|Janus figure - Caldragh Cemetery, Boa Island|
The post points out that thresholds, doorways, bridges and other entryways, have long been linked to guardians or helpers appointed to assist with crossing over. He then links the same concept to spiritual thresholds and calls them thin places.
I don't mind if he wants to use "thin place" as his personal, spiritual term for a threshold to a spiritual state state of contemplation.
However, in his post, Fr. Rohr links the term "thin places" to the the Celts. He states, "The edge is a holy place, or as the Celts called it, "a thin place" and you have to be taught how to live there."
The Celts were a culture of people that arrived in Ireland after 500 BC. The idea of thin places or doorways to the Otherworld were solidly a part of the Irish culture long before the Celts came. Newgrange passage tomb is 5200 years old and has entrance stones with large spirals carved into the surface, common symbols for the pre-Christian Irish - and linked to their concept of thin places.
Drombeg and other stone circles in Ireland date 800 - 1200 BC. Tombs on the Hill of Tara date back to 3000 BC. The Poulnabrone dolmen in the Burren dates back 5000 years. We know that sects of the pre-Christian Irish believed there was another world - and Underworld where a parallel civilization (often linked to enchantments) lived. They believed there were openings where the inhabitants of the other world came and went between worlds - thin places. Legends of fairy forts or nodes where passage between worlds was possible were known as thin places or enchanted places.
The Hill of Uisneach was believed to be a thin place, not so much because of its being an opening for passing between worlds, but for the strong energy that comes to the through the earth from below - supernatural power that humans could draw from.
The thin places concept was a part of the pre-Christian or pagan charism and these beliefs or sensitivities - existed prior to the Celts. The concept is rejected by many of the present day Christian communities, often being linked to "new age" heathenism.
Fr. Rohr also writes, "To take your position on the spiritual edge of things is to learn how to move safely in and out, back and forth, across and return. It is a prophetic position..." He uses this phrase not to relate that the place where you physically stand (on the edge) puts you in a prophetic position. He's writing about something ephemeral or of the consciousness or mind. The physical place doesn't appear to have any significance in his definition.
These pre-Christian Irish people believed the thin place itself had the mystical or spiritual power. One didn't create a thin place simply by moving into a state of contemplation or spiritual trance. The site itself was thin and that made spiritual contemplation more powerful.
I have no issue with people who want to give their own definitions to the term thin place. But I find it frustrating when writers recreate the pre-Christian Irish definition to suit whatever spiritual premise they happen to be writing about.
Considering Fr. Rohr is a scholar and has traveled much of the world, his "thin places" reference in this post appears to be reaching .... and sounds trite and sappy. It seems to be a feeble support to a lofty, contemplative concept.