Last year I went to Ireland based on the idea that I was going in search of renown. I don't think I properly explained that idea, so in the hope of making the motivation behind those episodes a little clearer I want to discuss what I have come to think about the idea of "renown".
The original meaning of renown is to "repeatedly name", in the sense of repeating the name of someone until they accumulate fame. A sort of "making a name" for someone through the stories and mythology that comes of telling about someone's deeds and life history. Figures who ended up in tales, poems and songs would come to be passed down through the generations and across cultures.
In an energetic sense one can increase the renown of someone or something (or place) by increasing the amount of intent and attention that they receive. By receiving the energetic focus of an energy worker a person, place or thing can accumulate subtle energy (of the human variety). Some cultures have spent time creating structures, spaces and coincidence of time and space which will corral, encourage and intensity subtle energy forces with the express purpose of creating renown for a person or place. A sacred place is made special to humans by the use they can obtain from its energy fields. Repeatedly focusing one's intent upon something, say by gathering many people at specific times of the year when the energy is more abundant or in harmony with the Earth and Sky, only serves to increase the energetic renown.
Building a collective legacy
When it came to the idea of one's legacy, I think that the Neolithic people had a concept of renown that meant that they sought to achieve a nothingness, a balance of energies at the point of leaving their physical bodies. For them, achieving renown was a personal matter of achieving the maximum personal power in order to have sufficient energy to carry one's spirit through death into the Otherworld. Sacred sites and point of strong subtle energy on the Earth were places where such passings into spirit could be completed with the best effect. As the spirit retreated out of the world, renown was left behind - an energetic shell which retained both energetic force, and more importantly the information field of that person.
What a person of renown left behind was his story, his history, his achievements, his energy. For example, what a shaman left behind were the tales he had collected from the tribe's ancestors, the healing knowledge, plant wisdom. A tribal mother may leave behind her knowledge of how to bring children into the world safely. Renown was accumulated not only through personal experience, but through the recovery of knowledge from the Otherworld (by liaising with energy forms in that existence) or by undergoing a shamanic journey to recover knowledge through a revelatory experience.
All these things still exist in the information field of the person of renown when they transferred into spirit. Their subtle information energy field, their information field, remained in place, accessible to future generations, and kept alive by the renown with which they were adorned. The tribe continued to apply its focus of attention and intention upon the sacred places, the places of the passing of people of renown, and thus they re-energised and kept these field integral, kept them from disintegrating through neglect.
Bronze Age - A change of ideas
I think that the Bronze Age people changed their concept of renown. In their eyes renown was imbued into a person or place based on the assessment of personal power. Consequently, for the Bronze Age people renown meant the maximum accrual of energy through wealth, status and influence. The concept of renown began to become entirely anthropocentric - all based on the human's energy, rather than a combination of power, place, timing and human energy, as it had been seen earlier. They no longer sought to transport spirit and leave renown for spiritual purposes. Now the renown was purely linked to the life of the individual who was the pinnacle of the social hierarchy - the King or Queen. Thus we see the introduction of tumuli in the megalithic landscape and the concept of burial becomes the parting practise instead of creation. In time this became a physical and material shift away from the spiritual and subtle energy forces that held the renown energy. With that change in emphasis came the move away from spiritual practices that retained and encouraged the preservation of subtle energy forces. As the subtle energy dissipated over time through a lack of intent and awareness, so the site gradually became abandoned. What purpose did they have now? They were merely the marker stones and turf mound graves of forgotten individuals. No longer did they have the same subtle powers, and the information field dissipated into the general consciousness of the nation, held in place by written mythology alone, and no longer functional as information sources, or guiding forces for the tribes that had moved away from the sites.
My quest of renown last year was closer to the original concept - I went back into the landscape of my forefathers in search of places where their renown still lingers. In this way I took on their energies, leaving them free to move on. In taking their energies I accumulated more personal power and this added to my own energetic strength, whilst simultaneously cleaning the land of their remnant energies. Only I can judge whether this is going to be a beneficial thing for me and my ancestors, but I believe the concept is real, and marks a passing of "the mantle" of information to a living generation. Now it remains for me to find out whether this information can be put to good use for the benefit of myself and future generations. It is for me now to create my own renown through my words and works.