Tag Archive | journey

Three Faces

I found it interesting that the three books I’ve read in the past couple months on pilgrimage have each depicted a distinct energy of Maiden, Mother or Crone (with a few overlaps), although not in that order. This was not consciously planned. The first two books I read before even making a decision to try again to journey to Crete. In fact, I only realized this morning during Sadhana that there was a reflection of the Goddess Trinity through the three books. For, while the Divine Threesome have been making themselves re-known to me in a variety of ways, this particular reveal was unexpected.

Maiden

In early July, I started reading The Trail ~ a true tale of the Camino. The author Elizabeth Sheehan surprised me with how quickly I was captivated by her tale; I didn’t expect to be. I bought the book simply because I was curious. I had watched the movie The Way recently (which is fantastic), and recalled that Elizabeth had written of her own experiences on The Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile walk from one end of Spain to the other that is a 1000-year-old pilgrimage. And, since I knew a little about Elizabeth from reading her mother Molly’s blog for years now, I figured I’d give it a go.

Elizabeth brings her unique perspective truthfully and earnestly in to the story. From the beginning, I applaud her honesty in revealing her desires and demands upon herself and others, and admire how she reveals enough backstory of her follow pilgrims to create a connection yet beautifully respects their confidences by not sharing intimate details of their deeply personal journeys. Elizabeth’s writing straddles the arrogance of youth (she’s 24 when she begins her walk) and a lovely budding wisdom firmly founded upon her spirituality and her family.

Ultimately, I couldn’t put the book down because I felt Elizabeth’s angst and desperation, and wanted to know what would happen, and … because she returned me to my own feelings and experiences of early adulthood with its challenging path of growth from youth to maturity. Throughout, she beautifully alternates between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the journey.

Crone

After reading The Trail by Sheehan, I was captivated by the mystery of the Camino de Santiago and all her pilgrims over the ages. Of course, by my nature, I wanted to read another non-traditional experience of the journey. I picked up a copy of Shirley MacLaine’s The Camino ~ a journey of the spirit and proceeded to immerse myself within its pages during the early part of August.

Ms. MacLaine is quite an outspoken, remarkable and individualistic woman; someone I’ve been intrigued by for years, although this is the first of her books that I have read. As a bit of trivia, I smiled to discover that we have the same birthday (not year) and, to add the personal, her mother, like mine, was told to enroll her in ballet classes when she was very young due to weak ankles that would be strengthened by the dance structure. While I, like many, knew her first from her movie roles — my favorite being her duality of saint/sinner in Two Mules for Sister Sara — during the past several decades she has also become known for her expansive views on past lives, UFOs, and the lost continent of Atlantis.

For brevity, the back cover provides a better overview than I could: “For Shirley, the Camino was an intense spiritual and physical challenge. A woman in her sixth decade completing such a grueling trip on foot in thirty days at a rate of twenty smiles per day was nothing short of remarkable. But even more astounding was the route she took spiritually. Through astonishing visions and revelations, Shirley saw the meaning of the cosmos, including secrets of ancient civilizations, insights into human genesis, the essence of gender and sexuality, and the true path to higher love.” Most of what Ms. MacLaine shares in her book is definitely not what those in either the Maiden or the Mother phases of life would either desire or seek. She describes in the first few pages how, as a mother and grandmother, as well as experiencing her senior years, she felt “fear that we were now almost completely out of touch with what we were intended to be in the first place.” She was still seeking the meaning of life, our purpose here. I enjoyed her journey, and appreciated her willingness to write about the perspective of the Crone, the Wise Woman.

Mother

Last week, I found myself yearning for a September reading of a pilgrimage; I immediately thought of Peggy Tabor Millin’s Mary’s Way ~ cultivating a peaceful heart in trying times. Hers was also a somewhat atypical pilgrimage in that she was invited to join a group of pilgrims to chronicle the journey, and “she did not expect to be affected by her journey.” I knew of Peggy from her book Women, Writing and Soul-Making: Creativity and the Sacred Feminine, which I thoroughly loved, so felt she could speak to me on a level with which I already felt connected.

