Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Place of Passage and Threshold...

   The priory here on Inchmahome is very impressive.  One can wonder in and out of the stone walls, crossing into spaces of light and air or spaces of dark enclosure. 

   About where I was standing to make this photograph, there would have been a rood screen of carved wood.  It separated the secular outer nave from the choir area by the high altar.  By passing through this rood screen, you were taking an important step - from the temporal world into the private world of the sacred.

   The ancient church felt it was necessary to created this point of demarcation so that one could fully enter into the proper mindset.  I thought this was an important idea to apply to thresholds in general.  It gives the moment of crossing over more significance and import.

   Like Corcomroe Abbey, the first sacred site I visited, Inishmahome is a place of passage and threshold.  Each place within the priory is clearly defined and as I wandered in and out...from the dark to the light and back again...I felt the spirit of the place wrap around me.

   The Celtic knot design took on more meaning for me in this place.  This intertwining weave, going first over and then under, gave me another way to consider thresholds.  There was a distinctive Alice in Wonderland quality to the place and you could find yourself a bit disoriented.

   Perhaps that is what happens to us when we get really old.  Our memories become twists and turns.  We drift in and out of the past.  In the end, however, just as it is at Corcomroe and Inchmahome, our spirit, our soul's essence remains no matter what ruin our body becomes.


kimmanleyort said...

What a beautiful, sacred space. I love that you felt its spirit wrapped around you. Interesting also to think of our memory as we age as taking twists and turns. It sure seems like that to me sometimes.

Patricia Turner said...

Yes, for the first time I really got the idea of the Celtic knot. The twisting and turning and crossing over but always returning to the source. I think my life as been a bit like that. Here on Iona I am resting in the complete serenity and spirit of place. I've never been a place quite like this!

Mystic Meandering said...

I like the symbolism of the intertwining of light and dark. In reality there is no separation, only a Divine Dance between the two in crossing over the thresholds of our lives - sometimes dark, sometimes light; a crossing back and forth between the two. Reminds me of a Rumi poem:

"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell./Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want./ Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the door sill, where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open./ Don't go back to sleep."

Patricia Turner said...

What a lovely poem, Christine and so very appropriate..."where the two worlds meet". This is truly Iona where heaven and earth intertwine in a seamless embrace and you are enclosed in a deep warmth. I leave this lovely island tomorrow but some little part of me will remain.