Category: Christianity and modern mysticism

Two journeys, one destination (8) : the thousand-year fingers

Despite the world of the Picts being so far away in time, there was one man who reached back and ‘touched’ their minds with a language they shared… Art (A ten minute read, 1300 words) (Above: George Bain) He looked, once again, at the beautiful rendering of belief and life and…. everything. Once more, he was swept away by a sense of identity with … Read More Two journeys, one destination (8) : the thousand-year fingers

“Ain’t this a mess, Sheriff!”

In the film ‘No Country for Old Men’, there’s a famous opening scene at the site of a drugs shoot-out. Everyone’s dead when the local Sheriff and his deputy arrive and start wandering through the bodies as though they were in a Spaghetti Western. The Deputy stays silent for a long time, then says excitedly, “Ain’t this a mess, Sheriff!”. Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee … Read More “Ain’t this a mess, Sheriff!”

Two journeys, one destination (7) : Rosemarkie, the Black Isle

The continuing story of the ‘Pictish Trail’, the Silent Eye’s workshop in the far north-east of Scotland. We encounter the best Pictish stone at close quarters… (A ten minute read, 1100 words) Our final visit of the Saturday was to Rosemarkie, a beautiful village on the Black Isle, whose seafront looks south across the vastness of the Moray Firth. Rosemarkie was also home to … Read More Two journeys, one destination (7) : Rosemarkie, the Black Isle

Two journeys, one destination (6) : a Pictish horizon

With the wonderful Portmahomack behind us, it was time to meet the three Pictish stones that marked the horizon line of the Tarbat Peninsula. These would originally have been visible from the sea, and boats approaching from the Moray Firth would have known they were approaching sacred Pictish land – centred on the monastery at Portmahomack. On this second day of the Silent Eye’s … Read More Two journeys, one destination (6) : a Pictish horizon

Two journeys, one destination (5) : blood and stone

Writing without the other hand to steady him was hard, but the other was clamped on his thigh, holding back the flow of blood. The words on the vellum were like the wanderings of a dying bird… he smiled at the thought, despite the pain. Through eyes filled with hot and salty water he read what he had written: ‘They came at the end … Read More Two journeys, one destination (5) : blood and stone

Two journeys, one destination (4) : two sides of the hill

On the second day of the Silent Eye’s ‘Pictish Trail’ weekend, we are beginning in what is, for me, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Portmahomack is a small fishing village on the north side of the Tarbat Peninsula. It’s an hour’s drive north from Inverness. I’m at the end of the pier, gazing out across the deep blue sea towards … Read More Two journeys, one destination (4) : two sides of the hill

Two journeys, one destination (3) : the mystery of the Picts

(Above: the view of the neighbouring Inverness Castle from the steps of the museum) ‘The Romans were frightened of them…” I remember reading that the week before our Scottish workshop and being astonished. I knew the Picts had created some of the most mysterious stone carvings I had ever seen. But fearsome warriors? Weren’t these enigmatic people simply farmers? We were in the Inverness … Read More Two journeys, one destination (3) : the mystery of the Picts

The Sacrificed King

Easter is symbolically the time of the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. This thread of story and principle runs through our civilisation very deeply; and Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar. Jesus (the) Christ did not proclaim himself king, despite being labelled ‘King of the Jews’ – quite the opposite. He said he came ‘from the … Read More The Sacrificed King

Keys of Heaven (2): a pocket left open for magic

It’s a winter’s tale, so best told in warm snippets… With a weekend workshop carefully envisaged, there’s always a moment where that mental and emotional picture becomes ‘invested’ with life. These old English words contain a wealth of linguistic depth so easily passed over in modern usage. After months of refining the stages, and a preparatory visit, the latest of our ‘Landscape’ workshops was … Read More Keys of Heaven (2): a pocket left open for magic

Keys of Heaven (1): Cod and Lobster

Bright against the icy darkness, the Christmas lights of the Cod and Lobster pub greet the quiet sound of only two sets of winter boots, where, until a few hours ago, there were many… It’s quite a walk down from the car park above the lovely fishing village of Staithes – pronounced ‘Steas’ – just north of Whitby along the coast of Yorkshire’s beautiful … Read More Keys of Heaven (1): Cod and Lobster

End of the Line

Take me out in darkness Where the only light is black Like a railway platform leading To the forms that end the track ⦿ Let endless trains of thinking Pass, ghostly, through the night And cease their whistling thunder In a silence turning bright ⦿ Let what I am-not die there On the empty, singing rails As sleepers are run over As tickets blown … Read More End of the Line

A prospect of Whitby (3) – Touching the Sun

There’s something ‘monumental’ about planning to be high on the vast moorlands of the North Yorkshire National Park at the end of the first week in December. Yet that is exactly what we’ll be doing on the Sunday morning of the ‘Keys of Heaven’ workshop on the start of the workshop’s final day – weather permitting. If it doesn’t, there’s a plan B… Bridges … Read More A prospect of Whitby (3) – Touching the Sun

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