The Legend of the White Stag dates back to the 12th century and captures the essence of the mystical charm so endearing to Scotland. At least for me…:)
Against the rules of the times, King David decided to go hunting, when he should have been praying. The King broke away from the hunting party in pursuit of a rare white stag. Arthurs Seat, behind the gates, in the pic above, was once a part of those hunting grounds.
Boldly, the White Stag, also known as the “Penicuik House” moved to attack the King, and when it did, the King grabbed it’s antlers. At that precise moment, the antlers turned into a large cross and the deer disappeared. That night, in a dream, St Andrew, the Apostle of Scotland appeared to the King, instructing him to build a monastery, in gratitude for his life.
Holyrood Abbey is the monastery King David built as a consequence to his vision, in gratitude for his life being spared. Today, only one third of the Abbey remains standing.
Who is St Andrew?
St Andrew, brother to Simeon, whom Jesus called Peter, was crucified in 69 AD by the Romans. He made one request before his death. Believing that he was not to worthy to die on the same cross as Jesus, he asked to have the cross in the shape of an “x”. His request was honoured.
Under the order of the Roman Emperor in 370 AD, St Andrews’ remains were “sent to the ends of the earth for safe keeping.” That place was a Pictish settlement on the eastern coast of Scotland, aptly named St Andrews.
The Picts and Scots related to St Andrew and the x became known as the Saltire Cross. A symbol represented on Scotland’s, the Union Jack’s and finally, on my own Canadian province, Nova Scotia’s flag, respectively.
One of three ornate entrances to Holyrood Palace.
The Palace sits at the base of the Royal Mile, in the burgh Canongate.
As I walked through the Palace, I listened to a pre-recorded tour, explaining the beautiful paintings at the entrance staircase, the ornate dining hall, sitting rooms and special pieces given as gifts to the royal family members throughout the ages. I saw the great hall walls adorned with paintings of all the monarchs dating back to Robert the Bruce.
Scotland’s Motto “Nemo me immune lacessit” translated means, No One provokes me with impunity provides a foundation for the crest at the entrance of the Palace.
My main interest in Holyrood Palace was to see where Mary Queen of Scots lived when she returned to Scotland after her husband the King of France died. Here, she wed again, became pregnant, witnessed her husband murder her secretary and wed a third time, some believe under duress.
My heart hurts for your plight
If only life had been easier
You lived a life others could never had survived
Your strength and perseverance, iconic
A model for women everywhere in any time
Rest in peace, dear Mary
Sent from my iPhone
Some believe, the quaint Bathhouse below, is where Mary Queen of Scots came for solace and comfort.
My experience at Holyrood Palace, set the tone for the rest of my journey in Scotland.
I love the mythical stories, and strong historical characters. If we shared such visions today, I wonder how our friends and family would perceive us. I guess, in time, I will see…