Posts Tagged ‘ireland’

Brigid, Goddess & Saint

February 1, 2014 2 comments



Occasionally, RT remembers that this blog is called The Rag Tree. Why might this title be relevant today? Because today is Imbolc, traditionally the first day of spring in Ireland, and a day sacred to the celtic goddess Brigid, who, after Ireland was Christianized, became St. Brigid. Both incarnations of the lady were protectors of poets.

And in case readers might think the association with poetry idle, Brigid is credited with having inventing keening, a traditional lament for the dead sung by women at a funeral. The practice, discouraged by the Catholic Church, went extinct in the 19th century, and RT, on a quick inspection of the net, has found only this recording of keening at YouTube. As raw as the sound is on the recording, RT suspects that traditional keening was more disciplined and powerful. By all accounts, it was something amazing to experience at a funeral.

RT will digress briefly by noting that the goddess’s helmet appears to be surmounted by a goose and a horse-hair braid. Both geese and horses were important in celtic mythology. And, while we’re on the topic, Brigid has been identified with the Roman goddess Minerva.


RT closes with a further thought on his recent post on the state of the Unions: cultural rights attach not only to places but are in fact legal rights that have become ritual habit, for instance, the veneration of holy wells (or of certain pagan deities). Culture is world-view; law aims to improve world-view, and can succeed if it has the resources to effect change slowly.


Photo: Statue of a Celtic Goddess, probably Brigid (Brigantia). Author: Paul Barlow. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

YouTube Video: Standard YouTube License.


Picture of the Day- January 9, 2014

January 9, 2014 2 comments


some happiness from Ireland…enjoy!   RT

(reposted from Natalia Maks)


Picture of the Day- January 9, 2014.

In Memoriam, Seamus Heaney, Irish Poet

August 30, 2013 4 comments

File:Antoni Milosz & Seamus Heaney 2004.jpg

Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate in Literature (1995) and the greatest living Irish poet, has died. He was 74.

RT only encountered Heaney’s work about 12 years ago, but was immediately impressed. The dignity of Heaney’s voice, his material rooted in the deep culture and history of Ireland, and his command of a prosody that seems older than the old–Beowulf and Sweeney Astray are fine examples of Heaney’s work–lend his poems a power and beauty seldom achieved.  Certainly, they are among the greatest ever penned in an island where people sing like birds in a tree.

“Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.”

from “Digging”

The Irish poet passes, but the song remains….  RT

Photo: Seamus Heaney (middle right) with Antoni Milosz (son of Czeslaw Milosz), Cracow, 2004. Author: Mariusz Kubik. WikiCmns; Public Domain w/ Attribution.


‘Spike Island’

a beautiful landscape from Ireland…   RT

(reposted from fionafaulkes)

‘Spike Island’.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

March 17, 2013 2 comments

File:Aran Island stone walls.jpg


may you have the luck of the Irish!!   RT


Photo: Stone Wall Plots on Inisheer, Aran Islands. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


Cats in the Sink and Frogs in the Pond!

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment


good cheer from a wise irish lady… enjoy!   RT

(reposted from Bealtaine Cottage)


Cats in the Sink and Frogs in the Pond!.

Midsummer in an Irish Permaculture Garden

June 24, 2012 2 comments

Hello from a blissful cottage in Ireland!    RT

Midsummer in an Irish Permaculture Garden.