Tag Archive | pilgrimage

Minoan Messages

Minoan Messages Cover

available in paperback or epub

Ever lost sight of your identity and/or your purpose? Me, too!

Synopsis: 

Darla has been a spiritual eclectic for over fifteen years. She is rooted in her faith and happy in her lifestyle. But when her husband experiences a mid-life crisis and they suddenly move from Maine to Arizona, her grounding is disrupted on more than just the physical level. Darla realizes that somewhere along the way her sense of self and purpose got left behind. Were identity and soul misplaced or totally lost? She is clinging to the possibility that a pilgrimage to Crete can show her the way home to herself. As Darla explores the remarkable sites of the ancient Minoans, she opens to the whispers of priestesses long gone, and absorbs the vibrations of a matrifocal culture wherein its people knew the harmonic oneness of life. Upon returning home, Darla continues to explore the balancing of dark and light, to weigh the merits of cave dwelling and creative expression. Through experiences, reflections, and visions on a journey that was far more than Darla had imagined, she recovers her unique identity, embraces her true nature, and steps forward to manifest her soul-purpose.

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My book expresses perspectives on eclectic earth-based spirituality as well as how earth divinity supports the universal relatedness of women’s journeys and our subsequent healing through those experiences. My paths as spiritual seeker and practitioner of earth-energy healing modalities have merged; this union enhances my ability to not only explore inner and outer landscapes, but to share my perceptions of them in a variety of unique ways that includes metaphor and tales of the ancient past.

 Parakalo (please), hop over to Lulu for your copy of Minoan Messages or to Amazon KindleEfharisto!

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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

Survival

During Sadhana, as I began inadvertently reflecting (my “monkey mind” was jumping around during my spiritual practice) on how I had read “three tales of pilgrimage – Maiden, Mother, Crone,” my occasional scattered thoughts morphed into my own three phases of life which finally resulted in a tremendous cathartic release of my inner ‘bound Maiden’ as to …

I WAS NOT A FAILURE.

I SURVIVED.

Clearly, the abreaction shared below followed partially from the awareness raised during the Dark Moon ritual of last night.

* * *

Crying, sobbing, I realized that I still thought of myself during my Maiden phase of life as a failure, as someone who ‘couldn’t make it,’ who couldn’t meet the mark or live up to the expectations of myself, my ex-husband, my father, or society. That nothing I did was ‘successful’ (the details of my story are not unusual, encompassing everything from spousal abuse to attempted suicide to bankruptcy to falling down untold times). I never made anyone ‘proud’ of me, and I never received acknowledgement of my survival by those in positions of patriarchal authority. Namely … Dad. But this isn’t about him, not really — it’s about me. What do I feel and what did I feel back then? What happened and why? Sobs wracked my body as I lay in ‘bound angle pose’ with my heart open, my lower body open and vulnerable.

I began to express aloud what I was feeling by saying of the Maiden-that-was: “She was not a failure” repeating it over and over. Eventually, I could look inward and say to the Maiden-that-was: “you were not a failure” in mantra. Then, after many repetitions, able to say and feel the reverberations within and without: “I am not a failure.”  Barely getting the words out sometimes through a throat that kept closing, choking, sobbing. Old diaries from my 20s are filled with self-negation and anger, and, yes, at times, self-hatred for failing at so many things in so many people’s eyes, or so I thought. What I didn’t see through my own heart-led vision was that I survived — and that means I am successful. I had courage. I pushed through and found ways to survive, to begin the healing process, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes. It doesn’t matter if others saw my struggle as a struggle. All they could see is what I revealed and what their own eyes were willing to look at. I was vulnerable. And I survived. I made it.

When I sat up from asana … I hugged myself, hugged my inner Maiden who was bound and gagged and left in a dark corner  as unworthy, as a failure. I untied the stiff knots with strong, gentle fingers, and loved her for coming through and surviving. I had embraced the Mother in my 30s without integrating the Maiden — she was abandoned, slowly bound over time until she could barely move. Didn’t want her input — after all, I had thought she was a failure. Except that she wasn’t! She came through for me. She was strong and brave and continuously on the watch for healing grace through Nature. She not only survived — I survived, too.

For the three — Maiden, Mother/Queen, Crone — are intimately connected, constantly shifting. Even when one aspect is prominent, the other two are there, supporting even when unseen, un-felt, unacknowledged (as I had been). They witness, experience and lend their strengths. They are the Goddess Within, the Divine spark that continues to flicker, the powerful feminine energy of Shakti. There have been other steps I have taken toward integration — along the Gaia Path before I even realized what it was — yet I find each one is more profound and, while leading me into the light, also show the way into the caves of renewal to discover more bones and shadows for excavation.

The Dark Moon ritual undertaken last night en-couraged my psyche to go here once more — to uncover a few more stones upon the grave of the Maiden until she was visible once more. The power of ritual can never be underestimated. Outward journeys can reflect and reveal the inward path, helping us along the trail whether it lies in the cave or the ocean or the desert or on the mountain cliffs.

