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  • Writer's pictureErica O'Reilly

A Story Woven Between Worlds

An Irish Invitation by Erica O’Reilly

Being of Irish ancestry and deeply held within the ancient circle of Celtic feminine wisdom by the Mná Feasa (Wise Women), the Mná Chaointe (Keening Women), and the Mná Ghlúine (Soul Midwives), Erica wishes to offer her heartfelt gratitude and reverence to Algonquin Anishinabeg People; the traditional keepers of this unceded territory and whose stories, culture, and language has been a part of this land since time immemorial.  Míle Buíochas (a thousand thanks) for the opportunity to live, dream, and create alongside you.

As we gather to share in C.S. Lewis’ classic tale of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, there is a felt sense of sacredness in the air. 

 


In the dimly lit theatre, as children of all ages (the young and young at heart) excitedly take their seats, anticipating the return of Aslan, one may also hear the magical hum of a story inviting people from different walks of life to share in community – if only for a few hours.


During our time together, (Irish-born) C.S. Lewis invites audiences to journey with the Pevensie children through the wardrobe into another world called Narnia.  A mystical and magical land filled with talking trees, unicorns, centaurs, elves, fawns, and beavers – we’re even graced with a visit from Father Christmas, himself! Seemingly falling outside of ordinary time, yet echoing the chaos of war-torn Europe during the 1940s, we walk alongside Lucy, Susan, Edmund, and Peter, as Narnia beckons the return of the light – after a time of great darkness.

From a shamanic perspective, the ancient Celtics saw no distinction between this world (our physical reality) and the Otherworld (the realm of spirit). 

From a shamanic perspective, the ancient Celtics saw no distinction between this world (our physical reality) and the Otherworld (the realm of spirit).  Many today share in this ancestral belief that the worlds are one in the same.  Mystically intertwined.  The land is rich with spirit, just as the animals, plants, and stones, who live and roam among them; each with their own story to tell, yet divinely interwoven with one another’s. 



Ancient Celtic mythology also shares many epic tales of brave warriors, medicine keepers, and wise animals; while also heeding warnings of powerful shapeshifters or the scorned crone.


As an Irish-Canadian woman, deeply connected to my Celtic roots and shamanic ways of being, it came as no surprise, that I sensed the ancient spirit of Éire (Ireland) whispering through my blood and bones upon reading Lewis’ famous tale for the first time - before embarking on this creative journey with 9th Hour Theatre Company's current cast and crew.


I also feel there’s an element of divine alignment as we gather, for this particular tale, during the Winter Solstice season.  A time of year marked by hallowed darkness. 

The land is rich with spirit, just as the animals, plants, and stones, who live and roam among them; each with their own story to tell, yet divinely interwoven with one another’s. 

Following Samhain’s ushering in of the Celtic new year, the weeks around Winter Solstice were rooted in honouring the sacred initiatory journey of death; while also holding faith that seeds sewn will rise anew.  Both seasonal and ceremonial in nature, for my ancestors this was a time of rest, reverence, and renewal – as they anticipated the return of the sun.



This wisdom and mysticism woven between the stars, the stones, and the shadows of the physical and spirit realms, is also embodied in the land of Éire herself.  At this very moment, womb-like, Neolithic burial mounds (such as Newgrange, in County Meath) excitedly anticipate the arrival of the first glimmers of sun light to dance across their spiralled walls, once more.

 

So, during this holiday season, as the cast and crew eagerly await the time to share this extraordinary tale with you, I wish to offer this gentle invitation:

May your time with us be filled with splendor
May it be filled with grace and leave you well
And as you dance betwixt the realms with us
May you always feel the light;
Wherever the story dwells

 Míle buíochas, a thousand thanks, for sharing your time with us.

May grace, health, and happiness always find you.

 

Le grá (With love),

Erica

 

ERICA O’REILLY is a sacred storyteller, professional theatre practitioner, and women’s spiritual & embodiment counsellor.  She is also part of the directing team for 9th Hour's 2023 production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.


Listen to Erica discuss the story's themes on the Telling The Story podcast.

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