At Glendalough, Ireland

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Had a great time at Glendalough, the Celtic monastic site made famous by St Kevin. Its an amazing place and I really enjoyed a prayerful, nostalgic walk about the monastery grounds. Really peaceful and full of history. You can imagine what it felt like to arrive at the monastic city after a long pilgrimage or being a fugitive on the run and finding refuge here.

Image 00078We worked on drawing a Celtic knot just as the Scribes did. I know it sounds terribly arrogant for a Kiwi to be teaching celtic knotwork in Ireland but actually much of the knotwork was from my ancestors, the Picts. We looked into the symbolism of the Celtic knot and what it said about Trinity, movement, borders, etc and then explored some thoughts on pilgrimage. Brad and the Journey blog have some images and thoughts.

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After that we opened up Luke 10 to see Jesus idea of pilgrimage/ministry for his mission team and how that compared or contrasted with ours. Sometimes it was a grinding contrast which is not always fun or ear tickling as much as motivational pep talks or intellectual oratories but very necessary as we align what we are doing with the mission of God.

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Its a whole new Ireland – Dublin is dynamic, increasingly wealthy and no longer poor and oppressed. Their spirituality, which has been born and nurtured on the margins, will now have to look at justice and generosity from the other side. Transformation will be connected to economics as well as morality. This will be a challenge but there are some good people in Ireland and God is not finished with it yet.

Thanks to the Nyquist family for hosting me and letting me loose on your BBQ, for Cormac’s friendship and gift of Celtic music (thanks for the CD’s) and the Kingsley clan for being cool. Nice to meet Frank also, and everyone else. Even the Americans! And everyone else that turned up and helped this whole learning process.

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

6 Comments

  • I have a question, and I have done some research on this but I am not sure as to the answer, so I am asking out here. What is the history behind the celtic ropes. I have heard that they were pre-Christian (BC era) and we connected with the occult and then I have read that they were of Christian origin. As being one who is in Ireland, what is the general concensus there. What does history tell you there? I am very curious. I like the ropes and have a few in boxes but I dont want to put up anything that is occultic. Help?!

  • good question.
    much of the knotwork is from the Picts in NE Scotland who drew them before hearing the gospel.
    were they pagans? yes they were. but the interesting thing is that they had a fear of God and it was taboo to draw any images of creation – no leaves or animals. this is why they became masters of the simple mathematical grids.
    interestingly, the celtic christians not only adapted their knotwork but added animals and images from nature to the panels, having developed a wholistic view of creation.
    George Bain’s book on Celtic art is a classic and Aidan Meenan (?) has books on how to draw in the same manner as the celtic scribes.

  • Andrew, it was great to see you again, thanks for coming. I really appreciated your thoughts, especially on pilgrimage and Luke 10. Anyway, hope we can continue the dialogue.

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