Kate Taylor is a life design and empowerment coach hosting The Awakening, a festival of wellbeing and self care taking place at Weston Manor House in Totland across 8 and 9 June 2019. We caught up with Kate so she could tell us why the Isle of Wight is so special.
“Whether you visit the Isle of Wight for a weekend, a week, or longer, there’s one thing that’s for sure — it will leave an indelible mark on your heart. I always quip that there’s an invisible elastic band that keeps you coming back to the Isle over and over again. Many of us have hectic lifestyles and for me the Island is an oasis of both calm and magic, which allows me to slow down and connect back into myself.
As someone who specialises in helping people live their most empowered life, it’s the Island’s special something which is the reason I have created The Awakening, a festival of wellbeing and self care on the Island. Having been lucky enough to grow up on the Isle of Wight, I love sharing the Island’s incredible gifts—there’s nothing better than getting on that ferry and decompressing as you cross the Solent with the tranquillity of the Island coming into view.
The Island itself holds some very powerful energy at sites throughout, which I regularly come back to when I need to top up and tap into a sense of alignment and wellbeing. So, alongside The Awakening itself, here are some of the best spots on the Island for spiritual and energetic connection.”
The Longstone at Mottistone are a 6,000-year-old set of stones laid in Neolithic times as a burial mound. The layout of the stones would have been significant to worshipping both the sun and the moon, which is why the Longstone barrow is aligned from the west to the east.
The stones have been moved from their original position over time, but still hold powerful significance and connection to mythology and a time when nature was as inherent part of worship. Solstices and equinoxes are honoured at the Longstone. The site of the stones, and the walk across Mottistone Down itself, are a wonderful place to connect in and take a walk at any time of the year.
Quarr Abbey — Abbey of Our Lady of Quarr — is a monastery situated between the Wightlink ports of Fishborne and Ryde. Quarr is home to a small group of Benedictine monks whose lives are dedicated to their faith, and whose day is characterised by prayer, work and community life. The abbey itself is a Grade I listed building surrounded by beautiful grounds, walled gardens, woodland walks, an art gallery, library, teashop and a farm, which are kept and maintained by the monks.
A visit to the abbey transports you to the most tranquil setting where nature and humans exist alongside each other, with faith at the heart of it all. The monks practice Gregorian Chanting as part of their service, which is an incredible practice to witness and be in the presence of.
Appuldurcombe House in Wroxall started out life as a priory in 1100 and has gone through various guises in its lifetime. Its current form is a Baroque-style house built in the 18th Century. Scandal and intrigue have always played a part at Appuldurcombe, and whilst the house and grounds themselves are a lovely place to visit, it’s the ruins which bring something of the ethereal to Appuldurcombe.
Much of the house was lost to bombing during the Second World War and you can get a sense of polarity between the ruins and the parts of the house which are still intact. You can feel the history of the house as you wander between the rooms as the light streams through the windows of this once-glorious building. Meditating in contemplation, you can almost hear the whispers of previous inhabitants and guests who spent time at the house.
St Catherine’s Oratory
St Catherine’s Oratory is a medieval lighthouse on St. Catherine’s Down overlooking the dramatic coastline of Chale Bay across the south of the Island. It’s also the site of a prehistoric burial mound and a small medieval oratory, which was built as an act of penance for a local landowner condemned by the Church for plundering casks of wine from a shipwreck in 1314.
The oratory, or chapel, served as a place to tend the light and say masses for souls lost at sea. Not only is St Catehrine’s Oratory the second oldest lighthouse in the country but said to be the centre for powerful spiritual activity with ley lines crossing through where the oratory is built. Ley lines are connected energy lines which are said to connect ancient alignments of spiritually significance, landmarks and religious sites.
Whatever your beliefs are around this, St Catherine’s is a wonderful meditation spot, whether beside the oratory itself, or in walking mindful meditation along the downs which have some of the most beautiful views the Island has to offer.
Woodlands throughout the Island
One of the surest ways to connect back in is to get grounded in nature and become the proverbial tree hugger—there’s nothing like it for returning to yourself. There’s plenty of beautiful and ancient woodlands to explore across the Island, which have gifts of nature you can enjoy at all times throughout the year. In fact the Island has a total of 1614 hectares of ancient woodland.
Some of my favourite woodland spots include Firestone Copse—with paths that lead down to the river for a spot of quiet reflection, the majestic ancient woodlands at Kemphill Moor Copse near Bouldner, and Parkhurst Forest in the Newport area of the Island, which is home to some of the Island’s red squirrel population. And who doesn’t want a squirrel as their power animal.
Find out more about The Awakening and book tickets at www.awakeningfestival.co.uk. And don’t miss out on a special 20% discount off Wightlink return ferry travel to The Awakening.
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