Category Archives: Mary Mother of Jesus

Sophia in Egypt: Seventeen

We are gathered in the Captain’s lounge on the Moon Goddess, re-entering the story of Isis and Osiris. Isis, who has flown over the reanimated phallus of her Beloved, is now, through Tantric magic, pregnant with Horus. Jean invites us to consider that Isis, during her long labours to develop the civilization of Egypt beside her husband Osiris, has remained childless, her womb fallow until the ripeness of time arrives.

“What in you is fallow, and needs to be called forth into actuality?” Jean asks us. “Each of us comes in already seeded with our creative potential, which we may bring into time. If we do not bring it into actuality, we are left with unspecified yearnings. We deny the validity of what we are.”

Isis hides the chest that contains her husband’s body in a secret cave, but Seth, still full of hatred, ever watchful, finds the chest. He butchers the body of Osiris, scatters its fourteen pieces across Egypt.

Psychologically, we are like the body of Osiris when we lack focus and passion in our lives, allowing ourselves to become scattered, called away in too many directions, with too many distractions. The scattered pieces of the self are the aspects that do not live. We need to gather up these bits and fuse them into one integrated body/mind form, create an energy frequency, a potentiated life.

Nepthys, lady of dreams, of psychic knowing, of shadow, joins her sister Isis in the search for her husband’s body. Together they create a boat of papyrus and set out to seek the scattered pieces of Osiris.

This myth, Jean tells us, is a massive story on the psychological, mythical and spiritual levels. The regathering of the self.

Isis uses a mixture of water, incense and grain to mummify each piece of the body of her Beloved that they find.

“Set up a garden of your lost selves,” Jean suggests, “so you can see the greening power as each new aspect of the self sprouts with life and vitality. You will attend to both the garden and the self.”

Isis and Nepthys regather all the missing parts of Osiris but one. His phallus has been devoured by a fish. Isis creates one for him made of gold. Alchemically we, too, supply what is lost in the self.

Seth finds Isis, and imprisons her in his spinning mill. But this gives her time and space to reflect, to gestate the new child. In our own lives, it is important for new ideas to have gestation time, spinning time, to help them reach fullness before we give birth to them.

“Do you attend to emails first thing in the morning?”Jean asks. “This is your most creative time. You might want to look at how you use it.”

In a time of gestation, it might look like not much is happening. New things are spinning out of darkness in the inner world.
“What was Mary thinking while she waited for the birth of Jesus ? or Maya as she waited for the Buddha to be born? The unborn child is affected by the thoughts the mother has during pregnancy.”

stock-photo-mary-kissing-the-baby-jesus-59597146

Margaret Mead’s mother and grandmother played music, read Shakespeare, to the mother’s belly before Margaret’s birth.
“When you are in a prenatal state, preparing to give birth to a higher self, feed yourself on poetry, music, literature.”

Our genes are dynamic little explorers on a great journey along the Nile seeking new experiences, new patterns, cross-generating new things.
“You are not stuck,” Jean tells us. “Your choice of using the wandering genes and cross-fertilizing culture makes so much possible!”

Consciously altering and evolving the patterns that limit us is the task. A major growth spurt can happen at any age at all. Self-transcendence is built into the essence of our genes. Dynamic evolution is conscious orchestration of potential. We are in a crystalizing moment. Untapped reservoirs of creativity can be called upon, potentials now desperately needed by individuals and cultures as a whole.

“What capacities, skills, potentials do you need to be better human being? Which of your own latent possibilities do you need to gestate?”

Dinner that night in the ship’s dining room flows with laughter and wine. I look around the table where I am sitting, see the smiling faces of my friends: Suzanne, Rosemary, Ellyn, Kathleen.

After dinner, I am on my way upstairs to my room when I see Jean bent over a computer in the lobby, checking her emails. Without thinking, and utterly without fear, I walk up behind her, kiss her lightly on the top of her head, say “Good night”, and continue on. Perhaps it is the wine that has released my fear of showing love, but I do not think so. Love touched me that morning in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and broke open my own sealed tomb.

(from Called to Egypt on the Back of the Wind by Anne Kathleen McLaughlin Borealis Press, Ottawa, Canada 2013  http://borealispress.com )

Sophia in Egypt

(Continued from last week…)

After the rapture of sunrise, she goes indoors, makes coffee, hurries to her room, climbs back into the book.

She is once again in the story circle. She arranges herself on the cushion, smiles at her guide already seated beside her, and turns again to the storyteller.
Ra, the firstborn, burns with jealousy.
He decrees that no child may come forth
from the womb of Nut on any day of his year.
The Sky writhes in torment,
her full belly unable to release life.
In her womb, Isis and Osiris become lovers,
Seth rages, Horus, the twice-born,
and their dark sister Nephthys wait.
Wise Thoth challenges Ra to a game of checkers.
Skillfully, the moon wins bits of light
until he has five days.
On each of these days, Mother Sky gives birth.

The guide gestures towards another room. “It is the place before time and beyond time. Go inside and look at your life as it was before your birth, and as it is now.”

The woman goes inside, allows herself to be taken into no time. The formless loneliness that fills her has been with her all her life. It has led her to seek love in many places, led her to become one of a community of women. In this timeless realm, she finds herself in the womb of Nut, waiting to be reborn. It is a comfort, though she cannot think why it should be.

