The Thin Place

via Daily Prompt: Thin

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Photo: My thin places are the bush: A walk trail near Bridgetown.

The ancient Celts believed that there were places one could go where people and the spirit world could touch. The Celtic influence on Christianity was such that this belief carried over, that the veil between heaven and earth was thin or transparent. The barrier between human and the divine were almost non-existent. For the ancient Celts these places were mostly forrest groves, but in other cultures they are rivers, billabongs, monoliths, mountain-tops, caves and more.

Not the same, but related in some aspects, the Australian Indigenous peoples created songlines, which trace the creation of the land, the fauna and lore, by ancestral spirits. Indigenous Australians used the songlines as navigation paths, for social connection, cultural knowledge – especially coming to know the flora and fauna, the availability of water, the types of seasons, and how it all came to be. Songlines are places to touch the past and the present.

My thin places are in the bush, these are liminal, threshold places, where the mind transcends the ordinary, where the soul is restored, where the heart is lifted, and the eyes are filled.

Thin places might be Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, Uluru, Chartres Cathedral, the Pyramids, the Himalayas, the stars, meditation, music, art, and more, places or experiences of place that awaken the soul to something more, something outside the self, something veiled but near. Whether or not this is a spiritual experience or a transcendence of some other kind, thin places are restorative, they are places of contemplation, places of beauty, awe, play, rest, and renewal. We all need thin places, we will know them differently, but we will know them. They are treasures to fill the soul.

John O’Donohue wrote: “When you begin to sense that your imagination is the place where you are most divine, you feel called to clean out of your mind all the worn and shabby furniture of thought. You wish to refurbish yourself with living thought so that you can begin to see.”



Filed under bush walking, Country, history, life, mindfulness, nature, religion

12 responses to “The Thin Place

  1. curioushart

    Very well put. You remind me what what Chesterton wrote about seeing fairyland from one’s back porch. Beautiful piece of prose–A reflection of the time you spend in your thin places. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. MNL

    love this, makes me realize how concepts are often crosscultural with the words different but similar. Song lines and Ley lines, and in Japan the hanging of ropes of paper to designate spiritual places. I remember going down an alley, was it Kyoto? and at the end was a little white fox shrine sitting atop a chunk of volcanic rock. I remember feeling I had stepped out of reality, the feeling that nature and spirituality is always with us, that the step between real and spirit is a very small one even in places as mundane and unexpected as an alley.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. profound and powerful post!
    Where I was just out of Bendigo was an intersection of two main songlines and you could feel the energy …. sacred sites resonate deeply with me … and I lived in the Himalayas for years 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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