Eternity is in love with the productions of time. William Blake

Archive for the ‘Alignment’ Category

Spiralling from the Center Out.

There is a magical thing that starts to happen in groups that meet together to do intentional work (women’s and men’s groups, workshops, etc).  As we bond with each other, our group field becomes stronger and the ability to grow, heal and transform increases not by the sum of the individuals, but exponentially.  Through our bond, whether it be for a concentrated weekend or repeated gatherings over time, we start to literally do our soul work together, so that when one of us speaks the truth in heart–when one of us surrenders to what actually is–when one of us acknowledges and integrates the shadow–that work is actually done for all of us.

I am blessed to be a part of two women’s groups that meet on a regular basis.  The newer one began last fall, with the focus of making our way through the transformative Feminine Power material.  We always do a check-in about how the last week is been, and it never fails to amaze me how rich each thread of living is that we bring to our circle.  This Thursday, at the end of the meeting, I invited my sister-friends to pick a card from my Goddess Oracle deck.  If you’ve ever played with divination decks you know that when the energy is right, you can pick a card or a whole reading that is just uncanny.  I don’t know how to explain how it works, but my experience tells me it is not just chance.  Thursday was one of those times.  Each woman’s goddess–or archetype–card spoke so directly to her current state that we could only laugh in the crazy wonder of it.  When we finished I lined all the cards up along the bottom of a goddess tapestry that hangs on one wall, and the next morning, as I was preparing to do a massage in the room, I still couldn’t put them away so I lined them up under the resident wooden Buddha statue.

That afternoon, while giving the massage, my eyes landed on the cards and I was struck by a pattern (I often see visuals as I think, both inside my head and out in the world).  In the center was Kali/fear (each card is a goddess plus a key word):

Kali: fear (The Goddess Oracle)

Kali is the Hindu goddesss of creation and destruction; like a woman’s womb, she is fertile and nourishing to new life, but also like the womb she sheds what is not necessary so that we do not become stagnant.  In a patriarchal world that fears women’s powers and women’s bodies, her fearsome aspects have been emphasized.  And perhaps this is rightly so, for I believe she also symbolizes the power of the Earth, and the Earth is pretty pissed-off at the rampant disrespect of her body (I’m talking about what seems like an increase in natural disasters here–the Earth speaks, you just have to know how to listen).  What I understood as my eyes fell upon Kali’s body, dancing wildly in the middle of the universe, was that we must start here.  We must start with our fear.  The shadow that we do not acknowledge wrecks havoc.  But by embracing our fear, by listening to its voice and bringing into our arms that which we find ugly, shameful or inappropriate about ourselves, then we can begin to bring sunlight to the wounds.

To the left of Kali were Pele/awakening, Yemaya/surrender and Lilith/power:

Pele: awakening (The Goddess Oracle)

Yemaya: surrender (The Goddess Oracle)

Lilith: power (The Goddess Oracle)

Pele is a volcano goddess from Hawai’i.  Like Kali, she embodies creative/destructive energy; however, her powers have not been so distorted by the patriarchal lens, and so her fierceness calls forth more of the fiery outpouring we feel when we wake up from being disconnected and disembodied.  This waking up can be both ecstatic and overwhelming, exciting and disruptive.  Our egos can’t control it, but must embrace the essence of Yemaya, Yoruban goddess of the ocean, motherhood and the protector of children:  surrender.  This is a good time to practice pronoia, to trust that something is unfolding within you and around you, and that to go with it, rather than against it, will serve to ease the way and optimize the outcome.  This surrender carries us to Lilith, ancient feminine archetype of primal feminine power.  Lilith was the original partner of Adam, created at the same time as him and from the same material, unlike Eve who was created from Adam’s rib.  When she refused subservience (more graphic versions tell us that she refused to only have sex on her back) she left him, and her name became associated with demons who tempted men and killed children.  Women have been taught to fear themselves and each other.  Without honest self-examination and self-compassion, we perpetuate false beliefs about the gifts we bring to the world.  It is time now to seat ourselves in the literal power of our bodies–creation and destruction, love and anger–so that we can stand on the forefront of the many changes needed to stem the tide of harm against the Earth and all her beings, including ourselves.

To the right of Kali were Maeve/responsibility, Freya/sexuality and Isis/mothering:

Maeve: responsibility (The Goddess Oracle)

Freya: sexuality (The Goddess Oracle)

Isis: mothering (The Goddess Oracle)

Maeve is a Celtic goddess, a queen and warrior who embodies the sovereignty of the land and the people.  She calls upon us to stop pretending that everyone around us matters more than ourselves.  Only by developing true self-love can we manifest the goodness that each of us was born to bring into the world–and no one can be responsible for that but ourselves.  We must write, paint, sing, dance, heal–we must nourish our bellies, our hearts, our wombs, our minds–we must receive as deeply as we give.  Maeve gives us the strength to blossom, to spread our wings and dance in the creative energies of life:  Maeve gives us the power to bring in Freya.

