St. Andrew and the Scots

Today is the feast day of Saint Andrew, who according to tradition was crucified on a diagonal or X-shaped cross, as depicted on the national Flag of Scotland. In addition to being the patron saint of fisherman (and fishmongers), golfers, rope-makers, singers, and spinsters (!), Andrew is probably best known, at least in America, as the patron of Scotland.But here's an obvious question: why would Andrew, a Jewish fisherman, brother of Peter, one of the twelve apostles who went on to be … [Read more...]

A Gaelic Priest and Front Row Seats

One of the wonderful things about working in a monastery bookshop is that I get to meet all sorts of interesting people. Just yesterday I met Fr. Ross Crichton, a young priest from Scotland with bright eyes and a warm smile. Fr. Ross is in Georgia this week visiting friends, and they brought him by the monastery and made a point of introducing him to me (I make no secret of my love for all things Celtic). Fr. Ross and I hit it off immediately, and my admiration for this young priest only grew … [Read more...]

Show us yer haggis!

This could be the hottest thing since the Macarena...Thanks to Terry Buchanan of the Clan Buchanan Society of Atlanta for pointing this one out to me. Here's what Terry says: This wee song is way too fun! It was released on 23rd March 2009 by Alva Academy & its associated primary schools. On 1st April 2009, just over a week later, it reached number one in the Scottish charts. The song was written by D. Clifford & S. Clyde. Enjoy the song and the video.Hae the lyrics: "SCOTLAND'S … [Read more...]

Carmina Gadelica

Anyone interested in Celtic Christianity or in from-the-ground-up Christian mysticism will want to know about the Carmina Gadelica, Alexander Carmichael's massive anthology of Scottish folk spirituality, encompassing prayers, blessings, folk hymns, even runes and incantations. Over the years I've met Neopagans who have tried to "de-Christianize" the material in this collection, and Christians who have tried to "de-paganize" it; I think in a spirit of Celtic hospitality it's best just to enjoy it … [Read more...]

A Tongue that Cannot Lie

According to Scottish legend, when the queen of fair elfland whisked Thomas of Erceldoune away in the 12th century to play his harp and sing for her wild weekend of partying (a weekend that lasted about seven years on this side of the veil!), she was so happy with his service that when she returned him to Scotland, she gave him a gift: a tongue that cannot lie. Of course, a gift like this can also be a curse...I am reminded of Maggie Kuhn's immortal command, "Speak your mind, even if your … [Read more...]