CELTIC DEVOTION TOGETHER WITH TRANSLATION OF "ORTHAI COSANTA" BY SEAN O DUINN.
Before we proceed, some terminology is meet. Religions are above all societal manifestations of a shared experience of the sacred. Religions may be secular, like Marxism, or theistic. A liminal case is the apparently only moderately theistic Buddhism. The latter is arguably ontological ascesis; the attempt in dark times to inhabit a perspective in which all of one's experience--psychic, organic, and perceptual--as well as the world itself was ultimately atomistic, to be bracketed away from a meditative state.
There would seem at first glance many good reasons not to want a new religion. The ones we have are in general in disgrace, whether due to resurgent militant theistic fundamentalism or the clear epistemological and sociopolitical limitations of the 20th century secular religions like Marxism and Freudianism. The former trend initially reworked the landscapes of Eurasia, with mosques and churches attesting to the virulence of the Abrahamic God and the moral certainty It induced in communities.
The sociopolitical limitations of the Abrahamic religions make socialist utopianism look rational and eminently feasible. There is no going back to clericalism in Europe, nor will nascent Islamic militarism be allowed to encroach on the freedoms that westerners have now taken for granted. The challenges set by 20th century eurofascism and Sovietism were altogether more powerful, and were both seen off.
Similarly, the epistemological limitations of the Abrahamic religions have led to their truth-claims appropriately being derided. While the aggression with which Christian conversion was pursued in Europe--apart from the Celtic church--meant that the church appropriated many valuables locations of cult and practices of societal initiation, and produced some artistic masterpieces amongst much dross, it will never again convince people that it can turn bread into a person, or that it has a ticket to ride to heaven. In order to do so, it had to destroy much of the classical learning which dictated that one path could never suffice for "So great a mystery".
It can indeed be argued that different takes on the Abrahamic God led to an apocalyptic bloodcult in Islam, which provoked a mirror image in the eschatological Christianity which provoked the crusades. It is perhaps fair to say that Europe is the result of a reaction to Islamic invasion. The Roman Catholicism with Christ as emperor that countered Islam benefitted greatly from organizational structure bequeathed by the Roman Empire.
As we experience another one, we will not fall back on Christianity this time. It is likely that we will begin to see our freedoms of thought, political association and reproduction as sacred and this will galvanize the belief system. The other wing of the attack is that neofeudal dispensation first identified with neo-conservatism, and then neoliberalism. Ironically, in the name of "rights" like ungendered public conveniences, it now seeks to elide even private property (in extremis, as in 2008), and the vote. At the university it teaches dogmatic relativism, hitherto thought impossible!. That too is an enemy to be countered.
And thus the best argument for a new religion emerges. Our current academic discourse lacks the concepts--indeed, the vocabulary in this age of newspeak--to say why it is an inappropriate extension of multiculturalism to allow Muslims in the west to lock up their wives; to assert the superiority of Mozart over hip hop as of course, they're both there to make you feel good; or even to appeal to freedom of expression to value liberal democracies over theocracies.
Therefore, when there is a community of practice which, against the grain and unsupported by academia, is asserting an issue of value like live quality music over relativism of cherishing Western freedoms, there is an argument for incorporating this community into a new comity of experience of the sacred, a religion.
TOWARD THE ABSOLUTE
The apophatic way is an attempt to grasp the absolute through alienated cognition. Inevitably, it ends in paradox; toda y nada, or a quantum vacuum. We 21st century denizens also predicate of it energy, initially at very low entropy; logos, as our universe is vehemently ordered; interconnectedness; and we suspect its metaphysical nature is Ouroboros, beyond subject and object. Thus, we have moved a little beyond apophatic thinkers like Proclus/Dionysius. After the big bang, it becomes Cosmos and attention
The cataphatic way is both invocation and incarnation. It is getting the absolute to know itself through us who are then centred in it. The other 99 names like splendor, justice etc are how we choose to incarnate it. This choice of incarnation is the essence of the sacred.
Institutionalization of this sense of the sacred is religion. Yet the initial shock of Being itself is replicated only in fringe religions like Zen or Gurdjieff. Likewise, it is clear the Abrahamic God is not suitable material for post Weber state.
Before any Cartesian subject comes into focus, an organism with 3 +billion years of evolutionary history is trying to realize itself in its environment. Philosophically, this is handled by propositional attitudes, (belief, hope etc) and language--games (asking, praying, making up stories etc). This naked impulse and the snug fit, between organism and environment, honed by selection is what will forever distinguish AI and natural mind.
Religions can responsibly be practised if they do not contradict best process in science, augment social injustice, or diminish the distinctions presented to consciousness by lowering Being. In fact, most looking for "consciousness" are really looking to acquire more Being. We can get a certain amount by rational knowledge; the past 20 years has witnessed an outpouring of publication of facts unprecedented in world history. Bullying trainers show tough love in elevating you levels of metabolism to make you more alive, and as a byproduct lose weight. Truly great artists become successful by finding a means to commercially exploit the technical advances they share with their peers.
