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 The Otherworld

   Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Mythology

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'Many of the islands off the west coast of Britain, including Lundy were known to the Celts as 'Isles of the Dead'. They were regarded as holy islands which formed gateways to the otherworld and to which the illustrious dead were ferried, there to be buried with solemn rite amid the spirits of their forefathers.' - A.F. Langham, The Island of Lundy.

 

The Grail Island

 

The Celts believed in the "Otherworld." It exists alongside our world, separate from it but accessible from anywhere and everywhere. It is the realm of quest and achievement, of challenge and encounter, of initiation and enlightenment. It is Arthur's Avalon, The Grail Castle ,the land of faery and enchantment where time passes at a different speed. It is the land where the story never ends. The "Otherworld" is where the music takes us, it's the never-never land of books, artists enter and return to share their visions. Mystics travel there through meditation.

The concept of the Otherworld was central to the religion of the pre-Christian Celts. - Islands were regarded as particularly sacred with their role as gateways to the Otherworld.  Two common themes in many of the ancient legends are the occupation of the islands by priestesses Arianrhod, Ygerne, Morgan, Elaine. and the presence on the island of a tower.

'One of the chief recurrent images of Celtic mythology and legend is a visit to or from the 'Otherworld' - a realm somehow detached from this present world, or at most times, to all but a chosen few, invisible. It may be visibly cut off by ocean, river, lake, by mountain rock, or by mist, or hidden within the mountain itself. Sometimes it can only be entered by the overcoming of a test or through the sustaining of a mortal wound. Always cut off by some sort of barrier from the world of earthly existence.' - At The Table of the Grail   Hannah Closs 

There is something about the use of the word 'white' which denotes a special holiness above and beyond the colour. In the gospels, in Welsh legends the Otherworld has been called GWYNNWESI - 'the WHITE or BLISSFUL ABODE' and ' GWAS GWYN' - THE WHITE MANSION, the mythical abode of the happy dead. 

 

'The Questing Beast'

'Are the thoughts of a unicorn real thoughts?'

Mystic symbol of the Otherworld and of journeying there and back again.

 

'The 'Otherworld' is the internal resonance of the everyday world; it exists out of time, simoultaneously cross intersecting all times and is thus accessible to visitation from any point in linear time.'------------Caitlin Mathews.

'Within the 'Otherworld', archetypal forces are perceptible, essential wisdom teachings are available to those who have the right keys; it is the realm of quest and achievement. of challenge and encounter, of initiation and enlightenment. it is not illusory, a figment of imagination or an anthropological invention. It is not heaven, hell or analogous to any drug-induced vision. The 'Otherworld' is the mythological reality or symbolic continuum within which we can encounter the archetypal energies of the gods and their acts.'------------Caitlin Mathews.

'The 'Otherworld' has its own valid reality which is not accessible to the five senses, though it is appreciable by the sixth. It is often spoken of as a state of conciousness.'------------Caitlin Mathews.

'The 'Otherworld' exists in its own right, is consistent to its own rules and as a visitable reality is not merely confined to specially phsycic people.'------------Caitlin Mathews.

 

related pages

The Holy Grail
 
Annwn
 
Celtic Sacred Isles
 
Caer Sidi

 

 

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