the spirit of communication and

By Maireid Sullivan

Recently I was asked what I thought has survived of ancient Celtic tradition in the same way that Yoga and Ayuravedic medicine have survived in ancient Indian tradition and Confucian philosophy and Acupuncture have survived in Chinese tradition?

And the first thing that came into my mind was Free Will/Free Speech!
Egalitarianism, personal sovereignty, free will, free expression through language, -- laughter, voice and speech -- are fundamental healing principles in Celtic philosophy.

Any other condition could be called subjection, oppression or slavery. It's that simple! And we know that when we are seriously unwell we must take stock of our lives and reclaim our autonomy.
"The CRAIC" (pronounced "crack") is an Irish expression for good, fun conversation amongst equals -- "the gift of the gab" -- "the Blarney" -- good story-telling and conversation with plenty of music and laughter. This is the main focus of Irish social life today and it has its roots in their most ancient Celtic ancestry and their continuing determination to maintain "inner" freedom.

Anyone who understands and celebrates the concept of personal sovereignty as "individual freedom and responsibility for acts of free will" can become a lively communicator who knows the ecstasy of good communication: new stories and new experiences to share over and over, renewing the thrill of original discovery. "The CRAIC."

It is interesting to observe the remnants of a joyous spirit associated with the Celts -- particularly the Irish -- even with the history of suffering they have experienced. As the song says "In the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing."

In the ancient Celtic world view, Truth is the supreme power -- the word. The word is sacred and imbued with real magic power and is not to be profaned. "Truth is the foundation of speech and all words are founded on truth." Weaving the truth into mythical stories is considered a high art by the Irish.

The spirit of inner freedom is still alive in Celtic people. The oppression of Celtic culture by various changes in the established order of their society has not squelched the individual Celt, who was brought up in an environment where personal responsibility for the definition of reality is an innate freedom.

Let me throw a little historical perspective on the subject. In recent years, rich archeological findings trace the people whom we call the Celts across Europe before 3000 BC. The name Celt comes from Keltori, "the hidden people." They were elusive.

But we know from archeological, anthropological and historical research that they were a rich and sophisticated tribal culture. They didn't have a centralised government. They were united inter-tribally by their shared language and world view/philosophy. They were not hierarchal but egalitarian. The Druids were their intellectual class incorporating all the professions. The

Druids were a spiritual people -- not a materialistic people.
Celtic culture successfully upheld social egalitarianism for thousands of years -- their philosophy promoted the personal sovereignty of each individual based on free will. This is unique in the history of European societies, where partriarchal hierarchy ruled from east to west.

The western world today is the successor of an empire-structured cultural heritage. The Roman Empire-State was hierarchally organised and authoritarian -- women were just bearers of children and objects of pleasure. Celtic society was centered on moral order with a mythical world view where men and women were equal. For the expansion of the Roman Empire, the Celtic Druids and their world view had to go.

Up until the seventeenth century, unlike the rest of Europe and England, Ireland's Bardic schools had an educational tradition outside the monastic and ecclesiastical schools which turned out poets, historians, lawyers, doctors, etc.. Legends speak of these schools reaching back, before the 1st millenium BC, to ancient Druidic schools throughout the Celtic world. Their libraries were destroyed during the expansion of the Roman Empire and, later, by the Christians.

We know from historic documentation that great and heated debate went on around the Catholic Church's concept of original sin and the Celtic philosophical concept of free will. The Celtic philosopher, Pelagius (c.AD 354-420), believed that the Church doctrine of original sin, expounded by Augustine of Hippo, would lead to personal irresponsibility since it was based on the theory that everything is preordained and that we are all imperfect sinners because we have inherited the original sin of Adam. This theory denied people's capacity to live openly, with courage and with free will.

The concept of sin was foreign to the Celts. Pelagius argued that through the exercise of free will, where people's choices were their own, people could be free of sin. For this heresy, St. Augustine initiated long arguments, condemnations and excommunications of Pelagius and his followers. Pelagius was excommunicated three times and set free each time. The Church didn't win the debate and the Celts held their position on this central philosophical point up until the 12th century. St. Augustine and his followers accused Pelagius of reviving the "Natural Philosophy of the Druids" which is, essentially, that when the the will is free there is no sin, and that we have the power to exercise choice in any moment, no matter what context. Pelagius wrote about "The ability, the will, the act." Many writers since his time have presented the same arguments which we now call "Pelagian."

