Review of PILGRIMAGE TO IONA by Claire Nahmad
Published by Watkins
Reviewed by Lionel & Patricia Fanthorpe
This profoundly deep and thoughtful book sets out on a true pilgrimage of the most meaningful kind. It is a pilgrimage from which every reader can benefit in both mind and spirit. It is a quest for truth, for knowledge and for meaning. Socrates warned us that "The unexamined life is not worth living." One great virtue of Pilgrimage to Iona is that it provides those essential philosophical and theological instruments with which we can examine life.
Claire has the gift of examining so-called myths and legends in depth and discovering their vital links with historical events, along with the true meanings beyond them. She also unravels many of the complex, entangled mysteries known to groups such as the Masons, Cathars and Templars.
One of the most powerful ideas in the book is the concept of Earth, and, in particular, sacred and special places such as Iona, being vibrant with divine life and power. If we think back on our lives, we may recall experiencing feelings of special spiritual depth when we visited such places. Iona optimizes these feelings, but they are also reported from the Nile valley and Rennes-le-Chateau in France, which has been described by one sensitive and thoughtful researcher as a "gateway to the invisible."
Claire's expert knowledge of the Holy Grail enables her to fit this into her other extensive research and this helps to clarify the mysteries of Iona.
Among the other mysteries that are explored with such accuracy and integrity, are the enigmas of gender and androgyny, and Pilgrimage to Iona penetrates and clarifies these brilliantly.
A particular mystery that has intrigued us as explorers of the unexplained for more than half a century is the mystery of the famous Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the Egyptian deity, also known as Hermes Trismegistus. Claire's treatment of this is absolutely fascinating.
Pilgrimage to Iona has been thoroughly and expertly researched, and Claire's excellent analysis of the many mysteries centred on the island has been synthesized into an excellent book.