A Living Landscape

A Living Landscape

John O’Donohue often wrote or spoke about the Irish way of experiencing the landscape. Long ago the goddess Eriu, was sovereign over Her land. The modern name Eire evolved from the name of the goddess. So people of Ireland have a long history of living in sacred relationship with the landscape.

When I visited Ireland in September 2017 and again last February, I was amazed at how present the spirits of the land and sea were with me. I simply had to cast a thought or feeling out to nature and was immediately enveloped with a deep connection to the place. Since returning, I have puzzled over this phenomena.

For example, one of the places my friend and I stayed was a newer holiday home development. It was near Clifden on the west coast and on a small river. The energy felt ‘off’ there. Like something was amiss….not dangerous or seedy but like there was imbalance.

The morning after sleeping the only night there, I walked out along the edge of the forest overlooking the river. It snowed during the night so it was quite lovely. I took my newly purchased Low D Irish Whistle and stood along the woodland and played it with the intention of gratitude for the spirits there. As soon as I began I felt the energy shift and it was as if the spirits were peeking out from hiding places.

I kept playing with the same intention and started looking around and saw, buried beneath snow and brambles, trash from the construction that had been tossed over the edge. It was an obvious disconnection from the beauty and disrespect for the spirits of the land. With ease I sensed their appreciation for someone noticing and remembering them. I wept in the cold, freezing snow as I sensed the return flow of gratitude.

It wasn’t until I was finishing my newest book, The Stone Hut, I realized the answer to a question that haunted me since I first returned from Ireland. The question was this: How can I connect so effortlessly with the energies of nature in Ireland and here, in the United States, it’s like they are guarded, wary and often unwilling to connect. Understanding finally dawned as I watched John O’Donohue’s video, A Celtic Pilgrimage, for the ga-zillionth time.

Irish people have had a genuine love and appreciation for a living landscape that goes back literally ages. For some reason, the deep immersion of writing about ancient Ireland in my book and O’Donohue’s explanation helped me understand that in the US, the land here has been ‘conquered’ and put to use with little care or concern. It’s the anthesis of walking into a living landscape….it’s walking into open space and nothing more–empty space ready for development and building and conquering.

I suspect this is the fundamental problem with the US as we see the terrible darkness emerge from the collective unconscious of our foundation. We can blame a government administration but in reality I offer that the true difficulty lies in the way in which this country was began….conquering of sovereign, native people–with deep respect for the land–by invaders that declared themselves lord over every tree, animal, river, and rock.

No wonder the spirits of the land are hesitant to connect with humans. Centuries of two-legged domination would make the most beautiful of spirits wary…rightly so.

I have longed to return to Ireland, to live there along the west coast. The amazing spiritual energy is still very much intact–a rarity in this increasingly manic world. What I discovered, in writing The Stone Hut, was a call to wholeness within myself from which all relationships can be birthed. I don’t know if I’ll ever live there, but wherever I live I will be more conscious of what I bring to the living landscape and what I can do to cherish and protect it and all life there.

My first thought, in writing this blog, was it was a way to procrastinate the tedious process of formatting my book for E-book reading. While it began as that, it unfolded into something I have wanted to piece together and express for a very long time.

Look for my new e-book, The Stone Hut, coming very soon. It’s a story that crosses time and place set in ancient and modern-day Ireland. Archetypal characters take readers beyond the two characters to the realm of soul.


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