Contemplation · Gloucestershire

A visit to Tintern Abbey


I am fortunate enough to have rarely lived more than an afternoon’s outing away from Tintern Abbey. It is one of those places that draws me for its sheer peace and it’s stunning location in the Wye Valley. And there is something else about it too, it feels to me like one of those thin places, as the Celts would say, a gateway into another time or dimension when our capacity to see beyond the solid world around undoubtedly draw thin.

On one such visit recently, late in the afternoon, I noticed a shift in the light, it’s became more diffuse and began to shimmer, the sense of the veil drawing thin was quite a palpable as a strange hush fell over the valley.

In such moments there is always a tendency to grasp, to try to possess the moment, as if we could own it and in our attempt to do so moment is lost! Far better to simply remain open to the now, that is to stay fully present in the moment and then we find ourselves able to move through that gateway.

On the other side we may find our perception has changed, no longer bound by time and space we may find ourselves seeing as the mystic seas. The glorious oneness of all creation. Something much more foundational awakens within as deep calls into deep and while we may never have the words to describe such an encounter we will for ever be changed by these moments.

I took the picture above on that most recent visit and whilst it cannot do the actual experience justice it does capture something of the atmosphere as the light shifted and the limited boundaries of the temporal world did indeed appear to draw thin.


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