Tag Archives: Noirin Ni Riain

Meeting the moment 2021 #29

The power was off for nearly sixteen hours and the winds were raging, I was having a Dorothy moment, thinking I might end up in Kansas. It was one of those moments with the windows rattling, the banging of loose tin, something unknown and metallic hitting against a nearby fence and in the distance a crash of a branch. By mid afternoon men in hi-vis and big white trucks were wandering up and down the street and around the corner matching their knowledge to the ferocity of what had been the night before and its impact on 67 households (according to the app). These are the moments I remember to be grateful for power, hot water, wi-fi, heating … I take so much of this for granted in my first world comfort zone.  

A storm like this, only a few years back, had me driving my dying husband around in the car with his ventilator plugged in so it could recharge via the car’s auxiliary power outlet. We went up and down roads and through vineyards and over hills, until the power at home went back on.  We had dispensation to be a priority customer given his reliance on oxygen, but we didn’t get the supply immediately and also up until then didn’t have tanks on hand to compensate.  (We got them after that and never had to use them.)  I am grateful I don’t have to live through all those moments again.  Stormy conditions are not always equitable. Some of us have more resources than others, more jackets to put on, better quality umbrellas, back up powerpacks. I have come to consider the non-physical versions of these, resilience tools.

The breath is what distinguishes something as being alive or dead. The raging storm lets me know well I am alive, all creation is alive.

In the storm, the air finds its voice mixed with the staccato of hail, the rumble of thunder, the crescendo of waves of rain crashing like waves on the beach. Then the quiet arrives, not quite silence, as birds find ways to harmonise with the new post-storm atomic score. You take time to clean up debris, replace and restore what is out of place or is not in any shape to be able to be retained. The path of the storm has left a clearing where, there is now, more light.

I have been haunted by the past and some very tricky personalities presenting themselves this week. I felt darkness descending and shadows forming, not of my making and not at my invitation. In true Celt fashion, a triptych of deeptime sensory discomfort. The storm blew in to deliver lessons. The electricity lines being down seemed to draw a line, cut off supply and blew away the bad spirits. The elements have guided me and delivered the high, fierce and dangerous winds required to shift the predatory shadows circling me. 

The invitation to live in this space between and with the elements, is something I am learning more about, thanks to continuing to delve into my Celtic roots especially through the works of John O’Donohue and guidance of Norin Ni Riain. I am learning to take instruction from the elements, to live more in tune to the seasons, the turn of the sun, the tidal power of the moon and the dance steps of planets and stars. It is not lost on me, this relationship between wind and breath, and the feminine word for spirit (ruah) in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It feels quite pointed and poignant, as I meet the moment of this week, reflecting on the symphonic elemental natural world as my spiritual guide.

Photo by Anandu Vinod on Unsplash

B flat

I’ve always loved B flat as a single note and F#minor as a chord. This week I was in the presence of the legendary Noirin Ni Riain and as a result I bought her autobiography. The pages revealed some common threads between us, a love for you Hildegard, among them. But the revelation that jumped completely off the page was the information she shared about B flat. She writes:

” … NASA astronomers have discovered that the earth is constantly vibrating to a steady drone that they have defined as B flat – fifty seven octaves down from the tone below Middle C on the piano. This mystical tone is one million billion times lower than the lowest sound that you can hear. So every time we sound the note B flat, we are harmonising with the ultimate, primeval cosmic music. This is the incarnate, cosmic sound of God. ‘From heavenly, heavenly harmony, The universal frame began”(John Dryden)
p124 Listen with the Ear of the Heart.

How often I have felt I was aiming to live a middle C life, and yet am constantly drawn to being a little off centre; drawn to B flat. This new knowledge is so liberating, each time I was going for middle C and denying my natural centredness which is to be in tune, in tune with B flat.

We’ve been invited in this pilgrimage at Ballyvaughan to find the beautiful question for ourselves and today were also invited to find the name we would give ourselves if we weren’t afraid of loss. In my quest this year to be more of myself, more of the time, I was drawn to own over and over, deeper and deeper my own name Moira. Moira who is Mary, great mother, Moira named after a dead little friend, Moira another name for Gaia – Mother Earth, the moiraes – daughters of Zeus – spinning, weaving and measuring life – with all of heaven and earth unable to escape from their jurisdiction. But now, as I reflect what name would I want to look back on for myself at this time and maybe it is B flat?

What would it mean to be known as B flat?

Centred and in sync with the rotating seasons; living harmoniously with the sounds and spinning of the planet in the universe. A solitary piece of the universe moving from a strong and constant axis drawing energy from a deep, dark place invisibly.

I am wondering if you had a favourite note Hildegard? And also what key you wrote your music in? Something for me to research at a later date.

I have finished my week with David Whyte and am not disappointed. It is too soon to write about the grace note resonating in my soul, but I do know listening to the tune within is pure and simple and is joining with the wind as one.

Listening to the Benedictine monks at Glenstal Abbey at vespers tonight helped me gather up the remains of the day and indeed of the week, with a final Magnificat to start singing me home.

B flat