Ynys Lochtyn in Cardigan Bay is a tiny island that has broken off from a long spit of land, reachable only at low tide.
The land swoops down dizzyingly from the heights of a hill above, on which there was once an ancient settlement known by the incantatory name of Pendinas Lochtyn.
|The islet is veined with white quartz|
Veins of white quartz ripple through the rock of the islet, marking it out as a threshold to the Otherworld. It’s not hard to imagine a line of shadowy figures from the past processing
down to the island from the hillfort perhaps to cast something out to sea: an offering perhaps? Or the body of one whose time has come to take the Journey of the Long White Sails?
I walked along the coast path last week, gazing down at Ynys Lochtyn in hopes of seeing the pod of dolphins that feed there. Instead I saw with the inner eye a giant figure superimposed over the western sea: a woman on a seat of stone, her blue robes dissolving into the white surf. On each side of her stood two huge pillars, the left one black, the right one white.
She was of course the High Priestess as depicted in the third card in the Rider-Waite tarot, enthroned between the two pillars of Force and Form which uphold the world of duality. On the card a veil is stretched between the pillars, affording a glimpse of a twilit seascape behind. Sky and sea are the same dim blue colour, because it is the place beyond duality where there is no light or dark: the Great Cosmic Sea, the vast ocean whose tides set the worlds into motion.
In Dion Fortune’s novel, The Sea Priestess, she is brought to life through the mysterious Vivien le Fay Morgen, a skilled adept who believes herself to be a reincarnation of Morgen le Fay.
In trance, the goddess speaks through her :
I am that soundless, boundless, bitter sea.
All tides are mine, and answer unto me.
Tides of the airs, tides of the inner earth;
The secret, silent tides of death and birth.
Tides of men’s souls, and dreams, and destiny –
Isis Veiled, and Ea, Binah, Ge.
Fortune goes on to say:
In the beginning was space and darkness and stillness, older than time and forgotten of the gods. The sea of infinite space was the source of all being; life arose therein like a tide in the soundless sea. All shall return thereto when the night of the gods draws in. This is the Great Sea, Marah, the Bitter One, the Great Mother. And because of the inertia of space ere movement arose as a tide, she is called by the wise the passive principle in nature, and is thought of as cosmic water, or space that flows.
She is called by many names by many men; but to all she is the Great Goddess – space and earth and water. As space she is called Ea, parent of the gods that made the gods; she is more old than time; she is the matrix of matter, the root-substance of all existence, undifferentiated, pure. She is also Binah, the Supernal Mother, that receiveth Chokmah, the Supernal Father. She is the giver of form to the formless force whereby it can build. She is also the bringer-in of death, for that which has form must die, outworn, in order that it may be born again to fuller life. All that is born must die, but that which dies shall be reborn. Therefore she is called Marah, the Bitter One, Our Lady of Sorrows. . .
Likewise she is called Ge, for she is the most ancient earth, the first-formed from the formless. All these is she, and they are seen in her, and whatsoever is of their nature answers unto her and she hath dominion over it. Her tides are its tides, her ways are its ways, and whoso knoweth the one, knoweth the other.
When I sit in vision seven miles away at home, I sometimes face towards the West and attune to this great being. Sometimes she has words to say, sometimes she silently leads me to her Temple of Healing in the deep waters below Ynys Lochtyn. This is Land-under-Wave, from which I return purified and refreshed. In my vision she holds a silver chalice like the Moon. The black and white pillars become two streams of spiritual power flowing down from the stars. One is Love, the other Wisdom. They converge and pour into the chalice of the soul and all is perfect peace within and without.
|Ynys Lochtyn Sunset|