The Sacred Isle of Iona
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
The ways of the spirit are unknown. It seems that the more one aligns with one’s higher self and let go the need to control life the more unexpected and positive things will manifest. I have recently let go of many things, and the Universe is now filling the empty spaces with plenty of delightful surprises. Once surprise was my trip to Iona. I had no idea that I would be visiting this very magical place as part of my short visit to the Findhorn community recently. I just suddenly found myself packing to spend a week on the Isle of Iona, in the Findhorn Foundation retreat centre called Traigh Bhan with remarkable people.
Most of west Scotland is very beautiful, wild and feels wonderfully rough and many parts of Scotland are very grounding in their energies. The Isle of Iona is, however, a very different place. From a mundane point of view, Iona is just a tiny island off the southwest coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. Iona has a shop, Abbey and a handful of houses and a lot of sheep. But something profound is happening from a spiritual point of view on this tiny island.
The foundations of Iona are ancient – its bedrock is from the Precambrian era (meaning it was formed well over 500 million years ago) and it carries ancient energies on its foundations. Three interesting rocks form the foundation. One of them is the Lewisian Gneiss which is one of the oldest rocks on the planet. Its age is a whopping 2.9 billion years, and Lewisian Gneiss is rarely visible on Earths surface. The bedrock of Mull, which is opposite Iona, is only 300 million years old, so it indicates that Iona’s foundations are ancient.
The second fascinating mineral that can be found there is the Greenstone or Serpentine. These can easily be found on the beaches of Iona, often small pieces but beautiful. Greenstone has many names as any favourite children would have. It may be called Mermaids Tears or Columba's tears. Some call it even as the Druid Stone indicating a more ancient connection with healing and magic. I feel the connection to Druids and ancient rituals through these special Serpentine greenstones.
The third interesting mineral is one of the true marbles found in the British Isles is the Iona Marble which contains Serpentine. Iona Marble has beautiful green veining making it an extraordinary stone indeed. It can still be seen in some churches in southern Scotland and was one of many marbles used to decorate Westminster Cathedral in London for example.
Iona has always been an extraordinary island throughout history. Lots of spiritual activity has taken place on that island through many traditions. When I looked at the OS map of Iona, it revealed interesting names such as “cnoc druidhean” meaning Druids hill (translation from “place names of Argyll” by H. Cameron Gillies). This name is clear evidence of Druids presence on that island long before the arrival of Christianity. Iona was, and perhaps it still is, one of the most sacred places for Druids and many spiritual seekers. Druidry.org website has indeed a beautiful poem about Iona which ends in the following line:
On Iona, one finds the Rainbow which bridges Heaven and Earth.
Columba, who was an Irish Christian, arrived on the island on the year 563 with the idea to create a Christian monastery there. The Druids who occupied the island at that time tried to prevent this, but in the end, Columba managed to create a settlement in Iona and converted most of Scotland and northern England to Christianity having Iona as his base.
Monks from Iona created the Book of Kells and founded the monastery of Lindisfarne in Northumbria. The island became a place of pilgrimage and royal burial. In more recent times the Iona Community has restored the medieval abbey ruins and promotes a more dynamic approach to Christianity which emphasises social justice, while ‘alternative’ pilgrims – Pagans, Druids and New Age people – visit the island to connect with the magical energies of Iona. Enjoying the Sunday service in Iona Abbey is also a beautiful experience regardless of your religion or belief system. I think it is beautiful how this small island accommodates various belief systems at the same time. This approach is indeed a way to build peace and harmony on this planet.
On my one-week-long visit to the Island, I stayed in Traigh Bhan which is a house built 1923 and later owned by Jessica Ferreira. Jessica used the house as a Sanctuary and in daily meditation worked at anchoring the energies of new or the “Christ Impulse” energies as she called them. Jessica felt that Iona was a power centre from where thoughts and radiation through inner work were sent out very potently on a planetary scale. Later on, the house was donated to Findhorn Foundation which allows this significant inner work to continue on this unique house. Daily meditations by the persons visiting the beautiful sanctuary can be very powerful.
I experienced Traigh Bhan sanctuary as a high energy place, and it certainly helps to channel or anchor higher energies into this realm. What a great sanctuary indeed. If you visit the Island, Traigh Bhan is open every Wednesday noon for visitors for a short 20-minute meditation and perhaps a cup of tea. Ask directions from the Findhorn Foundation.
The Abbey on Iona is also an exceptional place. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe similar to Glastonbury Abbey. Nowadays Iona Abbey is home to the Iona Community, an ecumenical Christian religious order, and remains a favourite site of Christian pilgrimage today. They focus on the teaching of Christ indicating yet another link to the special Christ Consciousness on Iona. When I joined the Sunday morning service in the abbey, it indeed was a powerful experience. When I stepped into the abbey, I could feel and experience Christ Consciousness energy very potently. It seems Iona is a magical cauldron for Christ Consciousness and this is something Jessica Ferreira had identified and worked on earlier in isolation. The Iona community is continuing this work today along with the meditation work Findhorn community is doing.
For me, the Christ Consciousness is the successful merging of the masculine and feminine energies within a person. This process is called the Sacred Marriage which is marrying your feminine side with your male side. Once a person can successfully do that it ignites new energy, the Serpentine or the Kundalini energy which then has the potential to enlighten the person.
I don't believe it is a coincidence that the Greenstones are called Serpentine. I am sure Druids were fully aware of the unique energy, and they were aware of the Sacred Marriage and its enlightening force. In many cultures, the power of the serpent represents the life force. This force remains dormant within at the base of one's spine in the sacrum until it’s ready to move. The awakening of the life force, the rising of the serpent or the kundalini energy is the final alchemy that awakens one's heart and entire being.
This awakening equals to Christ Consciousness for me. In the Runic knowledge, this energy is represented through the rune Wunjo which means divine joy. I believe this is the same thing what Rumi is talking about in his famous poem:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.
Our heart is a timeless and sacred place that connects us with everyone and everything else. The field of the heart is the field beyond right and wrong. When you connect with this field and experience life outside dualism (right and wrong), one experiences pure unconditional love. This unique experience fades away the false self and the sense of separation, and this is what Rumi talks about when he says “each other does not make any sense anymore". Once you manage to be in the Field of heart, it allows the healing magic of Christ to take place. The Druids in the Isle of Iona certainly knew this.
It is the sacred, secret heart within you which is the Gateway.
This gateway is also in Iona as it is within you.