Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Mystical Marriage in modern times

In the current patriarchal system and masculine dominant milieu, the path of the Mystical Marriage hardly makes sense.  Without the presence of a powerful and equal Goddess or Divine Feminine, the path of ecstasy and bhakty, really seems distorted.

Ultimately, religion, both Eastern and Western, both Christian Bride Mysticism and Tantra Yoga, focuses the divine adoration on the 'Lord', on Christ or Shiva.  This is easy to follow when you are in a female body, but surely it gets very complicated when you are in a male body, or when you are in a female body, but your sexuality is of the same gender?  And this regales the experience to the realm of the mind only, not an embodiment. And, in the hands of power, it becomes a weapon with which to inflict shame and judgement.

 Thus the highly erotic mystical marriage, is used to not elevate the sexual or bodily experience to that of a sacred and holy one, but to an insubordinate position, along with women, devotees and members of the Church or Guru.

Riane Eisler, in her powerful work, Sacred Pleasure, details the original beauty of man and woman in their union with humanity and the divine and how the male dominant rule, turned this mystical path into one of baser instinct. 

She writes, 'By contrast, in most Christian mystical writings, the sacred marriage seems to have a different function.  It is usually the ecstatic union between an individual mystic and the deity.  But since most mystical writings that have come down to us are by men, it is still usually the union between a male subordinate and a male ruler! - with the male mystic (like the male-controlled religious institution) taking the subordinate role of the bride and an all-powerful male God taking the dominant role of the bridegroom.  In other words, what we find here is a homosexual union.'  Bitter irony, no doubt.


Heart of stone

Walls of the fortress

An onslaught on
the defenses
to protect

Hordes of demons
swarming the plains
mud creatures
dripping with revenge

flaming arrows
dipped in boiling oil
cuts through the air

deathly quiet
as it misses the mark

‘sinful whore’
the tyrant shouts
‘lust will be your master
desire forever thwarted’

senses entangled
a knot of chords
dancing in the eternal flames

the tortured cry
evokes lightning from the dark sky

the tower falls
I come tumbling down
pieces scattered everywhere
fragmented Light
shining redemption
as She rises from the rubble

seven veils flowing in the wind

the sun rising
the moon setting
a new day is born. 

                        - Hettienne 2006

Brigid/Brigit/Bride/Brede, Mary of the Gael - Keeper of the Hearth


Beckoning, calling

A beacon of light in the darkness.

 Winds swirling, moving white light blending with white cloth.

 A smile, a halo, hair or light?

 She is calling, walking ahead, leading, guiding, gently shining

 the Light.

I follow, one foot forward, then another,

tentatively, unsure, until finally,

breaking out in a run,

feet secure, heart pounding,

following blindly,

following Her. - Hettienne - 2004

The year after I found Mary's Well in
Glastonbury, I attended the International Goddess Conference in Glastonbury - the first of many to follow. That year the focus was on Bridie or Brigid and her swan.

If you have been following the story, you will know that Hestea/Vesta led me to St Brigit and Michael's Tower in Glastonbury.
I stayed in the same bed n breakfast as before and this time I shared the space with Sister Mary McAleese, a Brigidine nun from Kildare!

From her I learnt that Brigit is also known as Brede or Mary of the Gael! You may remember my mention of the one book that made such an incredible impact on my life. I read 'In this House of Brede' by Rumer Godden when I was fourteen - I still own that copy. I have given many books away since, but never that one. I could not explain to you why the book was so important, other than that I always felt that there was a story behind the words that only I could 'see'.

When those nuns told me that Brede was St Brigit, the key fitted the door and the following year I travelled to Kildare, Ireland to the sanctuary of St Brigit, Mary of the Gael.
The nuns are Brigidine nuns, living in Kildare in Ireland. They are part of a community known as Solas Brihde, devoted to the all-encompassing Celtic St Brigit : saint, poetess, protector and healer.

They have restored the original Brigit sacred pilgrimage site along with a small publication, guiding pilgrims in the power and symbolism of the pilgrimage to Brigit.

The original site dedicated to Brigit, Celtic Goddess, is still to be seen in the grounds of the Catholic Church 
erected on the same site.

