Last day: Time with good friends. . .and the River Thames
Thursday, October 26, 2023
One more precious (and sometimes sunny) day at Kew Gardens. I am so so happy there, in deep love with every tree, plant, flower, bird (lots of ducks and swans), pond and blade of green green grass.. .etc.!!!
Today, my last days deeper into London proper to meet friends Eleanor Laird and Frances Knight. Tea at Fortnums (yes!) and a visit to several galleries. If I’m with Frances, it’s going to be an art day! All three of us were art students way back when, but only Frances became professional and never waivered.. It truly is dharmic for her.
Flying back to Santa Fe tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
I forgot to share Saturday. I went to the Rock of Cashel, a beautiful castle (or its remains) that sits high above the surrounding countryside and can be seen for miles all around. It radiates power and authority, as I’m sure it was meant to do. Something about the architecture caught my heart. In fact, it felt strangely familiar. It was once the home of the Kings of Munster who fed directly into Ireland’s lineage of Great Kings. I am inexplicably intrigued by Bryan Boru, one of the most renowned, and have been since I first heard of him. Like many of the Great Kings, he was crowned at Tara.
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Tuesday and I’m back in sunny (for now) London. My last 2 days in Ireland were by far the best, especially Sunday. In the spirit of vast Irish hospitality, I was treated to journeys to the ancient ruins at Newgrange, Knowth and Tara by a new friend, Hilary, a friend in turn of Mary Langdon. (We became good friends in maybe the first 10 minutes and I would hope to know Hilary forever!) First, especially on Sunday, the weather was endlessly sunny and the skies the clearest blue.
The cairns, the burial chambers that are thousands of years old held so much Silence and Light. They were surrounded by 100s of petroglyphs, especially spirals of the kind you can find all over the southwest. Spirals are journey symbols and these spirals were talking about a journey home. In SW terms, home meant to the stars, to this or other galaxies. . .or dimensions. . .etc. I felt like I was in another world entirely. Like Chaco Canyon, they are built to align precisely with the movements of the sun and mark the solstices. In fascinating ways, they were able to engineer the structures to channel the sun at these most important days through narrow openings and right into the cairns. A world within a world. Then at Newgrange, we were able to walk into a the cairn and its inner chamber. Of course, I would have loved to sit and meditate there for hours. But even a brief time was a gift. It was designed, again, to allow a shaft of solstice sunlight into the chamber, which was clearly built for ceremony. It had 4 side chambers with altars and huge stone bowls. At one point, the guide turned off the electric light they had installed so that we could experience the total darkness—and then the gradual entrance of the sunlight as it must have been thousands of years ago. There was huge subtle Light (that is, not man-made) pouring in from the capstone above and I wondered if something had been built into the structure, like the series of uninhabited rooms at Chaco that reflect and maintain the underlying energy grid that is there. The guides said no, only layers of rock and earth. But something was there. . .
Built high up, both sites have a view of the entire surrounding area, which is gorgeous. But it must also have been one way to enhance the ceremony that was done there and inspire the people.
Final part of a glorious day—back to Tara—this time in full sunlight. Tara, among other things, was the site of initiation and crowning of the High Kings of Ireland. Again, built high up with a full sweep of the land, it is said that Tara, Newgrange, Knowth and similar smaller sites are all connected energetically, with Tara at the center of things. Such deep peace there and the power of Silence and the nourishing and strengthening gifts of the land, enhanced no doubt by centuries of ceremony.
I do feel changed by it all, but am still integrating. First thing I have noticed, tho, is a huge huge sense of freedom and completeness with all things to do with life on Earth.
More later on Saturday’s events, but this was definitely the grand climax of the trip.
Photos later. . .
