Spiritual versus earthly love. Will a spiritual love endure after our earthly needs have passed?

A Celtic tale of love and loss, deception and deceit. Part VI.

Kurithir and Prince Flann had uncovered the deception and betrayal that Moria and Aevil had instigated in an attempt to climb the social hierarchy of the time. It didn’t work! Armed with this knowledge can the Royal Party reach Liadan and reunite the two lovers?


He followed Flann through the hall and to the grianan (hillfort) the south wall; from there a troop of horsemen were seen lounging in the shadow with four more horses for women riders.

“It looks a holiday for gay gallants,” said Kurithir but Flann had no smile; he strode to the door and threw it open.

The grianan was no longer the lightsome ladies’ chamber for broideries or games or music. An altar was there and candles lit and four nuns knelt where a priest recited a prayer and their voices responded.

One voice out of the others pierced the heart of Kurithir and he broke from his friend calling out in love but the priest stepped between and the eldest nun threw a grey veil over the primrose face he knew.

“Liadan!” he cried.


She drew the veil aside and the two lovers looked long at each other. But even with love in her eyes she put out her hand.

“It is for life, Kurithir,” she said.

“I have come for you!”

“Flann, my brother, tell him!” she said.

“I knew,” said Flann, “but had hoped to outride the ending. This is why Aevil met us in queenly circlet and royal robes at sunrise to flaunt, before Liadan, a final magnificence.”

“We are here to guard a new sister on the way to sanctuary of Clonfert,” said the priest. “From this day she has no life in the world. Men are her brothers, women her sisters. There are no other human bonds for her.”

“But there are bonds not human, between two mortals,” said Kurithir. “I have gone through hell to learn that truly and have sailed far over deep seas to bring the word to her.”

“It cannot be said here,” said the priest. “You are doing sacrilege in your speech. You disturb the spirit of her on her path to Paradise. You should go to your confessor for penance and abide by his ruling!”

“Penance will I welcome for her sake,” said Kurithir, ” and some brotherhood will I find to give right of converse with this, my friend. For that I will wear the robe and go into silence forever after.”

Her eyes were on his as she passed out the portal between the two nuns. The look in her eyes was the look of the nights on the sea. Yet there was question in that look and a wistful question.

Flann bade them farewell in place of Aevil and watched them cross the plain into the forest.

“The evil magic of Moria lives on, even though her body is dead,” he said. “She put into the head of Donal this business of sanctuary and Aevil helped as she might, until this is the end.”

Kurithir was silent, thrilled by that look and dazed with the temptings to follow after, to take her and reach the sea and sail to some land of foreign men, even though all the bells of Erinn rang their curses on him.

“Did you mean that as to wearing the robe of a brotherhood?” asked Flann.

“I would do more for one day of converse out of life with her,”

That night he abode with Flann. When the late stars were going into the west, she came as on the sea and crept between his arms and lay silent there.

No songs were between them that night and no words. She rested like a tired bird after long wanderings and in the morning he told Flann of how it was between them.

“She will walk free in a walled garden,” he said. “Peace she has and no fear and in the Dun of Conchinn she had many and strange fears and of them she would speak to me and not in dreams.”

“I am believing your word,” said Flann. “No other man could but I saw the look. In all of life I will see nothing again like that. My feet are on the earth and my cares are of earthly things.”


A runner from the castle of the kings came to Flann at the breaking of fast and he opened the seals of the tablet and read, took Nealis the cleric and went to the chamber of Aevil.

“Daughter of Mona,” he said, “the dower of a daughter of Donal shall be your portion. It goes with you for gifts to whichever holy home of cloistered women you may choose from out all Erinn.”

She crested her head like a dark serpent and her eyes were points of jet with jewelled disks on the band above them.

“My Spanish blade is not in my holding else there would be another man than you in line for the crown of Hugh,” she said. “You would wall me from the world that the greyling rhymer come to you at last. Late it is for that and she under veil! All bells of church in Erinn would ring to damn you.”

“Liadan is not involved in this, nor can be,” he said. “You go to a cloister for a dagger stroke to a churchman, with thought to silence his speech in death. You could be killed like a wolf for that and no one to make further question. But Liadan wears the veil to pray for sinners and she would not have wish that you die in such sin as you have known. You go also into cloister lest you bring to birth a thing of poison such as your mother bred. You are of the women who knows lust but not love and as such should not be breeding.”

“What then of the love of that greyling?” she asked in mock. “What is the thing it breeds in men?”

“Its breeding will last while speech of Erinn lasts–and after! Liadan’s is the mystical soul. Aengus (a god of love of the Tuatha Dé Danann) of the white birds is the priest to hear her confessing. His is the key to unlock gates for Liadan where your feet and my feet may not walk.”
 Then while she brooded there Flann turned to Nealis the cleric.

“To you the records of this,” he said, “and let me not hear even the name of cloister she is choosing. It is the daughter of Moria who enters that silence and is not the wife of Flann. See you to that–and your life and her life to answer if there is mis-writing in this rule of mine!”

Aevil, glooming, took her last throw of the dice of fate.

“To the ears of Hugh the king this may go on a day to be,” she said, “and he may make other ruling against an heir of his.”

“The king of Erinn has no heir,” said Flann, “and when the time comes, it is a, clean woman he will be choosing for the mother of heirs. That is a riddle for your reading.”

But she read it quickly and stood up, and cried aloud. “He is dead then–dead at last! And you are the king!”

“Since the sun of yesterday went down, I am king,” said Flann. “I go now for the seat of the king, and the taking of the white rod.”

AEVIL, daughter of the dark woman, took from her hair the gold circlet she was pleased of her pride to wear and trampled it under foot in her rage at the thing she had coveted and had lost. She knew no record would be writ into the annals of Flann to show that when he was only a prince and had gay journeys for his pleasure, he had ever taken to wife a daughter of Donal of Slieve Mis.


