Wednesday, September 29, 2010


It’s been a busy couple of weeks, which explains the posts that haven’t made it onto this blog recently. There has been a lot going on. Between slogging through a Chemistry class and working a lot of hours I really haven’t had a lot of time to write. And I miss not having had opportunities to put words down. So I will work on making a dent in that here.

I recently had an experience that is difficult to describe. It was from a dream that I had that – it was as though in the dream I was totally, completely alone. I was in a place that resembled the location in the video found below this post.

Now I have never been to the Skellig Islands, and based on the photos taken, it feels to me as though I have indeed been there. But I haven’t. And I’m not entirely sure I’d want to go there, either. They are awfully stark. A perfect place for a monastery, in fact. As it is, there was an active monastery there for about 500 – no, 700 - years. I originally thought that the monks were Carmelites, but I’m not certain. If they were, it would definitely fit the austere life that they lead. The other possibility is that they were Celtic Christian monks whose influence, surprisingly, was from the east and not as much from Rome and the monastic brands originating from Europe. If this is right, then they were indeed hardy souls. I say this because, in many ways, the eastern traditions are, if anything, more austere than the most stringent western monastic traditions are.

About the only western traditions that are “tough”, for lack of better word, are the Carmelites, as I already mentioned, the Carthusians – hermits who live in community (it is an interesting paradox, but it has worked for over 1000 years) and Trappist Cistercians. And I don’t intend to demean any other religious community or order with the opinion I have. It’s just that these three, besides Orthodox monasticism, are among the most disciplined of religious that I know of. Having been around Trappists I can say from my own experience that it is true. Carmelites and Carthusians, just because of the nature of their vocations, are also quite disciplined. It is the nature of their search for God that makes this true. And I think that a community from any of these orders could make a foundation on one of the Skellig Islands, if it were possible. That said, these islands are now wildlife preserves. And being able to live hospitably on them would appear to be next to impossible.

All said, I thought this video was worth posting. The pictures are breathtaking, even in black and white. And I have always loved this song.

Watch for more as I make an effort to, for lack of a better choice of words, catch up.

1 comment:

Susie Hemingway said...

At first I was not sure you were talking about "Skellig" in County Kerry N Ireland - but I felt there could only be one place as beautifully remote as this? Although now having a thriving gannet and puffin population it would seem a 'place of dreams' although I would imagine their noise may take away some of the peace and quiet! H has visited County Kerry when doing his Masters at Queens. This piece of music is enchanting and brings calm to a weary spirit. All blessings Walt.