Return to Segais is a story of human experience and the exploration of unconscious depths through mythology, exemplified by the life cycle of the salmon, a singularly remarkable creature which is able to survive in fresh water as well as salt water. Having been spawned in the breeding pools of the upper reaches of the River Boyne, represented in myth by the Well of Segais, the salmon eventually finds its way to the sea, and the ocean, before ultimately returning to the exact location of its birth, where, in its final act, it spawns the next generation.
The journey of the salmon seems an apt metaphor for the experience of human life. The injunction at Segais, before the smolt leaves the ‘nest’, is to go and find the ocean, and in finding the ocean, to find something of itself that is unattainable except in rarefied circumstances.
In Return to Segais, Bradán Feasa, the Salmon of Knowledge, and Amergin, and Bóinn, and Dagda, and Manannán, and Oengus, and Ériu, and others, are summoned to take us to those depths, and perhaps beyond.
The truth is that there is no vastness greater than the deep and yawning chasm of our own innocence, our own unknowing. But it is surely a great joy to attempt to explore – through Irish myth – that vast boundlessness of the human spirit.