na Taingiri (Isle of Promise)
The Land of Promise
This is a land of great beauty and serenity, home to Mannanan Mac Lir, King of all the sea and his beautiful daughter Niamh. It was to this Isle that Niamh brought Oisin the son of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, and where he stayed for what seemed like three weeks, but was actually three hundred years in mortal terms. After three weeks he decided to return to visit the Fianna but Niamh warned him that if he stepped foot on the soil of his homeland he would age immediately and never be able to return to the Isle, or to her.
He promised that he would stay upon his horse and never dismount, thereby enabling him to return without touching the land.
His visit was tragic; in three hundred years not only had he lost family and friends but his entire society had changed beyond recognition.
He stared in disbelief at the weak men of Ireland, shadows of the giant and fearsome warriors of the Fianna. He saw two men struggling with a tree stump, which Oisin himself would be able to pull with one hand, and over come by pity and unable to watch them struggle any longer, he bent from his saddle and pulled the stump; the tree stump was pulled free but the girth of his addle broke and threw oisin to the ground. The moment he touched the soil, he aged three hundred years and gone forever was both his youth and his hope of returning to Niamh.
This is only one of the stories of Tir Taingiri, but it is one that provides us with a great deal of thought and exploration. The other major aspect of Tir Taingiri to explore is
Mannanan Mac Lir; one of the most important Gods in the Celtic Pantheon..Mamannan is the forerunner of Lir, of the Children of Lir (and later, of King Lir by Shakespeare) By the time monks wrote down his story they relegated him to Kingship but he remains beloved to this day as the God of the seas, King of the waves, a flamboyant and charismatic deity, who rides the waves in his Chariot, his beloved wife Fand by his side (see Maps and Clans page ? links below)
Tir Taingiri is His land; like the sea and our Immrama upon it, he represents freedom and space balanced by danger and the unpredictability of the sea. He is the God of that which is the origin and source of life itself, and in accepting his hospitality we are both honoured and challenged.
Meditations upon Sacrifice
Oisin sacrificed his home and close relationships for Love
Oisin lost everything for love of one person
Oisin left his love to return to his roots; not even Niamh could replace his home
Oisin was tricked ? by his own vanity-into ruining his most important relationship
Oisin represents the sacrifice of one to ensure the relationship between man and the land
Oisin?s failure to shoulder this responsibility in his own time, has led to the corruption of his society 300 years later.
Oisin is an ambiguous hero: is he a tragic romantic lover doomed by cruel fate? Or should we count any sacrifice worthwhile for love? Was it compassion or vanity that stirred him to interfere and slip from his horse? Or guilt?
Meditate upon Mannanan Mac Lir
Are we seeking the divine in our mundane activities?
Do we understand the nature of the balance required- good and bad, life and death, honour and challenge, excitement and danger? Do we embrace this balance and try to achieve it in our own lives?
Are you prepared for the payment required for your pleasures? When you sup at the tables of gods, are you ready to face their challenges in return?
Meditate upon Mannanan Mac Lir, a father-god, whose maleness is celebrated in many ways, in his aspect as father, his virility his kingship,
Meditate upon the Sea; the source of life; a bountiful provider; an alien environment; a dangerous enemy.
The turn of the tide, the ebb and flow, the rythym of Nature all find resonance within our own energy and even in our physical body.
Meditate Upon Tir Taingiri, the Isle of Promise
When we are born we have infinite promise
We can be anything, we are blank pages
As we age, our promise contracts; it is no longer infinite
Experience fills our lives, but also narrows our opportunities.
We revisit the land of promise, that shinning open future.
It is not a place in which to live, as it an isle of dreams
It recharges our batteries and prevents us from having too narrow a horizon
It is possible to be grandiose and allow real experiences and opportunities to wither
While we avoid commitments and responsibilities trying to keep our futures full of promise.
How to balance promise with fulfillment? How to balance the real with the potential in our lives and in our spirits?
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