Low In Stock

Turtle Was Gone a Long Time, Volume One: Crossing the Kedron

By: John Moriarty

Publication Date: January 1998

(3 customer reviews)


Turtle Was Gone a Long Time: Crossing the Kedron, the first volume of a remarkable trilogyby John Moriarty.

The title derives from the diver myth found in Siberia and North America, in particular among the Maidu Indians of California. Diving to the floor of the abyss to find intuitions of the world, the work is a mystical quest, from form to void and back, and enacts one of the central themes of European literature, the journey from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained. In a century in which the human being first set foot on the moon, it attempts ‘to come ashore upon the earth in its perennial first morning’. And just as Homer’s Odyssey underpinned Joyce’s Ulysses, so Turtle is informed by the eschatological journey of the soul as Ancient Egyptians understood it-the post-mortem experience of an underworld, its powers and terrors, yielding to fields of light.

The Overture or introduction is a synoptic rehearsal of what follows: three nocturnes in a Tenebrae. ‘Engwura Now’ contains forty poems enlarged by prose commentaries-rites of passage proposing an emergence into instinctive maturity, a New Heroism. In profound dialogue with religions and cultures, it seeks to ‘make them more hospitable to more of what we are’. ‘Tenebrae Now’ is composed of six parables or stories drawn from everyday life in the West of Ireland. They form a pilgrim’s progress towards Good Friday, not as traditionally interpreted but as a mystical journey. ‘Tep-zepi Now and Tai-wer’ returns to the mornings of infinite possibility, and to the potencies-cosmic and cultural-of the beginning. Crossing the Kendron [John 18:1] offers a series of texts describing one individual’s spiritual initiations and transformations, Gethsemane self-encounters and purifications.

Ambitious, Dantesque, shamanic, this Beagle voyage across Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Aboriginal and Native American waters seeks the myths, stories, parables and great sayings that will guide and enlighten us in our openness, and availability, to the earth in which each reader is invited to plumb his own depths, and to emerge sacrilized and renewed. Not least, Turtle Was Gone A Long Time: Crossing the Kedron announces a major contribution to Irish literature and philosophy. Out of print for over a decade, Crossing the Kedron also contains Moriarty’s personal selection of his best poems.


JOHN MORIARTY, writer and philosopher, was born in Kerry in 1938 and educated at Listowel and University College Dublin. He taught English literature at Manitoba University in Canada for six years, before returning to Ireland in 1971. Sometime gardener, lecturer and broadcaster, in 1997 he hosted a major RTE television series,‘The Blackbird and the Bell’. He is author ofDreamtime(1994/99), and the two other volumes ofTurtle Was Gone a Long Time: Crossing the Kedron(1996) andAnaconda Canoe(1998). He lives down from the Horse’s Glen at the foot of Mangerton Mountain in north Kerry.


3 reviews for Turtle Was Gone a Long Time, Volume One: Crossing the Kedron

  1. Lilliput Press

    “This is the first of three books in which the author enables the reader to take a journey. This journey leads to a transformation in mind-set. John refers to that transformation as a “movement essential.” The philosophy underlying the trilogy is a universal one, thereby linking all traditions in this quest. The techniques, if one can use that word and I’m not sure that it is the right word, are a combination of stories, poems, quotes and repetition. The repetition is essential as cognitive change is a slow process, and one needs to be reminded, again and again, of important concepts. In this book, and in the other two volumes which make up this trilogy, one will find sincerity, inspiration, beauty, knowledge, wisdom, music, entertainment, laughter, St. John of the Cross, Buddha, Native American Indians, but above all “Beauty”. By the time one has read and re-read the three volumes one is most dreadfully aware that “…the psyche is the blind, not the window.””

  2. Lilliput Press

    “Mesmerizing.” KATHLEEN

  3. Lilliput Press

    “Turtle Was Gone a Long Time, Vol 1, Crossing The Kedron, is the first of three volumes which takes the reader on a spiritual journey. This journey is alchemical in that it traces a major perceptual metamorphosis which the author calls “movement essential” and not “movement local”. He refers to “transformative movement” and “..from one to another state of being”. The reader is guided through the use of stories, repetition and poetry. This book is, in my opinion, not intended to be read chronologically but rather used as a source for meditation. From my experience I would hold that one needs to read and re-read the stories several times, becoming more deeply involved with each reading. The philosophy underpinning the stories is based on a universal theme rather than any particular tradition. John uses themes which bring the reader to an understanding of an enormous statement which is that “…the psyche is the blind, not the window.” Because of the major mind-shift involved there is a repetition of ideas through-out the three volumes. This repetition is, in my opinion, a necessity. The writing is beautiful.” ANNE GARVEY

Add a review

Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 160 × 240 mm
Publication Date

January 1998


Hardback, 241pp

You may also like…