On the positive side, we can identify moments of conscious experience that are self-transcendent. These are invoked in European culture by the arts, We can also recognize through intervention moments of insight into one's political being where hitherto subjective impulses are seen from the outside. Finally, physical experience has the possibility of "flow" in which we disappear. These together are the sacred in awareness.
Our normal "self" is a verdict that our brains have adequately compressed the myriad data presented to them instant by instant. We can exult in a narcissistic elevation of this feeling of selfhood by, for example, playing a favourite song over and over. To experience this self as an object--as in transcending mechanical reasoning by seeing the truth of a Godel statement--is the essential spiritual experience in the religion of Bionoetics.
Then we indeed disappear briefly to become a vehicle for Being to know itself through us; when we return, a moment later, it is with an expanded self that too will pass but is a higher level of Being. It is up to real religious figures like J. Krishnamurti to be continually in touch with a source of attention that will jolt us back into authentic Selfhood.
But what is the Self, as Kierkegaard asked? His answer is that it is a closed loop--it is the fact it relates to itself. However, it also is clearly a process of identification and recognition, a mental immune system. It can be minimal, a soviet-type manifestation o relations of production, or myriad as in liberal democracies. In any case, in physics terms it can be founded on the observer in relativity and QM. The viewpoint here is that the remaining issues in the explanatory gap are cultural, the smorgasbord of identities we Westerners can choose from.
AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM; QUANTUM MECHANICS (QM) AND MIND.
In the early 20th century, nature seemed to wish to slough off its mute chains, even in physics. It began to manifest signs of somehow being aware of what question was being asked of it; was it wave or particle? Into the fray stepped many physicists and Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation gained much traction. This account will focus on only one aspect of it; the notion that quantum mechanics violates the requirement from classical physics that the math account of nature be non-ambiguous.
Indeed, math will be treated here as an attempt at a non-ambiguous language. Where the system seems to fall apart, as in the case of converging versus non-converging infinities, a hack is used to rectify the issue with a new grouping of the terms in the series. The argument here is an extension; the "unreasonable effectiveness" of math is shadowed by natural language.
Mentation has been identified for a century with cognition, a psychological process that shows evidence of the fact that psychology was robbed both of logic and phenomenology since the 19th century. The proposal here is that noesis, the use of a semantic formalism to manifest the "unreasonable effectiveness" of math must complement cognition; moreover, the fact we seem to know "Dingen an sich" in QM suggest we label that mental acts as noumenal. To make matters more complex, as we veer from the cognitive to the noetic, our science becomes more precise; as we encroach on the theater of the absurd in the noumenal, predictions are correct to parts in a trillion, a new achievement. Clearly, mind and world are linked in ways Wittgenstein never dreamed of.
The relationship between natural language and world was perhaps the major theme of 20th century philosophy. The provocative figure of the later Wittgenstein proposed a nihilistic solution; while the Augustinian relation of a word to its referent is a clear case (and dogs can be trained thus to "understand" hundreds of words), ultimately the meaning of a word is its use. That use arises in a naturalistic situation in a "language game", like asking a question. In fact, if we failed to bear the multiplicity of "language games" in mind we would commit the absurdity of asking "What is a question?".
In fact, language itself can be processed by humans only within a domain in which we bring our physical experience of the world, often transferred metaphorically, into contact with our linguistic apparatus. Outside such a domain, our use of words is a theatre of the absurd. Within such a domain, as the context is progressively restricted, we transition from NY times style parsing/reading to Siri type sublanguage Q+A to the Augustinian situation.
Indeed, we can approach spirituality with this schema. Symbolists like Mallarme attempted a "semantic transcendentalism" in which symbols were fugitive and deep. Spanish followers also on this path used many superlatives to point to their transcendent experience of Reality. The Koran adopted the 99 names of god current in Mohammed's time to covey an awesome experience of the sacredness of our cosmos, one that resonates to this day from his proselytizing period in Mecca, unfortunately inseparable from his time as warlord.
It is valid, in Bionoetics as meta religion, so to create a portal to the infinite, an infinite we fing in classical physics. What we do not find is the Sufy mysticism that advocated dissolution of the self. Coming as it did in a civilized interlude as islam provided stability in the near East, the QM type metaphysics is echoed in all the great religions.
Computational attempts to emulate this have, since the 1950's, followed a familiar path of prematurely declaring victory and Iraq War-type disaster. In math, the situation is not quite as simple as Bohr claimed. Formalisms like the Hamiltonian are semantically ambiguous (polysemous); a single proposition may accurately model several or no physical realities. Fractals work for the stock market and maps; the Lagrangian has a multitude of possible reference.
So QM is not uniquely ambiguous; rather, it is absurdist. In fact, it might be argues that the states described in QM formalisms are also metaphysically ambiguous; the line between the physical system and the observing apparatus can be drawn at any point, as both are made of atoms.
Moreover, we can plot a hierarchy of "measurements" starting with the observer-neutral decoherence that transforms the quantum into the classical world, to the reading of nucleotides that gives rise to codes in biology, to the nascent self that arises when conventional scientific observation of a QM system happens.
