An Capall Bán

“My soul was an old horse

Offered for sale in twenty fairs…..

But this evening, halter off,

Never again will it go on.

On the south side of ditches

There is a grazing of the sun.

No more haggling with the world…

As I said these words he grew

Wings upon his back. Now I may ride him

Every land my imagination knew.”

Patrick Kavanagh

 After breakfast I went for a ramble. Surrendered to the direction that called, I let it guide my feet.

Up the lane, around the high road, past an Irish Cob and her filly, around the bend, down the hill and to an intersection. One of many historic markers was posted so I followed it down a rocky path.

Clochán na Carraige, the sign said. So I followed it and several smaller arrows through fields, over stone walls through stiles, across a bog and finally to a beehive hut.

As I reached the hut, far up on the hill behind a maze of stone walls, was a beautiful white horse. Her mane was streaming in the wind and I said to her, “I want to meet you!” But the reality was there was no way to figure out how to navigate the network of walls.

I explored the stone hut, a remnant of green martyrdom of Celtic monks who tried to prove their love of Christ by living a life of extreme penance. It was in great condition considering it was built in perhaps the 8th century and is regularly visited by farm animals as well as humans.

By the time I finished walking around it and climbed through the stile in the stone fence, the white horse disappeared.

After lunch our small group gathered and met with Dara Ó Maoildhia, a Celtic priest who lived as a modern-day hermit in 1985 on Árainn. He now works as a guide to the historic and sacred sites of the island.

Our first stop? The Beehive Hut–Clochán na Carraige.

After we wandered down the hill and through the stiles and across mucky pastures and the bog, we climbed up to the hut and there, waiting for us, was the white horse.

I stopped and stared in disbelief and then said the words…”I don’t believe this!”

Fiona, my name for her, stole the show from Dara. She greeted everyone in our group, some with great gusto. She made faces at us, frisked a few, nibbled a few ears and nuzzled necks and then rolled in cow poo, jumped up and went through her comedy routine once more.

When I first saw her on the hill I was taken with her beauty and thought she was symbolic of the evolving Divine Feminine within me. It made no small impression on me that she was waiting, reminding me of the strength and beauty growing within my life.

An Capall Bán…the White Horse.

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