The Vision, The Father

I don’t often talk about my personal experiences with the subconscious mind or what some would call mystical or spiritual activity.

The reason is that I’m a pretty sober and conscious guy who doesn’t dabble too much in vaguely defined mysticism or nonsense. My feet are very much grounded in reality, most of the time.

But having said that, I have had a small number of visionary experiences in my life, usually brought on by the change of consciousness that goes in hand with physical exercise and exposure to the elements. One such experience I had recently went like this.

I was doing dumbbell chest flies beneath an open sky one summer evening. It was about 9 pm, and I was wrapping up my workout.

I’ve got a little home gym set up out the back of my house. Homemade squat rack, bench, barbell and plates, two dumbbells, one kettlebell, a sandbag, and a bag of resistance bands. It’s a pretty Spartan setup, and that’s what I like about it.

But what I really love about my home gym is that it’s under the open sky in my garden. I thought about building a roof over it, but then I realized that I enjoy the open air. Even when it’s raining, and it usually is raining in Ireland, I still enjoy my outdoor workouts.

So there I was, doing chest flies looking up into the twilight sky when suddenly I had a visionary experience.

The sky was overcast with a thin layer of grey cloud, through which the rays of the low summer sun shone golden and rose-colored. These clouds suddenly began to open up like a yawning mouth, and the clear golden radiance of the sun pierced through. I blinked, thinking I was hallucinating. But it didn’t go away. When I opened my eyes, the sky was still split in two like an immense yellow set of jaws. Then a great dark bird descended from out of the golden gap in the firmament and flew down towards me. I looked closer and saw it was an eagle descending from the gate of the heavens to earth.

I kept moving the weights. I knew what was happening in the back of my mind. I knew it was a vision brought on by the strange combination of exercise, fresh air, little sleep, and whatever happened to be going through my mind at the time. I didn’t want it to stop, so I didn’t stop. I shut my mental chatter up and kept lifting the weights.

Then I saw, beyond the eagle and high above the gap in the sky, a great golden eye staring down at me. It was an eye of fire in the heavens, and it was watching me.

Then I knew exactly what my mind had dreamed up. I understood what was happening, and I even had the early intimation of what strange series of events had led up to it. At that moment, I knew enough to explain it in an entirely rational way, which didn’t actually detract from the experience at all.

After about thirty reps of chest fly, twice as much as I intended to do, the great eye closed, the clouds returned, and the eagle was nowhere to be seen. The vision had ended, and I was back in my own frame of mind again.

What I had dreamed up that evening was a vision of Father Sky, Dyeus Phter, the Indo-European Sky Father God who was believed to rule the heavens and judge human deeds by our far distant ancestors.

For about a year prior to this event, I had been researching the culture of the Indo-European and Proto-Indo-European peoples, from whom almost all Indic and European cultures and religions are descended. These were migratory peoples who tamed wild horses and used them to pull chariots across the grasslands of Europe many millennia ago. They used their superior technology and their thirst for exploration and conquest to dominate the lands they settled. Their expansions served to populate the lands of Europe, The Near East, and India with cultures and peoples who were uniquely related, though still very different on the surface.

My research into that fascinating subject mainly consisted of reading numerous books and research papers and watching a lot of Youtube videos. I indulged in the usual staples of Indo-European studies by reading articles by Bruce Lincoln and well-regarded books like “The Horse, The Wheel, and Language” by David Anthony. But I also consumed content by writers and filmmakers who take a different approach to Indo-European studies. English historian Tom Rowsell creates great videos investigating various aspects of Indo-European culture, religion, and genetics, and publishes his videos for free on his Youtube channel, Survive The Jive. American author Jack Donovan has done a lot of research into how the Indo-European systems of worship might be revived and made relevant to modern people.

