Wednesday nite. Most of Monday was spent getting to Edinburgh, but I still had a couple of roaming hours. I’m in a great neighborhood, right near Grassmarket and Victoria Street which winds steeply uphill, lined with small shops with lots of character. At the top of the hill, I was greeted by the sound of bagpipes. Big sigh. Seems like someone is playing on that corner most every day and I loved it. Being at a high point in the city, the views all the way down to the water were expansive and inspiring in all directions. The sky over Edinburgh is powerful and forever changing. A dozen shades of grey moving across soft blue. At sunset, the softest rose added to the mix.
Spent a large chunk of Thursday exploring Edinburgh Castle, a vast and complex structure at the city’s peak. Saw the royal crown and scepter, and most fascinating, the Stone of Scone, or Stone of Destiny, a simple sandstone piece full of esoteric carvings. All the monarchs sit on it when coronated. In 1296, King Edward I stole it from Scotland and installed it in the British coronation throne. It was returned only recently to Scotland, but the current Queen Elizabeth had it brought down to London for her coronation. Hmmm. And oh, the complex history. The royal family members seem to have been forever quarreling, and heads rolled and wars followed one on the other. Each round creating changes in the castle itself. . .towers built and destroyed; rooms changing purpose; fortifications increasing, etc.
The views were consistently spectacular, dominated by powerful movements of the clouds, light and dark.
Today Roslyn Chapel at last. Started out with heavy rain and cold temps (I may never get used to it) but ended with delicious sunshine. The area surrounding the chapel is exquisite, valley and ridges, all heavily forested. All those beloved trees. All those shades of green. Heaven. The chapel itself is quite small, but has a sense of magic about it and profound sweetness. Virtually every inch is covered with carvings, many emphasizing the joy and fecundity of the natural world, stories, endless religious symbolism. Lots of green men. All very intentional, as anything carved from stone must be.
The builder of the original chapel and many of his descendants were leaders in the Masonic movement, and probably Templars as well. Wish I could have taken pictures to share, but not allowed. The tour guides say that their annual visitors have increased from 36,000 per year to 190,000 per year since the the movie the Da Vinci Code came out. However, they deny the existence of the fabled 6-pointed star and the mysterious door in the crypt floor.
Meditated 3 separate times in the chapel and wandered the outside as well, before feeling the journey was complete. Got the “download” for next year’s mentoring program I think, and felt like my energy had wildly increased by the time I was done. Then I took a short and wondrously green walk to the castle where the St. Claires still live. What a spot! It overlooks a deeply wooded valley and is surrounded by hills and woods in all directions. Paradise.