I was looking at the “Lakeland Cam” website today and came across this picture.
The author describes it as “burial chamber”. He is in Pembrokeshire, Wales. On the picture’s metadata, it is labeled as Carn Llidi.
I know, in my heart, that it isn’t a burial chamber, in the sense that we mean it. Sure, there are burials there. But not in a physical sense. There are no bodies there.
It is a place for shedding off skin, like a snake. It is a place of building a cocoon if you are a caterpillar. But the snakes and the caterpillars are human, in this case.
These are deaths, sure. These are most certainly deaths, but also rebirths. These are transformations from one state to another. This is a place where people go to become human, to evolve.
It is a place to let go of old selves. It is a place to smooth off the rough bits.
It is a shelter and yet a danger. Look how it is a lean-to. If you sit under it, you’ll be protected from the sun and the rain, but you can still see and hear. You aren’t sheltered like you are if you go into a cave. But it is also a danger. Look at the size of that top rock, and how small that supporting rock is. There is a risk of death there. The rocks could shift and it is all over.
The same is true with transformation. It isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always good. Sometimes bad things happen when we go from one thing to another. Sometimes it isn’t how we planned it would be.
We transform all the time. We transform when we graduate from high school or college. We transform when we marry, have children, get that promotion. We transform when we publish a book or start a band or a business. We transform when we retire. We transform when we die.
There are often ceremonies and rituals for these transformations, these gateways. There are often special places we go to mark them.
This is one of those places.
So sure, it is a burial chamber. But it is also a nursery. It is a place to lay down the old self and pick up the new self. And there is just enough room in there for you. You bury yourself, and midwife yourself here too.