Friday, March 29, 2013

Messages from Beyond: The Power of Timing

Standing at the edge of Mt. Brandon's waters

"The higher we got, the thicker the mist became, soaking our hair, our made me feel fresh, somehow clean, rugged...We reached the eastern ridge, where the lakes began, a silver chain up the spine of the mountain, silent and still. The only other sound was the haunting call of  a single bird, trilling from nowhere and everywhere at once. The breath off the water was ancient.
At the top of the mountain the wind whipped.... it was then that I realized the entire time I'd been hiking, I'd been seeing them in my mind. Lines and lines of people, trekking up the hill, their feet coming before mine on the ancient stones. I could see their faces. They looked like Celts. Up and up, but only in certain times of the year. Something whispered, This was a special place, a place of pilgrimage, just as it is now, in Christian times. But was it really? Or had I let my imagination get carried away?"- Faery Tale, "Climbing the Lost Druid Mountain" (US paperback edition, p. 240 -241)


My good friend and teacher Shaman Jon once said to me that when it comes to the world of spirit, everything is unveiled in perfect time - not always when you expect it, but for reasons often unknown to us, always exactly when you need it. As a native Hawaiian and Cheyenne Indian, Jon believes that spirit cannot be demanded of, and I believe he is right. This was a lesson I had to learn (and many readers graciously came to terms with) by the end of Faery Tale. All I could do was interpret my journey with the tools and information I had on hand. Mount Brandon in Ireland has been a place that particularly vexed me.

I remember writing to my friend, Peter Guy:
I have a crazy hunch that mountain was an ancient place of pagan worship...

I did extensive research, but in the end, all I could discover was a glimmer of a connection, flimsy at best: the largest lake on the mountain was known as Loch Cruite - "Harp Lake." I made the leap (since the lake was in no way geographically shaped like the musical instrument) that Harp Lake may have been a place name connection to the ancient Bards of Ireland - a class of Druids who specialized in recitation of the epic poems and histories of the Celtic people.

WELL. This past week I had a truly inspiring experience that urged my fingers back to the keyboard in my eagerness to share it with all of you who are familiar with my book. It's a beautiful example of the ways in which a hidden world reveals itself to us, always in perfect timing. Theirs, not ours, of course. Three years after the publication of the book, that another piece of the puzzle slipped into place - and it was with a conscious-shattering jolt, not a click.

I've been reading broadly to research the historical novel I'm working on. Currently on my desk is Nikolai Tolstoy's non-fiction title The Quest for Merlin, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1985) which actually contains a great deal of information on the ancient Celts in general, and specifically in the time period I'm researching. He was discussing the fact that high points were often visited by entire communities for the festival of Lughnasa, (Aug. 1st) that venerated one of the most central gods in the Celtic pantheon, the sun-god Lugh. (Lleu in Welsh.)

It was then that I saw this:

"..Most dramatic of all sites associated with the celebration of Lughnasa in Ireland is Mount Brandon, on the Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry. 3,127 feet high, it is the second highest mountain in Ireland...Pilgrims at the season of Lughnasa ascended at dawn an old road leading to the peak. There they prayed, passed nine times around the pillar stone, and drank from the sacred well nearby." (p. 181-182)

Those of you who have had intuitive flashes (which all of us are capable of) that are later verified by actual information can understand the feeling that shot through me. If I hadn't been sitting on an airplane I likely would have screamed in delight. It had to suffice to tap a sleeping Eric on the head and say, "Honey. You will not believe what I just read."

Tolstoy's source was an Oxford paper titled "The Festival of Lughnasa: A Study of the Survival of the Celtic Festival of the Beginning of Harvest" (1962).

What I'd seen in my minds eye so vividly on that mountain climb wasn't just some flight of fancy. I'd believed that in my heart, and now, four years after having visited the site, here was my "proof." The feeling was nothing short of elating.

But why now? Why couldn't I have discovered this source amidst the hundreds of other books I'd scoured in researching my book at the time? Why hadn't this information come to light in time for me to include it in my publication of the memoir? It was maddening to consider. But in light of what I've been experiencing personally in working on the new book, it completely made sense.

I'm in the midst of planning and preparing for a six-week research trip abroad for the novel. While I experienced incredibly mystical (and mystifying!) things in the writing of Faery Tale, time passes, and then, and then.... everyday life sinks in, the mundane, the grit and work of it, and the sheer passage of that time - suddenly those experiences can feel woefully far away. We can find ourselves thinking, Well, that was then. Or, Things like that don't happen here, or Things like that don't happen to me anymore. This reminded me that all that worry is nonsense.

The unseen world is always there, regardless of whether we pay attention to it or not. It doesn't hold grudges, and it doesn't keep score. We are always magical, inherently so, and though we may at times feel distant, that never fades. It doesn't pass away, it doesn't fray, and neither does our link to that essential translator that exists within all of us, that umbilical cord that links that world to our own reality: Our intuition. I needed to be reminded of the power of my own intuition once more before I set out on this new journey. The places I will go this summer, the people I will meet, the impressions I will get from sitting in the wilds, all of these will be integral parts in telling the story that only I can tell, just as many of you have stories to tell that are unique to you. I was having a crisis of faith in myself, and this one paragraph served to restore my belief in myself just at the time I needed it most. Trust your intuition, this lesson reminded me. Trust, trust, trust.

So timing.

We may not always understand it, but it has shown itself, at least in my life, to be perfect in its delivery.
Once again.

I hope my sharing this story will help you believe that something you need, a piece of your missing puzzle, will come to you in perfect timing.

Most of all, I want to thank you all for joining me - on Facebook, Twitter, and here on my blog. Thank you especially for sticking with me and being so patient in waiting for this new book as it develops. I appreciate your patience and support more than words can say.

And I hope you'll trust in me that when it comes to this novel, all will be done in perfect timing.
That's my promise to you.

With love,
The mists cleared on our descent
Brandon waits for pilgrims of every religion and belief system