Sunday, September 15, 2013

Across The Ayre - A Magpie Tale

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Our Company

The Ruins

Approaching The Isle

The Map

Near St. Ninian's
Across The Ayre

We found treasure there.
Digging into the ruined
walls already old,
older than father
and his father too, blinded
by the white cloudy
stone that some suffer
so that he shuffles slowly
wherever he goes,
we found the silver
and the hermit Culdee signs
that tell us truly
we are on the old
straight track that runs through the notch,
and straight through us all.

‎September ‎15, ‎2013 7:33 AM

More than legend but not much more, the presence of St. Ninian throughout the Eastern lands of the Picts is commemorated in dedications up and down Scotland and into the Islands above. So too the Culdees, the Céli Dé (God's Companions), who were originally members of ascetic Christian monastic and eremitical communities of Ireland, Scotland and England in the Middle Ages.

Celtic Christianity in this form was maintained by the laic devout prior to the reach of Catholic Rome but certainly after the departure of the old Roman Empire from all the lands. The Pax Romanum never reached beyond Hadrian's wall in the north of England in any permanent way. The Pictish peoples were far too fierce and brooked no masters while the logistics of maintaining Roman presence was far too tenuous and fragile that far north.

However, as all the signs left behind demonstrate, the later Christianised Celts were able to change the landscape, and still later the monastic organizations of the Roman rite enfolded them in a stabilized canonical structure. The Céli Dé disappeared, leaving behind only vague references. As well, St. Ninian's dedications are too widespread for him to not have some reality. He was said to have been educated in Rome and to have established himself in Whithorn. He was not Culdee. They came to Scotland later. Of Whithorn, it is said: The town was the location of the first recorded Christian church in Scotland, Candida Casa: the 'White [or 'Shining'] House', built by Saint Ninian about 397.

The Cross of St. Ninian


  1. Deep, knowledgeable and not all that far from brilliant...

    1. Just a few minutes of research on this Sunday morning...

      Thanks for saying so.

  2. I leave you Blog a wiser person than when I came! Can't say that too often! LOL :)

    1. Cataracts came up because they are uppermost in my mind these days. I am invited to clean up the mess inside my left eye in the vitreous body, a mess caused by an erupted subretinal hemmorhage. I have been blinded by that bleed and the vitreous humor is so contaminated that what little peripheral sight is left to me is hopelessly fogged. The catch...if I accept the operation I will also accept another in perhaps a year's time to remove the guaranteed consequence of disturbing my eye this way - a surefire cataract which will develop because the vitreous humor will have been replaced by inert clear fluid. The specialist says, the cataract is a certain consequence, not just possible.

  3. By the way: Tombolo is the Italian and Ayre comes from the Old Norse eyrr and is an equivalent name. Since Norway is a short hop from St. Ninian's and is actually closer than is London to it, I chose this name for the wave deposited sand and cobble link of island to island.

  4. Aw, I love the history you have shared! Feels like we were there. Thanks!

  5. Beautiful journey back into history Chris! One may never realize that a place familiar can be full of interesting finds. Wonderful write!


  6. killer last two lines....brilliant

  7. I owe a great deal to Google which I find ridiculously easy to use. I have not yet figured out how to get Google to actually write for me. Have I said yet how lazy I am?

  8. I think this is such a marvelous place with a treasure of a story behind it! Great post.

  9. Very nice. I like the additional pictures, new views of places that are "older than old."


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