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Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?

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Darren Raleigh 07 Apr 07 - 12:14 PM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 07 - 01:51 PM
nutty 07 Apr 07 - 02:16 PM
GUEST 08 Dec 12 - 11:37 PM
GUEST,Grishka 09 Dec 12 - 05:38 PM
Jack Campin 09 Dec 12 - 08:50 PM
mg 09 Dec 12 - 11:38 PM
GUEST,Martin 02 Jul 13 - 08:44 AM
GUEST 02 Jul 13 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Martin 02 Jul 13 - 05:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jul 13 - 07:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jul 13 - 07:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jul 13 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Angelita Nixon, midwife 12 Nov 13 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,Guest 15 Aug 14 - 02:24 PM
GUEST 15 Aug 14 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Amy 01 Nov 14 - 09:13 PM
GUEST,DTM 05 Nov 14 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Rahere 05 Nov 14 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,John 22 Mar 15 - 04:00 PM
Megan L 23 Mar 15 - 02:36 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 16 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Donald 22 Jul 17 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Jul 17 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Jul 17 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Jul 17 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Jul 17 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Jul 17 - 08:11 PM
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Subject: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: Darren Raleigh
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 12:14 PM

Hi, just heard (again) Dougie McLean's Turning Away, sung by Mary Black - probably my favorite version of the song.

But I can't help feeling that I'd like it better if I knew what it was actually saying. I might actually want to perform it myself, but I can't, because I won't sing lyrics that I don't understand.

So, do you know what it means?
Much Obliged,
-D.
   ...
   /|\


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Subject: Lyr Add: TURNING AWAY (Dougie MacLean)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 01:51 PM

I'm not so sure I understand much of it, either. For the sake of discussion, let me say that all Dougie MacLean lyrics are available at his Website here (click). I wish more performers would do that. Here is "Turning Away":
-Joe-

TURNING AWAY
Dougie MacLean

CHORUS:
In darkness we do what we can.
In daylight we’re oblivion.
Our hearts, so raw and clear,
Are turning away, turning away from here.


On the water we have walked like the fearless child.
What was fastened we’ve unlocked, revealing wondrous wild,
And in search of confirmation, we have jumped into the fire,
And scrambled with our burning feet through uncontrolled desire. CHORUS

There’s a well upon the hill from our ancient past,
Where an age is standing still, holding strong and fast,
And there’s those that try to tame it and to carve it into stone,
Ah, but words cannot extinguish it, however hard they’re thrown. CHORUS

On Loch Etive they have worked with their Highland dreams.
By Kilcrennan they have nourished in the mountain streams,
And in searching for acceptance, they had given it away.
Only the children of their children know the price they have to pay. CHORUS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFCudS3QwGw


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: nutty
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 02:16 PM

Only Dougie McLean can give a definitive meaning but to me it speaks of the desperate search of the Scots and Irish for a haven.

Generations that left all that was familiar in the past, only for their children to be now searching for their heritage.

That's what it says to me anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 12 - 11:37 PM

I agree with Nutty that the song talks about the Irish and the Scots, the Gaelics, turning away from the past. That can be seen in the reference to "a well upon a hill from the ancient past" -- that whole stanza is relatively understandable, even if the specifics are somewhat obscure.

The stanza before that, stating that "on water we have walked like the fearless child" is rather impenetrable, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 09 Dec 12 - 05:38 PM

Interesting song. Many Mudcatters are into Celtic rituals, genuine or imagined, so there may come more explanations. Walking on water is probably a universal (Biblical) code for self-assuredness.

The complaint that people are turning away from their true roots is very old, for example to be found in Platon's writing. I guess the builders of Stonehenge agreed that the Golden Age was long gone already then.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Dec 12 - 08:50 PM

If Dougie had intended to talk about the Irish he would have said so.

It's a generic new-agey grumble about modern life (ultimately inspired by the "Celtic Twilight" bilge created by William Sharp), decorated with a couple of Scottish placenames. In that genre, vaguely allusive waffle is the standard rhetorical mode.

No culture in the British Isles, Celtic or otherwise, has ever gone in for firewalking. Geography lesson: wells tend not be on hills.

Dougie is a pretty good fiddle tune composer and it's a pity he didn't stick to that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: mg
Date: 09 Dec 12 - 11:38 PM

Didn't they jump over fires at Beltane etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Martin
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 08:44 AM

All very interesting, what you wrote.
It seems to me, that Dougie MacLean is a very subtle person, and witnesses well, especially his own country, which they call Caledony.
Also he seems to me to have a patriotic vein on a very high but nevertheless positive ! level.

So if you want to know, what the lyrics mean you have to look here:
http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-352-1/dissemination/pdf/vol_009/9_396_418.pdf.
Almost you will find there a well on the hill.
Are his words only a description of things his ancestors did or are they describing a special fact?

all the best Martin


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 09:13 AM

"Geography lesson: wells tend not be on hills."

My thought exactly, Jack! That made me wonder how often the author had ever actually been out of doors.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Martin
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 05:59 PM

yes, but you have ears to listen to his beautiful lyrics and to compare them to what archeologists found obviously.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 07:20 PM

A well on a hill? Clearly Jack can never have heard of Uisneach over in Ireland, where there's a bug celebration of Beltane, and an ancient well - here's a youtube clip of it

For that matter, didn't he ever hear about Jack and Jill going up the hill to fetch a pail of water?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 07:31 PM

As for walking on the water, one of the meanings of that might be about emigration, and exile. The same kind of thoughts as in Caledonia.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 07:52 PM

I got my blue clicky wrong It's writinng on the iPad does it.

