People of Shapes, Children of the Mists
The Egyptians believed the soul had 5 parts: the Ib (Heart), the Sheut (shadow), Ren (Name), Ba (everything that makes you, you), Ka (your life force), Akh (your thoughts or intellect). The Old Irish believed the soul was in three cauldrons that maintained the health of the soul: the cauldron of warming (your life force) in your belly, the cauldron of vocation (that which dwells in your heart, and the cauldron of knowledge (wisdom) which was in your head.
All these parts of the soul can cause what has been referred to as soul loss and at times may need to be regarded as “lost”. Frank Mac Eowen has some techniques in this chapter for seeing whether your soul is missing anything and gives some advise about recovery of the soul and if you may need help doing that recovery.
He says that interaction with nature can help you integrate your spirit and shape us. That we shape ourselves by what we hold in our minds, that we shape ourselves and others by our actions. And that we are all shaped by things we can’t even grasp such as the elements.
He states that the Celtic people are water people and are shaped and built by the landscapes of the people, that the people of Wales, Brittany and Cornwall are people of the shore. Some are surrounded by water such as the people of the Ireland, Isle of Man, the inner and outer Hebrides. The people of Scotland are shaped by the lochs and that all Celts are influenced by the holy wells and streams. I’m not sure I agree with all of that because I think the Irish and the Scots are very much influenced by the earth also. The Irish live in a land that is green and fairly fertile and is somewhat gentle compared with the mountains and crags of the Scottish Highlands, People who flourish there have to have a different kind of mindset than a people where the land provides a slightly easier living. It’s why the Scots set sail on the sea and does make them more watery for having to get their living from the oceans but it grounds them and makes them feel the need to fight for their living. And it did translate to the need to explore and seek new places, in a new land. The US Navy was founded by a Scot after all, John Paul Jones.
Because of all this water he calls us the Children of the Mist, and he tells part of the story of Clan MacGregor and equates it with the Highland Clearances. As some one who is a MacGregor on both my mother and father’s sides of the family, I know there is much more to the MacGregors and why they were Children of the Mist and it wasn’t just their fight with the Colquhouns. If that were so the MacFarlanes would have been proscribed also since the Colquhouns were one of their favourite targets for cattle thievery and other activities. Just as the full moon was named MacFarlane’s lantern because that was when they did a lot of their raiding, the Children of the Mist, could disappear not just because the proscription which actually happened more than once, but from their ability to fade away out of sight. “Fight and run away and live to fight another day”. Something Clan MacDonald forgot and got walloped for by the English and the Campbells. The Clearances did, however, lead to the diaspora.
The English landlords were ruthless in clearing the lands for sheep and wool which was the backbone of the English economy. The troops would arrive in the night, give little time to pack and place you on ships to America, Australia and Ireland. And lest you think of returning, burn all that you had left behind. A fighting and proud people who depend on land for their identity were wiped away and forced to find new roots. And because the are a people who value stories they romanticized it to make the stories easier on their hearts. For a people whose greatest punishment was exile and their greatest good was hospitality these are traumas to the very soul of a people when they were exiled from their lands. The potato famine did much the same to the Irish. It wasn’t that there wasn’t enough food, it was that what good food like wheat was being sent to England and all the Irish were left with was the potato and the English weren’t exactly heartbroken to see the troublesome Irish have to leave.
And so two proud peoples went into exile and took with them a hate of the English, this lead to something like the Revolutionary War, the Law of Unintended Consequences in action and that behaviour of the English is still hated even today. The English taught the Scots and the Irish how to hold a grudge. Frank MacEowen says this and the historical and mythological migrations of the Celts led to having a spirit of longing, that it made us seekers. He may be right about that.