I'm still reading Philip Newell, this time in Christ of the Celts, and this passage caught my eye:
One of the most ancient symbols of Christ in the Celtic world is the salmon. We find it in the earliest strands of Celtic Christian art and poetry. Even in the pre-Christian Celtic world, it is a favorite image, associated especially with true knowledge and wisdom. Of course, the fish had been a symbol of Christ in the earliest centuries of the church, but in the Celtic world, it specifically became a salmon. So the ancient symbolism for wisdom merges with the Christian symbolism for love, and love and its longings are viewed as the deepest expression of wisdom. p.90
Musing on the fish imagery, I'm reminded of an O Antiphon I worked on at a writing retreat last year. Traditionally, the O Antiphons are a series of Advent songs, or verses, that call on Christ with a title from the Old Testament. If you are familiar with O Come, O Come Emmanuel, you'll recognize the pattern.
We were working with a variation on this, based on a collection of invocations written by Richard Skinner, Calling on the God in All, from the Celtic-based community on Iona. These O Antiphons begin by addressing God as revealed in some aspect of creation -- the first line beginning O (fill in the blank), four lines describing the thing seen, a line naming the facet of God that has been illuminated, and then a line or two of petition.
This particular antiphon was inspired by a recurring event that happened as I sat scribbling on a pier by the lake. I've worked on it a couple different times over the past year, and I'm not sure it has settled yet, but here it is. I enjoyed looking at it again with this image of Christ the Salmon.
O Splash –
sound and spurt of water in a silver lake,
brief backwash ringing outwards into ripples,
shimmering moment that draws my eye
to seek the silent fish below,
you are the tangible trace of unseen action:
come, sound in the waters of our lives,
alert us to the Spirit, rising.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"