Tag Archive | devotion

Threads

A beautiful essay was written by Christy Croft that I share here: Intellectual Curiosity as Holy Devotion.

The author touches on many themes that resonate with me; she and I share a similar path. As she writes about how to embrace the tension of opposites, she states evocatively that

I’m still learning how to knit these threads. Sometimes, I do so with the tight, precise stitches of academic study and critical reflection; other times I do so with the loosest of weaves, dancing between theology, personal narrative, myth, metaphysics, and ecstatic mysticism in my everyday language as if there were no divisions, no binding categories of speech or cognition. It’s a work in progress. I’m a work in progress.

Artemis in Crete

[The following is an excerpt from Minoan Messages On The Gaia Path.]

balconyIS IT COINCIDENCE THAT I AM STAYING at a hotel named after Artemis? Artemis who has long been another resonant Goddess for me? Artemis who exemplifies the independent stage of life I went through after my divorce and before I met Ron? Artemis in her Maidenhood, her independence and empowerment, her strength and intimate relationship to the wilds, the woods, nature, her pack of hounds called the Alani? The Alani of which I became one?

I’ve read books and articles about Artemis, and relate to much of what’s written, yet I also know Her differently in some ways.

Goddess of the Hunt is one of Her appellations. However, as a devotee of Artemis, my sense is that as “the huntress” Artemis did/does not advocate killing. Rather, Hers is the power of dispensation and for stepping in as intermediary between hunted and hunter for a swift and painless death. In other words, if it is necessary to take a life for survival, invoke and invite her guidance and She may grant absolution to the one who deals death to a precious wild creature and/or an innocent of any species. Her bestowing of prowess with the bow—in her association with that tool—was for protection of the wild creatures, and to prevent suffering. Ultimately, Artemis is a Huntress of Souls, not hunting to kill in our mundane perceptions but to renew, protect, guide, save and inspire the wild and innocent beings.

In her other guises and energies, and at other points in time, Artemis is also known by a variety of names. For instance, on Crete, She is associated with Britomartis, Goddess of Mountains, and Eileithyia, Goddess of Birth and thus also of Death.

My own energy is connected to Artemis in some interesting ways. A zodiac sign associated with Artemis is Taurus, which is my birth sign. I have a strong attachment to not only the wild and untamed mountains of myriad landscapes, but also to woodlands, trees, and especially pine trees; Artemis, Goddess of the Wilderness, has been known to hold a “pine cone tipped wand,” and is a tree goddess. My given middle name is Diane, a form of Diana which is the Roman name for Artemis. She is Moon Goddess and Lady of the Beasts; I am most content at night or in caves, and have always lived with multiple dogs. The moment I ‘met’ Artemis, we were in resonance.

She has, however, been tainted by aggression, enslaved by the will of the oppressors, and made into an image of death-wielder or hunter of those She actually protects. There is a deep chasm stretching between Artemis-primordial and what they—the violent ones—seek to make Her. Her archetype has not the desire to kill or to destroy. She is the waxing moon of growth, the crescent moon is Her silver bow and Her discerning, protective gaze flies sure and true as an arrow from that bow. She is the Great Mother Bear, marking the trees to show all who come into the forest that this is sacred space. Who were the Amazons when Artemis led them into healing groves and fields of herbs where the animals showed ignorant human hands how to know blessed plants that could turn fear into peace, hate into love, and still the pains of birth and death?

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 4.24.41 PMHow can we see Artemis clearly if we look through the eyes of patriarchy and those who dominated even themselves, restraining any semblance of kindness? Harsh times rode in on horses disregarded except as vehicles, long forgotten as the wings upon earthly rhythms pounding freedom across the land. Can we close our eyes and feel the origin? Imagine one of the first faces of She Who Runs With the Wolves for they are Her friends, her kin.