After the trials of his sea journey it appears that Kurithir has lost his earthly love to the Church. How though does the love of the souls and mystical breeding survive such a doctrine? There is a power of the vow which has outweighed the ‘old’ power of the gods. During this time a vow to the church outweighed that of a King.

Can Kurithir content himself with ‘nightly spiritual’ visits from Liadan. She is clearly content as she has safety and can ‘walk (spiritually) free in a walled garden’. These visits are tangible to Kurithir. His strength in this belief will give him contentment.

As King, Flann has now given his ruling against Aevil. What was attempted by Moria and Aevil has failed. Even worse for Aevil, she has lost her position in society and been banished to a secret location….never to be heard of again! Having set the wheels in motion for Liadan to be cast into a convent…she has now fallen into her own trap. The moral is to be wary and watch the lies one tells and the schemes one weaves. It is yet to be shown in the tale whether truth and love wins.

Worthy of note within this section is the fact that the ‘new’ Christian church had taken precedence over the power of Kings. The King, in this instance, still quoted from the lineage of the old gods of Ireland, still being impressed by that lineage. It seems clear that whilst the power had shifted, the old ways were still revered and often ran alongside the new Christian faith. However as shown, the power and doctrine of this new faith had the effect of killing off those that were taken into it’s home and away from the old beliefs. Removing them from an earthly existence, even prior to death. Such was this overarching power beyond the old ways.


You may have some thought about this? Please let me know and comment.

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I found this story on the Sacred Texts site. Visit the site for the full version of the story together with a fantastic selection of sacred texts and tales from around the world.

Lies from the past do not lay forever.

A Celtic tale of love and loss, deception and deceit. Part V.

Kurithir and his loyal friend, Prince Flann set off to confront Aevil and to seek the truth. What will be the cost of this quest to Flann and his friend?


THE raiders were gone from Connaught and the work of the chiefs was done. Flann rode south telling Kurithir he rode to fetch his new wife Aevil from Fort Conchinn, where death and battles had been. Kurithir scarce noted that Flann rode neither in state nor with joy. He rode silent and with dark thoughts, with few servants or comforts.

Flann made sure that none but himself held converse with Kurithir on the long south journey. Kurithir on his part went through the rivers and wilderness as he had sailed north over the sea, thrilled by the nearness of the sweet warm spirit of her, Liadan.

They reached the Fort of Conchinn at sunrise and saw marks of the siege. It was Aevil who met them in the hall, vested in royal weaves with a golden circlet of richness above the black braids where pearls were woven. Already she was wearing all gauds and trappings of queenship, waiting jealously the day of the succession of Flann as king.

She stared in dislike at his company.

Have you fallen to meaner estate that you ride home with none of the chiefs you led away?” she asked. “A servant and a horseman is small retinue for Flann.”

Greet my friend and send for your cleric,” said Flann. “I have questions to ask of this household.”

I give greeting to any friend of yours, O Flann,” she said, “but your words and your looks coming back with him are not those of Flann, the prince who went away with his many men of the shields.”

If it is your will I will walk apart until granted welcome,” said Kurithir to Flann. “It is you who know best the desire of my heart and the way to it.”

We will find that way,” said Flann reassuringly, “but the first thing must come first! Send your maids to their duties. I want only your cleric and his tablets for writing. It is your own desires I make plans for. You will not be wanting the enviers of a princess around you this day.

Kurithir was no less amazed than Aevil at the curious speech of Flann.

Flann went on staring, first at the comfortable round old man, Nealis the cleric and then at the queenly woman he had called a star of beauty.


Nealis of Desmond,” he said, “it is a long time you have been in the Fort of Donal and it is much you have seen of the woman who died with Donal. It may be much you had to know of her.”

Nealis, the cleric went the colour of old wax and looked at Aevil. Aevil flamed red while her brows were a straight black line of rage.

What should he know?” she asked. “What should he know of my nurse and my friend? Why ask a man of the household and pass me by?”

I asked for an answer… and I am answered,” said Flann. “Fear not that you will be the one passed by! I will ask another question. Nealis, it is not the husband of Aevil who asks you this, it is the man who is Prince of Erinn. Donal talked with you here when I offered marriage to his child, Liadan?”

That is true,” said the cleric. His small eyes looked right and left like a trapped rat fearing what the question might lead to.

And it was that time the word went out that Liadan was dying of a secret ailment?” Kurithir sprang to his feet but Flann put out his hand in kindness.

She did not die,” he said. “It was a crooked plan but of her death there was no need and the plan was changed.”

He looked at Aevil. The flame was gone from her face; she was gulping as if to strangle back some fury of protest.

You, Nealis were her confessor. Also the confessor of Moria. You surely heard things curious between the two.”

What should he hear more curious than other priests hear?” demanded Aevil after one look at his pallid face.

It is not your confession, Aevil, for which I ask,” said Flann, “so rest you easy. But it may be easier for Nealis to tell the thing here where there are few ears than in open shame before the king and before his spiritual superiors. Nealis, was it drug of herbs Moria of the hills gave to Liadan, or was it the deeper craft of a mind chained until life and death was all one to her?”

The witch Moria is dead,” continued Flann. “I ask nothing concerning sins of the living, but this thing I mean to know. It is not best to depend on the grace of a Princes wife. There will be no queen of mine but by my will and justice may come before my will and before I come to a king’s seat.”

Is that grey rat to come between you and me even with your marriage gifts on me?” shrilled Aevil. “The High King may say something if you take two sisters to wife at the same time.”

Talk of the sisterhood will come later,” said Flann in great quietness. At that Aevil choked and the cleric looked at Flann.

It is little use to speak, since knowledge has somehow come your way,” he said. “I know of no drugs but the Lady Liadan lived as in a trance when I saw her. I was told it was a love sickness and that life was hateful. To me she said nothing but that she was a shamed maid and that the man had sailed on the seas away from her.