The debauching of spirituality is exemplified by Kemiche's killing of Hamel in Normandy in 2016. Slitting an elderly priest's throat and desecrating a place of worship was to be sanctified with shouts of "Allahu Akbar!".
There is in fact a consensus emerging, ranging from Tolle to Krishnamurti to Sam Harris, that spiritual experience starts with the observation of one's empirical, quotidian self as an object. Yet many who consider themselves spiritual--political activists, artist, athletes--find this consensus anodyne. An activist risks his career; and as Beckett said about Jack B Yeats, a true artist risks his very being.
We need to rest our new religious system on a form of spiritual realization various enough to encompass the enlightenment of class warriors, the death of the ego in dance, the emotional self-transcendence of true art, as indeed the seeing as true of the Godel sentence. Nor should we call the observer "consciousness" as does Tolle; it is rather the Ground of Being knowing itself through us, existing in our unique human individuality in what we might call centered mentation. In fact, if we identify consciousness as gamma synchrony in the brain, a synchrony that results in "Zero power" moments, with a non-deterministic process suddenly becoming cortically salient in the thermodynamic lull, there still is no reason for subjectivity to merge. It is likely that its emergence has much to do with what the observer is in QM and post QM.
Science can usefully rephrased as nature is ontologically reparsed, with different categories of causality for the quantum, classical and biological realms. We need a vocabulary to indicate how we ourselves can ontologically be transformed, as the church calmed for its priests. The rituals, the initiation, all else I also leave to others.
THE ACADEMIC INDUSTRY
The land grants given state universities in the USA from the 19th century gave these institutions an irrevocable head start Public funding of universities arguably started in Siena in 1240; the real issue is what we as a society should do with these prime pieces of real estate in the middle of the best parts of our cities.
Currently, there is increasing agreement that students are not being taught properly, and often have to pay large fees for this abuse. Moreover, the academic industry parasitical on these land grants include journals with a 40% or so profit margin; research funding bodies that require the taxpayer to dip his hand in his pocket further to subsidize the already cosseted academics; adding insult and further cost to injury, any functional results of this research, the great majority done by broke students in a feudal system, will be privatized by corporations who will then require the public to pay a third time for the products they produce.
The justification used boils down to the "search for truth" with expertise encapsulated in "peer review", done by experts, invoked to privilege this over Joe Soap thinking about his life. In fact, it fits neatly into what Frank Zappa called the "right to life of an unborn idea". Surely Joe is happy to pay for ideas hatched by people paid to think and (unlike him) with the time to do so? Indeed Zappa once funded concerts in London from his own pocket, on his way to his later incarnation as a competent classical composer.
The problem about peer review is that since the mid 20th century we have not seen the peers, or their review, as the process is both anonymous and "blind". In fact, the current system does a rather better job in aborting unborn ideas that preserving the quality of the often scurrying mindlessness that it publishes. Baked into the system are "citation cartels", groups of academics who meet each other at conferences and cite each others' work while hiring each others' students in one of the great systems of corruption in western society.
As a vehicle for the search for truth, it could hardly be less efficient and costly to the public purse. It is maintained essentially by university administrators whose very jobs depend on sustaining it. Let us be clear; academic tenure, as the expression of the state's domestication of scholars, suits the state rather more than it does scholarship. As someone who fought hard for its survival in the most aggressive attack on tenure in history--Ireland in the aughts--it is now clear to me that we need to review exactly what the state universities are for, and where power should be located in them.
Once the web allowed independent colleges to be set up for a small fraction of the original cost, the state moved quickly to criminalize this process by insisting that they be accredited. This does not even pretend to be peer review.
Therefore, it now makes more sense for students to take elite online courses, with 130 credits costing perhaps $2k over 4 years, than invest $200k in a 4-year degree. Ironically, these 4-year degree programs are suffering from an epidemic of fake degree companies. (Anders Breivik of the Norway massacre ran one successful such a company). If instead of any 4-year degree the students instead take coursear/edx courses, they can post attested links to their achievements on a site like Linkedin. EDX in particular has a secure system of verification that you are the person who has successfully completed a course; far more secure than a Hrvard diploma, fake copies of which can be bought on numerous sites.
But what has all this to do with religion? At this point we need to note that a bachelor's degree was originally indeed that; the time spent waiting to get married. What about looking on the process as a series of initiations into a cosmic mystery, rather than commencements into ever higher levels of debating prowess, as initially intended, but no longer honored?
BIONOETICS, INITIATION, AND CITIZENSHIP
All full-time students (35+ credits per year) are tuition free. We offer you the chance, at graduation to buy a share in the institution at a rate equivalent to $3k per year of study. You get free access to our unique and elite content like neurodynamics as a full-time student. Part-time students pay standard commercial rates.
Please see universityofireland.org for course syllabi and contact details
Bionoetics proposes on the one hand a metareligion, a new taxonomy of the sacred; on the other, a science sensitive to levels of being. Students can be initiated into engaged citizenship (Irish studies--cadet, pioneer and candidate), levels of religious mentorship (novice 1,2,3 initiate and master of Bionoetics), or given a degree in a commencement ceremony if we eventually decide to seek accreditation.
