A portal marks the threshold between two places, or two states, and when you pass through the portal, you become someone or something else. All our lives, we are poised on one threshold after another, always changing. Autumn is the portal between summer and winter, between life and death. Your teenager is between childhood and adulthood. The door to your house is the threshold between safety and the unknown, between home and the foreign, warmth and cold.
The saying goes that God never closes one door without opening another, so if one portal is closed to you, there will be another that you can pass through that will take you into a different state of being than you expected.
I’m reading the book Hunter’s Moon by Orla Melling, where two youngsters discover portals into fairyland, Faërie, when they go to the Hill of Tara, the old seat of the kings in Ireland, break into this mound and sleep here. The mound is called the Mound of Hostages, a passage tomb built around 4500-5000 years ago, so no wonder that this is a place where you can get in touch with the Otherworld.
I am drawn to explore churches and cathedrals when I am travelling, and here I discover portals into the light.
I have heard about churches where they want to ban photography, since it is said to be in the way of the worshippers. Ban tripods if necessary, and flash if you must, but photography should have a place in church. As photographers, we open ourselves up to take in what light there is however little, and we use what light we have to illuminate if not the whole of our surroundings, then at least the important details, and how is this not spiritual?
We should guard our life’s portals, to minimise the hazards of passing through and to make sure that we keep the bad things out and the good things in. To that purpose my great-grandmother wrote this sign hanging outside on the wall of our summer house in the South of Norway – the text is a blessing on the entrance of the house, somewhat loosely translated as follows:
Our entrance and exit God preserve,
Command in our home your angel host,
But if anyone have evil in mind,
May I go out
Before he goes in.
These are some of the portals on my mind lately – how about you? What thresholds are you about to cross over?
~ All the best from Jenny.