Celtic Wisdom: A Captivating Spiritual Legacy

The lyric melody of celtic music is captivating to the senses. At the very least, it can lift our spirits and lighten our hearts. At best, it can assist us in transcending our limitations and connecting with a higher consciousness. Music in general has the singular power to bring about an immediate attitude adjustment. For that reason, music is sacred in all spiritual traditions. Constant chatter gives way to interior reflection as the music plays. There is a spiritual component to celtic music that mirrors the essence of celtic wisdom. As music attracts and transforms us, the celtic experience of nature with fully attentive senses is also considered spiritually sacred.

To walk the hills and valleys of the earthly landscape, mindfully, is a spiritual act. In our own lives, an appreciation of the world outside the walls of our home or office offers us an opportunity to reconnect to something that is more beautiful and glorious than our usual, limited perspective of the world.

The complexity of modern life and perhaps the lure of materialism all contribute to the estrangement we often feel from our spiritual selves. We look outside of ourselves for answers or solutions and rarely consider entering the silence within.

Interior meditation is a practice embraced by several spiritual traditions and it requires that we turn away from our hectic pace to give it a try. Start by endeavoring to awaken your awareness through the simple act of stepping outside. Can you remember a moment in time when the beauty of the world took your breath away? Was it a snow-capped mountain, a sunset masterpiece or an animal in the wild? Recall how you felt during this awe-inspiring encounter.

If anything, a true perspective on life was restored and we remembered that life is a precious gift. Treat yourself to a walk very soon. Focus on whatever it is that catches your attention. Try not to think, instead quiet your mind and engage in appreciation. You may be surprised at what you learn.

The world can be a very alienating place; we need a sanctuary where we can restore our souls. For matters of personal responsibility, we need to be out in the world yet, it is equally important to step off the beaten path, still the coursing thoughts in our mind and reflect on spiritual truth.

Celtic tradition points to the connectedness of life. Not only do we affect each other through our thoughts and actions, but we affect the living earth. We all have something to offer, this is our birth right. As we look up at the stars, listen to the waves as they crash ashore and feel the sand underneath us, we are active participants in this connectedness.

We can learn from spoken truth as readily as we gain knowledge from the miracle of a seed sprouting into visible life. The old Irish saying: “isn’t the hand of a stranger, the hand of God?”; supports this notion of connectedness. Therein lies our true destiny. In this life, it is incumbent upon us to nurture our own soul growth, be of service to others and leave the little patch of earth we call home better than we found it.

However, if we are trudging along through life and ignoring the promptings of our soul, how authentic is our path? Working towards harmony within ourselves and with each other, as we acknowledge that we are part of something much larger, is the road to inner peace, and it is within our grasp. We are personally responsible for our own happiness in this life. We possess all that we need to achieve our dreams, survive day-to-day and live life to the fullest. We began to connect with this power the moment we decide to journey within our own interior silence.

We may be unable to singlehandedly end violence, pollution and discord, but we can clean up our own act. Celtic tradition tells us that ancient wisdom already exists within us. One does not have to come from a line of celts to possess this wisdom; it’s available to all.

The celtic way is but one of the paths to follow. For those of you with celtic lineage, this path may speak truth to you on a very deep level. A famous Irish Saint, St. Brigid, was known for her love for the land. By entering a sanctuary, be it outside or in the next room, we are able to examine our life, transcend our limitations and tap into that ancient wisdom within.

Dedicate this day to a new beginning in your life. Consider it an opportunity to implement a change. What self-imposed or self-imagined limitation do you wish to transcend? Build upon your self-improvement by remaining fully engaged with truth, reality and what it is you must work through to arrive at a better place. Remember, that which is worthwhile and valuable in life is not given to us – we must do the footwork and put in the time to advance ourselves on the path.

It is through the presence of balance in our life that we experience harmony. Listen to the complaints that you might speak only to yourself throughout the day; herein lie the clues to the possible extremes that keep you off balance. Clarify to yourself, what it is that constitutes your personal truth. What feels authentic? What feels strained? What would you change if you could? Contemplate your unfulfilled desires. What is holding you back? Procrastination? Time? Money? Cast aside these concepts of lack and limitation and begin, simply begin.

Release the need to be validated by the world. Step out into the open air, breathe deeply and chart your own course. Refuse to be constrained by rigid opinions; be they your own or those belonging to others.

