Sometime in 2017 I had a dream of a figure that I called The Crystal Pilgrim ….
“…It was of a man of glittering pink rose red crystal with a staff and a small turquoise water canteen carrying The water of Life. On the ground in the bare hedgerow were propped paintings showing the fields and the verges which he traversed. A sacred gleaming branch lay along the path he tread. At the beginning of the dream when he appeared first he rose up through the ground as if being made in the earth or coming from beneath it. He was shining, bright, happy and determined. He was hardened by the rebirth, made anew. This felt like where he should be. He could now do more and make more progress. He loved walking the fields and the undiscovered landscape. He strode forward”
Inspired by this dream in 2017 I focused research into a number of areas of interest that I had pursued casually for years though the art I made. Arising out of this I developed a map showing relationships between the ancient and royal sites of ireland. This map shows the equidistant connection between these sacred places. By drawing lines outward from this central diamond form as created by the 4 main provincial royal sites and a fifth central site based at Uisneach, “The Hearth” of Ireland these places are connected via traces of Leylines or energy lines of the earths energy in Ireland.
This way of looking at these places here acknowledges the existence of old solar, stellar and Telluric lines of force. These come together to reveal a natural network that the ancient Irish were aware of when they built these sites. They were part of an evolving understanding that was also part of a system and philosophy that built similar places around the globe for a specific reasons. This network is the means by which the ancient places connects to and draws down the energy of the Sun, the Moon, the Planets and the Stars into the earth.
This very ancient philosophy shares much in common with eastern ways of looking at medicine, the energy of the body and the lines of energy known as meridians that are used as channels to help heal the body in eastern medicine. In that system the body is seen as ideally being placed in harmony with the earths energy and that the two can be seen as interlinked because the earth too is a great spirit. In other words there are many benefits to harmonising ourselves with the spirit of the earth in nature and many poets mystics and artists have understood this and the importance of walking the landscape and contemplating nature which is a mirror of spiritual reality. This is what gave rise to Taoism and Zen in the east and is practiced in their art and medicine. The Celts and their ancestors seemed to be aware of it’s importance also in their druidic teachings. Signs of this can be found in the Myths and Legends of Ireland where there are still elements of it to be found in the stories there. Some Clues can still be found in the numerology, symbolism, place names and prominence of the ritual sites still preserved in the imaginative and often mystical tales of journeys to the Spirit World and the feats of The Sí…. the Tuatha Dé Dannan. The importance of being close to spiritual life through nature to these peoples that inhabited Ireland for thousands of year is self evident for example with an Ogham Alphabet being based upon the name of their trees. The forest was their University.
Sites such as Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth and the five Royal sites at the centre of this map were made by builders who were aware of the qualities of quartz and used this in their building. At Knowth the Crystal has been left forming part of a path leading into the chamber. This seems to mark the beginning or end of a roadway leading to and from the central mound. Many ancient processional avenues called ‘Slí’ meaning ‘way” in ireland led to these royal sites and on one level this seems to somehow be part of what this dream I had meant. This gave rise to the idea of celebrating this network of sites by this project which is entitled “The Crystal Path“.
These sites and the network they were part of also have often affiliated with them early Christian Sites the builders of whom were also familiar with the importance of the ancient pathways that The Crystal Path celebrates.
The Map of The Crystal Path is an ongoing journey of discovery leading to many interesting places. It is not a definitive map as yet and the first map design may be subject to change as I discover more sites on my own journey. But for now it provides an introduction to the overall concept. I have also include some other divisions which may have use in discovering new alignment. This way of looking at the ancient sites of Ireland has revealed to me personally many places I did not know existed at all. It is based on sound and recognised research by academics such as Hicks and Robb (note 1). But my extension of that network is still at a very early stage and I may not yet have discovered all the correct sites. Some have been destroyed by farming over them and mindless destruction. One might argue that there are so many sites still remaining in Ireland (although it is believed over 90% of those monuments have been destroyed including standing stones , barrows, stone circles, dolmens and so on )…. that you could put a point anywhere on the map and hit a place. However as the map shows some places are deliberately mentioned in the myths because they were the major centres for the people whose stories they tell. As it turns out, they happen to appear in the places that relate to the five major sites grid. Places such as McArts Fort and Howth that appear at these centres are clearly important in the mythopoetic legacy of the story tellers.
Although it is primarily an artists approach to this area of inquiry. I am grateful to receive suggestions and insights that people may have that might contribute towards it. On the scale of things I know little, but I am happy to learn more and be corrected if necessary. As a project it’s main goal is not material, but rather spiritual. Perhaps the time has come to renew our bond with God’s sacred Earth and it unique expression in the landscape of Ireland which is brimming with spirituality. It has left much to be rediscovered, as we might, like inquiring “crystal” pilgrims ourselves.
Sean O’Dwyer, Good Friday the 15th of April 2022
(Note 1) Ronald Hicks proposes the alignment he calls “The Lughneasa Triangle” in his paper “Astronomy and the sacred landscape of Ancient Ireland”, 2003. Graham Robb details Celtic pathways that lead right across europe in his book “ The Ancient Paths: Discovering the Lost Map of Celtic Europe “ 2013