One of the Most Beautiful Songs I’ve Ever Heard, the legend of St. Patrick in a song.

Few songs have touched my heart like this one has. To me, Irish music moves the soul, stirs the spirit and I feel that of all the gifts Ireland has given the world (and there are many) her music is most penetrating.

Be Thou Vision

Copied from description from Eden’s Bridge:

“Therefore, on that day when I was rebuked, as I have just mentioned, I saw in a vision of the night a document before my face, without honour, and meanwhile I heard a divine prophecy, saying to me: ‘We have seen with displeasure the face of the chosen one divested of name.’ And he did not say ‘You have seen with displeasure’, but ‘We have seen with displeasure’ (as if He included Himself) . He said then: ‘He who touches you, touches the apple of my eye.'”– Saint Patrick

Old Irish: Rop tú mo baile, a Choimdiu cride: ní ní nech aile acht Rí secht nime. Rop tú mo scrútain i l-ló ‘s i n-aidche; rop tú ad-chëar im chotlud caidche. Rop tú mo labra, rop tú mo thuicsiu; rop tussu dam-sa, rob misse duit-siu. Rop tussu m’athair, rob mé do mac-su; rop tussu lem-sa, rob misse lat-su. Rop tú mo chathscíath, rop tú mo chlaideb; rop tussu m’ordan, rop tussu m’airer. Rop tú mo dítiu, rop tú mo daingen; rop tú nom-thocba i n-áentaid n-aingel. Rop tú cech maithius dom churp, dom anmain; rop tú mo flaithius i n-nim ‘s i talmain. Rop tussu t’ áenur sainserc mo chride; ní rop nech aile acht Airdrí nime. Co talla forum, ré n-dul it láma, mo chuit, mo chotlud, ar méit do gráda. Rop tussu t’ áenur m’ urrann úais amra: ní chuinngim daíne ná maíne marba. Rop amlaid dínsiur cech sel, cech sáegul, mar marb oc brénad, ar t’ fégad t’ áenur. Do serc im anmain, do grád im chride, tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime. Tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime, do serc im anmain, do grád im chride. Go Ríg na n-uile rís íar m-búaid léire; ro béo i flaith nime i n-gile gréine A Athair inmain, cluinte mo núall-sa: mithig (mo-núarán!) lasin trúagán trúag-sa. A Chríst mo chride, cip ed dom-aire, a Flaith na n-uile, rop tú mo baile.

Modern Irish: Bí Thusa ‘mo shúile a Rí mhór na ndúil Líon thusa mo bheatha mo chéadfaí s mo stuaim Bí thusa i m’aigne gach oiche s gach lá Im chodladh no im dhúiseacht, líon mé le do ghrá Bí thusa ‘mo threorú I mbriathar ‘s i mbeart Fan thusa go deo liom is coinnigh mé ceart Glac cúram mar Athair, is éist le mo ghuí Is tabhair domsa áit cónaí istigh i do chroí

English: Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best Thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light. Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Thou my great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one. Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight; Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight; Thou my souls Shelter, Thou my high Tower: Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power. Riches I heed not, nor mans empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always: Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art. High King of Heaven, my victory won, May I reach Heavens joys, O bright Heavens Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Pre-Christian Ireland, to the best of my current knowledge

Celtiberian Days

At this point, I am uncertain where the first inhabitants of Ireland came from, but science is saying that they shared DNA with the early inhabitants of Iberia, so maybe they were a branch off that a same tree. Or maybe they came down from Scotland. Whoever they were, archeologists believe they got there somewhere between 7,000 and 6,000 BC. We are told that they lived by farming, fishing and gathering food such as plants and shellfish. They mostly lived on the seashore or along rivers and lakes where food and water were both easier to get. They hunted deer, birds, wild boar and seals.