The point of all that is to say that I had immersed myself in a particular field of study for about a year. I had psychologically primed myself to have some dream, hallucination, or vision inspired by that subject, and so it was no surprise at all when it finally happened. Imagine if you thought about nothing but Christmas for weeks and months at a time. Some people actually do look forward to Christmas that much. But if that were you, wouldn’t it be entirely inevitable for you to start having dreams, daydreams, and maybe even hallucinations about Christmas?

Well, I think that’s probably what happened to me.

While I was researching the Indo-Europeans, I was repeatedly drawn back to their system of worship, particularly the character who was probably the primary god of that people. Although we can’t be sure because we have no written records, they probably called him something like Dyeus Phter, and his name probably meant something like “Father God of The Daylight Sky.”

In other words, the main god of our very distant ancestors was a father who looked down on and judged his people from his kingdom in the sky. The sun was probably thought to be his eye or lamp, and birds were perhaps thought to be his agents.

The Sky Father is attested in many documented religions in various forms, almost all of which share some common characteristics. To name a few:

The Greek Zeus looked down on mortals from his throne on the top of a mountain. Eagles carried messages to Zeus, and he even turned into an eagle when it suited his purpose. Roman Jupiter is a direct result of Latin exposure to Greek worship, and his name literally means Father God. His symbol is the eagle, which was the totem carried by Roman legions on campaign in his honor. The Norse Odin spied on mankind from his high seat in his hall called hlidskjalf, which means something like “mountain-shelf gate,” which is probably a kenning or poetic nickname for an “opening in a high place.” Like an opening in the sky through which the father god can see things. An eye in the sky, if you will. Odin sent two ravens into the world to spy on mankind and report back, and he turned himself into an eagle to steal the magical mead of poetry. In Vedic India, there is a father god called Dyaus Pitar, who is said to have sired the other gods. His domain is the sky, and his name is almost exactly the same as the reconstructed name for the Indo-European Sky Father God.

Piecing together all these symbolic representations from different but related cultures, we can safely assume that the Indo-European’s main god, the one they worshipped above all others, was a father who lived in the sky and watched people using his solar eye and his bird-spies. He has the high seat above everything from where he can enact his master plan.

I was fascinated by this character as I was researching the Indo-Europeans, and He kept coming back to my thoughts even when I wasn’t reading about their religious practices. I think it was because I became a father myself during this time, so fatherhood and father figures were constantly on my mind. 

Anyone who knows my work will know that I use the wisdom in old stories and myths to enlighten me and aid in solving my modern problems. I’ve never had the best relationship with my own father, and so I often look to stories of great father figures to offer me guidance. Who could be greater than one of the first and oldest father figures in history, one so compelling that his sons carried the culture of his religion across half the world? Who could offer us better guidance in fatherhood than the father of so many different gods, peoples, and cultures?

Think of it like this, and you might grasp the appeal of that story for me and men like me.

I am a father, but I also have a father, and he and I both come from a long line of fathers stretching back into antiquity who all embodied, in their own way, some aspect of what we call “fatherhood.” Beyond me, my father, and our fathers, there’s the ideal of fatherhood itself. The idealized form of fatherhood is embodied in the mythic character of the Father God, who rules in the heavens looking down on all of creation and judging what he sees. 

He is a father not only to humans but to everything that exists. He looks down from his high seat to judge the earthly realm and maintain a view of the vast scale of universal events. Therefore, he is the ultimate expression of what we understand about paternal parenting projected onto the grandest scale we can imagine. So what better way could there be to come to terms with the idealized form of fatherhood than to study the origin story of so many Father Gods?

The idea of a Father in the sky is so compelling that almost every religion and culture I’ve ever studied has some form of Sky Father, and the cult of his worship continues even today in the Abrahamic religions. The god of the Old Testament is very Indo-European in character, even if He isn’t the product of Indo-European culture.

