The ancient Celts told epic stories of voyages across the seven seas in a boat. The destination—to travel uncharted waters, to go beyond the ninth wave, to the golden lands of the Otherworld. The travelers embarked on what they called an Imram. The Imram is an allegory for a soul quest, a spiritual journey, a vision quest.
One famous Imram tale is the heroic legend of Bran the Blessed of Welsh mythology. Bran means Raven in Welsh, and his story is one of regeneration. He is known as the Guardian of Britain. https://bardmythologies.com/the-voyage-of-bran/
Another Imram can be found in my novel, Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call. Sharay has been committed to a psychiatric hospital by her Aunt Phoebe who wants Sharay’s fortune and her magical powers. In this scene, a mysterious elder mento, Dillon Emrys, describes the Imram for Sharay.
Sharay hiccupped again, wiped her wet cheek on her sleeve.
“What am I to do, Dillon?”
“About the hiccups?” The smile in Dillon’s twinkling eyes reached his lips, his mouth curving into a wide grin.
Sharay rolled her eyes. “No, silly. What am I to do about this?” she said, spreading her arms wide open to indicate the room, the psychiatric hospital.
“Simple. You’re to go on an Imram.”
“On a what?” She leaned back on her legs, and sat on the floor, her spine against the side of Dillon’s bed for support. She was exhausted, and Dillon was talking in riddles.
“On an Imram. It’s an important journey. A physical journey navigated by your soul.”
“My soul will navigate a journey?”
“Yes—it will be both an inner and an outer journey. The Imram is the outward form of an inner mystical journey. It’s much like a vision quest. You’ll travel the land, and as you do, you’ll visit the Inner Realms of your dreams and visions.”
“But the doctors call my dreams and visions hallucinations.”
“They know nothing.”
Sharay stared, wide-eyed. “I’m not hallucinating?”
“Of course not.”
Sharay noticed how his dimples burrowed deep within the crevices of his cheeks.
“The Imram will be a splendid adventure. Just like it was for our ancestors, the Celts. They crossed the seas on mythic travels to foreign lands. They went on the Imram.”
Sharay imagined huge wooden boats, mermaids carved on the bow, sailing by star navigation across deep blue waters, heading far into the west. She shook her head. “I’m afraid I’m in no shape to go on a sea voyage. I don’t see how your Imram will help me.”
Dillon chuckled. “The Imram is not limited to the sea. It’s not about where you go but how you get there.”
“So, how do I get there?”
“Trust the Imram. You’re in good hands with your soul as your navigator.”
“How can I go on an Imram? I can’t even leave this hospital,” Sharay said desolately.
image credit: boat prow, ocean, guiding star: Diana Morningstar digital arts