I am stricken and saddened by how easily we forget to look before the onslaught of oppression, look into the forest mists of the times when harmony reigned and all of Great Mother’s creature beings were honored, each life taken a great sacrifice for which we gave thanks, asking beforehand for a volunteer … the wounded, the weak, the old. Grace is given for their life to be taken quickly, offered as sustenance in the cycle. The vibrational patterns of life, the energetic threads of relationality became snarled and were tangled, so that we forgot Her truth, Her Divine gift of interconnected honoring into harmony.

Under the light of the waxing moon, She cast shadows to protect the wild beings, to create equality—challenge and illusion—so they would not be taken too easily, would not be slaughtered without asking forgiveness, without prayer and invocation of Divine guidance to lead them to balance of sacrifice and nurturance.

There is tremendous strength in standing firm, in holding fast, in celebrating birth and death as equally vital in our human forms walking the manifest world. Artemis is the exhilaration, the growing light in the sacred dark, glorying in the soft shadows of night and the cool recesses of the cave, and the womb of renewal and joy of youthful vigor.

She has been tarnished and stained, contorted by aggressors who cannot possibly understand Her complexities, for taking a life is a mighty responsibility and the life taken is then to be honored in a way that reveres all life be it plants, animals or the unknown mysteries of the unseen realms that guide and direct us into opportunities for greater inter-relationship.

Her stories were told and written down by men who could not comprehend Her. Artemis is one who guides us to look within, in the dark, to discover whether we need to take a life or sacrifice our own or even to simply allow a flow of compassion into the relating of all life. She guides us into the paths of our souls, pointing with her arrows to that which needs to be removed or transformed.

The Amazon legends, like the stories of Artemis, were recorded by men; we must seek within our own hearts to find the truth between the lines of the self-reflected, ego-dictated aggression of patriarchy to locate pure source. Maybe the Amazons were indeed wild women of the forests who supplemented their gatherer diets with the occasional meat sacrifice. But I sense that whenever a kill was necessary, it would have been a grave undertaking, not a revelry of joy and laughter with fierce cries of jubilation and pounding upon the chest in dominance. There would have been no joy in the kill.

Artemis vibrates with protection, defense when necessary, and survival with a distinctive grace and reverence for all life. Humans have the will and the intellect to choose how we live, and Artemis will guide us through the dark if we open to Her power.balconyatdusk

Good Night

Dear Longest Night, photo

I’m sad to see your darkness go for without it I don’t know how to find myself in the bright light of day that glares its way across my eyelids until, squinting, I see nothing but yellow pushing and shoving. Farewell dark healing womb that was stretching to hold me gently tightly securely in the womb of wisdom. Precious darkling, alas you will become less and less, fading sooner every morning into the hectic pace of speeding cars and intensive work that barely paused to recognize you while you were here by flooding homes and offices with false lights, by working long hours to ignore the decreasing daylight. Sad to see you go, my friend of endarkenment, before we’ve even had the abundance of hugging and holding hands and reflecting upon all that has happened, to create stories of transformation that embrace the light and dark in equal measure.

So many people bemoaned the day after summer solstice, fearful of the coming dark increasing shadows that crept longer and longer to peek around the edges of a well-lit life and say “ah ha, that’s where you’ve been hiding the really good stuff, the deep dark chocolate egg and the rebirth of soul into presence felt not seen.” I honor you, sweet darkness, for granting permission to go inside the cave and huddle close to unknown sensations and feelings burnt to ash, or lying as mirage upon the open desert floor, hot, shimmering. I give thanks, huddled under the blanket woven by nimble fingers of ancient grandmothers who sat easily in their rocking chairs by the banked hearth-fire allowing only a single coal to glow so as not to insult the wisdom whispers of womb and tomb. I’m sad to see you go without a proper acknowledgement, without the gratitude fully kissed upon your ebony cheeks by sweet recall into memories traced into labyrinthine passages snug and welcoming.