 

From far away a bell startles her, breaks into her thoughts, and she finds herself again in the community residence. The light suggests early evening, time for supper with the others who live here. She has no idea what she will say should they ask her how she spent the afternoon.

 

That night the woman dreams she is held in an embrace of love more tender than any she has known. She wakens glad, eats a hurried breakfast and steps back into the book.

Isis and Osiris travel across Egypt giving gifts.
Osiris teaches the secrets of the Nile,
the taming of cattle, the planting of seed,
the guiding of the plough.
At night he plays his reed pipe,
enchanting the people with the songs of Mother Sky.
Isis teaches the women the moon’s cycles,
the shapes of the stars,
the rhythms of the seasons.
She dances with them under the moon’s soft light.
In Ra’s light, she teaches them to weave,
to transform flax to thread, thread to linen.
She gives them the song of the wheel.
She loves them into beauty.

 

When they are alone again, the guide tells her it is time to learn the secret lore of the ancient Egyptians. She teaches her the skill of placing her spirit, her Ka, in an imaginary way in a tree or a bird, then looking back at the self through wise eyes.

 

The woman places her thought in a mountain she has loved, and imagines the mountain gazing at her, seeing her power for movement and speech, for singing and dancing, for growth and change, gifts the mountain does not possess. Through that ancient gaze, the woman sees how wasteful she is of her immense possibilities, her capacity for fulness of life, how she is always seeking and discontent. It seems the mountain looks on her with compassion, and says, “Just rest for awhile and enjoy the beauty.”

P1000637

The woman learns to make simple hieroglyphs, pictures that carry levels of meaning. She shapes a message: I alone in nature sense the Holy. The Holy embraces me with love. Again alone beside a tree I weep for loss. The Holy returns. A bird sings. I know I am not alone in nature. The woman smiles at the childish drawings that have just told her the story of her life.

When they next return to the room of storytelling, the luminous days of the reign of Isis and Osiris are ending.

Seth rages at the lovers.
From gold and precious gems, he crafts a coffin
and tricks Osiris into lying in it.
He seals the coffin and hurls it into the Nile.
Isis cuts her hair, disguises herself as a beggar
and sets out to search for her husband.
In the far land of Byblos,
the coffin has been caught in a tamarisk tree.
Magically, the tree grows around it.
So great is this wonder that the King
takes it as a pillar for his great hall.
Weary and worn, no longer beautiful,
Isis comes at last to the King’s Hall.
She enters by the back door,
asks to be a servant,
to care for the children of the King.
Her love wins her the release of the coffin
from the pillar of tamarisk.

 

A touch on her arm from her guide and they leave the story room. “Today you must find the places in your story where you have been seeking a lost beloved,” she tells her. “I’m going to take you into a larger room where you may walk, dance if you like, and let the memories return. Don’t be afraid.”

The woman is neither afraid nor expectant. In her long search for understanding, she has often visited the place of memory. But the memory that comes is one buried in the dust of forgetfulness.

She is a high school student, perhaps thirteen. On her way home from school, she has come to pray in the large stone Church. It is cool and quiet here. She likes it. Sometimes she walks around the Church praying at each of the carved scenes that tell the story of the sufferings and death of Jesus. She likes to think of how much he must love her, to go through all that for her.

Mary

 

But today she happens to look at the marble statue of the Virgin Mary. That word virgin sounds as cold to her as the marble from which the image was carved. She shivers a bit and looks away. On the bench beside her, someone has left a prayer book. She glances at an open page, sees the words, “I am your mother, Mary”. If the marble statue had broken open to show her a beating human heart, the effect would not have been any more powerful.

Living With Mary After Christmas

Slowly, slowly, the magic of Christmas fades, but our task of nurturing new life has only begun. We move into the heart of Mary, learning with her to ponder in our hearts all that has been brought to birth within us, to cherish the memory of the wonder we have experienced.

In this poem, Jan L. Richardson reminds us of the radiant darkness, still pulsating with remembered joy:

Departure

Night has fallen again:
the star
gone,
the shepherds
departed,
the angelic voices
stilled,
the wise men
going home
some other way.
The birthing stains on the ground
will soon be covered over by the traffic of other travelers.
But on the wall of the cave
a bloodied print
the size of the hand of a man
who listened to dreams
and would not leave her,
and the animals
quiet again
but with a knowing look
in their eyes
and all around
all around
a radiant darkness.
Jan L. Richardson

This is profound mystery. For Mary. For each one of us who carries the Holy within us, seeking a place of birth. We walk the dark road, with Mary, in hope.

We walk companioned by one who knows our struggles to maintain our trust in the face of inner doubts and outer calamity. We walk with one who loves us and encourages us until we are ready to give birth to the Sacred within us.

And we seek, we require, the blessing of others as we nurture the new life being birthed within us. Here is the blessing that poet Jan L. Richardson imagines Elizabeth speaking to Mary. May we receive this blessing for the birthing of new life promised in and through us this Christmas:

In blood
be thou blessed.
In flesh
be thou blessed.
In all you choose
in all you hold
in all you gather to you
be thou blessed.
In all you release
in all you return
in all you cast from you
be thou blessed.
In all that takes form in you
be blessed
in all that comes forth from you
be blessed;
in all thy paths
be thou forever blessed.

Jan L. Richardson

Greece Paro dark chapel t2015 174