Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, January 31, 2005

The pilgrimmage on Skellig Michael

... because they are places of vision, mountain-tops are attractive to mystics and magicians. Anyone who reaches a place of vision on a mountain will have done so through undertaking a life-threatening pilgrimmage whose effect will have been transformative. The initiatory nature of climbing can be given no better than the ritual climb performed on the holy isle of Scelig Mhichil. There, after offering and praying at holy wells at the foot of the mount, the votary climbs a steep pathway which leads to narrow chasm called The Needle’s Eye. After squeezing through this gateway, he or she then continues high above the sea on a periolous ledge called the Stone of Pain. Beyond this, the next stopping-place is called the Eagle’s Nest, where there is a stone cross. Lastly, the climber must sit upon a ledge overhanging the sea 460 feet (140m) up, to kiss a cross carved on the rock. Those who succeed in completing this pilgrimmage are respected as brave and pious individuals who will be rewarded in the next life.


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