Experience the Mystery, the Passion, and the Beauty of the Celts
Join Us for Celtic Encounters !!!!
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STEVE BLAMIRES was born in Ayr, Scotland, in 1955, and currently lives in Washington. At the age of nineteen, he began his studies with Gareth Knight and the legendary Company of Hawkwood. After studying the Western Mystery Tradition for twelve years, his interest moved to his Celtic roots. Ever since, he has concentrated on promoting all facets of this ancient tradition. In 1986, Steve founded the Celtic Research and Folklore Society (CRFS) as a way of helping others along the Celtic path. He has written three books on Celtic mythology and has produced many magazine articles for several publications in the U.K. and the U.S.A; wrote and edited the CRFS journal, Seanchas; and carries out research on behalf of other authors and groups. He gives talks throughout the U.K. and U.S.A. on Celtic spirituality and magic, and carries on the ancient tradition of storytelling. In Chicago in 1993 Steve represented the interests of the indigenous Celtic peoples at the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions. He has worked with Tibetan Buddhist monks to make Holy Isle, Scotland, a place of spiritual retreat for people of all beliefs. Most recently, he and his wife Helen opened Wandering Angus, a Celtic shop in Port Townsend. Steve teaches an overview of Celtic Culture through Peninsula College.
YOWANN BYGHAN is a former Education Secretary of the Cornish Language Board and is a fluent Cornish speaker, He wrote and starred in the first ever television series in Cornish, 'An Canker Seth,' broadcast by Television South-West and Sianel Pedwar Cymru in Wales. For four years Yowann was a presenter of 'Kroeder Kroghenn,' a weekly Cornish-language news magazine on BBC Radio Cornwall. As a result of his dedication to the the revitalization of the Cornish Language, Yowann was elected as a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh in 1978. With an MA in Educational Psychology, Yowann has almost thirty years teaching and administrative experience in British and American schools. He moved to the United States in 1990. He has taught language arts, drama, media studies, French, German, Latin, Greek, Cornish, modern European history, physics, biology, and general science. He is a published novelist, nonfiction author (principally Celtic history), playwright, song writer, and poet.
III. The four great festivals of the Celtic year- Beltane, Lughnasa, Imbolc, and Samhain - provide a context from which we can gain insight into the daily lives and spiritual beliefs of the Celts. Learn the ancient stories and traditions as well as the modern practices surrounding these important days of the year.
I: Medieval Cornish Miracle Plays: The Cornish literary heritage centers around the religious dramas of the Middle Ages, in particular the group of 14th-century plays known collectively as 'The Ordinalia.' Written in Cornish verse, probably at Glasney College near Penryn between 1325 and 1375, these plays rival the well-known English miracle plays of the York, Wakefield and Chesterfield cycles. They mingle high drama and low comedy, exquisite poetry and ribald vulgarity. These plays, and plays like 'Bewnans Meryasek,' also known as 'The Camborne Play,' are an invaluable treasure and resource.
II: Cornish Language and Culture: Celtic languages are divided into two groups: Brythonic ( Welsh, Cornish and Breton) and Goidelic (Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Manx ). Cornish, a language of soft textures and lyric rhythms, separated from Welsh during the 7th and 8th centuries and developed into a modern European language until the 17th century, after which it came under pressure by the encroachment of English. Factors involved in its decline included the introduction of the English Prayer Book, the rapid introduction of English as a language of commerce, and particularly the negative stigma associated with speaking a language associated with the poor. Cornish faded into near oblivion in the late 19th century, but a revival began in earnest in 1904 and continues to this day, with Cornish rapidly growing as both a written and spoken language.
III: Cornish Folk Song Tradition: The Cornish, like the Welsh, have a singing tradition that goes back centuries. From ancient dance tunes, through traditional solo and part-song ballads to Victorian and Edwardian male-voice settings, the heritage and history of Cornwall are richly and abundantly represented in music. Yowann will accompany himself on the guitar as he treats his audience to some of the more beautiful and interesting songs.
I: Celtic Literature and Poetry-note, this is a two session combined offering by both Ron and Ger: The "dynamic duo" will present an overview of writings which reveal the strength, power, imagination, and spiritual foundations of the Celtic people.
II: The Mabinogi
The Mabinogi is the title of four distinct but linked medieval Welsh tales whose full title is Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi (the four branches of the Mabinogi). The tales were probably written in the late 11th century and incorporated elements which had long been in the repertoire of professional story-tellers. Although the writings were almost certainly the work of a single author, the stories themselves evolved over a span of centuries: passed on from storyteller to storyteller. Each of the stories in the Mabinogion relates in some way to what scholars past and present have referred to as The Matter of Britain - that is the body of folklore, historical and narrative lore originating among the British Celtic peoples of the westerly regions of the Island: Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Cumbria and Southwestern Scotland. The common theme of these narratives is the relationship between the mundane and the magical worlds, the Self and the Other.
III. Ron: An introduction to Welsh Language and Culture: Ron will demonstrate the Welsh language. which is very much alive and well in Wales today. About 2.8 million people define themselves as Welsh and about 500,000 of theses are Welsh speakers. Wales is a land with a vivid history which has been played against the dramatic, often rugged, mysterious Welsh landscape.
I: See combined session with Ron above
II: An introduction to Irish Language and Culture: There are an estimated 500,000 fluent Irish speakers and the language is taught in schools in Ireland today. Although there are "only" about 3.7 million Irish still in their homeland, millions of their "cousins" live throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as the Irish were one of the largest groups of immigrants to set sail during "the Hungry Forties" (1840's). Come hear the lilting language of many of your forefathers and learn about the heritage of one of America's most significant contributing cultures.
Afternoon Panel/Question and Answer Session
Celtic Spirituality and
World View. A discussion of the origins of Celtic spiritual beliefs, their
impact on Christianity through history, and the relevance of a Celtic view in
the context of today's world.
Evening Panel/Question and Answer Session
The Celtic World Today. A discussion of the diaspora of the Celts throughout the world, most notably the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the rejuvenation of Celtic languages at home and abroad, and the growing pride in Celtic heritage. Also, there will be an overview of the political, economic, and social issues facing the Celtic homelands today. Joining the evening panel will be Nicole Casares.
Celtic Encounters will end with a rousing sing-a-long led by Yowann the Bard. Song sheets will be available and everyone-no matter how tone deaf- will be encouraged to join in the music.