The official tour is over and at noon I’ll be on my way to Dublin with a few of the women before flying home on Tuesday. This pilgrimage of thirty-six women has offered quite contrast to all that silence, solitude and simplicity I experienced at the cottage for nearly five months. Was the trip worth it? Of course. Besides visiting some awesome sacred sites, I made several simpatico friends and solidified some ways of being for myself.
For one thing, I had ample practice slipping into my own space of the 3Ss. Yesterday, for example, we spent a two hours at Lough Gur and Le Grange Stone Circles, one of the largest stone circles in Ireland, and were accompanied by Noirin Ni Rain, one of Ireland's renowned singers. The space was filled with silence, quiet talk, song and the mooing of cows who wandered amongst us--Holy sounds. It was a precious time of being "alone in the presence of."
But then, back on the bus, real world chatter began again, all rather jarring to me. I would have liked to have listened to Noirin sing-- or we could have sung or been led to silence. But the leadership wasn’t there. Instead each of us had to create our own way of being. For me it was to go into my own silent space. Having had my cottage time prepared me well.
We are always on the move, so it seems. Yesterday we had three hours to move about The Hill of Uisneach, mystical navel of Ireland, the site of the original Bealtaine festival where the great fires were kindled. After hundreds of years, they are being kindled anew on April 30th. I wandered all over and found a fairy grove that reminded me of my childhood play, which of course was my work and in many respects still is. Why? Well, it occurs to me that as long as my mother is alive, I can still be a child.
Yesterday we walked among the Longcrew Carins located on four hills in County Meath. Fortunately we were able to enter one of them and view the carvings on the wall and experience what it might be like in one of the cairns as the sun enters on the spring equinox.
Need I say that sometimes it’s a challenge to experience silence on a trip with 35 women? Breakfast in silence helps and we now have a couple of tables designated for those who want dinner in silence. I was only one of three who sat there last night. Um, what does that say to me? Silence on the bus covers the continuum. Some people are quite chatty and probably do not realize how easily their conversations travel up and down the bus. I notice that those who sit in the back are quieter and more contemplative. Please, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a recluse, but, as you know, silence is important to me. I’m trying to sort out the difference between noise, chatter and meaningful (to me) conversation. Of course, I’m fully aware that chatter to one can be serious soul work to another.
Well, so much for writing. Yesterday filled with visits the sacred places: Newgrange, a burial chamber built 5,200 years old; Slane, a 13th century monastery, and Tara. the ceremonial land of the High Kings of Ireland from legendary times. Then there was the sacred pub where we had a Guinness at days end. I regret that I have no time to write more but thank goodness for Google.
I just returned from a “full Irish breakfast”. We were asked to eat in silence, a welcomed gift as far as I was concerned. The chatter of 36 women can feel like noise. The silence simplified so much for me as we leave for Lough Crew Cairns.
Into the Realm of the Goddess:
A Women’s Pilgrimage
to Sacred Sites in Ireland
Counties Meath, Kildare and Limerick
April 11 - 17, 2011
LED BY JEAN BOLEN
A pilgrimage is an inner experience, an outer journey to another world. It is an Archetype symbolizing a search for spiritual centeredness and wholeness. It captures our imagination and unconsciously pulls us to separate ourselves from ordinary life and place for an encounter with the sacred. Read More
So here I am, a woman who loves solitude, about to spend a week visiting sacred sites with 35 other goddesses. What was I thinking? For one thing, I am continually reminded that I am an eager extrovert as well as an enthusiastic introvert. I figured that after my extensive introverted cottage time, it might be good to gain some balance through a bit of concentrated time with others. Something about staying in balance. And anyway, I love to travel.
As far as the goddess part is concerned, Jean Bolen, the leader of the tour, has written extensively about Jungian archetypes. I feel I can learn much from her and from the other women. Sacred sites, be they in Ireland or at the cottage by the sea, are tools for soul work. They help with those soul questions, however you might frame them. “Why am I here,” “What is my life purpose?” “What is my purpose at the moment in my life.”
I’m planning to blog while on the trip, but I doubt the timing will be predictable. There’s a five hour time difference, and as you can see from the schedule, we’ll be very busy. At least I’ll send some pictures.
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