On the Hill of Tara

For four months now, I have been dancing with you around the theme of the rise of Sophia, the sacred feminine presence. I have shared poetry and reflections, ancient stories and contemporary writing about her awakening.

Today, I share with you something of my own experience of Sophia, tracing the story backwards, seeking to know how and where I began to awaken to her presence. I must do this by way of story, though in its heart it is profoundly true.

This is where it begins. On the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland, August 9, 2003, anniversary of my commitment as a vowed woman religious, a Grey Sister.

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The mist is heavy as evening drains all colour from what I can see. Sheep, light grey against a deeper grey, startle me as they come suddenly into view. The fog, both disorienting and exciting, holds energy, a power that has long been asleep. I sense its presence, feel my courage waver.

Yet, there is a readiness within me. I have come seeking an encounter, knowing the danger, knowing the risk. But I also know the time has come, and I must follow my desire. Now. On this night. Here. In this place.

I want to experience the Old Ones. I open myself to their coming. I am wearied, beyond words, with the Religion that swept like a Pentecostal wind over Ireland two millennia ago, turning shamrocks into theological treatises on the Trinity, blowing away all but the memory of the Old Ones, the Magic Ones, the Holy Ones… I want them back in my life, in my blood and my bones, my cells and my atoms, my heart, my soul, my spirit.

I stand here in the mist of Tara. I open my being and call out to them.

There is no response. I remain still, scarcely breathing. The darkness deepens.

Still I wait. No one comes. I feel only a vast inner emptiness. I am bereft.

My companion, an Irish priest who’d brought me here to Tara Hill, gestures that it’s time to leave. If we stay longer, the full darkness could make our return along the winding road hazardous.

Today, I hold the thread of the story that began for me that night. I follow the thread back to its beginning and, in my imagination, once more climb the sacred hill. I feel the same needle pricks of mist against my face, see again the grey shroud of fog that conceals everything except what lies immediately before me: this stone, this sheep, this tussock, this tree. Each arises, disappears, as on that night. I feel once more the quiet power of presence.

That night, when I called out to the Old Ones, no one answered.

Now I know the One I seek. I have found the hidden well where she awaits me, and this knowing has transformed my desert into an oasis.

This time, I shall call out and be heard. I shall be answered.

Come with me. It is time for us to begin.

I invite you to experience with me something that is more powerful than memory, more passionate than imagining. The presence we seek allures us with a flow of energy, but to meet her we must first come to stillness. Focus is important. A strong desire for the encounter is our best assurance of being met by the One we seek. She responds to our longing.

Come now along the dirt path winding upwards towards Tara’s height. Push open the wooden gate, built to keep the sheep inside. Like the ancient circular ditch, gouged four metres deep into solid rock, surrounded by great wooden palisades, the protective fencing of Tara is meant to hold the good spirits within as much as to prevent the bad spirits from entering.

Inside the gate, we choose a direction that is south and east, turning to the left. Just beyond that hedge, on the eastern slope, is one of Tara’s wells, so old that when it was documented in the Tenth Century AD, it was already ancient in oral tradition. Over the millennia, it has borne many names. At one time, it was called the Healer, later the Dark Eye. One of its names, Well of the White Cow, associated it with the Fertility Goddess. More recently, it has been known as Cormac’s Well and Saint Patrick’s Well.

This is the well we enter now.
( to be continued….)

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