While others focus on the birth of greater light in a world already burning so bright it hurts my eyes and heart, I say grace to the depths of darkness that nurtures and sustains my very ground of being, that holds the streams of bloodline, that wraps taproots around my trembling soul infusing it with the sap of soma, the nectar of release and renewal. Farewell, deep well of knowing, as I let go my treasured friend to meet less frequently for a while, as I seek you eagerly upon the sleep of shortening nights blooming across the infinite sky.

SkotinoCave

Skotino Cave, Crete

Your sister Lumen grows bright upon your tired eyes and I love her, too, but she gets all the attention and praise while you are quickly set aside by lengthening days. Know, my dear friend of jet and coal and diamond in the rough, that I willingly abide within as often as I can meet you, I will, so that we continue our exploration and to heal without distractions seen all around. Upon your womb I will still rest and nourish at your breast within the cave at night and when I close my eyes, place hands cupped upon them, you are there again and I release my heart into the background of joy that you have always been and always will be, infinity, the black hole of all creation’s birth, the canal of rebirth through death.

Have we seen you enough? Have we honored you with heart and soul? Have we come to you with courage and gratitude? You are half the blessed cycle and yet … have we loved you equally?

Even as the sunlight warms my skin, I’m sad to see you go. Even as the orange tree stretches limbs up high, as do I, I’m sad to see you go. Within my heart, I hold the darkness softly, gently, with honor, as and for a desperately needed counter-balance to a world that often values the light in excess, I say grace for the amaranthine threads that wind their way into the divine depths of Gaia’s womb, the core of life, of soul.

Thank you, Good Night.

Lunar Liquid

IMG_2090I stand within Her, within the pool of moonlight as She pours over me, filling me with imagination and dreams and the graceful existence of this moment. Scattered sisters sail through the cool waters of refreshing bliss, everything moving in slow motion as we drink in the glow that is beyond the mere seeing and into the knowing that we heal and then someone else heals and the waters of healing trickle down every hillside and tree trunk until we are all standing together as a healed whole of planet and stars.

I stretch my body temple to hold the moon upon my palms and Her love melts into my skin, rushing down arms into my shoulders like liquid love. Her fluids have breached my dams and the gates are open until I receive all that I am through the images cascading through my mind like waterfalls. I cannot halt the flow and don’t want to, for to experience imagination and vision is an ecstasy that will never be done because my soul is one with all Her gifts and we will continue the flow even through changing form and shifting world.

Priestess

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View from the ruins at Hamezi, Crete

I close my eyes and hear distant voices, chanting words upon a melody of plant-strewn aroma, gentle and flowing as they connect with the cycles of life. I tip my head back and lean into the wind, for a moment I lose my balance and feel my body begin to tilt … I could topple and roll all the way down the mountain if I’m not more careful. I chide myself. Yet I do it again, tipping my head back, leaning into the wild wind, not even needing to breathe because the energy in motion moves in and out of my body without my lungs as if I am breathing with the land, with the priestesses of the past, and they are breathing for and within me. Could I stay here forever? Would anyone mind if I brought a pack and retreated here for a week or two? I smile. Probably not done. Silly thoughts. But I hear a whisper that there are these sacred energy portals everywhere. And I promise myself to find them at home, in the land of my own present birth-time. 

I look into the dry well, or cistern, and imagine pulling water up in a clay jar, careful not to let it bump the rocky wall and crack. I kneel upon a woven mat and begin to wash, cleansing my body, purifying my skin with a pungent herb, and then massaging an aromatic oil into skin that is dry and thirsty. The oil is a subtle color, and my skin glows with a hint of purple. Sacred rites. Past or future?

