This ancient window is the oculus in the roof of the Pantheon in Rome, and it allows air filled with light to fall into the otherwise dark interior of the temple. It gives the gods an eye to look down through, but it also allows their sacred light to move into and around the enclosed temple space. The word oculus itself means eye, and this gives us a clue about how windows were seen in the past. They are a way into and out of closed spaces, for air, light and energy, but not for the physical body which moves instead through doors.
To sit and watch light streaming through a window is always an uplifting experience, and the feeling of a space will change as the external light changes with the hour of the day and the season of the year. The quality and direction of light will offer many clues about where we are in time and space. Our ancestors knew this, and they constructed many ways to harness these clues, windows or portals being just one example. These tall slender sandstone windows would once have been filled with coloured glass, which would have thrown beautiful patterns across the stone interior of this royal chapel. Many of the Stuart Kings and Queens of Scotland would have worshiped in this space, including Mary Queen of Scots. As a little girl she might have been entranced by the coloured lights streaming through these very windows, dancing across the stone walls.
The English word window originates from the Old Norse ‘vindauga’. This is made from two Norse words: vindr which means wind or air, and auga which means eye. So we have an eye of the wind or air, letting the energy of air, including light, in or out of the building. We also find natural windows, carved by flowing water through stone, which offer movement between the worlds. Stones with holes were used by seers in Scotland to look into the world of magic, of the old gods and fairies, and into the future. These round windows were portals which could also allow movement into our world of healing and protective energies. So again there is a two way flow of energy, but not of the physical body. In the same way our own eyes allow light and vision to flow into our bodies and minds, where otherwise we would be enclosed in darkness. From within our bodies we sit and look out into the world, and it’s ever changing light, and the light flows in affecting our body clocks and internal rhythms.
The light we see is never the same from one moment to the next, and by taking notice of this we can come to enjoy each unique moment as it flows through our awareness. Windows can offer us frames through which we can see time passing, hour by hour, day by day. The view from this window out across Linlithgow Loch has hardly changed in the 600 years since it was a royal bedroom, and yet it changes every minute as the sun rolls across the sky. Light is timeless and yet full of time, if we know how to pay attention. Resting in an awareness of its movement, and it’s qualities we can come more fully into the present moment of our lives. We live in a beautiful flow of light which opens and closes each day, as we open and close our eyes.
It’s said that the eyes are the windows of the soul, and we should remember that those windows allow energy to flow in as well as out. We drink the world in through our eyes, and pour ourselves out through them into its beauty.
Beautiful post, it really touches me what you transmit. I feel I have a lot of windows in my head, some with imaginary light coming through. Thanks, Seonaid.
So much beauty to be found in your posts, Seonaid, in both words and photos. You definitely have a “seeing eye”. I’ve just come from your beautiful ice moon, and now this! Awesome 🙂
What a tremendously talented and beautiful gallery!
There are some profound thoughts here arising from the simplicity of the concepts.
Thank you, the best concepts start small and simple I think 🙂
Great to hear you enjoyed the photos……and of course none of my windows had any glass in them…..
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Ah what a lovely post Seonaid … I’ve enjoyed mulling over your words very much … and now
wonder whether I should take a peep through one or two of my hag stones …
Oh go on Poppy….if you’re feeling brave and adventurous 🙂
You never know what you might see!
My dear Seonaid. This post made me smile. I was so close to publishing Oculus from Pantheon picture for this challenge though my frame is less original than yours 🙂 All the rest of the pics in the post show different perspectives and views, all of them original in their way 🙂
Great minds think alike dear Paula 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my take on windows.
I’ve learned much here … especially about the two way flow of energy, which just makes so much sense, but I never thought about it that way. Love the photos, too!
I love the idea of a two way flow, so the eyes are also the windows out of the soul and out of the body, and into this beautiful world 🙂
Terrific post Seonaid – love the photos and the text, and learned a few things along the way! But what is the strange construction on the top of the final shot???
