Sacred Beginnings

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“In my beginning is my end.” T.S.Eliot
As this new year begins, we have just released the old year, and allowed it to become the past. This is a time of transition or change, and transitions always contain endings and beginnings, woven together into the eternal cycles of time and life. We tend to prefer to focus on the new thing which has begun to fill our lives, and often prefer to try not to notice the endings, the losses, the release, and yet both are vital for growth and change. These pools at Black Linn in Perthshire, Scotland are ancient sites of divination, where people would come to seek their futures. Our ancestors found times of change filled with uncertainty, and hoped that scryers or seers could find clues about the future in the reflections of these sacred waters. We are no different now, but our methods have changed, and we seek to control as much of our lives as possible in order to keep the chaos and uncertainty of change at bay.

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If we resist the flow of life and it’s inevitable waves of change, we can become frozen like this oak leaf, suspended in lifeless water. Trying to hard to control too much of our lives will do this, and it is usually driven by fear, fear of change. Our lives can become stuck, held frozen in an unproductive winter. We cling tightly to the things we love, crushing the very life out of them, all the while filled with fear at the thought of losing them.

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Yet for new things to enter our lives we must have trust, trust that the future may contain good things, and in this trust we can release the old. These waters contain layers of the past and the future, and in the magic of the present we can gaze into the reflections looking for patterns and hope.

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What can you see in the reflecting eye of the pool? The black waters of forgetfulness can work their magic, and move us forwards filled with hope.

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“In my end is my beginning.” Mary Queen of Scots, embroidered this on her Cloth of Estate while imprisoned in England.
So as this new year rolls in, give a moment to remember the old one, and be filled with hope for 2014. Nothing truly ends, it just flows on into a new beginning.

see more beginnings at the WP weekly photo challenge.

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
This entry was posted in ancient sites, Celtic, change, elemental, mindfulness, mythology, nature photo, philosophy, photos, spiritual, unconscious, weekly photo challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to Sacred Beginnings

  1. I’m always impressed because of your capacity to turn wise ideas into beautiful words and vice versa. The images of some of the stones look so attractively smooth.

  2. Liana says:

    …from the scrying pool of your fine mind….

  3. Chantal says:

    I feel like 2013 was a year full of ups and downs, from one extreme to another..some dreams came true, but there were losses, too, and they are not easy to get over.. And what you wrote in this post — itΒ΄s just exactly what I need to realize and accept at this point in my life. So, thank you for the hopeful message:)

  4. wildsherkin says:

    Seonaid, this is an outstanding post. I missed it for some reason and wish I had seen it sooner as it would have helped sooth the awful feelings of dread and fear that accompany me into every New Year. Beautifully written and so reassuring and inspiring. P

  5. Beautifully eloquent post, Seonaid!

  6. ladyfi says:

    Endings are indeed the seeds of new beginnings – well, often they are.

    Beautiful words and shots.

  7. Thank you for this profoundly thoughtful post. Finding the courage to face change is important, yet it is so very human to seek a way to avoid that very task. Blessings on you and yours.

  8. Paula says:

    Wshing you a great new beginning, Seonaid, and a year filled with good health and joy!

  9. poppytump says:

    I loved this Seonaid . Your words just flowed with me from one beautiful image to another .
    For this moment I feel I’ve let uncertainty take its ease and be released after reading …. and staring into those metallic mesmerising liquid pools …

    • That’s great to hear Poppy, and I love your own flow of adjectives describing the waters.
      It’s great to get a little break from uncertainty once in a while……glad my post helped πŸ™‚
      I trust you saw something hopeful in the waters…..

  10. Gilraen says:

    Reading this gives a certain peace and calm to the reader. I love the circular reference form T.S Elliot to Mary Queen of Scots. Lovely thoughts Wonderful pictures.

    • Ah, I think you’re the first to comment on those enclosing quotes. They were the first bones of the post, and thank you for reading, and for leaving your lovely comments πŸ™‚

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  13. Beautiful and tranquil setting! I love the calm of the water in the pools where the stone has been so shaped and polished over the years. Water is truly the beginning of all things!

