The Centre for Celtic Spirituality

THE STORY OF MACHA

The City of Armagh (Ard Macha) and the ancient site of Emain Macha (for which the Navan Centre is an interpretive centre), are both named after a Celtic Goddess – MACHA.

Her story is told in the Ulster Cycle of Mythologies. This is a brief telling of a deeply significant story.

Macha was a skilled runner and her husband boasted to the King of Ulster that she could outrun his fastest horses. The king accepts this as a challenge, but Macha was heavily pregnant  and begged for postponement. The King would not back down so she was forced to run and ended up outrunning the King’s horses!

However, she gives birth immediately to twins and, before she dies, Macha, in her pain and anger, places a curse and a blessing on the Men of Ulster, represented by each twin. The blessing is that Ulster’s warriors would have great strength and power. The curse is that in their time of greatest crisis the Ulstermen would be struck down with the weakness of a woman in labour, unable to save themselves.

In refusing to protect Macha, the King of Ulster betrays one of the central functions of Kingship – to allow the creativity of women to prosper.

 

You can find these and other ancient mythologies in the Táin Bó Cúailnge, the oldest wisdom stories of Ireland.

DATES FOR MONTHLY CELTIC PRAYER IN THE OLD CATHEDRAL

What is Celtic Prayer?

Celtic Prayer, like Celtic Spirituality, is very nature focused. So there are references to seasons of the year, the sun and moon, the ocean and the land, the birds, fish and animals and the Sacred Presence in everthing.

During Celtic Prayer there is an order of service (liturgy) to follow easily and there is also suitable music.

Celtic Prayer takes place monthly on the first Wednesday of each month at 12.30p.m. in the Ladychapel (behind the main altar) of the old Cathedral (Church of Ireland or Anglican) in Armagh.

 EVERYONE IS WELCOME.

DATES FOR 2015 (all at 12.30pm)

September 2

October 7

November 4

December 2

A Caim (Encircling) Prayer.

Circle us with peace – keep light and love within, keep danger without.

Circle us through this day – keep childlike trust within, keep fear without.

Circle us this night – keep health and peace within, keep dis-ease without.

Deep peace of the quiet earth, deep peace of the flowing air, deep peace of the ocean’s depth, deep peace of the God of peace. Amen.

THE HEROIC JOURNEY WORKSHOP

The psychologist and mythologist, Joseph Campbell identified a common theme connecting many ‘indigenous’ spiritualities – including Celtic Spirituality. Their stories tell about the hero or heroine who is ‘called’ outwards from the familiar place to experience something completely new. These stories teach us that it requires courage to step outside of the familiar and to follow the call of the heart. This is why it’s ’the Heroic Journey’. This heroic journey has much to teach us about our own life journey. Joseph Campbell said – ‘I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.’

 

The heroic journey often leads the traveller into difficult and testing situations, but he/she returns from the journey a changed and more compassionate human being to share their gifts of wisdom and insight. The journey is also about the discovery of YOUR GIFT. The word in the Irish is DAN – which means both your poetry and your destiny – for your destiny is interlinked with the practice of your gift in this world. Because we are all individuals, no one can offer your gift to the world in exactly the same way as you can.

This workshop takes us on a personal journey and enables self exploration to uncover your giftedness and to hear ‘the call’ to the most exciting journey of your life – the Heroic Journey.

This workshop is avaialable to small groups and a group can be booked by EMailing contact@celtic-spirituality.net

The Journey (by Mary Oliver)

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice -

though the whole house began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognised as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do -

determined to save

the only life that you could save.

So the heroic journey of finding your own voice and your ‘DAN’ begins…………………

 

Be Still, and know that I Am God.

EARTHWALKS – Saturday 7th November 2015

EARTHWALKS are all about walking in nature with an approach that is meditative – aware of the breath and walking more slowly.

EARTHWALKS PRACTICE A.R.C.

A = AWARENESS OF THE BEAUTY OF MOTHER EARTH.  

R = RESPECT FOR MOTHER EARTH.

C = CONNECTEDNESS WITH MOTHER EARTH.

EARTHWALKS enable us to enter into the experience of the natural world and all its beauty in a deeper way.

EARTHWALKS are about excercise and company, and also about discovery and gratitude and fun!

The next Earthwalk for Samhain will take place on Saturday7th November 2015 from 10.30a.m. to 12.00 midday – venue to be confirmed.

