I reached the age of 16 without realising I had a choice. I questioned and resisted the common narrative with passion but it wasn’t until I was standing in the school line for 'catholic confession' when I thought to ask about choice. I directed the question to the teacher in charge of religious instruction and beyond all expectations she answered truthfully, that yes, I did have a choice. So I stepped out of the line and proceeded to tell each young woman that she too had a choice to go or not to go to confession with the priest in the mobile wooden confession box. I was the only one of 30 who stepped out and stayed out of that line.
When I was 18 I decided to leave Ireland for good, I felt that I could never be accepted in Ireland. My challenging questions and evolving concepts of the world seemed to confuse and bewilder the people around me. I was angry and I wanted change. So off I went in search of utopia. Some years later whilst sitting alone in a little apartment in South Korea I realised I still had a choice and that how I live and what I believe in will always be my choice.
So I came home to Ireland and embarked on an adventure into Freedom. When I actively peeled away the layers of preconditioned catholic guilt and shame I realised that the freedom to be me in every single breath is the most challenging and wonderful aspect of living. I still want change. I would love to share a life with people where creative passions are encouraged, where you keep the benefit of your own labour and share your abundance. I realise now that in order to create the loving world I wish for I cannot expect other people to make the changes to suit me. I create my own unique way of life.
On our 16 acres of Land in Éire, I watch trees grow, I help make space for them to grow and I make pathways between them. The birds and animals are moving in to this young forest. The bird song is loud and the evidence of wild animals throughout the forest is clear. Fungi have appeared. The foundation layers of abundance have been established. Our aim is to help reintroduce the human back into the forest by showing how valuable a resource it truly is.
Many people come to visit us and whilst I guide them through the young forest I am perplexed by their questioning. They ask me questions about being a Celtic Druí and as they question me they miss the features of the walk. I try to explain that being a Celt and a Druí is a way of life, but this is not sufficient. They want me to compare my way of life to other religions or they make comparisons to some idealised version of what a Druid should be. This idealised version appears to come from a mix of books and films. Many appear disappointed that I don’t want to explain my way of life with words. Although we are physically beside each other it feels as if the inquisitor is not walking with me in the spirit of growth but rather they ask questions for their own entertainment under the category of educational. For me, to define what a Celt or Druid is, is to limit that definition to my personal opinion, and a definition immediately establishes a set of criteria with judgement and comparison following. I really disappoint visitors when I cannot quote from the Labor Gabhala or recite the Táin Bo Cuailigne. I like the old stories, I like hearing people’s theories on decoding them but I am not an academic nor do I speak old Irish. I find my ancestors in the landscape that surrounds me.
Most of the people in the Celtic Homelands of today are dependent on industrial food production and are trapped within a system of debt. The government systems in all our homelands put State before People. These systems of oppression which dictate a certain way of life cannot be changed overnight. People daily renew their choice to participate in these systems. We cannot force or impose change on others. We can however lead by example by being happy, by shining brightly and by growing a strong new vibrant culture rooted in the Land upon which we live.
I believe our wisdom traditions are born from our direct experience with the Land, Sea and Sky. They are evolving and changing with every moment of growth. The traditions of our ancestors are not ours to blindly repeat, we are awake and interacting consciously with the world around us today. It is the task of those of us awake to relentlessly focus on this present moment of expression. To write a history, to define a belief system and impose structure is to risk getting lost in the intellectual realm, to dress up eight times a year and perform ceremony and go to sleep for the rest of the year is to risk getting lost in romanticism. Our lineage and culture come from our way of life and that way of life is determined by where we live and our interaction with Nature. When our bellies are being filled from the harvest of the locality we have the potential for full health. When we create this harvest together we have a better opportunity for sharing from the heart. When we as a people share from the heart we have a foundation upon which to collectively shape our culture and generate new living traditions. The wisdom of the Celt runs deep, our connection to our past and to our ancestors is in our heart. We do not need to prove we are Celts. We cannot reconstruct what a Celt or a Druid was in the past. We are Celts and we can choose to live as Celts by presenting ourselves with dignity and truth with the intention of nurturing a way of life that supports us. We need to create space for new growth and this involves sharing a life together. This will naturally happen when individuals make conscious effort to change their way of life, each individual will express their way of life uniquely but the commonality will exist in the deep respect and connection for and with Nature.
The key, I suggest, lies first in accepting the reality we are in, a war torn world where those who express freedom are a small minority. We do not need to be taught or trained to live in harmony. When there is no threat of harm, when there is no threat of insufficiency humans will naturally work together for food, fuel and shelter. We have not forgotten how to do this, instead we are been prevented from doing this. Force has been consistently used in many different guises to ensure that we cannot live without dependence on an administration system which seeks to profit from our labour.
Freedom is not taught, it is lived. You know in your heart what it means to be free, to be truly free to live your life with passion. You cannot plead or petition others for this, you claim it and actively renew it with every breath. We each have a Celtic seed within us, our role is not to indoctrinate this seed but to nurture it and actively seek ways to express our passion. We have a choice to co create a way of life that can sustain us as a family. Our family needs to be nourished, sheltered and protected from all enemies of Truth and Light. I believe that in order to provide this fertile space for our Celtic family to evolve we need to stay focused on co-creating abundance.
Our farm here in Éire is where we, Con and I chose to start. Our forest already provides abundance for the wildlife that lives in it and as it grows there will be a great harvest for us too. I constantly remind myself of the reality that no matter what we call ourselves no matter what we identify as, it is our actions that will inspire, encourage or distract. It is each of our individual actions that will co-create our family and our community.