  14. Hanna says:

    Magical post, Seonaid
    All the best,
    Hanna

  15. Leya says:

    Words of beauty and truth from within. And those photos capture them the way they deserve. I believe this post is one of the most wonderful I have read from you. A worthy beginning of 2014.

    • Anna Christine, what a lovely comment, you’ve made my day. This post has had such a warm response…..hope I can make the next one as good!!
      Beauty and truth are wonderful companions πŸ™‚

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  18. LB says:

    The photos are lovely, but I really love the prose. Particularly “If we resist the flow of life and it’s inevitable waves of change, we can become frozen like this oak leaf, suspended in lifeless water”. I also wrote down, on a scrape of paper, your words from the other day – “stay open to what lies around the corner”. Just a little scrap of paper that lies right on top of the hand out I give to the women I see about how much calcium they need to take πŸ™‚ yeah … whatever works, right? πŸ™‚

    • Wow, that’s amazing to hear that you have something I wrote now in the ‘real world’ on real paper…wonderful, and as you say, what ever works πŸ™‚
      Lovely to hear that you enjoy the prose.

  19. Wow – your photos are always beautiful but these are AMAZING. You’re certainly off to a good start. πŸ™‚

    • Judy, this comment has made me so happy, thank you πŸ™‚
      I was lucky with the light, and delighted how the shots turned out, but it’s always so good to hear this from others.

  20. I am slow on responding and those before me have already observed that both the words and images work nicely together. I would add that you have, once again, taken us to a wonderful place in your back yard. I have been feeling that my own little corner of the world has become rather dull. Places like Black Linn remind me of the many, many beautiful places you have taken us. I look forward to many more field trips this coming year. Thanks.

    • I hope I can keep you delighted and entertained over the coming year David. I’m certain that there is beauty where ever we are, nothing is ever truly dull as it will offer something new and unique on each visit on each day….different light and temperatures, different wind and growing conditions..even in the same place nothing is ever repeated!
      This spot is about an hours drive north of where we live, so not quite our backyard…but not too far outside it πŸ™‚ thanks for your faithful following of my posts over the last year…and for posting the most comments, you are my number one according to my stats box!

  21. You have such a knack for matching your peerless nature images with thoughtful and thought-provoking words. Delightful post, as always. I know Black Linn. I must get there before it loses its winter coat (I think I have some time yet). See you soon, Seonaid x

    • Kellie that’s another great compliment, I couldn’t be happier, thank you πŸ™‚
      I love that walk through the Hermitage, it always feels so magical, at any time of year, but that little sprinkle of snow and ice adds something beautiful.
      Now I must catch up on your delicious posts which I see have been piling up in my reader!
      See you soon Xx

  22. Inspiring and moving words, and stunning images. I just kept looking, looking, and looking. I love that! All best to you for a wonderful year ahead!

    • Now that’s the perfect comment for me πŸ™‚
      A photo which holds my attention and keeps drawing me back for more is a perfect shot in my opinion…yay! You’ve made my day Lemony!

  23. colonialist says:

    Reflections visual and verbal are all great!

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  25. The still waters are quite surreal, they make you look twice – beautiful and original

    • What a perfect comment, thank you πŸ™‚
      A slow shutter helped to enhance the difference between the flowing and the still water, it’s wonderful to hear that you looked twice….a sign of a good photo I think!

  26. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Oh and your first photo in particular has a mesmerising quality πŸ™‚

  27. Lucid Gypsy says:

    It’s human nature to wonder what the future will bring isn’t it?Especially in troubled times. There was a crazy period in my life when the first thing I would do each day was to check my horoscope, I was desperate for any glimmer of good I could find. Of course I’ve changed now and am more comfortable with whatever unfolds and so no doubt 2014 will find me exactly where I need to be!