“She sees no man but you. Is she growing weaker as the days go?”

No,” interjected the cleric with the first straight look, “she has slept well and smiles. Her maids no longer fear for her.”

When did this begin?” asked Kurithir.

It is strange to tell. The day of the battle with the Northmen was the day she changed. A swoon came on her, when the woman Moria died, she waked and the trance look was gone. No fear of the battle touched her so the women say. She is pale as a primrose but she smiles again. The maids now gossip that she sings in her sleep.”

You tell it straight,” said Flann. “She had lived under the black shadow of Moria of Slieve Mis until the life was smothered by that curse. When Moria died the shadow passed. Do you see, Kurithir?”

I see and I know,” said Kurithir. “She was seeking me that first day of freedom and found me at the nightfall.”

Aevil looked her scorn, for the words she did not understand and her look was black at Nealis of Desmond.

There is one other thing,” said Flann. “The mother of Liadan was known and her race was known. Who was the first wife of Donal of Fort Conchinn?”

Aevil arose, trembling with rage her eyes glaring down at him.

Keep to your seat,” he said in the voice of a master. “I am to know these things and the reasons for them. A lady out of Spain was brought to these shores a bride for Donal in his youth, all are knowing that. When she died and what of her children?”

There was silence and the breathing of Aevil could be heard as she leaned forward, her eyes on the cleric and her hand slipping into the folds of her robe.

I, I was not here at that time,” he said, stammering.

But you have seen records, you know?”

It, is true. I…

Aevil leaped forward with a slender Spanish dagger crashing for his throat but Flann was quick and caught her arm. She struggled and fought but he shook her as he would a rat and flung her to the floor, where she lay senseless.

The dagger is a dainty toy and useful,” he said. “It was perhaps for me she carried it.” Then he turned to the wounded and trembling man, “Go on, tell it as you meant to.”

She knows,” he said, looking down on Aevil in her rich robes. “The Spanish wife died soon, without children. Moria was then what she always has been, full of one thought only and that for her daughter Aevil here. Donal himself had fear of her and made promises to her that he kept. When men looked on Liadan they did not forget her. She came before Aevil, despite the beauty of Aevil and of that the troubles began, many of them. It was jealousy first and after that there is no knowing what it was, it has brought terror, it has brought grief to this roof.”

Write this as you have told it,” said Flann, “and call the maids to look after the daughter of Moria. See that a guard is at her chamber door and no more toys like this to play with.”

Then he turned to his friend.

There will be no shadow between you ever again,” he said. “You have been shown all the reasons.”


Well the truth is well and truly out. Aveil has betrayed Liadan and her father, King Donal.  Flann has been driven by his friendship to seek out justice and honesty for the pain that it has meant to Kurithir.


Is there a difference between the loyalty of those of friends and those of lovers? Can the quest for truth and justice transcend the loyalty to a lover, if that lover is shown to be a lier? From the the excerpt above it would appear that Flann’s loyalty to his (future) Kingdom and to his friend, Kurithir, outway his loyalty to his love. Integrity at this time was all. Honour was all. Can the same be said today?

Aveil is blinded by the trinkets and ‘bling’ of Queenship and position. Through the story so far we have seen that there are deeper relationships. Both good and bad. Aveil and Moria set against Liadan, Kurithir and now Flann. Will these evolve throughout time?


You may have some thought about this? Please let me know and comment.

Please subscribe and follow my blog. Share with your friends, those that you feel might like to think about some of the subjects in the story and my blogs. Comment if you wish and I’ll take your views and experience in mind as I progress through my further investigations.

I found this story on the Sacred Texts site. Visit the site for the full version of the story together with a fantastic selection of texts and tales from around the world.

Strength of Souls: Believing the unbelievable.

A Celtic tale of love and loss, deception and deceit. Part IV.

Kurithir has had a series of dreams or visions. So clear are these to him that he felt compelled to return. What will he find?


Into the deep harbour of the cliffs he sailed on a fair morning and men with shields and spears watched him as he climbed the heights. Flann was first with the greeting.

The Norseman raiders of Lochlan came down the coast to wreck and plunder,” he said. “No roof is left of Castle Dearg; we drove them off and sunk half their fleet but much evil was done by them. Our host and his people are dead and Donal of Dun Conchinn is dead and many other good men have gone the Way.”

It was to the fort of Donal I was going.”
”It is a late day to be going; death has been there, and veiled women are there.”

The heart of Kurithir went cold with fear to ask a question. He did not ask it but walked silent beside his friend until they stood under the tower where all now was blackened ruin from fire and stress.

He looked up to the window mounting the stone steps to the chamber where once she had slept. Flann in silence followed for their hearts had been close-knit.

The furnishings were gone and it was a desolate place.

Come away,” said Flann. “There is no profit to a man in seeking empty cages when the singer has flown.”

But under the carved stone seat by the window, where no fire could touch it, there was a little harp with the strings broken. Kurithir knew that harp and every broken strand from the nights on the seas to the south.

Flann took it up and looked at the frame where “Liadan” was set in silver wires deep in the dark wood; he scratched it until it shone bright.

It is true,” he said, “I thought it was a woman’s lie to mock me but it is true.” “Who was the woman?” asked Kurithir.

It was Aevil,” said Flann, “and now with this before us and Sun and Day and Earth and Wind, to witness, I will speak you the truth. When you sailed south and gave no farewell to Liadan, who turned her eyes from you in parting, I rode to the fort of Donal and made offers for her as a wife. My promise to look another way was broke when you two parted and no pledge between broke.”


THERE was silence for a while and only the eyes of Kurithir spoke.

“It was all no use,” said Flann. “She would not say the word for all Donal’s anger. I know not what his words were to her, God knows! He was regretful for the words when dying and said it to me. But before that day he offered me Aevil instead and ordered Liadan to the veiled women (Nuns).  Aevil was a star of beauty and was willing. I took her.”

