Aut Pax Aut Bellum

My family motto has always seemed overly harsh and aggressive to me, maybe fitting for one of the oldest and most warlike clans in Scotland, but surely not relevant for an enlightened modern day Gunn.

Although, if I am honest with myself, there is definitely a confrontational, fiery aspect of my character. There are many times when I experience this primal need to fight head on ... challenging authority and injustice despite it being quite outside of my normal easy going take on life. It may come from the Gunn clan of old as many believe our ancestral memories are programmed into our very DNA.


Aut Pax Aut Bellum


My father Andrew Gunn recently added a dove alongside the sword on our family crest for his new limited edition release of Iona Wines Elgin. The dove being the symbol of peace has given the crest the balance it lacked and made me consider the Gunn Clan motto through fresh eyes.

The opposing forces of War and Peace, like yin and yang, are everywhere in nature – day and night, male and female, positive and negative. These forces are both complementary and interdependent in the natural world. We find these dualities within ourselves – the light and the dark, the physical and non physical, the heart and the mind, the body and the soul, the good and the bad – they are all contained within each of us.

This duality is very evident in yoga. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word to yoke which indicates joining 2 opposing forces and Hatha can be broken into two parts "Ha" meaning sun and "Tha" meaning moon. When we practice hatha yoga we are working to combine and bring into balance opposing forces within ourselves.

It is when we don't have balance in our life, in our thoughts and in our emotions that we find ourselves in extreme mental, physical and spiritual states and this compromises our health and wellbeing.

Wine too needs balance with all the different components working in harmony ... acidity, fruit, tannins, sugar, alcohol ... they all add to the complexity of the wine but if any one element is out of sync with the others the wine is compromised.

I strongly believe that life is about embracing your duality and striving to attain and maintain a balance.