Nature as Metaphor

Growing up in Ireland, my former Catholicism was influenced and perhaps softened by a cultural heritage of Celtic Christian spirituality. This was something I simply caught rather than something I was formally taught and though I have long moved on from organized religion, the influence of that Celtic spirituality is still with me and continues to influence how I perceive my life.

The Druidic and Celtic spiritual tradition experienced all life as one, and recognized and celebrated the constant breaking through of the Divine into the mundane everyday realities of life. In Celtic understanding, we are not separate from nature. The natural world of earth, air, water and fire finds a home in us too. Nature was understood as a threshold where the Transcendent (the spiritual) and the immanent (the material and physical) meet. It is the place where the sacred mystery speaks to our world in metaphor and symbol, a direct expression of Divine imagination and creativity.

The passage of the seasons mirror the cyclical passages of our lives. The Celtic mind understood this and embraced life as an evolving spiral of birth, death and rebirth. As the years pass, we can meditate on how the turning of the seasons  reflect the human journey of transformation both individually and collectively. We have all experienced a time of winter in our hearts when, like the tree which stands naked against the sky, we find what we thought was permanent and familiar change suddenly and slip from our control. But we have also experienced the spring of rebirth as the work of winter in our souls creates new growth and we learn to begin again. At times summer fullness has manifested in our lives perhaps in the joy of friendships, the love of our partner, work satisfaction or an artistic creation. Then Fall arrives in its golden beauty and like the tree which sheds last year’s foliage, we learn to let go of what no longer serves us. Then the cycle begins again. As the chaos and the despair of the world threatens and wearies our spirit, it is good to go into “the peace of wild things” and in the solitude and silence rethink our story in the context of mother nature’s cycles.


A native of Ireland with a passionate interest in Celtic spirituality, creativity and intuition. I have been a teacher and workshop facilitator for over 40 years.

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