Reflective Isle

  
Floating somewhere off the western coast of Scotland, and lapped by the salty sea, an enchanted isle drifts. Sometimes shrouded in soft mist and clouds, sometimes revealed by light, it captures the heart and lures us closer. There are many old tales of the voyages of brave heroes and saints who took to the waves in search of the treasures of the magical otherworld and its fairies. Perhaps this is Tir nan Og, the fabled Land of Youth where spring hides from winters grasp, and Angus Og sings to the birds of the love in his heart….

But don’t wait too long, in a moment the tide will turn and the light will vanish and with it all the magic. Go now in this moment as the thought flows through your head trailing magical threads in beautiful patterns among the paths and waves of your mind.

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Beautiful Death

  
Death, a place feared by most, is given a beautiful home here beneath the sacred mountains of Skye. Lapped by the eternally shifting tides and glittering waves of the ocean, and folded softly beneath a buttercup sea. The soft green quilt of the earth tucks in thousands of years of ancestral bones, which lie together in the good company of  each other. They whisper together through the restless leaves of the trees, moving between this world and the next, carrying their wisdom to share with those who would listen. The carved stones mark only the fresher layers of the people who have passed through life in this corner of the earth, and they rest now among kith and kin. What a mountain of stories and knowledge lie here in the flower mound of bones. What a beautiful place of death.

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Wild Mountain Calling

  
Wild mountains called out to me, and pulled me in confusion to their feet. Pools of sea camomile covered my toes, filling the air with the heady scent of sleep, while soft purple clouds drifted in halos around their summits. The stories of Skye fall freshly woven from these slopes, and today the wild geese reminded me of the Norse princess sleeping eternally at the soft peak of Beinn na Cailleach. She listens still to the whispered prayers rising from the glens, granting sweet summer puddles of honey and heather. Tiny bursts of apricot light gave fleeting highlights to the already dramatic landscape, and somewhere behind me the sea whispered of the past and the road home.

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Infinities Pier

  
Walk to the piers end

Where infinity calls out

Dive in and let go
Summer will wash you

Free and sunkissed freckles rise

On hot apple cheeks

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Blossom Skirts

  

 Fairies underskirts

Springs rich froth of soft beauty

Falls each day aching

 Snow petals tumble

Swirling fleeting beauty past

Into strong green growth.
  

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Symbolism of Doors

  
Doors hold the essence of mystery, seperating two distinct areas, keeping things apart. They are a barrier, a boundary, which must be negotiated, before the threshold can be crossed. The mysterious beyond is hidden from sight by the closed door, and some sort of action must be taken before the otherside becomes visible and available to us. The closed door is full of potential, for anything might lie beyond, as yet unknown and unseen. Yet the closed door may also be limiting, preventing us ever gaining access to its hidden contents.

  
Sometimes gaining access may be as simple as approaching and turning the handle, but perhaps the door is locked. Then we need to knock or ring the bell and negotiate with the guardian or keeper of the door. Saying the right words, or holding the correct credentials will then secure our passage. This theme recurrs in countless fairytales and myths, from Ali Baba to Cuchulin. Belonging to the club or group which lies within, or paying the doorkeeper might also secure passage, but some doors remain subbornly closed, unless you hold the key.
  

The doors may remain closed to protect those who live within, or to maintain a secret, or to keep a space sacred and to keep out the profane. These nunnary doors are heavily fortified, and their protective powers are boosted by the stone guardians watching from above. Lions, bulls and flames are frequent guardian symbols found on and around doors, adding to the protective qualities of the barrier. 
 So when we face a closed door, we face a choice. What action will we take? Will we turn back defeated by the barrier,or will we push forwards and attempt to gain access? The nature of the door itself, and its guardians may well shape our choice, helping us decide if we will feel comfortable with what lies beyond. The symbolism of a door closing on us, is one of an opportunity fading, of a potential now lost to us.. That way no longer lies open to us without negotiation and effort.

  The symbolism of a door opening to us, is one of exciting new potential. The block which stood before us has now been removed and we are free to move forwards, and to cross the threshold into something new. We are invited forwards into change, with nothing to negotiate except the transition of one place to another. The guardian of the threshold is welcoming us forwards. Change beckons us with open arms.
  So the door is protective guarding the doorway, denying or allowing passage through from one place or one state to another. The symbolism of the door is closely bound with the symbols of doorways and thresholds, and of keys and locks, hinges and handles, bells and guardians. The door itself either allows movement forwards or prevents it, and in this way we can see the door as a symbol of duality, as it is either closed or open, locked or unlocked.
The root of the English word door lies in the Sanskrit word Duarah, which means two doors or gates. From this comes the Greek Thura, the German Tur, Middle English Dure or Dor, Old Norse Dyrr and these all mean door. We also find the Gaulish Doro which means mouth, giving us an interesting image of the lips as double doors to our mouths and the words beyond. A guarded way in and out of our bodies.

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Sacred Skye Mountain

  

Away across the sea to Skye lies a mountain sacred to the ancient veiled earth goddess, the Cailleach. This sacred peak rises behind Broadford, and carries many legends, while she watches over the lush green glen at her feet. Norwegian princesses and nursemaids to kings are rumoured to lie resting at her cloud brushed summit, stroked by the fresh cool winds from Norway. She often holds a final streak of snow in spring, long after the other nearby mountains have shed their winter coats. The Beinn na Cailleach is an ancient mystery indeed, and she guards the holy glen of Chille Chroist, where the bones of the people of this land lie sleeping beneath a moss green mound. This photo is taken from the top of the fairy mound, which stands at the head of the fertile sheep filled glen. 

  
The Loch of Cill Chriosd (Christ’s Church or “Kilchrist”) lies at its heart, and you can see the slopes of Beinn na Cailleach rising behind. Once inhabited by a fierce black kelpie, the waters were blessed by Saint Mael Ruba, and the water beastie fled. The location is thought to contain the bones and heritage of Christian worship dating back to the 7th century. Now its congregation is mostly black faced sheep, and its choir made up of small song birds.

  
The now ruined church is surrounded by grave stones which have been wiped almost clean by the passage of countless hundreds of years of cold snow filled winds. Only lichen and wool can now be read, while others yet hold onto tantallising clues and marks. An ancient boar carved stone whispers tales of the almost forgotten Clan of the Boars. The layers of history lie deep around this glen and the sacred mountain slopes of Beinn na Cailleach.

For all my fact lovers, these photos were taken around Cill Chriosd (Christ’s Church or “Kilchrist”) a ruined former parish church of Strathaird, on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Dating from the 16th century, it replaced an earlier 7th centuary Medieval church on the same location, and was used until 1840. It lies on the B8083 Broadford to Torrin and Elgol road.

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