Freya is the northern European goddess of sexuality.  As a maiden goddess (not mother, not wife)  she represents the woman as whole to herself, resplendent in her creative powers.  These  powers are magnetically attractive, and when we embody them we dance into creation that which we desire:  lovers, children, gardens, work, vitality.  Life does not exist without desire–think of the flower and the honeybee–and Freya helps us know that our deepest desires are part of the flow of existence.  Recently I saw the documentary The Queen of the Sun, about honeybees, and I learned that the maiden queen, when she is ready to mate, flies out of the hive towards the light of the sun.  She is followed by a multitude of drones (male bees), and is impregnated in flight with the sperm of these drones. I can’t help but see golden Freya, trailing her wings in the sunlight, as the half-complete desires in our hearts fly after her, hungry for union.

When the queen bee returns to the hive, she is no longer the maiden but the queen mother:  Isis.  Isis is the mother of all, including the sun itself, her son Horus.  Her presence reminds us that we, too, require mothering, just as we mother so much that is around us.  The queen bee who has returned to the nest will go on to lay up to 2,ooo eggs per day, for 2-7 years.  She is the mother of the hive.  However, this great mother is constantly fed and tended to by the worker (non-sexually mature female) bees.  Motherhood, literal and metaphorical, calls on us to receive more deeply than we have been taught, as women, to allow.  Can you imagine what we might accomplish for the good of all, if we nourished the queen bee that resides in our hearts and wombs, and the hearts and wombs of our sisters?

I begin where I am.  I befriend the dark places in myself, I bring fire, water, earth and air to tend to the soul as it awakens in the body.  I give thanks for the women and men who share their love with me.

Dedicated to my Thursday night ladies: Allyson, Analisa, Carmen, Jenna, Kay, Lakshmi, Lila, Sabrina, Shelly, Stacey and Stephanie.

Thanks to Amy Sophia Marashinsky and Hrana Janto for the creation of  The Goddess Oracle.

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Suncatchers: Unearthing My Journals

Recently I have made a new commitment to bring my writing to the forefront.  The most practical aspect of that commitment is to write every day, from 9-10 AM, for the next month.  In addition to generating new writing, I also realized that there is a lot of goodness squirreled away in my journals from the last 20 years.  What I have spoken in my heart is not fully communicated because it has not been received by others. Furthermore, I sense that whatever is new that I long to bring forth simply won’t come unless I can remember/re-visit/re-learn that which has been.  I am calling this part of the blog ‘suncatchers’ because they are  pieces of crystal, imperfect and small, but capable of reflecting the larger light of the sun.

On Love, Kahlil Gibran

I am not an anxious person, but in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the news that a large earthquake is likely to hit California in the next couple of weeks, I couldn’t sleep.  Fear captured my imagination, fear of loved ones being injured or killed, fear of being in a different place from Kale’a when the quake happened, fear fear fear.  Eventually I fell asleep, and upon waking this morning thought it good to review Gibran’s treatise on love:

Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.  And with a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.  Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto  himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of  your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

34 and 2 days, Reading Marion Woodman.

Life becomes exponentially more beautiful, and exacts a terrible toll of tenderness on my heart, my womb, my flesh. This modern world–we turn away from this depth of beauty.  It seems to require more feeling than we have the resources for–and perhaps what is called for is to develop these capacities, to burnish the cup and carve the lute.  This feminine face of God, Her shining face calls to us, the siren song to die into a new way of being, of living in the fiercely alive body, unabashed and carved out by the sacred sensuality of the world.

Marion Woodman, from Bone: Dying into Life

November 24, 1993

Without the love, would I bother?  Without Ross [husband], would I care?  More and more, I feel the initiation–the letting go of something that is finished in order to move into new life.  How to let go?  How to be sure at the unconscious level that I am letting go?  . . . I know I am dealing with the Great Mother in her death aspect.  In the past she could hypnotize me, blind me to my unconscious death wish in bingeing and starving.  Now again.  I have to turn her face around and feel myself lokoing into the eyes of the loving Mother.  How to be sure I am moving from the negative face of the archetype to the positive?  That has to happen, but it is hard to recognize the move when the dark face is so locked, so fierce, and so fiercely locked i the unconscious.

I have carried this dark road too long.  I am delivered of a very dark, dead baby.  If I cannot get hold of the positive side of the archetypal dimension of this, I think I will die. And that dimension has to do with the emergence of the Virgin bride at a new height and new depth on the spiral.  Very aware now that the spiral–the movement of the Virgin Gypsy of my initiatory dream–is a double helix.  As above, so below.

Please, God, let me live the Spiritual Warrior, fighting for the new order.  Dear Sophia, let your radiance release me into Virgin/Crone.  Masculine and feminine together, we may make the transition.

Of Joy and Sorrow, Kahlil Gibran

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and  your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Welcome 34!

Dear 34,

We have some big plans, you and I.  I give up, I give in, I say yes to my life!   The black and white outlines of my dreams are filling out with color, with smells and textures, with interesting, co-creative possibilities.  I receive!  I allow!  I let it in and step up to another level of love and responsibility.

