One in ten people are thought to suffer from depression at some time in their life. This book offers a Christian-based approach to dealing with depression. Jean Vanier, one of the great spiritual writers of our time, explores how we can move out of the darkness of depression into the light.
The isles in the title of this book are the Hebrides which lie between the west of Scotland and the north of Ireland, and the songs are the prayers an blessings which originated there between the sixth and ninth centuries. They remained a purely oral tradition until a hundred years ago when Alexander Carmichael collected and published them as Carmina Gadelica, the source book that led to the revival of Celtic spirituality today. These prayers and songs capture the remarkable spiritual vision of a people keeping faith through good and ill, ekeing out an existence in a world that was often harsh and inhospitable. They rejoice at the birth of a child o a good harvest, glory in natural beauty, lament in suffering, cry out for help or protection, and invoke God's blessing on even the most humble tasks. Until now we have only known them in the Victorian language of Carmichael's collection, bu in Kathleen Jones' fresh translation, thir poetic simplicity and power is fully revealed and we hear authentic Celtci voices speaking with conviction about life and death, hearth and home, land and sea, and the journey of the soul beneath the protecting power of heaven.
What does it mean to be made 'in the image and likeness of God'? This is the first and defining characteristic of our humanity celebrated in the opening pages of the Bible. Its subsequent record is of the struggle between good and evil in human life, a tension that we face daily within ourselves and in the relationships of our lives.
Western Christian tradition has often given the impression, and sometimes explicitly taught that this tension is primarily between the soul and the body. The result has been a denigration of the human body and distrust of our deepest physical desires. We no longer recognise within ourselves the characteristics of the divine image. Yet written into the vey fabric of our being in the mystery, wisdom, strength, beauty, creativity, eternity and presence of God.
This profound and challenging book clears away centuries of misunderstanding, confusion and shame that have damaged our self-perception. Drawing on both Jewish and Celtic Christian sources of spirituality, Philip Newell leads us to discover the sacredness of our souls and our bodies. Our present day assumptions about love, beauty, sexuality and worth are transformed by this truly ground-breaking book.
Carmina Gadelica is an anthology of poems and prayers from the Gaelic oral tradition, the most comprehensive ever collected. They came from communities all over the Highlands and Islands of Scotlad, were often shared or performed in the evening ceilidh and therby passed on from generation to generation. Alexander Carmichael complied the collection in the second half of the nineteenth century, and in doing so created a lasting record of a culture and way of life that has now largely disappeared. In the Introduction, Carmichael recounts with great warmth and evident pleasure the hospitality which he received from the people whose songs and stories he was anxious to record "I have three regrets -" he says, "that I had not been earlier collecting, that I have not been more diligent in collecting, and that I am not better qualified to treat what I have collected." Nevertheless, Carmina Gadelica quickly became an invaluable resource for those wanting to study and understand Gaelic culture and for those wanting to experience the beauty and wisdom of its oral literature.
There is a traditional saying of ancient wisdom: 'A threshold is a sacred thing. In some places of the world, in some traditional cultures and in monastic life, this is still remembered. It is something, however, that we often forget today. To take time to pause at a threshold - be it a place, or a moment between one action and the next - is to show reverence for the handling of space and time, and respect for those who we meet. Pausing allows us to let go of all the demands and expectations of the previous activity, and to prepare for the encounter with another. Esther de Waal explores what this ancient wisdom has to teach us about our public lives in the world today.