The Celtic Metaphysic

by Dr. Eleasaid Ní h'Eibhin
© 2003 (All rights Reserved)

There has been much written about the Celts and their Metaphysic – some true and some not so true. To quote the well respected Celtic scholar, Peter Berresford-Ellis: “Of all the civilisations in the world, the Celts alone appear to have become fair game for anyone setting themselves up as experts, but who wouldn't recognise a Celt if one greeted them on an Irish or Cornish road with 'Conas tá tú?' or ‘Dêth da dhys!” (nor indeed a Welsh road with ‘Bore da!’).

Unfortunately when one approaches this subject one is faced with the same old statement “The Celts and Druids never wrote anything down so how can we know?” This premise is then used as the basis or excuse for passing off any invented piece of rubbish as being ‘Celtic’ because ‘it could have been’. Indeed, Modern Druidry suffers greatly from this, from its origins in the 1700’s via Iolo Morganwg, John Toland and Edward Davies, to the adoption of Gardnerian Wiccan practices (Gardner was a friend of Ross Nichols the so-called ‘father’ of modern druidry), to the insidious influence of Robert Graves’ ‘The White Goddess’, to the rubbish purporting to be Celtic put out by the American publishers ‘Llewellyn’.

Now, dear old Iolo and Edward were fine Bards and poets in their own right (indeed Iolo is accepted as the founder of the modern Welsh Eisteddfod), yet much of what they claimed to be ‘True’ was in fact made up – Iolo was himself desperate to be a Freemason, and when turned down, decided to start his own ‘boys club’, ie the Druid revival. He was also a known charlatan, fraud and laudanum addict. Similarly, Gardner and Nichols were attempting to forge new spiritualities, based on a number of influences and the adoption of a number of spiritual methods, which they felt appropriate to the modern world. Graves was, again, a fine poet, yet far from being a Celtic scholar or linguist. Sadly, in accord with Ellis’ statement above, most authors, such as D J Conway, Amber Wolfe or Edain McCoy, on the Llewellyn label, seek to mix the ‘Celtic’ with blends of other things, not least Native American practice or even pure fantasy – something that is, to me, both arrogant and insulting in the extreme, and is, in effect, a form of Cultural Rape. To be honest, not one of these people was a real Celtic scholar (with the exception, possibly, of Nichols and to some extent Iolo).

Given that, it is possible to determine the ‘Celtic Metaphysic’ (or at least that of the Pagan Irish) via study of the surviving Old Irish texts (both the Mythological as well as Historical), even though these were transcribed later and by Christian monks. Another way is via an understanding of surviving Celtic language(s), since language itself reflects the culture of the people who use it.

The Celtic Metaphysic as Reflected in the Structure of The Gaelic Languages

It is a fact that any language always reflects the Culture and native thought processes of the people to whom it belongs and who speak it. This, in itself, is why concepts do not always directly translate between different languages. Examples of this include the variations in the Christian New Testament when read in its’ original Greek form compared to the later English translations. Another example is the fact that the Muslims say that the Qur'ân can not be translated and, indeed, one can not have read the Qur’ân until one has read it in Arabic – no matter how good a translation into English is made.

In a similar vein then, when one attempts to ascertain the Celtic Metaphysic, it is my assertion that one needs to approach it with, at least, some understanding of a Celtic language. The major surviving variants of these are Gaelic (both Irish and Scots) and Welsh. Not being a Welsh speaker, I will leave comment on that to those who are, but will concentrate instead on the Gaelic.

Let us, then, look at the structure and constructional forms used in Gaelic. In both Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge) and Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) there are two words that are used for the verb ‘to be’ in the present tense. These are: ‘Is’ and ‘Tá’ (‘Tha’ in Scots Gaelic). I will concentrate on Irish, however Scottish is essentially similar since it developed from Irish, specifically from Gaedhilg-Uladh (Ulster Gaelic) with which it still shares many commonalities.

‘Tá’ (‘Tha’):

The verb ‘Bí’, which was originally the verb ‘to stand’ but is now used as the verb ‘to be’, appears as ‘tá’ in its present participle form and is used to describe where someone or something is, or what state a person or thing is in. That is to say, where something is temporary and thus not innate in something eg:

Tá mé anseo – I am here (Literally I stand here).
Tá Loch nEathach fuar – Lough Neagh is cold (Literally Loch Neagh stands cold).
Tá sé breá inniu – it is fine today (Literally it stands fine today).