Friday, October 20, 2023
Heavy rain all day today. All my prayers for rain in Santa Fe this summer seem to be coming to fruition only now and here in Ireland. Despite the cold rain, wind and thick mist—I made my first visit to Tara and Loughcrew. I would have loved to sit there and just be in both places, but rain and mud cancelled that idea. But still, even with all that, especially at Tara, I could see/feel at last some of the great Light and Love pouring out of the land. The tour guide saved the day. Another wonderful Irishman, awash in history and stories delivered with great enthusiasm. I wish I could remember even half of them. Both yesterday and Tuesday, I was impressed by strong parallels between Lakota stories and spiritual traditions and ancient Irish history. Also one piece of information some of you may enjoy—The Gaelic language has been fed by both ancient Sanskrit and—wait for it—the ancient language of Kazakhstan. No kidding!
The sun did come out for awhile on Wednesday afternoon, revealing the glowing green glories of the Emerald Isle. We drove through some lush and gorgeous countryside and visited the exquisite grounds of Fore Abbey. Photo below.
Will return to Tara on Sunday, when the outlook is for sun. May it be so.
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
It took almost all of Monday to get to Dublin, alas, but I have landed well. I can walk most anywhere I want to go, which is what I hoped for. This morning a great historical walking tour with a guide rich with knowledge. He shared it brilliantly and enthusiastically in many stories, and, most appealing to me, a wild sense of humor. A guy with a well-developed sense of the absurd! Then wandered a bit, getting to know my way around. A brief tour of Trinity College, and most important, The Book of Kells. Beautiful and still overflowing with the skill, focus and profound inspiration that created them more than a thousand years ago. And finally, the ancient Irish harp (once thought to belong to Bryan Boru, one of the most famous of Ireland’s high kings). I felt like I could almost hear its divine music still flowing into the world.
Rest of my journey—lots of cold and rain—but onward I go!
Sunday, October 15, 2023
Yesterday a visit to Chartwell, Churchill’s family home and the place where he wrote many of the powerful and eloquent speeches that truly helped win WWII. Chartwell is phenomenally beautiful, both in terms of location—rolling green and forested hills and a view that stretches for miles—and in the exquisite gardens the Churchill family planted there. Everything about it filled me with so much joy—and I like to think the land itself helped nourish, strengthen and inspire Churchill through dark times. Last Churchill quote you see as you leave the tour of his house: “Go out into the sunlight and be happy with what you see.”
I think the British trees and gardens are the very best part of their cultural heritage. . .OK, along with poets and writers and. . .
Off to Ireland tomorrow. Mucho rain predicted. We’ll see what the gods have in store!
Friday, October 13, 2023
Two days in various parts of central London—the first to meet wonderful artist and dear friend Frances Knight at the Tate Modern. Then we wandered through Belgravia and Mayfair, very upscale neighborhoods, to reach our destination, a lovely gallery with paintings by Christopher Baker, whose work was definitely worth seeing. Today, because I thought it would rain a lot more than it did, I wandered downtown again to go to the National Gallery. I love getting up close to the paintings and sinking into the brushwork. I got especially into Constable. So many layers of color and care to yield that lushness. Worth the visit for sure, but the area is intense! I was sooo happy to get back to my lovely, quiet neighborhood by the Thames. Tho I’ve shared photos, I don’t know that they can ever fully convey how deeply happy and at home I feel walking along the Thames. I will deeply miss being here. Tomorrow—Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s home. He is a great hero of mine and I am long overdue for this visit.
One possibly useful piece of information should you find yourself in London some day: The food at the museums and other public venues is wonderful! Healthy and delicious. I am not tempted to eat anywhere else.. ..
Wednesday, October 11, 2023
What a special gift it has been to be able to spend so much time with old friends, in addition to being in a place I love. Yesterday, yet one more trip to Kew gardens, this time to meet a friend from college whom I haven’t seen for 30 years at least. How magical that we met in London and not California, where he lives and I often visit. As it always is with dear friends, no gap in time seems to exist. It’s like walking into the middle of a conversation that was briefly interrupted. And Kew of course wrapped Dan and his lovely wife in her enchantment. So nice to share that with them.
Today, my first museum on this journey, a pilgrimage to the Tate to see Turner, master of the sky and sea and light in general. Tate is beautifully located by the river, so always a joy to visit, in addition to viewing its great collection. More art tomorrow with another wonderful friend and gifted painter, Frances Knight.
The weather is finally cooling a little and we even got some rain tonite. How I love the rain!