Being in SEO, I often search for my own name to see how its ranking, making sure I dominate the first page. I also go by a pseudoname “geilt”, that I picked up during my adventures into spirituality, and research into Celtic mythology and spirituality then later used in MMO‘s and Online Gaming. It is an old Gaelic term that means “one who has gone mad from terror”. Searching for it I found this lovely article by Erynn Rowan Laurie on her blog about Geiltadecht.
She describes a geilt as:
It is translated as “one who goes mad from terror, a panic-stricken fugitive from battle, a crazy person living in the woods and supposed to be endowed with the power of levitation, a lunatic.” It may also be the name of some kind of bird or it might mean “grazing.” The title I’m using here, geiltadecht, is a neologism to describe the practice of the geilta.
This is the title that I also found from a book called the Lost Books of Merlyn, where I originally encountered the word “geilt”, though the description was vague and only mentioned Merlyn as a Geilt. Although Meryln had not technically gone mad, as Suibhne Geilt did, there can be other interpretations of the word. Madness, has different meanings from different perspectives, as can be seen in this next quote:
Other “madmen” in the Celtic literary tradition, including Myrddin and Lailoken, were regarded as prophets — seers and possessors of a certain “crazy wisdom.”
Crazy wisdom may not mean that the person is insane, but could mean that the standard of knowledge they have attained is seen as crazy by others. Philosophies and concepts such as Non Dualism (Advaita), Emptiness (Shunyata), the World as Illusion (Maya) are examples of ideas that don’t work in society. Try telling someone that love does not exist, nor hate, nor any emotion they feel; that its all an illusion; and see what kind of response you get?
This next excerpt is excellent as it show the contradictory nature of the term, and the philosophy I see behind it.
That said, the nature of the geilt means that control is often an illusion. Interpretation and acceptance is a more fruitful path for one with these proclivities. This is not in any way suggesting “giving up” but merely a statement that the world and the Otherworlds are vaster than we can understand and we, mere humans, have very little power over some things that happen.
Knowing control is an illusion, that what you do is not actually you, but something that is just happening, and accepting it. It is hard to describe. A Geilt realizes that they are doing something and have choice in doing what they are doing, but then realize that this thing that they are doing, is only being done, without purpose, reason, and even without need for control…
a geilt is an outsider, someone who lurks on the boundaries of groups and societies. That inclination to solitude is part of what marks someone as geilt
Every Geilt is different and so are the symptoms of madness! But this much is true, the “mad wisdom” a Geilt has usually stays with themself, and why? Because most aren’t ready to hear it, or if they are, are not willing to discuss it. “That person is just “crazy”, he doesn’t fit into my little box that i’ve put the world in and what I have defined as it’s “parameters”.”
Within the experience of geiltadecht, madness and destruction is the foundation for transformation.
Madness and Destruction happen both physically and metaphorically, in the mind and body, these experiences are transformative and depending on how it is harnessed, can open doors or close them. Concepts of geiltadecht exist in Eastern Traditions as well such as Shaivism, where there is Worship of Shiva the Destroyer, who brings about wondrous transformations. Even the older Rigvedic God’s such as Rudra are worshiped for their destructive yet regenerative qualities.
Erynn will have a paper on the concept of Geilt in a academic book that is soon to be published by Macmillan: Disability and Religious Diversity
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