About the time one of those skeletons I mentioned in my earlier article, 4,000 BC, lived, farming came about. The farmers raised  sheep, pigs, cattle and crops. They made pottery during this time, too. For hundreds of years, the farmers lived right alongside the hunter-gatherers but in time, farming prevailed and the old lifestyle faded.

These early farmers cleared the forests, built monuments (burial mounds called court cairns) and cremated their dead before burying them in stone galleries which they covered with earth.

Dolmens, created by these early Irish folks, were burial sites where massive vertical stones were lined up with horizontal stones on top of them to create a passage way then covered with earth. It was during these early pre-Celtic times that Stonehenge and other amazing, mysterious structures were built. William Stuklely, I think it was, linked the Celts (Druids) to the building of these megalith monuments, but the Celts hadn’t even arrived yet when these places were built. For the record, dolmens aren’t only found in Ireland. They can be found in Basque Country and as far away as Russia. There are even dolmens in Korea (but I don’t think they’re connected to the Irish ones). Click here to visit a site that shows you what they looked like.

Around 2,000 BC, bronze showed up in Ireland and people began using it to make tools. During this period, they erect large stone circles and built crannogs or habitations on the lakes. These lake homes were easier to defend than just building on the shore.

ALONG CAME THE CELTS

People think of Ireland as being Celtic but it wasn’t until about 5oo BC that the Celts actually arrived, bringing with them iron tools and weapons. Scholars don’t really agree on where the Celts originated, but they moved across Europe during the 4th and 5th centuries. The British Isles, in time, came to be known as the “six Celtic Nations,” which included Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Briton and the Isle of Man. There were four major Celtic dialects that came to the Isles with them: Breton, Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh. The warlike Celts, divided Ireland into many small kingdoms that constantly fought with each other, but the Celts didn’t just subdue the original Irish, they absorbed their culture into their own until the new Irish culture was a blend and Irish Celts were heavily influence by Pre-Celtic Ireland. Evidence of this is found in the engravings at Newgrange which include lozenges, spirals, double spirals, concentric semi-circles, zigzags and so forth, all of which were found in Ireland before the coming of the Celts but is found afterwards in Celtic works.

So, the Celts left no religious monuments in Ireland that I am aware of. However, they did bury weapons and metalworks in the ground as sacrifices wot their gods and they did leave behind decorative pagan stone sculptures. The Celts buried their chieftains and leaders with their weapons, tools, drinking horns, food bowls and other things they might need in the afterlife. It seems that much of what archaeologists know of the Celts has come from burial sites.

When the Celts went to battle, they painted their bodies and faces, taking pride in their battlefield appearance. They wore personal adornments and carried elaborately ornate swords, shields, helmets and trumpets. Their metalworks were of gold, silver, bronze and other metals.

Next time, Christianity Comes to Ireland.

Here is a link to a timeline of Irish history for anyone interested.

 

A Brief Rabbit Chase Down the DNA Trail

 

I’ve done several talks on subjects that interests me, like Melungeons and DNA testing, so I thought I’d share some of my basic thoughts on the subject of DNA testing.

People ask me what the best DNA tests are. It depends on what you’re looking for. If it’s ethnicity, I don’t recommend AncestryDNA. They missed mine by a mile, BUT they do excellent work at connecting you to relatives and helping you find the “missing” links in your family tree.

23andMe does a better job with ethnicity, but still, they’re not the best. I also didn’t think the health reports were worth what I paid for them. And the probability thing is hit and miss. I mean really…they missed the mark on about half of mine. So, that’s kind of like a true/false guessing game. I recommend them for ethnicity above AncestryDNA. But Ancestry is excellent for family finding. I haven’t tested with the other big name ones.

I DID test with DNA Consultants and I love how they treated me, like I was a real client, not just another number. I love how they looked at human migration patterns and combined DNA data with historically documented movements of people around the planet. I love how they sent me a long report that did not give estimations of percentages, but rather outlined exactly what markers they found in my DNA. It was a much more complete picture. However, they do not link you to relatives and you can’t download the raw data to a third party calculator.

