A Magical Combination of Guided Meditation, Myth and Music from the Celtic Tradition
“The boat has always been symbolic of that frail bark, the soul, which sails across the seas of life and beyond.” Caitlín Matthews – The Celtic Book of the Dead
The Celtic Harp Meditation is inspired by ancient Irish story cycles called Immrama, a word that can be translated as ‘mystical voyage’ or ‘soul flight’.
The Immrama follow a sea-faring hero as he makes landfall on a series of otherworldly islands populated by mysterious beings. At least four complete sets of these stories exist, from both the Christian and the Pagan mystical tradition. The earliest is the Immram of Bran Mac Febal, transcribed in the 7th century; the most famous is the Immram of St Brendan (489-583), which was the inspiration for Tim Severin’s 1976-77 Brendan Voyage.
These stories are the source of guided meditations in which we take the boat as a symbol of our souls voyaging on the sea of life. During a Celtic Harp Meditation session, the Celtic harp serves as our guide as we make our own Immram to visit mythic islands and explore our own inner landscapes.
Indigenous Wisdom for Today
Our Celtic ancestors were a contemplative people, who lived with the quiet sounds of wind, water and birdsong. Whether they were dropping nets into the sea, or tending livestock and hearth fire, life offered them plenty of spare moments for quiet reflection.
As contemplative listeners, it is no surprise that the Celts should revere music. One of the old Gaelic names for God is Oran Mór, or Great Song, and the Celts saw music itself as sacred. They were aware of music’s transformative power and they believed that the harp, in particular, could invoke three healing strains: joy, sorrow and rest. It is this ability to bestow rest and relaxation that we embrace in the Celtic Harp Meditation. As the harp weaves its spell of tranquillity, we release stress and anxiety, ease tension from the body and clear the mind of its turmoil, so that we are left better able to deal with the challenges of life.