Celtic Soul

Samhain. One of the four major Celtic festivities. During Christianisation transformed into a harvest celebration. It’s the evening before “All Saints Day”, or more elderly “All Hallows” – therefore Hallowe’en. In saecular times just October 31 – three days after my birthday. According to Gaelic myth, great things happen at Samhain. Great Things. Not necessarily Good Things. Eerily enough 21st century politics in my country followed the foreboding of ancient times.
It’s this time of year when my Celtic Soul awakes. I don’t know if it is possible to use a DNA analysis the determine what people or race you belong too. I don’t know if there is a finer granularity rather than “Caucasian”. Probably I would be disappointed anyways, because chances are good that I have Franconian blood, or even Roman blood (or much more likely a mixture of both) given the place of my birth. But the roots of my soul are resting firmly in Celtic clansland. My heart longs for the shores of the Gaelic sea, my mood can only be smoothed with Gaelic or Celtic music and “uisque beatha” – the water of life. I’m homesick for the hills and glens of Scotland (though I’ve never been there). I never felt this much “at home” as during my few and short business travels to Ireland. It’s the time of year when I usually re-read my Tolkien books. When I browse the net for the latest in King Arthur research (who is widely believed by scholars nowadays to be of Scottish origin, and not English or Welsh).
Frontiers. Borderline. That’s what it is all about at Samhain. The pastoral year ends. Winter is imminent. Given the coincidence of my birthday a few days before, it’s yet another frontier for myself too. Getting another year older. Crossing another frontier. Venturing forward into the undiscovered country. Sláinte!

Update:
Well, I might be a true Celt by origin after all. I did a little research and was surprised that the Celts once covered almost all of western Europe. By 54 B.C. Julius Caesar founded the town where I was born some 2000 years later, and he met

the distinct culture of the Celtic “Treverer” who inhabited one of their cultural centers on the widespread, strongly fortified Ferschweiler plateau.

Sometimes a time machine would come in handy…

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3 Comments

  1. […] Since I’m still feeling decidedly celtic (usually it doesn’t take that long), I shopped eBay a bit for modern Celtic music. Even uninitiated people have probably heard of Runrig – the self-acclaimed “Scotland’s Premier Celtic Band” – before. I got a very nice live CD called “Once in a Lifetime-Live” where their obligatory version of the folk classic “Loch Lomond” gets performed with virtually a thousand voices. Slightly less Celtic but still nice is the second disc “Searchlight“. Though Runrig does not need promotion anymore, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce two other bands to my readers (ha!). Some of the most celtic-sounding Celtic music comes from – France! No need to be surprised, after all Asterix was a Celtic warrior too. And in Brittany there are still a few senior citizens who speak a Celtic dialect. Voilá, enter Dan Ar Braz. Being a guitar player, he cooperated with many musicions to make a series of CD’s and acclaimed live concerts called “Héritage des celtes” (Celtic heritage). By chance I got a bootlegged CD many years ago, but a fellow webmaster and Irish expatriate living in France sent me the double CD “Zenith”. Finally, I want to introduce a German band by the name of “Fiddler’s Green“. For the last 15 years they are touring up and down the country playing what they call “Irish Independent Speedfolk”. Have a look at their website – there are two nice video clips to get into the mood. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance yet to see them live, but I got two of their older CD’s “Fiddler’S Green” and “Black Sheep“. To sum my Celtic mood up, I just opened a bottle of Cragganmore Single Malt Whisky which went untouched for a couple of years because I never got around to open it. It was a pleasant surprise. Slainthe! […]

  2. […] While I was taking the snapshots for my previous post, I met Fenix Harbinger. Fenix – Lynn Cunningham in her first life – is the singer and bodhran player of the American quartet Keltish (blog here), and she invited me to join their concert in Second Life tonight. It was actually my first concert in SL, though I have heard that concerts are common events. The 4 musicians had avatars carefully styled to resemble their real looks. Their playing animations where a bit lame, but the music was actually streaming live from what appeared to be a studio or small stage, and there was actual interaction between the musicians and the SL crowd, both in type and in voice (the latter a one-way communication). I knew many of the performed songs, but Keltish had a nice interpretation leaning on the slow/jazzy side. Very much unlike my favourite celtic band Fiddler’s Green, who interprets the traditional material more on the loud and fast side. Speaking of Fiddler’s Green, I was surprised to hear the shout “Blarney Roses!” after one song had finished, and that is how I met Andrea Jaeckel (aka labormaus69) a German music journalist and scientist out of Saarbrücken – a town I know well and have many friends in. She turned out to be a Fiddler’s fan as well and we had a nice chat while we listened to Fenix/Lynn and her colleagues. If you are German, check out Andreas blog – it’s both interesting and hilarious to read. Finally I’m a bit surprised that the Celtic feelings got me that early this year. Usually it infects me later during the year… […]

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