Dare to walk in the direction of your dream as impossible as it may appear from the perspective of your present circumstances. You are not alone. Your life is connected to all there is or ever was. The path of celtic spirituality is best initiated outside, in view of the sunrise, while the leaves still cradle morning dew, like precious jewels. Begin your personal journey in touch with the beauty God has created and take it with you as you start your day.

Thomas Cole – The Father of American Landscape Painting

Nineteenth century American artist, Thomas Cole was born on February 1, 1801, at Bolton, Lancashire in Northwestern England. The founder of the American art movement ‘Hudson River School,’ Thomas is an established name in ‘Romanticism’ and ‘Naturalism.’

His early education in arts swung around the domains, wood engraving and calico painting, until his family immigrated to Steubenville, Ohio, America, in 1818. Here, Thomas learned the essentials of painting from a portrait painter, Stein. His interests however, gradually tilted towards landscape painting. In 1823, the Coles moved to Pittsburg, where Thomas began to draw painstakingly detailed sketches of the city’s highly picturesque scenery. The artist then shifted to Philadelphia in 1824, where he worked with the members of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. This association brought him the privilege of displaying his canvasses at the Academy’s exhibitions.

In 1825, he moved to New York, back to his family. The city’s esteemed artists and patrons admiringly noticed his works. He sold his paintings to finance his summer trip to Hudson Valley. Here he explored the haunting beauty of Catskill Mountain house and its wilderness. One of his prominent works, “Gelyna, View near Ticonderoga” took him to the highs of fame everywhere, bringing eminence to his works. Soon, his stature elevated, and he was appointed a member of the National Academy.

During 1829-1831, he traveled to Britain, France, and Italy, to study the great historical works at various art galleries there. His stay in Italy, from 1831 to 1832, supplemented his imagination with noble themes and ideas, and from this point on, his paintings began carrying the hard-core ‘Romantic’ spirit. During this period only, Luman Reed, a New York based merchant, became Cole’s patron for whom the artist produced his best-known series of paintings, “The Course of Empire (1834-36),” depicting the progress of a society from the savage state to a zenith of luxury, eventually leading to its dissolution and extinction.

November 22, 1836, added a new chapter in Thomas’ life, when he tied knot with Maria Bartow at Cedar Grove, where he eventually settled for life. The couple had five children. During his second trip to Europe (1840-1842), Cole developed a mastery over his art of using colors. He would brilliantly recreate the atmospheric magic, particularly that of sky. He painted his second great series of work, “Voyage of Life (1840),” during his this second spell at Europe.

Although, Cole was a landscape painter, his allegoric creations embodied the same intellectual content. Some of his other celebrated works were, “The Garden of Eden (1828),” “The Oxbow (The Connecticut River near Northampton) (1836),” “The Departure (1837),” “The Return (1837),” “The Past (1838),” “The Present (1838),” “L’Allegro (Italian Sunset) (1845),” and “Il Penseroso (1845).” On February 11, 1848, the maestro breathed his last, at Catskill, leaving behind his rich legacy, and a firm foundation for the continued growth of the American landscape painting.

Landscape Paintings – A Distinct Genre of Painting

Landscape Edging Stones – A Great Way to Spruce Up Your Garden

Now that the harsh winter of 2009-2010 is just a memory it may be the right time to get outside and make some of those landscape improvements that will allow the days spent on the lawn a more pleasant experience. Of course, the reason people spend time outside is to enjoy nature so why not make those improvements with a natural landscape edging stones.

Natural stone lends itself to a variety of aesthetic applications, such as edging around a flower bed to add to the natural feel of the plants growing there or to create a walkway to make it easier to go from place to place. Natural stone can even be used as a retaining wall to protect the earth that is being held back from erosion. Unlike wood or plastic, stone will last forever and needs little to no upkeep once it has been installed.

Stone has been used in a great many ways in the past and many of the structures it has been used to create are still standing centuries after their first application. It is not unusual to see stone structures built centuries ago throughout the world that are living on and being used by modern day man. This is not only a testament to the builders of those structures but to the quality of the material itself. For those wishing to leave a legacy for future generations, natural stone is the way to go.

When using natural landscape edging stones for a do it yourself project a few techniques should be considered. Remember that it will be necessary to displace some of the earth and sod from the spot that will receive the edging. By laying a plastic barrier down before placing the stones weeds and grass will have no place to grow and pop up in the cracks between the stones. That means a little digging and a bit of extra work, but the effect will be worth it.