Ogham Series - Misneach - Courage
Ogham is the first written script of Ireland. Said to have been created by the God Ogma as proof of his scholarly prowess, these characters can be found all across Ireland marking prominent stones where ever you may go. Combining this ancient script with the words from the living Irish language our Ogham series hopes to bring new energy and awareness to both.
Misneach is the Irish word for courage. Unlike many other Irish words there does not appear to be alternative meanings to this term. The concept of courage is something that many would see as a fundamental facet of the human condition, as core to our existence as fear.
Ireland's lore is filled with heroes of all kinds, from the warriors like the fabled Fionn and his mighty Fianna, to the saints like Finbarr who altered the landscape of the island by banishing monsters creating rivers and lakes. All of these tales mention time and again their bravery, battling the odds, or the elements in a variety of trials. Still some of the best stories, in my mind, show us the character of a hero, not in the moments of their triumph, but in the times of the vulnerability.
Yet where many cultures seem to define courage as an absence of fear, for me there can be no real courage without fear. A person who acts without fear may be acting without awareness of consequences. Where as a person who knows fear, knows the consequence or costs of acting, and still chooses to act? Well I would see that as an act of courage.
Ireland has many heroes and not all of them are ancient memorialized figures of myth. Some are a lot closer to us than we think from the Republicans who took part in the Easter rising of 1916, to the political prisoners who died on hunger strikes under incarceration by the British. Some of our most influential recent heroes hare those who have taken Ireland's passion, education, and physicality out into the world. From Mary Robinson the former president to took the seat of high commissioner for the United Nations council for human rights, to sporting heroes like Sonia O'Sullivan, Brian O'Driscoll.
Courage is not solely the realm of singular exemplary individuals though. Every day individual people choose what they will stand for and what they will stand against, be it unnecessary water charges, the right to legal union for same sex couples, of the repeal of a harmful amendment to the Irish constitution. Ever day people speak up despite their fears for what they believe to be right, not just for themselves, but for everybody.
This is Misneach. This is Courage.