Mary’s Way was unexpected, although touching and lovely. I knew of Mary as a Mother figure, of course — mother to Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, she who eases the sufferings of so many who seek her out, comforting and providing solace. From other writings and comments, I knew she exuded strong Mother energy wrapped in a soft, sweet embrace. What threw me was the academic feel to the sharing of what must have been a profoundly moving experience. And yet, I was also drawn into the journey as if I could feel the edge of distancing had a purpose.

It’s possible that the ‘distance’ I felt was all from my side as the reader, especially as I have been undergoing challenging mother-daughter issues with my own mother this past year. And that makes it all the more poignant considering the fragility of my inner Maiden as she/I heal from patriarchy. Certainly, there are places in Mary’s Way where the patriarchy of the Catholic Church reminds me of the criticism and judgment of fathers (personal, religious and societal) for the Divine Feminine.

Taking all of this into consideration, however, there is still no doubt that Mary’s Way is a Mother-energy book.

* * * See how this realization of the Goddess Trinity portrays herself through my catharsis in Survival.

Water Calling

The Atlantic Ocean at Ogunquit, Maine. Certainly not an ocean I’ve ever wanted to swim in — COLD — although her magnificence is mesmerizing.

Following are pieces that streamed at various times during the past week …

Dreaming daylight images of swimming in the ocean … when I have never been much of a ‘water person,’ preferring earth and solid ground and dark caves of retreat in solitude. And yet, since deciding to go to Crete, I find myself beset by yearnings to swim in the ocean — to be renewed. And I am called to the Yemaya Assessu chant strongly, mysteriously … as if She is siren and I am helpless to resist. Not that I want to.

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Swim within my own Divine current and allow the wisdom to emerge. It is easier sometimes to grab hold of the tailings of other swimmers as they stroke past in color and speed, but I can never be them, I can only be me. And so the practice is to admire and honor their fluidity while reaching deep within to find the spark that has been born within that makes me unique. The spark that was lit within me that no one else has in quite the same way. To create from that spark of soul and heart, to transform … to welcome the transformation of all my experiences and learning into something to share with others. Truly, I listen to amazing people with determination and drive and my knee-jerk reaction is to follow along because how could I possibly have anything to offer compared to them? And learning from others is fine and beautiful as long as I don’t lose myself or think less of what qualities I bring into the world … my contribution. And it doesn’t need to be grand or to create a big splash. As I flow along within the Divine current, perhaps I create a little eddy or an inlet or I carry a twig upon which rests the creature that will feed the one who creates the big splash that brings all of us into harmony? That would be lovely. So when I get snared by the pull of someone else’s energy, ask … what is the gift here to accept and move on? Where can this insight lift me or cause me to wonder … what now? It can be hard sometimes to be a little fish.

It seems funny to be so captivated by water images floating in my mind these days now that I am living in a desert. But perhaps that is Her secret gift — that now I need to reach my hands into the reservoir that has been filling up during the past years. To experience the arid land and light air that stimulates creative secretions. To release all that has been building up inside and allow the healing I have known to flow out into the river like the artery of red wisdom that no longer manifests physically. To simply open, release, allow, and welcome whatever the expression needs to be in any given moment. To broaden my brush and not try to control or restrict that which flows for it will find its own way out into the world … get out of my egoic desire to control and simply allow. Let it all flow, as I am in the third phase and it is not my place to inhibit the wisdom within me that is a gift of the Divine. Gaia knows where it all needs to flow.

My body is releasing the fat of hibernation-years as I let go of the weight of hand-crafted quilt-skins needed for my own healing. I am grateful for this move, for the challenges that re-awaken me to possibility and potential that seemed stuck in Maine. Much thinking and I feel more fire though I don’t yet know where to direct its heat. The weight of contemplative writing that flowed with such flooding ease has become lighter for now, like feathers that drift upon wind and water … they sink into neither and do not remain still for long. Perhaps the ‘voice’ I heard years ago is now ready to be born? “Wear the gypsy feathers well.” A portent? The message came, I think, before we ever conceived our move, but Gaia knew and was trying to let me know that it’s okay … I can do this … my wings have grown strong once more and I don’t need to let the fears of the past hold me down/back. I keep feeling nervous as if the lack of grounding is ‘bad’ but it’s not … I can become lighter and move more where heart calls and vision beckons. I can flow with the changing current of my journey.