“And what was the lie of this?” asked Kurithir, holding close the harp.

“It was no lie. It was the truth. The harp was broke by Liadan that no love song should ever be made on it after her tryst song to you–and you walking away from it.”

“There was no tryst song to me. The woman Moria carried Liadan from tryst with another and mocked me that I was yet sick at heart for her love.”

“There are dark things in this somewhere and there are false things somewhere,” said Flann. “Aillain, the boy, is dead, and dark Moria is dead. It is late for the sifting of the wheat from the chaff.”

“When were the deaths?”

“He in the first raid but she, sabbath a week since, together with Donal, before our bowmen reached his fort for succor.”

Kurithir remembered that day. Flann would have gone on with speech of the fighting and the retreat of the raiders to their ships but he held up his hand for silence.

“That was the night she came to me on the sea, Flann,” he said, “and that is why I am here listening. Darkness is on my mind, a darkness and a fog but this is true as the Sun: the way of these broken strings was never told to me, yet I knew that her harp was broken, for at the sabbath twilight a week since, Liadan sat at the prow of the boat with the broken harp in her hands, and the smell of the hawthorn was there following, ay, and the song of the thrush in the nights!”

Flann peered at Kurithir in awe and a swift chill touched him. When he spoke again it was with the soft gentleness as to a child.

“And where was this happening, Kurithir?” he asked. “It was off the south coast, and I have been sailing straight to find her, night and day since that twilight,” said Kurithir. “Never was there such a sailing for the wind was ever with us. I had but to close my eyes to feel her near and to smell hawthorn and May roses.”

Flann looked down into the garden where ashes and a fallen wall covered the rose vines.

“The roses of May linger not for anyone through the harvest time,” he said. “Come Kurithir, what I can I will do to bring you to her in time.”

Kurithir followed after and carried the broken harp and said over to himself words of her tryst song which he knew now was meant only for him.

“It will be in time,” he said. “No human thing can part us now, for our coming together on the sea had no mortal touch to it, yet we were as one soul. Since she lives nothing can change that. She is the soul of me.”

“She lives,” said Flann.

More than that he had no heart to say, but while food, and horse, and servant were made ready for the journey through the wilderness, Flann spoke apart to Ronan, his cleric and confessor, who had been with the men through the battles and shrived them as they went the last Way.

“Is it madness of the mind is on him, or is it some spell of magic that makes for him a vision far out at sea of that which is true on land?” asked Flann. “Is it evil, or is it good?”

“It has been both. The words of druids and the words of saints are witness. It comes between a man and a maid. It comes not of earthly marriage but rather of separation of the mortal body. It comes of great strength and of much weakness. You have a kinsman in sanctuary who has the right to tell you more than I have right to know. The spells of druids and power of saints have one likeness to the eyes of the unlearned. Yet is there a difference? The mother of Liadan was of the race of Dana. She went the Way at the birthing. Her child came into life with the sign on her of secret knowings. It is a thing of grief that she was bred in the fort of that dark woman of Slieve Mis (County Kerry) who could use arts of her own on a child of secret vision.”

“You mean dark Moria, the nurse?”

“I mean Moria, the concubine of Donal, who went into death beside him. It is an old story and strange. The Fort of Donal is far enough in the wilderness to hide many secret things.”

“You know that I have taken his daughter Aevil to wife,” said Flann darkly.

“I do. You were swift about it, else I might have spoke caution. But the two are dead and God send that her evil died with her, and that your children live by God’s grace. Judge you not Kurithir with harshness because of his own words. The darkness is on his mind concerning this matter. Few of us see as God means us all to see in His own good time.”

“God be with us till the Day,” said Flann.
“By the Elements, the Father and Son,” said Ronan.


So it would appear that Donal (Liadan and Aevil’s father) had a somewhat close relationship with the Dark Woman, Moria. Aevil seems to be the original, Ugly Step-sister!

What is also very interesting is that Liadan is said to be a direct descendent of the race of Dana or those of the Goddess Danu. The story clearly has a spiritual aspect through Liadan and Kurithir’s love. However, much more than that it links into the Irish Folklore and Mythologies of Celtic Irish history at a time when ‘the new’ christianity and ‘the old ways’ formed a clear part of people’s lives.

Kurithir’s statement, “No human thing can part us now, for our coming together on the sea had no mortal touch to it, yet we were as one soul. Since she lives nothing can change that. She is the soul of me.” is very poignant, made more so by the fact that this IS a very old tale and therefore not just a modern concept. Due to his close Earthly friendship with Kurithir, Flann had no qualms in believing and helping his friend.


I was left pondering. What is the strength of souls magic on our lives? Can souls, past and present, really play an active part in our decisions, the decisions that effect the deep parts of our lives with the loves we live amongst and the friends that we trust?


You may have some thought about this? Please let me know and comment.

Please subscribe and follow my blog. Share with your friends, those that you feel might like to think about some of the subjects in the story and my blogs. Comment if you wish and I’ll take your views and experience in mind as I progress through my further investigations.

I found this story on the Sacred Texts site. Visit the site for the full version of the story together with a fantastic selection of texts and tales from around the world.

Can our lives be guided by dreams? Is there such a thing as a simple dream?

A Celtic tale of love and loss, deception and deceit. Part III.

Aveil had thoughts of a trap. One that would drive a wedge between the newly found lovers, Liadan and Kurithir. Moria did as she was instructed. Summoning Aillain to Aveil’s chambers.




All the while Kurithir grew sick of Aveil’s efforts to woo and warm attention within the court. She sat with his foster brother, Flann, who laughed when she laughed. Flann had obviously forgotten their words upon the cliff.

Kurithir went to the courtyard. No light was showing but the soft note of the little harp was heard and its sweetness was dear to him, for it was his own song of the night she was playing.

