Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

March: Celtic Heritage Month!?

Yes, I admit it is a very unofficial designation but I really do feel March should be made Celtic Heritage Month. After all, March 1 is St. David's Day, the patron saint of Wales and of course March 17 commemorates St. Patrick and has come to stand for all things Irish--especially wild parties with lots of booze! I guess at one time that appealed to me to a slight degree but I've never been much for drinking, to say nothing of drunkenness! Actually my system does not handle alcohol well. I tend to get barfing sick before I even get a good buzz, so over the years I have learned my limits. But that is quite peripheral to the point of my post.

The world at large owes a great deal to the Celtic people. Certainly the English speaking parts of it gained a very substantial infusion of Celtic blood and culture from the diaspora of the Scots and Irish at various points by the English overlords who enacted a similar pattern of taking over their lands to what was sadly done by the European settlers to the Native American people a few decades or centuries later. There actually were Scots and Irish youth and even children placed into slavery, a fact not widely known or publicized. No, not indentured servitude by which many bought passage to the Americas but actual for-life slavery! Once in the new world they had an advantage in being able to run away and blend in more easily than the people from Africa along side whom they often worked. But otherwise the circumstances were not too different. It was a shameful situation in all cases. Slavery is just flat wrong, but I do tend to bristle if someone of African ancestry says something like "Your great granddaddy enslaved mine." I say not only no but heck no!!! They probably labored side by side!

So anyway, in both terrible and some excellent conditions and by a wide variety of means, Celts came to spread across the world, bringing their vivid imaginations, their music, their dances, their love for and skill in word-play and many other traits that we hardly realize are theirs today. So why should we not recognize this contribution and honor it the same as we do for several other racial and ethnic groups? February has come to be known as Black History Month and I think that is great but I kind of want equal time! Yes, much of my ancestry is Irish and Welsh with a bit of Scots and a few traces of German and French in the mix but mostly Celtic! I'm proud and glad that is so.

I am more than happy to wear green and the plaids of the clans most associated with my late husband's Scots ancestors--the Macdairmids or McDermott in the modern usage, who were a sept or sub-clan of the Campbells. The Morgans (my maiden name) were also associated with a Scots clan; that one escapes my memory right now. I'll happily make a leaky pasty for St. David's Day and later enjoy corned beef and cabbage--which is not really a traditional Irish dish but more adopted in relatively recent times by Irish immigrants mostly. Perhaps instead a boxty or shephed's pie or... Shoot, it is all good!! (Maybe I will pass on the haggis though!)

By the way, a leaky pasty is not one with a holey crust or a bad crimp around the edges but one that is made with leaks, an onion-relative plant native to and one plant badge of Wales as the shamrock and the thistle are for Scotland and Ireland! Pasties are traditional meat pies made all over the Celtic regions and also knows as bridies in some areas. Since Bride is another name for St. Brigid or the older goddess Brighid, I suspect there is some connection.  I need to research that! And no, it is not Bride as in Bride and Groom! The d is nearly silent or sometimes sounds almost like a z.

Many insist pasties should be only made with steak and kidney but in older times they were made from any kind of available meat to include fish and may or may not have potatoes but are usually flavored with leak or onion, may use turnips instead of potato or simply have meat filling. Also the traditional shape is a half moon where the single round crust is folded in half and crimped at the edge with the filling inside!

Anyway this month I am going to devote several posts to all things Celtic so please come along and enjoy the celebration! I'll speak about myth, music, recipes, odd bits of lore and whatever fun stuff I can collect to share. Druids of course come from the Celtic culture of long ago and that is another subject near and dear to me. The myth and spirituality of the Celts is a whole different world!

I remember Lewis Carroll's Alice said that books without pictures are of no use or interest and I do not have a likely graphic to insert here but will try to liven up future posts this month with some illustrations!

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