This shrine, near Kildare, was located near an ancient Oak that was considered to be sacred by the Druids, so sacred in fact that no one was allowed to bring a weapon there.

The shrine is believed to have been an ancient college of priestesses who were committed to thirty years of service, after which they were free to leave and marry.

During their first ten years they received training, the next ten were spent tending the sacred wells, groves and hills of the goddess Brigid, and the last decade was spent in teaching others.

Nineteen priestesses were assigned to tend the perpetual flame of the sacred fire of Brigid. Each was assigned to keep the flames alive for one day. On the twentieth day, the goddess Brigid herself kept the fire burning brightly.

The goddess Brigid was also revered as the Irish goddess of poetry and song. Known for her hospitality to poets, musicians, and scholars, she is known as the Irish muse of poetry.

The Feast Day of Brigid, known as Imbolc, is celebrated at the start of February, midway through the winter. Like the goddess herself, it is meant to give us hope, to remind us that spring is on its way.

The lessons of this complex and widely beloved goddess are many.

The Celtic goddess Brigid lends us her creativity and inspiration, but also reminds us to keep our traditions alive and whole. These are gifts that can sustain us through any circumstance.

Her fire is the spark of life. - taken from local literature.

Lighting the Perpetual Flame – A Brief history

A sacred fire burned in Kildare reaching back into pre-Christian times. Scholars suggest that priestesses used to gather on the hill of Kildare to tend their ritual fires while invoking a goddess named Brigid to protect their herds and to provide a fruitful harvest.
When St. Brigid built her monastery and church in Kildare she continued the custom of keeping the fire alight. For her and her nuns the fire represented the new light of Christianity, which reached our shores early in the fifth century.

Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis) a Welsh Chronicler, visited Kildare in the twelfth century, he reported that the fire of St. Brigid was still burning in Kildare and that it was being tended by nuns of St. Brigid. Some historians record that a few attempts were made to have the fire extinguished but without success. It survived possibly up to the suppression of the monasteries in the sixteenth century.

The sacred fire/flame was re-lit in 1993, in the Market Square, Kildare, by Mary Teresa Cullen, the then leader of the Brigidine Sisters, at the opening of a justice and peace conference. The conference, entitled “Brigid: Prophetess, Earthwoman, Peacemaker” was organised by Afri, (Action from Ireland), a justice, peace and human rights organisation, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of St. Brigid’s Peace Cross Project. Since then, the Brigidine Sisters in Kildare have tended the flame in their Centre, Solas Bhride.

Kildare County Council commissioned a sculpture to house the flame in Kildare Town Square in 2005. The piece comprises a twisted column, which flourishes at the top into large-scale oak leaves, nestled into which there is a bronze, acorn cup holding the flame. The use of oak leaves symbolises both the Christian beliefs of St. Brigid and the earlier Druidic worship of the trees. Of course, the oak is also the namesake of Kildare, Cill Dara, Church of the Oak.

President Mary McAleese presided at the lighting of the Perpetual Flame in the Town Square on Feb.1st St. Brigid’s Day 2006. The flame was lit from the flame tended by the Brigidine Sisters in Solas Bhride. The flame burns as a beacon of hope, justice and peace for our country and our world. We still tend the flame in Solas Bhride. - extracted from www.solasbrihde.ie

I would like to quote from Riane Eisler's Sacred Pleasure, Sex, Myth and the Politics - New Paths to Power and Love :

From the Sacred Marriage of the Goddess to Male Brides of God. In conformity with male dominator systems' requirements, this tenet that woman is inferior to man pervades many mystical writings, both Eastern and Western. ...inner contradictions also characterize most Judeo-Christian mystical writings. For in these monotheistic religions the female is deprived of all divine power, which is presented exclusively in male form. Yet, even despite such radical remything, there are still in the Bible many traces of both the Goddess and her sacred marriage, confirming the archeological evidence that Goddess worship (and with this sacral sex) continued to flourish in Canaan. For instance, Hebrew prophets are cosntantly exhorting their people against backsliding to the worship of the Queen of Heaven, railing against the 'whore of Babylon' and the sinful 'daughters of Zion'. The Christian veneration of the Virgin Mary is a directly traceable to the ancient worship of the Goddess. And so also are a number of well-known Catholic saints, as it is to the Church's co-option of earlier pagan deities that many Christian saints owe their origins. A well-documented example is the famous Irish Saint Brigit, who owed her great popularity to the fact that she was once the powerful Irish Goddess Brigit.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Path of the Mystical Marriage : The Ecstasy of St Therese of Aville

