Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Holy Wells and Sacred Islands

I didn't realise this was a holy well when I found it
I just knew it was super special.
That peninsula is inhabited by these incredibly sacred beings...
you can really feel the Spirits of Form moving in the landscape.

The day began cloudy, possibly all days begin cloudy because of the
proximity to the ocean.
That is the Atlantic Ocean. One thing about being in Kerry is that you feel held by the landscape. And by held I mean, there is something healing about the land. You don't get that seem feeling from Donegal. In Donegal these is an element of antipathy. In this part of the world, the land allows you to dream into it. That is the only way I can explain it.

Because it is so empty as well, you and the land are alone. You feel this love exuding from it. The longer I stayed there, the more I felt restored. Even though it was only the start of Easter.

There are innumerable numbers of bays all over the place

Little Skelligs
The Skellings were used continuously for almost 600 years. That's right. 600 years. Monks would stay on them in the summer. It was a community of about 20. They took their inspiration from the Desert Fathers, thinking that this was the Irish equivalent of harsh, ascetic conditions. They were not vegans. They ate birds, seals, seaweed, fish - and they also had a garden. God knows what they grew in it. Certainly not grain. It would be interesting to know what native vegs were around during that time. They made these gorgeous beehive huts which must have been as cold AF and they also sailed out to the island. What I wouldn't give to be a monk for a season. To see how it felt. Did people think they were mad, or did they respect them, giving up their lives for their beliefs. Many of them died very young - around their twenties, which I suppose is the right age to die in those days. So people say a life of celibacy and poverty, it is a very different ask these days.

Sacred to birds
Little Skellings, it isn't really little, it is quite impressive really, is home to the second largest gannet population on the planet. Gannets are very beautiful. With their pure white plummage, and lemon to chrome yellow head, their bluest eyes and that eyeliner outline, it would be difficult to find a more elegant and impressive bird in these waters. Many were carrying seaweed, which I never seen before - this it seems is because they use this to create their nests. They go great lengths to find this seaweed - I spotted a few quite close to the mainland, carrying their precious cargo back to the cliffs.

There are two sides to Little Skelling. The landward facing side is craggy and sharp. As you can see here...but the seaward facing side...

That is smooth and sheer - like some utterly clean modernist apartment block. I wonder if this is because this side has been pummeled by the winds of the Atlantic and therefore has been weathered harder, into a really smooth, pebble like texture. Millions of years - the cliffs of Kerry are estimated to be about 400 million years old - imagine, this rock could be 400 million years old. I think this is what makes you feel so loved by the land - you have this instant experience of eternity. These rocks were here millions of years ago and will be here millions of years after. The Spirits of Form, although they are remarkably uninterested in what human beings do, indeed, what any kind of life does, yet, just by being in their own way, they cradle us in their stony laps, comforting us in a remarkably detached way.

Skellig Michael
There are few birds on Skellig Michael. Because of the grass, it is a really important site for puffins. The guillemots crowd in on the few bare patches and their line up against each other, as if playing a game of Sardines.

Here are the steps cut into the cliff face and then the tiny monastic community resides right at the top. It is amazing what people will do when they get an idea in their heads. The effort that went into sailing out here, gathering supplies, making the huts. It was a real parable to me about how one must do something if you believe in it.

Those monks must also been extremely hardy and fit. As I suppose all people who lived at that time were. The entire experience has inspired me to no end. I don't really know what they must have been like, but I'd like to think that they were useful with their hands and that they were also educated in some way. Certainly able to hold their own, or at least aspire to some sort of critical thinking. Who knows? Oh i have to fill my feeders.

In many ways, in many important ways, I was looking for inspiration. I needed to find myself again. I needed distance from my life and this short time away provided that. Being alone also helped. Being able to go out into the silence and just place my entire self into the landscape. I think I experienced unconditional love for the very first time - not from a human source. There was this wonder and awe that you get when you are outdoors, but really, for the first time an unsaid connection. I also learned a terrible truth about myself.

My entire life has been about the performance. About adulation. About praise and admiration. I remember I once said, quite happily when asked, what do you want from an encounter with someone, my answer, without hesitating was, for people to never forget who I am. How self involved is that? Also maybe quite human. But I have realised that my entire life this has been a subtext. And now that I have realised it, after all this time, I can drop it. Well, I can keep it, but it would be like having a very large rock to haul around. I would much rather put the rock down. I don't want this to be driving me subconsciously, as I think that in the past it drove me consciously. In the past I had to be the best person in the room. Honestly, I don't need to be that anymore, but the sneakiness of ego, it is so clever at flying beneath the radar. I think it is important to that rejigging of my radar. This was what I was looking for. A thing which I didn't even know existed because it existed so secretly. That is the direction my life is going to take now. To live it in solidarity with my own truths - and no longer having the ludicrious burden of having to be the unforgettable or something stupid like that.

I wonder if in a few years time I will discover something else that needs discarding. A similar thing happened to me years and years ago - i think i was 33 - i discovered that i really missed the status that being me had in Singapore. It was good to admit that and no longer have it as my secret shame. That I was responsible for that. Now... this is something similar. It isn't as brutal, it doesn't feel as brutal, but it is just as important. It is actually liberating.

Here are the huts of the tour guides

Seals on the steps which the monks cut out all those hundreds of years ago

The forbidding cliffs. They would land their boats here and then
climb up.

That which is eternal

Perfect end to a perfect morning
Seafood chowder and my only pint of Guinness in the last two years
I just had to have it
Steiner said, the Exusiai spoke in the facts of Nature. I know what he means now. They are murmuring all the time, like an unheard bass line. If I can every now and then tune myself to their murmurings, the same way one can tune a piano to a tuning fork, I know I will be alright. I have no resolved to go out and walk in the mountains around me more often. I will become fit for that. That is now my tuning fork - hearing the song of the Exusiai. It is there, all the time, invisible sound.

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