“What the heart has once owned, it shall never lose.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
If you are in receipt of my previous newsletters,, you know that I’m back from leading my Scottish Highlands & Islands Odyssey and my fellow ‘Odyssey-ites’ (sixteen) and I had the most wonderfilled, magical, transformative time, ever!
Whenever I talk about the experience, people respond with a deep sigh and say, “I wish I could have been there.”
Therefore, I decided to share my day-to-day Odyssey experiences with you through a series of newsletters. Every few days, I’ll post an account with photos of our amazing adventure. Please click on the link below to visit my website if you would like to view any content that you may have missed, and please feel free to email me any questions or comments.
Lots of Joy,
October 3-11, 2014 Scottish Highlands and Islands Odyssey
(Odyssey– a spiritual quest of self-discovery; a journey home)
Monday, October 6th – Day 3, The Fairy Glen…
Even though the morning rain was intense, we were all super excited about our planned excursion to one of the Isle of Skye’s best natural features– the Fairy Glen. Not only was it beautiful, the Fairy Glen was reputed to be magical and to be inhabited with real fairies.
When I told my breakfast companions that Nicky and Les were worried that the rain would spoil our visit to the Glen and that they wondered if we really wanted to venture out in the downpour, their responses were so heartening! “When I told my clients and friends I was going to visit the Fairy Glen, they were all more excited about it than any of the other locations we’ll visit,” Louise said. “I don’t care what the weather is doing,” declared Ralston, “I didn’t come this far to let the rain stop me. I’m going to the Fairy Glen, even if it means I have to sit on the coach and take pictures through the window.” “This is a test. Our guides want to know if we’re going to let something as simple as the weather stop us on our spiritual quest,” James announced.
I loved it! Why go on a great adventure and let anything stop you from attaining your goal? After all, every occurrence adds to the richness of it. When I wondered out loud why Nicky and Les were so concerned about how we might be put off by the inclement weather, Debbie reminded me that they were used to guiding groups who, even though they’d traveled to a foreign country for a different experience, complained about anything that might mean they’d have to step outside their comfort zone. “Don’t worry,” she said, “before this Odyssey ends, they’ll know that we’re nothing like that.” Of course! I’d met travelers like that, too, and they always left me wondering why they even bothered to leave home.
Julie A. then volunteered, “We’re a powerful group, we’ll just work on it. There won’t be any rain when we get to the Fairy Glen.” Someone else joined in with, “Rain, ha! They
don’t know who they’re dealing with!” Which was pretty bold talk, considering that the day’s forecast promised a 60-90% chance of what was already coming down in sheets.
We all boarded the coach for the rainy half hour drive and when we arrived at the parking area below the Glen, half of the group, guided by Les and Winslow, boarded a pre-arranged for smaller coach that could more easily navigate the narrow road that led to the Glen.
Nicky and I waited with the rest of the group and someone pointed to the ancient tower (yes, a tower!) in the parking lot and asked Nicky about it. It was the watch tower of a very mean and unpopular 18th century laird who was so hated that when his house was inundated with water and washed out to sea, the local newspaper commented that it was a shame that he wasn’t in it at the time!
The mini-coach returned from the Glen and the rest of us boarded it and set off to join the others. On the ten minute drive, I carefully removed my rain poncho from its package and unfolded it in preparation for putting it on. As I did so, I explained to David that I’d recommended that everyone bring one of these for just such an inclement ’emergency.’ I had every intention of wearing it, too, and as we pulled up to the Glen, an interesting thing happened. I looked at the unfurled hooded, clear plastic garment that was meant to protect me from the elements and I looked at myself, resplendent in my black jacquard cloak with the rich teal velvet hood lining, and I just couldn’t do it! I couldn’t cover all of that sartorial splendor with what was essentially a large plastic baggie.
The first person I saw as I alighted from the mini coach was Winslow. She was across the road and she pointed at the people on the slopes above as she yelled, “I tried to keep everyone together while we waited for you to arrive but they were so excited that they just took off. It was like herding cats!” I laughed and told her not to worry about it– I could feel the energy of the Fairy Glen and it called and commanded you– you had to follow it.
And then, standing and gazing at the Glen in wonder while holding a small orange package that I knew contained a rain poncho, was my dear friend, James (a sharp-dressed man if there ever was one!). I went over to him, tapped him on the arm, pointed to his poncho and said, “James, I couldn’t do it either!” We both burst out laughing and he said, “I know! I keep hoping that just having brought it with me would be enough to appease the rain gods!” And between Julie A’s intention, James’ hope and my vanity, something must have gotten through to them because the torrential rain we’d previously experienced had slowed down to mere sprinkles and finally to no rain at all. It stayed that way the entire time we were at the Glen. Such is the magical power of the Fairy Glen!
