The Celts believed that our heads, our minds, are part of our souls.
And that stories connect.
The journey stories, my favorites, told to me in childhood, felt nourishing, odd and brave.
Brendan the Navigator went on pilgrimages to unknown lands in a tiny leather boat. He said Mass on a whale's back on Easter Sunday. When the Devil showed him the pain of hell, Brendan was serene. He encountered a heathen giant whom he baptized, though did not civilize.
When he reached the island of his vision, Brendan found a hermit clothed in feathers.
Brendan was Leonard Cohen, centuries before.
They proclaimed him a saint. But I don't know any of those. I think he was just a guy on a trip who kept his eyes wide, wide open.
My friend Vicky Johnsen sent me a quote the other day. And it sums up the importance of stories told, the ones we remember, the ones we always knew. It is from a man named Michael Meade:
"There is this old Celtic thing, that there is very little difference between a song and a poem, between a poem and a story, between a story and a prayer, so that anytime someone is singing a song, or telling a story or reading poetry to a child, they are also inviting the child into a prayer. There's never a need to talk down to a child at all…because something in the child already knows all this and is waiting to hear it again.
So that parents and teachers who give great stories or poems to children are feeding this old soul that is in the child and are reassuring the child that they have come to the right world, that, yes, the world may be confusing and increasingly chaotic, but this is the world where the words are said."
-- Michael Meade