September 27, 2021
The pandemic has washed over us like a tsunami of change to the rhythms and very fabric of our lives. While Ireland anticipates reopening fully on October 22nd, it’s clear people will be peering warily at this from their lace curtained windows. The months of lockdown and restricted travel have taken a toll. Is it safe to venture out? What is the nature of this world now? What is the nature of my place in it?
Indeed, the last eighteen months have raised questions for all of us. As the foundations of our lives are shaky and tremorous, where do we stand as individuals? As a people? As a nation? Where is my grounding and in what am I rooted? For some this has been a compelling invitation for exploration. For others it’s been a time of trauma. These last months and this time in Ireland have given me much welcome insight which will be fodder for future posts. But here in Ireland I’m watching something rather amazing taking place.
As if in answer to the question of who the Irish are as a people, murals are appearing on walls and buildings in Dundalk and Drogheda on Ireland’s east coast. They are murals of mythic proportion and mythic character. This mural of the God Lugh with his sword and light spear carries a profound message from Irish heritage. A message of power and mysticism, a message of hope and endurance and resilience.
This mural is one of thirteen created for the Dundalk SEEK Festival 2021 with a focus on connecting people to their history and heritage. Art as a catalyst for change. In addition to Lugh, there is one for Brigit celebrating her as both goddess and saint. Images of power and healing from the past for the future. That Lugh is on a major hotel and Brigit on a phone shop blurs all of our modern social and cultural boundaries. Perfect.
Just down the road, this amazing mural is being created in Drogheda. It is the story of the boy Fionn who was cooking the Salmon of Knowledge on a spit when he burned his thumb and in sucking and chewing it to ease the pain, the wisdom flowed into him – much to the chagrin of his Druid mentor who had planned to have the wisdom for himself.
This is the first of six large murals that will depict scenes from Irish mythology. Yes, this project has been dreamed and planned for several years by the artist, Ciarán Dunlevy, together with Anthony Murphy and Richard Moore. But was it some mystically inspired timing that these images would come to magnificent fruition right now when perhaps more than ever there is a need for these mythic inspirations? Or perhaps it was just a coincidence. I favor the former.
I favor the former for in these tumultuous times I believe the ancestors are returning to remind us of what is possible. To remind us of who we truly are and what truly roots us. And in these mural images we are gifted with reminders of our heritage and our mythic potential. We are gifted with reflections of resiliency. Perhaps it took a pandemic to give us the time to wake up to our true nature.
May we all chew on that wisdom for a while!
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org