Where Tá is used on its’ own it translates as ‘there is’ eg:

Tá bord ansin – There is a table there.
Tá duine anseo – There is a man here.

We see a similar construction in Scottish:

Tha mi bog fliuch – I am soaked.
Tha iad a’ tighinn – They are coming.


The word ‘Is’ is used to refer to the permanent qualities of something (ie what is innate within something). The nearest meaning of ‘Is’ in English would be ‘it is’, hence it is not quite strictly purely a verb per sé and is thus traditionally referred to as the ‘copula’ eg:

Is mise Eleasaid – I am Eleasaid. It is an innate part of my being that I am Eleasaid - it is who I am. Is Ban-Draoi mé – I am a (female) Druid. It is an innate part of my being that I am a Druid – it is what I am. Is maith an scéalai an aimsir – Time (history) is a great storyteller. It is an innate quality of history that it tells us the stories of old.

Similarly in Scottish Gaelic, ‘Is’ is used in statements which link two nouns or a noun and a pronoun.

Thus we can see two concepts here – that which is innate within something, ie its’ innate being as well as that which is occurring, yet which is not innate. Ie There is an identity of self (the individual) within the identity of (what is) the greater whole.

If we turn now to the idea of possession of something, we see two linguistic constructional forms:


In Gaelic the word for the possessive pronoun ‘My’ is ‘Mo’ eg:
Mo cheann – My head.
Mo bhráthair – My brother.

In both these cases we are back to the idea of innateness, ie, it is innate that it is my head, it is innate that he is my brother (because of blood).

The ‘Tá….Ag’ (‘Tha….aig’) Construction:

This is the more common way of expressing ownership of something eg:

Tá an cú agam – My dog or I have a dog (Literally: The dog stands at me).
Tá an teach agam – My house (Literally: It is a house at me).
Tá deich bpunt agam – I have two pounds.

Similarly in Scots:

Tha càr aig Niall – Neil’s car or Neil has a car

From this we see that the idea of ownership of items (as espoused in the Post Classical Western Scientific Materialistic metaphysic) is anathema. That is to say, one cannot own something that is not innate to the self – one is merely its’ lessor or steward. (Note in modern standard Irish – An Caighdeán Oifigiúil – this distinction has disappeared and the word ‘Mo’ is used to indicate ownership, since it has become a direct equivalent of the English ‘my’. Note also that when using the pronoun 'mo' to indicate ownership of something, where that 'something' is an indeterminate mass or quantity then the term 'cuid' - portion of - is used eg mo chuid airgid - my (portion of) money ie the 'ownership' is not ownership per sé so much as something that has been received).

Another interesting concept is that in Irish if one were to talk about emotion or feelings, these are talked about in a 3rd party sense eg:

Tá tuirse orm - I am tired - literally there is tiredness upon me.

In other words 'tiredness' is a state which is temporary and, therefore, can not affect one at the core soul level. Thus we don't say 'I am tired' since that would be the same as saying 'I am tiredness' which is obviously NOT the case.

So what can we deduce from these two concepts, the idea of the identity of self within the identity of the greater whole, and the idea of not owning something unless it is innate to ones ‘self’?

What we see here is the basis of the Celtic (Pagan Irish) metaphysic. The individual exists in themselves yet also within the greater whole that is ‘Creation’. Ie there is a linkage between 'self' and all that is ‘not self’ and with that a direct responsibility to all that is ‘not self’, since the actions of the ‘self’ affect the greater world via this linkage. Furthermore we see the idea of the individual identity and the immortality and individuality of the soul.

The Celtic Metaphysic as Reflected in the Mythological Stories

When one tries to approach the Mythology of the Pagan Irish one is always faced with the comment 'but these were written down far later' and 'but these were transcribed by Christian monks so how can we know they are accurate?'.

To be honest it is possible to see that the tales are far older than the date of recording qv later. (It is worth noting here that Gaelic was quintessentially an oral language and did not start to become a written language until quite late on. Indeed, while Caxton may have revolutionised things with his printing press in the 15th Century, writing has historically been the preserve of the Educated and Privileged classes of society. Literacy as we know it is a relatively recent thing, for example, it wasn't until the middle of the 19th Century that The Education Act was passed in the British Isles (Britain and Ireland) that ensured children gained at least some schooling in reading and writing.