Does the wind ever stop, here in this vortex? I hope not. For if the wind were to stop, the transmission of wisdom would halt, the sharing of memorial patterns that weave upon the imprint of this place would pause, and they are precious indeed. One room is absent a roof so that we/they can lie among the sheltering walls yet be among the stars and moon, and soak up the luminous charge, connecting with the ancestors. I feel them calling, connecting us across the veil. This space yearns for a return to ritual, and we join hands and sing …

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Ruins at Hamezi, Crete

Gayatri Mantra – Yo Nah Prachodayat

Continuing my journey through the Gayatri / GaiaTree Mantra …

Yo Nah Prachodayat — definitions or understandings of the actual word/sound are:

free photo © Erik Lam | Dreamstime.com

Yo – “That” (the Divine)

Nah – “ours” – for all of us

Prachodayat – request, ask, beseech

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Asking, within these sounds, for myself and others to feel the peace of the Divine; to know and experience the qualities and attributes of the Sacred that is all around us and within us, and to express these gifts out into the world. Bringing the Grace of Gaia to all that we are and everything that we do. To open and invite the Divine to manifest fully within so that we can project and reflect the Divine fully outward. Asking this for self and others. 

And yet, I cannot help but remain aware of each person’s individual path, and how vital it is for each of us to find our own way. So, even when I ask for blessings on someone else’s behalf, I am conscious of a qualifier learned many years ago: “ … for our highest good, for the good of all, according to the free will of all.” Now, some might feel that this goes without saying, believing that we cannot impact someone else’s free will on the energetic plane anyway. However, I prefer to remain conscious of this aspect and do so by stating my awareness.

 

Gayatri Mantra – Dhimahi

Continuing my journey through the Gayatri / GaiaTree Mantra …

Dhimahi — definitions or understandings of the actual word/sound are:

focus, attention, meditation, communion,

all upon and within the Divine

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Pause. Give her all of our attention, within this moment see Divine fullness of Being and exist within her as She rests within us and all matter. We are inseparable. And once we fully embrace the Divine Energy that is both manifest/immanent as well as transcendent then we are truly dwelling within Gaia. Then, we can give our attention to Her in every moment because no matter what is happening or not happening, our attention is on Her and we dwell in peace, radiating Light and Love. 

To consciously give ourselves time/space is a first step into communion as it is meant to be … every moment, all forms and non-forms present Her in themselves, in the essence and vibration of the seen and unseen. With focus, we reciprocate the presence.  

Oh, imagine to be within Her even when we have not set aside devotional time/space. Imagine the bliss of our entire life in alignment with Her. Then the pause and space for meditation upon the sacred is merely delicious icing — it is not the deep, rich cake of Source, Her cakes of heaven, because in full awareness we partake every moment, enjoying every bit, every crumb, as part of Divine sustenance toward growth and nourishing change and wisdom. 

I pause within space and time, to bring conscious awareness to Goddess in All, to honor Her gifts, and receive Her Grace and know the abundance of Her as Source. The vibrations raised within me during devotion resonate, permeating my body, mind and soul, raising me into communion with Spirit that will last throughout the day, clarifying, providing discernment to always see Her, this resonance rising up within me as an automatic Grace when I stumble, fall, or feel alone. She is here and a moment of focus recalled allows the opening to once more see Her and feel Her within and all around. 

There is no sacred transcendence because we are right here, right now. And She is Here. Why go looking for Her ‘out there’ somewhere? She is here in the comforting hugs, gentle words, soft eyes of love, abundant rains, painful reminders and the hurtful lessons that flow in this energetic world of illusory existence we create from moment to moment with the power of our thoughts and beliefs. 

Imagine … bringing Gaia into every second of awareness! Glorious!

And so I focus, meditate, chant, pray, do ritual, move … giving my attention to the Divine in gratitude and allowing Her strength, wisdom, love, to flow through me. Every time I open, inviting Her, She is already here, waiting to bring bliss and peace as the background of all experience. This is another gift of Source. Her Great Mystery is to provide a tapestry of joy in Being, of peace in existence, that sustains us through the dance of the world until all life’s rhythms are pulsing in Her together as One. 

