Thursday, January 24, 2013


In legend, the rivers of Ireland have a common source, the Pool of Wisdom in the Other World under the rule of Mananan Mac Lir. Around the pool are hazel trees, the nuts fall into the pool where the salmon who live in the pool eat the nuts. When the nuts are broken the juice turns the water purple and it flows into the rivers.

Mananan told a visitor that everyone drinks of the water from the rivers. But, only poets, those of vision and mystics can pierce the veil into the other world to drink from the pool itself. The information that feeds our senses comes not only from the world we can touch, but from the world we can only sense when the veils are thinnest.

Could it be that everything around us is more than we can see with our eyes and hear with our ears? And could it happen that what one sees isn’t quite the same as what another “sees.” There was an Irish hermit who lived by a lake. One morning he decided that fish for breakfast; well what could be better? So, he launched his boat a rowed out into the lake. He could see his neighbor’s hermitage on the other side of the lake just beginning to be lit by the early morning light. When he looked again, he saw is neighbor walking across the water. “Good morning, you’re out early.” “I need some flowers for my alter, and if you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing in the middle of the meadow sitting in a boat.” “Meadow, I’m going fishing, what are you doing walking across a lake.” Or words to that effect.

The second hermit pointed to some flowering bushes near the shore. “I think the fish are biting over there.”  In the end, one man got his fish and the other got his flowers. From the same place. One hermit’s lake, was another hermit’s flower filled meadow. I guess sometimes a lake is more than just a lake and a meadow is more than just a meadow.

Hermit story from Tom Cowan’s Yearning for the Wind. 

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