I have been reading the first of the books in Caiseal Mór's Wellspring Trilogy. This is the third of his trilogies I have encountered, the first two being The Wanderers Trilogy and the Watchers Trilogy. On a weekend when I am receiving gifts to celebrate the anniversary of my birth, I am struck by how profound a gift these books have been, and continue to be, to me.
Mór writes in these books stories of ancient Ireland, the coming of Gaels to Innisfail, then Christians, then Normans, and the challenges that brings to the people of this land and their identity, spirituality, their way of being in the world.
As he writes, he crafts characters - storytelling, poetry weaving, song spinning, bard-druids - that resonate with me. The bards and druids and holy men and women of these stories form a mirror to my own soul, my own being, that help me to see myself clearly, to hear my calling and claim it with courage.
In the Wanderers Trilogy, I met Druids who hold the stories of their people, wandering through the various communities of the land and staying for a time or a season to tell the stories, to witness and weave the new stories being lived. These druids remind the people of who they are, who they have been, and how they are to continue becoming. These stories helped me to claim my identity as a storyteller-poet, to bring together the ecclectic elements of my being that had been tearing me in many directions, and to embrace, not fear, my nomadic tendencies.
And the extra gift was the name of the books from my mentor at the time, who saw in me something of the Celtic bards of the Wanderers stories.
In the Watchers Trilogy, I discovered Druids who performed the rituals for the people, presided at the ceremonies, reminded the people of the Sacred, and invited them to take the time to pause, give honour to the Sacred and to all Life.
In the Wellspring Trilogy I am encountering a quite eccentric narrator-storyteller-holy woman, describing a community of deep faith and eccentricity that both affirms and sheds new light on my delight and wonder in God. She says, 'There never was a tale without a quest. There never was a story without a transformation ...'
My story, and perhaps yours, has been a tale of my quest to discover my self, my fullest being, my healing and my wholeness. This moment in my life sees me finally living into dreams I have had for myself, more fully becoming the creative woman of God I always yearned to be. Mentors have travelled beside me and guided me; stories have challenged, inspired and transformed me; the Spirit has delighted me and with me with each step further into my becoming.
The gift I gave myself this week, kind of for my birthday, kind of just because now is the time, is a tattoo of a quill. I have been planning to get this tattoo for nearly 20 years, while I have been dreaming of being a writer. It occurs to me that I am. I have been storyteller and poet for some years now. The tattoo marks this moment of not just hoping that is who I might one day be, but who I know myself to be and to be becoming - for we never 'arrive', we always grow or we cease to live. In this moment I see something of those druids in me, I accept the seat I have at the table of my community: the seat of the storyteller-poet. I am one of those who tells our Story and our stories, I hear our stories and provide the spaces in which they are told, I preside at the rituals and ceremonies and invite people to pay attention to the Sacred all around us, and I embrace the eccentricity about me and about those with whom I share life, and seek to encourage healing and wholeness.
I am a person who appreciates symbols. The druids of Mór's tales wear their role symbolically (it is a symbolic role in many respects), with partially shaved heads & dreadlocked hair, with their garments and harps and walking staffs, and with tattoos of celtic symbols. The quill - writing implement of Shakespeare's time, the storyteller-poet who inspires me so much - has been a symbol for me of who I longed to be. Now that I am living within that dream, not watching it from a distance, I have put that symbol close to my hand - the hand with which I write, with which I reach out to embrace others, with which I offer the bread and the wine and pour the water of baptism.
The gift I receive from the Sacred Source of Life is the gift I offer to my community: I am a storyteller-poet, and I am deeply grateful for the gift and the chance to offer it.
May we work together for a world in which all have the chance to discover, nurture, embrace and share the gift of their fullness of being.