Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Celtic Birds (Many thanks to my friend Andrew Howe for sending this to me last night )

The Celts were originally a diverse group of tribes stretching from Ireland in the west to Scotland in the north to modern Turkey in the east and the Iberian Peninsula in the south. The ancient Celts had a complex, polytheistic religion emphasizing the power of nature. Eventually many of them fused their ancient beliefs with the practices and symbolism of Christianity.

The Celts flourished from 500BC to 400AD and were later reduced in numbers and geographic spread by both the Roman expansion and Germanic immigration. Their rich Iron Age culture continues to influence the art and culture of the modern world. Among the most utilized Celtic symbols were those based on animal forms,
Celtic Symbols: Crane

The crane has a remarkable position in Celtic lore. The crane is believed to be the messenger of the gods and to have a high degree of wisdom. The crane represents higher states of consciousness. In addition, both the male and female crane incubate their eggs and protect their young. For this reason, they are also symbolic of parenthood. Cranes avoid direct confrontation whenever possible, and exhibit a complex array of threatening behaviors when necessary to prevent battles. Thus, they are symbolic of peace-keeping.
Celtic Symbols: Duck

The duck is a migratory bird, representing adaptability and instinctual drive necessary for survival. In Celtic art and beliefs, ducks are also symbols of honesty and simplicity. They are also sensitive and graceful while in their natural element, which is water, representing the emotions and indicating their comfort in the world of feelings.

Celtic Symbols: Goose

Geese are also migratory birds, but return each year to the same spot in the spring. They are symbols of home and loyalty to one's home, including nationalism and patriotism. The goose is in the same family as swans and ducks. The word gander is often used for a male goose.

Celtic Symbols: Hawk

Like many birds, the hawk is considered to be a messenger between the physical and spiritual worlds. The hawk is a keen hunter and symbolizes skill, boldness, strength (for one's size), clarity of purpose, decisiveness and nobility. To be compared to a hawk is the highest of complements.
Celtic Symbols: Heron

The heron is noted for intelligence and solitude. As a Celtic symbol, the heron represents patience, independence and longevity. Herons are also known as egrets and bitterns. They are sometimes confused with storks, but fly with their necks retracted rather than outstretched.
Celtic Symbols: Magpie

As a Celtic symbol, the magpie is associated with prophecy and omens of life and death. The magpie is common throughout Europe, Asia and northwest Africa. The magpie is often associated with unhappiness, trouble and bad luck. If respect is shown to a magpie, especially through a proper greeting whenever seen, misfortune may be avoided.

Celtic Symbols: Owl

The owl has long been associated with the spiritual and the magical. In Celtic symbolism, the owl is noted for wisdom, keen sight, and patience. The owl is a guide in the underworld and an effective hunter. The owl can help to reveal those who would take advantage of another or deceive others.

Celtic Symbols: Raven

The raven is often viewed as a symbol of destruction and despair and as the harbinger of bad news. For the Celts, however, the raven could be a symbol of vision, power and healing since challenging events often clear the way for new life and new opportunities.

In Celtic lore, the rooster has the ability to chase away ghosts, demons and night terrors. The rooster symbolizes safety and protection. A rooster is a male chicken, with the female referred to as a hen. A rooster is highly territorial and protective. Roosters not only crow at dawn, but also at any time during the day and have been known to crow at the moon at night.

Celtic Symbols: Seagulls

The seagull is associated with Lir, a Sea-God in Celtic lore. Like many birds, the seagull flies between the earth and the heavenworld, bringing messages to mortals. Gulls are highly intelligent with a complex social structure developed partly to ward off predators. Gulls live in colonies and sometimes utilize tools.
Celtic Symbols: Sparrow

The sparrow is a Celtic symbol of memory, remembrance and ancestral knowledge. Sparrows often nest in and around buildings and can be found in large numbers in cities. Sparrows are indigenous to Europe, Africa and Asia and were imported to America by settlers. They now live throughout the United States and in South America.

Celtic Symbols: Swan

The swan is a symbol of grace, beauty, elegance, divinity and radiance. The swan is a mystical bird with a deep connection to music. Swans aid in the interpretation of dreams and assist in the process of spiritual development. The feather of swans are considered to have mystical properties and have been used to decorate ceremonial robes.
Celtic Symbols: Wren

The wren is a sacred bird viewed by the Celts as the king of all birds. According to legend, the wren flew further than the eagle in a race to the sun. This gave the wren a special place in the traditional role of birds as messengers of the gods.

The wren is particularly associated with the god of thunder. Some species forage in dark crevices, and the name comes from "cave-dweller". Most species are non-migratory and build dome-shaped nests. Wrens often live in close association with humans.

Many thanks to my friend Andrew Howe for sending this to me last night 

Love and light from the wee rusty tin can here in the Scottish highlands............ Alba gu brath

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Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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