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Ireland travel: music sessions, pubs, a divine fiddler, and a desperate dance

excerpted from OM, baby! a pilgrimage to the eternal self, by Jack Haas



           I had sat through countless, indescribably penetrating music sessions in the past, and I had convivially repressed the thump and shimmer I felt in my legs and feet, so as to prevent them from taking off with my body and plunging me forth into an unproprietous pagan dance. However, there came a time when I found myself powerless to withhold the rushing force of glory from overtaking me.

            It came on a night perhaps two weeks after my soror and I had arrived on the Dingle. As per usual, in the evening we had made our way into one of the town’s establishments, had put back a few pints of the dark and delicious tincture, and then had eased comfortably into the ensuing auditory rapture, as a music session began.

            But this night was not like other nights. This was a night when the stultifying chains which the entire Irish culture had bound itself within, and by which I had allowed myself to be held as well, suddenly lost all power of constriction and ability to contain, and I found myself lost to the freedom of the soul that knows no law nor reason nor propriety which might prevent that soul from its truest and most desperate expression.

Bullocks to the letter that killeth. I say: when in Rome forget the Romans and do as thou pleaseth.

            What happened on that particular night is that the session started like any other session- the music began, people took thoughtful note of it, and the joy of the Celtic muse flooded joyfully, though without visceral effect, through the atmosphere of the pub. But then the truth revealed itself in a startling display. And that truth came in the form of a woman fiddler who did not play the notes in a solely traditional manner, like a verbatim parrot repeating the same old tune over and over again. No, she played music the only way true music can be played. Which is to say, she played from her heart. And my God what a heart she played upon. Let me tell you, the fiddle transformed from the manifest realm of wood and metal, and softened into the ethereal realm where it became the living voice of her resounding inner ventricles, as she soared her way beyond the mainstream, beyond the usual, beyond the practicable, and took that instrument of heaven into the very reaches of her soul and made it sing with a voice that could shatter the moon.

And man was she quick. She was lightning and flesh fused together in an escalating invocation to the grandeur of our divine heritage. She was the spirit of song cascading in a downpour of dexterous mania. She was the held energy of the cosmos suddenly released in a whirling torrent upon the unexpecting pilgrims of the keep. And I… I was done for.

I like to believe that I can dance as fast or faster than any fiddler can play. And I state this delusion not so much out of braggary, but as a challenge; for I will gladly and with great privilege be defeated on the mortal battlefield of the song, if ever I come upon a fiddler who can beat me. And to be sure, at that moment I will be one man who has found victory and defeat in the very same event.

But what happened that night was not a contest, not about speed anyway. If it was, then it was a contest between that heartful woman’s violin, and my own equanimity. And yet it was not a contest, it was a massacre. I was destroyed. I was obliterated. There was no battle, no war, no surrender. I lost, instantly. And what I lost was… myself.

As I said, this particular session began like any other session, but it was only too soon apparent- to myself if no one else- that this was no ordinary session. This was revelation. This was the end of what had been and the birth of a wholly new way of being. This was the unchecked, unmitigated, unrehearsed inflammation of the tendons and the heart.

After a few brief moments of trying to hold my own- of trying to sit still and quell the tumult rising within me, and thus affecting a common, controlled enjoyment of the pleasantries of pub life- I came undone. I left my seat, rushed through the throng of idlers, and landed a few feet in front of her majesty. And I danced. My God did I dance. Amongst a crowd who almost instantly became a thundering mob of appreciative spectators, and who instantly accepted my barbarism, and then lifted me further with their hoots, and claps, and screams, and howls, and my fiddler running me up relentlessly into the unleashed reaches, further and further, faster and faster, with no brakes nor bars to hold me, only a flaming fury of unleashed exaltation ensconcing me, as her spirit and song washing into and through me and the notes rising unrelenting, climbing higher and higher and driving me inexorably into an apocalyptic insanity of bliss and insobriety that was born to smash the world in two.

            Dancing with abandon, dancing the last dance, the dance that would end in a new beginning, I lost myself into the music until I became a living, manifest expression of the music.



excerpted from:


visionary art, acrylic painting, Lilith, Sophia Goddess, author Jack Haas India



OM, baby! a pilgrimage to the eternal self

by Jack Haas

author Jack Haas, Canadian, American writer, artist, photographer

















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