With regard to the 'Christianisation' of the texts, again, this is possible to spot if one is careful. Quite often there will be a 'turn' in a story that doesn't 'scan' (the Welsh Mabinogion is full of these), or there will be a quite overt 'Christian message' being presented. This is far more apparent in the later texts.

At this juncture it is worth discussing what are the major texts, and from when they date:

With regard to the Irish texts, the earliest surviving is the ‘Book Of The Dun Cow' (‘Lebar na nUidre’) which runs to 138 pages and is in the possession of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. It contains the earliest version of the ‘Táin Bó Cualngé’ (‘The Cattle Raid of Cooley’) as well as ‘Echtra Condla Chain Maic Cuind Chetchathaig’ (‘The adventure of Connla son of Conn Cétchathlach’). We know it was written prior to 1106 because we know the scribe's name – Malmori – and we also know he was murdered in a robbery at Clonmacnois church in 1106. It is called the Book Of The Dun Cow because it is (as it states in the manuscript) a copy of an older book that was written on the hide of a brown cow that had belonged to St Ciaran, whom we know lived in the 7th Century.

The next important Irish text is the ‘Book of Leinster’ (‘Lebar na Núachongbála’), which we know to be pre 1160AD because it was written by Finn mac Gorman, Bishop of Kildare, and which resides in Trinity College, Dublin. This contains a version of the Táin Bó Cualngé which we know dates from the 8th Century (from statements in the text), as well as the ‘Dinnsenchas’ (‘Lore of Prominent Places). It also lists a number of 'saga' titles which are, sadly, no longer in existence.

Other texts include the ‘Book of Ballymote’ (‘Leabhar Baile an Mhota’), which has a wonderful section on the meanings of the Ogham letters, as well as the ‘Yellow Book of Lecan’ (‘Leabhar Buidhe Lecain’), which date from the 14th Century, the ‘Book of Lecan’ (Leabhar Mór Mhic Fhir Bhisigh’), the ‘Book of Formoy’ (‘Leabhar Feirmoithe’) and the ‘Book of Lismore’ (‘Leabhar Lios Mhór) which date from the 15th Century, as well as a number of unnamed manuscripts, some of which are yet to have properly translated publications outside the realms of academe.

Bearing in mind that the earliest version of the Táin is at least 7th Century, one can actually infer that the tale is far older (at the latest 2nd Century and probably older still) from the descriptions given of things like weapons, chariots, brooches etc.

When one looks at these early texts, for all that they were written by Christian scribes, one can both directly and indirectly prove that the stories are far older. Directly as in the case of the Eulogy to St Colmcille (St Columba) in the Book Of The Dun Cow where the date of authorship is actually recorded. Indirectly one can say that the texts refer to far older texts that have since been lost since the scribes were translating from very old dialects of Old Irish, such as the ‘Bérla Féini’ where there were words so archaic as to be unintelligible – the later scribes made marginal notes explaining the terms used. In later Mediaeval texts such as those surviving, the copyists unwittingly moved these notes into the body of the main text where they reside like philological fossils in rock strata for those who wish to find them.

With regard to the Scottish texts which are preserved in the Advocate's Library in Edinburgh, the earliest are 14th Century, with the majority being 15th and 16th Century. These corroborate the Irish texts, expand upon the Cú Chulainn saga, mention the Tuatha Dé Danann, but mainly concentrate on the Fénian cycle – specifically Fionn mac Cumhaill and Oisín. There is also the 'Ortha nan Gàidheal' or 'Carmina Gadelica', which is a text running to 6 volumes recorded in the 19th Century by Alexander Carmichael from his direct interviews with the Seanchaidhean (Scottish Bards) of the Highlands and Western Isles, and which records oral traditions dating back to the time of St Colmcille (St Columba) and earlier.

Having said all the above, it is possible to glean much from the existing manuscripts. That said, however, one really needs to read them in the Old Irish, which rather predisposes one is a Gaelic speaker, or one needs a good direct translation (ie not one that has been `Englishified'. The problem being that Gaelic is not like English and much does not directly translate well. Gaelic is a descriptive language rich in nouns and adjectives but poor in verbs (indeed it makes verb constructs using the verbs 'Is' and 'Tá' (to be) or uses verbal nouns ie nouns modified to appear as verbs) – whereas English is far richer in verbs but far less descriptive a language.

