Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Celtic Pilgrimage" - John O'Donohue



Last night I stumbled upon a moving documentary entitled, "Celtic Pilgrimage" on PBS.  It is an intimate visit with the late John O'Donohue as he leads a retreat with a small group of people to some of his favourite landscapes near his home in Ireland. 


Narrated by O'Donohue himself, every word slides like liquid gold from his lips - shimmering with beauty and wisdom that can only come from a contemplative heart.  He takes natures' simplest gifts and weaves from them, a tapestry of illuminated understanding that speaks to the deepest level of your heart and soul.  His musings on the wind touched me at a primal level. 


If you come across this gem of a documentary (probably on PBS stations near you), do take the time to watch.  You will be forever changed by even the briefest encounter with this wise and gentle man.

John O'Donohue died unexpectedly in his sleep January 3th, 2008 at the age of 52.  We are blessed that he left much of his wisdom in books and on DVDs and CDs.  One of my favourite of his books is, "Beauty:  The Invisible Embrace ~ Rediscovering the true sources of compasion, serenity, and hope".  John is also author of the well known "Anam Cara".





("John O'Donohue (1 January 1956 – 3 January 2008) was a poet and Hegelian philosopher from County Clare, Ireland, where his father was a stonemason. He is best known for popularizing Celtic spirituality. O'Donohue received a PhD in philosophical theology from Tübingen University in 1990. He was ordained as Catholic priest, but left the priesthood in the 1990s." Wikipedia)


P.S. April 15, 2010 - This is a comment received from the producer of 'Celtic Pilgrimage':

"Hello, I appreciate your reflections on the documentary.
I produced and directed "A Celtic Pilgrimage with John O'Donohue" It isn't for salae on Amazon, but you can buy it from "Sounds True" or check out John's website: www.johnodonohue.com to purchase the DVD or books. Also if you google: KQED A Celtic Pilgrimage with John O'Donohue, you will be able to read KQED's press release and the "filmmaker's statement" on the 3rd page.
Thank you, Betsy Scarborough"

19 comments:

  1. I will be on the look out for it... sounds fascinating. Celtic spirituality... I am intrigued. I am going to Amazon to delve into John O'Donahue further. Thanks for leading me to something new!

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  2. I was very pleased to see this post - I had just that hour ordered a copy of this dvd for when it is available later on this month, from soundstrue.com. As far as I know the programme isn't being aired in the UK so I decided I had to pre-order the dvd, and knowing I would watch it very often. It is heartwarming to feel connected to others who value John O'Donohue's legacy.

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  3. oh Thank You for this intro Bonnie! I will certainly try to access his writings x

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  4. Sounds like a real case of 'the good die young' Bonnie. I have made a note of it, it really sounds like my kind of book. I love the photo you have chosen to illustrate it - those golden falling tendrils - I think it is lissimachia, or what we call creeping jenny., Looks like liquid gold. Thanks for all your good wishes about my back.

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  5. I found you commenting on Val`s blog, so I came for a visit. Yes, Anam Cara... I read that book years ago. Such simple wisdom, so good. Maybe he has fulfilled his task here, leaving us all he had to share. Isn`t dying peacefully in our sleep what we all wish for?

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  6. Lovely person- i read an interview in Th Sun just after his death. Simple wisdom, I guess he understood so well that there really was no reason to be here any longer. His writings still guide and teach. So good to have that even though he is gone- thanks for reminding me- great post.

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  7. Vicky: While much of his wisdom derives from his Celtic roots, John O'Donohue is not preaching a Celtic spirituality as such. Like the Celts he finds the divine in the smallest to the grandest parts of nature. I find he offers a unique, majestic, comforting perspective on what it means to be human on this Earth. I'll be interested to hear what you think!

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  8. liZZie: I am so happy that you happened upon this post. I should purchase the DVD as well, since as you say, it is something one could watch over and over again and find something new and precious each time.

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  9. Val: Oh, I hope you do. His reverence for every elemental thing in the universe is so uplifting. He speaks simply and beautifully and clearly walks his talk.

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  10. Weaver/Pat: Well you spotted something that I did not. I used that pic because of the vibrant green tendrils hanging down a stone wall. In the DVD Celtic Prilgrimage he reflects on his father's stone masonry - seeing it as a metaphor for chipping away life's obstacles.

    I always feel more in touch with the planet, with what is truly important, and with myself after reading his words.

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  11. Angela: It certainly seems like one of the best ways to depart - dying in your sleep. The greedy me would like to have had him and his particular take on life, around a little longer - but we are so lucky to have had him grace our path.

    I'm so glad you dropped in - now I can find you too!

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  12. Linda Sue: It is good to know when we are done and when to make our exit ... Hope you have an opportunity to see this programme.

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  13. I didn't know of him, Bonnie. I'm a long way from PBS but sometimes these things are available on the internet. Your recommendation is enough to make me look for it - thanks.

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  14. this sounds really cool...will definitely check it out...

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  15. Unfortunately, we don't get PBS on our dish due to our travels. But thanks for the tip. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for his books.

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  16. Hello Bonnie,

    I'm married to a Donoghue whose ancestors came from the Norse period and were O'Donoghue or possibly it was spelled O'Donahue at that time...they dropped the O to escape persecution during that time...I don't know all of that history so forgive me if I'm not exact on this. ♥ I just thought it to be neat that I ran across your blog and saw the post about this man..I can see that his books would interest me.

    Do drop by my place when you have a moment...

    Scatter Bliss,
    Stephanie ♥

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  17. You write a fine review. My interest is piqued for sure.

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  18. Your blog always reminds me things that I should have to check/ search. This is a post just like that..

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  19. Betsy ScarboroughApril 15, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Hello, I appreciate your reflections on the documentary.

    I produced and directed "A Celtic Pilgrimage with John O'Donohue" It isn't for salae on Amazon, but you can buy it from "Sounds True" or check out John's website: www.johnodonohue.com to purchase the DVD or books. Also if you google: KQED A Celtic Pilgrimage with John O'Donohue, you will be able to read KQED's press release and the "filmmaker's statement" on the 3rd page.

    Thank you, Betsy Scarborough


    Thanks, Betsy Scarborough

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