It is well Liadan is playing that,” said Aveil. “All the day she was making practice of it because you, Aillain, gave it praise.”

I?” said the youth Aillain.

What does a manling do when music is made by fair lady to his liking?” she asked. “A gold-caged thrush would be fitting for a lady’s gift or flowers for fragrance.”

They made jests of him as at a lover they were training for love.

Straightway he started for the garden in the dusk, glad to show grace to so fair a guest. The boy paused to look up where the harp strings were softly touched, then there was silence and a white hand dropped a crushed red rose from where it had lain under the linen of her warm bosom.

The youth was amazed and stood waiting with staring eyes. Something finer came to him: it was the hushed voice of Liadan singing. A very whisper of a song it was, heard only by him and by a Kurithir hidden at the casement.

Liadan sang of love and pain of separation.

The voice ceased and the harp strings gave a wail as a heavy hand of discord crashed it. The boy could make nothing of that and walked slowly into the dusk of the garden. Then there came swiftly the rush of a slender form into the garden’s dusk. Like a low-flying bird before a hawk she ran, for the dark woman was in pursuit.

O rose of flame,” said Liadan sobbing, “that I should have given snow for your fragrance!”

The tall youth, Aillain, had plucked a hand full of bloom but stared at her strangeness and drew back from her.

The roses are for you fair Liadan,” he began courteously, but at his voice she moaned in terror and caught his shoulder.

O rose of brief bloom for me,” she said, and fell in whiteness at his feet. He bent to lift her, but the dark woman was first.

Liadan lay in her arms like a broken flower and thus she faced Kurithir whom had steeped into the dim light; he was white as the maid, as he barred her way.

Tell me of this meaning,” he said, and Moria laughed as Aevil herself might have laughed.

You are a man and should know,” she said. “The boy is a new plaything and she broke the lock to keep tryst with him. You poets play over much at the love game and oft choose your mates strangely.”

If you were a man my hand would send you to hell for that saying.”

Even that would not make her over or change the heart of her,” said Moria. “Give way that I may put her back under lock ere her sister learns this newest shame.”

He gave way, and paced like a chained thing under the wall where he could see the light of her window. He listened for her voice but no sound came.


Twas the morning and Kurithir bade farewell to his friend Flann and took a boat for the sea.

The thrushes do not sing, even for poets, on the sea,” said Flann, and that was the first time he mentioned the dream of love of Kurithir.

There are no longer thrushes singing for me in the shadows and no dreamhouse of love in any forest,” said Kurithir.

Straight south he steered and then east, through storm and stress seeking new ports, seeing new faces, hearing new songs but singing no more. Women looked on him with warm invitings in many a harbour and one of sweet words and grey eyes sent him out into open seas against wind and tide.

Other men are not remembering like this,” he said. “Back of the look in every woman I see the look of Liadan, O lost grey bird of mine–Liadan–Liadan!”

There in the prow he saw–something! It was the faint grey shadow of a girl with a broken harp.

Liadan,” he whispered, and moved to her, but white spray dashed between them. That was the first time she came.

“She is dead,” he said and the world was more empty for the thought. When sleep came she began to come very close to him and very much alive in his minds eye. In the dusk of starlight he saw her, shadowy, with his earthly eyes again and again and at times he thought the fragrance of hawthorn and roses of May was on the sea.

Is it the way of a madman I am going?” he asked himself, “for there can no more be fragrance of roses here than there can be songs of thrushes.”

O Liadan!O mist of honey fragrance! Within my dreams,You drift the night with me!You are the starOld sea reflects forever,You are the grianan (fort or castle) within my heart.The white-breast bird are you,The whitest rose,The ever-singing harp of silver string.You are my secret,Breast unto my breast,Until the lark shall call the sun, O Liadan!

It was the first time song had come to him since he sang under her window at Dun Dearg of the sea cliff and all the call of his heart for her was wakened in new strength. He turned the boat and steered west and then north and every twilight she sat in the prow faintly grey and in every sleep his head rested on her warm bosom, and warm arms were holding him and her face was bending over him with her eyes looking into the depths of his own.

Even though it be madness on me I will follow the way it leads,” he said. “I will go as bid to the rath of Donal, her father. I will put out of mind all else I saw or heard for mystical things and deep things are sending fair winds to me at every turn of tide and never a day but the seas are glittering fair like silver.”

It was so. Never a storm touched him after the night he saw her first and at last at home he arrived.




Was it a dream or a simple vison that brings Kurithur back to Liadan? What makes a vision different to a dream? Although Liadan reaches out to Kurithur, who returns in the knowledge of his dream. He has no knowledge of the outcome of his returning. It appears that the dream guided him to return.

I can only add here my personal experience of a powerful and significantly different vision that was given to me as a dream. This was given to me prior to my genealogical investigations into my family. Subsequently, also guiding me into the formation of the story to my current book. The dream gave me a sense of where it was, a location I didn’t know. I could feel, smell and almost taste the environment. I was given names of events, areas and dates that I had no prior knowledge of. It was so vivid and real…only through the eyes of another.

Do we pay enough attention to our subconscious dreams? Are they visions? And when do we awaken to them so that we pay attention to them?

So was it just a simple dream or a life changing moment? For me, it has changed the way I think about my future direction in life. It has given me inspiration to look into a linked family history through this shared perspective.  It has awakened me to a perception of the importance of the message we receive.


You may have some thought about this? Please let me know and comment.

Please subscribe and follow my blog. Share with your friends, those that you feel might like to think about some of the subjects in the story and my blogs. Comment if you wish and I’ll take your views and experience in mind as I progress through my further investigations.

I found this story on the Sacred Texts site. Visit the site for the full version of the story together with a fantastic selection of texts and tales from around the world.

A Celtic tale of love and loss, deception and deceit. Part II.

