Tír na Ceoilteorí (The Isle of Bards/ Tír na mBairdí)
Sometimes people, mistakenly, see the isle of Musicians and Bards as a mere pitstop, a rather nice place to visit, somewhere that music and relaxation can bring you; they are sadly mistaken, because the magic and power of the Isle of Musicians shines out like a beacon. Even since Man first abnged two rocks together to scare away teh Dark, music has been one of the oldest magics of all, Mankind's first attempt at magic, perhaps.
Before we had fire, we had the power of sound and that power is the most easily utilised and most powerful of our natural magical tools. It is in fact one of the few magical tools that comes actually from man rather than being drawn into us from outside or above. Our own life force is the other great built-in tool as it were. That power of sound, has branched off into
The power of speech ( and the power of the written word, although a seperate tool, is really a sublimation and harnessing of the power of sound...it is in essence if you like, the absence of sound.)
The power of music played on an instrument. This is the offshoot of banging rocks together and is extremely seminal process in that it is the seperate instrument which creates the sound but it is the inner creativity and imagination of the player that gives this sound power and meaning.
The power of the Voice. The voice can provide the most amazing power to a practitioner, as singing and chanting can create magical power and energy; also the "Pronouncing " or "Declaration" of a spell can effect greatly its usefulness and power.
The Sagas and story cycles of Ireland mention several powers associated with music. The magical pipers and Harpers could lull to sleep, charm to love or rouse to anger, and used special tunes and techniques to achieve this magic. The Instruments themselves could be bewitched, as they took on the characteristics of the tree spirit from which they were fashioned. The power of foresight was upon the great Bards, whose songs in praise or condemation of a hero of king could make and break them. If this wasn't enough they also might foretell your ending!!
The Isle of Bards is a pleasant place but has two sides; the side most people see is the merry side, full of performance and glitter, acclaim and great enjoyment , while the other side can be found in the rather humble buildings round the back, where the students and masters alike strive and study, pushing themselves beyond their natural limitations, seeking perfection in technique, emotion and execution, a serious, exhausting, sometimes bitter place but a place we must all visit at times in order to excell. The masters here are often harsh, always exacting and occasionally cruel. The students are greatly creative, but also selfcentred, suspicious, anxious, and very insecure.
Yet while this profound and extraordinary human endeavour goes on, it remains an amazing and unbreakable truth that even the most lowly visitor, the most humble inhabitant the least skilled and least adept performer, the child who ehards sheep on the mountain side, has the privilege to lift their voice in song, and to weave their own magic out of this. The Bards are the pinnacle of the harnessed power of music but the raw power exists within us all. Sometimes, ironically, it is the great masterpieces of the art of music nad poetry that fail us, that are captured and useless, but the simple song of revolution, of defience, of bravery still wanders free in the world. The Marseillaise, or the Ballad of Kevin Barry have inspired as much courage as any great work of Beethoven. The child who whistles in teh dark to give himself courage summons up as powerful and ancient a magic as the greatest and most skilful Bard.
even if you are not musical you can easily utilise the power of the Isle of Bards: Take a simple tune you know well, a nursery rhyme or pop song, that you can easily manage to sing. If you are afraid of setting of the neighbourhood dogs, do this in your bathroom or on teh side of a mountain (outdoors is a good place) write down simple lyrics, expressing a hope, dream or wish and sing it our loud, lustily, raucously. Enjoy even how BAD it sounds. Own that sound, forget about how it sounds to otehr ears, hear it only as it is relevant to you, with emotin and emphasis on the most important parts, the things you need and want, or your wishes. Feel the power this unleashes. Leave behind notions of taste or tunefulness, reach for the raw meaning, the raw energy contained in your voice, in your own sound.
Really let go -You will be very surprised by the results!
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