If we look at the, so called, mythological tales of the Pagan Irish, we again can see the concept of self within the greater whole. This is reflected in the ideas of Honour, Responsibility to Family (teaghlach) and Tribe (tuath), Fosterage, as well as the curious idea of the ‘Geis’.

Dealing first with the ideas of honour and responsibility, I will attempt to illustrate these by looking at two of the better known tales.

Firstly the so called 'Ulster Cycle' (and specifically the Táin) deals with the tales of the 'Knights of the Red Branch' and, specifically their leader and the Hero of Ulster, Cú Chulainn. Cú Chulainn himself is originally known as Sédanta (or Sétanta). He has a magical birth wherein he is the son of Deichtine (the sister of Conchobar mac Nessa, King of Ulster) and the God Lugh who comes to her in a dream and makes her pregnant. Embarrassed at going to her husband Súaltam's bed while pregnant she lies upon the child and kills it, yet the next morning she is pregnant again, supposedly by her husband. Sédanta grows into a strong boy and travels to Emain Macha (the Court of Conchobar mac Nessa) where he is fostered by the King.

It is at this point we see the first indication of the ideas of responsibility in the Celtic Metaphysic - Sédanta is fostered by the King. Fosterage appears again and again throughout the Irish tales (as well as within the later Brehon Laws qv later) and is an indication of responsibility. Fosterage strengthens the ties between Families and hence strengthens the Tribe and it was a common facet of Pagan Irish life (and, indeed, early Christian Irish life), yet it shows the idea of responsibility towards others, both between the fosterer and the fosteree - indeed it was a 'Duty' taken on by both parties.

As Cú Chulainn grows up he is seen to be the strongest of the boys at the Court and the finest hurley player. During this time, Conchobar is invited to a feast at the house of Culan the smith. He travels with fifty of his retinue but can not take Sédanta, his foster-son and hence protegé, (as is his wish) for the boy is engaged in a game of hurley with his peers and can not honourably forsake the game until it is finished. It is therefore decided that Sédanta will come on later and alone. On arriving at the house of Culan, Conchobar forgets that Sédanta is to arrive later, so Culan sets his hound to guard the property - “I have a watchdog with three chains on him and three men on every chain. I will loose him now to guard our cattle and our herds and I will close the courtyard.” Upon Sédanda's arrival, the hound attacks him and Sédanda kills the hound with his bare hands.

Obviously Culan is dismayed at the loss of his hound – “My life is lost and my household are out on the plain, without our hound. It secured life and honour; it protected our goods and cattle and every creature between field and house. It was the man of the family.”

Sédanta, realises his responsibility for the situation – “I will rear for you a whelp from the same litter, and until it is grown and capable of action, I will be the Hound that protects your cattle and yourself. I will protect all Magh Muirthemni (modern day County Louth), and neither herd nor flock will be taken without my knowledge.”

“Your name, will henceforth be Cú Chulainn (Hound of Culan)”, says Conchobar's Druid Cathbad.

Hence, here we see yet another example of responsibility for one's actions affecting the world around one. Sédanta has killed the hound through his actions and so takes on the responsibility of acting as the hound until a new one is ready.

Later still, after reaching manhood, Cú Chulainn is the only man in Ulster not afflicted by Macha's curse that the men of Ulster “will every month suffer the birth pangs of women”, and it is he, solely, who defends Ulster from the forces of Queen Medb (Maeve) and King Aillil of Connacht (who are attempting to steal the Brown Bull of Ulster) until such time as the Ulstermen are well enough to defend the land themselves.

Again we see the concepts of responsibility and honour.

Let us turn now to another tale, that of Diarmuid and Gráinne which is recorded in 'The Book of Leinster':

Diarmuid ua Duibhne appears in the 'Fénian Cycle' as the hero and most important of the warriors of Fionn mac Cumhail. He is the foster-son of the God Oenghus mac Óg and bears a spot on his forehead (the 'Ball-Seirce) given to him by the 'Goddess of Youth' which will instantly make any maiden that sees it fall in love with him.