I do reccomend GEDmatch if you’ve tested with one of the prominently advertised companies like Ancestry or 23andMe. GEDmatch has a bunch of different algorithms that lets you search for precise things in your DNA, like Jewish markers or ancient DNA from Beringia. The various algorithms allow you to get a more complete picture of your make up.

Here’s a little powerpoint I’ve put together talking about DNA Testing. It’s still a work in progress and I’m sure it has some flaws and kinks of its own, but still, it might be helpful to some people. Oh, and I haven’t forgotten the Irish. I’m still going to post more.

Popular DNA Tests

Happy New Year–Randomly Flowing Thoughts from Me to You

I think this may be the first time I have EVER actually written a blog post on New Year’s Day and I’m not about to make a resolution that I will write a post every day, but I am making one to just be me. I made a resolution last year and I tried very hard to keep it all year. My resolution was to love radically. It’s not easy to love radically and some days I fell short of the goal, still each day, I’d start all over again and I am still doing that. I don’t plan to stop. I do plan to love those who persecute me and speak harshly about me. I plan to love them by just accepting that they are the way they are and it’s not my job to fix them or even change their minds about anything, especially me.

I’m not sure what loving radically involves but I have learned that only when I am in tune with my truest self, and accepting of that self, can I look at others and just accept them for who they are and not feel the need to change them. It has been a hard lesson for me over the years but I’ve come to understand that there will always be someone who misreads my motives, misunderstands my motifs and misinterprets my meanings. I understand that there will always be those who mistrust me without a true cause, who villanize me to validate their own actions and warn their kids about the “wicked witch up the road.” Bottom line, as a dear friend tells me, “Everybody has enemies.”

There is no way on earth to make everybody happy because we live in a world of fearful people who are always afraid of losing something. We live in a world where no matter how hard you try or how good you treat others, someone is going to be offended, someone is going to accuse you of ulterior motives, of arrogance, of….just fill in the blank.

So, how do we love radically in a world where being rude and selfish is the norm?  I think loving radically doesn’t always involve an onslaught of mushiness or warm-fuzzies but a simple acceptance without judgment. We may not ever be a person that the offended will want to speak to kindly or for that matter, at all, or even smile at, but we don’t have to hold bitterness in our hearts against them and we have to realize that there comes a time when it really isn’t about us. Everybody has their own battles to fight and their own roads to walk. So, I am going to walk mine with a thankful heart and let my light shine the best I can. Some may see me as a beacon of light, love and kindness, and others may not. It’s okay. I accept that. I think that’s what love and forgiveness are all about, letting go. I love me and I am thankful for my life on earth. If others have issues with me, I’ll try to avoid getting in their field of vision as much as possible, but I won’t stop being the person I’m meant to be. I’m wonderfully weird and creatively created and this year, in addition to loving radically, I’m going to be the most ME I can possibly be.

 

The “Divinity” of Writing Fiction

Found this little entry in my journal from 2011. Just thought I’d share it.

April 8, 2011

As an author, I am the divine entity to the characters in my story. I exist outside of “time” as they know it because I exist outside the pages of the manuscript that I have written. The characters in my novels are bound to the “timeline” as it is contained between the covers of the book, the beginning and the end. To them all the events they experience are past, present, or future but to me, the creator, they happen simultaneously. I am present, all at once, in every event I’ve created in the story, regardless of where it happens on the timeline as my characters know it in the universe that I created. I don’t have to jump backward or forward in the story, because I’m already there. My characters exist in the story I have written, but they also continue existing in me even when they leave the pages of the novel (get killed off, move away, etc.) All characters that I create remain alive in me, the author. As the author, I have no random events in my story. Everything that happens has a purpose. Sometimes my purpose is to cause growth in a character or characters. Sometimes it is to help open one character’s eyes to the nature or doings of another character. Sometimes it is to propel the plot.