Winslow called my attention to the beautiful woman standing at the side of the road and I instantly knew who she was. Even though we’d never met in person before, we greeted each other like the lifelong dear friends are souls knew us to be. She was Tiggy Peach, the musician I’d hired because I couldn’t imagine being in such a magical place without beautiful ‘fairy’ music.
She knew the Fairy Glen well and, it being very windy, she found a sheltered but accessible spot and began playing. The effect was magical. Those who weren’t aware that she was there, thought they were hearing things when they picked up on those snatches of elfin like music! (Because of the wind, there were times that you could only hear bits and pieces of the beautiful, lilting melodies that she played.) For those of us who knew she was there and chose to sit and listen, it was like attending an enchanted concert. One of the tunes Tiggy played was a song I’d heard only once before when for the second time in this life, the Scottish portal opened for me and I was given the symbol that’s become my logo.
Amanda called us over to a spot with, “We’ve found a fairy, come and see her!” Upon arriving at the fairy’s hiding place, she laughingly pointed to the little fairy figurine that some joker who’d been there before us had left.
We all had powerful experiences at the Glen. James found himself facing the same scene that he was shown in the Tarot card he’d chosen the night before! Some walked the positive labyrinth (and avoided the negative one!). Some meditated and many of us, myself included, received important messages from spirit (and the fairies!).
I climbed about two thirds of the way up the verdant, muddy slope to what I knew was my spot on a plateau that gave me a clear view of everyone above and below me as well as the surrounding countryside with its gorgeous waterfalls.
It was here that I made my wishes and left the fairies the requisite shiny coins in payment for them coming true. We’d been there about an hour when a small tour bus drove up the road to the Glen. As it passed through, never stopping, I thought the driver was going to park and I expected the passengers to come walking back towards us and do what we were doing– explore this enchanted space. They never did. Later, Les told David that in all his time of bringing people to the Fairy Glen, we were the only group who got off the coach and explored it! The tour buses rarely stopped and if they did, the passengers were content to sit and stare at the Glen for a few minutes before the bus drove away. Wow! We were amazed. We all knew that there was no way we could come to a place like the Fairy Glen and not explore it!
Finally, it was time to leave. Of course, no one wanted to and locating all the members of our group took a while. The first group left on the mini-coach and those of us left to wait for its return didn’t mind waiting at all because it gave us more time in one of the most beautifully enchanting places we’d ever been to. I asked the fairies if I could take a stone with me and they granted me permission to do so. I was led to a small piece of rock and told that that was my stone. Though I accepted graciously, I wondered out loud why they had given me such a small stone. Linda P. responded with, “That isn’t a small stone if you’re a fairy!”
Back at the hotel, we gathered in one of the dining rooms for our daily ceremony and a guided meditation. The rain had begun again– gray skies, torrential downpour– the works. Just as we ended our guided meditation, through the continuing rain, a brilliant sun came out accompanied by one of the largest rainbows I’d ever seen. We were awed by the magnificence of that moment. It set the tone for the rest of our day, which we were all free to spend as we chose.
As we prepared to go our separate ways for the afternoon, I noticed Pam and David in deep conversation. When I approached them, Pam turned to me and told me that she’d recognized David from a New Year’s Eve party we’d attended in Paris three years ago. Actually, she’d recognized David from the photos that were taken that night. It turns out the party’s photographer was a friend of hers and had shown her the pictures from one of the best parties David or I’d ever been to.
During our lunch, David and I talked about Pam’s connection to us and marveled at the fact that it really is a small world!
A majority of the Odyssey-ites wanted to visit Dunvegan, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years, so Nicky and Les arranged for the coach to drive us to the other side of the island to tour the venerable family seat. Although I don’t feel the emotional connection to Dunvegan that I feel with Eilean Donan castle, I really enjoyed the castle gardens and its beautiful waterfall. And the view from the castle of Loch Dunvegan and the seals that live on the lake’s islands –amazing!
It was a wonderful afternoon well spent with good friends in beautiful settings. To add to the perfection of the experience, the music Nicky and Les played and the Scottish stories they told on the way back to the hotel were a perfect match to the many beautiful rainbows that followed us across the Isle of Skye back to the hotel.
After another fabulous dinner (and an introduction to what may be the best dessert ever– sticky pudding!) and more deep conversation, David and I said our good-byes to each other and he went back to his hotel. Tired, happy, looking forward to a great night’s sleep and anticipating tomorrow, I expressed my gratitude to God as I retired for the night.
Listen to “Going Home” by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards–
Tomorrow– Tuesday, October 7th – Day 4, The Hogwarts connection…