I’m certainly not the first to have had a psychological encounter with this Sky Father archetype. People have been recording their visionary experiences for thousands of years now, and it’s really no surprise that so many Christian saints, monks, and mystics have claimed to have had visionary events of dramatic significance. I won’t list examples as there are so many to choose from, but the Abrahamic myths are full of people seeing the face of God, hearing the voice of God, or meeting with God’s Angels. The Hebrews of Exodus even carried the living form of God across the desert in a tent called the Tabernacle, and their priests went inside to commune with God directly.

You might dismiss that as superstitious ignorance, but how else would a pre-scientific people comprehend a visionary experience except in terms of religion? Even I lack the proper words to adequately describe what I experienced without sounding too far out or nonsensical, and I’m a reasonably scientifically literate man of the modern world with a modern education. If I can’t come to terms with it, what chance did those guys in the Bible stories have?

We’ve been seeing, or claiming to see, strange and mysterious events which seem to transcend reality since probably we were able to communicate with each other. Sometimes the face of reality as we know it peels away, and the structure that lies beneath and behind everything reveals itself to us. Usually, we can’t comprehend what we see. Some people spend a lifetime thinking over what they experience in these moments of revelation. Some people actively seek out these experiences using drugs and plant medicines. I’ve got limited experience of these visionary events, but even I can attest to their power.

There’s even a large and growing industry these days for people who want to undertake vision quests and use plant medicine to forcibly induce the kind of spiritual experiences the mystics have been writing about for ages. I know someone who traveled across the world to South America seeking out just such an experience at significant personal expense, and he’s but one of a great many who go to the jungle to see the face of the being that lurks behind the curtain of reality.

Considering all these things, is it any wonder that the vision which unveiled itself to me was an eagle descending from the heavens surrounded by a giant burning eye? My fascination with the Sky Father doesn’t mean I worship him as a god, not in the sense that most of you would mean anyway. But when I find a pattern of behavior embodied in relatable form, an archetype, if you will, I always try to emulate it as best I can to help me thrive in my own life.

That’s why I’ve been so attracted to the stories and symbols surrounding the Indo-European Sky Father, and that’s why the vision that was revealed to me was of Him and His Eagle. Because I need to understand idealized fatherhood for the sake of my family. I need some high and noble standard against which to measure myself.

The brief vision was a wonderful experience, but if you were to ask me what it meant, I probably couldn’t give you a good answer. I don’t know if it “meant” anything at all. I only know that it was awesome to behold, and I feel privileged to have experienced it. I feel even more privileged to have some general understanding of the psychological conditions which combined to make the vision appear. Experience is one thing, but understanding is even greater. I think I understand what happened and what it might have to teach me, but as a friend of mine suggested, I’m probably overly rationalizing an inherently irrational experience.

As I already said, I consider myself a man of reason rather than emotion and intuition. I’m not very intuitive or “visionary” at all. I’m actually pretty slow and blunt. I’m smart but not sharp. But despite depending on reason and rational thought rather than intuition and emotion, I always try to keep myself open to experiences of the metaphysical. I know that human understanding is tremendous and can explain a lot of what we previously assumed to be supernatural or divine, but I still try to keep my mind open to the experience of those things that can appear to be divine when we encounter them, even if there’s a perfectly logical explanation for it.

Why?

Because experience and understanding must go hand in hand if we’re to be truly human. We know we’re smart. We know we can explain a lot of life’s mysteries away into cold facts. We know there’s a logical explanation for pretty much anything we encounter. But none of that understanding detracts from the sensation of awe and wonder when we pierce the thin veil of our reason. When the face of the world peels back on itself, like lips peeling back over teeth, and whatever lies hidden behind the facade of reality steps forth, we’d be wise to keep our minds open to whatever we see. It might be a fantasy or the onset of madness, or it might just be the unfolding of a great and rare insight into the nature of reality. You won’t ever know which if you don’t keep your mind open to the possibilities.

We must experience as much of life as possible and then try to understand it if we’re able. But understanding without experience leads to machine thinking. Machine thinking leads to machine minds and machine men. But I think we’ve got enough machines. What we need is more humanity, and humans combine the earthly with the supernatural, the human with the divine.

