Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Knots


I've been away for a bit. I vacationed in Northwestern Ontario. It was amazing! Incredibly peaceful, gorgeous beyond words, and, not just refreshing, but invigorating physically, emotionally and spiritually. And, oh, my, the fish we caught! There is no way you can't catch fish!

But I'll share more about that another time - maybe when I finally get the pictures uploaded from the camera!

Right now I have a wedding on my mind. My son is getting married to an incredible young woman on September 22nd. I am more than delighted - I am thrilled! Such a blessing they are to each other and to all around them. I've loved her as a daughter for some time now.

But I have to get them a wedding present. *sigh* What to get them? I have been wandering online through their gift registries, websites for crystal, and all sorts of giftie type items. Nothing at all hit me as "the gift."

And then it dawned on me that it should be something representative from the Irish side of our family. I'm not sure why, other than the fact that Swedes inhabit both my son's and her family trees, so I felt Orrefors might not be too original an idea.

Okay. So, Irish. Now what? Belleek? Waterford? Cavan? What? I've been scouring Irish gift sites. What would be right for THEM...from me?

There's a little Irish store just north of Wonder Lake in Richmond. My partner, whose family's descent is also the "auld sod," suggested we ride up there this weekend. So, I checked it out first online. Lots of the usual gitchy stuff, but also some lovely original things, too - fabrics, crystal, stained glass, etc. Then my brain realized what my eyes were seeing all over the html pages....knots! Lots and lots of knots. Knots? Hmmmm....

I googled Celtic Knots for their meaning. The true meaning has been lost in time. What the ancient Celts meant by them we really don't know. They are popularly considered a spiritual symbol for eternity, much like the mathematical figure 8 lying on its side - no beginning, no end. In about mid 7th century Irish monks brought about the current Christian symbolism of the Triquetra in their elaborate illustrations of the Bible in the Book of Armagh and the Book of Kells. The Triquetra symbolised the Trinity - eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit interlinked as One God. In my days as a pastor's wife (my son's father) I created that Triquetra myself in ecclesiastical embroidery.

I sat and stared at knots.

Then it hit me to look up Celtic Wedding Blessings...oh, how the mind wanders from one place to another! Some lovely things, but one Wedding Vow grabbed me. I've seen it before - I am a Diana Gabaldon fan and if anyone has read her Outlander series they will be familiar with this, too.

Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, `til our Life shall be Done.

Both a spiritual and organic vow, isn't it? Extremely powerful. No doves, butterflies, and happily- ever-afters here. It has the feeling of birth to it. I could have said it to both my children the very first time I saw each of them. It was, indeed, how I felt - bound spiritually and organically to them each - an intimately integral connection that I knew with all my being would not end until the day I pass...and maybe beyond. A knot that tied and bound us eternally to one another no matter what transpired in our individual lives.

Knots, in their binding, twist and turn. No unbroken circles, these, or lazy eternal figure 8s. They are intricate weavings in and around themselves - changing direction, turning in and turning out. Some Celtic Knot designs are used as Mandalas or Labyrinths for meditation on their intricacies. And if you are, like I am, often the one who gets the honor of untangling fishing lines, necklaces, and shoelaces, you know that a knot looks very different from one angle to the next. It takes time, patience, and persistence to figure them out.
We have culturally grown so far from that Celtic understanding of what ties us to one another. Vows, oaths, commitments are taken so lightly. We separate ourselves, stand alone from one another. We are a litigious people fighting for what's "ours," our "rights." We have separated ourselves from Mother Earth and abused her in pursuit of individual convenience and "happiness." We do the same with our very bodies!
Blood of my blood, and bone of my bone
How many of us could stand and make that vow at a marriage? I wonder. How many of us would see marriage as organic as a birth?
It has me wondering.
And now I'm even more confused as to what to get as a wedding present.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

Lovely one, B!

I can make a suggestion of a gift, but I'm not sure where you'd find one over there. A quiach - it's a Scottish loving cup.

BTW - I've awarded you the Nice Blogger award.. because you're nice and you deserve lots of NICE in your life. :-)

bnavta said...

Thanks, Michelle! :o) On both counts! Nice Blogger? LOL I do thank you! You're mighty nice yourself!

Hey! I did look at a quiach! I really considered it because my son hiked through Scotland by himself during a break while he was studying in Cambridge. He loves Scotland!

However, I settled on a beautiful throw woven in Donegal. It can be used as a throw or for a table covering or hung on the wall. I went for practical, instead of totally decorative or significant of the wedding alone. I also found a set of coasters with a Celtic Knot ingraved on them. :o) Practical, once again. Guess that's me!

Michelle said...

The cloth sounds gorgeous.

I love practical myself. I'd rather have a beautiful clock or table cloth than a painting or ornament. To have a combined pracetical AND beautiful is such a feeling of smugness. :-))