Friday, February 21, 2014

The Celtic Ways Collection

What is Celtic Ways today?

That's a big question for me this Spring

As always, I seem to have my attention on many things and many projects, no matter how much I am determined to cut out from my life ... to wishful think I am making it simple.


CelticWays.com is hosted on what is now an 'old fashioned' web server using 'old fashioned' code and I find myself not being bothered to update it.

I have carried the Celtic Ways name for almost 40 years now.
Shall I let go of it?

I have had good financial offers for the name,
but none of those offers have come from Facebook, Google, Yahoo etc.
No 14 billion dollar takeover offer for me. It's tour companies who want it.


Celtic Ways started as my writing name, then publishing name, retreats name, celtic music name, sacred sites tourism name, then back to retreats, workshops and sort of publishing name again.

I have just looked at the ridiculous list of blogs I have running online, at present. They are scattered, some updated regularly, some maybe once a year or less .. and  then ...

a new simple inspiration came to me !!!


Celtic Ways is really a collection of all that I have done combined with my passions and interests of today. So why not interlock all of these together?

So now I launch, or should I say 're-package',...  The Celtic Ways Collection.



Ogma's Tale Of The Trees

This is where most of my attention is today, creating a book and a soundscape of 120 minutes music with words. Clicking the link leads to my blog of notes for this project.


This work is an expression of my fascination for the transition of landscape to sounds to symbols to language. It is loosely connected to the legends of Ogma's ancient creation and teaching of the Ogam alphabet, words and language. I am also inspired by various mythology tales of the 'memory of trees'.

I loosely compare our lives to the circle spirals within the trunks of trees and I give our complete cycled lifespan four seasons like the four seasons of the year. This work is a twenty part divinity of poetic tales expressing the three 'Trai' strains of the Harper Bards. Within this work there is a mix of mirth, mourning and dreaming.


I also bring the symbols and myths of the trees and shrubs to earth through share their practical uses and benefits and how these are linked to the surreal mythologies spoken.

click here to discover more



Bards In The Woods

Actually, this equals Ogma's Tale Of The Trees with my current attention, especially between March and end of October, when we are very active with this activity on Sunday afternoons.


The original aim was to encourage more people into the forests more often. My inspiration for this was during National Tree Week of March 2012 when I noticed that more than half of the counties of Ireland did not have a single event within any of their Public Forests.

I also read a report from a results survey via Coillte, the Public Forestry management of Ireland, that indicated that 60% of people in Ireland had never visited a forest for leisure since they left school.

I have always been involved in poetry, stories and folk drama in some way. I had noticed that many people were eager to express their inspirations but did not how to, or were not confident enough to.


My idea was to try to provide an environment where people would be inspired and expressive, write poems, compose stories, and have a supportive listening audience to engage in and embrace their 'voice'. The pubic forests seemed to be the ideal venues for this, mainy because there is no intimidation from ownership or owners present. There is nobody to try and please, nobody to dumb us down.

Since then we have also been haunted by the threat of some of the Irish Government, their civil servants, their quangos, and the business interests they serve, that together have a strong desire to sell off Public Forest property. Their desire is to convert these Public Assets into liquid assets to fulfil their pension shortfalls. Together, this seems to be a situation where the property of Ireland's population is being considered for conversion into financial security for a minority. This has added a motivation to encourage more people to be present in the forests more often and demonstrate that the voters are there too.


A surprise and wonderful art of our gatherings has become the shared picnics in the woods. I will speak more of this further on :-)

click here to discover more



Bathing In The Fae's Breath

I have not posted much here yet. There is an introduction to Forest Bathing and that's about it, so far. Hopefully, more content will be added here very soon.


While writing for Ogma's Tale Of The Trees, I did have a lot of excess content that really did not fit tight into what Ogma's Tale is about, but indeed fits this subject.

While at college in the 80s for my degree work I took an interest in new development in Japan, these being the increased consumption of stevia as a sweetener, massive consumption of green tea and a new popular tradition of Shinrin-You, Forest Bathing. The Shinrin Yoku did not fit into my studies so was set aside until now.

As a rebellion against using oriental names that we seem to often use to make our activities boutique and mysterious I looked to the Irish gaelic 'Boladh na Sióga', Bathing In The Fae's Breath. With this I could not only embrace the concepts of Forest Bathing but also guide this with mythologies of the fae, the sidhe, the shee, the sióga and their spirit relationships with trees and water.


Like Ogma's Tale of The Trees this is a developing set of story poems with a soundscape of music plus how this mythology connects wholesomely  to our day to day tasks - but let me get Ogma's Tale Of The Trees set released first.

Bathing In The Fae's Breath is now the second part of my "Tree Trailogy", no spelling mistake,
because Trai, also almost pronounced 'Tree", means 'enchantment'.

click here to discover more



Forest Mindfulness

Just as Bards In The Woods has become the 'activity' of  Ogma's Tale Of The Trees, Forest Mindfulness is becoming the 'activity' of  Bathing In The Fae's Breath.


I used to talk a lot and post a lot about Forest Bathing and a lot of people were very puzzled about what I was talking about.

Mindfulness, though, is fast becoming a 'buzz' word around Ireland, and in many countries. This overall simple practice of stress and anxiety release has entered into the world of corporate and even military activities. Facilitators, coaches and teachers of Mindfulness are now commanding large fees for hosting workshops, retreats and tuition.

I learned this myself through work with my growing Native Tree Labyrinth here. Now, I am inviting people to try this in forest environments, and its very close to free, so that anyone can have access to this.


