Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the motherland

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Aoife
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Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the motherland

Postby Aoife » 16 Aug 2012, 20:29

Hello!

My name is Zoë Donnelly and I've grown up mainly in the states of California, Oregon and Hawaii. I am Irish on both sides of my family (Donnelly, Campbell, McKenna, Gilleo, O'Rielly, O'Donnell, O'Niell are the most recent surnames of the last 100 years or so and I'm aware some of them are Scottish in origin) For as long as I can remember I've felt this hole within me that no religion, personal happiness or area could fill. I had always had a love of what I knew of Ireland and dreamed of going there my entire life. I had communicated these feelings to my mother and she simply said "Old soul" which is, as I've understood it, is a sort of reincarnation. That I've longed for a home other than where I was born because my soul was ultimately tied to Ireland and had been Irish-Irish in the past.

In 2005 I finally went to Ireland. From the second the plane touched down I felt the hole filled. It was amazing...it was the only time in my life that I had ever felt 100% complete. Of course, because I was only 19 I had a lot of growing to do...but it was with a full...heart? Soul? I lived there for 6 months and fell in love with what I already believed and could finally confirm.

Anyway, I was wondering what Ireland-born people thought of this and if other Irish-Americans have felt the same thing.

PS Later I brought my mother to Ireland for a visit and she said she felt the same hole filled too.

PPS When I left Ireland to return to the states the hole returned and I've been dealing with the emptiness since.
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby ideagirl » 25 Aug 2012, 03:13

I think some people feel this--but not just people of Irish descent, and it's not only felt for countries from which you have ancestry. In fact it's not necessarily something you feel about an entire country; you can also feel it about a particular region only. I've always felt it about a certain part of California (roughly the coastal and near-coastal area from Monterey to Mendocino). I felt it about England, which is a miniscule part of my ancestry (there's much more Irish and Spanish than English in me), and that feeling didn't last forever--I'd felt a massive connection with England since my childhood (which was kind of funny since I was raised to identify as Irish-American), and I moved there for a few years, but everyday modern England (high crime, yobs, Thatcherites, City stockbroker types...) really did a number on my deep old love of that country.

I think following those feelings can guide you as to where you should live, though--where you would thrive--at least for a time, and possibly for your whole life. Have you looked into moving back to Ireland somehow?

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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby Gwion » 25 Aug 2012, 11:26

I wonder if the Welsh hireath extends to ancestral longings.

Perhaps it's all to do with tuning in to the anima loci.

I sometimes wonder if it's analogous to resonance. Your own spirit has a resonant frequency and is most at home where the ambient resonant frequencies create the right harmonies. To continue the analogy; there are some places that I find discordant and some that I find harmonious. I am lucky that I now live in a place that I find harmonious. I hope that you may do so too before too long.
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby mickey_strange » 18 Sep 2012, 09:12

I actually had to think a few moments before I started this reply. I'm a first generation American, both my parents were born and raised in northern Ireland; I grew up listening to Irish music, and visited when i was ten. I grew up in Southern California, just a few short miles from the beach, I've lived in the high desert of California, and in parts of the Midwestern U.S., but have never been happy away from the smell of the sea, and the sounds of Ireland.

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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby TreyWard » 19 Jan 2013, 19:17

I definitely find this longing to be a central part of my spiritual and bardic path. I learned at about 14 that, several generations back, my family came Ulster and that our last name, Ward, was just anglicized from Mac an Bháird, or Son of the Bard. Being a young fellow already interested in fantasy, wizards, dragons, and the like, this came as wonderful news. I had a connection to this wonderful place! I dove into anything Irish or Celtic head-first, including learning about the ancient bards. Naturally, that lead me into reading about druidry and modern Celtic wisdom traditions, and then I finally joined OBOD in November of 2011.

So my ancestry is essentially the jump-start for my spiritual life as it is today. I try to infuse my practices with as much of the Irish spirit as I can, referring to the Awen by its Irish name Imbas, for example. My primary spiritual guide is Brighid.

