soul food

Got a bit more internet speed tonight, so will try a few pics.

Today was our final morning with Mary Meighan. It is beyond words to say how her way with Celtic Spirituality has opened us and inspired us and humbled us and encouraged us and emboldened us and delighted us.
Thank you, Mary!

May you, Mary, be blessed, blessed, blessed, as you have blessed, blessed, blessed us.

Mary Meighan

Mary at Pipers Stone Circle – an ancient, old place of ritual that is a thin place, for sure.

Patricia in her "frog-tog" with Phil at the entrance to Castleruddery Stone Circle

This was a place where, upon quiet and meditation, Patricia saw images of a Druid gathering in her imagination and I saw women playing drums and flutes in the center of the circle to the dancing of the three circles of dancers around. It is a mystical place.

During our stay here in the Glendalough Valley, I have been going to this remnant of a Kevinera monk’s dwelling to do my reflecting/writing.

old dwelling for monks

an ancient place for typing reflections on a macbook.

On my first and second days of writing these words are part of what came to me in this ancient place.

I am writing these words inside the remnants of the medieval “cottage” just up the river a bit from our stone cottage in the Glendalough Valley.  I am sitting on a flat stone in the corner of the building.  It has walls and no roof – doorways and the place of the old hearth.  All the floor is now rock and tree and grass and clover and delicate little lightly lavendered flowers.  I wonder about life here.  On the first night of our time in the valley Patricia and I walked at dusk to this spot.  Mary had talked with us for a couple of hours or more about the history of the place, of the people, about its sacredness, then and now.  So, I stepped through the threshold and waved my hands,. Palms outward and up, inviting the history of every good thing from this place to be part of our journey here in Glendalough. . .

Yesterday, when we were in the sanctuary, I saw wisps of fog dancing among the trees on what Mary calls the dark side of the valley.  I enjoyed them.  I smiled at their presence on the hill and in my imagination.

            My intention from the first day is to listen here during these days and nights and to be open to what it may have to offer me.  So I have had the conscious desire to have the heritage of the ancients that are in this place to be here.

The next day:

This room in which I sit without a roof has a floor with a jumble of rocks that have fallen, over the years, from the walls – it is uneven – yet it is carpeted monk;s dwelling ground coverwith a green ground cover of tiny leafed plants that look like clover but are not clover, I don’t think.  Here and there is a small light lavender flower doing a dance in the merry little breeze.

light lavender flowerTo my right is the literal hearth for this home –  with the opening maybe only a foot deep but almost as high as I am tall. The flue goes up the left side.  There is the remnant of a mantle above it.  Old, fired, rectangular-rough-red-bricks have been used among the stones in the hearth and then above it going – two or three bricks wide all the way to the top of the wall.  They go up the left side of the hearth and then gently angle their way back toward the center by the time they get all the way to the top.  A gentle arc of brick in a wall where the large rocks are secured in what looks like a cement and then spaced from each other by many shale-like smaller flat rocks.  The big rocks are placed a foot or two from each other within the over all wall.  Seems like the arc of the bricks would have been the flue of the chimney itself, rather than having it just be a straight flue from hearth to roof.  I wonder about the turf fires that have burned and warmed this space.

The room is maybe twelve by thirty – maybe the home of one or more of the monks from the time of Kevin’s village.  The walls are maybe twenty feet high.  The walls eighteen to twenty-four inches thick.

I wonder where the cot for a bed may have been and the table for eating and how many chairs and how it was lit.  I imagine with the warm glow of candles.  And what are in the spaces beside the arched doorway.  Were these windows?  If so how were they covered?  Was it glass?

Some questions worth pondering:

                        How might I describe the hearth wall of my soul?  I more often feel it as a tapestry than a rock wall, but if it were a rock wall what does it look like?

                        What are the big rocks of my soul?  Those that take up most space and what are the smaller ones?  The tiny ones?

                        How is the chimney built though which my prayers rise to others, to God? 

                        This floor is carpeted in green nature.  What is the floor of my soul?

                        We have been praying that we are a dwelling place for God.  Describe my soul as a dwelling place.  What happens here?  Where does one sleep?  How is the food that nurtures my soul prepared?  What is my soul food? Where and how is it served?  Describe the table and the chairs.

                        There appear to be niches in the walls of this room in Glendalough Valley.  Where are the niches of my soul and what wonders are there?

                        Turf may have warmed this room.  What of nature warms my soul? . . .

                        Does my soul have one room like this one?  Or, are there many?

                        What is on the mantle above the hearth on the hearth wall in the hearth that is my soul?

                        Hearth.  Home.  Humor.  Hospitality.  Hope.  Humus.  Hunger.  Heartache. Hinder.  Heal.  Hide.  Hurry.  Hunker.  Hallowed.  Hearth.

Tomorrow we leave Glendalough Valley and this portion of journey for county Kerry.

It will be hard to leave this sacred place.

But, the journey continues with surprises yet to be discovered.

In the mean time:

May Hurricane Isaac be not too wild as it touches land.

May those in it’s path be safe and may their homes be as well.

On this night may they and you and we know love.

This valley sacred to the Irish for centuries has taught us to honor what is and what is to be.  As we venture on to Kells what is to be I am sure will be as wonder full as what has been.

Blessing to all who read these words.

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9 Comments

  1. Bernie Hupperts August 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I cringe for the people in New Orleans. Nice to know that those we know and the sites we love in Sarasota are safe. Here’s a poem, read over the phone to me by Marcia Rondello. Do you know the poet?
    Spirit of laughter
    Make laughter with us.
    Spirit of fire
    Build fire in us.
    Spirit of creation
    Create awe in us.
    Spirit of vision
    Envision in us.
    Spirit of imagination
    Use imagination in us.
    Spirit of promise
    Speak promise through us.
    Spirit of mischief
    Make mischief in us.
    Spirit of love
    Be love in us.

    Reply

      1. Bernie Hupperts August 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm

        You are the author, Phil. Marcia has held on to this poem you gave her once when you visited her, and she has asked that I include it in the 125th memory book. Of course, we will!

  2. Please bring home some of those Celtic herbs you guys are taking!

    Reply

    1. Ahh, the joy of it, Ed. We’re just breathing the air and opening our hearts to the mystical energy of Ireland.

      Reply

  3. What a blessing Mary was for you! I love her face. And what a holy week you had together. Thank you for opening us to a small part of it.

    Reply

    1. Thanks for going to the valley with us.

      Reply

  4. Thank you for your powerful prayers Phil. Isaac was not really much of a bother to South Florida, including Miami, more of a nuisance. And it seems New Orleans was well prepared this time and, though there appears to be some flooding. Perhaps all the saints of the Emerald Isle have added their prayers to yours to send a Spirit of protection. Thank you also for sharing your pilgrimage. Your deep spirituality shines through honestly and sacredly and provides a blessing to my soul.

    Reply

  5. Amy the blessings of love continue to you, Steve. Thanks for your words

    Reply

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