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CELTIC-L  December 1996

CELTIC-L December 1996

Subject:

BARGAINS! BARGAINS! STEP RIGHT UP...

From:

Rudra Mac Cuhmaill <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Mon, 2 Dec 1996 03:40:35 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (240 lines)

A chara,

     Now that I have your attention, from the Tom Waits' tune, allow the
appropriate sounds to sing in your ears as I make offering of the following
(yet again, as "nasty is as nasty does" computer hijinks minions wiped out my
first missive...) treasures, or *gTermas* gleaned from my Tibetan Buddhist
trove--with the admonition, too, that I have a "favor" to seek at end, and, in
the words of one of our tradition's favorite sayings, "Always look a gift horse
in the mouth, as otherwise the asshole will do you..."

* The John Matthews (b. 1948) book really worth perusing is "The Druid
Sourcebook," forward by Philip Carr-Gomm, Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates,
and Druids (Blandford, United Kingdom, 1996), especially his wry compilations
on what one Algernon Herbert, in 1891, termed the "neo-Druidic heresy." From
classical sources he culls Strabo (64 B.C.-21 A.D.) about the high esteem
druids were accorded for resolving legal disputes; Diodorus Siculus (21 BC)
notes the "Pythagorean doctrine" among the Gauls and how the "Bards" auger by
"watching the flight of birds"; that Roman Catholic "founding father" as was
fellow noble Roman Augustine of Hippo, in "exile," Clement, from the Greek
settlement of Alexandria (Egypt), writing that Pythagoras was "a *hearer* of
the Galatae [a Celtic Kingdom formed by the remnants of Senone Brennus of Gaul,
circa 350 BC, in Bohemia and Asia Minor] and Brahmins [the priests of Vedic
India]"; and Cicero, who in "De Divinatiore," I, 41, writes of "Druids in
Gaul," one, Divitiacus, his guest, who claimed "knowledge of nature which the
Greeks call 'physiologia,' [and] by means of conjecture [made] predictions"

     "Conchubhar son of Neasa was the first to recieve the faith when he heard
from Bacrach the druid that the Jewish people would put Christ to death by
torment...," from "The History of Ireland" by Geoffrey Keating, in Matthews as
"Cormac's Druids," p. 28; Matthews has, too, tales of Deirdre and Naoise, her
"black Irish" picked man, with hair "shining like the raven:crow's" and cheeks
rosy as "calf's blood," complexion "fair as snow," telling as well how the sons
of Conchubar paid with the wrath of Heaven and banishment-in-return for
"blackballing" Naoise and keeping Deirdre to themselves, nost "offensive" to
Brehon Law of Lady's Choice... And Matthews cites "The Book of Invasions" as
noting how the Druids were summoned as honored guests to facillitate conflict
resolution between the Athenians and the Philistines

* Standish James O'Grady, writing of the ancient bards of Ireland: "But
perhaps the most valuable work achieved for Ireland by those ancient shapers of
legend and heroic tales, is like all that is best done in the world, incapable
of being definitely grasped and clearly exhibited. Their best work is probably
hidden in the blood and brain of the race to this day. Those antique singing
men, with their imagined gods and superhuman heroes, breathed into the land and
people the gallantry and chivalrousness, the prevailing identity, the love of
action and freedom, the audacity and elevation of thought which, underneath all
rudeness and grotesquerie, characterizes those remnants of their imaginings and
which we believe no intervening centuries have been powerful enough to destroy.
 Theirs, not the monks, was the *pervidium ingenium Scotorum*," from "The
History of Ireland; Critical and Philosophical," Vol. 1 (London and Dublin,
1881), pp. 60-61

     William Butler Yeats, in 1898 (his "Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems"
released in 1889) wrote O'Grady that he'd "done more than all the others to dig
away the earth that has lain so long on [the] beauty [of the ] miraculous
poetry in all our old legends," from "The Letters of W.B. Yeats," edited by
Allan White (London, 1954), p. 308


* John Matthews has, too, "Elements of the Grail Tradition" (Element Books
Ltd., Unit 25, Longmead, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8BR; 1990) in which he uses
the following primary sources:
     "The legends of chivalry are veiled accounts of man's external search for
truth. These beautiful stories are not, however, merely folklore. They are
parts of an orderly tradition, unfolding through the centuries and bearing
witness to a well-organised plan and program. Like the myths of classical
antiquity, the hero tales are sacred rituals belonging to secret Fraternities
perpetuating the esoteric doctrines of antiquity," Manley P. Hall, founder of
the Philosophical Research Society, in "Orders of the Quest; The Holy Grail"
(Los Angeles, 1976)
     "...make a really conscientious study of what external scholarship has to
say, so that one keeps one's feet on the earth and does not get lost in
cloud-cuckoo-land," Rudolph Steiner, "Christ and the Spiritual World, and the
Search for the Holy Grail" (R. Steiner Press, 1963)
     "Whereas it is one of the glories of [the Grail Tradition] that in its
handling of religious themes, it retranslates them from the language of
imagined facts into a mythological idiom; so that they may be experienced, not
as time-conditioned, but as timeless; telling not of miracles long past, but of
miracles potential within ourselves, here, now, and forever," Joseph Campbell,
"Myths to Live By" (Souveneir Press, 1973)

