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There and Back Again

Brough of Birsay, Orkney Isles, Scotland

Brough of Birsay, Orkney Isles, Scotland Photo Credit: Janet MacPherson Moller

Standing between here and there, what do you see?

Are you traveling this year? Do you dream of getting away, escaping, having an adventure that stirs up your life and infuses it with inspiration and renewed vitality?

I encourage you to pack your bags and seek new horizons. Travel and adventure are transformational by nature. They not only introduce us to new cultures and new landscapes, but they also show us new sides of ourselves. The places we visit ask us to extend ourselves in new ways and to hold an open mind and open heart to what we're experiencing. It is during these times when we move into a new level of experience as we pass through the liminal space that bridges who we are with where we are. At these times we grow and our awareness expands to encompass more of life. When we choose to consciously travel with an open heart and open mind, our connections with those spirit beings of tree, stone and bird... with breeze, stars, rhythm, and sound... with memory, myth and legend... grow beyond the confines of our beliefs, our habits and our entrenched ways. Our lives become enriched by the subtle, mythical and ancestral landscape.

Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to the British Isles with a good friend. My intention was to connect with the subtle realms - to be guided by, and attune to the Genius Loci, the Spirits of Place everywhere we went. Sometimes I felt like I was in a liminal space - I was the dreamer, and at other times I felt I was being dreamt. There were magically dynamic moments where boundaries blurred and I felt the intense power of the mythic landscape pulsing around me. It was in these moments when the treasures held within the land became unearthed, dusted off and held close.

There are many incredible moments from this trip that I could share with you, but the one I want to share with you today happened while we were visiting the Brough of Birsay in the Orkney Isles of Scotland. My experience there left an indelible impression on my soul that will forever inspire me and remind me of the power of place. Imagine entering a world unlike anything you have experienced before. This was precisely what it was like.

Brough of Birsay, Orkney Isles, Scotland

Brough of Birsay, Orkney Isles, Scotland Photo Credit: Janet MacPherson Moller

The Brough of Birsay is an island off the northwest coast of Mainland Orkney, and the only way you can get there is by following a path through the seaweed when it is exposed at low tide - a perfect example of liminal space. This magnified my feelings of entering another world outside place and time.

Liminal spaces are pregnant with possibility. They are spaces where you meet with new perspectives and are invited to interact with the silence that dwells there in the in between.

The only signs of human activity we saw were the remains of an old Norse settlement built on the remains of an even older indigenous Pict settlement and a modern lighthouse. The sea and sky blurred, misty grey in the early morning light. Memories of the glacier and powerful tectonic movements hummed beneath my feet. Tundra plants, lichens and soft grass held on through cold, damp and howling winds, while gulls, gannets and puffins populated the cliff face, soared on the air currents and floated upon the broad ocean swells marching in from the deep, cold sea. It wasn't until we walked beyond the settlements that I felt an ancient presence, vast and deep begin to well up and fill the space around us. Standing at the edge of the cliff, 150 feet above the sea, the elemental powers rose up and greeted me. I could feel them profoundly. There I was, face to face with the Spirits of Place.

This is a place for those whose soul speaks the language of the wind, waves and rock.

You feel minuscule as you stand there entranced by the sheer power of the elements surrounding you. In that moment my soul responded to that experience, and to this day I continue to know and connect with the power of this place, able to recall all the sensations and mystical details.

Brough of Birsay, Orkney Isles, Scotland

Brough of Birsay, Orkney Isles, Scotland Photo Credit: Janet MacPherson Moller

Journeys of this nature change you. They speak to your soul over time as you carry the landscape you traveled through with you for the rest of your life.

Have you been on any adventures lately? Have you experienced places or cultures that made you question reality or that have expanded your awareness? Look back on those times when you were able to travel and have heart-opening and mind-expanding experiences. They don't have to be trips to far distant shores, but could simply be within your own country or region. Look at the people and places you met on your travels. How did you grow and change by traveling to these places and meeting these people? What joys and challenges did they bring to your life? All these things are a part of you now, they are a part of your unique energetic signature, and that my friend, ripples out and fills all the places around you.

May you find yourself crossing that bridge between who you are and where you are and discovering a new world, a new perspective, and an expanded awareness of the land.

With love,


Me at Stones of Stenness, Mainland Orkney, Scotland

Photo Credit: Alexandra Tait


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