The content here is long but will soon be broken off into pages in web site format, and then expanded under different titles. It wil will grow with the trees.

click here to discover more



Tales From The Labyrinth

This is perhaps the closest to the 'old me' that many of you have become familiar with and some have grown up with me through too.


After about 50 years of chasing around seeking and discovering 100s to 1000s of ancient sites of crumbled stone circles, cairns, dolmens, ancient churches etc. and picking up 100s of stories along the way I have been going through a kind of transition during the past 4 years. Part of this has coincided with the maturing of the Native Tree Labyrinth here at Carrowcrory.


I now focus more on where there is living, the trees, the spring wells, and the forests with its diversity of life. Compare this to the crumbling and decaying of once human created temples and stone constructions for praise.

I still walk through the heather and over bogs as well as through forests and discover these ancient places but I receive them with a different priority now.


I still write about them here from time to time, and Tales From The Labyrinth is also becoming the third volume of my "Tree Trailogy". A lot of this is already written and composed a long time ago, Now I am gathering this work together to be posted here and then transformed into a book and soundscape set to complete my Trailogy.

click here to discover more



Carrowcrory Cottage Traditions

Not much posted here yet, but a lot goes on in this cottage of ours. I set this site up because many people have been intrigued about the recipes of what is cooked and baked here. People have asked me about some of the simple seasonal traditions, and the labyrinth of course.


Add to this the special moments when Claire arrives here with her songs and harps to perform for small groups by the hearth ... but before that they share her angelic feather-light scones, often smothered with local jams from Bridget Foy who has an amazing cottage living blog with a huge following.


On Facebook the Carrowcrory Page is quite active, but its now time for me to get content into here as this is the 'activity' site of Tales From The Labyrinth

click here to discover more



Finding Brighid

I thought I had retired from guided tours, but an Australian friend who had enjoyed a tour here some years ago talked me into having one more go.


I was delighted as these gentle people from Australia were not like the "lets DO Ireland in 5 days" maniacs who also wish to circuit the entire coastline and trace about a thousand years of family ancestry, from great grandmother backwards along the way - all in 5 days.


This was 14 days in a section of Ireland focused on Brighid and the Goddesses. There was no treading over much darkness, no famine, no troubles, no clearances, no family background searches. This was a relaxed inspiring adventure on one area of mythology this is not focused on so strongly through my other activities.


I believe this journal of Finding Bhrighid is a template of how wonderful a spiritual pilgrimage visit through Ireland can be

click here to discover more



Claire Roche Music

These are the  pages introducing the wonderful enchanting Claire Roche.


Here are her songs, harps, piano and is a wonderful way to keep in touch with all that Claire does and performs.


Here you can listen to her music, watch videos and see where she is performing, along with other news.

click here to discover more



Live From Woodford House

Circumstances have prevented Claire Roche and myself from touring and performing like we used to.


Meanwhile, broadband services have became faster in Dublin, especially upload speeds. Add this to improvements in laptops, and the always improving digital data transporting language through the internet. These advances have opened doors to simplified inexpensive live broadcasting online.


Claire and myself have started a series of three concerts programmes, Claire with songs and harps, Claire with songs and piano, and both of us performing Ogma's Tale Of The Trees. We do these three shows in rotation in. With each concert we learn more about this pioneering and exciting medium.

click here to discover more



Live Broadcasts Of You

The more we learn about Online Broadcasting, the more people  seem to ask us about how they could do this too. This has all happened quite quickly.


Online Broadcasting is not just for songs and music performances but also for poetry recitals, storytelling, presentations, interviews, demonstrations, conversations, drama sketches, course introductions, meditations and just about anything that appears on TV and video sets.


At present these pages are extensions of Live From Woodford House but will shortly have their own independent site space.

click here to discover more



Local Food Hubs Ireland

This content also does not have its own space yet. Actually, there is not much content posted here yet, but there is a lot of back of the internet work going on with this.


Local Food Hubs Ireland has been inspired by our Bards In The Woods picnics. These picnics have brought us a lot of fun and joy on Sundays, and more understanding about local food, their supplies, gardening and foraging.


There is a lot of interest now in seeing how we can obtain more of our food locally. Farm to Fork is often spoken off. Food considerations are now going further into green thinking with more action with creating and maintaining permaculture and food forests. Animal and poultry stewardship are taking different steps too.


This is a kind of 'watch this space' part of The Celtic Ways Collection

click here to discover more



Waterways Around Ireland

My kind of heaven is to be in a forest, beside water, for quiet mindfulness time then having some fun with a picnic in the same place, same space. I have as much passion for water as I have for trees.


Like many people I get upset and concerned about the threats of fracking, chemical leeching from land into water and overall bad stewardship of water.


Another side is I love playing in water, I love canals, and love being on boats on canals.


This currently links to one of our adventures. There are more water adventures that I have blogged. Eventually they will all be linked together. For now I hope you enjoy re-visiting this taster as I did :-)

click here to discover more



Woodland Bard

This is actually a bit of an embarrassment. Through my life all kinds of 'nicknames' have been attached to me, but usually these are honest names related to who I am and what I am doing at the time. They are more honest than my registered family and dynasty name.


Today, its 'Woodland Bard'.  The intent of these pages is to park the 100s of poems and stories I have scattered on computers, in folders, storage drawers, in other people's storage drawers, posted on the social media in all sorts of places. ... and now I wish to drive them into this one place.


When?  No idea as this is in position 13
within The Celtic Ways Collection, which explains a lot.
One of the collection for each moon, some may say,
so this is reserved for attention during the 13th moon ???

click here to discover more




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