As it is in the Celtic Tradition, summer is the time of the year for Pilgrimages. A pilgrimage is a prayer in the shape of a journey to a place where spirit resides. My pilgrimage this year takes this Celtic Magician to the Magic Monastery. a place some of you in the valley and around the world know of, and I am so grateful to have such a place to rest and search my soul.
“Come heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystic brotherhood
Of sun and moon and hallow and wood
And river and stream work out their will.”
– W.B. Yeats
It is all about the secret will of the heart, the one that stirs you awake when the moonlight caresses your sleeping form and your dreams are of shamans calling your name and giving you gifts of understanding that sparkle like the stars keeping the moon company.
You awaken from deep sleep and have to go outside and look at the sky and ponder whatever is in your heart at the time. It is here the truth is spoken; softly, a promise is whispered on the breeze coming up from the creek. It is here that we must begin our pilgrimage into the unknown depths of the seeker to find the magic of ourselves.
The last days of July are traditional times for major pilgrimages to Celtic sacred sites. Here in the mountains, trekking off to find a hot spring or place of power is less life-threatening than on your skis in the winter, and so it is in July for me.
I find my greatest peace is in the silence, in the feeling, in the joining with what is in and around me; be it man, mountain, lake, or stars, an open heart can find its home. For those with a desire for more structured celebrations, here are a few poems, instructions, and ideas you may enjoy on your pilgrimage. Where ever your pilgrimage brings you, the most important step is the first, as your heart will then lead you to places you have yet to dream of…
“Into the Mystic
Be thou a smooth way before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a keen eye behind me,
This day, this night, forever .. . “
– Scottish Journey Prayer
If you want to travel, consider:
Scotland: Iona. In Iona of my heart, Iona of my love, instead of monks’ voices shall be the lowing of cows. But ere the world shall come to an end, Iona shall be as it was.
Wales: Bardsey Island. There is an island there with no going to but in a small boat, the way the saints went.
Ireland: The Skelligs. A place for the pilgrim, a sanctuary of time, fourteen steps to nowhere, out of solid stone.
Woody Creek: The Tavern. For where souls are lost and times are hard come the answers the spirit demands.
I hope you take the time for your pilgrimage and find the magic in you as well as answers to some of the puzzles working their way through your mind. I will leave you with a traditional
Irish Journey Blessing that most of you will be familiar with:
” May the road rise up to meet you
And the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And till we meet again, may God hold you
In the hallow of his hand.”
Resource: Kindling the Celtic Spirit by Mara Freeman
Suggested Music: Enya, ” The Celts”