Monday, July 14, 2014

Lessons from the British Isles: The Salmon of Wisdom

For many years I had a maid service. It started with one enterprising Ukrainian (got her citizenship) and moved to a force of young ladies who could whoosh in and clean Chateau Johnson in 90 minutes.

Today I cleaned Chateau Johnson. It took me more than six hours. And I forgot to vacuum the carpet in the living room.

There's something about unhurried housework that makes you think. And I got to thinking about all the cool deities and characters who inhabit the history of the British Isles. And the places! Then I got to thinking about the totemic meaning of the various deities and heroes and heroines. I ought to clean house more often!

Here are a few, and I think this will be a nice "Gods Are Bored" series!

My favorite Celtic spirit is the Salmon of Wisdom.

The Salmon of Wisdom lived in a pool into which fell the hazelnuts that were full of wisdom. As the Salmon consumed the nuts, he became the wisest being in the world.

I suppose I love the Salmon of Wisdom because I myself can never seem to learn enough. Are you that way? There's always another book to read, there's always another celestial event in the sky, there's always a new person you want to know all about. Wisdom is a treasure. And what I love the most about the Salmon of Wisdom is that he had no agenda for his smarts. He wasn't going to take over the world, or win a contest, or any of that. He was content to sit in his pool, growing ever wiser.

We can learn a lot from this fish without eating him (which was his sad fate). Knowledge comes to us as a tasty hazelnut. We digest it and ponder it and use it to craft our conclusions about the world. There's nothing quite so pathetic as a person with lots of opinions and little knowledge to support them.

So, take a message from the Salmon of Wisdom and learn what you can about anything and everything. Wisdom engenders good decision-making. And if you learn just for the joy of it, without a particular egotistical agenda, you're going to be a wonderful companion to anyone you're with.

I think I'll do a few more of these posts. They're fun!

The whole Salmon story is here.


Lucretia said...

I've always wondered about that. Was it actually wisdom the Salmon gained, or was it just knowledge? I think the difference is how you use the knowledge you gain. If you don't do anything with it, if you just consume it, it remains just knowledge, just one more hazelnut among many. However, if you use that knowledge, either to help yourself or someone else in some way, then it becomes wisdom.

Of course, the Salmon may eat ME for saying that...

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The salmon of wisdom is a fave of mine too. I did a post once on this topic, if I may self-promote for a moment (LOL):

Anne Johnson said...

Debra, you can always self-promote! If I knew how to code this blog, you and Lucretia would both be given the play you deserve!