So what’s the point of all this?

I guess if there is a point, it’s something like:

Keep your eyes open, and occasionally the light behind reality will shine into the dark caverns of your limited understanding. The experience of this universal mystery will keep you human and prevent or at least delay your descent into mechanistic thinking.

And we’re all at risk of becoming more machine than human these days, with the ever-present and ever-increasing influence of technology in our daily lives. What was once a mere tool of progress has now got us trapped to the point that most people are entirely addicted to technology and the convenience it provides. Don’t think we can depend on the machine to such a great degree without becoming part machine ourselves. The more mechanized we become, the more humanity we lose. So keep your eyes and mind open to things you don’t understand, and hopefully, you’ll hold on to your human soul in this age of technocracy.

I’d be interested to hear if you’ve ever experienced anything similar. Have you ever had a vision like the one I describe here? Contact me and let me know using the button below.


CONTACT ME HERE

The Striker and How The Dagda Got His Staff

“I am Aed Abaid of Es Ruad, also called Ruad Rofhessa and Eochaid Ollathair. These are my names. I am the Good God, a druid of the Tuatha Dé Danann. An Dagda.”

 

And there he was, An Dagda, with Cermait Milbél, one of his sons, on his back. Cermait had fallen in combat to the frenzy of Lugh, High King of the Tuatha Dé, for the sake of a woman’s embrace. The woman was Buach, the wife of Lugh. As it often happens with the wives of great men, she endured much loneliness and often turned in the dark hours to her husband’s pillow, only to find it cold and bare.

 

So Cermait, the Dagda’s son, lay with her, because of which Cermait was slain by Lugh. The Dagda considered his vast horde of mystical knowledge, then he surrounded Cermait’s body with herbs and began chanting such spells as he knew.

 

This done, he lifted Cermait and, bearing the lifeless body of his son upon his back, he searched the world until he came to the far eastern realms of the Earth.
 In that strange and distant land, he met three men going along the road carrying three treasures. The Dagda conversed with them, and they said;

 

“We three are the sons of one father and mother, and we are sharing our father’s treasures, as is right for sons to do.”

 


”What treasures have ye?” asked the Dagda.


 

“A great shirt and a staff and a cloak,” said they.


 

“What virtues have these to be considered treasures?” said the Dagda.


 

“This great staff here,” said the eldest of them, “has a smooth end and a rough end. The rough slays the living, and the smooth revives the dead.”


 

“What of the shirt and the cloak?” said the Dagda, “What are their virtues?”


 

“He who wears the cloak may take on any shape, form, figure, or color that he chooses. As for the one who wears the shirt, grief or sickness could never touch the skin that it covers.”


 

“Truly?” said he.


 

“Very truly,” said they.


 

“Put the staff in my hand,” said the Dagda.

 

Then the youngest of them lent him the staff, for the Dagda had been good company as he almost always was. Then, with great speed, he put the rough end upon them thrice, and they fell dead in the road.

 

After this, he pressed the smooth end upon his son’s breast, and the lad arose in the fullness of his strength and health. Cermait put his hands on his face like one waking early from a dream, then rose and looked at the three dead men that lay before him.


 

“Who are these three dead men in our path?” said Cermait to his father.


 

“Three men that I met,” said the Dagda, “sharing their father’s treasures. They lent me this staff. I slew them with one end and brought yourself to life with the other end.”


 

“It would be a sad story to tell at a feast,” said Cermait, “if they should not be given back their lives by that which caused me to live.”

 


The Dagda agreed and put the smooth end of the staff upon them, and the three brothers arose in the fullness of their health and strength.


 

“Do ye know that ye had been slain,” said the Dagda, “with your father’s staff?”


 

“We know it,” said they, “and you have taken an unfair advantage of us.”


 

“I have knowledge of your staff and its virtues,” said the Dagda, “and I have given you your three lives when I might have kept them. Now lend me the staff to take to my home far to the west of this land.”