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As I reflect once more upon water, during another monsoon downpour, my thoughts first turn to Crete as an island. Is this part of why I keep feeling the water element calling? Further, is it that I am to bring the water element to the desert in my own small way? And yet, we are all living on islands big or small that rest within the ocean of our planet. Am I an island? Yes, I am an island, and an entity resting — or hurrying — within an engulfing over-culture. And yet, I am no more alone or separate than the earth-islands are for the ocean connects us all.

What might it mean for me to “bring water to the desert?” Healing? Love? Spirit? Inspiring creativity? Wisdom? What is missing here and how can I fill the empty cups of the beings living here? how can we tap into the planetary soul-well, the reservoir that will nourish all of us into an era of peace and joy? How can I nourish myself, my partner, the animals in my care who rely upon me? Is this ocean-within the reason that I am drawn to water now?

Many years ago, I knew the correlations of elements and qualities intimately … I valued and honored those interwoven ropes that created the net of the world. I fell away into a space of self-renewal — became the caterpillar in its cocoon. Now I have emerged and ritual is singing through me to be revealed, unveiled. “Goddess is alive, magic is afoot.” Change is here and transformation calls out to Goddess who calls to me. For we exist within this space as One.

Sadhana spontaneous and different this morning, shifting — waking to rain-laden cloud cover, the air pregnant with water, the memory of torrential downpour fresh from last night, I was swimming in the ocean yet on land! And I knew that the only appropriate music for contemplation was …

“We all come from the Goddess,

and to Her we shall return

like a drop of rain

flowing to the ocean.”

Symbolism everywhere … that I am called to the isle of Crete, to swim in Her cauldron of birthing liquid at the ending of monsoon in a desert where rain has blessed the parched earth for a brief season and led me gently into reconnection with sharing healing however that may manifest.

I have missed ritual and symbols of Divine Mother/Earth Goddess and the Divine Trinity — maiden, mother/queen, crone — and now once more wear upon my ankle the red/white and black braided cord made many years ago in Her honor. Back then, worn only in ritual; now, worn in life as on-going rite of renewal.

My life is now my practice, my spiritual path, they are not separate and can no longer hide the purpose as I begin to glimpse it’s face and form. I cannot decorate it in unbecoming colors or a traditional uniform because it and I have become our true selves and continue to evolve within Her ocean of birthing and becoming.

Barefoot Spirituality

Would it help for someone to understand my intimacy with Gaia, the journey to reach my own sacredness and the on-going path into personal spirituality? I know that one of my joys is to read of other’s spiritual journeys and beliefs, for that opens me into my own wholeness. And so I write of my journey on this path–in my books and on this blog–to share, to commune with the energy of others.

I don’t follow one faith or religion or system. I’m far too questioning — far too much of a seeker straddling a rickety fence as I cross one more field — to embrace fully someone else’s path. But, and this is significant for me, I value something in every path of Spirit I’ve read about or witnessed because of core similarities. And I know that there are many concerns in cultural groups, in indigenous peoples, in ethnic families and tradition, as well as in established religions — concerns that picking out what is appealing may be viewed as disrespectful, but I absolutely do have deep respect for these other systems and traditions.

Yet, perhaps I am also genetically disposed to always be journeying along a more eclectic and individualized path in approaching the Divine. Because I am a hybrid, a melting-pot American who lives and expresses the cellular and morphic-field memories of German, English, Swiss, French, Scots, Scots-Irish, Black Dutch, and various tribes of Native American, do I wander back and forth more easily? And those are only the links I am aware of; there are probably more.

I grew up without ethnicity or cultural heritage other than ‘white, working-class American.’ And, while I was raised into a particular religion, it never resonated. The Divine within me remained asleep like Snow White, waiting for the kiss of the one I would recognize. And She was years coming. I needed to grow and learn more about this personality housing my soul before I would feel Her awaken within and provide guidance upon a spiritual path.