The walks are led by Frances Daly (M.Sc. Ecology) and Grace Clunie, Director of Celtic Spirituality.

Wear good walking boots and bring  a rain-coat and a cushion in a plastic bag for sitting down.

COST: £5.00

To register and for further information EMail contact@celtic-spirituality.net

 

 

 

 

FACILITIES AT THE CENTRE FOR CELTIC SPIRITUALITY AT THE NAVAN CENTRE/ EMAIN MACHA, ARMAGH.

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The Centre for Celtic Spirituality is based at The Navan Centre at the ancient site of Emain Macha just outside of the city of Armagh, Northern Ireland.

 

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                                 (The large A.V Theatre at The Navan Centre) 

 

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(Rev’d Grace Clunie, Director of The Centre for Celtic Spirituality, addresses a group in the Centre’s AV theatre).

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    (Rev’d Grace Clunie and Rev’d Kiran Young Wimberly in the Celtic Studies Library)

FACILITIES AT THE CENTRE FOR CELTIC SPIRITUALITY

Restaurant/Coffee shop, gift shop, AV theatre, workshop room, outdoor living history exhibit, indoor exhibition, ample parking for cars and coaches, small Celtic Studies library stocked with books on many aspects of Celtic Spirituality, including theology, Celtic prayer, history, Art, mythology and culture – a valuable resource to those seeking to learn about what Celtic Spirituality has to offer our contemporary world.

To contact The Centre for Celtic Spirituality at The Navan Centre Tel: 028 37529644.

Address: 81 Killylea Road, Armagh BT60 4LD.

A prayer for the work of The Centre for Celtic Spirituality:

Bless us, Lord, this day with vision.

May this place be a sacred place,

a telling place,

where heaven and earth meet.

(from Celtic Daily Prayer, p. 290)

 

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION CLASSES – BEGIN MONDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER 2015

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CHRISTIAN MEDITATION CLASSES

 These classes will be helpful for anyone seeking a deeper spiritual life – especially anyone interested in exploring basic teaching on Christian meditation as a way to finding stillness and meaning in their life.

Meditation is a very powerful aid to inner peace.

This simple practice is based on the teaching of the Benedictine Monk, John Main, who said – ‘The important aim in Christian meditation is to allow God’s mysterious and silent presence within us to become more and more not only a reality but the reality which gives meaning, shape and purpose to everything we do, everything we are.’

John Main’s work is carried on by the World Community for Christian Meditation and its Director FR LAURENCE FREEMAN OSB clip_image002 (www.wccm.org).

If you would be interested in learning more about the practice of Christian Meditation, come along to a class and find out more for yourself. NEW MEMBERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

Meditation classes take place on the first and third Mondays of each month at The Navan Centre, Armagh – from 10.15a.m. to 11.00a.m.

Meditation classes recommence on Monday 7th September at 10.15a.m.

COST: £2.00 PER CLASS  

If you are interested in joining a class please EMail  contact@celtic-spirituality.net or telephone 02838870667.

John Main said -   “To learn to meditate you have to learn to be silent and not to be afraid of silence…. ..In meditation we cross the threshold from background noise into silence. This is vital for us because silence is necessary if the human spirit is to thrive and to be creative. Silence releases a creative response to life, to our environment and friends because it gives our spirit room to breathe, room to be. In silence we do not have to justify ourselves, apologise or impress anyone. Just be.”

(From Word Made Flesh by John Main, Medi Media, US, 1991.)

CELTIC SPIRITUALITY STUDY LIBRARY

The Centre for Celtic Spirituality has a small study library at The Navan Centre with books on pilgrimage, Celtic saints, peace and reconciliation, Celtic Prayer and liturgy, Irish history and mythology and much more. 

It is particularly useful for anyone on a study experience.

There is no charge to use the library, though donations towards the upkeep of the library and the work of The Centre for Celtic Spirituality are very much appreciated.

To ensure you are able to use the library at the time/date that suits you, contact The Navan Centre on

028 3752 9644/9655.

THE SONG OF LUGHNASADH – AUTUMN SEASON

 

 

 

THE SONG OF LUGHNASADH (1 August-31 October)

I am the sovereign splendour of creation,

I am the fountain in the courts of bliss,

I am the bright surrender of the willpower,

I am the watchful guardian and the kiss,

I am the many-coloured landscape,

I am the transmigration of the geese,

I am the burnished glory of the breastplate,

I am the harbour where all strivings cease. 

