Another beautiful day in our lives . . . and in our pilgrimage at Glendalough with Mary Meighan. The first two days of our time with her were spent in learning about some of the threads in the fabric of Celtic Spirituality. She has said so much to us, here are some samples of things as I remember them:
When God made time, he made plenty of it.
Repetition is important.
Do things in threes, We do things in threes.
Let go your stuff and enter the circle of spirit here.
We are non-linear
we are non- dualistic.
Women are part of it . . . and men too.
We hold the contradictions.
Gather the bits and pieces of yourselves, you know, emmmm, the brokenness, make friends with it.
You know this is about a weaving, about being woven, bringing it all into the tapestry of who we are and what.
Thresholds matter. We step through them to another place – allowing the threshold to be the place of our entry into the adventure before us – the pilgrimage before us.
Yesterday, Mary told us the story of St. Kevin and the Monster in the lower lake of the Glendalough Valley – Glendalough means glen of two lakes. Mary said there is a story about how people were afraid of this lake – it is fairly small, really. But they were afraid of it because there was a monster in it – a water beast, a dragon. They were frightened and stayed away. One day Kevin was walking the Green Road from the tower and church toward his hermitage cell – where he went for solitude. As he was passing by the lake, he paused. Then he went down toward the shore of the lake. At the water’s edge he stopped. People watched from the woods. They were afraid for him. The monster rose up out of the water and appeared to Kevin . . . and you know Kevin did not run, he did not fight, he did not cry. No, he befriended the monster. And, so the story goes, the monster went with him to the cell. And from that day to now, this lake has been a healing place, where people come from all over to have the blessing of healing, however that may come for their hurts and pains.
So Mary took us there, to the lower lake today. She reminded us of the story. She invited us into three rituals here. First to find a small stone or something like a twig or a clover or a small flower and place it in the water asking all the while for healing from the thing we name today that we want healing from.
Remember now, Kevin did not slay the dragon. He did not behead it. He did not overpower it or run from it or try to subdue it.
He befriended it.
Allow yourself to no longer try to vanquish or turn your back on or run from hurtfulness that lingers in the air you breathe, in the food you eat, in your sleep, in your waking.
Bits and pieces of ourselves. The rough and broken places within us. Befriend them. So says Mary.
What will that mean? Among the images that came to me today is that I do not wish to lose the preciousness of life to remorse . . . as I do not wish for others to have to give over their life’s preciousness to healing from hurt.
So then, we were to put our hands in the water and ask for healing, scooping the water into both hands, stand and let the water drip from our hands back into the lake, allowing this to be the healing for all those who have been hurt by another. Then, cup our hands and scoop water again. Now, because Kevin’s story is the story of a man of solitude, we ask for these drips from our hands to be the gift of healing solitude, where the monsters do not devour us, but are instead befriended and taken home with us – for it is only as we are able to make friends with “the bits and pieces” of ourselves (you know, the rough edges of brokenness) that we are able to be in love with ourselves, with each other, and the world.
We went from here to Kevin’s Well. And did another ritual that was every bit as powerful.
(It took eight minutes to download this one picture – there are a dozen more from today that would be good to share with you, but one will have to do.)
And we went to the Glendalough Fairy Tree and listened to Mary tell a delightful story of a woman whose slide in the mud at another Fairy Tree caused her to change her life. It is a very funny story. Transformation sometimes comes to us in the most unlikely of ways.
On our way into the area of the lower lake we went though a double threshold – you know entering into a new part of the pilgrimage, leaving behind the part that is on the other side of the threshold.
So, as we entered there was a woman by the name of Pat who was playing an elbow pipe – Irish bag pipe. Hauntingly beautiful. We bought her CD.
At dinner we listend to the verbal beginning to her rendition of “Maggie,” a song Patricia’s dad, Tom, used to sing when she was young. By the mystery of the “thin place” of this valley, our eyes filled with watery tenderness and vulnerability as we listened and looked at each other across the table.
Thank you Mary Meighan.
Thank you Glendalough sacredness.
Here is a blessing for you tonight . . . and beyond:
May the grace of new beginnings enliven your soul with possibility and promise.
May the valley sing to welcome you and the grace of home be yours.
May the river of delight rush through your body and soul refreshing parched terrain and baptizing your spirit anew.
May the towering strength of black oak mind your spirit and guard your heart.
May mountains surround you and shelter your life . . . and may you find within the mountain deep peace.
Upon life’s rough seas, may you be cradled in locked embrace until fear and worry are stilled.
In times of trouble may the peace and protection of our path in the woods lead you to wisdom’s light.
May your eyes ever dance the wonders of creation and your gaze hold and heal your loved ones.
May you touch God’s presence in the hand of a stranger and lift up the lonely who are guided to your door.
May you surrender to the slience that knows your rname, and there, in the stillness, may you know yourself and find God.
Prayed and penned by “M.E.” in 2002. It is written in beautiful calligraphy and hung in a frame on the sanctuary wall where we meet with Mary.