Saint Teresa's love of God and her desire for spiritual union with him found expression in a vision in which an angel pierced her heart with a golden spear and sent her into a trance. The erotic intensity of her vision is vividly suggested in this image by Teresa's swooning expression and languid pose, and by the deep folds of drapery, which convey her agitation.

Artist: Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini Sculpture: marble Life-size group 1645-1652 CE Site: Italy: Rome Location: Italy: Rome, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Cornaro Chapel


Teresa is clothed from head to foot in a loose hooded garment. Her feet are bare, the left one prominently displayed. Her eyes are shut, her mouth opened, as she swoons in ecstasy. Standing before her is the figure of a winged youth. His garment hangs on one shoulder, exposing his arms and part of his upper torso. In his right hand he holds an arrow that is pointed at the heart of Teresa.
Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was a Spanish mystic who lived during the Counter-Reformation, a period of religious turmoil in Europe. Teresa founded several houses for discalced (or "barefoot") Carmelite friars and nuns, who sought to live according to the original rule of the order. This was a more primitive and ascetic form of monastic life than was practiced in Spain at that time. In addition, Teresa was author of numerous books, including her Life, a personal autobiography, the Way of Perfection, a handbook for her nuns, and Interior Mansions, in which she describes the many different steps taken on the path to mystical union with God.
Teresa described the soul's intense desire for God in the language of erotic passion. In this, she belongs to a long tradition of mystical experience that is known as bridal mysticism:
It pleased our Lord that I should see the following vision a number of times. I saw an angel near me, on the left side, in bodily form. This I am not wont to see, save very rarely.... In this vision it pleased the Lord that I should see it thus. He was not tall, but short, marvellously beautiful, with a face which shone as though he were one of the highest of the angels, who seem to be all of fire: they must be those whom we call Seraphim.... I saw in his hands a long golden spear, and at the point of the iron there seemed to be a little fire. This I thought that he thrust several times into my heart, and that it penetrated to my entrails. When he drew out the spear he seemed to be drawing them with it, leaving me all on fire with a wondrous love for God. The pain was so great that it caused me to utter several moans; and yet so exceeding sweet is this greatest of pains that it is impossible to desire to be rid of it, or for the soul to be content with less than God. (Peers, 197)
The symbolism of bridal mysticism is found already in early gnostic forms of Christianity, where the central sacrament is called the Bridal Chamber. There the feminine soul of the gnostic unites with the masculine spirit and is in this way spiritualized, that is, liberated from the limitations of mundane existence. Related symbolism is found as well in the writings of the early Christian mystic Origen and the Neoplatonic mystic Plotinus. These three forms of mysticism are related and serve as the foundation for the history of mysticism in Christianity.
Probably, the early forms of bridal mysticism were influenced by the myth of Eros and Psyche, which was quite popular during late Hellenism. Indeed, we find a gnostic interpretation of this myth in the anonymous homily entitled Exegesis on the Soul, which describes the sacrament of the Bridal Chamber. During the Renaissance, Greek themes and images were rediscovered in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. Certainly, the form of Teresa's vision, and the symbolism illustrated here by Bernini, lies very close to the tale of the god of love and his human beloved. Psyche's name means "soul," and she begins her career as a mortal. It is because Eros loves her and wants her for his bride that Zeus is willing to elevate her to the status of an immortal. For Teresa, the moment in which she experiences the spiritual wound is but one moment in a complex drama culminating in the spiritual marriage, when such wounds will no longer be felt but are supplanted by a complete union of God and the soul on an inner level.
The word psyche in contemporary analytical psychology has taken on at least two meanings. On the one hand, it refers to the faculty of the human being that is capable of experiencing the imaginary world as well as the physical world. On the other hand, psyche may refer to the entire realm of experience, both conscious and unconscious. In the first case, the psyche is identified with the soul in the traditional sense; in the second, the psyche is the world of the soul.
The two traditions that are joined in this image of Saint Teresa are that of Greek mythologystory of Psyche and ErosRenaissance Christian mysticism, in which the soul is awakened to spiritual passion. There is, however, one important variation: In the Greek tale (recounted by Apuleius) it is not Eros who wounds Psyche with one of his arrows (in fact, he wounds himself when he first beholds her); rather, Psyche accidentally wounds herself when, disobeying him, she takes up a light to see what he looks like. In Teresa's vision, she as "soul" is completely passive and receives the wound at the hands of an Eros figure. Nevertheless, central to both scenes is the symbol of wounding, the origin of love in pain inflicted from without.
Although it may seem insignificant at first, the suffering caused by the arrow's wound is of the greatest value. It is the pain that initiates the ensuing action, the eventual marriage of Eros and Psyche in heaven and the spiritual marriage of the Bridegroom and the Bride in Teresa's innermost heart. Teresa describes this pain as being filled with fire, being inflamed. What is needed is something to quench the fire, to heal the wound. For Psyche, what follows is a painful period of alienation between her and Eros, until ultimately they are reunited and she gives birth to their daughter, Joy.
The marriage between the human soul and the divine lover represents a creative union of the human self with its transpersonal counterpart. The soul symbolizes the subjective capacity to feel and experience realitycapacity for consciousness. By uniting with the god of love, the soul gains a permanent connection with the abiding source of all life and love. In the infant, there is not yet the separation that gives rise to a subjective self. In the symbolism of the sacred marriage, a return to the original wholeness is achieved without a regression to the infantile unconsciousness.
Erich Neumann suggests that Psyche cannot truly love Eros in the dark. As Psyche, she requires vision. Her desire to see results in suffering, but also in real love: Psyche's act leads, then, to all the pain of individuation, in which a personality experiences itself in relation to a partner as something other, that is, as not only connected with the partner. Psyche wounds herself and wounds Eros [with the hot oil of the lamp, not the arrow -ed.


