Saturday, May 24, 2014

Details from Iona Abbey Cloister: Meditations in Stone...

Agony of the Soul

Receiving the Cup
Breaking the Bread
Descent of the Dove

   These carvings are 20th century interpretations of Medieval iconography.  Most of the capitals in the cloisters are also new interpretations.  I like the way the restorers didn't try to duplicate ancient work opting instead for a fresh contemporary approach.  What one takes away from viewing these meditations in stone is up to the individual.

   I've walked around and around the cloisters.  It is,in a way, a form of walking meditation as are labyrinths. You can glimpse the sky and the grass but you are on the a boundary place between the sacred and natural world.  Walking on the edge, you glimpse two ways of being, in light and in shadow, and you move seamlessly between the two.
Descent of the Spirit

   This is why I love islands.  You are surrounded by a border.  You are contained while being able to look at the "other world".  There is a sense of detachment and, yes, isolation on an island but the isolation is really an illusion.  With the internet you are not really unconnected...both a good thing and a bad thing.  There is a small primary school on the island and the island population has increased in recent years...always a good sign.

   Iona is a very special place and the residents have tried very hard to not let commercialism tarnish your experience. You feel the heartbeat of faith here that welcomes all and that is wonderful feeling.

Am fear a theid a dh'l,
theid e tri uairean ann.

A Gaelic saying meaning those who come to
Iona will come, not once, but three times.

   The cloister sculpture was created by Jacques Lipchitz. The inscription on reads:
Jacques Lipchitz, Jew, faithful to the religion of his ancestors, has made this Virgin for the better understanding of human beings on this earth so that the Spirit may prevail.

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