Considering that we’d only landed on the island a matter of an hour prior to this point a lot had gone on already. This was fixing up to be a worthwhile visit already. Whatever next? As though in a form of light relief I switched my attention away from the ancient mound of the giant towards the 12th Century buildings that were the focal point for the rest of the day’s tourists. They almost seemed like light relief at this point.
With the whiff of lit incense still fleetingly scented in the environs I went into the abbey grounds to trace the other end of the ‘corpse road’ that led up to St Ronan’s Chapel. I went in search of any energetic hotspots in the abbey. Dowsing rods at the ready, and now completely uninhibited about doing dowsing in public, I made my way to the ticket booth – paid my way (five pounds sterling or so) – and entered the well-coiffured lawns of the abbey.
Hotspots in the Abbey Grounds
I find it fascinating that most of the major energetic sacred sites that have had churches built upon them (i.e. Christianized pagan sites) have a story that tells how the church had to be rebuilt several times either because it fell down or was de-constructed by spirits. The Abbey of Iona has the same tale. Unaware of this at the time the focus of my investigations was wherever the rods decided was the most energetic point. They dutifully swayed in a sinewing path towards the round stone-walled well that stood before the main entrance to the larger part of the abbey building. A well, I mused? No – the rods were playing a little game as they sometimes do. They swung towards the well’s wall, skirting it closely, and then deviated away from there to point towards a small opening alongside the main building. I peered into the opening – a small archway of stone without a door. Inside the room seemed very small – big enough perhaps to hold my tall frame and not much more.
Outside the entrance was a small stone block about a foot square. On it someone had placed a few stones. In my pocket I had a couple of stones that I had picked up from Ronan’s Church. One was red and the other indigo coloured. Seemed kind of fitting at the time, so I deposited them on the stone here, almost like I was “paying” to enter the shrine, or that they were something that I couldn’t take in. One of the two. No-one else was inside so I ventured inside with my staff. This was St Columba’s Shrine.
The small room was light enough to make out the scant decorations – Christian crosses with rather Celtic looking ‘holy’ symbols on them. A book of prayer. A wooden kneeling stool. An altar with a candle flanked by simple ornaments. The wooden kneeling stool invited me to prostrate myself in devotion. Pah! Not likely! I asked the rods to define exactly which point inside the shrine was the most energetic. Right in front of the altar they crossed. Above the kneeling stool. I turned around and sat on the stool instead, preferring to face the light and greenery of the outside space than to lose myself to the dead space of the wall and to mimic the many people who had been in that shrine before me. I would do this my way.
I only needed to sit on the stool for a matter of a few seconds before I felt the massive upsurge of subtle energy. Oh yes indeed – this little shrine was powerful. Very powerful indeed. And the energy was wholly pleasant. Often such strong energies have a strong physical effect that can cause near nauseous effects. Not in this case. Here the energies were euphoric – clean – untainted – almost…. angelic. As I write that word “angelic”, at that exact point, my random playlist of music is playing Joni Mitchell‘s song “The Priest” from her ‘Ladies of the Canyon’ album. What an unusual coincidence!
He said, “You wouldn’t like it here
No it’s no place you should share
The roof is ripped with hurricanes
And the room is always bare
I need the wind and I seek the cold”
He reached past the wine for my hand to hold
And he saw me young and he saw me old
And he saw me sitting there
(Joni Mitchell – The Priest)
Here’s what Ross Nichols said about the quality of the Iona energies in his Book of Druidry:
As I opened my eyes after absorbing the energies I could see a figure on the low mound that was twenty feet in front of the shrine’s entrance. I was Kal, sitting on top of the mound and looking right back at me looking at him. I wondered where he’d got to! I went out to see him to tell him the news about the strongest energy spot. On the way I re-collected my stones from the stone ‘step’ outside and then I noticed the information plaque outside the shrine. It made interesting reading…turns out it was built on the ancient location of the original sacred place.
I went to chat to Kal. As I approached the mound he corrected my intended approach, telling me that it was best to enter ;along the spine’ of the mound. That made sense. The mound was shaped just like Odran’s Mound, and like Glastonbury Tor. All of these had been approached along the spine from the lowest point to the “hot spot” on the top.
- I told Kal about the shrine’s energies and he gave me that “been there, done that” look. What? “Yeah – I know about it – did you see my stone at the entrance?” Oh my word, he’d even deposited a stone in the same place as me! We’ve been doing this work too long together now. We’re starting to work in unison!! Kal he told me he was in the energy ley emerging from the shrine, and that he had been sitting on a power centre on top of the mound which had some typically unusual qualities. Despite the wind this spot was somehow windless, and it was in alignment with the Celtic cross and entrance to the shrine.
Inside the Abbey
We ventured inside the abbey, through the wooden doors in search of the silence inside. Instead we found booming voices resonating around the high stone arches and amongst the tall pillars that lines the abbeys’ interior. What? Two men were testing and talking about how to set up microphones, trying to determine the best sound depending on where people would be standing. Maybe they were setting up for some TV or radio broadcast? Either way we retreated to the courtyard area instead of dwelling inside.
Kal asked me if I could find the most energetic place in the courtyard. Perhaps he already thought he’d found one, but my rods took me into one of the darker parts of the alleyways and into a door marked “Private”. Damn! There was something behind that door. I asked the rods if there was another way to find this same energy point and they swung off to take me around to the back of the closed-off office. We opened a room that looked like it had been used for some sort of schooling purpose. There were poems on the walls, paintings, things stuck to walls, promotional posters. It was some sort of Sunday School we thought.
The rods drew me into the room and right into the centre point to cross over a chair near to a vaulted arch. Why here, I wondered. I mentioned it to Kal and then nearly jumped out of my skin! The tones! The vibration! The sound of my voice was right inside my head!! That’s why this spot was the most energetic in the abbey – it was a sonic “sweet spot”. The irony of the two guys inside the main abbey building searching for their own sonic sweet spot made me smile. Such reverberation here, in this seemingly innocuous spot.
On a flipchart we found a drawing of a labyrinth – exactly the same labyrinth that was on sale as a meditation tool in the Community Shop. Clearly, someone’s studying more than just texts here. The link between the Celtic world and the Christian seems alive and well at Iona.
We decide we’d had enough of the abbey now, and I had another place I wanted to visit before our first day was over. We headed off to the nearby hill of Dun I where I went in search of the healing pool.