Art Meditation: In the House of Darkness

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The poets shut their doors and windows for a day’s time, and lie on their backs with a stone upon their belly, and plaids about their heads, and their eyes being covered they pump their brains for rhetorical encomium or panegyric. — Martin Martin, Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, in Caitlin and John Matthews, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom

When was the last time you shut yourself up and just wrote? Words spilling out through mind, dancing, changing, gaining beauty?

Oftentimes, as a poet, I’m afraid if I dont keep my pen and paper close, I will lose those moments of inspiration.

So just imagining this scares me, but also challenges me to really save those moments and really hold on to those true muse inspired jewels.

Caitlin Matthews asks us, “what is the meaning of this sesire for darkness?” When these bardic students would lay on the “bed of reclining” in those darkened huts, they were not allowed such luxouries as notes. Forcing these students to incubate their thoughts, and ultimately their gained wisdom. This is only possible in a mind consciousness where the senses are deprived. Where the student sinks into the Otherworld and the spirit flies.

So many of us not only shun the skill of memory keeping, but we also shun the dark. It’s scarey, and unknown, and you never know what evil may getcha!

But darkness gives us an opportunity to “respect our subtle senses and give rest to our physical ones. In the darkness shines the greatest light of all: the three sparks of inspiration that run like fire through charcoal and illuminate our own being.”

Today, this evening, or tonight; meditate on a phrase or poem or piece of music or artwork in the dark. See what light comes to fruition by incubating it with your inner vision like the Celtic Poets of Old.

Photo of a Bard with Lyre Artefact.
The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year by Caitlin Matthews

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