Listening to the Land / Teannalach
Teannalach - Celtic word.
“The web of betweenness, a sacred area in which the individual enters into contact with the eternal.” - John O’Donohue, as told to Noirin ni Riain. It goes 7 layers deep, they say.
Often used in the hills and mountains in the west of Ireland. It points to a relationship one has with the land/air/water, a deep connection that allows one TO LITERALLY HEAR THE EARTH SING, says Noirin.
I spent the month of October listening to the land sing in both Ireland and Scotland. Early in the month, 13 singers from the US and Canada joined me on my Ireland Singing Journey both singing and listening to the music of Ireland. There were trips to pubs for traditional music, guest singers, and listening to each other sing. But mostly I have been relishing lately teaching people how to listen. Truly listen - internally, externally, and beyond.
This Celtic word, teannalach, nails it for me. It is in moving, breathing, and feeling the land and her environs that I can truly hear the spirit of the land, the spirit of myself, and the music that emanates.
Scientists have proven that rocks themselves are vibrating matter. There are swirling atoms now known to even have a “heartbeat”. It’s just that their pulse, if you will, is much slower than ours - about one every 3 days, Noirin reports.
Rocks are alive. Rocks hold history. Rocks are reverberant agents.
At age 17, I had the great fortune to study in England for a semester. My Cambridge family took me to many sites, including Stonehenge. Long before the place was commercialized, we sauntered up to those imposing standing stones. I hugged each one, like a friend, a mentor, a wise sage. I sat in the grass and leaned up to my favorite, wishing to coax the memory out of it. It truly felt like an old friend.
Traveling to Universal Studios’ Harry Potter World with a dear friend, a few years ago, I was transported to my beloved Celtic isles. The sets were fantastic. So fantastic that I sidled up to a stone edifice to sense its vibration and was startled to feel nothing. In actuality, I experienced what seemed like a jolt - as if hitting a wall. For that’s what it was - just a wall.
The geology of Ireland is mostly limestone.That of the Western Islands of Scotland are basalt or Lewisian gneiss - some of the oldest on the planet. On the Island of Iona, I sensed deep peace and the strength of these old stones holding me. In Ireland, I feel the resilience and sing-song nature of the land.
Give a listen wherever you are. What is Mother Earth saying to you?