Tag Archives: Christian mysticism

The Celtic Soul

I have been contemplating the nature of the soul in Celtic Spirituality for quite some time now, and as I work my way slowly and thoughtfully through John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara, I am reminded again of this very precious and beautiful gem of history. Frank MacEowen also addresses this belief in The Myst Filled Path.

The Celts believed that the body was contained within the soul. The soul extends beyond our body and reaches out to connect with other souls. In fact, all things have soul. The trees in the forest, the mountains, the hawk soaring above, the fish in the river, even the rocks under foot. The Earth herself has soul. We can connect and communicate with the soul of the beings around us.

This is very foreign and strange to our Western ears, which for so many of us have heard that the soul is contained within the body. When we were born, a soul was put into our bodies. When we die, the body decays and the soul moves on. A bit like on Loony Tunes, when the white angelic spirit wisps away from the dead character. It is very Western to think in terms of body and spirit, or body and mind. O’Donohue writes that it is the soul that connects the body and the mind. It is the soul that is connected, and connects us to, God-in-all-things.

So I have been sitting with this for quite some time now… because it really is such an incredibly different way of seeing the world and God and myself and my connection to God. I am drawn to a more mystical expression of my Christian heritage. I am drawn to the wild places, the mystery places, the times between times when the veil is thin. I am drawn to knowing Christ in all things.

This notion of the body being contained within the soul changes so many things. I now am drawn to consider how I care for that soul that is holding and enlivening everything within it. I am now faced with that deep connection that I feel in the presence of my beloved or in the magic of the sun-kissed horizon. To do damage to the soul of another being is to do damage to my own soul. Implications… consequences… connections.

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Finding my voice

I am beginning a course at George Fox Seminary called The History of Christian Spirituality and Renewal. I am eating it up… loving the opportunity to explore the depths of the tradition I call my own. At the same time, I am learning so much of my own ancestral lineage (at www.myheritage.com) and how my heritage fits into the story of England, the United States, and Christianity. Fascinating!
I have known at a very early age that my life is to be about guiding people on the spiritual path. And yet, for so long, I really didn’t understand what benefit Christianity offered to the world other than security in the afterlife. It is only after being in Bend, OR, where so many of my community really don’t want to have anything to do with Christianity or the church that I am learning what I have to offer. It is an interesting journey to learn the joy of my spiritual tradition from engaging in community with those who don’t practice it.
And yet, I still haven’t found my voice. I know the “what” but I don’t understand the “how” yet. My heart is overflowing these days as I study, research, write, and contemplate the depth at which I desire to engage the world around me. Here I am, resonating so deeply with Celtic spirituality, Christian mysticism, creation spirituality, indigenous and wisdom-based cultures, elements of Shamanism and Native American spirituality, masculine / feminine spirituality, psychology… and at the same time so very committed to the reality that is Christ in the world.
The clarity of my offering is within me somewhere. These times at present are so focused on living it, experimenting, and experiencing. My writing is not always clear. My speaking is often incomplete and jumbled… a heartfelt, and often spirit-led “BLEGH” of thoughts that come to me in the moment. I know… I feel… and yet I am so often still a baby trying to get my legs under me.