The schema here, involving normative concepts in the social sciences, prepares students for Irish citizenship in a program which is a bachelor's equivalent but does not claim accreditation. Put your grades and projects up on linkedin instead!
With respect to the arts, we are open to aesthetic experience as Reality knowing itself through us in a way that honours the absolute as logos, freedom, and cosmos. We are all unique individuals in a society of hitherto inexperienced abundance, both material and cultural.
We do not claim to be accredited, have not sought it, and may never do so as it is neither a public nor a peer-reviewed process. It is worth pointing out that we created the first degree programme in the first university created by the Irish republic. From 1993, these courses, which remain proprietary to us, were taught for credit through the EU Erasmus program in the universities of Saarbrucken, Stuttgart and Bielefeld (Germany), Goteborg (Sweden), Nancy 2, Paris 7, and Strasbourg 2 (France). In 2005 two of our courses were accepted for credit at Stanford and UC Berkeley, and we have continued to teach for credit there right up to 2017 with a total of 4 courses, and software projects, thus accepted.
UC Berkeley is of course the world's top public university; by happy coincidence, in its 777th year in existence as the world's oldest publicly-funded university, we taught for credit at U Sienna in June 2017!
Transcription of English Portion of Sean O'Nuallain Translation Talk, June, 2017: "Protection prayers in Celtic devotion".
Published in 1990. (ed: We're going to try to do the preface and part of chapter 1 before moving on to the "meat" of the book.)
Inside Celtic devotion, the lorica, the protection prayer, is a Celtic initiative the like of which cannot be found widely in any other part of the church. Loricas can be said to be one of the tropes most characteristic of Celtic devotion or more specifically Gaelic devotion. The lorica is used for invocations that called for shelter to be provided against enemy powers that are threatening the body and soul of people.
While every particular lorica is different, normally there is a poetic style or indeed a rosc, a vision, that runs through the lorica. So there is a resemblance between the lorica and the litany in terms of how they are laid out. But the public's response, "Lord have mercy ... pray for us," are missing in the lorica. What this means is that the lorica was more involved in private devotion than in public liturgy.
From a number of loricas that came down to us from ancient times and more recently it is very clear that they were very popular and also you can find their influence in native prayers that are not related directly to protection. Since a lot of loricas can be found in Latin, it's clear that the clergy used them as well as the laypeople. The tradition continued through the Middle Ages and even the present day you can hear short loricas in people's prayers still.
If it is true that the Gildas goes back to the sixth century it is a tradition that has 1400 years behind it. As well as in Ireland, it's clear that the lorica was very popular in Scotland. Pieces of the tradition can be found in Wales and places that were influenced by Gaelic Christianity. Unsurprisingly, huge respect was given to the famous protection prayer, Patrick's Lorca, and its influence continues until today.
OUTLINE OF THE SUBJECT
Apparently the word luireach is a Hibernization of lorica in Latin. The word is used in St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians 6:14. "The truth is a breastplate." And also in St. Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. We also ... ... We would put our belief and our love as a breastplate and our hope is our salvation. Since the issue of protection and the spiritual fight are fundamental to the loricas, we must actually pay attention to the whole paragraph from St. Paul to the Ephesians, right from the start.
(Skipping letter which is well translated in King James.)
In this passage which is at the core of the lorica, St. Paul outlines that there are supernatural spiritual forces fighting against the Christians. The faith and everything associated with it are advantages to the person. When he puts these advantages on himself he invokes God's strength to him and with that strength he can stand his ground against the attacks of the enemy.
St. Paul uses the metaphor of the Roman soldier to bring to fruition his notion of spiritual fulfilment and we are going to see again and again these military metaphors used in the lorica. While defense and everything related to it are at the core of the loricas, the theme is broadened considerably in the particular text. Sometimes the lorica is associated with a particular saint.
We can't be clear about any of this but we are sure that the language used in the lorica is later than the time of the saint himself. Other times there's a preface to the lorica. The preface signifies the context in which it was composed. Similarly, there is a promise related to the relating of the lorica and without doubt that is how loricas became popular.
And that's how the lorica came down to us from antiquity. There is a great deal of research done already by scholars abroad in particular.
Invocation of the forces of nature in the Loricas : One trope in the lorica. (ed. several mentioned)
In his research Mac Eoin made an analysis on the fundamental themes of the Lorica by going through particular types. He succeeded in finding a fundamental pattern in the different texts. The composers were working with a fixed frame and a great majority of them fit it ... He divided the themes of loricas into 13 parts.
Not surprisingly we are going to have to accept this pattern in a very general way because with the amount of uniqueness that is there in a particular loricas it's barely going to happen that you can fit every trope assigned tightly. But the advantages it gives to you as a researcher ... It gives you a direction. Everybody who is working doing research on the loricas is greatly indebted to Mac Eoin because of what he did in his research. In another article.... Mac Eoin put another subject out there ... An Icelandic Lorica that was completely unknown to Celtic scholars.
