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An Introduction to Sacred Landscape

Alison McLean in front of Tour Magdalene, Rennes le Chateau, France

Alison McLean in front of Tour Magdalene, Rennes le Chateau, France

I have a fascination with Sacred Landscape and the learning, healing, and transformational possibilities it offers.  My experience in this domain started when my inner journey beckoned me to explore where I came from—my lineage.  When it started, I had no idea that what was calling me forward was a desire to free myself from an imprisonment, a genetic mindset, that was invisible to me.  All I heard was something like, “Find out where you came from” and it came with urgency.  My ancestry happens to be European—Scottish and Spanish.  What I thought would be a site seeing curiosity turned into a deeply stirring excavation through my homeland.

For thousands of years, people throughout countless cultures have travelled far to connect with sacred places.  Fore example, Mecca is a holy pilgrimage for Muslims.  The Camino de Santiago, historically a pilgrimage for Christians across Spain, has now become a popular secular journey.  For the Chinese, returning home for their New Year’s celebration is a venerated event.

On a more basic level, we all look for and cultivate sacred places.  These are places we venerate.  They are the places we go to be inspired, renewed, uplifted, and healed.  For some of us, it is a library or a coffee shop.  For others, it may be a walk on the beach or in the woods.  Yet for others, it is working in their garden.  What are your sacred places? What qualities do they awaken within you?

“We all look for and cultivate sacred places…They are the places we go to be inspired, renewed, uplifted, and healed.”

There are a few things I noticed about traveling on sacred journeys:

  1. Some people travel to a far away place to open a new horizon.  They will choose something very different from their ordinary life.  Some may choose an exotic location—and others a third-world country. Some may choose a luxurious location, while others choose something rustic or primitive.  For me, Machu Picchu is a place I desire to visit because it is exotic and because of my interest in places rich in history and spirituality.
  2. Alternatively, some people are drawn to traveling to reclaim their roots that have been severed and lost.  Increasingly, people are finding themselves estranged from their heritage.  The last thousand years has created an extraordinary amount of migration of individuals outside their clan due to wars, famine, economics, etc.  As I mentioned, my heritage is European.  Whether we are from Europe or not, the impact of the European civilization is vast and far-reaching.  Europe has been tied to so many other civilizations, such as ancient Rome, and the Celts, Druids, the Middle and Far East, North Africa and so on, through trade and the uniting of empires.
  3. We are relational beings and we often do this exploration in groups.  It is a joyful journey that is meant to be shared with others.  This is an act of the feminine, to create a community to witness and illumine the unfolding in each other.
Alison McLean at ancestral home, Duarte Castle, Isle of Mull

Alison McLean at ancestral home, Duarte Castle, Isle of Mull

I travel to Europe to find the lost threads of my history.  In particular, I am drawn to recover the missing voice of the feminine in my lineage. Where would you go to reconnect with your roots?  What would you hope to discover there?

Please share your thoughts and comments below.

If you’re interested in joining me on my next sacred landscape journey to the South of France, I would enjoy connecting with you personally!




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