Sarayei Header
Archive for June, 2014

Sarah & the holy isle of Iona

Posted on: June 12th, 2014 by Rachel Goodwin


“A few places in the world are to be held holy, because of the love which consecrates them and the faith which enshrines them. Their names are themselves talismans of spiritual beauty. Of these is Iona.”

(2011-09-07). The Works of Fiona Macleod, Volume IV (Kindle Locations 742-743). . Kindle Edition.


In May I travelled to the ancient & holy Isle of Iona in Scotland. It’s one of the most complicated places to travel to (within the British Isles most definitely!!), but as it probably can’t manage thousands of visitors a week, (due to it’s tiny size and to preserve the delicate balance of the existing eco-system) maybe that’s a good thing. I didn’t really know why I had gone there, except I felt I had been called to go, and I hadn’t read anything or done any research, (partly deliberately so I could discover the mysteries for myself, and also because I just hadn’t had the time!) so I was going in blind as it were!!

I went there with thirteen other women for a retreat with the Goddess & we found her there in the land & in the sea.  I also found a sense of peace and fullness that I can still connect to now when I think on Iona. Sarah appeared to me one day, when I had climbed to the top of Dun-I. The wind (as it often is on Iona) was blowing well & with great enthusiasm! Out from nowhere, Sarah was in the wind next to me on my right, still and present in the air, her Presence vibrant and full. After I returned home, & with some excitement, I read these words, first published in 1910 and written about Iona,

“Sometimes I dream of the old prophecy that Christ shall come again upon Iona, and of that later and obscure prophecy which foretells, now as the Bride of Christ, now as the Daughter of God, now as the Divine Spirit embodied through mortal birth in a Woman, as once through mortal birth in a Man, the coming of a new Presence and Power: and dream that this may be upon Iona, so that the little Gaelic island may become as the little Syrian Bethlehem. But more wise it is to dream, not of hallowed ground, but of the hallowed gardens of the soul wherein She shall appear white and radiant. Or, that upon the hills, where we are wandered, the Shepherdess shall call us home.

(2011-09-07). The Works of Fiona Macleod, Volume IV (Kindle Locations 804-809). . Kindle Edition.

“…as our forefathers and elders believed and still believe, that Holy Spirit shall come again which once was mortally born among us as the Son of God, but, then, shall be the Daughter of God. The Divine Spirit shall come again as a Woman. Then for the first time the world will know peace……. He said that if this prophecy had been made it was doubtless of an Iona that was symbolic, but that this was a matter of no moment, for She would rise suddenly in many hearts, and have her habitation among dreams and hopes…..He took my hand, and I knelt beside him, and he bade me repeat the words he said. And that was how I first prayed to Her who shall yet be the Balm of the World.

Standing there high on Dun-I, I suddenly realised that all the other women had disappeared, & went off to find them. Find them I did, grouped around the spring of eternal youth/the well of age (picture above) It is said that if you bathe your face three times at sunrise your youth will be restored. I did spend some happy time standing in the water, springs being a most favourite love of mine. There were many magical moments for me on Iona; I found Sophia in the round pink and grey stones on St. Columba’s bay, and an Atlantean temple of light on the beach next to the Mhachair.

Sometime during our time there, my aches that I’ve had in my joints since December (and for which I’ve been prodded and pricked and tested over & over again) disappeared. I can’t say when, only that I noticed one day that they weren’t there anymore. This is no small thing for me, as I havn’t been able to pick my toddler up since December, due to the weakness in my wrists and arms, or been able to walk far because of fatigue. Was it the spring? I prefer to think it was Iona altogether (or Ioua as it has been suggested that she was originally called) that healed me, in all of her wholeness; the spring, the sea, the beaches, the bog, the people & the women I shared with in our circle, the food & everything that she was and everything that she was in during my time there. She called me there, and I came, not knowing why. The spirit of the land was with me, and she took me into herself where I was made whole again.

And Sarah is within us all. She is in our breath. She is in our hearts. She lives in us all, and shows us the best of who we are, and the worst of who we are, and how, if we can but be both, then we have found the way of integration & and putting our higher selves to good use on the earth.

The island has long history of Christianity, yet it is said that the Druids walked there, and I feel their energies are in the ether still, waiting to inform those who have the ears to listen and hear the holy wisdom.

“I was tired, and fell asleep. Perhaps the Druid of a neighbouring mound, or the lonely Irish King, or Colum himself (whose own Mound of the Outlook was near), or one of his angels who ministered to him, watched, and shepherded my dreams to the desired fold. At least I dreamed, and thus:— The skies to the west beyond the seas were not built of flushed clouds, but of transparent flame. These flames rose in solemn stillness above a vast forge, whose anvil was the shining breast of the sea. Three great Spirits stood by it, and one lifted a soul out of the deep shadow that was below; and one with his hands forged the soul of its dross and welded it anew; and the third breathed upon it, so that it was winged and beautiful. Suddenly the glory-cloud waned, and I saw the multitude of the stars. Each star was the gate of a long, shining road. Many—a countless number—travelled these roads. Far off I saw white walls, built of the pale gold and ivory of sunrise. There again I saw the three Spirits, standing and waiting. So these, I thought, were not the walls of Heaven, but the Divine Forges. That was my dream. When I awaked, the curlews were crying under the stars. When I reached the shadowy glebe, behind the manse by the sea, I saw the preacher walking there by himself, and doubtless praying. I told him I had seen the Divine Forges, and twice; and in crude, childish words told how I had seen them. “It is not a dream,” he said. I know now what he meant.

(2011-09-07). The Works of Fiona Macleod, Volume IV (Kindle Locations 943-946).  Kindle Edition.

Iona is a place of renewal, there we can fill ourselves up with all the good things we need spiritually and take them back to our everyday lives.

“In the Isle of Dreams God shall yet fulfil Himself anew.




Rachel offers 1:1 sessions channeling Sarah’s wisdom and healing