As regards this present work I'm actually going to look at loricae that were not really given much recognition until now, together with the standard ones. As well as that, a lot of attention will be given to the loricae in Scotch Gaelic. As a result of this broadening will have to look at the Loricae that don't really fit Mac Eoin pattern but don't contradict it either. In this way I'm attempting to take account of the whole tradition of protection prayers without ignoring any thread of deep nature devotion.
With respect to the loricas as devotional prayers, questions arise about the springs of their creation. What's the difference between Celtic devotion and the devotion of the church in general? What's the influence of nature/tradition on the creation, on the composition? Why did this tradition impose itself more on people in Ireland and in Scotland than in any other community in the church?
Are there traces of pagan impulse behind any of the loricas?
Is there a special devotion related to God and the role of the church to be found in them and if there is where does it come from? From tradition or from foreign sources? Deep questions like this relate to the core of the loricas and maybe they will denote a different side of Christianity or a system that is within Christianity but is not really typical of the conventional system.
As a working hypothesis I'm going to use Mac Eoin's work but I'm not actually going to stick to it too rigidly. So the best way to work in this I think is to take excerpts from particular loricas that are dealing with particular themes and to deal with them in particular sections. In this way the subject of each theme will be there in front of the reader and will be able to come to conclusions by looking at these sections and to use different subjects that relate to it. The pattern relates to the general system of the loricas and not to one particular one.
Therefore it's often that you don't get these themes in any particular protection prayer. In particular loricas a good few of the themes can be found but in others they are scarce but we can find their influence on particular themes.
To help the reader go into this complicated area, almost unknown, I'm going to first of all write down Mac Eoin pattern and I'm going to impose it on the very well known Patrick's lorica to show how this mode of working is going to implement itself in this book. The great advantage of Patrick's Lorica to exemplify the loricas in general, we can see the themes there although very little work has been done on them in contrast to other loricas.
Mac Eoin Pattern. Invocation of the Trinity. Invocation of God. Invocation of God is unity. Invocation of Christ. Invocation of the angels and archangels. Invocation of the circle of Saints. The invocation of nature. The circling of the protection of God in general and in particular for the person. List of dangers and their protections. Invocations and prayer for eternal redemption. General invocation. A change on one theme or something resembling it.
Mac Eoin pattern on Patrick's lorica.
Invocation of the Trinity. Invocation of God is unity. Invocation of God as Creator. The invocation of Christ in the next section. The invocation of the angels and archangels. Prayer to the eternal redemption. Invocation of the powers of Saints. Invocation of nature. The surrounding of the protection of God in general and in particular the individual. The list of the dangers with their protections, for example false prophets. Then we get again the eternal redemption. The surrounding with the protection of God in general and in the existential individual. Christ be with me. Christ in front of me. Christ behind me. The parts of the body ... Christ is going to be in every person thinking about me. So we get back to the first theme.
In this part of the protection prayers, the Loricas, we are dealing with ancient concepts that have the unusualness and in general the impression that we must actually address their meaning. In the end, what do we mean by that section from Padraig) 14, "I arise today" What is the fundamental philosophy behind it?
I would say myself that we are dealing with an ancient perspective that looked at the cosmos as a fundamental unity despite the plurality of forms.
The macro cosmos and the micro cosmos, that is the person, share the same meaning and consequently the same attributes, and laws were relevant to both the person and the macro cosmos. It therefore appears from that excerpt from Padraig 14 that the attributes that are associated with the different aspects of nature from the macro cosmos are imposing themselves on the micro cosmos, that is the person as well.
The attributes associated with the sun, with the moon, with the sea, are imposing themselves on the person who is praying. In the person praying each of the cosmic and natural forces are in balance and don't exclude each other.
If the argument has validity, the excerpt is associated with a cosmic vision and the person is trying to break out from the restraint of individuality to make connection with cosmic fundamental forces and to put himself in connection with the order of the cosmos.
In that way, the estrangement is destroyed and the person is heard (as) a critical part of creation. It's useful to think of a jigsaw puzzle. If the pieces are separated from each other, or if even one is missing, they don't make sense and every one of them has no meaning whatsoever. But when they're put in connection with each other in the correct order, a clear and integrated picture comes into view.
In the same way, a person is never really outside the system. The wisdom perception makes it clear to him that he is acting inside of an all-encompassing cosmic system. It is probably as well to say to you that it is not just perception. We have an incantation to put this effect into being.
As Professor James has said, it is often very difficult to distinguish prayer from spell or magical formula in which the efficacy resides in the word spoken and the accompanying actions performed rather than in the divine being addressed since the power seems to lie the actual utterance.
Postscript of "Protection prayers in Celtic devotion" by Sean O'Duinn starts at page 162.
In the course of this work we used a basic pattern a lot to structure the loricas. It's clear or it looks likely that Padraig 14 was the fundamental source of the pattern since all the themes are there.After doing an analysis on this text and putting it in comparison with other loricas, it was clear to Mac Eoin that there was a pattern related to particular prayers that separated them from other sorts of such prayers. Although Mac Eoin doesn't refer to the loricas from Scotland it is easy to see that that pattern operates as easily in Scotland as it does in Ireland for the most part. The paradigmatic lorica is repeated from the fundamental pattern because of its simplicity and the fact that it's an archetype.