Here's the link address in black and white - www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTCrthUnSBQ

'Ancient well on the Hill at Uisneach'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Angelita Nixon, midwife
Date: 12 Nov 13 - 09:50 PM

A midwife friend of mine during a performance requested for him to dedicate the song to midwives, and he did. It might have been a one-time dedication, but he did mention that he thought it strange how midwives here were not mainstream. Of course, as a midwife myself, I would find that powerful.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 02:24 PM

Jack - Regarding a well on a hill: When we built our house we dug the well on the uphill side, then built the livestock barn on the downhill side. It's a simple way to keep the runoff from rain contaminating the well, so for practical reasons a well actually might be on a hill.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 04:38 PM

There's also a contrast of faith here, doing the impossible yet keeping a foot in reality, within two ostensibly incompatible paradigms, science and faith. The well is the work done in the past building the esoteric corpus, which becomes increasingly difficult to master the more it is added to. It's the understanding of our heritage: in science you can specialise in a part of the domain, in the more ineffable you have to cover the lot, to some extent, and it stretches even the most spiritual.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Amy
Date: 01 Nov 14 - 09:13 PM

I think I have to agree with nutty, to me this song seems to be about the irish and scottish and their heritage. I recently read a book on irish history, and maybe I am too much of a romantic, but his poetic lyrics seem very straightforward to me. According to what I have read, irish culture was almost eradicated, and they had to fit in or die, basically. And when that 'lock' was opened, and they were free once again to have their own culture, they did so with a zest. But untill that point, it was remembered in secret, one might even say in darkness. The well on a hill could very well be symbolic of all the ancient places who's meanings have been lost. And, this is ironic to me, I am a 3rd generation celtic-american, so, litterally the child of their children.
And just to add, my parents also dug their well on the upslope of their hill.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 12:24 PM

"Geography lesson: wells tend not be on hills."

To all you scoffers.
There's a well on the top of a hill at Oldhamstocks (Scotland)
So there! :-p

;-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 04:42 PM

A subject has a sense to it which sometimes takes the people on the cutting edge out beyond the edge, into the space where Original Research, the stuff of which Professorships are made, lies. Mere Doctorates lie in filling in the gaps behind, this is about the heart of inspiration. That's verse 1.
OK, so once you've got a sniff of something out beyond the edge of known reality, the problem is testing whether it is real or not, whether one's imagination has created something of insanity. For that, you can perhaps keep one toe in reality, but it's only one proof, the thesis has to stand up to examination from every angle and for that you sometimes have to go back in time: the problem is that the birth of modern science threw out the baby with the bathwater, the correct bits in its own roots alongside the noise of superstitious nonsense. So older thinking can teach us truths, which is pretty much our stock in trade here. That's verse 2.
Verse 3 you've covered.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,John
Date: 22 Mar 15 - 04:00 PM

I just wonder if the whole song alludes to the Covenanters who were driven into the hills and persecuted mercilessly??


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: Megan L
Date: 23 Mar 15 - 02:36 AM

We have had the biblical and the emigration explanations for walking on water so I will add my ha'penny worth tae gie him a wee laugh should he ever read this thread.

The plank ways out to a crannog were often kept low to the water to make them less obvious, therefore from a distance anyone walking out to the crannog would be seen to be walking on water.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 16 - 11:33 AM

Perhaps the line, "On the water we have walked like the fearless child" refers to a leap of faith in leaving and trusting that things would be better wherever they landed...?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Donald
Date: 22 Jul 17 - 03:26 PM

So, Jack, there's never something lost as well as something gained? It's all nostalgic tripe and nonsense?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Jul 17 - 06:37 PM

In three parts:

Jesus wasn't the only waterwalker that day:

"On the water we have walked like the fearless child.

St. Mathew 14, 18 (NKJ)

28. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

29. And he said, "Come." And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

30. But when he saw the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

31. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him. And said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?


18:3 "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Jul 17 - 06:38 PM

Pt. II

"There's a well upon the hill from our ancient past,...

Shiloh of Canaan (Tel Shiloh, Khirbet Seilun)

The name translates variously as place of peace, tranquility, pleasantness, ie: an "oasis" in an otherwise arid environment. Tel-Shiloh is in "hill country."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Jul 17 - 06:40 PM

"On Loch Etive they have worked with their Highland dreams."

In Argyll and Bute, Scotland. The (Protestant and Presbyterian) Church of Scotland motto is "nec tamen consumebatur. (Yet it was not consumed - Exodus 3:2)


"By Kilcrennan they have nourished in the mountain streams,"

(Kilmacrennan?,) in County Donegal, Ireland. The (Presbyterian) Church in Ireland sayeth Ardens sed Virens (burning but flourishing.)


"And in searching for acceptance, they had given it away.
Only the children of their children know the price they have to pay.
"

"Our hearts, so raw and clear,
Are turning away, turning away from here.
"

Exodus 3

6. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abrham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Jul 17 - 07:40 PM

or Kilcreggan maybe? In which case... nevermind.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turning Away - What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Jul 17 - 08:11 PM

Another old testament "well on a hill" was the Well of Moses (Ain Mûsa) at the foot of Mount Horeb.


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