There is a Latin term that was mostly adopted by the early Celtic Christians that is hard to define. The word is peregrinatio.
Peregrinatio sort of means, "to leave one's homeland and wander for the love of God".
In Esther de Waal's classic book, The Celtic Way of Prayer, she tells a story of three 9th century Irishmen, drifting over the sea in coracles... without oars.
Although my pilgrimage to Iona had a distinct destination, and was a return to ancestral homelands, much about the journey, spiritually speaking, was a treasure hunt that required my heart to be profoundly set adrift in an oarless coracle. It still is. At this very moment, I am moored to my unmooring, while in the very same breath, returning this week to my fidelity to a sacred schedule, after being thrown off course these past number of months. I've been struggling to sleep, my eyes like frenzied, empty, sockets, partly thanks to my 4-year-old, but also because I have been drifting in the modern sense. Too much stimulation. Modern drifting is not the same as being adrift on a pereginatio, a wandering pilgrimage for the love of God. Modern drifting allows all the bells and whistles to speed up our monkey brains, so we can avoid the Great Ache, the longing for the Beloved, while perhaps only gazing at suffering through the lens of click bait.
It felt appropriate to begin a new practice at our farm, in this week that I am releasing this remarkable song written by Mike Scott and originally performed by The Waterboys. We got our candles out, and are allowing the natural rhythm of sunlight and darkness to guide our day. I recently read that darkness causes a natural release of melatonin, and so instead of having our electric lights on in the evening, we gather around our wood cook stove with a candle or two, and tell stories. Then we pray from the Carmina Gadelica "kindle in my heart a flame of love, for my friend, for my foe, for my kindred all."
The rhythm in this song reminds me of the natural rhythm of a day. For the percussion, I mic'd the plywood floor of my studio and connected a stone from Columba Bay, Iona, to an antler bone from this farm, on these Anishinaabe lands.
While I sang it, I held a stone from Columba Bay in each hand, that I had bathed in Brigid's wellspring. It felt like all the things I had said or read, about the universal Christ, were incarnating in the elements I held in my hand. And why not...? Columba called Christ, the Lord of the Elements.
For me, this song is a symbol of ancestral recovery, but it is also a symbol of peace for the whole world. When I returned from Iona last year, one of the first songs I wrote was White, White, World. A lament. A confession. And as I move forward... just expect that I will be journeying in these realms of paradox. What I might call "confessional ancestral recovery"... the deep work that must be done in tandem. Uncolonizing myself from this wasteland in search of the secrets my ancestors long to whisper to me. Tuning my becoming to the great Mystery. While simultaneously aiding/getting out of the way, of those groups who are currently emancipating themselves from this hostile/civil system/wasteland that has held them hostage for so long.
So this week, in the midst of the near desperate madness of these political times, I invoke the Deep Peace. And I daresay, the deep peace will always be paradoxical, because God is an anthem for equity.
Alana Levandoski is a song and chant writer, recording artist and music producer, in the Christian tradition, who lives with her family on a regenerative farm on the Canadian prairies.