A short walk from Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, is where you will find St. Margaret’s Cave. Queen Margaret was the wife of King Malcolm Canmore of Scotland, and a member of the Anglo Saxon Royal Family. Queen Margaret was born in Hungary around 1045, and was canonized in the year 1250. As a deeply spiritual woman, she would often travel alone to this ancient cave near her home to pray and meditate.
The entrance to Saint Margaret’s cave is situated in a car park in Chalmers Street. To reach the cave below, visitors must descend 87 stairs. During St. Margaret’s era, the cave entrance was at the opposite side, and although now sealed, a small stream ran nearby. Over the centuries the cave was an ancient place of pilgrimage and devotion. A wooden model featuring an extract from St. Margaret’s Gospel is found within the cave.
The sacredness of caves throughout the ages had a universal appeal. Referenced in folk lore and ancient mythology, caves were considered places of ancient healing and initiation. Rich in feminine energy they were identified with the Goddess and the womb of Mother Earth. Caves were associated with birth, re-generation and renewal, and were places of ancient healing.
According to author Allen, ‘In Babylon the royal magicians were initiated in underground caves’. ‘In Persia caves formed the setting for the rituals of the Mithras cult.’ In ancient Greece, ‘caves were dedicated to Zeus, Pan, Dionysus and Pluto’ and were also ‘places where oracular teaching was given.’ In Scotland there are many ancient, sacred caves including Fingal’s Cave on the Island of Staffa, off the west coast of Scotland.
Sacred caves are found throughout the world. In France, the earliest sacred sites are naturally formed caves, such as Lascaux, famous for their cave art dating as far back as 25, 000 BCE. Saint Mary Magdalene was believed to have taught her ancient Goddess wisdom in the caves of the South of France. Legend recounts that Mary retired to a cave on a hill by Marseille, La Sainte-
St Margaret’s Cave remains quite hidden within the mainstream Scottish tourist industry. It is one of the ‘forgotten treasures’ of Scotland’s grail legacy, rich in spiritual history and steeped in legend and tradition. Entering the cave one gains a sense why this place was extraordinarily sacred to Margaret…here Saint Margaret could reside with the Goddess, gaining a deeper sense of her true essence…the ‘Divine Feminine…’