De Waal, Trinity, Connected, Estranged

De Waal Trinity Connected

Estranged or Connected

“If I am estranged from myself, then I am also estranged from others too. If I am out of touch with myself I cannot hope to touch others. It is only as I am connected to my own core that I am connected to others. It is only too easy as I walk along a crowded pavement, rush into a supermarket, watch people crossing the road as I draw up at the lights, to dismiss them, to fail to see them as human beings, or simply to pass some superficial judgment on clothes or appearance, labeling them, putting them into some pigeon-hole.”
Esther De Waal, Living With Contradiction

Esther De Waal’s writings embody the Celtic way of life. It is a life where we learn about ourselves in relationships to others, in relationships to ourselves, in relationships especially to Nature and the world outside and to daily life with almost constant prayer and connection to God and awareness of each precious moment. I am indebted to her for one more book on Celtic spirituality, The Celtic Way of Prayer, The Recovery of the Religious Imagination.  I am re-reading her chapter today on Celtic prayers about the Trinity as we prepare for Trinity Sunday. She reminds us of the Celtic tradition of placing three drops of water immediately on an infant’s forehead after birth to symbolize the child’s connection to the Trinity which is now indwelling in the infant.

The Trinity is a natural part of the daily songs and prayers at work as well as with the changes in the seasons. The day of the Celtic life begins with splashing three handfuls of water on the face in the name of the Trinity. The day ends as the embers of the household fire are spread evenly on the hearth in a circle divided into three equal sections with a peat laid between each, called the Hearth of the Three.  A woman then closes her eyes, stretches out her hand and softly sings this prayer,

“The sacred Three

To save,

To shield,

To surround,

The hearth,

The household,

This eve,

This night,

Oh! this eve,

This night,

And every night,

Each single night.


De Waal describes what she has learned from the Celtic Trinitarian tradition, “It allows me to be at ease with a mystery that no longer threatens but supports, refreshes, and strengthens me.”

The Threeness and connectedness of the Trinity also reminds me of a prayer that is attributed to William Blake but sounds so Celtic:

         “I sought my God;

         My God I could not see.

         I sought my soul

         My soul eluded me.

         I sought my brother

         And I found all three.”