Sunday Evening Reflection – Rosslyn Chapel

“The Holy Grail ‘neath ancient Roslin waits. The blade and chalice guarding o’er Her gates. Adorned in masters’ loving art, She lies. She rests at last beneath the starry skies.”
Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code

Rosslyn Chapel

The idea of a sacred place or space has been with us since ancient days, a reminder that we are in search of a greater understanding of the world in which we live and our place within the unfolding narrative. We are fascinated by places that have evolved over the centuries, yet remain as vibrant today as they were in the past. Perhaps it is because we want to explore our personal journeys by reflecting on the lives of others who have come before.

Love Conquers Death

A sacred place gives pause for contemplation, a time to refocus on the things that give meaning to life – deeper purpose, seeking gratitude and kindness to ourselves and others

I invite you to join me at Rosslyn Chapel, which we visited a few years ago. It was a rainy day, with cloud cover that added a dramatic flair to our visit. We were off season, and yet there was a healthy line-up of people waiting to enter the Chapel and experience the history of this sacred space.

Tea was served, with scones and clotted cream, a warm send off as we headed into the rainy afternoon.

Tea at Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland

Rosslyn Chapel remains privately owned.

The current owner being Peter S. Clair-Erskine, 7th Earl of Rosslyn.

Enter and experience….

40 Comments Add yours

  1. It must be awe-inspiring to be in the presence of so much history. It’s very large and ornate for a “chapel.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      What was most interesting to me was a comment that came from a “greeter” who I spoke with for a few minutes. He said that when the da Vince Code movie came out, the visitor count went up exponentially. Then he pointed out the locations that were featured in the movie. This was a confirmation to me that stories are pivotal to what we consider sacred space. And that led me to the thought that we are, essentially, all stories. Like you, I have been thinking of my family history of late. Time is always of the essence, isn’t it?

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes, time is of the essence to ensure that those stories are preserved.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Cindy. One of my favourite quotes about sacred spaces is by Joseph Campbell: “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice. I used to live only a few miles away from Roslin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Graham. We had a wonderful time in Roslin. We always found a place that welcomed us with the promise of tea and scones.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Liz says:

    Although this is pretty much on our doorstep, we have not yet been there, so it is lovely to visit virtually today, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      I remember when we were on the train to Roslin, I kept on looking out the window to see if there was any ray of sunshine, even a glimmer. Alas, it was not to be. When I voiced my concerns (which could be defined as whining) about not being able to get the best photographs without sunshine, Don remarked: Everyone has photos of Rosslyn Chapel in perfect sunshine which you can purchase at the gift shop. But only you will have photos of the Chapel in the pouring rain. It is how you look at things! Always a joy to have your company, Liz.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Liz says:

        Don is a total treasure – what a magnificent perspective on life he has! Sending many hugs to you both xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        Hugs coming back!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a wonderful line there in your comment above. it is indeed where you find yourself over and over. Lovely post, thrilling music, so much history.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh, the history, Shehanne – the history is what we are all about. While we plan for the future, what we are really doing is writing our history. Let’s make it an amazing story. Hugs and more hugs coming your way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Big ones back. You are so right re the history xxxxxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. J.D. Riso says:

    I can feel the serenity. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      I was hoping for a sunny day for the photos, but the rain and cloud covering was brilliant and added to the drama of the event. While everyone was inside the chapel and out of the rain, we were able to explore the courtyard surrounding the buildings in solitude. I am finding that what the universe gives is better than what we hoped would be. Thank you for coming with us…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So much history and craftsmanship in these ancient structures. I was blown away by the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, as well as a few of the huge churches in Rome.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Every step is filled with historical significance, holding the stories of peasants, nobleman, and royalty alike. Most lives are obscured by history, but that they lived and breathed gives a since of continuing, doesn’t it? As Robert Frost said so eloquently: In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

      Like

  7. How wonderful that you were able to visit this chapel and also that you had such a warm welcome. Tea and scones was the cherry on the top. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      It was a cold day, Sylvia and the tea was a perfect way to finish the tour. I often wonder why people are drawn to a specific place. How do we come to believe that one location is somehow different from another location. Just recently, I was reading about how we could create sacred spaces within our homes or within our gardens, which is especially relevant to our current reality. I think that we will be seeing more of these types of articles in the coming months. Tea is always a good place to start!! Hugs!!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Ms Frances says:

    Again! Truly an inspiring, historical and interesting story both in photos and in video. You have a treasury of excellent photos and videos and have devised a way of keeping them safe..Thank you for sharing, so enjoyable and educational!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Susan Sontag said it best when she wrote: “All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” As you know, I have been going through my and my father’s photographs to capture the stories, for unless they are written and recorded, they fall away into “time’s relentless melt.” Thank you so much for your continued support, Frances.

