Westray Metasagas 1 & 2

The initial school Metasaga is set out in black text below. We are using this page to demonstrate how another group can build on the initial Metasaga and produce an added dimension for a particular reason.The second Metasaga was produced for a Church group going to Westray from Kirkwall as part of a residential weekend with a theme of journey. Their Metasaga is added in blue text, building on the initial metasaga .

Black Text Guides - Pupils of Westray School
Blue Text Guides - Helen Killeen, Kate Coutts

No.1-Castle O’ Burrian

2830387351_c6f2624e21.jpgOne of the early Christian settlers made his lonely hermitage on this rock stack. You can just see the ruin.

The Castle O’ Burrian is one of Orkney’s most well known puffin colonies. It is just a short walk from the car park to the top of the cliffs at Rapness. You can look across at the nearby stack and watch the puffins pop in and out of their burrows. These small comical birds are great fun to watch. They are usually here from April-August.

Interpretive Questions:puffin2.jpg

What colours are on the puffin’s beak?
What do puffins eat?
How many can you see?
What is a hermit?
What was the old mill at Rapness used for?

Reflective Question:

Sometimes, when you do something new and scary,people say it is like jumping off a cliff.
When have you taken a risk?
What did it feel like?
How did it work out?

Look carefully at the stack . Can you see the remains of the Celtic chapel or cell. Imagine living out there. Imagine the monk setting off from the green sweeping valleys of Ireland, seeking out his own " Desert Place" , a sea stack, a distant isle. In doing this he was mirroring the lifestyle of the ancient desert fathers, leaving behind the world, taking up the life of the hermit, seeking a closeness to God. You have left your world behind you.

How does this feel?
What are you looking forward to on this break from the world?
What are you missing and what have you enjoyed leaving behind?
How will you re- enter the world?

What would it be like out there on a wild day?

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place.
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

The Celtic monks also formed strong communities. Communities that contained both men and women. A huge part of this community was working together and stewardship of environment. The modern parish here on Westray is an eco congregation.

How are you contributing to the community , the group you are with?
How do you look after the environment?
Are you inclusive and do you value everyone's skills?

No. 2-Lady Kirk

dec48.JPGThe Lady Kirk is also known as St Mary’s church. Most of what you see at Lady Kirk today was erected in 1674. However this church reused the foundations of an older church that was built in the 1200’s and the south wall of the nave is largely from the original church. There might even be an even older church underneath. Although the church is a ruin there is still an Easter service at 7.30 am. In the graveyard, there is a big mound. This could be a Broch site.

Interpretive Questions:

How many grave stones are there in the graveyard?
What are the common names on the gravestones?
What is in the glass box?
What direction is the bell facing?
Can you find the 1674 date on one of the gravestones?

Reflective Questions:

The Kirk has two names.
If you could change your name, what would it be and why?
What does your name mean?

The stones on the arch are supporting one another and hold each other inladykirk-450.jpg


Who supports you and how do they support you?
Who do you support?

Lady Kirk
The church you see was built on the remains of a 12th Century church, and possibly under these walls is an even older one. The Orkney Inga saga talks of St Magnus worshipping at a church in the North of Westray.

What foundation does your faith have?
If we dig down into that foundation what would we find?

Close your eyes and pretend it is Easter morning and the service is about to begin.

Who is with you?
What would you include in the service?
Light a candle in this place

Consider the arch in the church and how it divides the main sanctuary from the Laird’s Aisle. In any suspended arch there is a keystone that locks all the other stones in place. They all support each other. If one falls they all fall.

Who or what is the keystone in the group?
How do you support each other?
Is there a division either physical or perceived in your group?
Is there and inner sanctum in your organisation? Who is allowed in it? Are you in there?
Are the openings in your organisation gateways or barriers?

Light a candle in this place.

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work that you do watercolorflame%20copy_copy.gif
with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light
and renewal to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of
refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert,
approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.

4217365834_9f4d23de03.jpgNo. 3-Gill Pier

Gill Pier is a harbour for fishing boats. It’s outside the village and is next to the crab factory. It has always been a busy place. You can watch what is going on at the pier from a webcam. The daily boat fromWestray to Papay stays there and it is also the mooring place for lots of fishing boats. Every year, in the summer, there is an annual regatta where people who love sailing race around some parts of the island. There is a special type of boat inWestray, it is called aWestray Skiff

Interpretive Questions:
Can you count how many boats are at the pier?
Can tell if it is high tide or low tide?
Is the Marianna (the boat to Papay) at the Pier?
Can you name two of the fishing boats there?
Can you find out more about the skiffs?manto.gif
Reflective Questions:

If you had a boat where would you sail to?
What would you name your boat and why?
If your school/organisation was a boat what type of boat would it be?
You need to steer your boat towards something. Where are you steering?
When do you hope to get there?

A harbor is an important place in an island. Consider all the biblical references to boats, fishing and the sea. Share with your group the one that appeals to you the most and explain why. Not now but over the course of the weekend.

"Father protect me, my boat is so small and the sea is so big." Breton Fisherman's prayer

No. 4-Notland Castle

noltland.jpgNotland Castle is a large ruined building. It was built in the time of Mary Queen of Scots by Gilbert Balfour. It was hoped that she would escape to there but she never made it. Balfour was executed for his involvement in the murder of Cardinal Beaton and Darnley. It is a Z shaped castle with a fine hall and stairway. On the first floor is a room with secret compartments. There is a story that there was a secret passageway to a nearby cave.

