Travels and Triskills

I find that I do some of my best writing when I am traveling. Coming into this journey I have been writing with great fervor. The combination of those two things would have led me to believe that the content would be pouring out of me on this 13 day pilgrimage to the ancient sacred sites in Ireland. Clearly it is not.

I suppose that I could draw the conclusion that I just haven’t had the time to sit and write and that would indeed be true. I also have not really even had the inclination. It’s a different experience for me so far on this journey. I am even more engrossed in the moment than normal. It’s almost as if Ireland is consuming me.

Newgrange_Entrance_StoneEach day thus far we have visited sites where I have connected with the land and the history of years of gone by. The energy is captivating. The experiences border on the indescribable. To write a summary of the things we have done would be nothing more than an extended version of a Facebook update. No photo or words can summarize the vibration one feels while they are standing in the center of a chamber of a building as large as the United Center that was built nearly 6000 years ago by early farmers that settled in a fertile bend in the river.

If someone would like to offer a suggestion as to how a group of farmers managed to move the 50 ton boulders from a distance over 15 kilometers away and then up a hill to be placed as the curbstones of the Newgrange passage tomb I would be delighted to hear it. Or maybe there is an opinion as to why a group of people that settled at this bend in the river would spend 50 years building a structure where archeologists have identified the remains of maybe only five individuals. For years people have marveled at the fact that the 20 meter path to enter the chamber is perfectly aligned with the Winter solstice sunrise. How could this achievement be even remotely possible? My favorite unanswered question is this one. Why after using the tomb for rituals for about 500 years would it be abandoned around 2500 BC only to be rediscovered by and Irish landowner just over 300 years ago?

unnamed-2I can’t even begin to answer any of these questions but I do know one thing is a certainty. These grounds were and still are sacred. I can feel it in every fiber of my being and every corner of my soul. As I crossed the bridge over the River Boyne on the way to the tomb I paused and stared down at the water flowing under the bridge. I began to notice spiral patterns in the flowing water. To me those spirals were quite similar to the carvings on many of the stones at Newgrange and other places in the world that are referred to as the triskill.

We can only speculate as to what meaning the triskill had to ancient Celts. Some suggest that it symbolizes the connection between the land, the sun and the people. Many years later when Christianity came to Ireland around 500 AD, the symbol was adopted by the church to symbolize the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is still used with deep meaning to Christians of Celtic descent all over the world.

I currently wear three things around my neck each day. An Infinite Possibilities loop that was gifted to me by a dear family last year at Christmas. A Celtic Cross that I bought in Killarney on my first trip to Ireland five years after my father died before he could make the journey himself. A bronze Ankh Egyptian power symbol that I bought from a Rastafarian jewelry maker who used to live in Hyde Park. Yesterday I bought a new piece . It is a carving of Sheela Na Gig the symbol of the Goddess of Tara. It spoke to me and will be a reminder of the connection I feel to Tara. As it joins the mix of things around my neck it will likely add to my tangling issues. I won’t mind. The tangling is symbolic in many ways.

Often times this seemingly incongruous collection of pieces around my neck will cause people to ask me a question along the lines of, “Jim what is it that you believe in?” Standing in the River Boyne valley at places like Newrgrange, Hill of Tara, Loughcrew, St. Kieran’s well and the Slane bridge I am powerfully reminded that there is only one possible answer to that question and really all the questions I have alluded to in this post. It’s a simple answer and it highlights that we are truly the same in our individual spiritual journeys. That simple answer is…

“Yes. I Believe…” 

In that sense of knowing I find my true bliss.




About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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One Response to Travels and Triskills

  1. It’s really interesting that image of the triskill appeared in this post, because I just considered using that same image recently for my blog! I’ve also been drawn to spirals, all my life they’ve been an inspiration for me. Can’t wait to hear more about your journey!

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