* My personal favorite, the French historian Jean Markale, who prefaces
"Women of the Celts" (Editions Payot, 1972; English translation, Inner
Traditions, 1986) with the following Breton proverb from the Ile de Batz:

     "Dounoc/h eo kaloun ar merc/ hed /vit ar mor donna euz ar bed"
    ("The heart of woman is deeper than the deepest sea in the world")

     He terms the relationship between men and women in comtemporary society "a
gigantic swindle...It is much more important to challenge the preposterous
relationship that has existed between men and women for centuries, even
thousands of years, than it is to burble on about 'class war,' because, if we
are successful in demonstrating the swindle (basically the aim of this book),
the whole of western society (including the so-called Marxist societies, which
are mere heresies of the West) stands to lose its basic assumption that 'man is
biologically superior to woman'." (pp.9-10)

     "So we come to the later Paleolithic period, about 40,000 B.C., when, as
far as we know, man became artist, philosopher and *Homo religiosus* [the first
true human] for the first time." (p. 12)

     "Here it is necessary to observe that the Celts, as inheritors of
non-patriarchal societies, stood halfway between these and the patriarchal
Indo-European societies other than their own. This fundamental observation is
based on the well-documented knowledge we have of Celtic law, where women
enjoyed privileges that would have made the Roman women of the same period
green with envy. Here was a harmony between the roles of men and women that
was not dependent on the superiority of one sex over the other, but on an
equality in which each could feel comfortable. For we must avoid the opposite
error: men should not allow themselves to be dominated by women (even when they
deserve it) or society would again be out of balance."(pp. 16-17)

     "We know that the Celts, like all other Indo-Europeans, came from the
great plains of Central Asia. A very long time ago, some tribes from this
original Indo-European race made their way towards the valleys of the Indus and
Ganges and the high plateaux of Iran. In Neolithic times a body of
Indo-Europeans migrated westwards, following the loess of the Asiatic plain,
which extended into Northern Europe--a logical enough route for a population
beginning to live from agriculture and livestock breeding. This settlement was
the result of many waves of migration, as the conditions of life improved and
the population increased. In this way, the first influx of Hellenes arrived
on the shores of the Aegaen Sea from a base probably on the periphery of the
Carpathians. *They were the famous Achaens celebrated in Homeric poems*. At
the same time another group migrated west and south, passing through the Harz
mountain region. The groups continuing west were the Goidels or Gaels, whom we
find very early in Ireland, without knowing where else they settled along the
way [*"Gael" came to generically mean "Scot"*] Those going south were the
Italiots, amongst whom were the Osques, Umbrians and Latins, who merged with
the existing population on the Italian peninsula. These migrations took place
in the middle and late Bronze Age, i.e., from 1500 to 900 B. C.
Archaeologically this corresponds to the culture known as 'Urnfield,' because
of the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in funeral
urns...The Celts were not very numerous: they were hardly more than an
intellectual, warrior elite possessed of certain technigues that enabled them
to dominate the earlier, non-Celtic population, imposing their way of life and
assimilating their predecessors. However, this assimilation was not a one-way
process. Just as the Greeks contributed to the radical transformation of early
Roman society...the ancient populations of Gaul, Britain and Ireland deeply
influenced early Celtic civilization. This explains the important
differences..." (pp. 21-23, in passim)