We don’t have to wait or despair. We need not judge or feel righteous toward others’ devotionals. We are all on journeys … sharing as we go along, learning to find our way. When I pause to re-mind myself of connection with the Divine, when I open to Her conduit of love and channel of joy, when I being attention in devotion — no matter how long; seconds, minutes, hours — then during that presence of Spirit and Self, we are all aware. We may react when feeling the conscious devotion of another. Is our response kind, loving, honoring of their path in that moment? They have paused in acknowledgement of Source and I need only concern myself with my own response Do I pause and honor their journey to the Divine? It doesn’t have to be my path, but can I respect that it is theirs? And let go? Release the need for same, and its comforts to ego, and instead celebrate Divine Diversity? I cannot know what is in each person’s heart; can I pause in a moment of pure loving support, in compassion, in honor of the attention being given to the Infinite as felt by another? I feel Her within me in my own unique way, and Her gift is open-hearted, loving acceptance of my attempts to know Her. We manifest our own reality/illusion in devotion, and I choose Love. 

To love in attention and devotion to Matter and Spirit equally, as One.

 

Gayatri Mantra – Tat

Continuing my journey through the Gayatri / GaiaTree Mantra …

Tat — definitions or understandings of the actual word/sound are:

that (the Divine), selflessness, devotion

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To know, this is a reminder — in the beginning, at origin — that one is coming into sacred space and sound to honor the Divine without seeking reward or anything for self … selflessness. 

To know that during this mantra–in a time set aside for prayer and devotion–we are honoring and giving thanks to Gaia, the Tree of Life. Seeing Her branches spread like a canopy of love above us and Her earth our bed, Her mantle spread for our feet to walk upon the past into the present. Seems like forever is now when pausing in a sacred moment of pure devotion …. to simply exist in the experience of all that is around and within, to know the sense of self melts away until we are only sitting within the glow of Gaia and Life. 

This can be true anywhere. I used to feel like I had to be out ‘in nature’ — in the yards or fields, parks or forests, to be with Her but now I can be with Her anywhere … close my eyes and I can image Her natural beauty into the the present, feel the warm sand or cool dark trail beneath my feet, smell the pine needles and flowers, hear Her breath rustle or moan through trees or canyon … or open-eyed see Her in the room, how She permeates the walls that wear mineral paints and earthen textures, the furniture that is composite of wood or oil or metal either pure from Her gifts of forest or extracted from Her depths and we give thanks for these creations while honoring the deaths or tragic circumstances that may have brought them into new forms, honoring that all substance comes from her and we are merely the channels of changing form. She is That and we open to receive Her gifts, Her Grace. 

To love and treasure the moments when we pause to know only Her, without distraction of mind and activity. For these moments are sacred in recognition of all we are provided. Amazing. Sounds that return us again and again to attention … to be with Gaia now in gratitude. Feel the words and sounds echo in the room or drift upon the winds, wherever we are, the chant that comes to us from distant past — feel our voices supported and uplifted on generations of voices reverberating through time until we are One, all together in the Sacred Space of devotion to an Infinite Wisdom. Deep thanks. Peace descends, calm wrapping around like a mother’s embrace. In this moment, we release attachment to our external lives of doing and distraction — we come to this space in devotion to Her and leave our ego self set aside.

What is selflessness? How to carry this devotion to Gaia into the world and yet be true to the individual purpose? 

By seeing within, going below the surface existence of the world and seeking out the nearer purposes, the Soul gift that we came here with. When we are the creation of Her and create through Her, building and supporting in love … through “desire not duty” then anything is possible. 

We first must open fully to Her gifts of Life and Love. She has provided all we need, planted within us the seed, and we look within, carefully nurture and fertilize, and we open and grow from that space … and that space is now, part of the space we create to honor Gaia and recognize all are Her gifts … freely given into our care for growth and expansion to care for Her and others. All a circle, we cycle in and out of giving and receiving, falling and getting back up. Allow others to give and our hearts open even more. 

Devotion freely offered to Gaia — without expectation, asking for nothing in this moment — will soften and open our bodies to all gifts in the world of form. Be the space in which giving happens …