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:
( logainmneacha, folklore schools archives, local memory, in situ walks and explorations, creation of experiences in place to animate the local – language as anarchipuncture )
(developing contact, engaging community, complimentary relationships )
(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 ::
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”
“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 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.
Conas atá tú?