It’s an aluminium crown spire on the tower of St Michaels Church, right next to Linlithgow Palace, which replaced a stone crown like the one on St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. The whole church and spire had become unstable, and while the rest of the medieval church was repaired the tower wasn’t strong enough to hold the stone crown any more, and it sat flat topped for around 100 years. This modern spire was put up in the 1960’s and was very controversial at the time…..I love it and think it looks modern even now over 50 years later!
Flow… Life is all about flow isn’t it, opening to the flow and dancing with it
Couldn’t say it better myself Penny. We just need to keep our eyes and minds open 🙂
Some great photos here. The last one is surreal.
Thanks Suzanne, it’s a modern aluminium spire, seen through a window of the now ruined royal chapel of Linlithgow Palace. I love the way it bounces the light.
I’ve been looking at many windows on WordPress today (the game is afoot, eh?), and yours are wondrously creative. You’ve inspired me to have a go at windows myself. Thanks!
What a lovely comment, and I’m delighted that you’re feeling inspired to write a windows post too……looking forward to reading it 🙂
There have been lots of great responses to this theme.
Windows are fraught with symbolism so I should be able to come up with something to show or say about them. I have an old window in a tool shed that might inspire me.
This is a brilliant window post, thanks for sharing your images and how fascinating to learn the origin of the word, I’m glad that so many Norse words continue.
I love the mixed origins of our language, and the old roots it reveals. Scotland, as I’m sure you know, is covered in Norse and Danish words from our many years under Viking rule and immigration 🙂
what a perfectly articulate post, S 🙂
Why thank you Liana 🙂
I like that the windows Mary Queen of Scots looked at still exists. Goes to show that things can last a long time.
I love that too Colline….looking through windows and imagining who else has seen that same scene! I think they built things better in the past, as I’m not sure many modern windows will still be around in 600 years!
I think you are right about that 🙂
What a lovely, creative gallery!
Delighted that you enjoyed it 🙂
I always enjoy the way you interweave sybolism and poetic interpretation with your photographs, well done.
Thank you, and I love to read your thoughts and comments. There is so much fascinating symbolism around windows……
I’ve started collecting a few window images but not sure yet which direction I want to go with the post…
Beautiful and informative post.
I’m delighted that you enjoyed it…..windows lead us onwards into our dreams 🙂
Lovely post, Seonaid! I especiall ylike the first and the last image, well done.
All the best!
Thanks Dina, I’m always fascinated by windows and who might have looked through them before me! I was awe struck by the interior of the Pantheon, it’s patterns and shapes and the shaft of light from above……I stood directly beneath the oculus and looked upwards. The acoustics at this point were amazing!
Wonderful images, Seonaid. I love the thought that each time we look through a particular window, the view is unique. 🙂 Remarkable post as always.
It’s a great thing to remember whenever I think I might be feeling bored! I don’t know if the changing patterns and angles of light are perhaps more pronounced in these high northern latitudes……but it’s a great reminder about life’s moments always being unique 🙂
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A lovely post as always Seonaid – and another look at Linlithgow 😀
Well Linlithgow is beautiful enough and so full of interesting history that it might feature a few more times!
Good. I lived there for four years and loved it 😀
Oh lucky you, that would have been wonderful…..all that history and beauty right on your doorstep. It’s about 40 mins from our house, but it’s a trip we often make as it’s such a lovely place to walk the hounds!
Yeah it was great. Going round the loch or along the Avon with your dogs must be really nice.
Dear Seonaid. It is wonderfully conceived and written.
‘Vindauga’, the Danish says ‘Vindøje’ 🙂
Your story supports in the best way your tale of light and ‘windows’
Ought to be found in a beautiful book.
All the best,
Hanna, what a lovely comment. There’s so much more I could have said, after all light and windows are the art of photography….along with the eye of course!
Does ‘oje’ also mean eye? (sorry I don’t have a scored through O on my keyboard).
I love the way we have borrowed words from all sorts of places….and it’s possible that window came from Danish rather than Norse, we had quite a few Danes came over here!
Øje – oeje means eye in Danish 🙂
Seonaid, do you know of any descendants of the Vikings where you live?
wow, i love your pics 😀
Thanks Andre 🙂