We left our story in Part I with Kurithir gazing up at Liadan, who had been locked in her room by her sister, Aevil. It was dawn the day after they had first set adoring eyes upon each other.

Part 2 continues:



The day was fair and all went riding gaily to a neighbour’s castle returning at the setting of sun.  Aevil put Aillain, the son of her host, to ride with Liadan, ordering him that Liadan must either be guarded, or sent home at the dawn. Aevil then rode with Kurithir and talked much with Flann and was a sweet and gracious lady, charming all. Liadan sat quiet, smiling ever like sun touching mist of the morning. Her heart was full of joy only to hear his voice.

That night, under the tower Kurithir sang and touched the harp:


Sweet-scented branch of silver Abloom above me,Lean low to love me!

Grey bird of harmonies Honey voice, morning star, Wake to love’s dreaming!


His voice and the strings of the harp were whispers soft on the night but along with the fury of Aevil.

Liadan was always accompanied by the dark woman Moria and she listening. The love of Kurithir forced him to the speech of a man to his mate, and he spoke.

The song of the night was to you, Liadan, and all of me calls for you more strongly than song can be telling. Liadan, marriage is well for two singers who find the same song. It is by that choosing the bird of the forest seeks ever its own mate, for the song is the soul of the winged things. That is so of the birds and it is so of people, Liadan. Thus the nightingale holds his song pure in rapture, thus the children of us will sing our songs, and their own songs, in the future years, Liadan.”

The soul of her moved to him that she trembled but the dark woman, Moria, behind the arras, was ears for Aevil who walked the garden with Flann and Liadan veiled her grey eyes lest he read them too well and spoke in sweet courtesy.

Fair friend, it must be in the rath (stronghold) of my father I give troth to a man and not in another place,” she said. “That gate will be open to you on a day to come, and your singing will win you fair welcome when you are coming there.”

Your words are as snowfall at harvest time and the sheaves golden,” spoke Kurithir. “Your eyes make them-selves shadows of grey and are veiling their sweetness. I am servant of Liadan what day of days I may ride her way through the forests.”

The day may be long-the length of days rests in the heart itself,” said Liadan. “A far circle of visiting is pledged to the friends of our father. That circle must be closed ere we welcome poets or princes at the portal of our own castle.”

Honey mouth, the sweet coldness of you would freeze the red rose, and all its flame could not save life to it,” he said. “But within me is a deeper flame, and I wait my day and I wait some sign from you for speech again.”

But the bodkin of the dark woman touched the arm of Liadan as a warning against other words and she spoke no more but bent her head over the harp as if alone and Kurithir looked at her, pondering and then called for his stallion and rode alone and apart from the rest that day.

But Liadan rode not at all lest the hand of another man touch her hand, or the hem of her garment, or offer her cup which another than Kurithir had kissed.

But the harp of his in the hall was the only one she touched that day and she wished that forbidden druid power could be hers to charm the strings into speech for his ear alone. With bodkin she traced one word in ogham on the harp frame but Moria watching! More she feared to do, and her tablets of writing had been broken in the rage of Aevil.

The dark woman told to Aevil all that discourse of the day, and Aevil laughed her victory.

Tomorrow’s sun takes us away from this place and this blind-eyed poet,” she said. “I have a secret to tell, for Flann has desire of me and a king’s rath will yet be my abiding place. But I choose to be away from the roof of my father ere these poet songs again make night sleepless. My marriage comes before her betrothal. See you to that!”

The dark woman promised and praised the maid Aevil, and had joy of the thought of Flann who was king’s son and of power to be.


At the supper time, Aevil held up her square cup of mead and asked a good wish on the road for the morrow. There were words of pleading from many, but Kurithir said no word, only stared at Liadan for a sign-and she there frozen with the grief on her!

Sun-rise or sun-setting makes no change in me but to leave me in darkness,” he said, “and the servant of Liadan is ever her servant.”

But Aevil laughed at his shoulder. Then she sent Liadan to her chamber on an empty errand and laughed again at Kurithir, and watched him, and his face white.

But the laughter of her scarce touched him, for the reason that he saw only the face of Liadan who had gone past him, dumb and without word of courtesy and she hard struck at the fear of great forest and wilderness between them.

It was that fear made her bold to dare what she dared not do before the people. More quickly than Moria could follow, she sped to the enclosed garden where the red May rose bloomed and close under her linen shift lay a blossom of it before the dark woman grasped her wrist, and drew her within the portal.

The fury of Donal your father will not be a summer storm to you if he hears of lovers of yours before the Lady Aevil has her right as a wife ahead of you,” she said. “The visits of honour are spoiled by the endless twanging of the fool’s harp, and of yours, and the end of it is coming!”

Liadan knew there were dark words said of Moria in whispers by the people of the hills of Kerry. Her love for Aevil was a real love, but her hate was a thing to fear, and the soul of Liadan trembled, yet the thought of Kurithir brought back life to her, and she spoke.

With your hands you will not touch me again,” she said, “and this to your warning. As a child I mind me how, for curious reasons, you sang sleeps upon me at noontide. I saw strange things in the sleeps you sent me and some I remember. But I am not now a child and my life is a different thing to me. No will of yours shall be on me again, nor the will of any other mortal, save one only-and I loving that one. My duty to Donal, my father, and Aevil, my sister, will be paid in silence. But to the man who gives me heart-love there has been too much of silence, and the end of that is coming!”

The dark woman looked at her sideways and said no word lest the maid grow wild and run shrieking, or do some other ill thing to shame them. For the words of Liadan told her it was a woman deep in love who spoke, and that at once both her body and mind were sacred to her as love’s offering on an altar.

And Moria went from the chamber in fear of the wrath of Aevil if the lovers met, and in fear of other things! The key on the chain was forgot at her girdle, and it was the first time.

At the foot of the turret stairs she remembered the key and would have turned back, but Aevil was there and heard her story and smiled.

