Tír na Draoí
Oil on Canvas, 80 X 60 cm
Mythology, the living heart of its purpose is to bring to light the mysterious workings of the human psyche. Mythology lays no claim to objective fact and no orthodox version of its telling exists.
It is however made in how we tell our stories and its is the way through the human spirit transfigures the chaotic flux of life’s events and brings the essential core of reality into view.
Through a quickening of imagination, in which outside features of reality blend with the inside, radiant and shadowed archetypal forms are born time and again through the patterns of our the indigenous cosmological perception.
Éire herself was born and lives in the telling.
A fascinating early Irish narrative from the 545CE - 565CE is the ‘‘Suidigud Tellaig Temra’’ (The settling of the Manor of Tara). It’s a story of Irelands written in the Yellow Book of Lecan and the Book of Lismore. Though the accounts are not unaltered by early Christian recension, both medieval texts are understood to be firmly rooted in ancient myth.
The story that comes to us from the time of ( Rí Diarmait mac Cerbaill.(d 565). Diarmait was the last High King of Ireland to follow the pagan rituals of inauguration, the ban-feis or marriage to goddess of the land.
The story goes, the Irish nobles of the time refused to attend the Kings feast at Tara until the matter concerning the ‘limitations of the royal domain’ had been reached. Meaning the call was to for the High King to make distinct the partition of Ireland. The compelling thing about this story is how the acceptance of that ordinance was reached.
King Diarmait, to resolve the issue turned to his adviser, a man of great age and great wisdom Fintan mac Bóchar.
In the bend and twist of the tale, the decision was made that seven of the most ‘wise, prudent and cunning’ would be gathered from the four quarters of Ireland. Each group of seven was to be attended by their principal seanchaidh (storyteller, custodian of traditional lore). The seanchaidh was called forth, so that they would narrate with fluency the nature and ‘Dindshenchas’ the lore of places from which each septet came.
Once chronicles and tales were collected and narrated, a gathering was convened at the Hill of Uisneach. The Kings advisor, Fintan mac Bóchar then declared before all assembled a distillation of knowledge and visionary geography of the four quarters of Ireland and its sacred centre.
(Is duairt sé; Íaruss Fis. Tuadus Cath.Airthis Bláth.Teissus Séis.Fortius Fláith.)
And he said ; Knowledge in the West. Battle in the North. Prosperity in the East. Music in the South. Kingship in the Center.
What is spellbinding about this ancient myth is that in the Ireland of today we still can hear an echo of truth in a story drawn from the far reaches of our ancient past and that is the power of the living story as it threads weave down through generations.
This painting in its lilac mists brings to mind the subtle realms where the heroes and adepts of our mythology abide, a kingdom of perpetual dream whose force guide the ever changing movement of life around us.