Did you ever realise that within the Irish imagination are four (perhaps five) complete worlds to immerse yourself in, with their own inspiring heroes, awesome villains and compelling stories that weave together in a separate and connected way.
Firstly there is the MYTHOLOGICAL CYCLE with the stories of the first people to come to Ireland in a series of Invasions. The stories establish the originating cultural heroine and hero as embodying wisdom, creativity, workers and all rounders (samhildanach) seeking to establish themselves against the continuous threat of the Formorians and the terrifying Balor of the evil eye. Here are echoes of shamanic archaic culture and the goddess culture.
Next cycle in the lest known of the myths, the ULSTER CYCLE, the Tain and the heroic figure of Cúchulain. Here we find the ultimate high achiever, a great fighter, the man of prodigious strength who puts his neck on the line for himself and his community. Here we immerse ourselves in a heroic circle, winning is what matters, no matter the collateral damage. And where we dig further into the stories we find very different aspects and layers to those popularly understood.
Then come another relatively well-known set of stories the FENIAN CYCLE with their central figure Fionn MacCumhaill and the Fianna. Here we find a world with a very different aesthetic, very different feel. Here remarkable achievement is combined with poetry and wisdom and perhaps a little magic. Some see this as the hero outside the tribe with Cúchulainn, the hero within the tribe. These tales offer a possible ‘rite’ of passage from boy to man as skills, wisdom and fellowship are internalised by those who join the nomadic tribe.
Finally, we have the little known KING CYCLE with an encoded wisdom of King or Leadership. It was a subject that the tribal society that was medieval Ireland would have known much about – they would have seen the consequences of good Kingship as abundance and prosperity for all whereas the bad King brought only a wasteland.
To immerse in these four worlds is to engage with the four great imaginations of the Irish archaic and medieval cultures. In these stories are the collective desires and goals of a people, a unique people who were for centuries to be an inspiration to a continent.
Did you ever think what it would be like to immerse yourself again in these wonderful stories? Would you be inspired, would you be wiser, would you perhaps change ……. as an individual? Because if you as an individual were to change and transform, surely one by one a whole culture would change?
Are you up for this call to an Adventure, a mythic Adventure?