I definitely feel that hole that you referred to. I haven't made it across the pond yet, but it is the first thing I plan to do once I am done with my education. I particularly want to see County Donegal (well, as much of Ulster as I can, really!), Newgrange, and the Hill of Tara.Did you get to visit any of those areas in your stay? If so, what were they like?
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby Donata » 27 Jan 2013, 20:17

This longing for a land of my ancestors but not of my own birth has also haunted me - compounded by the fact that I have ancestors from more than one land, and one distant one from this land ofmy birth America.

One day in meditation I connected with the great Spirit of the Planet - the source of Spirit of the Land/s and realized that any spirit of the land is connected with all others and all are really one.
Since then I've been able to connect through this great planetary spirit, which manifests individually in a particular cultural or if you will, geographic matrix, to the spirit of place of any area where I find myself. I also discovered the 'telegraph system' of trees.They connect through their roots across the land, and through the water that flows in their roots, across the waters, to other trees in other lands.
It's easy to see that the connection of spirit and the connection of trees is a manifestation of the web of life which connects us with all beings.

The hole may be there for the particular manifestation of spirit of a particular land, but in the end, all are connected and you can make the intention to connect to a part if you wish. It's often easier to connect with and work with a smaller area where we live or where we feel a connection, while keeping in mind that we will always be working on some level with the web of life and the planetary spirit of place.

Bright Blessings,
Donata
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby Aoife » 09 Jun 2013, 08:58

I definitely find this longing to be a central part of my spiritual and bardic path. I learned at about 14 that, several generations back, my family came Ulster and that our last name, Ward, was just anglicized from Mac an Bháird, or Son of the Bard. Being a young fellow already interested in fantasy, wizards, dragons, and the like, this came as wonderful news. I had a connection to this wonderful place! I dove into anything Irish or Celtic head-first, including learning about the ancient bards. Naturally, that lead me into reading about druidry and modern Celtic wisdom traditions, and then I finally joined OBOD in November of 2011.

So my ancestry is essentially the jump-start for my spiritual life as it is today. I try to infuse my practices with as much of the Irish spirit as I can, referring to the Awen by its Irish name Imbas, for example. My primary spiritual guide is Brighid.

I definitely feel that hole that you referred to. I haven't made it across the pond yet, but it is the first thing I plan to do once I am done with my education. I particularly want to see County Donegal (well, as much of Ulster as I can, really!), Newgrange, and the Hill of Tara.Did you get to visit any of those areas in your stay? If so, what were they like?
That sounds like me.

During my stay I visited New Grange, which was...powerful. No other word for it.
Visited Giant's Causeway and that was really fun. You can see why it gained the stories it did.
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby CelticPenguin » 16 Mar 2014, 21:06

This emptiness does make sense. I am part Irish and had the opportunity last year to visit Scotland, so a side trip to Ireland was planned.

Visited Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Hill of Tara, Trim Castle, and a few spots in Dublin. All were magical to me. The gusts of wind on the Hill of Tara was very impressive and the openness of the surrounding area was amazing. Giant's Causeway was awe inspiring. I had the pleasure of taking a wrong turn off of the Highway and drive through much of the countryside from Dublin to Giant's Causeway. The drive back to Dublin by the eastern coastline was wonderful.

Being the the ruins of Dunluce Castle and Trim Castle definitely pleased the little boy inside of me reading the Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and wishing I would see and touch a real castle.

I definitely connected with Ireland and it is more special to me. Will I travel back? Maybe in 20 years.

