On our last morning on Paros, 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…..I recited Rilke’s poem that seems to be spoken by Her:
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.
Suddenly the “Sealskin, Soulskin” story in C.P. Estes’ book 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 the five years since that encounter, my understanding about what my work is has grown and deepened within the small circle that encompasses my life. The Year 2020 has called me beyond that space.
With you, I have come to see the expanded reality where so much more is being asked of us. Now, fifteen years after I first heard Jean Houston describe the calling of our time, I understand this is not about some future urgency. It’s now.
Here are Jean’s words:
Throughout history and all over the world, people have felt a yearning to be more, a longing to push the membrane of the possible. Never so much more as those living today. People feel called to a life of new being. Much of the urgency that you may have felt these last years, moving between stress and distress, the sense of living in an outmoded condition, the exhilaration before what is not yet, the dread of leaving the womb of the old era – comes from the birth pangs of a human and social evolution that is upon us.
Birth is a journey. Second birth is as great a journey. In the womb of new becoming it means laying down new pathways in the body and in the senses to take in the news of this remarkable world. It means extending the field of your psychology so that there is more of you to do so much of this. It demands that you choose a richer, juicier story, even a new myth, by which to comprehend your life and that you begin to live out of it. And, most important of all, it asks that you be sourced and re-sourced in God, spirit, the cosmic mind, the quantum field, – the love that moves the sun and all of the stars. (Jean Houston)
For this new story, this new myth, we may look to Mary, Mother of Jesus, as an Archetype. Mary will guide us into this entirely new time. Mary, called from a quiet life in a small village to become the mother of a child who would change history by rebirthing all we understand of Love.
That is our calling: to birth, to rebirth life on our planet, to be willing, as Mary was willing, to endure the birth pangs of a human and social evolution that is upon us.
Once more, I turn to John O’Donohue to guide our entry into Mary’s experience. Here is his poem, “Nativity”:
No man reaches where the moon touches a woman.
Even the moon leaves her when she opens
Deeper into the ripple in her womb
That encircles dark to become flesh and bone.
Someone is coming ashore inside her.
A face deciphers itself from water
And she curves around the gathering wave,
Opening to offer the life it craves.
In a corner stall of pilgrim strangers,
She falls and heaves, holding a tide of tears.
A red wire of pain feeds through every vein
Until night unweaves and the child reaches dawn.
Outside each other now, she sees him first.
Flesh of her flesh, her dreamt son safe on earth.
John O’Donohue (from Connemara Blues Doubleday, Great Britain, 2000)