Thin Places

In Celtic spirituality there is the concept of the thin place where the visible and invisible world come into their closest proximity.   Thin places have a particular quality where our senses are heightened and we open ourselves to a presence greater than ourself.

In the March 11th issue of the Sunday New York Times, in an article entitled:  ‘Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer’, the author Eric Weiner offers:

 “A thin place is a locale where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, the Infinite Whatever.  Not everyone finds the same places thin.  It’s what a place does to you that counts.  It disorients.  It confuses.  We lose our bearings, and find new ones.  Or not.  We are jolted out of old ways of seeing the world…”

Have there been moments in your life when you sensed that there was more going on than meets the eye?  More going on than can be quantified, measured, proven?

Such talk drives a scientist friend of mine crazy.  He won’t believe in that which he can’t quantify, measure or prove.  I respect what he is saying but this has not been my experience.

Throughout my life there have been moments, when I have sensed that undefinable presence that I choose to call God/Spirit.  I can’t prove it, measure or quantify it, nor do I feel the need to.  I just know this experience to be true. 

When I was a child my playground was a 50 acre wetlands that the kids in our neighborhood called ‘Smokey Bear Land’.  We kids spent countless hours catching frogs and turtles, making tree houses and listening for the call of birds.   For me it was, and nature remains, a magical place, a spiritual place, a ‘thin place’, where I am reminded of a creative power greater than me.

On the sacredness of the natural world, John Muir the great naturalist and mystic wrote:

“I only went our for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. “

Thin places are threshold places, from the Latin limen, which can mean a border or frontier place where two worlds meet and where one has the possibility of communicating with the other.  In Celtic spirituality the phrase can refer to places that stand at the border between the spiritual and temporal realms.

On this eve of St. Patrick’s Day, it seems appropriate to reflect upon the importance of thin places in life.  For the Celts would teach us, there is always more going on than meets the eye.

4 thoughts on “Thin Places

  1. The Eagle’s Knot is a Magical Union of Masculine and Feminine Spirit, creating a powerful Talisman of Protection with Divine Wisdom and Spirit! At the center is the Triquetra, symbol of the Female Trinity and the power of the divine feminine. The Triquetra also acts as a protective talisman because its continuous design prevents the entry of evil or negative energies. The Circle surrounding it represents the sacred space of the Mother. The protective and meditative Celtic knot work intertwines the Triquetra with six Eagles in spiritual flight! Metaphorically, the soaring of the eagle as a sky god suggests strong masculine power and association with the Male Solar Energies. The Eagle was adopted by many cultures as a sacred symbol of Illumination and Spiritual healing. The Greek God Zeus transformed into an Eagle to control thunder and lightening. Christian mystics saw the Eagle as a symbol of resurrection. Native Americans honored the eagle as a great, mystical spirit and continue to use the prized feathers for healing and purifying ceremonies. The “Eagle’s Knot” is for those who are searching for Truth and rediscovery of the Self. Within its power and protectiveness, one can safely seek out the higher senses of Passion, Purity, Creativity, and Healing. The vision of the eagle illuminates the Spirit.

    This celtic knot found its way to me recently connecting my Celtic heritage to that of nature. Thank you for blogging about the Thin Places!

    1. Wendy, I learned a lot from your post….amazing to think how this concept of the ‘thin place’ is found in other traditions. Reminds me that common drive within the human spirit to connect to that Great Mystery we call by many names.

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