I awake at 5:30 this morning, pull on my clothes and join a circle of approximately 60 fellow participants in the carpark at Cluny for the dawn ceremony. The birds, who were awake long before me, are singing their greeting to the world. Among them an owl, a bird which in some traditions symbolises death and transformation. I feel blessed by its presence.
Micaela Aminoff and her team create the container for this ceremony where each one of us will have the opportunity to release the old and become filled with the new. To the beat of Micaela’s drum, we slowly proceed from the back of Cluny up the hill to the power point. I carry with me my symbolic stone and an unlit candle. I walk, aware of the person in front of me, and aware of the block which I wish to release. Near to the top, just before a portal created by two trees, is the place where our stones can be left, our blocks released. I step through into the new.
The drumming stops and a gong sounds – the first candle has been lit from the fire at the top. One by one we pass the Christ light to one another and then carry our Christ light with us as we process down the hill. At times, the wind blows a candle out, nature contriving to send the light out into the world. Turn to the person near to us and the light is rekindled.
In the lower garden, we gather once again in a circle, having left our burning candles in pots set around a central fire. We share bread and wine, seeing the Christ in each other as we do. Once again, as with yesterday, I am deeply touched when looking into the eyes of another.
We end with a joyous round of the Allelujah chant by Mozart and warm, loving hugs given and received. Delicious!
After breakfast and a shower, I join with more people than I can count for the Easter Celebration in the Hall – Awakening to the New – held with so much love, care and inspiration by Barbara Swetina and Fay Barratt. We start with Findhorn community member Auriol de Smidt offering a poem she’s written about daffodils, her words powerfully evoking the joyous image of this bright yellow flower. And then, as one body, conference participants and community members sing and dance to greet the risen Christ. Through a guided meditation, we become Mary Magdalene in the garden outside the tomb, rejoicing when we see our beloved. To live music played by Konstantis Kourmadis on the saz, Laura Shannon dances the Flowering Cherry Tree, an Armenian lyrical dance that represents the sacred masculine, the sacred feminine, the union of both forces, and the resurrection of Christ’s wisdom. This is the highlight of the morning for me as Laura’s dancing is so incredibly beautiful.
As part of the celebration today, we sing Happy Birthday to Andrew Rivett who is 60 today! Yesterday, he shared with us his poem about not knowing, about understanding that he doesn’t understand. Mary waits outside the tomb, not knowing. How comfortable am I with not knowing?
In the afternoon Jeddah Mali reminds us that our essential nature is eternally expansive, light filled and harmonious – something we often misunderstand or forget. She believes that the time is now ripe for the expression of the example that Jesus lived of bringing the conscious light of being into matter. Our next step is to move forward into higher frequencies and to retain the full remembrance of being, while existing here in form.
To help us with this, Jeddah leads us into a meditation, in which we simply focus on our breath to bring ourselves fully present, fully into being. So simple, yet so powerful. I feel myself expanding upwards and outwards and when her calm voice calls us back, I find it takes me a little while to ground myself. She leaves us with the thought that when you smile to yourself, it is a form of remembering your essential nature. And when you smile at someone else, you ignite remembrance in them.
In the evening we are treated to story, song and Gaelic chant with Fionntulach. Having lived on the West Coast for almost ten years, I am familiar with the sound of Gaelic, but the Gaelic language that Fionntulach sings and chants in is older than present day Scots and Irish Gaelic. She has a gorgeous voice, and when she finishes singing us a chant from the 9th century, I feel a deep peace inside me.
Fionntulach talks with us about the Céile Dé, a Celtic Christian tradition to which she belongs. In it she has found a wealth of practices which support the transformation of consciousness and which sees Christ Consciousness as the constant, as the consciousness that will always ask to have the truth written in the heart. The virgin womb of the heart, suspended midway between heaven and earth. She asks us to imagine being pregnant with ourselves, being pregnant with the Christ, caring for the Christ in our heart, and even more so, caring for the Christ in another’s heart…
As the evening draws to a close, Fionntulach promises us a bedtime story, an ancient legend about Brida (Brighid). How she was exiled from Ireland as a baby, with only her mother’s blue mantle for protection, and came to be raised on the isle of Iona by the Druids. As a young woman, Brida is magically transported from the highest point on the island, Dun I, to the Holy Land, where she becomes Mary’s midwife. When the baby Jesus is born, Brida wraps him in her blue mantle, in the love that she herself was wrapped in when her mother said goodbye to her and held Brida in her arms for the last time. Awakening back on Iona, Brida thinks it all a dream, until she notices that her mantle is gone. The Druids don’t believe her story at first, until Brida reaches into her heart and pulls the Christ Light out into her hand.
From that day forward Brida walks the land carrying the light. We will one day meet her and her light will kindle ours and we will burn brightly…