 

The Autumn quarter of Lughnasadh brings the gift of maturity and is a time of physical harvest and spiritual gathering. It sees the greatest change in weather from light and heat to dark and chilly nights. It is the time for celebrating the harvest and sees the busy preparations for winter.

In the human growth cycle, Lughnasadh corresponds to the period of mature adulthood when a certain steadiness and responsibility have been established.

It is a good time to celebrate the lives of all who have helped stabilise and uphold the noble values of life, of all who have exercised good judgement and steered the doubtful into the harbour of certainty, of all holy ones whose guardianship has saved us from life-disabling mistakes.

 

Activities for Lughnasadh/ Autumn

 Practice your knowledge.

 Learn new subjects and relate new information to your existing store of wisdom.

Follow the inspirational pathways that lead you to the heart of your art or skill. 

Harvest fruit and vegetables and prepare the garden for winter.

Assess your own life’s harvest: prepare fallow areas of your life for reseeding; clear old fields of overgrowth.

Walk and meditate outdoors for at least 15 minutes daily.

Be active with like-minded others, in bringing healing or relief to living beings in distress, whether human, animal, plant etc.

 

(From Celtic Devotional, by Caitlin Matthews, published by Gill and Macmillan, 1996)

 

 

THE ST. PATRICK’S WALKING TRAIL – Armagh, Downpatrick and Belfast.

A 3-stage journey following in the footsteps of St Patrick is detailed at www.Ireland.com/St-Patrick-itinery

The route is from Belfast to Armagh (60.4km/40 miles) then to Downpatrick (82.6km/40 miles) and finally back to Belfast (34.9km/21.6 miles).

All the details can be explored on the above web-site, including maps, accommodation along the route and all places to visit.

Make sure you call in at The Centre for Celtic Spirituality! We’re based at one of the oldest places in Ireland – Emain Macha – which has a beautiful interpretive centre called The Navan Centre (for more information just google The Navan Centre). It’s situated 3 miles from Armagh City on the Enniskillen Road (the road leading past the Armagh City Hotel).

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

may the earth bless your feet,

and may you find your place of resurrection.

 

 

 

SACRED LIVING – An introduction to Celtic Spirituality – A six-part Study Course to order.

This Six part study course is available to order as a PDF document.
It is written as a simple introduction to six themes of Celtic Christian Spirituality – Nature, Hospitality, Sacred Living, Creative Spirituality, Journey and The Other World.
Each chapter concludes with questions for discussion and reflection – for individuals or for group discussion and action.

This introduction will be useful for anyone seeking basic information about Celtic Spirituality, anyone preparing for a pilgrimage journey, groups seeking new material for study and anyone who wants to be inspired in new ways of living. It also contains a section on further resources for reading and for further study.

“May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.”

 
HOW DO I ORDER IT?

1. Go the web-page marked ‘Donate.’

2. Click on the ‘Donate’  button at the bottom of the page.

3. Send £15 to The Centre for Celtic Spirituality via PayPal. This money will go towards the work of The Centre, which is both non-profit and inter-church with a focus on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Please also sned an EMail to us at contact@celtic-spirituality.net This will ensure that we have your EMail address so that we can then send you the PDF document.

4. When we receive your payment, we will send you your own copy of Sacred Living: Practical Inspirations for the contemporary Spiritual Journey as a PDF document to download. You also have the author’s permission to make copies for your own use, individually or in group situations such a small study groups. (However, please note that this work is copy-righted and cannot be re-sold for commercial gain).

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND WE HOPE YOU WILL FIND SACRED LIVING BOTH HELPFUL AND INSPIRATIONAL!

OCTOBER 2015 – ‘QUEST FOR THE SACRED FEMININE’ – A TEN WEEK COURSE.

QUEST FOR THE SACRED FEMININE: An exploration of the Feminine in ancient and contemporary spirituality.

This 10 week course will be taught on Thursday mornings from 11a.m. to 1p.m. in Belfast, beginning Thursday 1st October. It will include an exploration of the Bible and women, the Desert Mothers, medieval women mystics and contemporary feminist theology alongside an exploration of the Goddess Archetype, especially in Pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland.

Facilitators:  Grace Clunie and Kate Fitzpatrick.

Venue: Queen’s university Belfast 

More details are available on Queen’s Universities Open Learning web-site (www.qub.ac.uk/edu/ol) or by telephone on 0289097 3323/3539.