After the death of his wife Cruithne, Fionn mac Cumhail informs Dering his Druid and his son, Oisín, that he is unable to sleep from loneliness. They inform him that this is easily remedied, and that he should take another wife. Dering suggests he marry Gráinne, the daughter of Cormac mac Airt the High King, a woman said to be the most beautiful in all Ireland – “Choose whomever you like from the whole of Ireland and I will get her for you.” Gráinne, surprisingly, since she has not met Fionn, agrees to the arranged marriage but upon seeing Fionn realises that she can not marry him – “But he is older than my father. It would be better were I to be given to his son Oisín or even his grandson Oscar.” Espying Diarmuid, Gráinne immediately falls in love with him and demands him via a 'geis' to defend her honour by saving her from the arranged marriage. Diarmuid is thus faced with a dilemma, should he break faith with Fionn by defending Gráinne's honour, or should he break faith with Gráinne by remaining true to Fionn? There then ensues a discussion between Diarmuid and the rest of the Fianna as to what he should do. All are of the opinion that he can not break his geis to Gráinne and that it is better he should defend her honour and break faith with Fionn for they believe the betrothal to be false as a result of magic cast by Dering.

Thus we see, yet again, the idea of honour and responsibility. Diarmuid is responsible to Gráinne, not only because of the geis she places upon him, but because her betrothal is 'false' as the result of magic.

It is worth here discussing the concept of the 'geis' (plural geasa) which appears throughout the Irish mythological tales. The modern dictionary definition of a geis is: 'Spell, curse or prohibition' eg 'bheith faoi gheasa ag duine = to be under one's spell.' This alone does not really explain the term fully. Many people take the idea of 'geis' to be the equivalent of a 'taboo'. That is to say, that to break a geis will cause ill to befall one. To an extent this is true, eg Cú Chulainn's geis is 'never to eat the flesh of a dog', when he finally does so, through trickery, his strength leaves him and he is defeated and killed. However, in a number of tales, keeping 'geasa' causes ill to happen. Eg in the tale of Naoise and Deirdru, Fergus mac Roi fulfils his geis never to turn down hospitality by feasting with Baruch (another of the Knights of the Red Branch). In doing so, he fails to accompany the lovers back to Emain Macha resulting in the murder of Naoise (by Conchobar mac Nessa) and Deirdru's eventual suicide.

Another example of geasa appears in the story Torgail Bruidne Da Derga (The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel). This story deals with King Conaire Mór and his breaking of his nine geasa which results in his death. Conaire is placed under nine geasa which include such prohibitions as not approaching Tara from the right, not permitting three red-haired men to precede him into the house of a red-haired man, and not settling a dispute of two serfs. Conaire's reign is peaceful until a group of men, including his own foster-brothers, take to being brigands. When the brigands are caught he orders that they all be hanged, except his for his foster-brothers. This is an unjust decision, and hence a breach of his 'flatheas' (sovereignty). Conaire realises his mistake – “that judgment which I have given is not an extension of life for me”. He then orders that all the brigands be banished instead of being hanged. Later he goes to Thormond to settle a dispute between two subjects, thus breaking another of his geasa. Returning to Tara, he finds the way blocked by armed men and a cloud of fire. When he asks “what is this?” his retinue reply that the law (cáin) has broken down (as a result of his disregard for his geasa). He is thus forced to make a detour and approach Tara from the right, thereby breaking another geis. By evening, all Conaire's nine geasa have all been broken. He is then killed in Da Derga's hostel by an invading band of brigands, among them the foster-brothers whom he had unjustly spared.

Thus while a geis has elements of prohibition within it, it is not strictly a 'taboo' since it applies strictly to an individual and not a tribe, it also has elements of honour as well and could probable be best described as an 'honour promise'. Yet again we see the idea of responsibility and the actions of self affecting the greater whole.

The Concept of The 'Dúil'

Another indication of the Celtic Metaphysic is that contained within the concept known as the Dúil (Old Irish Dúl). This is the correspondence between 'the self' (Féin) and the universe (Bith - 'existence').

This is what Amergin, son of Mil and Ollamh to the Milesians has to say concerning the mysteries of the Dúil when he first steps ashore in Ireland (as recorded in Leabhar Gabhála Éireann - The Book of Invasions). What he is doing is identifying himself (ie Who he IS) by harmonising his own dúil with Creation (Note: The translation is by the noted Irish scholar Professor R A S MacAllister. There is also a version by Robert Graves in his ‘White Goddess’ which seems, unfortunately, to be the most commonly known. That version should be avoided at all costs since it is highly inaccurate).

I am Wind on Sea, I am Ocean-wave, I am Roar of Sea, I am Bull of Seven Fights,

I am Vulture on Cliff, I am Dewdrop, I am Fairest of Flowers, I am Boar for Boldness,

I am Salmon in Pool, I am Lake on Plain, I am Word of Skill, I am the Point of a Weapon (that poureth forth combats),

I am God who fashioned Fire for a Head.

