"an old book has something for me which no new book can ever have -- for at every reading the memories and atmosphere of other readings come back and I am reading old years as well as an old book.”
L.M. Montgomery, The Selected Journals, Vol. 3: 1921-1929

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dreaming of Iona

On my trip to Great Britain last summer, I spent two glorious days on Iona.  Those two days were among my very favorite days of the whole trip, which was a dream come true in every way.  Since then, I can't stop thinking about Iona and about my next trip there!  Since I have a new job beginning soon, I know it will be a while, so I've been satisifying my desire to travel back with some armchair reading.

As I've mentioned before, Celtic Prayers from Iona is one of my very favorite books and one that I refer to almost daily.  It forms a wonderful foundation for a daily cycle of prayer and scripture reading that is easy to incorporate into a modern lifestyle.  Reading the prayers written in the Celtic tradition takes me right back to a blessed afternoon spent on a quiet hillside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean where I had a profound spiritual experience.  I have this one in both hardback and on my kindle so that I am never without it.

Another prayer book that I like is An Iona Prayer Book by Peter Millar.  This one is broken down such that it could be used daily and yet change depending on which week of the month it is.

But I really wanted to read about the island and how it affects the people who visit and stay there.  So I first turned to an account by Joan Anderson.  I had read her book, A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman several years ago and when I learned she had written a book about her journey to Iona; The Second Journey: The Road Back to Yourself,  I knew I had to read it.  The first half of the book is about her life leading up to her time on Iona, the emotional journey that led her there.  While I enjoyed it, it was the portion about Iona that I really appreciated.  Having been there so recently myself, I could picture it as she described so clearly.  It was a lovely journey back.

Currently, I am reading Iona Dreaming: The Healing Power of Place.  It too is a personal journey, a journey of healing (after battles with two different cancers) and the role of renewal that Iona played in her life.

I have also read two different pilgrimage guides, both similar and yet both different.  Around a Thin Place is available on Amazon or you can order it from Wild Goose Publications in both book and e-book formats.   This book offers both a "wild" pilgrimage and a "road" pilgrimage that between them take in most of the important sites on Iona.

The other pilgrimage guide is by Peter Millar (of the Iona Prayer Book noted above); Iona: A Pilgrim's Guide .  This one was my my favorite of the two as it seemed less pretentious somehow.  In reading both of them, I enjoyed reliving my short time on the island and have learned of more places to visit the next time I go there.

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