Imbas, Inspiration

In Druidry, there is a reverence for, and a special attention put on Inspiration, called Imbas in the Irish and Awen in the Welsh.  All Imbas is seen as divine, gifted from the gods, one of whom may serve as a particular muse.  It can come as a lightening flash, a gentle realization, or a deep knowing.  Within those moments we are open to knowledge, wisdom, and profound guidance.  Such moments then shape our actions, our decisions, our creations. Through our creations, we then participate in the ongoing creation of the world, bringing new things to form, as all living persons do.  The soul and the gods unite, and production, or reproduction occurs, birthing new beings, ideas, forms, behaviors, or lifeways.  It is the vital dance of life which perpetuates itself through myriad lenses and processes.

Seeing that all living persons, human and otherwise, participate in this ongoing creation opens up the idea that human persons may not be the only persons who receive and respond to Imbas.  When trees unfurl their leaves, gathering light, are they inspired?  It is typical to call this instinct, if even to assign such an animalistic term to plant life is considered proper, as though it were unthinking or unconsidered behavior.  Animals are said to respond to instinct when building dens or nests, flying or hunting, mating or rearing young.  How does this look instead if considered Imbas, inspiration?  Plants and animals alike feel and respond to natural rhythms, as we humans do– spring is universally said to be the season of mating for us all.  One might say something about spring inspires us all.  As Daghda strums his harp, changing the seasons with the changing light on the land, we might say His song, Grian’s (Sun goddess) light, and Flaithas’ (Sovereignty, Land goddess) turning inspire all earthly beings.  The gods make their songs, and we in turn are inspired to make our own.  Tree songs are evident in leaves and flowers, animal songs in mating calls and dances, human songs in poetry and seduction.

Consider rising sap as an inspired song, animal nations caring for their own as inspired action, photosynthesis as the poetry of the plant nations.  Animal and plant behaviors can in turn inspire us, to be busy as a beaver, relaxed as a vegetable, strong as the oak.  Humans can in turn inspire plant and animal behaviors, from gentling a wild kitten to breeding and crafting domesticated corn from a wild plant.  We all interact, we build relationships, receive inspiration from each other, and join in the ongoing creation of our shared world.

Consider sunlight as Imbas, inspiring green life to rise from the land, animals to roam and seek sustenance, and humans to mow lawns and swim rivers.  Consider moonlight as Imbas, inspiring the tides of the sea to rise and reach in greeting.  Consider the tides as Imbas which inspire fish to surface in regular rhythms. Sun, Moon, Land, and Sea all responding to inspiration, and in turn inspiring all beings who open themselves to receive inspiration.

Consider stars inspired to forge heat and light in their cores, growing to vast shapes, exploding from their own force, and creating fields in which new stars and planets are birthed, or collapsing into themselves to create living pulsars singing their own songs, or living black holes, eating light.

All beings are living persons, receiving inspiration from one another, and offering it amongst each other, in unending turns.  Perhaps this is a fundamental aspect of belonging and participation in one’s community of living persons- to receive and offer inspiration, mutually and interdependently.  Our relations are then those who inspire us, and those in turn whom we inspire.  Shared Imbas binds us in place and time, defining our relationship.


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