The Dingle Peninsula is breathtaking, and the day is brilliant! I sleep soundly at the Castlewood, an immaculately kept guesthouse. The Irish are consummate and instinctual host’s. Your pleasure and comfort take precedence over all else. While attentive, they are sensitive to your privacy appearing only when you require something. I feel entirely nurtured. The only plan for the day is to take the Slea Head Drive road around the coast, eventually making my way to Killarney and then to Kenmare for the night.
Within minutes of the drive I see a sign that says simply, “stone art”. As I whiz past in my left hand fast lane, I am commandeered by my inner voice and I promptly turn around. An old forge, with a hand painted sign hanging on weathered wood beckons. A man emerges with a blue and green knitted hat, and warmly greets me. One glance around the small half room gallery and I realize I have fell upon a master of the old arts.
Antonio Fazio is an Italian stone cutter/sculptor. He came to the Dingle Peninsula by way of omen. At 40 he was in Sicily and working as a photographer. He was done with the narrow mentality of his environment, which had grown increasingly stagnant as his spiritual awareness grew. A woman, a stranger, suggested that he move to Ireland. He took that as the sign he was waiting for.
Antonio was initially offered a job by a local man but he told him his spirit would find his work, and it did. One day he picked up a rock and a small hand pick and began to draw… that was in 1995 he has since done a thousand or more pieces that are now being purchased by collectors worldwide. He is deeply awake, aware and spiritually guided. We share our stories, our connection to the Oneness that pervades our experience. The joy we feel in fulfilling our lives by way of our Souls desire. As I look into his eyes and he into mine the timeless unfolds, there is a luminosity to those who are in communion with the Divine. Our conversation continues into ever deeper terrain, when two young foreign exchange students from Italy and Spain come into the drive on their bicycles. They graciously take our photo and ask us how we know one another. We smile.
Antonio has brought back the sacred feminine image of the Sheela na gig. Academics cannot agree on the history and significance of her presence on churches, castles, and other sacred sites throughout Great Britain but particularly in Ireland. Her origins are shrouded in mystery, but one thing is certain she has survived for centuries despite her controversial form. She is naked, with exaggerated genitalia, she is most often seen spreading her vulva wide with her own out stretched hands, her legs brought up high, breasts swollen and or hanging. The Goddess as maiden, crone, hag and fertility icon all in one. She represents birth, death, and resurrection in her purest form, the creative power of the life giving feminine. I am reminded of the yoni and its significance in India, of Kali in her fierce and formidable nature. I see my Sheela in her sandstone perfection, carved by the heart of a man who has seen the truth. I give him a deposit of a 100 euro’s…
The Dingle is steeped in the mystical, assembling artists writers, healers, and borderlanders. The land is green and fertile, small flowers begin to challenge winters rule. The sea water sprays on blackened rocks that reach jagged perfection, sand beaches, tourquoise water, and sheep that have no apparent fear of water. I stop at the beehive structures, or “ringforts,” that have stood as they are for over 4,000 years. Living in the round is much preferred to our rectangular existence. I imagine a skilled architect placing those stones in such a way as to survive the sea wind, driving rain and raiding invaders for centuries. What will I leave that will withstand the ravages of time? I continue to Brandon Creek, down a narrow road to a pier that warns against high tides and rogue waves. I heed the warning and keep a safe but curious distance.
Dingle has ley lines, or straight lines that connect sites of sacred and ceremonial significance. It is said that they stretch dozens even hundreds of miles. It is unmistakably a powerful place, one I will come back to.
The way to Kenmare is harrowing to say the least, I am grateful for my years of Colorado driving. Mountains, snow covered and shrouded in clouds loom in the distance. I arrive at the Brook Lane, a modern boutique hotel, exquisitely designed. The interior is textured and has an eclectic sense of color and style. Let’s just say I could live here. I eat a bowl of unsurpassed seafood chowder at Casey’s, take a hot bath, light a candle, say my prayers… and dream of a life in Ireland.
Written: February 17, 2010