Wait for the locking of the door,” she said, and frowned and thought. “Since she is turned rebel on our hands, and a dagger is forbid, we will try other ways, and ways will be found. Her poet is sick with love and mooning alone, yet far enough from the turret. Keep you ward, and send to me Aillain, son of our host. He mutters poems of hers instead of grace.”



Things seem to be getting quite difficult for Liadan. Her sister is green with jealousy and envious of the obvious love between Liadan and Kurithir. There are a lot of twists and turn to come in this tail…


So, I have shared some information about a genealogical investigation and a few pages from an ancient story. How do these link and what have they really got to do with anything?

Firstly, I hope that you have enjoyed them for what they are. A coincidental history of my family and how it links so closely, back in time to another family that I am now part of. Also, the story of Liadan and Kurithir raised a number of questions in my mind. I’m sure there are aspects of the tail that might have more resonance with you than others. For me, the key points raised outside of the, somewhat pantomime, evil sister role is the one of connection between Liadan and Kurithir. An instant and strong connection that was always going to be. The story mentioned that;

We have found the way to each other at last, and both of us knowing it!’

During the excerpt above this supposition is built upon by Kurithir’s speech to Liadan;   ‘for the song is the soul of the winged things. That is so of the birds and it is so of people, Liadan.’’

Are our souls destined to be with each other? They appear to have thought so in ancient times. When taken with other ‘coincidences’ I feel there could well be some truth in this.

You may have some thought about this? Please let me know and comment.

Please subscribe and follow my blog. Share with your friends, those that you feel might like to think about some of the subjects in the story and my blogs. Comment if you wish and I’ll take your views and experience in mind as I progress through my further investigations.

I found this story on the Sacred Texts site. Visit the site for the full version of the story together with a fantastic selection of texts and tales from around the world.

A Celtic tale of love and loss, deception and deceit. Part I.

As promised in my first blog. Over the next few blogs I’d like to share with you a story that really made me think about how we connect with the loves of our lives. I found this story on the Sacred Texts site. It is a short story from a series that forms part of a book called ‘The Druid Path’ by American Author, Marah Ellis Ryan from 1917.  It is a collection of Celtic tales and modern (in 1917!) short stories. I have tried to adapt the somewhat old fashioned writing style to make it more accessible for today but keep a flavour of the past style.

Marah Ellis Ryan was a remarkable character, having lived for the last 25 years of her life with the Hopi native Americans, claiming that she was the only white woman at that time to have been admitted to the sacred religious rites of the Hopi.

The story in question was written about a time, long ago, around 865 CE, on an island that is now called Ireland. It is a story of love and loss, deception and deceit. It is one that transcends time and that, even today, we can connect with through the drama and the schemes born of jealousy and betrayal.




I hope that you’ll enjoy the story.

The Tale of


I am Liadan.Who loved Kurithir. It is true as they say.

The music of the forest, together with the voice of the purple sea would sing to me when with Kurithir.”


It was the time of High King Hugh Finnliath of Erinn.  The young sun of May lay on the land. The hawthorn was in bloom against the hills, and the cuckoo was calling as it flew in long billowy glides to its mate in the yew-tree nest.

As the bird looks to its mate, so her grey eyes went, along with the heart of Liadan na Donal when she looked on Kurithir. The poet and friend of kings from Far Connaught. Fair and gracious was he among the friends of her host. Fair and gracious also was Flann Siona, Prince of the Sionan, standing beside him as they greeted Liadan and Aevil, her elder sister, who was beautiful as a night of stars.

It was not the beauty of his bronze-gold hair, or the blue eyes of Kurithir that held her. It was not the beauty of his raiment of jewelled links. Both sisters were not without grandeur themselves in the castle of their father, Castle Donal. Out of all the guests, she didn’t know if Kurithir, bent head or knee more graciously than others. She knew only that his eyes looked deep, and looked steady, into her own, and that without words they bore to her a message.

The message was strange because her heart leaped in her bosom to meet it, and that was a new thing in her life.

That message was this:

We have found the way to each other at last, and both of us knowing it!”

Other eyes saw that look, along with the wild-rose flush on her white throat.  Aevil, her half-sister, spoke bitter words when they were safe within their chamber that evening. Also present was Aevil’s dark nurse, whose name was Moria, whose lore was deep in herbs and curious knowledge of ancient druid-craft.

Know you not that as elder sister my day of marriage must pass before your day of courting?” raged Aevil. “That is why I am making this circuit of visits. To see the lands and the furnishings of our friends. It was in my charity that I brought you with me and an ill day it was to me!”


LIADAN sat by the window and looked down into the enclosed garden where a red rose tree and a white rose vine were twining against the stone wall. She made no reply to her sister, for her thoughts were all of Kurithir and that look in his eyes. She felt close to him, just as the white rose twining to the tree of the red bloom.

But Moria talked much as she smoothed the black hair of Aevil and vowed by the Elements that the beauty of Aevil greatly exceeded all others at the Castle of Dearg and that the eyes of Flann Siona of Erinn had not passed her by…nor for that matter had that of the other men.

There was truth in this, for Aevil was a stunning beauty. Her pride was great because of her knowledge of this beauty to which all men did honour. Liadan had heard all her life that there was no beauty in Connaught to compare with Aevil who should, for beauty alone, be a queen. Liadan was well content that the crown would go to her sister, as long as she had her harp and her garden and now…two blue eyes for mirrors!

But Aevil stormed and threw off the hand of Moria and would hear no caressing of words.

Well you know there is one man spoken about here for me to meet and that man is Kurithir the poet,” she said. “He is the man whose songs are sung by many and my greeting was spoiled by a grey rat!”

Only my eyes are grey, sister,” said Liadan, “and if you don’t like my grey robe, it shall be put aside for our visit. What you choose shall be done; all is one to me.”