We are all successful. If we are still here, we are not failures. We have survived., are surviving, and even thriving at times when our path is one we can truly see and embrace with love … loving all the parts of ourselves along its edge … bring them into the core and embrace, integrate, heal. Look around at my sister and brother travelers — how many are struggling? Some on the outside, some on the inside — many both. Compassion wells up in me knowing that someone else has bound and gagged an angry part of herself, a part that deserves honor and recognition for surviving life.

I know now where much of my discomfort comes from when seeing an angry person ‘acting out’ … part of me is envious because I didn’t, couldn’t … but that doesn’t make me weak or a coward. I survived. I am not and was not a failure. I’m here and I’m living life full and present, and growing in every moment. So if the person I see is angry .. I feel their pain and hurt, and seek to bring more love, more compassion into our interaction, our community. How can I help? This is what I see through this anger … the anger I bound and gagged in myself, disguising it outwardly as a ‘chipper’ attitude.

And this also doesn’t mean I’ve been living a lie – I haven’t. For much of the past sixteen years, I have felt peace and love and contentment flowing through my life and I have welcomed these graces. I have been living within a safe space of healing and renewal; in a space of the Mother, a home of nurture and nature all around me.

We are a diverse and intricate design, we that are self-named homo sapiens … ‘self-aware’ … self-knowing … supposedly. Maybe after a while? It’s a journey. We are a work-in-progress here in the world of form. I attached myself to a need for recognition from Dad (and thus from other men, as in a partner, my ‘other half’ and all those patriarchal archetypes I was raised to believe in), who was unable to provide any softness or support in that way. I have always known, though, that he loved me and that’s what I need to open to now … the love, just the love. Because maybe he had an angry persona inside him, too. And maybe my freed Maiden can reach across the perceived limitations of death and time and space to hold his hand and just say … I love you. Without reservation or resentment or anger or hurt. Just … I love you.

And I love myself — all parts of me, for I do the best I can in any given moment. Don’t we all? How can we possibly know what someone else needs in their hurt or anger or even joy if we are living with a part of ourselves bound and gagged in the dungeon for being a ‘failure’?

Strong winds, cool air, blue sky, no clouds — dry and uplifting, I could soar with Raven without tiring. The Ravens are huge here in the Southwest, bigger than I’ve ever seen before, bigger than most hawks. Yes, I could fly with Raven right now, navigating the air currents, reflecting the sunlight off of blue-black feathers that shimmer like polished obsidian.

Sitting outside in the dawn of a new day, holding hands with the Maiden, I feel free as she squints into the bright light unseen for so long. That’s okay. I’ll give her my shades, and plop a straw sunhat upon her head. We’ll be fine in the bright sun. We’re survivors.

* * *

I KNEW SOMETHING big was coming out of my inner desire for pilgrimage, I just didn’t know how it was to manifest. And still don’t. This morning’s experience is just the beginning, a glimmer. But to return to how this recent catharsis emerged, I primarily go back to: (1) the Dark Moon ritual, and (2) the reflections upon the three visages of the Divine Feminine.

What I have realized is that if I hadn’t already been renewed in my connection to the Goddess Trinity, through coming full circle on the Gaia Path, I might not have recognized the tragic abandonment I experienced of my inner Maiden. Without my rediscovered resonance of Goddess within and without, and of Her three beautiful faces, I might have overlooked the hidden aspect of my Self that needs healing even though I was looking to the Dark Moon for release and guidance.

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.

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?

Endunamoo ~ to empower

ἐνδυναμόω

(en-doo-nam-AWH)

From the Greek ~ to empower, strengthen, enable; to have power from within

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free photo © Marc Dietrich | Dreamstime.com

Endunamoo was the title of a former blog. Its inspiration and content came from my autumn 2008 plans to join a small group of women on the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete with Carol Christ. As it happened, that journey was not meant to be; not only did the Ariadne Institute cancel the trip, but within a few days after learning about the cancellation my dad died and home was where I was needed. Then, I was once more considering the possibility of going in Spring 2011, only to find myself in the midst of a move across the country from Maine to Arizona. However, these repeated forks in my path (and upset of plans) led to further reflection upon the Divine Feminine in my life … how She supports and encourages change and growth. And I couldn’t help but wonder how much preconception we bring into our lives, how much we idealize this or that part of our journey by thinking that it has to be a particular way. When we open and allow more flexibility, and offer ourselves into the possibility of the unknown, isn’t that amazing? We step into the ability to empower ourselves and to be equally empowered by Gaia.

So, even though I have yet to participate in the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete, the Minoan culture, the Goddess Path, and Feminist Spirituality are still prominent energies in my daily life. These spiritual vibrations have expanded to include many other spiritual and cosmological concepts … those I’ve read about and those I’ve experienced/imagined.

“To have power from within” … well, really, I already ‘have’ power within, it only remains to unearth, realize and embrace the power within … and thus my journey on the Gaia path continues to evolve.

Blessings!