But when she finally opened Her eyes (or I opened mine), our love and my remembrance was instant. She had been with me all along; I knew that at once. And yet, while I recognized Her, and followed at first the path of those who shared their own journeys and systems of belief, I found before long that the Divine within me couldn’t be fenced in here either, no more than my nature could. Neither of us could handle being penned up or caged, defined or labeled. And so we took the next fork in the trail, together, knowing our journey of discovery was personal and individual and solitary.

I knew that I might never find a ‘perfect fit’ and that was fine. It’s okay. I would try on spiritual shoes, boots, sandals, moccasins, all shapes and sizes. Some feel comfortable for a while, but then I have to pull them off and walk barefoot once more, without restriction or fancy designs by someone else. Some got too tight, cutting off my circulation with their pointy-toed sharp looks; some became floppy, loose and I fell out of them because they made no sense to me; some were heavy and I felt that I couldn’t walk on my own path at all. All were valued for the temporary support they provided in various ways, but not for me to wear long-term. I learned about beauty with pain, about fluidity within form and function, about structural support limiting freedom. Not in struggle against them were they valued but because I experienced or witnessed the joy they brought to those wearing them quite happily as they walked with compassion. I just needed to be barefoot in my own spirituality.

And Gaia has supported me every step along this path, always kind. As long as I continue to honor the gifts of those spiritual paths traveled by others, respect their beauty and depths, and the love within the mysteries and stories they hold so dear, I know all is well. I feel peace in the exploration.

Gaia has many faces and places. And, for me, She is here within and everywhere I walk feeling the earth beneath my feet, the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin, and the rain cooling my face. Her smile is infinity, and we won’t be fenced in.

Pilgrim

I’ve been a pilgrim my whole life.

Searching along the inner path that winds its way along the rushing red waters to the trailhead of the cave with its magic doors swinging open and shut requiring perfect timing to step inside and find Her.

The outer journey has also been one of challenge as I hid in the dark and walked asleep among the halls of those who did not understand.

I knew that mine was a solitary path among the creatures and natural cathedrals of rock strewn with bows of green, bones of the past, and occasional splashes of tears fallen from the rainbow in all the colors winking in and out of existence.

To be a part of the world yet more a part of the earth, I know that all the confusion is a gift to find the deepest part of myself that is a reflection of Gaia. Always to know Her in the stillness, among the wilds, and cuddled with those who play at being tame to teach me. Ours is a fate of love, a hand-fasting of vibrational sequencing that is infinite and underfoot–see our prints upon the path and know our hearts are One.

Falsely imprisoned to society’s demands, the days turned to nights, and the disk remained high in the sky offering solace when burning eyes began to open and heart began to beat once more as it did at birth … free, innocent, realizing Her.

Forever I have heard the dreamweaver’s song calling me to walk, and walk …  And so I followed Her call up mountain trails where my breath disappeared into Her lungs and She breathed me whole for a moment or two. And I walked the thick verdant path of dense woods where decay was sweet nectar softening my footsteps until I disappeared into Her cloak and was hidden from view, safe.

I dream when awake and asleep of stretching legs in long strides upon a foreign land. Where is the pilgrimage of earth that will carry me into the next realm of knowing Her softly blazing eyes that strip me naked until I am a reflection of Her unmistakable glory?

I hear the call to an island where ancient women knew Her as one of their own and they sat in a circle whispering, singing, laughing the secrets of love and life, and She breathed through them their whole lives. Would I hear their voices that know the truth and shift into a translucent parallel where we become the mirrors for each other as we exist at the same time, our threads interwoven?

I hear the call to a path of men who didn’t see Her sacred pleasures–their eyes blinded by a structured formality–soon to sacrifice their souls for egoic castles in the air that remain oblivious to the velvet path they walk and the graceful sway of Her dancing self among the stars. Would I hear the voices of their mothers, sisters, daughters and transform the trail into one of unity echoing prehistory?