Introduction to “The Host of The Air”

Yeats has a famous poem about the Easter Rising of 1916. It’s a political poem, and Yeats was not a political person. He was a mystic visionary and a practitioner of ritual magic – in other words his temperament was not amenable to incremental struggles, but to grand and evocative tale-spinning. (A gyre that can tilt toward extreme right more easily than extreme left, incidentally.)

This is not the famous Easter poem, but it gets to the heart of how Yeats, in his official role as national myth-maker, must have seen the effects of the church landing in Ireland and turning Ireland’s goddess into St. Bridget, thereby denying the divine feminine in the interest of God the Father and the Son and the (male) Holy Ghost. Still, Brigid steals in through the side door of “Our Lady.”

Virgins of the second temple, as Mary might have been, were young, and were only virgins because their roles as wards of the temple had yet to reward them with the role they desired, namely that of The Bride.

To deny Mary’s desire is to accede to the impossible. Why would the church want to instil this nub of paradox at the center if its dogma? We can now see how this seed has been breeding into a now unwieldy and blinding edifice of sophist scaffolding attached to someone elses’ temple, time-out-of-mind Hebrew laws based on men trying to codify literature
and failing, even now being used by men wishing to codify ideology and winning.

Christianity’s brute appeal is that the first step is to accept three premises, three elevators to the heights of metaphysics: that Sex and Birth can be separated; that Murder and Love can be combined; and finally (devastatingly), that the one true god has three separate egos.

There is no god but god, so pick one – and go with it.
Pick a god, any god, and the law that goes with it. Pick a congregation, your town must have hundreds, know them and learn how your god moves through your people, to put a thousand faces on what must not and cannot be known, that which makes this “this” where we must make our living and pay our taxes.


O’Driscoll drove with a song,
The wild duck and the drake,
From the tall and the tufted reeds
Of the drear Hart Lake.
And he saw how the reeds grew dark
At the coming of night tide,
And dreamed of the long dim hair
Of Bridget his bride.

He heard while he sang and dreamed
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.

And he saw young men and young girls
Who danced on a level place
And Bridget his bride among them,
With a sad and a gay face.
The dancers crowded about him,
And many a sweet thing said,
And a young man brought him red wine
And a young girl white bread.

But Bridget drew him by the sleeve,
Away from the merry bands,
To old men playing at cards
With a twinkling of ancient hands.
The bread and the wine had a doom,
For these were the host of the air;
He sat and played in a dream
Of her long dim hair.

He played with the merry old men
And thought not of evil chance,
Until one bore Bridget his bride
Away from the merry dance.
He bore her away in his arms,
The handsomest young man there,
And his neck and his breast and his arms
Were drowned in her long dim hair.

O’Driscoll scattered the cards
And out of his dream awoke:
Old men and young men and young girls
Were gone like a drifting smoke;

But he heard high up in the air
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.