Although my pilgrimage is a secular journey, bearing no particular allegiance to any sect, creed or religion, it also happens to be richly laced in early Christian symbolism. For instance, as I get more deeply involved in the planning of this journey, it keeps throwing up constant references to the connection between the two saints, Michael and Mary: the embodiment of Courage, Faith and Love, the very qualities I will endeavour to emulate throughout my pilgrimage.
I daresay, Mary and Michael will continue to dominate my agenda and I am more than happy to follow this line of enquiry wherever it may lead, or crossover into other philosophical areas. For example, the notion of the male / female principle has been playing on my mind recently and I am aware that this sort of duality also embraces the Chinese philosophical concept of ‘yin and yang’, and how apparently opposite or contrary forces can actually be complementary. No more so than in the partnership with my horse, Tommy, a very tangible, physical manifestation of Yin and Yang.
- Black and White; Male and Female; Night and Day. The Yang (represented by the sun, positive, active, male principle in nature), a male ‘white’ steed – Tommy – who is adorned with black tack, ridden by a woman, me – the Yin – (represented by the moon, passive, female principle in nature), dressed in dark clothing.
Back to the Saints. I’ve just mapped out and posted the final leg, loosely following the interweaving, snaking Mary / Michael ‘serpent’ path (as outlined in The Sun and the Serpent) through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, to our destination. St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall.
When we eventually reach Marazion, Cornwall’s oldest chartered town on the shore of Mount’s Bay, we shall cross the granite paved causeway that links the Mount to the mainland and climb the Mount to the church at the top. On entering the church, dedicated to St Michael, and within sight of the tower of St Mary’s Church across the bay in Penzance, I will offer heartfelt thanks and gratitude for a safe journey, and blessings from St Mary’s church, Lindisfarne, because if we’ve made it this far, I will have achieved the ‘soul’ purpose of my journey.
(You can study the sketch plan of my route, here on the Route page. Also find out more about St Michael on a community Facebook page dedicated to Archangel Michael, the saint associated with light and healing. Or google, Mary, virgin mother of Jesus, also known as “queen of the angels” for her divine and ongoing miraculous healing work.)
- Crossing the Divide: The beach as mysterious, transitional yin and yang space
The stretch of beach in front of St Michael’s Mount also happens to be my local beach. Here we are enjoying some limpid winter light, tide out, bracing breeze.
Perfect for a little canter along the wet sand and for capturing some wonderful shadow spirit horses. This one makes us look very elongated and elegant here, more like a little jockey on top of a thoroughbred returning from the gallops! Perhaps this is the spirit of my old racehorse, Macnamara?
But not in this one…..more like a lovely chunky war horse preparing for a charge. Perhaps a warrior, helping Archangel Michael slay the serpent dragon in his war against the ‘forces of evil‘? The triumph of light over darkness.