Every year since the first visit to the land in 1986 families of Belted Kingfishers (Ceryle alcyon) have inhabited the tidal end of Seal Cove where we, too, began to migrate each summer. Watching the birds hand on the art of fishing to their young in this beautiful cove began to spawn a vision of handing on spiritual hospitality in this place. Being curious amateur birders, we inquired about the derivation of the Kingfisher's scientific name.
Alcyon comes from a story in Ovid's Metamorphoses: Alcyone was the daughter of the King of Winds named Aeolus. She married her true love Ceyx, son of the Light King. They were very happy together, but Ceyx was determined to go to sea to seek his destiny. Alcyone pleaded with him not to go but to no avail. He sailed off only to encounter a terrible storm at sea. All was lost. Waves carried his body back toward his homeland. At the moment when Alcyone, waiting for him on the breakwater, recognized his body, her father Aeolus changed them both into Kingfishers. They flew off together over the seas. To honor their love and provide them with safe conditions for bearing their young, Aeolus stilled the waves for seven days. They have come to be called halcyon days, traditionally falling at winter's Solstice.
We knew the name of our retreat center would be The Alcyon Center in honor of this bird – the true owners of the cove. The stilling of the waves of life for a period of peace and tranquility would lie at the heart of what we intend to offer here. True peace, true rest is rarely experienced. We invite you to come and see. The Belted Kingfishers invite you.