Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A few preliminary thoughts on the pilgrimage

I returned home five days ago from my pilgrimage and my subsequent trip to Europe. My thanks, again, to everyone who helped make that journey possible, and who lightened the financial burden of it with their generous donations. You took care of food, a couple of extra nights indoors when it was raining, and some of the travel costs between Dublin and my return home from the airport at Venice. I am incredibly grateful.

It seems that everywhere I went, I found some echo of one or another of the deities I worship and honor, and other figures that are spiritually important to me. Brigid, Airmed, Manannán, Myrddin, Antinous, and others made themselves known through wells or archaeological sites or images. I'm still trying to adjust to being back in my own timezone, and to absorb and process all the various things that happened and the places I've been.

On the Isle of Man, I climbed to the remains of the Iron Age fort atop South Barrule (1585 feet high), sacred to Manannán Mac Lir. The stones behind me in this photo are not the fort, they're a crescent surrounding the survey marker at the peak of the hill. Very little remains of the fort itself, beyond the broken earthen ring about the whole of the summit. Breesha Maddrell climbed with me, and took the photo. South Barrule was wreathed in moving mist the entire time we climbed, with brief breaks for sun that gave us a spectacular view of the southwestern end of the island. The wind was brisk and it was chilly but the clouds through which we climbed seemed more than appropriate to the purpose of the visit.

While I did very little formal ritual on my trip, I felt quite closely connected with those spirits and deities I sought. The object was not so much to do ritual at the sites, but to visit them, to briefly touch the root of what was there and bring home a connection that I can work with here, where I live. To experience being in these places at all is a blessing and an honor.

From our incubation ritual at the caves of Kesh Corran, accompanied by the singing bowls of other climbers, to live Mozart in the air as my brother and I explored the cemetery outside the catacombs of Salzburg, from the gargoyles of Prague to the Sedlec Ossuary at Kutna Hora, and from the Tomb of Merlin to the glass furnaces of Venice, it has been an extraordinary adventure. I hope to share more of it with you in the coming months, as I begin sorting through my experiences and putting together my Brigid book.

Before that happens, I have a presentation on ogam and magic at this year's Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle, September 15th and 16th, to prepare for. My poetry collection, Fireflies at Absolute Zero, should be going to press at the end of September for an October release. I had hoped to have a little time to breathe when I got home, but it is not to be. I'm doing my best to sort everything out so that I'll be able to do my best work for you.

Thank you again.


  1. Sounds like you had an amazing adventure-would have been lovely to meet you while you were in Ireland-maybe next time ; )

    1. Thanks, John-Paul. I hope we do get another chance.