Thank you for starting this. I understand what you mean.
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby Willowen » 19 Mar 2014, 05:23

I dream of Ireland. Part of my family originally came from County Cork with the last name of McCarty. It may sound strange because I've never been there, but sometimes I think I can remember how it smells and the feel of the air. Someday, my dream of seeing it in this lifetime will come true. :violinist:
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby amethystDragon » 22 Mar 2014, 09:54

high crime, yobs, Thatcherites, City stockbroker types..
I'm guessing you lived in a city then? Probably London? Because not all of the UK is like that at all, even up here in a run down faded seaside resort in the North West of England, the crime rate is relatively low and we definitely don't get City stockbroker types although sadly there are Thatcherites everywhere but I'm far too opinionated to be intimidated by them :D

As for me, my Ancestry is British (all countries apart from Wales) through and through, apart from a smattering of French Huguenot so far back I've not yet found the link to France. However my recent Ancestry is Antipodean through my Grandfather (Scots-Kiwi) who came over from New Zealand to fight in the RNZAF during WWII and I have that hole in me for New Zealand and Australia (his mother was Irish-Australian), it's one of my life goals to be able to go over there for an extended holiday to see where he came from. Ironically I could have been born there as my Nan and Mum emigrated out to live there after the war with my Grandfather but my Nan was so homesick they came back, my Mum always said she'd travelled right around the world before the age of 5 and didn't remember any of it. I suppose then I'd have the same hole for Albion.

Mum always wanted to go back but her health prevented her from making such a long journey and she died in 2008, so I desperately want to do that for her and see the Land of the Long White Cloud for myself as well as visit Oz and see the wonder that is Uluru
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the mother

Postby BreathingSince72 » 21 Mar 2017, 19:21

This longing for a land of my ancestors but not of my own birth has also haunted me - compounded by the fact that I have ancestors from more than one land, and one distant one from this land ofmy birth America.

One day in meditation I connected with the great Spirit of the Planet - the source of Spirit of the Land/s and realized that any spirit of the land is connected with all others and all are really one.
Since then I've been able to connect through this great planetary spirit, which manifests individually in a particular cultural or if you will, geographic matrix, to the spirit of place of any area where I find myself. I also discovered the 'telegraph system' of trees.They connect through their roots across the land, and through the water that flows in their roots, across the waters, to other trees in other lands.
It's easy to see that the connection of spirit and the connection of trees is a manifestation of the web of life which connects us with all beings.

The hole may be there for the particular manifestation of spirit of a particular land, but in the end, all are connected and you can make the intention to connect to a part if you wish. It's often easier to connect with and work with a smaller area where we live or where we feel a connection, while keeping in mind that we will always be working on some level with the web of life and the planetary spirit of place.

Bright Blessings,
Donata
"Spirit of place" was a principle that I discovered as a (very) young woman and I honestly had never heard anyone else use that particular term until I came here to OBOD. What a relief! I am not alone.

I, too, have felt that longing for Ireland. However, I am also of Germanic and Cherokee descent (my great-great grandmother was full-blooded native to America), so this land has also spoken to me in profound ways. I found that whenever I took up the studies of anything ancestral, it seemed as if genetic memory would enhance and feed that knowledge. For example, while studying the runes, information came to me that did not appear in my books until much later chapters. I had a similar experiencing when learning Tsalagi (Cherokee). I won't even go into how this occurs in the context of my ogham studies.

What I love about your post, Donata, is that you provided a valuable tool which anyone could access, to heal this great longing that we share. We truly are one in Spirit...all of us. What we share, we share globally. At any moment, through meditation, we can make choices to connect to other places and other people with whom we are connected in this intricate web of life. This si not just a beautiful thought...it is a beautiful reality.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Victoria
a.k.a. BreathingSince72
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Re: Irish-Americans and the spiritual longing for the motherland

Postby Heddwen » 21 Mar 2017, 22:18

Hello Victoria,

Welcome here to the OBOD Board. Please settle in and ask any questions that you may need to. :warm:

Further information about OBOD can be found here viewtopic.php?f=5&t=46165

In welsh we have a name for longing for our home country, it's called Hiraeth


Many Spring Blessings,

Heddwen :D


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