“…a thin place where only tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual.” George MacCloud
Jim N from Mercy Center first explained to me the idea of the thin place in the Celtic spiritual landscape. The thin place is a holy space where the membrane separating heaven and earth, the divine world from the human world, the world of the wholly unknown with that of the fully known is so thin that the two mix or flow freely from one realm
to another. Sacred sites are thin places. It is known and agreed that the island of Iona is one of these places.
Seeing, from the ferry, the full length of this small island with its ancient Abbey blending into the rolling hills like its worn rounded rocks, we knew we were approaching holy ground. For over 1200 years Iona has been a spiritual home, a place of growth and awakening.
“Iona is my heart, Iona is my love,
Instead of monk’s voices shall be the lowing of the cattle.
But ere the world should come to an end,
Iona shall be as it was.”
Iona is in truth a place away. It is unfamiliar. It disturbs mind and heart. It challenges body. Iona is beyond the known. It shakes you. Yet, Iona pulls you like the tide to a deeper pool. It turns you to another world, one of longing and seeking. Iona takes you to that other shore and allows the holy to move more freely around and within you.
“When in some future time I shall sit in a madly crowded assembly with music and dancing round me, and the wish arises to retire into the loneliest loneliness, I shall think of Iona.” Felix Mendelssohn