Tir na Taibhse (the Isle of Ghosts)
At the center of our celtic society is a reverence for our ancestors and for their way of life; we turn to them for wisdom and for guidance; we honour their way of life and we seek to hand their values onto a new generation. There is comfort in the continuity, in the acknowledgement of the past and the sense of belonging to those souls who went before us.
We also allow for the possibility of reincarnation and the return of the soul to complete its experiences. We are haunted in our subconscious by the shades of our past lives and mistakes.
We are also required to encounter the actions of this life, and review the people and choices we have encountered up to now.
This is the isle of Ghosts; the isle of ancestors, of past lives and of our life to date. On this quiet and dark place, where every path is walked alone, shrouded in twilight and the wind whispers reverent dirges in the branches of ancient trees, we seek to encounter that which has gone before, sometimes our ancestral spirits or a past life experience or simply to understand things which have occurred in the past of this life. Of all the Isles, this one must be approached with reverence and also with a clear purpose. Before setting out on this isle, decide a clear purpose in advance; come you to worship the ancestors and to invoke their names or the aid?; come you to seek past lives and why?; come you to understand or amend a past action or remember those who have left you in this life?
On your first visit to the island it is best to seek and give thanks to your ancestors, and nothing else. Any other business can be attended to on your second journey there.
To worship the Ancestors and to honour them is a worthy exercise and should be done regularly without seeking a favour in return.
As you approach the Isle you will notice its silence, only an occasional low murmuring , like gentle Keening, can be heard. It is dark isle covered in a forest of fir and beech and dense ferns. You disembark in silence and solemnity and walk alone in whatever direction you prefer.
This is where you walk the quiet dark path, shrouding your face and neck in gauze and approach your ancestral site. Do you see a temple, an outdoor shrine, a sacred area, a stone circle, a mausoleum? Only your own soul knows the answer to this question. But when you reach this site, walk around it and familiarize yourself with it, feel your connection to it. Realize you will reside here someday, at least part of your soul and essence looks forward to rest here among its own. You carry with you an offering of wine, or mead; a loaf of bread wrapped in cloth and some meat in an earthenware jar. Place it at the entrance or in the center of (as appropriate) your site. Kneel and in low tones call upon the Ancestors. Call out the blood of your blood, bone of your bone, flesh or your flesh, whose souls are in your own, whose bravery, honour and wisdom are spoken of from generation to generation. Tell them how proud you are of your family, your name, the indefinable something within that tells you your place in the great scheme of the universe; tell them how you value your links to them; how you thank them for watching over you.
Leave them your offering and withdraw. Walk back through the dark and winding paths, still swathed in gauze until you reach the shore? do not speak to your crew or your comrades rather signal to them to put to see. Turn towards the island until you are well out at sea, then turn your back on it and unwrap yourself from the gauze. Feel the fresh air upon your skin, the sea breeze across your cheeks and lips. Stretch open your arms and allow the fluttering gauze to slip from your fingers and into the sea. You are once more among the living.
To seek favours from the ancestors is common. Ask them to bless and aid in - a union, alliance, business venture, trip, search for prosperity, pregnancy, fertility questions or birth, illness, death, friendship and camaraderie. Make the same journey as outlined above, however after presenting your offering, ask for aid or for a blessing. Leave as described above.
Past Lives and Past incidences in this life
Having found and been accepted at your ancestral site, you now have the gateway to many secrets and much wisdom. In particular you will find this a very effective gateway to past life experiences. If possible reserve this for when you have visited a few times, over a period of several months. Then approach your site as above. This time however you will find a path that runs around the outside perimeter of the site; it is faint and almost overgrown but nonetheless, you can discern it and set out to follow it. You have the sense that you are walking a path you have walked before and yet it is clear that this path has not been tread upon in many, many years. It leads you around the outside of the ancestral site to the back of the site, and heads off into the deep forest behind the site. You have never walked this deeply into the forest before. The path is stony and quite undulating; you have to concentrate to avoid stumbling. You look downwards and focus on your feet, each step over stones, each twist and turn, each little step down or upwards, you begin to notice the tiniest details of the ground over which you step; the smooth round pebbles, some brown and some gray-blue; the colour of the sandy grit and gravel; the tiny blades of grass that spring between them, the ants and beetles who occasionally cross your path; visualize and walk every step of this path;
You are jolted out of your reverie when you step not on gravel and dirt, but a soft mud, and looking around you see you have been led to cool dark lake surround on all sides by
|Forest and as dark and smooth as an onyx stone. It is dark, secretive, cool and smooth. You step unthinkingly forward, pace by pace into the cool waters ? the water is smooth and silky, enveloping your body first your ankles then shins then knees then thighs until you are standing at waist level in silky smooth cool water. Finally you lean forward and see your own reflection in the water; it is you, familiar and unfamiliar at the same time as it shimmers on the dark surface of this extraordinary lake. You watch it ripple and move with the movements of your body. It disintegrates if you lean too close and it becomes clear if you straighten up a little; As you watch your face in the water you begin to see beyond it, beyond the lines of the cheek and the shape of the eyes, the curve of the lips and the shape of the chin and forehead. You see all these things and yet do not focus on any one of them; as you watch and the water gently swells and ebbs, the familiar recedes until the face you see is you but not you; it is your reflection as you have been. Without loosing your unfocussed, passive gaze you take in the details of this face;
is it male? Female? Young or old? Burly or slight? What profession? What social status? What emotion does it engender in you? Are you pleased to see this face? Do you feel recognition? Pride? Welcoming? Do you feel uncomfortable? Ashamed? Uneasy? Cool?
When you have filed away as much information as possible; begin to refocus your eyes, summon back the face you know so well, the face you see every morning in the bathroom mirror, in the reflection of every shiny surface, your nose your eyes your chin your chhek, until the ordinary reflection is once again the only one visible in the water. Gently leave the waters of the lake your limbs languorous in the silky cool water, slowly turning and walking back to shore each step bringing you out of the lake, waist, thighs, knees, shins ankles until you stand once more on the soft mud of the lake shore.
You feel refreshed, every ache and tiredness of limb washed away in the pure waters of the lake you retrace your steps along the path each step filling you with a feeling of enjoyment and relaxation, the way seeming much smoother and easier than before and in a very short time you reemerge at the back of the sacred site.
You take you leave of the island as before; however as the isle becomes a distant speck behind you, you take your annals, and inscribe in them a faithful record of the image in the waters and the details you drew out of it.
Once you have compiled your profile of this past incarnation, you must meditate upon it; you have a duty to seek within you the answer to this question ' what does my past self say to me? what is the message that it speaks to my soul?' and you must seek to implement the lesson learnt from your past self in your present life.
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