      Like

  9. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Wonderful dramatic music to accompany your video of this mysterious place. I think one would have to read its esoteric history alongside its traditional history to gain a greater understanding of what the chapel means. I would enjoy a tour like that, although it would probably take several days! What beautiful and colorful patina on all those outer stones, and thank you for sharing your excellent photography and adventure with us 🙂 Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted that you joined me on this tour of Rosslyn Chapel, Mary Jo. We were not allowed to take photos inside the chapel so I took photos of photos to remember the details. I agree – the esoteric history would be an adventure. Perhaps that is why there is greater interest in visiting the Chapel since Dan Brown wrote the da Vinci Code. Perhaps it is because we love stories and mysteries, we come to sacred places to feel part their histories. I discovered that the stonemasons who built the Chapel created a secret beehive in a pinnacle, high up on the roof. It was said that bees were sacred messengers of God. They built a save haven for the bees. There are hundreds of carvings in the stone of Rosslyn Chapel but only one carved inscription which reads – ‘Wine is strong. The king is stronger. Women are stronger still: but truth conquers all.’ I love that last one and wondered who commissioned that carving?!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Jean-Jacques says:

    Magnificent says it all…! Your pictures are like magnets that pull us into a state of being there with you while your shooting the beauty of those extraordinary ancient structures.
    What a treat… again one of your best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh, Jean-Jacques, I truly appreciate your encouraging comments. The cold, wet weather created a unforgettable memory of the visit. I especially liked the words that were written on the statue (don’t know if that is what it is called) located in the courtyard: “Love conquers death.” Thank you for joining me!!!

      Like

      1. Jean-Jacques says:

        With a little help from a friend, this is in response to your parenthesis on statue… The statue is a likeness modeled, or cast in marble, bronze, or wax etc., whereas a sculpture is a work of art, that is produced by carving in stone, marble or wood or any other material for that matter.

        As to the inscription of ” Love conquers death” I do hope that is so, for with all the love there has been, remains, and continues to grow in my world, I can but feel the this ought add a few extra, though I should add of the all around healthy and energetic kind. That would also allow me to further enjoy your always mind stirring and enlightening posts, dear Rebecca !

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        Oh, do thank your friend for the excellent discussion of statue and sculpture. I share your hope that love does conquer death. Anything that is/was created in love has a way of surviving, in one form or another. One of my favourite quotes is by Vincent Van Gogh: “ It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” Misunderstood in his time, his voice continues to this day. Your wrote: “for with all the love there has been, remains, and continues to grow in my world.” With all the noise and confusion around us, this is a comforting thought, one that I wholeheartedly embrace. Thank you, Jean-Jacques. A perfect way to end the day….

        Like

      3. Jean-Jacques says:

        I should have added that the Artist’s casting reproduction of an original sculpture, up to twelve copies, four artist’s proof and eight additional copies are also considered of original sculpture state. Gets complicated, but there it is…!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for this lovely visit, Rebecca. I didn’t realize it was privately owned. Dan Brown made such a huge impact with that book. I got a special copy that includes color copies of all the paintings mentioned in the novel. It’s one of the few books that I did not donate before relocating. I love the quote you used from it. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted you enjoyed the visit. You MUST keep that book – it is a treasure. One of my ideas for a blog series was to look into the background story of all the paintings mentioned in the book. There is always a mystery to be solved, an adventure to reveal itself. Hugs coming back with all speed.

      Like

      1. Oh, that would be a great series. I had an art appreciation college class in the 80s and that teacher brought out several of the things (mysterious, shocking things) Brown mentions. That was the biggest reason I wanted the illustrated book. Already knowing some of the things from that class made the book even better.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        🤗🤗🤗 On my important to-do list!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear Rebecca,
    lovely photos, you are such a talented photographer…
    I was saddened though by the way everyone responds to Dan Brown’s plagiarised book. I read the story originally in Holy Blood Holy Grail, written by Richard Baigent, BaIgent sued Brown for plagarism, but Brown escaped and Baigent was ruined by the costs -had to sell his home and died not long after.
    I could never understand why Brown’s wife was not sub-paenaed, since he wriggled out of the responsibility of plagiarising by saying his wife ( safely back in the US) was his researcher…( I see they’ve now split up.
    Baigent’s book was not a novel, but a meticulously researched investigation…..which Brown plundered in order to write his book…. que sera sera …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh Valerie, que sera sera, indeed. I had no knowledge of the original “Holy Blood Holy Grail.” I found an excerpt from NPR on the trial: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5260384. What comes through is the idea of story, of mystery, of secret societies, of our relationship with the divine and sacred. I can only imagine the packed courtroom that day. Thank you for adding background into the book. Here is another piece of history that I just found out: D
      id you know that Robert Burns visited the chapel? What an interesting history surrounding this place. https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/1967/robert-burns-1759-1796-poet-alexander-nasmyth-1758-1840-artist-rosslyn-castle

      Like

  13. Got his name wrong – Michael Baigent, and Richard Leigh were the writers… though like Dan Brown’s critics, reviewers though their theories too were ;piffle’ XXXXXX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Valerie – your visits and comments are very much appreciated. Hugs coming your way.,

      Like

  14. Resa says:

    I’m so impressed with the ages the Rosslyn Chapel has documented. Queen Victoria went there. How cool!
    Shey is right, the music is thrilling…I’ll add dynamic… perfect for the grand history presented.
    Another wonderful reflection. Thank you, Rebecca!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      I’m so glad you joined me on cold and rainy day. The atmosphere added drama and mystery which made our visit even more memorable. So glad you liked the music. I have signed up as a Creative on Epidemic Sound, which gives me access to amazing music. We have so many amazing musicians. Hugs coming your way!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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