* "The Celtic Consciousness," edited by Robert O'Driscoll (George Braziller,
New York, 1982; copyright Celtic Arts of Canada, 1981) has many divergent
'angles of inspiriation," to auger to speak. Besides providing hints of why
the Roman's under the tyrannos of the Caesars decided to
state-socialist-neo-plutocracy propagandize against the Druids as "too
powerful" and the "other" of which we're sadly left in partially recorded
tales, i.e., his citing of Julius Caesar in "De Bello Gallico," VI, describing
the "nature of the Irish problem," if you will, with "The whole Celtic people
is greatly addicted to religion," a matter ole Julius took upon himself to "do
the right thing" and "disabuse" the Druids and Celts by exterminating them.
For other fascinating glimpses of *hubris* of a *monumental* mis-conceived
nature, see Seutonis, "The Twelve Caesars," as well, in which one will find the
"fits of epilepsy" that struck Julius at "inopportune" public moments--a matter
he blamed on the Druids, of course, seeing them as "vampires" that naive
diplomats like Cicero has invited and found "nothing the matter with, in fact
quite inspiring people.." An accounting of Julius's grand-cuz Caligula and his,
just like Julius, shaking a bony, curled-up-widdle-boy fist at Heaven as a
"last warning" to Jupiter occurs by Seutonis describing--at Capitola, I
believe--ole knock-kneed "Lil Boots' (picture "Lil Abner") ordering the removal
of a statute of Jupiter in the Heavenly King's chapel--at which the statute
starts belly-laughter roaring, causing the minions of Caligula to flee. When
Caligula decides to "do the dirty deed himself" he's knocked flat and
unconscious by a thuderbolt from on high...

     Too, in memory of Sorly MacLean, this anthology has translation of some of
his poetry, excerpts of which follow:

    The Sunny Fold/ A/ Bhuaile Ghreine

    "To my eyes you were Deirdre/beautiful in the sunny cattle-fold/ you were
MacBride's wife/ in her shining beauty./ You were the yellow-haired girl of
Cornaig/ and the Handsome Fool's Margaret,/ Strong Thomas's Una,/ Cuchulainn's
Eimhir, and Grainne./ You were the one of the thousand ships,/ desire of poets
and death of heroes,/ you were she who took the rest/ and the peace from the
heart of William Ross,/ the Audiart who plagued De Born,/ and Maeve of the
drinking horns.../ ...it is my dilemma to seize / in tormented verses the
longing/that takes the spirit of sad poets, / to raise and keepas I would
like,/ direct and well-formed in the poem for you,/ old and new and full,/ the
form and spirit of every beauty:/ together in the image of joy,/ paen-like,
deep, jewel-like,/ the acuteness of France and Greece,/ the music of Ireland
and Scotland." (pp. 265-267)

     Now, as to *the favor*. I have a bit of a "background problem," in that I
was involuntarily taken from my natural parents quite young, three or so, and
I've few solid memories or tales to go upon in re-constructing some family
history. One ancestor, Harold Francis McNenny, I remember as my Grandpa Mac;
he'd made good (1928) at a prestigious Cleveland, Ohio law firm as a patent
attorney and lived in country, blue-blood Scotch Presbyterian splendour in
Berea. Now I don't remember but one time supposedly we (my real parents) and I
went to visit the McNenny Homestead in Deadwood, South Dakota, where the family
scion had supposedly moved, from the Boston Brahmin social circles (he was a
lawyer as well), to become the first Federal District Judge in the Wild West
(mid to late 1800's) Territory--to try under federal law the punk gangsta who'd
shot Wild Bill Hickock, bribed the jury, was acquitted and "laughed and laughed
and laughed" about his ill-fame. At the federal trail, my forebearer--not
swayed by offers of casino loot nor threats of violence--properly entered the
"evidence" into the "forum" and, banging his gavel, gruffly said, "Hang him
high." Thereafter becoming known as "The Hanging Judge of Deadwood, South
Dakota." Quite a raconteur, I've heard, in addition, as he took a "fond
shining" to a Lakota Medicine Woman considered "too powerful" by most of her
own and gave her refuge on his ranch. Of course, one can understand that now,
as a result, I'm one-sixteenth Lakota...(Our supposed "family scandal")

    If anyone has any access to information regarding these McNenny's, who
emigrated out of Northern Ireland and Scotland during the Great Hunger, as well
as anything about my natural mother's family, who're French Celts, one branch
from Brittainy coming here circa 1800, another, the women, being Bradford's and
Henderson's, both darkly beautiful in that classic "black Irish" way, the
female equivalent of Deirdre's Naoise, I would be most grateful (on or
off-list; unlike my somewhere relatives I have nothing to hide...)

Do chara,
rudra




laboremus,
Rudra Mac Chumaill

Namgyal Monastery
Dharamsala, India

Our Day Will Come...in the meantime, as Gustave Flaubert said
of "la plat a la mode," let us not become "poisoned by the filth
of modern life"

When born into a "munus sine missione," a "vir fortis,"
one "gladiatorio animo,"
has only to "recto tibi invictoque moriendum est." (Seneca, "Epistulae," 7.4)

"Wealth that is acquired by proper means in a manner
  That harms none will yield both virtue and happiness."
                     Gurudeva's Vedas, Trikural Verse 754

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