The following series of posts recounts the tales of our adventures on the island of Iona in the Hebrides in the west of Scotland. We went there for the Autumn Equinox. Of course, my tales will be primarily from my perspective as Kal has his own stories to tell, and amazing they are too. Of course, we journeyed together so our stories intertwine to some extent. Where Kal acted as a foil or sidekick I will include his aspects, otherwise you’ll get predominantly mine.
Scotland sticks in my mind for many reasons – I used to live there as a small boy, I love the mountains (they are my Air/Sky image for elemental meditations) and I hate the weather (muggy and midge-ridden in summer, unbearable wind and rain in winter). However, despite my reservations I had two necessary goals that Iona seemed to be the perfect place to satisfy. These were:
- To discover the quest or task that would keep my busy for the next eighth of the wheel of the year, and
- To learn more about an unidentified energy form that I had found at Karnak Temple in Egypt, and which I had subsequently map-dowsed as also being present in Iona.
One ferry, two ferries, three ferries, more
The first ferry is from Oban to the island of Mull. Oban is a lovely little town that deserved more time, and as we pulled away on the ferry I saw a rounded hill behind a castle on the shoreline and I made a mental note that I needed to come back this way again. There was something about that hill….The tourism tagline at the moment is “It’s closer than you think“. It’s not. They lie. I thought it was about a five and a half hour drive and I wasn’t far wrong. And we live in the North of England. From anywhere else it’s even farther. The tagline should be “It’s further away than you’d like, and then a wee bit more – but it’s worth it (if it’s not raining, which it usually is)”. Truth in advertising? Not likely. Not catchy enough.
The sun shone and we were able to stand on deck watching the waves churn into spume below the boat’s keel and the seabirds wheel and whirl in our wake. The rising mountains of Mull were a formidable but fascinating prospect for the drive across the island to Fionnphort where we would catch our second ferry – this time to the tiny island of Iona. The drive across Mull was idyllic. Rarely have I seen such beauty. Firstly over the mountain passes, then the road by the lakeside became picture postcard perfect. All too soon we were at the tiny ferry terminal and ready to board the ferry to Iona. So I left my staff behind in the tea room on Mull.
Of course I had to go back for it on the ferry. I can now say I’ve been to Iona twice. Settled and with staff, we were ready to begin our island adventure. We started at the first feature to make an appearance – the Nunnery next to St.Ronan’s Church.
I would say that what happened next was a perfect introduction to the uniqueness of this island, and it set the tone for the whole set of adventures that followed.
Amid the pink granite lustre of the enclosure’s walls I located a recumbent stone with a hole in it. I have no idea what the stone was originally, but now it was a power centre that was suitable for me to sit on and meditate. Sunny day – why not? Within minutes of connecting, protecting and expecting I was in the right state of mind. Ronan…where did I know that name from… Ireland … Kilronan….
I loosed the thoughts out into the aether – a clear mind was needed to be receptive. All further thoughts were banned. I relaxed again. What would come up next, i wondered? Dammit! Meditation’s difficult…. more silence.
My mind’s eye was filled with a rising sea of colour. Tiny filaments of sparking energy bound themselves together into a woven tapestry of bright pink. As each spark faded it left a curtain of fuchsia colour in its wake, building layers upon layers of denser fuchsia colour until my whole vision was shrouded in a single hue.
Of course what I was seeing was a product of the sunlight, the bloodflow in my eyelids and the reflection of the red granite in the walls around me. Wasn’t it? The fuchsia fire sparkled and crackled like vibrant flames or spouts of electric reds, purples and all colours in between. I sat amazed at the growing culminating wash of mesmeric colour hues. In my mind my attention was placed only upon the colour. No words, no meanings, no thoughts. Just colour. Know the colour. Remember the colour.
This, the fuchsia, was my information, the data with which I should work. I waited patiently now. Perhaps an explanation would follow? A vision was forming of a body with chakra points at the edges of its aura….
Your root chakra is red. Your crown chakra is indigo. In the centre, the mixture of these two is fuchsia. The energy of this place is fuchsia.
The union of red root chakra and indigo crown chakra produces the colour fuchsia. What an interesting thought – I had never considered it explicitly before, yet I always knew this. This island of Iona – it’s energy was of the vibration of fuchsia. The energy signified UNION – the union of the ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ energies. I use “lower” and “higher” in the sense of describing their placement in the chakra schema, it is not an indication of their value.
Nature provides confirmation
One of the enduring principles that I work with is that, if you are journeying on your spiritual path, and you are paying attention, then Nature will provide you with the clues that confirm your intuitions. Nature will provide you with the feedback you need to know you are on the right path. I stood up from my meditation and leaned on the wall in idle speculation, contemplating the vision and the information. I looked over the wall straight at a huge fuchsia shrub in front of me. I turned my head to the right – there was a sign about the Heritage Centre painted entirely in fuchsia pink. Well, here was my conformation!
Later I would know that fuchsia was all over the inhabited parts of the island! At this point I had only just stepped foot on the land and this was our first stop.
The Union of the Lower and Upper
Some background required to add the conclusion to this post. I have been listening to a podcast by Santos Bonacci talking about the same historical union as a union of the lower and upper minds, i.e. the spiritual-directed mind and the material-directed mind. He was describing the work of Thomas H Burgoyne and George Carey in this matter, both of who have written some interesting books about these concepts.
In essence the idea that Santos was preaching was that there is a biblical recognition of two sides to human motivation – the Rams and the Bulls. The Rams are those who are symbolised by the Aries zodiac sign. Or is that the other way around? Never mind. The point is that those with an Aries mind focus on the higher aspects – spiritual endeavours and paths, shamanic journeying, the immaterial, interactions with the hidden intelligences, etc. In contrast, those with a Taurean mind focus on the lower aspects – materialism, the senses, the physical. That was the rough distinction between the two. Therefore, his theory went, you can find references to “bull worshippers” in The Bible, and these people were those who were not ready to embrace the spiritual. Those symbolised by the ram were of the higher mind – in touch with God, if you like. Directed by God, you might say.
To bring this back to my own work at this time it struck me almost immediately, as I stood contemplating the fuchsia union energy, that this was symbolic of a union between the two minds – upper and lower. It was the middle way – the Druid Path – the union of these seeming opposites. Here was an opportunity to use the energy of union to abolish the distinction between lower and upper, to unite the physical and the metaphysical. This was the energy of druidry itself, I might dare to suggest!
Then one final revelation came to me. I had recently read a book by John Matthews in which he suggests creating your own sigil shape to use as a meditation for connecting yourself to the Sidhe – the faerie folk. I had done this – connecting The Otherworld of the Heavens and the Underworld of the Earth using my sigil – for several months with great success. This sigil symbol was based on two forms – a spiral that forms a curling horn shape, and a T-shape with a curl at either end. The ram’s horns and the bull’s horns combined. It was the same symbol of union. I had just never thought of it in that way until now.
I had been on the island of Iona for less than half an hour. In that time I had received probably one of the most compelling and insightful revelations about my work and my relation to the energies of my body and the land. All the thoughts of several weeks and months had managed to combine in one moment, one colour. I am now a huge fan of fuchsia pink! I still had the rest of the weekend to go. What on earth would happen next?