We cannot say, however, that every theme in the pattern is equally important to the other such themes. We can actually set aside five from the 13 patterns because they're often are missing and occasionally there's nothing but the most derisory reference to them. Among these we have:
The invocation of God as creator
The invocation of God as unity
The prayer on the eternal salvation
The general themes
A repetition of a particular theme or something like it
With that simplification, the major themes can be seen in more relief. So that means that here are eight themes left with fundamental importance. The first is the invocation of the Trinity. Second, the invocation of Christ. Third, the invocation of amgels and archangels. Fourth, the invocation of the classes of Saints.
Five, the invocation of nature. Sixth, the parts of the body. Seventh, surrounding with the protection of God in general and in particular aspects of the person's life. Finally, a list of dangers.
From the loricas we studied, it's possible to come across a critical fundamental theme going through all the loricas and how the major themes manifest in this fundamental pattern. Basically, the thing that's in loricas is an invocation to God to protect people from danger. And we can put a little bit more meaning of these terms.
First of all, Invocation. Two, God. Three, Person. Four, protection. Five, danger. Or to qualify them in some way.
For example, it is possible to invoke God more as Christ, in which case it's an invocation of Christ, as the angels obviously an invocation of the angels and archangels, the Saints in the invocation of Saints, the powers of nature in the invocation of nature.
With respect to God, we think of God as father, as son in the invocation of Christ or as Holy Spirit the invocation of Trinity. The notion of person breaks down into two concepts, the soul and the body. In the body there are two members. The person as soul and then as body. In that case were talking about the parts of the body.
With respect to the idea of protection, the idea of God as a protector comes into high relief. He gives a shelter to the person in the measure that he surrounds them in general and more precisely in the particular modes of the persons life. With respect to protection, we have the surrounding protection of God and then in the particular modes of the person's life. With respect to the dangers, there's a big slew of them that put the soul and the body of the person in danger. We have a list of dangers.
We can now see how the major themes of the pattern fit logically in the fundamental idea of the loricas. A manifesting of the basic terms is what's in question. It's clear now how one or two can be missing without the fundamental idea of the lorica being lost.
We saw earlier how it's possible regularly to put emphasis on one of them at the expense of others in particular loricas. On the side instead of doing a simplification, the pattern can be more precise and more all-encompassing by using the invocation of the Holy Spirit. That would include a particular fine lorica..
At the same time the time trope can be put in the pattern as well. We find this in another. In the case of the Holy Spirit it would be there under the God term. The time pattern under the person because it relates to the wish of the person. It's clear that this subjectivity is under the auspices of God. But fundamentally, McEoin's pattern is a wonderful instrument to look at the loricas in general.
Is there any prayer in use in the church that is close to the loricas? In the litany of the saints it's possible to see eight of the major themes that we found. It's actually hard to put a date on the most ancient version of the litany.
And these days, it's really messy to talk about saints and the Middle Ages. But if we subtract the saints it's possible to Intuit the devotion of the church at that time. It will be noticed in the litany that the category of Saints comes after the lists of names and it appears that this was a list to be filled in. This is how Schuster talked about the litany of the Saints.
The litany still preserves the very ancient type of prayer which ended the night vigil and served as a transition between the vigiliary office and the offering of the holy sacrifice. The oldest part of the litany is that which follows the invocation of the saints and made it in its earliest forms from the third century. The invocation of the Saints was added in the early Middle Ages and like the Canon of the mass was suggested to the local memories of the great Roman martyrs. Fundamentally, there is a very close resemblance between five major patterns from McEoin's pattern and five scenes from the litany of the Saints.
It can be seen very clearly when we put them in comparison with each other. (ed. We skip over some text in Latin)
From the litany of the saints we have ... God have mercy on us. This is similar to the invocation of the Trinity as seen in the patterns of McEoin's in the lorica's. The next thing we have is the invocation of the angels and the archangels in the pattern of McEoin. And that is very similar to the ... (latin) Omni Sancti Angeli. Ora Pronobis ...
All the saints and angels pray for us in the litanty. Similarly in we have analogs in the invocation of the saints. Then in the lorica we have got the list of the contuirti, the list of dangers which as in the litany of the Saints includes. All dangers, all sins, your anger free also Lord. Finally we have. The invocation of Christ. The sacred mystery of your incarnation.
It would be noticed that four or five patterns of the litany are the same. There are only three people in the Trinity. There's a certain division given to the grades of angels and the saints. There is a certain district given to events from the life of Christ, But given that, it's not hard to take an excerpt from the litany and put it into the pattern of McEoin's or from the pattern of McEoin's and put it in the litany. That works quite well.
We saw already that the list of events in the life of Christ much word for word the same in the litany as in the loricas. We're not saying that the litany was taken from that, but we can be pretty satisfied that in the early days of the church that this fundamental pattern got manifest in both.