Interpretive Questions:images.jpeg

Does it have any form of a defence system?
How many gun loops are there?
Can you find a love heart carved in stone?
How many rooms are there in the castle?
What are the kitchens like?
How many bolts are on the door?

Reflective Questions:

What would you hide in a secret compartment?
Where would your secret passage lead to and why?

The castle has a strong defence.
What do you protect?
How do you defend yourself?
Who do you protect and why?
What do you do if people attack you?
How do you feel?

There are many metaphors for armies and armour in the bible. They are powerful and strong like Notland Castle. You can explore these if you wish and find your own questions. But it would be better to think about protection, hidden places and sanctuary for this Metasaga.

How do you protect yourself in this group?
What do you protect yourself from at any time?

Below the castle there is a secret passage that runs to the LAird's cave. A place of hiding for those fleeing the soldiers after the 1745.

Where do you feel safe?
Who do you feel safe with?
What are you hiding from?
Is your sannctuary a place or with a group of people?

Did you find the mason's mark, the heart engraved in the stone? That was his signiture on his work.We have many icons , apps, avitars in our modern world.

What icon or symbol would represent your group?

No. 5-Grobust

Grobust Beach is one of DSCF0887.JPGWestray’s best but beware of the sea! The sea is not safe to swim in because it has a strong current close to the shore. The sea is beautiful on a windy day, when the waves are crashing against the rocks. It’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon with your family; you’ll probably get the beach all to yourself. Just sit down, relax and let the children explore. You can also find seals or selkies at some times of the year.

Interpretive Questions:

Look carefully at some of the rocks and you might find some fossils. Maybe even an ancient figure like the Venus.Orkney_Venus.jpg
Westray’s famous poet Robert Rendall was a conchologist, a shell specialist. I wonder if he gathered them here?
“I walked a bygone summer day
The sandy links of a sea blown bay.”
Robert Rendall

What Ocean can you see from Grobust?
Can you see any selkies?
How many different shells can you find?

Reflective Questions:
Find out about the Finn Folk and Selkies in Orkney folklore. Selkies are said to be shape shifters.seals.jpg
If you could change into anything what would it be?

Choose a shell and put it in your pocket to remind you of someone special.
Who would that special person be?

Choose a stone for someone or something you don’t like and throw it out into the ocean.
Write a message in the sand.
If you could find a message in a bottle in the sand where would it be from? What would it say?

The scallop shell is the mark of the pilgrim of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, one of Europe's pilgrim roads.The pilgrimage is to the tomb of St James , the fisherman, which is appropriate when we are in the fishing community of Westray.The Scallop is also the badge of Sinclair the last Earl of Orkney and Zetland , sponsor for the building of Roslyn Chapel. The chapel now famous for the Da Vinci code was the starting point for the pilgrimage to Santiago around the time they were building Lady Kirk here in Westray.

Find a shell on the beach as a mark of your pilgrimage and carry it with you. You are following a long line of pilgrims who have arrived on Westray and Papa Westray over the centuries. Travel well and in peace.

THE PILGRIM PRAYERScallop_Shell_jpg.jpg
Guardian of my soul,
guide me on my way this day.
Keep me safe from harm.
Deepen my relationship with you,
your Earth, and all your family.
Strengthen your love within me
that I may be a presence of your peace
in our world.
-Tom Pfeffer & Joyce Rupp

No.6-Noup Lighthouse
noup45316_30.jpgNoup Head Lighthouse was built in 1898. The lighthouse was built by David Stevenson, a cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote “Treasure Island”. It was built to warn ships off the North Shoal. The tower is 24m high and the light now flashes every 30 seconds. The light was automated in 1964 when a new lens was installed. Then in 2001, solar power replaced gas. There are 36 solar panels that provide the energy to keep the light blinking.

Interpretive Questions:

How many different birds can you see?
How tall do you think the cliffs are?

The light is solar powered.
What environmentally friendly things do you do?
What do you think it would have been like to be a light house keeper here?

Reflective Questions:

A lot of fishermen will use the light to guide them.
Is there anyone that is guiding you on your journey?

The pattern of flashes identifies the light.
How are you identified?

How are you a light to others?
The light keepers served the mariners,keeping them safe, warning them of the rocks and cliffs, a modern form of the celtic monk.
How do you serve?
Who do you serve?
How do you stay safe?
What are the dangers?

May the blessing of the light be on you, light without and light within.
May the blessed sun shine on you and warm your heart until it glows like a great fire
where strangers and friends can come and warm themselves.
And may the light shine out of your eyes like a candle set in the window of a house.
And may the lord bless you and bless you kindly.

The Stevensons were famous for lighthouses and “Treasure Island”.treasure-Island.jpg
What treasure would you like to find?
What would you do with the riches to make a difference?
Do you have a map for your future?
Who is a pirate in your organisation / group?

What treasure are you looking for?
Are you a treasure, someone who shares their gifts with the community?

These are high and dangerous cliffs take care.
Look at the view, search the horizon.
Look up and ahead in your own life. Where do you want to go with things?

This is the end of the Metasaga and as you leave this place take this blessing with you.

Celtic_Love_Knot_small_247019845974.jpgMay the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.