For the song of joy was so strong in her heart that all the world was shining summer for her. Her slender grey-clad feet trod as upon the clouds of heaven because of that look in his eyes. She donned a robe of green with a girdle of silver, and in the brown curls of her hair she fastened green jewels from far off lands. In the rush light of the great hall she slipped quiet as a moonbeam. However, Flann and Kurithir, who were foster brothers and friends forever, left all others in the hall to bow before her.

We look for Maighdenmara in the old sea waves where the white foam is,” said Flann. “Men never hope to see her drive in a chariot from the forest.”

Kurithir said nothing but his eyes were on hers. Liadan liked that best and dreamed of him sweetly that night on her maiden pillow.

In the dawn Flann and Kurithir walked along the sea cliff and spoke as brothers in bond.

There are other maids and many for you, Flann. For me there is only this one and I love her.”

You speak your heart and that is best, comrade. My eyes will look the other way as her sister is a fair queen for any castle.”

I am thinking no castles,” said Kurithir, “I am thinking of a little house under the oaks where the thrushes sing, where heart can hear heart away from the sound of the steps of man. My harp I will take along with hers. Her hands were like white lilies on the strings when she touched them last night. I could have knelt at her feet for joy that we have found each other.”

It is good to be you, Kurithir,” said Flann, who was a king’s son. “May you hear the thrushes sing.”

Kurithir went back at sunrise and watched her window in the tower until her face looked down on him. She dare not speak because of Aevil and Moria. She could not go to him as for the locked door and the key on the chain of Moria. She looked at him with all her heart in her eyes. A white rose she let fall from her breast to his, that was the first gift of Liadan and Kurithir.



Please subscribe and follow my blog. Share with your friends, those that you feel might like to think about some of the subjects in the story and my blogs. Comment if you wish and I’ll take your views and experience in mind as I progress through my further investigations.

Genealogy…isn’t it wonderful? Who knew it would lead to this?

Welcome to my first blog. A series that I hope will introduce you to the wonders that I have discovered over a decade of piecing together so much. So much in the way of enlightening me to the knowledge of the history of a family, how turns of events in that past have worked through time to produce who I am and even who I share my life with.

I want to share this story with you. If it gives you encouragement to start your own journey of discovery (of self and dare I say, ‘Ancestors’) I will be very pleased. Let me know your thoughts. Share them and this story with others. It is only through the power of such unified thought that the true story of our life now and possibly, many lives can be truly understood.


My story began over ten years ago…This is what got me thinking!


In 1861 on a remote Scottish farm in Aberdeenshire a family lived along with a number of farm labourers and household staff. The farmer was a James Rae. He was married to Jean McDonald Rae. They had several children appearing upon this 1861 census. One of these children was a six-year-old girl named, Elizabeth. At this time her occupation was listed as a scholar. We’d just say a normal little school child learning and playing happily with her five other siblings.

Over time this little girl would grow into a young lady and move away from the farm. First, moving down in service to a country house in Suffolk, England, hundreds of miles away from her family. She would eventually move again and start a family of her own and settle in Wimbledon on the outskirts of London. Her children would then lead lives of their own, living through and dying in the hugely destructive World Wars of the twentieth century.

This is where I come in. I might say at this point that despite being Scottish myself, having been born in Renfrewshire, in an urban town to the west of Glasgow. I have no genetic link to the Rae family. At the age of seven years old I left Scotland and moved, via several addresses in Middlesex, near London, to a small town on the Hampshire/Surrey border in England.

So why would I be interested in the Rae family at all? Well, to be harsh I wasn’t at first. My interest arose following a conversation with my mother. We were trying to get to the bottom of her family history, as you do…just chatting. This was my first delve into what I now know is Genealogy.

Amongst the staff and workers on the Rae farm in Scotland was an agricultural labourer by the name of Alexander Thomson. He was twenty-four years old. He would go on to marry Annie Robertson having children of their own. One of these children would become a Gamekeeper in the Highlands of Scotland, learn how to drive, becoming a chauffer on a large estate house. During World War One he would join the army, fight in Turkey and return with malaria. Settling in Paisley, Scotland with his new wife and eventual family. This man was my mum’s father, my granddad.


So why the interest in the Rae farm I hear you ask, again. This is where it really gets interesting. Initially for me it was a little surreal, un-frighteningly spooky.

As is the case when looking into your family history it becomes a bit of a bug. One that grows and begins to involve those nearest and dearest around you. My husband’s family tree included an address in Wimbledon. His great grandmother was Elizabeth Glassborook, nee Rea. She had been living in the same household as my great grandfather, hundreds of miles away in Scotland and several whole lifetimes away.

Now I know they say the world is a small place. How could it be, that this is only such a simple coincidence. This initial investigation and realisation that both my husband and I had long lost family members that would have known each other, so far away and so long ago, started a chain of events that has lead me to question some big and emotive subjects.


I’d love to share these thoughts with you. Some you’ll agree with; some you’ll totally feel are ‘off the wall’. However, over this series of blogs we can formulate our thoughts and feelings about the things that make us us and how we move through life with those we know we are meant to be with…our soul mates.

Some of the subjects this have led me to investigate are; connections to people now and the possibility to these people in past lives; why are we often drawn to feel an affinity to certain historical periods of time and could we have more than just a genealogical link to our ancestors?

During my searches I have found some fantastic resources. One of the stories that I uncovered will be serialised in my next few blogs. It was from a website called: Sacred Texts   and is a story written a long time ago, around 865 CE, on an island that is now called Ireland. It is a story of love and loss, deception and deceit. It is one that transcends time and that, even today, we can connect with through the drama and the schemes born of jealousy and betrayal.


Please subscribe and follow my blog. Share with your friends, those that you feel might like to think about these subjects. Comment if you wish and I’ll take your views and experience in mind as I progress through my further investigations.