Week 1: Mythic Voices Mythic Times

About Event 1: Ireland 1850 to 1875

This is the Post Famine Period where a broken nation struggled to put things back together. I million people had died and 1.5 million had emigrated. Things had been so traumatic that even the wish to tell stories stopped. The music stopped. 

The Inputs for this Event were:

1) The Mythic History of Ireland (in 10 minutes)

Sandy gives an Overview of the Mythic History focussing particularly on the core values and world view that can be deduced from the Irish Creation stories within Lebor Gabála, the Book of Invasions. These include the distributed power thinking and the idea of the 5thProvince, the centrality of storytelling, the ability to handle crisis and that these are “the people from somewhere else”

2) The Famine – An Overview

Tom takes us through an short overview of the Famine. What he does here is paint the historical context, before bringing the horrors to life with some very powerful personal testimonies from eye witnesses. He then highlights how the Policy of the English

Government was informed by a mix of free market thinking ( today’s neoliberalism) and an outright prejudice against the colonised people. This was evident in written material but was also part of the popular media, such as cartoons.

3) The Impact of Paul Cullen and Sacred Heart Catholicism

Immediately after the Famine and in 1850 there was the arrival of a Paul Cullen from Rome. He became a towering figure in Irish Catholicism with his strict Sacred Heart re-packaging

of the religion. What he did do though was bring some much needed stability, order and pride to a troubled nation. Sandy gives an introduction along with some of the other powerful influences – Victorian attitudes to sexuality and also the Rhodedendron1

4) Queen Victoria – Her Story

Fiona uses her imagination and storytelling skills to tell the Victoria story in the first person. This is an approach we are building in to the Mythic Voices program…. imagined personal storytelling.  Particularly strong in Fiona’s telling is Victoria’s attitude to the Irish and the story of her visit to Ireland and also the story of her son Bertie and his Irish de-flowering!

In the context of Victorian attitudes to sexuality this is an interesting example of micro story meeting macro story.

5) Biddy Early – Her Story

Much of Irish Culture was destroyed by the famine. But one remnant of the old ways were the healers, women who passed on their natural magic and natural herbal ways from generation to generation. Again, Fiona tells the Biddy Early, the County Clare healer story from her, Biddy’s  perspective. Her interaction with the highly critical Church is a highlight of this story. And remember, this was a time when such gifted women were described as witches.

6)  The Morrigan

In the spirit of the Bard and this Mythic Voices program we brought in the Goddesses. In this case it was one of  Karina Tynan’s wonderful re-tellings. This time it was a poem of the Morrigan, the War Goddess and her take on what she saw. The inclusion of a silenced voice, that of the Goddesses during this period is something we wanted to be central to the Mythic Voices Mythic Times program.

Barbara Fitzgerald

Transgenerational Trauma, Culture and Memory

This Mythic Minds evening explores the effects of Trauma on Culture and offers a framework for understanding how trauma is passed on through generations.

Barbara Fitzgerald is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist. She is delivers education programs for to develop professional psychoanalyst. She is past chair of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy, a member of the editorial board of the International Journal for Psychotherapy. She has worked extensively in Eastern Europe, including, at this time, Ukraine.

Part 1

Part 2

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