It's a sort of a lorica itself to say ... from every ill save us O Lord. However, You can't say forever that the form associated with dangers are as neat as that.
(ed. Skipping--Excerpt 2)
Everything indicates that this was already was there in Irish nature worship. We can say the same thing for the encompassing protection of God. We saw that the ubiquity, the omnipresence of God, is in question here.
It's true that this teaching of the omnipresence of God can be found in the words of St. Paul which is the acts of the apostles 17:28. Definitely He is not far from anybody because it's in him we and move and have our being. But it's important that the sentence is attributed to the philosopher Epimenides(?) From Knossos who had lived in the sixth century before Christ. (editor; Here's just a footnote. Epimenides is the guy who came up with the paradox about the Cretans who says All Cretans are liars which then becomes Godel's incompleteness theorem.)
We saw that not much emphasis was placed on the immanence of God in the devotion of the church throughout the ages. The emphasis was on the transcendence of God. God far from us. We saw also the opposite is to be seen in the loricas with the immanence and the transcendence are mixed up in the idea of a God who is omnipresent. In the old liturgy it's hard to come across a form like God in front of me, God on my right, God on my left, God with me and God in me.
Therefore we have to look at resources outside the standard devotional practices of the church as a foundation of this idea. It's significant to note that St. Paul had the same problem. In chapter 8 we noticed that the power associated with nature. And how this was used to exactly revenge on Laoghaire when he broke an oath sworn on the forces of nature.
So the question arose urgently there: are the forces of nature Gods or do God and the spirits live in them?
It's been understood from the questions that the daughter of Laoghaire asked St. Patrick that the nature was different from the gods. (ed So at this point I'm going to refer to the modern Irish.) What she asked Saint Patrick was who is your God and where is he, in heaven or on earth. Under the earth or over the earth? In the sea or in streams?
Again she had little commerce with this until she was insulted and after that an angel came in her place. If there are gods or spirits in nature it's not only that they are surrounding the person outside, but the person has four parts, because the person is a microcosm of the cosmos and the gods are inside the person as well.
There is a particular importance going to associated with Padraig's response to the daughter of Laoghaire at the well in the incident that we referred to earlier.
"Our God is the God of everything. God of heaven and earth, God of the seas and rivers. God of the sun and everything. God of the immense mountains and valleys.
God is over the heavens and in heaven and under heaven and he has a house. Heaven and earth and the sea and everything that is in them"
It's clear in this conversation between Padraig and the Princess that we have a translation from pantheism to monotheism. Instead of having particular gods that are in charge of particular forces of nature as the Princess understands it, Patrick is saying that there is only one God but that that God fills the purposes that the nature God's did previously. The same message can be understood in the other conversation.
Is God over our gods said Angus? Definitely. One all-powerful God and he is able to damn all of our gods and they can't do anything to destroy him. That is the one God that created heaven and earth and the sea with all its wonders and everything.
In the fairy religion one of the remarkable aspects is the plethora of Gods or nature spirits that surrounded the person. The bloody gathering of spirit gods that came together in the battle of Moytura is given in this excerpt. Balor who was fierce, hard, courageous, screaming and in full flow rose up.
(ed. And again this is poetry. I don't think we need to know more about that.)
So it is also clear that in Munster there was great respect for the female gods. Anya in County Limerick. Cliona is the protection of the O'Keeffe's.
As well as the female goddesses and the band of fairies there were a lot of isolated spirits related to the fairy religion. For the nobility in the old Irish dynasties it was a sentence of death to hear the banshee. (ed., I'm going to leave that particular section here because I think we've had enough of it and I'm going to get on to page 169 where he gets back to the philosophy again.)
In juxtaposition with international Christianity where the emphasis is put on a transcendent God, the nature and religion and something like the genius of place was emphasized in the fairy religion. The life of the people was connected very fundamentally with that. Not surprisingly in relation to psychology it would be natural that a certain vacuum would be remarked by the people on two levels in Christianity.
The first would be the transcendence of God in juxtaposition with the nearness and close relation of the nature gods. Secondly was the strangeness of Christianity. The practices were related to another culture and another impulse in juxtaposition with the nature relations of the fairy religion which was very much embedded in the sensibility of the people.
It would be quite natural for people to transfer their experience of the presence of the pagan gods to the Christian God. If my understanding of the answer of Patrick to the daughter of Laoghaire is at all accurate, Patrick was trying to put into her mind that there was no problem relating to Christianity like this. It was important to remember that one God was in control and in that sense was a replacement for the different gods.
It's easy to see how ideas of nearness, encompassing, intimacy ... how these went from the fairy religion to the new religion. In the same way easy to understand how the practices and the old myths of the gods impose themselves on the discourse related to the Saints in particular cases. When it comes to psychology at any rate, it's not hard to imagine that there is an influence from the fairy religion on the ideas, the immanence in naturein the Lorica. However in respect to the fundamental philosophy, we saw in chapter 10, a remarkable resemblance between Loricas And its correlates in the Upanishads.... particularly where it relates to the six directions, the four points of the compass up and down.
(ed. There is reference to these six directions in a Veda 10:7 verse 35 and this is in English.)
