Today my neighbour Jan, sent me details from Historic Scotland Facebook page about Mayday and the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane. This, I guess, was spurred on from my blog a few days ago about Beltane. The article describes that we generally associate celebrating Mayday and Beltane on/around the 1st May, which was the traditional day for maidens to wash their faces in the dew on Arthur’s Seat.
But the article describes another story about Mayday in Holyrood Park. In Pre-Reformation Scotland, the 3rd May was the actual date regarded as the traditional start of summer. In the christian calendar, it was also celebrated as the Feast of Finding of the True Cross.
St Anthony’s Chapel in Holyrood Park (which is where Arthur’s Seat is – ariel photo which I took today) was the venue for great processions and celebrations on this Feast day. James III and IV were both recorded making donations to the Chapel. The usual gift was a French écu, a gold coin worth fourteen shillings in Scots currency (the equivalent of several weeks’ wages for a skilled labourer). James VI was more generous, donating two pounds and ten shillings for an altar dressed with cloth of gold.
As today is the 3rd May – I decided to explore the area of St. Anthony’s Chapel some more. It is now pretty much a ruin (main photo of this blog). Yet it stills stands prominent at the bottom of Arthur’s Seat, looking over towards Holyrood Palace.
Although, I have been there many a time, I have never really explored all the surrounding tracks. And just been in that area as our main walk.
It was super special to be there today, 3rd May, imagining the great processions and celebrations at the chapel.
Check out some of the photos below and also a plaque explaining more about the chapel. This is in a Photo Gallery, so you can click on any photo to see the full size.
Thanks Jan for sharing this and bringing such a special afternoon on our walk.
Today I’ve had a busy day. Got up reasonably early. Had fortnightly meditation group, 10am to midday, followed by my movement meditation group until lunchtime. Then headed up to Arthur’s Seat after a late lunch.
I know I keep harping on for the last few days about the yellow gorse – but it was looking absolutely stunning today. Or maybe it was because I had spent the morning meditating and was more in the moment 😉 !!
It was literally like a sea of yellow. I think I got the perfect photos of the yellow of the gorse to show you. See below (again in a Photo Gallery so you can click to see bigger):
Whilst Honey and I came down a narrow steep path, that had taken us directly above the chapel, I felt a connection with a couple of students lounging on the rocks next to the chapel. Jaime and Jackson, studying History and Anthropology. They were interested in the story I told about the chapel and the special day it was in relation to the site.
I asked them how they were finding lock-down and they said “pretty easy”.
I asked if I could take a photo of them for my blog, telling them what I was writing, They said they had wondered what ‘Day’ it was in lock-down. I guess, all you readers are very aware that today is Day 41 😉
Such a magical day at St. Anthony’s Chapel.
I’ve had lots of lovely responses to yesterdays blog. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the wee history lesson, finding it a very interesting read..
Here are some of the comments
Ivan has not yet appeared in my blog. He is a good friend of mine, who lives in Berlin. Thanks for your comment Ivan:
“Another excellent sharing. Thanks so much for doing these Jim!
Your blogs get better and better”.
Kate is my infamous friend, whose back garden/park is called ‘Kate’s Park’. Thanks Kate for your words:
“Fab blog Jim you’re really brilliant at this! x
“They’re so multi layered and interesting and honest. I really like your writing. It was lovely to see you and Honey the other day. Hopefully again soon. Xx”
She was making the reference of the conversation we had the other day when Honey and I were in ‘Kate’s Park’ and we had a chat with Kate hanging out her 2nd floor window!
No need to introduce who Fi is 😉
“I liked the 40 days history lesson!”
Aileen just got into Readers Corner with her FB Comment 😉
“2020 ; 20+20 = 40
“Good blog !”
After this mornings two hour meditation group, I wrote some reflections on where I am at in relation to lock-down. The group, helps me connect to a much deeper part of myself. I wrote:
“Today it feels like I am softening within. Softening around the edges within me. Life is no longer a struggle – there is an acceptance. I don’t feel caught or attached to this lock-down – the fear, the struggle, the challenge, the uncomfortable feeling, the…the…all the hardness. It is still there – I have ups and downs….but now I feel that I am going deeper within it.
