I have returned home from the lecture by Patricia Monaghan, and she was an interesting speaker who has been to Ireland many times. She is originally from Alaska, and had an "adopted" Eskimo grandfather who encouraged her to find out more about her Irish heritage.
On her first trip to Ireland, she was happy and surprised to see how much the Irish people love nature, and that almost all wells are holy, along with trees and rivers. The Irish also believe that fairies and wee people live in their country, but on other planes of existence. Mrs. Monaghan told a story about how she was hiking in a boggy area with a friend, and later realized she lost an heirloom turquoise necklace during the walk. Although she searched everywhere, it was no where to be found. About one month later, she discovered it in an area of the bog where the hike did not take her that day. It was perfectly laid out, as if being displayed in a jewelry store window. This happens in a book entitiled, The Red Haired Girl From the Bog.
The Gaelic language is difficult, made up of what looks like runes. So most of the Irish depend on oral story telling to recall their history. This is difficult though, because much is not written down. A Bard would be able to memorize an amount of words as long as the Illiad or the Odyessy. Sadly, this made other peoples, such as the Romans and the British, think the Irish were illiterate and that they had the right to overtake Ireland. It appears that during the potato famine, the British were so cruel as to take any land a person owned which was less than one acre (this included almost everyone). They actually took the cows away from the Irish, so they did not even have milk for their children when they were starving. One third of Ireland's population died during this period. I believe in Karma, and wonder what happens to generations of people from any country who commit such evil deeds.
When Cristianity came to Ireland, at first the people were able to keep to their Pagan ways, if they stayed under the radar. But men kept trying to get rid of Goddess worship. Patricia Monaghan said the first time she attended a Goddess Brigid holiday, Imbolc (Spring) celebration, she and 3 other women were there. Ten years later, she was stunned to see 3,000 women in attendence! It's a shame men are so threatened by women, perhaps because our bodies are capable of childbirth. But men tried to make women feel "unclean," for having menstrual cycles, and even in our times, we see men fearing women's independence once again. It's disgusting what people do in the name of religion.
I learned that during the "Norman Invasion" actually about half of the people were Irish and used it as an opportunity to come home! Although I am not a Pagan, I do love nature and am an environmentalist. I think we should care for Earth, as it cares for us. It's bounty gives us enough to live. I was heartened to hear that many people attend the Brigid Goddess/St. Brigit festivals in Ireland, and that the country is recovering. Although I enjoyed the lecture, many of the stories and anecdotes the author told were recycled from The Red Haired Girl From the Bog, although it was still great to hear them firsthand. I bought another of Monaghan's books, entitled The Goddess Path, and look forward to reading about Goddesses in both Ireland and other cultures, so I can expand my own knowledge. I have written extensively about Greek Gods and Goddesses on http://jeanbakula.hubpages.com.
Just a note---I was deeply saddened to receive an email today, February 4, 2013, from Patricia Monaghan's husband. The author passed on in November of 2012. Please join me in sending light and love his way, and wishes that Patricia is discovering wonderful things in new realms of experience.
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