias and Esras. Is is described as an unstoppable or undefeatable weapon and has also been described as the Spear that Roars for Blood.

Findias/ Finias

Probably coming from the root word Find meaning fair or white. We also find it in the name Find Mac Umal (Finn or Fionn Mac Chuill in modern Irish) the leader of the Fianna who ate the salmon of knowledge and who was illuminated. The white or fair of find may be a reference to illumination and there are many correlates between Finn and the poet bard Taliesin in Welsh myth who is described as bright of brow. Carmody also notes: “As a colour-word, find is often applied to fast-flowing water (literally, “white water”) and forms an element of many river-names”

Uiscias

Most likely has its roots in Uisce, the Irish word for water. It refers to water as a substance, ie I drink water as opposed to bodies of water like sea, river, lake etc.

Sword of Nuada

Also described as an unstoppable weapon.

Murias

Carmody identifies two different possible roots being muir, “sea”, and the the second is múr, “wall, rampart”. She further speculates it could refer to an island fortress or a fortress by the sea such as Dún Beag in Co. Kerry.

Semias

In this instance the most likely root word is sem denoting a rivet or support.

Dagdas Cauldron

Dagdas caulrdon is a cauldron of plenty and is linked with hospitality, but the word for cauldron, coire can also be used to denote swirling. Cauldrons and wells are often associated with knowledge, for example the shannon pot and the Welsh cauldron of Ceridwen.

* * *

There are several issues with the correspondence of the etymology of names and weapons, for example, Uiscias, with clear etymological links with the Irish word for water, would be  more readily associated with the Cauldron. Some have suggested the attributions have been bastardised from their original links and meanings, and perhaps even their original groupings. This was our conclusion when looking at some of these elements and our work has led to attempts to realign the correspondence. These efforts are experimental and necessarily idiosyncratic but useful and a usable system. We place Morfessa in the North, Semias in the East, Esras in the south and Uiscias in the West. We do not have directional attributes for these cities and treasures, but working in a modern syncretic tradition we can look at the treasures in the wider context of the Western tradition and begin to form a modern myth map which allows us to work with these attributes in a modern way. This next step is taken in the next piece in looking at the Classical elements and their possible place in a provincial cosmology.

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

NOTES:

[1] Vernam Hull. “The Four Jeweles of the Tuatha Dé Danann.” ZCP. vol. XVIII. NY: G.E. Stechert Co. 1930.

[2] Sources from: Four Cities, Four Teachers, Four Treasures by Isolde Carmode (http://storyarchaeology.com/four-cities-four-teachers-four-treasures/ – accessed 14th September 2016)

Settling The Manor at Tara part 3

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes

One of our major sources for an Irish cosmological system is to be found in a 12th Century text, The Settling of the Manor at Tara. In the Settling of the Manor at Tara, there is unrest over the land because the right order of the island and its divisions have been forgotten, and from this forgetting there is also deep unrest in the natural order of things. We create meaning and uphold it, and in communities where we lose our sense of meaning, our common culture and understanding can also be shook to its core. In the Settling of the Manor, the common understanding of a culture had been forgotten, and discontent arose when the unified understanding was lost.

The Seanachie Fintan was called to the kings Hall at Tara and spoke of what we have forgotten – who we are and how we relate to the island, and by association ‘our universe’. In the Settling of the Manor a number of things happen – Fintan sets the island in relation to the wider world, so for example he mentions Spain to the south. In all of this he is placing the island of Ireland at the centre of a cosmological map – we are the centre of the world. Fintan also recounts the history and genealogy of those who have inhabited the island, again placing the island at the centre, this time in the stream of time.

Fintan also describes the island in Her geographical divisions, and it is this which we concern ourselves with. The seanachie is asked “how is Ireland divided” and Fintan answers immediately “It is not difficult” On one hand we have the utterance of a learned scholar, chronicler and wise man, but the question and answer process in Irish history and myth also shows a means of transmission of knowledge – through question and answer. The utterance “not difficult” can also be seen as a statement which takes into account the shared knowledge of a people – it is not hard because this is something we know.

He then says “Thus it was and ever it shall be…” – this description is an eternal truth, the land Herself and her qualities. He then offers us a cosmological model – knowledge in the west, battle in the north, prosperity in the east, harmony in the south and sovereignty at the centre.

In this series the Old Irish terms for these attributes are sometimes used. In the West is knowledge or Fis. In the North is battle or Cath. In the East is prosperity or Blath. In the South is harmony or Seis.

After the attributes of the directions is given, we are given more detailed descriptions of the attributes of each direction in a more narrative form, with the land called upon and personified as ‘Her’. For example in the West we are offered the following:

  Her learning, her foundation, her teaching, her alliance, her judgement, her chronicles, her counsels, her stories, her histories, her science, her comeliness, her eloquence, her beauty, her blushing, her bounty, her abundance, her wealth — from the western part in the west.’

So we are offered the first of our Irish mandalas and symbol sets.

1

From here Fintan is asked to define the reaches of each quality, which, as always, he answers with “not difficult” and proceeds to offer tangible geographical bounds.

Having five compass points, the four quarters and centre, we cannot help but attribute these to the five Irish provinces. In contemporary Ireland there are four provinces, but the Irish word for province is cuige, denoting a fifth. The fivefold division is not straight forward, as at different times in Irelands history it has been divided in various ways, but for our purposes (four directions and centre) we work with the provinces as the four contemporary provinces to the four directions and centre and the old Irish province of Mide or Meath.

 2

We have Connaught in the East, Ulster in the North, Leinster in the East and Munster in the South. To these we add Mide, or in more modern rendering Meath in the centre. The very word Mide means middle.

The ties between the provinces and the attributes of the directions are made explicit in a poem called Ard Ruide from the Dinnseanchas. It speaks these attributes as follows:

“Connacht in the west is the kingdom of learning, the seat of the greatest and wisest druids and magicians; the men of Connacht are famed for their eloquence, their handsomeness and their ability to pronounce true judgement.

 Ulster in the north is the seat of battle valour, of haughtiness, strife, boasting; the men of Ulster are the fiercest warriors of all Ireland, and the queens and goddesses of Ulster are associated with battle and death.

 Leinster, the eastern kingdom, is the seat of prosperity, hospitality, the importing of rich foreign wares like silk or wine; the men of Leinster are noble in speech and their women are exceptionally beautiful.

 Munster in the south is the kingdom of music and the arts, of harpers, of skilled ficheall players and of skilled horsemen. The fairs of Munster were the greatest in all Ireland.

 The last kingdom, Meath, is the kingdom of Kingship, of stewardship, of bounty in government; in Meath lies the Hill of Tara, the traditional seat of the High King of Ireland. The ancient earthwork of Tara is called Rath na Ríthe (‘Ringfort of the Kings’).”

This is the foundation of the work we are undertaking – the attributes and their directions, and it is upon these firm foundations that we can build an image of remembering what we too have forgotten, and to connect with a living Irish spiritual tradition.

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword