Tearmann Teanga

*Working Document*

As a basis for practical actions

to nourish connection with culture, language & place.

 

This is envisaged as having three avenues – as a vehicle of enquiry and experiment, adventure, creativity, education and innovation:

Place

( logainmneacha, folklore schools archives, local memory, in situ walks and explorations, creation of experiences in place to animate the local – language as anarchipuncture )

People

(developing contact, engaging community, complimentary relationships )

Perspective 

(informed by folklore, linguistics, anthropology, anecdote, statistics, testimony, anomaly, example, fact

 

Laying the groundwork and building a foundation requires a survey of the territory. I am aware of the courses in pleanáil teanga – yet whatever this is, is proposed as artistic, ethnographic, personal, poetical, philosophical, pedagogical basis for enquiry and framing action within a broader context of “the indigenous”, including connection with earth and place, being ‘trauma sensitive’ and recognising that potential energy can be released as troubling content from the past is cast to be liberated and free – as healing occurs. And that

new and unseen forces, capacities and relational abilities may be possible.

This is the new frontier.


GATHERING : LE CHÉILE

:: Offerings Via Zoom ::

 

“Tá brón orm”
I am sorry …
These words can mean I am sorry or literally ” sadness is upon me”
I have always found it interesting how the Irish language allows room for manoeuvre – rather than the self-identification that is implied within the English language of “being sad” – like a cloud, the emotion is allowed some freedom and flow, it may come but it is not who we are. Just like wearing a coat…
I have felt sadness recently, a person of immense sensitivity, warmth and genius ( his grandfather called him “the gentle genius!”) passed away at a young age ( of a heart attack). His was a ferocious and gracious love of the Irish language, in fact for many years wrote a blog ( sadly now inaccessible ) called “Gaelgáire” which might be translated as  “the laughing Gael”.
Playful. dancing, creative and funny – Brian ‘O Murchadha was an inspiration. He also inspired me on my journey in bringing the Irish language into my own life – and so I remember him today as I share these reflections with you.
I have been gestating the idea of Tearmann Teanga “Sanctuary of Language” for some time as a vision. This has been a calling to share an approach to the Irish language where it may be approached as the animal that it is:  of the earth, of the spirit, curious, rich in medicine – in need of safe spaces.
Through these challenging times, despite the multiple crises that collectively we may be facing – I like to return to the insect-eye view, the tender shoots pushing through the earth, as life continues all around us within the natural world. Life, within the wheel of the year, has moved now from the realm of the darkness stepping fully into the growing light at Spring Equinox. We are in the fiery fullness of springtime and those seeds that we have planted in the winter months can finally come into the light of day.
One of the visions I have held close to my heart is that of creating nurturing spaces for the Irish language – to encounter and understand from different perspectives : physiological, philosophical, historical, emotional, spiritual, whimsical… from the rooted connection to place and the embodied sounding of musical expression, accent and rhythm.
I am curious about how to create a very rich ground through which to nourish a different perspective – and to find common root with all of humanity, beyond the blinding lights of what has passed as progress.
Language provides this unifying thread – a key factor is that the vast experience held within spoken and written words also invites humility, and gratitude : and these two ingredients open the door to a temple – the temple of the heart.
The journey to re-embody and reacquaint ourselves with a language that may have resounded as a natural tongue among our ancestors, is a tender journey, I believe. For me it has involved negotiating the emotional terrain of loss, of disembodiment , of lost limb, of alienation even. The threshold – first begins as a kind of heroes journey, acknowledging the quest at hand, surveying the terrain, charting a map, choosing ones soul armour, one’s cloak of power, one’s allies, one’s mentors and guides. Like a game, that one never plays alone, it also involves hidden allies – unseen supporters and the ever present hum of distraction, a question ” why are you doing this?” or, the popular “sure , that’s a dead language, it is of the past – what use is that to us now?”.
For the most part – this may seem like an indulgence, but, know that it is also a quest to reclaim a part of soulful sensing into ways of being and perceiving that are, like so many animals, endangered now. The wild and wise, indigenous, rooted, connected, embodied expression of humanity – one that is intoxicated with the beauty of nature and faithful in guardianship of earth. Because awakening to the hidden awesome beauty of resonant earth, vibrating Life in every thread of being, is also an awakening of our own inextricable life force, bound up in the rich fabric of the cosmos. We are One – and yet so much suffering arises from the division, duality , dissociation and dis-ease the story of separation, of linear time, of having to fight. The story and the capacity of nature within the context of the infinite abundance, which has been a capacity of our planet, is a story that is sorely needed, to be experienced. Today.
How does this relate to language? I believe that language like land, provides the ground of our being and our relating. There can be so much communicated in silence, in nuance, in presence – and yet language inscribes sound as a medium of relationship – in the space between us; while simultaneously also evoking that presence of those hidden voices implicit within our speaking.
When I was at college in Cork, I recall a conversation with a supervisor I had, Mel Mercier and in reflecting on song he asked “or is it that the song sings us?”… In a similar way, how do we become.. through the impact of words, of sound, of articulation.
I invite you to explore with me the nuances of holding space for Irish.
Sharing poetry, song, historical perspectives and stories to nourish, inspire and support your journey with the Irish language. This is conceived as a nurturing space, holding a container together, allowing room for curiosity and mutual co-creation.
Six weeks 7-9pm GMT Wednesdays
A Journey of Finding Sanctuary in the Language of Ireland
Today, as we observe the widespread suffering that comes from disconnection from our roots, and the earth – a civilisation out of balance. Moving beyond division requires us to find routes to wholeness. Culturally, the loss of indigenous languages has been a great wound – akin to the loss of biodiversity, of wild spaces, of species.
To re-wild our inner landscape is to create new habitats – it is to find common ground and to find new perspectives that can allow our souls to breathe. To find sanctuary and foster safety, to sing a tender lullaby rather than a march of war. It is  about re-stitching lost threads of connection and enough ness, of depth of being, in place, upon the earth.  And allowing  faoiseamh – relief – so that the language allows us to access a other realms of consciousness and connection to chart a route towards freedom –  from unwholesome narratives that  have dominated our culture.
Rather than speaking only to the mind, this approach offers a different way of relational learning through embodied experience – using the music, song and poetry to support a journey that is it’s own reward.
Cén fáth an Ghaeilge – Why Irish? 
Cultivating safety – Weaving connection – Sounding the language, exploring the basics. Finding your Voice.
 
Gluaiseacht – Movement
Sparking the Torch – Introducing key figures of the Irish language movement – writings and speeches.
An Teanga Scríofa  -The Written Language
Introducing the visual forms of Irish : Ogham and early Irish scripts – Practice writing your name and have fun decoding texts.
Fréamhaithe – Rooted 
A whimsical  introduction to the Gaeltact regions of Ireland the different dialects and caniúntaí – accents.
Tacaíocht – Support
Celebration : Looking ahead – weaving possibilities, finding your voice.
Resources for supporting your  continued journey with Irish.
This is not envisaged as an Irish language course but rather as a unique embodied journey of experience and encounter to share the cultural and historical context of the language  with a view to supporting  deeper understanding and engagement   – to motivate your journey learning the language. Suitable for absolute beginners.
Tearmann Teanga 1
 Ag Teacht Le Chéile
7-8pm
April 20th

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Denser Thoughts

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Much has been written about Irish history that is charged, that is like an unexploded bomb :

“don’t talk about it… “

Words fail us when confronted with intense suffering on a vast scale – and today, as the substructures that are encoded and embedded within our own culture are perhaps, triggered within the context of war, again the territory appears to be doubly incendiary. However, I would pose the question and the possibility that what we are looking at is the playing out, collectively, of our own unexamined painful past, collectively. And that, through acknowledging, through the compassionate act of self care and restitution that is  giving space to one’s ancestral, cultural and personal stories, in a non-verbal, embodied way with a view to release, to nourishment, to gathering the compost of that glorious shit-heap of human history; so that, together, we can grow flowers, fruit and be nourished in turn by their blossoming. For, too often, the stories that we have been told, that we have learned or we have heard, are mere veneer, mere sound byte – there is no feeling in them, no deeper thread or substance through which we can see and find ourselves : as an orientation. The speed that has characterized our ‘civilized progress’ is also the speed of running away – because the world that is being created through all this speed, it is becoming clear to see, is not one worth running to ! To turn, to hold the brakes, to take a breath and to simply “be with” that which we are truly carrying, holding, perpetuating – to raise up a compassionate lens, a space of sanctuary – to dig a well that we too can drink from pristine waters, that run cool and deep – just underneath beneath that apparantly solid ground that we have been walking upon. Will you come with me to the well for water ? Will you listen and hold vigil ? For they will come, all that has been forgotten, all that has been cast aside – we will hear their voices, and also hear the robin sing. We will learn again the language of the earth and cosmos, and find our true human birth as sons and daughters of the stars.

As has been said many times :

“We are the one’s we have been waiting for”

 

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“Perhaps the fact that the Famine coincided with the most rapid decline in the use of the Irish language accentuates the difficulty of the survivors of Famine making the transition through the trauma of the ‘‘empty mouth’’ to the restitu- tion of a social discourse on loss through language. But the very insistence of colonial domination makes of this fact an instance in which mourning itself might be seen as the unhealthy response and melancholy a form of recalcitrant survival, a conserving of the loss as loss, even if in occulted forms.”

David Lloyd, The Indigent Sublime, Specters of Irish Hunger.

 

Setting the Stage for Conversation

 

To signal

To call

To mark out a safe space

To explore what that might mean

 

To turn –

As in a dance,

a vague romance that is all about the movement-

this way or that:

but at every moment,

eye to eye,

hip to hip and thigh to thigh-

so we don’t loose our footing in the rhythm of Life –

 

Turning is none other than a turning away from those forces that do not serve the perpetuation of the human race, culturally, socially, politically – as a living breathing inter-dependent and isomorphic entity so enmeshed with narratives, forces, unseen influence. To make plain and visible that which has been occluded. It is ironic, perhaps, to acknowledge that the very fact of historico-religious ‘occlusion’ through the willful decimation of all that which did not serve the narrow dictat of ‘progress’ is also an implicit enactment of that which was called “The Occult”. The hidden.

When something is deliberately annihilated through multiple strategies – that include undermining, open castigation, public humiliation, rectitude.

To be worthless. To feel worthless. To be sidelined. To be maligned. To be hated. To be feared. To be considered ‘weird’. These and so many other bitter pills are part of the integration of that which is truly of value.

 

Because, paradoxically, the very thing that brings us aliveness. to be alive. is the opposite of the word ‘evil’ which is the inverse of the word LIVE. To be evil is to be anti life, to negate life. Now, how many things can we impartially and with a neutral mind assign to that category ?

Life includes the modes of expression, of rich memory, of feeling, of perception, of thought, of being, of embodiment, of modes of social organisation, of exchange, of integration, of vision, of prophecy. Life, itself is also part of that which was made to be subaltern, cast aside.

 

I have admired the work of Seán ‘O Riada, the composer, teacher, author and alchemist of culture who, in a generation, transformed the ‘middle class’ perceptions of what was hiterto considered a music of the poor: traditional Irish music. The narrow line between appropriation and innovation, between that which can elucidate, animate and empower those who were marginalised within a mainstream narrative, or even ignored – and those whose claims to authority are built exclusively upon inherited prejudice and habitual modes of thought – is a line that is fraught with jagged certitude : it is that liminal moment where the veil thins and that which was considered ‘Reality’ is revealed as a mere social agreement. The hidden capacity to generate prosperity, abundance, joy and therefore goodness is hindered only by the defunct, fraud of an economic system ( and the machinations of power that attribute value) that eludes the eco-nomos : “care of the home”.

Agreements can change.

Agreements have changed.

We agree, now, that black people are not animals, are not to be slaves. We agree that women are not children and have a right to education and self-realisation beyond the expectations of service. We agree that the earth needs a chance – but can we agree to change the fundamental basis of our western civilization : and dig deeper than we ever have, and with a passion and an urgency that is wrought in the furnace of fact, and not look away and not wait for another day.

Another day will never come.

What we have is NOW.

So,

Conas atá tú?