Synopses & Reviews
This exciting project brings together decades of study about mythology with one seekerand#8217;s circuambulation through the landscape of Ireland, all described with a poetand#8217;s voice. Pat Monaghan has studied and taught many integrated studies in poetry, science, mythology, feminist spirituality, environmental studies, chaos theory, and religion. All of these disciplines inform her writing, but none distract from the poetic story-telling or the mystical lore she encounters and then conveys. Her journey takes her to a churchyard with a fountain representing St. Bridget, perhaps a Christian representation of the Celtic goddess of water, fire, and transformation, called Brigit. Monaghan describes spiral petroglyphs and ancient sacred caves, bogs and woods where fairies have played their tricks on humans, and water falls that became sacred spots. The stories instruct and teach, as Monaghan points to ways that these myths still reveal the truths of human life, and the contradictions of love and hate, mother and seductress, harmony and struggle that are embodied in womenand#8217;s lives and#151; in all of human existence.
"[Monaghan] proves a perfect guide, introducing long-departed ancestors and a land in which the human, the natural, and the divine come together. A dreamy, utterly enchanting walking meditation on Ireland's pagan heart." June Sawyers, Booklist
"Patricia Monaghan has woven a rich, beautiful story of a nearly forgotten world. Irish myth, tale, and tradition are brought to light and burnished in an engaging style. The world of women, the goddess, and feminine power all shine through." Leonard Shlain, author of The Alphabet Versus the Goddess
"The next time I'm in Ireland, I hope Patricia Monaghan is there. Her keen spiritual perceptions both serious and playful wake up the land, the ancient myths, and the secret places in our hearts." Tom Cowan, author of Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit
"The road rises to meet the rambler in this voluptuously rendered pilgrimage in search of mythic Ireland." Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage
"Patricia Monaghan's writing saturates the reader with the spirit of wide-eyed discovery, good Celtic mischief, prayer flags at holy wells, and sacred teaching not just of the ancient past, but as much from the 'ancient future' of the Irish soul." Frank Maceowen, author of The Spiral of Memory and Belonging
"Few stories are as fascinating as this story of a return to Ireland, the land of primordial enchantment. It's amazing to find someone who presents so well the people and places, the myths, realities, and history of this country." Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth and The Great Work
"Patricia Monaghan daringly braids past and present together on her inspirational pilgrimage to Ireland's mythic sites." Caitlin Matthews, author of The Celtic Spirit
Ireland: land of rambles, burning peat, dark beer, misdirection, lilting speech, enchanting melodies, green hills, ruddy faces, and goddesses. Goddesses? In Ireland? Like many Irish Americans before her, Pat Monaghan traveled to Ireland for the first time as an adult, seeking her roots. What she found was much more than her physical ancestors. She found spiritual forebears in the legends and landmarks of spirited women: witches, hags, wanton girls, mothers. This book is the story of her journeys, and the story of the journeys the legends have made through time.
With evocative description and careful scholarship, Patricia Monaghan takes readers on a journey through the countryside of Ireland. She discovers an abundance of sacred pools, half-forgotten caves, petroglyphs etched on stone walls, and wells built on Celtic holy ground, and she beautifully recounts the legends associated with these mystical sites. Searching for the holy relics of nature religion, goddess worship, Celtic ceremony, Christian sanctuaries, and fairy lore, Patricia juxtaposes these ancient rites with the contemporary issues of ecology and war, exploring the connection between her rich heritage and the dilemmas of the modern world.
About the Author
Patricia Monaghan is a member of the resident faculty at DePaul University's School for New Learning, where she teaches literature and environment. She is the editor of Irish Spirit and the author of Dancing with Chaos, a book of poetry published in Ireland. The winner of the 1992 Friends of Literature Award, she lives in Chicago.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: The Sacred Center 1
Chapter Two: Mountains of the Hag 15
Chapter Three: The Red-Haired Girl From the Bog 45
Chapter Four: Intoxication 75
Chapter Five: Becoming Native to This Island 107
Chapter Six: The Well of Her Memory 137
Chapter Seven: Wisdom Galore 167
Chapter Eight: Wildish Things 205
Chapter Nine: The Stone in the Midst of All 241
Pronunciation Guide 251
About the Author 293