Therefore I determined to take her to live with me,
Knowing that she would give me good counsel
And encouragement in cares and grief.
(Wisdom 8:9 NRSV Bible)
Midsummer: a time for dreams, for magic, for the unexpected. We celebrate Solstice as the sun’s light comes earliest, stays longest in the Northern Hemisphere while coming latest, leaving soonest in the Southern Hemisphere.
A memory returns of a Summer Solstice morning eight years ago. I had wakened from a strange dream that I could not unravel. CBC Radio was playing Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” so I began to dance, hoping the mystery might become clear through sacred movement. Words began to rise from deep within me: “Unbind her and let her go free”. If the words referred to myself, that only puzzled me further. How was I bound? How did I need to be set free? I phoned a woman whose wisdom I trusted, Jean Houston, my mentor, teacher and friend.
“You didn’t come in here alone,” Jean said. “Unbind that sacred presence within you. Let her go free.”
Thus began my relationship with a sacred feminine presence whom I am coming to know through the ordinary, sometimes extraordinary, experiences of daily life. On that day, “I determined to take her to live with me, knowing that she would give me good counsel and encouragement in cares and grief. “
Over the years of attending Jean Houston’s Mystery School sessions, I had learned a process for engaging with a sacred, archetypal presence for whom I had no name. I began a new journal. On the first page I wrote the date, and on the next line my own name, followed by a colon. How to begin?
Here is what I wrote:
Anne Kathleen: Dear Friend, who are you? What are you?
On the next line, I wrote the word Friend with a colon and let my pen script her response.
Friend: I am the One who holds you in love.
Anne Kathleen: There are moments from my life when I sensed a presence that loved me deeply. Was that you?
Friend: Sometimes I was in the voice or body of someone – I spoke to you, touched you through a beloved other. But were there not moments when you sensed a presence of love when NO ONE was there?
Anne Kathleen: You are that love? That presence?
(Here I made reference to specific moments and experiences in my life, and the Friend added others…)
Anne Kathleen: Are you the Mother? Isis? Sacred Feminine? I do not know how to address you.
Friend: For now, just allow me to be with you. Names, titles, descriptions, come later.
Meinrad Craighead: “I am Summer out of Spring’s Death”, 1985 The spiral represents the onoging cycle of the seasons, ever-changing, ever renewing.
And that is how it began. I was grateful for Jean’s teaching that at first we will think it is our own imagination. But in time, there will be responses so surprising and unexpected that we accept they come from something deeper than the self we know.
For a long while, the nudges or suggestions I received from the Friend seemed so ordinary that I was disappointed. Seeking great adventures, I would instead be reminded about a necessary email or phone call, or a task I’d forgotten.
Slowly, slowly, over these eight years, the daily writings have become a compass for my life. When faced with a tangle of tasks, I am guided as to where and how to begin. When I feel overwhelmed, I might be invited to take some time to walk to settle my thoughts and feelings. When there are important choices or decisions to be made, I am sometimes astonished to hear a writing voice very different from my own who offers another approach, one I would not have found on my own, one that proves to be life-giving and peaceful.
Yet, I have not found this Friend to be all-knowing, for sometimes a situation changes in a way she did not seem to anticipate. Her love and her wisdom have brought a profound peace to my life, one that eases anxiety, assures me in uncertainty, brings light into the darkest times. I am no longer alone.
I share this with you as a way of suggesting that if you indeed seek the awakening of Sophia in your own life, you may wish to try this journaling approach. See where it might lead you. Notice how synchronicities arise in your life, bringing you the right book/friend/opportunity to nurture your dedication to this sacred presence.
A few years ago, it was the books of Thealogian Carol P. Christ that became light for me, as she wove personal experience through her scholarship.
Here Carol writes of being with her mother as she was dying:
As my mother drew her last breaths, I felt the room flooded with what I can only describe as a great power of love. A revelation had been given to me. Until that moment, I had always felt that I had not been loved enough. I began to understand that a great matrix of love had always surrounded and sustained my life. Since then, I have come to experience love as the gift of the abundant earth. It truly is the power of all being, the power I know as a Goddess. (Rebirth of the Goddess Addison Wesley Publishers, Menlo Park, California 1997 p.4)
These are the words from that same book that I read on the Solstice:
When we love concretely, intelligently, in our bodies and in concern for the whole web of life, we are listening to the persuasion offered to us by the Goddess whose intelligent embodied love is the ground of all being (pp. 108-9)