Who smootheth the ruggedness of a mountain? Who is He who announceth the ages of the Moon? And who, the place where falleth the sunset? Who calleth the cattle from the House of Tethra? On whom do the cattle of Tethra smile?

Who is the troop, who the god who fashioneth edges? Enchantments about a spear? Enchantments of Wind? (If not I)

We see here that Amergin is aware of where he stands as himself yet also that he is part of Creation. He is thus able to become one with Creation and thus he is able to access the Key to Creation – Divinity itself.

The Celtic Metaphysic as Reflected in the Historical Texts

There two well known historical Irish texts. These are: The Book of Acaill (2nd Century) and the Senchus Mór (The Book of Great Traditions – 5th Century). While these are Law Tracts, they aptly illustrate Pagan Irish thought. The Senchus Mór was written between 438-441 AD and is a collection of the pagan laws - the Fénechas - more commonly known as the 'Brehon Laws'. It was (supposedly) made at the request of St. Patrick who appointed a committee of 'nine learned and eminent persons', including himself and Loeghaire the High King of Ireland (who converted to Christianity), to revise them (the others were two Bishop's, three Kings, one Poet and one Brehon). At the end of three years these nine produced a new legal code, from which everything that clashed with the Christian doctrine had been carefully removed ie the Senchus Mór. The Book of Acaill is basically an earlier law tract dealing with 'criminal law' and 'offences against the person'.

The Brehon Laws define the various ranks of society, from the King down to the slave, and list their rights and privileges. There are detailed rules for the management of property, for the industries, for distress or seizure of goods, for tithes, trespass, and for evidence. The relations of landlord and tenant, the fees of professional men and women, the mutual duties of father and son, of foster-parents and foster-children, of master and servant, are all carefully regulated. In the part that is equivalent to modern criminal law, the various offences are minutely regulated, murder, manslaughter, assault, wounding, thefts.

The Brehon Law code is basically a law of compensation, which applies to every form of injury or wrong doing. The universal remedy for wrong done by one person to another is the payment of compensation. The compensation being based upon the 'Honour Price' of the victim or the victim's kin and the nature and seriousness of the wrong (Lóg-enech - literally: 'The price of one’s face'). The compensation debt could be levied against one's kinsmen, (with resulting obligations by the defendant to his kinsmen) hence one is responsible in law to one's kin. If the due compensation is not paid in respect of a serious wrong, the culprit can then be killed or taken into bondage. Culprits who refuse their obligations become outlaws - literally 'outside the Law' and lose their human rights. (However, an outlaw can regain his place in society by atoning for the wrong by paying the due compensation). The law code is universal - everyone falls under it from the High King down to the basest slave. Norman, and hence, modern English Law, by contrast, is a form of 'moral law'. It enforces a Church directed, Christian 'code' which has an enthusiasm for 'punishing' crime, and the idea of compensating victims is of far lesser importance - imprisonment replaces bondage.

Thus, even here, in the very laws of Ireland which were in existence until their abolishment by the English in the middle of the 17th Century, for all that they were Christianised (based as they were upon the earlier Pagan laws) we see, yet again, the ideas of the responsibility of the individual to the greater whole around them - society itself.


In the foregoing, we have looked at the structure of the Gaelic language(s), the Mythological tales of Ireland as well as the historical documents detailing the laws pertaining to the people of Ireland. In every case we can see a reflection of the Celtic Metaphysic which underpins each of these, and which is central to the thought and Culture of the Pagan Irish. That is to say, that there is an acceptance and identity of the individual, yet that the individual themself stands within the identity of the greater whole ie society and the world around them. That the actions of the individual affect those around them, and that with such actions (and therefore, effects) comes the responsibility of the self to the greater whole.

That is to say, the individual can not be separated from the greater whole since they are part of it. Being part of it, it follows, that the individual must be connected to the greater world around themselves. This connection, the connection of Soul to Soul or, indeed, spirit to spirit, is Divinity itself.

Dr Eleasaid Ní h'Eibhin is a (Pagan) Gael whose writing reflects the thinking of her people.

To learn more about how to avoid the pitfalls of cross-cultural spiritual education, please read Learning In a Respectful Way, by Educatedindian.

This article was posted here in September 2009.

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