Tag Archives: deep time

Home and Away

Dear Sor Juana,

Journeys are full of home and away moments.  You are both home and away at the same time. For the act of coming home to yourself you don’t need to be away.  Invisible Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs trails appear on the landscape having been sown into the subconscious years ago lead my pilgrim steps.  There is deep time (and I have written about this previously) occasionally seeping in between the rocks, cracks and crannies. One such home and away moment recently was spent in a Roman basilica, resting place of brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius. In this lavish palace, once home to a Pope you will find generations of stories laid and overlaid and each breadcrumb you follow will take you down deeper.

In Rome, St Clemente Basilica’s  will lead you under ground to discoveries all the way back to the first century. There you find remnants of a home fed by a still functioning fresh water spring, and is the foundation for the religious community finding refreshment through their faith. At the same time the living museum above is drenched with incense being dispensed by bejewelled thurible’s being held by bejewelled princes of the church.   A smoking ceremony of long past to cleanse and bless the place of worship. This night the feast of the brothers  is celebrated and more than a millennia of history, remembered . The ancient chorus, call and response reverb up and down the crypt sung by the faithful.  It is not my home though and I am resolved to be visiting a living museum.

Sor Juana you would have been at home here in the crypt and with all the trappings of a well-heeled court still visible in the treasures on the walls and behind glass, yet at the same time, I think you too would have felt alienated from this grandeur so far away from the simplicity and radical message at the origins of the faith and the drivers that took Cyril and Methodius to take them far from home to spread their version of good news.

I am home and I am away.


St Cyril’s Feast Day

Gregorian chant

Gold, frankincense and myrrh

Painted stone

Layers discovered below

Another above disappears

Crests and capes

Crowns adorned with rubies, emeralds, pearls

The Holy Roman Empire strikes a chord

While the founder of the firm

Dies (again) of embarrassment.

St Clemente Basilica

St Clemente Basilica


Deep Time Moments

284102_2251618859109_1507394760_32466063_7443968_nI was listening to a TED talk by Hendrik Poiner about bringing back the woolly mammoth and he mentioned our love affair with these creatures from the Ice Age. He made a number of hypothesis of way this might be so, but the one that struck me was the concept of deep time – the concept of geologic time.

In doing a little wikipedia research, and one click led to another, I was drawn to Avicenna who wrote a book of healing in the sixth century that was still being used in your time Hildegard and I wondered if you ever saw it?

Deep time connecting us beyond rock and clay.

I occasionally connect with someone that I feel I have known for generations, there being something familiar and comfortable in the space created between us and within a very short time intimacy occurs. An expression, a few words, a touch, an idea that magnetically fuses us into one single moment.  Maybe it is deep time that has connected us – we may have both come from the same part of the earth or rock formation or our mitochondria recognises each other!

I have an expectation that I will be having some more of these moments in my life as my travels start. Being on the road as a pilgrim, and even when I approach my everyday life as a journey, I discover many more people in my path that I have a deep connection too.  When I get to the land of my ancestors, I will not be surprised if, I find, deep time waiting for me as it has for aeons.  There will be single moments of connection to the rock and clay, the seascape and the landscape, the people for whom that place has been their own for generations, and for pilgrims like me who pass through once in a lifetime, like a comet.  Time could well stand still creating that most exquisite moment of intimacy where there is no space at all between the past, the present and the future.

Even when you don’t know you have a wound to heal, these moments seem to find a cut or a bruise or a festering sore that needs healing and the moment is a soothing balm and you come to a realisation that there was a closed wound within you that was benefitting from the dressing or liniment being offered by the moment. The body and soul more whole than it was before.

The Aboriginal people of the Flinders Ranges call themselves Adnyamathanha which means rock people.  The rock owns them.  It has been my privilege to be on their land many times and the deep time that they know in their very DNA is not separated by real time. Their dreamtime transcends and brings a constant intimacy with the whole cosmos and all beings past, present and future.  Perhaps I will get a taste of what Adnyamathanha know when I am in the land of my ancestors?

The separation from your homeland lasts across deep time. This pilgrimage might turn out to be a bit of heart surgery – perhaps the equivalent of a stent being put in – to keep the blood flowing and end a blockage that is currently undetected? Deep time moments of heart work beckon.

Rainer Maria Rilke writes in Turning Point:

For there is a boundary to looking.

And the world that is looked at so deeply

wants to flourish in love.

Work of the eyes is done, now

go and do heart-work

on all the images imprisoned within you.