On a sunny day in September of 2005 I found myself striding across a landscape that I had previously known only in my dreams. With a sense of mingled reverence and triumph and with ravens wheeling wildly through the sky above, I walked at last among the grassy hills of Tara, seat of the High Kings of Ireland since the Gods themselves had ruled there. Passing the great Mound of the Hostages on my right I came at last to a single stone standing alone within the expanse of green rolling hills. This was the Lia Fáil – the Stone of Destiny.
Most people think that mythology is something you read in a book and that is the end of it. When I explain to someone that I honor and worship the gods of ancient mythology (and not even a very well known mythology) they tend to look at me with some skepticism. Surely I must be joking. After all, if I used the word “myth” it must mean that I know these things are not real. Because as everyone knows: myth = false.
Except that this assumption is far removed from the truth and while this might be the popular, modern understanding of the word, it is not the actual, or original meaning. Mythology is the living narrative of the world around us. It is shaped by our individual experience of the world we know, manifest through culture and history and etched into the very shape of the land. Mythology speaks not of the truth or falsity of a thing but rather of it’s importance.
The mythology surrounding the Lia Fáil is as rich and deep as the soil it is planted in. It is said to be one of the four great treasures brought to Ireland by the Tuatha Dé Danann (the Gods of Ireland). The stone was said to roar when touched by the rightful king and it served as the visual personification of the king’s connection to the land he was to rule. The Hill of Tara, upon which the Stone rests, was constructed upwards of 5,000 years ago and has been a fixture in the Irish consciousness for nearly as long – and remains so today.
So why am I calling this blog the Stone of Destiny? Why start a blog in the first place?
As I stood on the Hill of Tara facing that famous stone, I was surrounded, finally, by the mythological landscape of my ancestors. Their stories became truly mine and I knew with a surety that I had finally come home. If there was any delusion present on that day it was in the fact that I honestly thought that my journey was over. I had felt myself called by the gods when I was little more than a child and I had answered that call to the best of my ability. Or so I believed – in that time and that place.
Reaching out my hand and touching Lia Fáil was not the end of my journey, but a pretty awesome beginning. I have a long way to go yet and part of the path before me involves finding my voice in the community. I have studied quietly in the hidden corners of society for too long. Knowledge was meant to be shared and in this day and age, words on a screen are about as close to reviving the old oral traditions of my ancestors as we are likely to come.
And so I invite you to join me here where I hope to discuss spirituality, culture, art, politics and the other mythologies of the day, if from a slightly different perspective.