It’s as if, I am moving beyond the surface of the ego, and connecting to a place much deeper within me. The awareness. The essence within. The place where I can be. My soul or my spirit. The deeper me. In relation to Ram Dass’ words – I feel connected to Channels 3 and 4. I am still aware of all the packaging of Channel 1 – the physical form and Channel 2 – the psycho-social elements, the struggles, the challenges, the hardness – but I am connecting beyond that – to the essence, to the awareness, to my being / spirit within”.
During the meditation group, I also started thinking about Carl Rodger’s writings about self actualising. I explored this a lot when studying to be a person-centred counsellor (it is based on the ideas of Carl Rodgers).
That was a few years ago, that I studied all this, so apologies if I don’t quote it accurately! The general idea, is that Rodgers believed that humans have one basic motive, that is the tendency to ‘self-actualise’ – to fulfil one’s potential and achieve to the highest level of ‘human beingness’ that we can.
He perceived that all living things (including human beings) are organisms striving for the best in life, growing towards a “more complex and complete development”, which he called the actualising tendency. Whatever the conditions, one is in, all organisms strive towards their full potential.
His ideas came from when he was child, looking at potatoes in his parents basement during the winter. This small article explains it simply (CLICK HERE). This plant growing from the rocks (photos next to this article, which I took today) is a good example.
This plant would have grown from a seed, between the rocks. There probably wouldn’t have been much soil and not much light. But this small seed, began to sprout and grow towards the light, fed by rain between the rocks. It struggled, but grew. The life force that helped it grow towards the light and flourish, came from what Rodgers would describe as self-actualisation.
Whatever the conditions, the small plant was able to strive to it’s full potential and grow towards a “more complex and complete development”, striving towards its full potential.
And just the same in humans, if a child grows up in adverse conditions, without nurturing, perhaps with trauma and all the many horrific conditions a child can grow up in – they will always self-actualise and grow towards the highest level of ‘human beingness’ they can.
Once adults, we still continue to go on this journey of self-actualising. It’s not, continuous, but more, in spurts as we over come challenges and hard times in life.
What struck me, was in relation to lock-down. For many of us, we are finding this so hard and a struggle. It’s a real struggle and painful. But these are growth pains. Just like when we are children, growing up, we experience growth pains in our legs as we are growing taller. What we are experiencing is growth pains!
I am sure when we get through this, we will have a jump of self-actualisation, as we move closer to a higher level of being a human.
Wow – this seems quite a long blog today. I have felt a bit of pressure within myself, to make this as enjoyable as yesterday! Maybe that is my self-actualisation, in a kind of way? 😉
It seems that this is a varied blog. A bit of history, my daily routine, a spiritual element, some theory and more deeper reflection! Hopefully, it will give everyone something of interest.
Finally, the first 7 days of my blog will be played on Deepness Dementia Radio tomorrow (Monday) morning. Narrated by myself.
So if you are keen to listen in and hear Days 1 – 7 please tune in:
Monday 3th May, 10am to 11am – CLICK HERE
If you missed them, I am sure they will be played again, before moving onto Day 8 – 14.
I must admit, that I tune into the radio station more and more. In fact, have spent the last few hours listening to it whilst writing this blog!
So as I come to the end of this blog and reflect on what I have written, I invite you to connect to the deeper part within yourself. To try and welcome the challenges and struggles of this lock-down and go beyond them in whatever way you can.
This lock-down is an amazing opportunity for us to go deeper within ourselves and connect to our deeper essence. It’s a rare opportunity, where we have to spend a lot more time away from the hustle and bustle of life. Having less connection with others.
It’s a great opportunity, to embrace it as growth pains, as we grow towards a fuller person of ourselves.
Thanks for your continual reading of this blog.
Lots of love