 

“What bond have we that our father’s staff will ever come back to us?”


 

“The sun and moon, land and sea, provided that I might slay foes and give life to friends with its magic.”


 

Under that condition, a loan of the staff was given to him.


 

“How shall we share the treasures we have?” said they. “For we are three sons, but only two treasures remain to us.”


 

“Two of you must bear the treasures and one without any until his turn come round at some predetermined interval until the staff is returned to you.”

 


Then he brought that staff away and went home with his son. With it, he gave death to his foes and life to his friends.

 

In time, he took the kingship of his people by means of that staff.

 

However, the days of the Dagda’s kingship were numbered, as are the days of all things, and the time would come where the Dagda’s kingship would be ended and new kings would take his place.

 

Indeed time has been so cruel to the Dagda and his sons and all of that fair Tribe that those of us now living would hardly ever know that they lived at all were it not for the old tales that we tell.


 

I originally posted this little tale to my old blog, Unchaining The Titan, while it was still active.

 

This is my interpretation of an obscure story titled “How The Dagda Got His Staff” from the Yellow Book Of Lecan manuscript. It was written in Old Irish, and like all Old Irish literature, it rarely gets much attention.

 

But something in it spoke to people.

 

It was very well received, and people told me how much they enjoyed reading it, even though many of them had no prior knowledge of Irish myth and some had never heard of An Dagda or his son Cermait.

 

I’ve always been fascinated by the character of Dagda because of his many parallels to the Indo-European figure of The Striker.

 

The Striker is a character who appears in many Indo-European mythologies and usually bears similar characteristics.

 

The Striker wields a fiersome club or hammer with the power of life and death and upon which oaths are sworn. He also goes out beyond the borders of his people and slays his enemies. One of his primary foes is often a great sea beast like a dragon or sea-snake or, in Dagda’s case, a kind of octopus. In the Indo-European worldview, The Striker is typically either a son or an ally of the Sky Father character.

 

The Striker, in his many aspects, has always appealed to me for obvious reasons.

 

Linguists have reconstructed the Proto-Indo-European root word per-, which means “to strike,” and also perkus, which means “the oak tree.” Many Striker figures in Western Indo-European cultures have names that contain versions of this root word per-, such as the Slavic God Perun, Belarusian Piarun, Lithuanian Perkunas, Norse Fjorgyn, who was the mother of Thor, and possibly Erc Mac Cairpri in Irish (though this last connection is tenuous).

 

However, the most well-known personification of The Striker in modern culture is Thor, the Norse God who was a son of Odin. Thor wielded a hammer with which he slew his people’s enemies and which also had the power to bring the dead back to life, as he did with his own goats. The hammer was used to bless marriages and funerals and possibly to seal oaths and agreements. With his hammer, Thor fought and eventually slew the great sea-serpent Jormungand. All of this is a clear parallel to other Striker figures from different cultures.

 

Strikers are usually associated with lightning and mountains and sometimes oak trees, for obvious reasons. Lightning strikes mountaintops and tall oak trees more often, and so these can be said to be the domain of The Striker.

 

So the root words per and perkus gave rise to various European deities whose names were probably derived from some pre-existing Striker, and so too is the name of the Dagda. One of his names is Cercce. Old Irish had no letter P, so the word was likely adapted into a local variant with a C instead of a P. But even despite these many apparent connections to The Striker, there’s more to old Dagda than meets the eye.

 

You see, the Dagda is also a parallel for the Indo-European Sky Father as well as his son, The Striker. Dagda’s name means both Good God and Shining or Bright God. The Indo-European Sky Father figure is always associated with the bright daylight sky. His name has been reconstructed by linguists as Dyaus Phter, meaning “Father God of The Daylight Sky.”

 

Another of Dagda’s names is Ollathair, which means Great Father and is cognate with the Norse God Odin’s name of Allfather. There are other tales that better illustrate Dagda in his role of father, king, and leader of his people than the story of how he got his staff, but it’s still fascinating that this one figure can have so many connections to prehistoric deities.