A person who learns that all people are equal can exercise free will and free speech in an environment where centralized government has no controlling influence over an individual's personal sovereignty -- a free society.

The New World/America offered the first opportunity for the enshrinement of personal sovereignty -- individual rights -- in a centralised government. Free speech is protected from government intervention. Even the early Greeks didn't offer this breadth of personal freedom in their democracy. Socrates had to take hemlock as the remedy for the free speech of his adventurous spirit.

Free speech involves Self-transcendance -- I and thou. It is a primal urge no matter how that is defined socially. Self-transcendence is a natural process for the person who has been brought up with a world view which sees the individual as a sacred conduit for universal energy
Celtic people are all over the globe. Remember that the Celts were originally a migrating tribal culture unified by language and fundamental egalitarian philosophy. Celtic people today are the inheritors of a culture foreign to the prevailing culture, with a foreign language and foreign cultural concepts. Their story is a true story and a story we can learn from! A legitimate inheritance.

The feeling-need for people today is to create an intimate process of knowing. Physics has met up with religious philosophy. The superparadigm of Living Systems Theory helps us recognize the connection between the physical world as we see it and the mysterious world as we cannot see it. The idea that we are self-maintaining, self-renewing and self-transcending is becoming an acceptable concept. It helps us wrestle out of the two major old world experiences -- the spiritual dictatorship of heirarchal religions and our physical entrapment in materialism.

We are looking for a conduit -- ways to perceive the process of living so that we can consciously participate in the creation of a new reality. We want to transcend our mundane reality and see ourselves as part of the Shapeshifting! We want to return full circle back to ourselves as creatures of free will and free expression reclaiming our personal sovereignty enhanced, finally, by the egalitarian world view -- that we are all created equal and that great knowledge brings responsibility.

We are ultimately free! We are seeing a timely unveiling of the illusion of doctrines. Everything is in place to make a shift possible. So what are we supposed to do to be truly effective for the improvement of our lives? We must look closely at our ability, acknowledge our will to choose, and then act. It's the same "old" Pelagian story that mainstream society chose to ignore and suppress hundreds of years ago when it was highly refined by the ancient Druids.
Spiritual reality is a place where we can be if we want to -- a parallel universe -- where our hearts are able to expand with sublime love.

Mature people who know the Truth and still compromise in their lives -- who fluctuate and falter in their ethics -- are holding back love, the most sublime manifestation of evolution. These people need energy! Creatively energetic people, especially artists and scientists, have developed the precision of originality needed to infuse this energy and awe into the sleeping masses from "waking up" to the knowledge -- the realization -- that every person is truly connected to the energy of the universe and all its glory.

Personal sovereignty is based on the truth that no two people can know the same reality and that time is truly a subjective concept. We only can know that we are aligned with one another in the daily unfolding of our personal myth/truth. The memory of meeting one another carries the flow of energy on to our next meeting.

The pinnacle of consciousness is where everyone is meant to "watch" -- most of all ourselves: A kind of telepathy. An exchange of energy is the first principle of our individual commitment to Truth. Love is the highest energy in Truth. Love is the frontier of energy and the true power of energy comes with unconditional love. We align with each other for the courage and the energy to better love each other and ourselves.

Through all this, laughter is the best medicine. Laughter releases healing harmones. For this we need lots of enthusiastic conversation, good music, and hearty hugs.
And you have to laugh! Its called "The CRAIC!" (and its pronounced "crack")


Maireid Sullivan is a singer/songwriter, poet and student of history. She was born in County Cork, Ireland. She has lived in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia and now resides in Los Angeles. Her work is dedicated to researching and interpreting the gifts of Celtic culture, to pouring her wisdom and humor into songs about contemporary life and to sharing the evocative feeling and beauty of ancient Celtic melodies.

Her album, "Dancer", produced by Donal Lunny, is available in mainstream and alternative music stores under Celtic/Irish in World Music, New Age or International sections. Maireid is also a featured artist on Narada Record's "Celtic Voices - Women of Song" and Hearts O'Space Record's "Celtic Twilight 3 Lullabies. For further information see Maireid's internet page or contact Lyrebird Music.

Lyrebird Music c/o BOSS DISKS, INC.
1645 North Vine St., Suite 705 Hollywood, CA. 90028
Ph: (213) 462 3500 Fx: (213) 462 1063
E-Mail: maireidsullivan@earthlink.net