By the support are held both heaven and earth. by the support, the broad domain of space. By the support the six divergent directions, by the support is this whole world pervaded.
The laying out of the directions is not the same in the loricas. If we change the order in Padraig 14 we see the relation between them. In Padraig 14 we have Christ at my right Chris at my left, Chris in front of me
Which the Chandogya Upanishad maps directly to the infinite above. It is above, it is to the west, it is to the east, it is to the south, it is to the north, and truly it is the whole universe.
This form is repeated three times in the Upanishads. Next the teaching concerns the ego. I am above, I am below ... Truly I am the whole universe. Next the teaching concerning the self ... Truly the self is the whole universe. Without going too deeply into the philosophy underneath this form, it's clear what is at play here is the immanence of God together with the transcendence.
The form is saying that the whole cosmos permeated with divinity ... At the Sevasvetara Upanishads it says this is the God in fire and in water. The whole world has he entered. In healing plants is he, he is in trees.
To this God, all hail, all hail. It's possible to look at the list of nature and the different loricas starting with this idea of the six directions. Since the four points of the compass are at one with the sea which surrounds the earth and the up-and-down with respect to sky and sea are related to what Conor (? ed.) says in the Tain and following. And this list is related to the presence of divinity in the Upanishads.
"He who is abiding in the earth is other than the earth and the earth does not know ... Whose body is the earth. Who controls the earth from within. He is the self within you. The inner controller ... the immortal."
The text goes on like this and refers to the particular forces of nature: water, fire, air, sky, sun, the four points of the compass, the moon, stars, space, darkness, light. Repetition of this form is done for each natural force with the appropriate shaping. After this the list expands and the form expands with it.
"He who abiding in me rests?.... Referenced are sounds, the eye, the mind, the understanding, and the earth. In particular loricas we come to forms that are related to the person...."
This is from Padraig 14. And we have also ... from Padraig 14 where he is saying that Christ be in every mind thinking of me. We find a similar doctrine in the Upanishads: divinity dwells in speech as the part.
"In the in breath, in the out breath, as the part to take and give. In the hands and the feet as the part to move. In the world of the elements. It dwells in the rain as the part to quench ..."
In thunder as strength. in cattle as wealth. It dwells in light and in stars. In sperm as the power of generation. in sex as pleasure. It dwells in ether as the support of all and where it dwells there must be worship."
As a result of the significant resemblances that can be recognized between the Celtic text and the Indian text and particularly as a result of fundamental ideas of the omnipresence of the divine with respect its transcendence and immanence, it's possible that the ancient inheritance of Indo-European can be found in the themes of the invocation of nature and the omnipresence that were stitched into Irish Christianity and are still alive in contemporary Hinduism. (ed: That's probably the most important sentence.)
Again and again we notice the resemblances between particular practices in Celtic countries and in Hinduism. And it's interesting to note that the guru's disciples walked around him three times to give him honor just exactly as the people of ancient Gaul did for people to give them respect.
At the same time it's not possible to be totally sure about this. In the same way that we cannot really know how the megalithic culture imposed itself on the Celts in Ireland ... It's not possible to be sure how the pre-Aryan culture imposed itself on the religious literature of India which the Hindus themselves recognized. Hinduism according to Hindu belief is a remnant of the universal store of knowledge .. which at one time was accessible to the whole of mankind.
Until now we have just looked at particular loricas as examples related to the Celtic countries without looking at the dates that they come from. It's not possible to put a precise date on the majority of the loricas, but it's clear from the language that Padraig 14.... came from the age of old Irish. In the same way others.... from the 10th century and from the 11th ... in Spiritu N. 12 from the 11th century. It's thought that another comes from the ii-i2th century. Its likely others come from a later period. With respect to the language, others come to the age of new Irish.
It is clear however which is the oldest lorica. And its date is a matter of controversy. In an important article by Michael Herron he lays out the notion of the scholars ... the author ... He starts with an article from Maria Esposito wrote in 1929.... the attribution of the lorica ... Championed by Zimmer ... And accepted by most recent editors, Bernard and Atkinson ... cannot be upheld. The evidence of the manuscript is.... against it and Zimmer's thesis has been sufficiently.
From the five loricas. There is a reference to that the last one is attributed to . Gildas. (ed. And was much more on this which I don't think is important.)
At the end, it's possible to say that the loricas relate to the oldest tradition that we have that the source ... That they are a source of the devotional practices of the most ancient part of the church. That they were created by the sensibility of our forefathers. But there is sign of the wish that was there to put the old and the new together with each other.
If there is some connection between the loricas we are discussing and the Amergin poem ... it's clear that there is a system of philosophy behind them that has not been given much recognition yet. A long time ago de Jubainville noticed the resemblance between Amergin and the philosophy of John Scotus ... (ed: That is a book called the Irish mythological cycle published in Dublin in 1902.) There's a great need for a large research project to unknot this very knotty problem and put in the foundation of a native spirituality, a native devotion.
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|Author:||Nuallain, Sean O.|
|Publication:||Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2017|
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