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L Lughnasa Games 2014
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THE DRUID'S PATH
It was with great pleasure that I presented a colourful slide show and chat in Dublin’s Librarys. An amazing experience - the re-introduction of the long banished Dragon to the youth of Ireland was a great honour. My thanks go to Sifu Nick Costello and Laura for their invite to join them as they brought the Chinese New Year of the Dragon alive in Dublin. They brought an actual display dragon with them and part of the experience was that each child got to hold the Dragon and to walk about with it. Teachers too... Lots of smiles everywhere...
My input was focused on the Irish Dragon tradition and the specific shape of the rams horned dragon. The children were happy to say the names Ollipeist, Peist and Arach. They listened attentively to mythological storys of Dragons from Dublins hills. The wonderful scribes of the Book of Kells and other illuminated manuscripts from old Ireland show the dragon in many places with an amazing similarity in design and I shared many of these to hushed audiences.
I enjoyed the experience and found great wonder in the eyes of the young ones. Some came up and hugged me afterwards, some asked questions about where did I catch the little dragon and so on. I saw Sifu Nick thoroughly enjoy the wit and banter of the youth of Dublin and as he and I are both Dubliners we exchanged many a little smile during the exchanges.
What follows is the script I prepared to go along with the 28 images. I hardly used it at all but share it here just for your reading pleasure. The images used can be found inside the ever growing collection of euro Dragons at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.363957643630229.106672.204104692948859&type=3&l=90371ad7b0
Hello, my thanks to Sifu Nicky. I’m going to tell you a story about lost secrets of Irish Dragons. This first picture is of Niamh, a lady druid on Tara Hill and she is sending a salute to the the Realm of Sky and to the many Dragons who dance up in the clouds for us... Ireland has lots of Dragon stories.
This great dragon is called Draco in many of the old pictures. He lives at the North Pole. Thuban was once, but Polaris is the most northerly star. At night you can find your way home if you know Draco, he is our helper. Draco is a Sky Dragon. Little Bear Or Little Dipper - next picture is just the stars
In a star map - you can see the head of the Dragons body, old pole star new pole star Big Dipper or Big Bear and Plough. 5K yrs ago 2 stars point to Thuban, 2 stars point to Polaris. You can never get lost if you know where Draco lives cause Draco is to the North of us all year round. See the Zig-zag
Theres another Dragon who only comes out at night. in the second half of the year - Called Hydra or The Water Dragon or Peist in Ireland - it is found to the south during the period of Virgo and Leo in September and August - she’s a big long Dragon that goes around the belly of the Earth
The zig-zag star map of Hydra shows us stars that make up the head of the Lady Water Dragon. Sextant is a device to mark where you are when you are on the great Oceans. Crater is a Cauldron - the stories of Hydra come to us from the sailors that have met with Hydra. She chases Serpens.
Serpens is the lost 13th Astrological sign - A big big Dragon who travels from Sagittarius through Scorpio and Libra - Ophiuchus means ‘serpent handler’ and you can see here he has a good hold of the serpent. Serpens is the biggest Dragon in the sky and he goes around the Earth’s belly too.
Look at the star map - zig-zag lines - M5 may be seen as a Serpents Egg but it is billions of stars and they are far far away...So we have a Draco around the North Pole and a Water Serpent and Serpens going around the south horizon but down under we have another lesser known Dragon
At the south pole we have the Male Water Dragon Hydrus - he too guards a region of the sky but we have to be in Australia or South America to see this one. Look - even the type of bird near him is unusual to us - its called a TOUCAN - so we in Ireland dont know much about this Dragon at all.
This star map shows us the south pole - the names of these star groups are not well known even to grown ups but they all have names - this is the star group we call Hydrus a male water dragon - on this bright star NASA have found that there is a planet going around it - its even a bit like our planet!
Pictures taken from a space ship - Dragons Dance from outer space. Look to the South Pole - a giant dragon shape under Hydrus - look to the top left - Aurora is night light - the word used by the Sami of Finland for Aurora means ‘Light that make Noise’. Other pics taken show reflections in the sea
Our ancestors built huge temples and put their Dragon shapes on them - if you can go and see Newgrange - check out the zig-zag lines and the spirals. When these stone temples were built the pole star was Thuban in Draco. This happened 1,000’s of years ago at Dagda’s temple on the River Boyne.
We tell stories of Finn McCoole from Rathcoole near Dublin who fought the Arach Dragon in a valley in south Dublin, We have St Patrick who fought Caorthanach, We have St Columba who fights the Loch Ness Monster and a 1000 years ago the son of Brian Boru had a fight with a great Dragon too.
