It is Holy Week, April, 2015. The promise of Resurrection is everywhere: in birdsong, in the first green shoots appearing in the wet earth, in the budding trees, in the softer air.
A dream comes to me in the night. I am standing in a darkened room where the different aspects of my creative work: my writing, my ministry with women, the plays I offer, the stories I tell, appear within lighted frames on the walls.
My mentor, Jean Houston is there. We walk together, looking at each image. Jean tells me she must leave, for it is time for me to travel alone. I must go further into the darkness of this room where there are no lights.
I sense in the dream that the Sacred Feminine Presence is waiting for me in the darkness. This is where the dream ends.
Not long afterwards (though at the time I made no connection with the dream), Jean sent an email telling of her intuition that I should come on the Journey to Greece she was leading in September. I was hesitant, unsure. Then I recalled the dream. I sensed that the journey to Greece was part of this call to meet the Sacred Feminine.
The weeks in Greece were so rich in insights, experiences, rituals, and healing of archaic wounds that I did not think of the dream again.
On our last morning on the island of Paros in the Aegean, in the time before the ferry departed, I was walking in the town, disappointed to find that the shops were not yet open… on one narrow street I saw a small building with an open doorway.
I walked inside, found a tiny darkened chapel with lighted red lamps near Icons. On the right wall an Icon of Mary drew me.
I stood spellbound. I felt invited to rededicate my life to the Sacred Feminine as I had done four years earlier. Words from one of Rilke’s poems rose in my heart, as though spoken by the Sacred Feminine:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
Go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like flame
And make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose Me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give Me your hand.
(Rainer Maria Rilke)
Still, I could not go. I kept gazing at the Icon. Then I saw the Child in Mary’s arms.
Icon in chapel on Paros Island, Greece
Suddenly the “Sealskin, Soulskin” story in C.P. Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves came to me.
I recalled the teaching that when a woman has found her soul, it is her spirit (her son) that she sends to do her work in the world.
I recalled the words that the Sealwoman spoke to her son as she placed him on the shore in the moonlight, “Only touch what I have touched and I shall breathe into your lungs a wind for the singing of your songs.”
I felt that the Sacred Feminine was promising me the same, as well as inviting me to send my spirit – my work- into the world.
In that small dark chapel on Paros, the circle that had opened with the mysterious dream of the darkened room where I saw images of my work and was sent in search of the Sacred Feminine, was completed.
I offer this personal experience as an invitation to each of you to revisit moments in your life when you were touched by a Sacred Presence, one for whom you may have had no name. Until now. May Rilke’s poem speak to your heart.
May each of us “let everything happen to (us): beauty and terror”.
May we make “big shadows” where the Sacred One may walk.
May we too embody her, as we “go to the limits of (our) longing.”