The Inner Life, v. II/Sixth Section/IX
THE IRISH RACE
The Irish are not of Atlantean stock, but belong to the fourth sub-race of the fifth root-race. It is true that Ireland was part of the Atlantean continent, and that the earliest inhabitants were of the Rmoahal, the first sub-race of the fourth root-race; but no recognisable trace now remains of these aborigines, who were a small dark people somewhat of the type of the Laplanders of the present day. Nor is there much now left to bear witness to the first invasion from Africa of a host led by an Ethiopian queen; but there are still some tokens of the next arrivals — a race called the Firbolgs — big, hairy-faced men who appear to have come down from Iceland — probably people of the same stock as the Ainus of Japan. The great majority of the Irish nation (not counting the Scottish immigrants of Ulster) is composed of the descendants of two races — the Tuatha-de-Danaan and the Milesian. The Tuatha-de-Danaan were men of the Caucasian stock, practically identical with the early Greeks, and they reached Ireland by a circuitous northern route, having moved up gradually through Russia, and round by Sweden and Norway, in the manner of the curious slow, wholesale migrations of those earlier days. They were a handsome race with oval faces, clear complexion, mostly dark hair, and deep blue or almost violet eyes. Sometimes the hair was lighter and the eyes were grey, but the other type was the more common, and one may often see it exactly reproduced among the Irish peasants of to-day.
The Tuatha-de-Danaan were not only so much handsomer, but also intellectually and spiritually so very much in advance of the mixed race which they found in Ireland that they were regarded by the latter as of celestial lineage, and to this day tradition speaks of them as a race of gods who ruled Ireland during a golden age, which is by no means so entirely legendary as historians generally suppose. Ireland was unquestionably the seat of a high civilization and a centre of philosophy and learning while the neighbouring island of England was largely covered by dense forests and peopled by naked savages who painted themselves blue.
The Tuatha-de-Danaan reigned in Ireland through many ages of power and great glory, but their civilisation waned in time, as all others do, and at last they were overcome by an invasion of the Milesians from Spain — a race far inferior to them in culture, spirituality and general development, but having the rude physical strength of youth and much knowledge of the lower magic. These were a bullet-headed people, rugged and often positively ugly of face, with light or vividly red hair — a type which may also still be seen sometimes among the peasantry of the southern part of the country almost in its original purity. Far inferior as they were to the Tuatha-de-Danaan, the Milesians were still a variant of that same fourth sub-race of the Aryans; and since these two types are its main constituents, it is to that sub-race that we must assign the Irish of the present day — Celts, near of kin to the Highlander of Scotland, the Welshman, the Cornishman or the Breton.
At present there is unfortunately a wide-spread poverty and general lack of prosperity among the Irish nation in its native Erin — a condition of affairs which the Irish usually attribute to oppression by the conquering English. This “oppression,” so far as it is a fact, and not a figment of the imagination, comes from the radical difference between the two races, which causes a curiously complete lack of mutual understanding. The stolid matter-of-fact Anglo-Saxon cannot possibly comprehend the point of view of the imaginative and poetical Irishman, and the motives of the latter are always a sealed book to the former. The average English peasant lives almost entirely upon the physical plane, and his thought runs naturally along lines connected with his every-day interests and experiences. The average Irish peasant of the south and west lives very much upon the astral plane, and cares comparatively little about physical conditions so long as he has the accustomed astral atmosphere about him. His thoughts are usually far away from the mechanical daily round, and occupied with legends of the past, or with the stories of saints and angels and fairies.
I well remember the plaintive amazement of an English landlord who, shocked at the condition of some of the cabins on his estate, had built for his labourers neat little staring brick cottages with all the latest improvements. With great difficulty he persuaded some of the peasants to try the new dwellings upon which they looked with such strong disfavour, but after a day or two every one of them went back again to the old cabins with their mud floors and leaking roofs, vowing that there was no home like the old home, with all its inconveniences. The truth was that they thought so little of the physical that these inconveniences were hardly felt at all, and weighed as nothing in the balance against the comfortable homelike feeling of the astral radiations of the old walls, to which they had been accustomed from childhood. But the Englishman knew nothing about astral vibrations, and could only marvel at the stupidity and obstinacy of people who actually preferred a miserable and unquestionably filthy old hovel to a new and clean cottage.
The drunkenness which is so sadly common among the peasantry is largely referable to the same cause; it is not physical but astral sensation which is sought, and to some extent obtained, by means of the absorption of alcohol. The average Irish peasant may perhaps drink more than his English compeer, but his thoughts are on the whole far purer and more elevated. To him all women are sacred for the sake of the Virgin Mother to whom he prays, and statistics show that crimes against the weaker sex are far rarer in Erin than in Albion. The Englishman endeavours to be accurate; the Irishman cares little for accuracy, but prefers to say rather what is most courteous, or what he thinks will please. In a word, they represent two different sub-races; their development runs along quite different lines, and only the wisest and most liberal of each can possibly understand and make allowance for the peculiarities of the other.
It is probable that many causes combine to produce the poverty and general lack of prosperity of the Irish. Without raising any of the vexed questions about which party opinions clash, the occultist may examine with interest at least one cause which is never suspected by those who discuss the subject in this prosaic twentieth century; and that is the working of a curse pronounced against the race (or perhaps one should rather say a spell laid upon it) no less than two thousand years ago at the time of the Milesian conquest. Students of early Irish history will remember how persistently it is stated that the invading Milesians were able to hold in thrall the distinctly superior race which they had overcome, because they cast upon it the glamour of a great illusion. This legend has a basis of fact. The priests of the Milesian religion were well acquainted with certain types of magic, and as the country was conquered they occupied it with strongly magnetized centres. They established one of these every few miles, until they had a net-work of them covering the whole southern and western part of the land, and even now, after the lapse of two thousand years, a strong influence radiates from them.
Great crowds of nature-spirits of a certain type are still irresistibly attracted to these centres, gambol round them and are permeated by their influence, and unconsciously become its ministers, and spread it all over the country wherever they go.
The spell which the Milesian priests laid upon the people was two-fold — the curses of disunion and lethargy — that they should never be able effectively to combine together, but always quarrel among themselves, and that they should apathetically submit to the domination of whoever wielded or inherited the magnetic power. If any English ruler had ever known enough of magic to understand and utilise this heritage of the Milesian priests, the history of Ireland might have been different. As the Anglo-Saxon is usually blankly ignorant and blatantly incredulous with regard to all that side of nature, a very curious thing has happened. Consciously or unconsciously the Roman Church has come into that heritage, and profits by what still remains of the power of that ancient spell, and her rule is unquestioned through all the districts where long ago those priests of an older faith established their magnetic centres.