Here are some things on my mind and in my field:

The energy of the Marys, as embodiments of the Sacred Feminine, is something we all need in this global process of wholing/healing ourselves:

Mary, Patty Griffin

The Ballad of Mary Magdalene, Richard Shindell

Women in the Congo and Women for Women International:

Please consider sponsoring a woman.  If it is too much to do by yourself, do it collectively!  Do you have a women’s or men’s group, a church group or any other circle?  Pool your resources and help another human being regain her dignity and life.

http://www.womenforwomen.org/help-women/help-women-globally.php

The work of Claire Zammit and Katherine Woodward-Thomas has been catalyzing unprecedented transformation in my life over the past 4 months:

Feminine Power:  www.femininepower.com

Women on the Edge of Evolution:  www.womenontheedgeofevolution.com

“God’s will is not that we become a certain type of person, but that we become the person we were born to become.  Not like anybody else, but like the imprint of who we were born to be, that only we can be.  And if we’re not that person, nobody else on earth can be.”                                                                             August Gold

“It is the entelechy of the acorn to grow into the oak tree.  The entelechy of a caterpillar to grow into a butterfly.  And yes, every single person is born with the entelechy of greatness.”                                                                Jean Houston

Blessings on us all, and may we all remember that the goodness of the world comes through our loving actions towards each other.

Love!

Ursula

Bohemian Headlines: Earth Mama Meets Annie Oakley in Larkspur Shooting Range

Most of the time I don’t go to bed thinking, I’m going to learn something I never thought I would tomorrow.  For all that we humans crave excitement, it’s easy to forget that one day will not be the same as the last, even if the last 3/15/45 have seemed that way.

This morning was one of those not-so-usual days.  While turning off the alarm on my phone at 6:30, I saw that my friend Howard had sent me a text from the night before—inviting me to go to the shooting range with him.

Howard isn’t someone you’d imagine being into guns.  He is a gentle but strong guy, funny and kind, a life coach and advocate trainer for rape crisis organization.  He learned to shoot a gun because it scared the crap out of him, and he wanted to face it.  I admire that.  And while I am not so much into physically risky activities (ie the bungee jumping kind, although I do rock climb) I have always been attracted to ones that push my emotional edges.  So I said yes.

Although there is a range in the East Bay, Howard is a member of one over in Larkspur because he prefers the professional/grounded atmosphere, and I have to say that I agree.  Although I was the only woman there at the time, I didn’t feel weird or patronized.  Everyone working there seemed to be a bit of a character, but down to earth, professional and calm (enough).  I couldn’t help but think, though, how often does a gun store face attempted robbery? (Later over lunch Howard told me more often than you might think, even when a cop car is parked outside, so most of the guys who work there, who are retired military or law enforcement, are carrying).

I signed away my rights to sue for damages, handed over my ID, put on my safety glasses (science experiment style!) and ear protection, and we entered the range.  Back in the parking lot Howard had already explained to me the basics (how to hold, always point downrange); as we stood in our ‘lane’ he proceeded to show me how to organize and load, the various mechanics, how to aim, the stance, and more.  His explanations were clear and understandable, but it was a little hard to concentrate with gunshots going off around me in other lanes–it reverberates through your body a lot!

First we used a .22mm.  For those of you unfamiliar, those are small bullets and there is very little recoil.  It felt powerful–in what I would call an archetypal, not ego, way–to hold the gun.  I tried to remember what Howard as well as my sister and brother-in-law (who have gone shooting numberous times before) told me–have a good stance with your upper body weight over your hips, lean forward some, focus on the forward site, breath and shoot halfway or at the end of your outbreath.  I did pretty well for a beginner, getting at least half overall in the black and maybe 3-5 in the red.  I think I can say that I liked shooting the .22.  It is an interesting challenge to coordinate the movements and to engage with such an intense symbol of power.

The .9 mm was more overwhelming.  The bullets look at least twice as big, and the recoil was mildly distressing. I fired 5 or 6 times, and stopped in part because my trigger finger was sore from the recoil.  Someone a few lanes down was shooting a .45, even bigger, and I can’t imagine dealing with the energy of that.

I thought that I might reach a distressed tipping point, but when we left I felt grounded enough, not freaked out but definitely adrenalized.  The bullets are lead, so  you have to wash your hands aftewards, with COLD water so your pores don’t open and absorb the lead.  I looked around more of the shop before we left, and it was definitely a little frightening to seem the semi-automatic weapons on the wall and thinking of someone using one.  Before leaving Howard scheduled a ‘situational awareness/self-defense’ course for his crisis advocates to be taught by Josh, one of the employees who used to be a sheriff.  I appreciated Josh’s combination of expertise with his apparent capacity to relate to a non-gun-toting audience.  Although most of us have no need for the depth of information he possesses, we could all use better skills to keep ourselves and loved ones safe.

Upon leaving we both agreed it was time for a burger.  Whenever I’ve experienced something that moves a lot of energy (two extremes of that would be a deep cranio-sacral session and firing a gun), I find that I need to ground myself, and (vegetarians/vegans cover your ears) animal protein, plus some fries, is a good way to do  it.  So we went to the brewpub in Larkspur and sat outside in the sun, enjoying our burgers and the idiosyncracy of life.

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