    • I can definitely relate to that Gilly, and of course you’re right that it’s in our nature to want to know, to have some hope, when things are tough. I think this is exactly when we will look for these hints and clues, looking for signs that things might change for the better soon. Hope is a precious commodity in the face of overwhelming darkness.
      To have faith that you are exactly where you need to be is a wonderful thing Gilly πŸ™‚

  28. This is a lovely post, altogether, Seonaid, both in the writing and the images. There is some magic in reflections (the word itself has a kind of duality).

  29. Strange and beautiful photograph, Seaonaid.

  30. rondje says:

    Beautiful, especially the first looks like liquid gold! Best wishes for 2014!
    Ron

    • Liquid gold is a perfect description Ron, thank you.
      I was about to head back when the setting sun gifted us this beautiful subtle light….I love it when this happens….I might so easily have missed these shots!

  31. Ese' s Voice says:

    The variety of colours in all of the photos are beautiful but i am the most drawn to the….reflections πŸ™‚

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  33. Love the reflections.

    janet

  34. Brilliant post Seonaid, in every way !

  35. tree girl says:

    Lovely reflections in word and image.

  36. What perfect images and words to illustrate beginning.

  37. Andrew Seal says:

    A beautiful, poetic start to the year. Thank you.

  38. Such an inspirational post, Seonaid. I love your pics, and that last sentence is thankfully, so true. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, the place itself was so magical that it would have been hard not to capture something wonderful….but the real treat was the surprising golden water which appeared as the sun began to set.
      I think that last sentence is one to hold onto when things are rough and stormy, it’s helped me innumerable times πŸ™‚

  39. These are extraordinary photos even more so with your thoughtful commentary interspersed. The reflections in the water, the black and copper coloring – a source of divination, like good Tarot Cards (and much more spiritual than Rorschach Cards!). I think this is one of your very best posts, Seonaid. wow – what a start to 2014!

    • Annette, what a lovely comment, and you’re absolutely right to draw a connection with Tarot Cards. Anything which helps us to pause and reflect a little can open new understandings within us, (although I agree and I’m not a huge fan of Rorschach cards either myself.) For me it’s more about what happens within us as we search for hope and trust in the process called life….little clues and rays of hope along the way can be so helpful….be they cards, or ancient pools of copper and black water πŸ™‚

  40. Gaye Abbott says:

    Every moment of our lives is a sacred beginning….Gratitude for the powerful and magical photos Seonaid!

    • Perfectly put Gaye, every moment, every breath and new beginning πŸ™‚
      Delighted that you enjoyed the photos, and that I managed to capture some of the magic of this ancient site.

  41. A great post filled with pearls of wisdom. Great images of stuck lives, frozen in pools, you are right but letting go is about the hardest thing any of us has to do in life.
    I hope you have a great 2014. I’ve enjoyed your posts and look forward to reading more.

    • Thanks Maria, the place itself and the images fuelled the words and thoughts. Places like this feed and nourish creativity, and I can only agree about how hard letting go can be. It sounds so simple and yet it’s a struggle on many levels to have enough trust that more and better and surprising things will flow towards us and into our lives when we can do it. Trust in self, in others and their capabilities, and in the wider world and life are all keys to the process.
      Wishing you a joy filled 2014, and thanks so much for following and commenting….that’s what makes blogging great! Xx

  42. Suzanne says:

    Gosh that is a beautiful and profound post Seonaid. Those photos are extraordinary. It is like you have captured something of the magic of the place through your camera. Thanks so much for sharing them.

    • Suzanne what a lovely comment. I find this a very captivating spot, infused with a feeling of ancient times, and sound and light bounce around the deep rock ravine in unusual ways, confusing and enchanting the senses. It took these shots as the sun was sinking casting beautiful golden reflections across the pools. I was entranced by the images as I was taking them, so I’m delighted you enjoyed them too.

  43. dadirri7 says:

    Seonaid, such a beautiful moving post! I love your photographs and the ideas of flow and change (after all, that is all there is in life), the images and words “black waters of forgetfulness” speaks so powerfully of releasing, letting go, thank you and wishing you a very healthy and happy 2014, Christine xx

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