For anyone who has taken the time to read some of my previous posts in this Blog, it will come as little surprise to read that my very first actual spiritual experience (of the sort that my normally analytical/rational/skeptical mind couldn't find a way to "explain" away as fancy or fantasy) was with the Chinese goddess Quan Yin. Although I had been courting the spiritual since I was 13 years old, it was not until my 32nd year that I finally felt the unmistakable touch of a power greater than what I could comprehend rationally. And even then, it took a while before I could truly accept what I'd experienced. I spent near to four years following her guidance before she introduced me to Medb of Connaught and my path diverged back towards that of my ancestry and cultural heritage ... back towards the Isles and Ireland in particular.
It was during that four years that I was introduced to the concept of Face ... a vital combination of reputation, social standing, manners, honour, respect, and esteem (as in the esteem you gain from others, not that which ego grants the self) all rolled together into a living code that directs not only one's personal behaviour but how one interacts with society and the world. It is a very difficult concept to define ... not only for an individual like myself who has developed an instinctual understanding of it in adulthood, but also for those who are raised to it if called upon to explain it to someone who was not.
Like so very many youngsters, in my early years I could not grasp the significance of the lessons my parents attempted to impart to me about personal responsibility, honour, and reputation. I was a troubled child who chose (and it was a conscious choice) not to care what others might believe of me while I attempted to ignore my complete lack of self respect in favour of surviving the troubles my choices brought to me. If I had a dollar for every time my Father attempted to remind me of the importance of those nebulous qualities by quoting me the motto from his family's heraldic device: "Spectemur Agendo" in Latin or "Go dtugtar breith orainn dá réir ár ngníomhartha." in Irish Gaelic ... and translating to "Let us, by our actions, be judged". I'm certain he believed that it all fell on deaf ears as I did not feel the need to change my ways until after he had passed beyond the veil in 1997.
To tell the truth, his passing and the other events of the year immediately prior to it ... not the least of which being that, after 10 years of estrangement from my parents, my decision to end my abusive marriage allowed me to reconnect with them and have that last year with him ... was the wake-up call that I needed to spur me to embrace that motto and present to the world the Face I wished to have identify me.
The older I become, the more important my Face becomes to me not only in my mundane, day-to-day life but in my spiritual interactions ... mainly because I have been dealing, since 2000, with deific archetypes who demand it. Gaels have looong memories, I have said as much and provided examples in previous posts, and it is true ... as a result, those who wish to live as one and work for and with the Gaelic gods of old, must needs behave in a manner which will not cause a loss of Face to their children's children's children.
The Bean Tighe (pronounced ban tig) is a helpful spirit that is likely one of the inspirations for the "fairy godmother" type donor/patron from faerie and folk tales. She is the one who makes it possible for others to achieve their potential ... whether it be helping with the maintenance of one's home, one's finances, or the ability to make one's dreams come true.