 

It’s important to note that we don’t know much for sure about the Proto-Indo-European peoples. They wrote nothing down, left little archaeological evidence, and weren’t written about by any contemporaries. But yet we know from linguistic and genetic evidence that their culture spread out from the Eastern steppes into Europe and down into Iran and India. Wherever they went, they carried their culture and established themselves as the dominant people across a vast territory, which stills carries on evolved forms of their legacy to this day. Just as the Indo-Europeans can be easily recognized in Indian culture, they can also be identified in Irish culture and myth.

 

So in this jovial character called Dagda by the Irish, we have two men, one young and one old.

 

A Striker and a Father.

 

The Striker is a young man, a warrior with explosive and expansive energy. He goes out beyond the boundaries of the known world into unfamiliar and hostile territory, risks his neck, slays foes and monsters, and he returns with great treasures that are a blessing to his people.

 

The Sky Father is an older man, wise and stern and judgmental. He is harsh and holds his people to high standards as he looks down from heaven. He rules over and establishes order in his domain so that his people are protected from chaos. When necessary, he sends his sons out to confront that chaos before it takes root in his kingdom.

 

These ancient and ethereal archetypes are embodied, however imperfectly, in the Irish Dagda. It’s unclear to what extent the pre-Christian Irish knew about or revered the Dagda or if they even worshipped him at all.

 

But there has to be something to these stories. They can’t be complete fabrications of Christian scribes and secular poets. There are too many parallels, too many connections to stories from across the European mythosphere, which carry echoes of older tales and older gods.

 

Upon these stories lie the fingerprints of our ancestors, our great fathers and mothers who preceded us by many thousands of years. We can never know what they thought or who they worshipped and how, but we can find traces. Those remnants of their identity and their worldview can shine a light upon who we are today.

 

Who are we, those of us who have inherited the cultures passed down from our Indo-European forefathers from out of time immemorial?

 

We are Strikers and Fathers.

 

We are the ones who go out beyond the borders of safety to confront chaos at its source. We protect what is ours, and we establish order for the ones we love while also nurturing a new generation of Strikers and Fathers.

 

That is the ideal we have to live up to. It isn’t easy, but it’s a noble goal.

 

How can we embody The Striker and The Sky Father in our daily lives?

 

Seek out the chaos in your life and impose order upon it, then maintain that order so that future generations can grow and prosper. Teach your children to be strong and wise and kind. Destroy anything that threatens the security of your ordered domain. Seek out monsters and demons and foes to crush, not because you hate them, but because your job is to protect what is yours.

 

That all sounds great on paper, of course, but how are we modern men who live soft lives of comfort to live up to this brutal and, perhaps, archaic ideal?

 

Well, chaos embodies itself in many forms, not just in monsters and sea demons. We’ve all got a little chaos in our lives, a little doubt and stress and vulnerability. Identify where the cracks are in your life. Is your marriage secure? Are your children protected? Will they grow up to be strong and wise? 

 

Are you financially stable? Are you fat or sick? Do you need more training or experience?

 

Small daily acts which promote order and reduce the chaos in your life can add up over time to great things. Even little things like fixing that leaky pipe in your house before it becomes a major problem is an act of establishing order. That leak could become, in time, a flood that destroys your home and puts your family on the street in the night, where more sinister monsters lurk.

 

So look for the chaos, the uncertainty in your life. Wrestle with that chaos and impose your will upon it. Then nurture your people and family so that they too will grow to grapple with chaos.

 

Learn to love the struggle and hardship of daily life because in those struggles lie the opportunity to embody Striker and Father energy which will be a blessing on you and those you love.

 

This is the legacy you have inherited from your Indo-European forefathers and foremothers, and this is just one of the many lessons we can learn from studying old myths like the seemingly innocuous story of how The Dagda got his staff.