Next are some Dragons from Ireland and Europe. Top right is a lead weight from Islandbridge west Dublin, Tara Broach close up - Cross of Cong close up. St Patricks bell shrine (has Dragons carved on it) Wooden Dragon from Fishamble St, Crosier of Clonmacnoise, Dublin Badge, Tully Cross
The Slane Dragon - in an old church on the Hill of Slane where St patrick lit that fire, Cross of Cong Dragon, McGonigles Pub Sligo, Brabazon Bray Head, My Ollipeist, Silver Dragon Cauldron, Gold body torcs or Dragons - National Museum - please ask your teachers to bring you here.
Marduc sits on the tomb of Gregory13th Vatican, Christchurch Gargoyle, Gundestrup cauldron = Cernnunous Hu Gardan Dagda Herne Pan - Nature Gods Statue with two ram horned snakes around his waist. A coin showing a a Snake at the HoneyPot...
Religious Dragons - Eastern Orthodox, Bishop of London, Fishamble St, Europe, Louvain France, Roman Catholic Leader with the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Leader. Their staff of office carries the Dragon symbol
Carmina Gadelica - an old Catholic book of prayers carries on the tradition with many interesting letters, each of which has a Dragon or two. My favorite is the 4 headed Dragon in the lower left - can you see the letter shapes?
Caorthanach or the rams horn snake is our most famous Land Dragon - here you see a big one play- fighting with the little ones - see them? His tongue is one biting another - his horn is one - how many are there? Would you like a copy of this to colour in? OK I’ll see what I can do....
Now this Dragon is covered in tattoos and he is made of different Celtic Knots - he is very similar to the one we just saw. He makes the letter E - like all Dragons he is very clever, he brings great knowledge and understanding so you all need to listen to your teachers so you can gain wisdom too
Look at these two Dragons all wrapped up - one is eating berries... This is called a carpet page. Its from a great book called the Book of Kells and we are told that St Columba wrote it - remember him? He chased the Loch Ness monster.... He put loads of Dragons in his book....
This is an image of the great prophet Jesus also in the book of Kells, I added in two extra Dragons to show you the same head shape for our Irish Dragon - they all have the same nose, same eyes, same teeth and long tongue and the same spiral ram horn - even though sometimes this is hidden a bit.
Look at the lovely Celtic Knot designs on this Dragons body - look at his tongue - is he fighting or licking little dragons? This is another clever Dragon cause he is spelling a word from a very old book. See the nose, eyes, teeth, tongue and spiral horns again?
Can you see the Dragon in this one? We are looking down on him - he hides in the corner of a page but when you know what to look for you can find him easy enough - can you see the two Eagles pecking at his eyes?
Now you see a really big Dragon from an old book - look at the size of him - he’s huge and he is biting a skinny man with a beard - but look closely - the skinny man has got a hold of the Dragon’s tongue with his hand and he has got his legs wrapped around the Dragon’s body too - is this Finn McCoole?
The Book of Lindisfarne also shows us some Dragons heads as if we are looking down on them from above - how many Dragons heads can we see in this one? What do you reckon about the people from long ago - were they very good at colouring-in? But where are todays Dragons???
Dragon’s Bite - this special Dragon plant is called Dracontia Pachyglossa but it looks to me like two Dragons about to bite someone - what do you think? Dragons exist in many ways - in the stars, in the Aurora, in the statues, on Bishops Croziers on ancient books, in the mythologies and in plants
This is a Wicker Dragon - he lives somewhere in Ireland - for him to exist he first had to be alive in the mind of the artist who wanted to give him a shape. Like the coloured drawings in the old books this Wicker Dragon exists as the Wisdom of Old as a connection to the Ancestors
Now here’s a little Dragon, look at the smoke from him, he is small now but he will get bigger - he will grow his two spiral horns as he gets older. He is friendly and needs a bit of minding until he can learn how to fly - just like you guys and your first go on a scooter or a bicycle. Be kind to Dragons. END
Needless to say I would tell a very different story to adults while using the very same images. After the two days of library shows were completed I drove through Kilmainham on an errand and saw the Dragons over the entrance to the prison. I had seen them before but I reckon they called to me... The symbology over the imperial jail main gate was very clear to me - the wild spirit of the people was chained and cramped and terrifying. Its now a museum and they dont lock 5 year old children up in it any more - I had just been talking with 5 year old children.... I could not tell them that part of the Dragon story.....
4 Feb 2012