THE THIN PLACES: A CELTIC LANDSCAPE FROM IRELAND TO THE DRIFTLESS
By Kevin Koch
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In Irish Celtic lore, “thin places” are those locales where the veil between this world and the otherworld is porous, where there is mystery in the landscape. The earth takes on the hue of the sacred among peoples whose connection to place has remained unbroken through the ages. What happens, then, when a Celtic view of nature is brought home to a North American landscape in which many inhabitants’ ancestral connections to place are surface-thin?
In a quest to find a deeper spiritual landscape in his own home, Kevin Koch applies eight principles of a Celtic spiritual view of nature to places in Ireland and to the American Midwest’s rugged Driftless Area, an unglaciated region of river bluffs, rock outcrops, and steeply wooded hills.
The Thin Places brings on-site mountaineering guides, spiritual leaders, geologists, and archaeologists alongside scholars in the fields of Celtic studies, religion, and conservation. But the text never strays far from story, from a trek through the Wicklow Mountains and the bogs of Western Ireland or among ancient Native American burial mounds and abandoned nineteenth-century lead mines in the bluffs above the Mississippi River.
A slideshow of photography to accompany The Thin Places, chapter by chapter
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 Winter Solstice: The Land is Sacred
Newgrange & Effigy Mounds National Monument
Chapter 2 Imbolc: The Creation is Good
The River Shannon & The Mississippi River
Chapter 3 Spring Equinox: The Holy Transforms the Familiar
Glendalough & The Mines of Spain
Chapter 4 Bealtaine: Time is Cyclical and Elastic in the Thin Places
The Burren & The Kickapoo Valley Reserve
Chapter 5 Summer Solstice: Animals Shape the Human World
County Mayo & The Yellow River State Forest
Chapter 6 Lughnasa: The Holy Inhabits the Remote, Austere Places
The Aran Islands & Trempealeau Platform Mounds
Chapter 7 Fall Equinox: Story Gathers in the Landscape
The Doo Lough Pass & The Black Hawk Trail
Chapter 8 Samhain: Poets Give Voice to the Landscape
Knocknarea Mountain & The Aldo Leopold Shack