Auclair, Marcelle. Saint Teresa of ?ila. New York, 1953.
Beever, John. Saint Teresa of Avila. Garden City, N.Y., 1961.
Neumann, Erich. Amor and Psyche, the Psychic Development of the Feminine: A Commentary on the Tale by Apuleius. New York, 1956.
Peers, E. Allison. Studies of the Spanish Mystics. London, 1927.
Walsh, William T. Saint Teresa of ?ila. Milwaukee, 1943.

Article Source : http://aras.org/se_ecstasy.html

The Path of Bhakty/the Mystical Marriage/the Mystical Bride

The Story of Meerabai

by Jyotsna Kamat
Page Last Updated: December 21,2007

Saint Mirabai (1547-1614 A.D.)

As the more famous (than Andal or Akkamadadevi) of the female saints of India, Bhakti Mira or Mirabai can be considered as one of the foremost mystics of the world. Worldly comforts never attracted these mystics. They have left beautiful songs and hymns to posterity which are sung to this day.

To Andal, Akkamahadevi and Mira, the soul was the eternal bride and the Lord their eternal Bridegroom the eternal Bridegroom . All the three excelled in the life of renunciation and divine realization. They lived in entirely different regions, wrote in their respective language in different age and Milieu, but became legends in their lifetime itself, by the austere life and single purpose of pursuit of God and finally divine attainment. This life is extremely difficult irrespective of gender to practice and attain salvation.

Mirabai was a princess of Rathod clan and belonged to Medath of Rajasthan. Rana Ratan Simh was her father. (Rana is the word for "Raja"). Even from childhood she exhibited spiritual traits. She was passionately attached to the idol of Giridhar Gopal, a form of Lord Krishna.

Refusal to Commit Sati and Marriage to Krishna
She was married to crown prince of Chittore. But shortly after, her husband Bhojraj and father-in-law Rana Sangh died. Mira refused to commit Sati, as was the practice among Rajputs. She was by conviction wedded to Giridhar Gopal, and death of "earthly" husband had no meaning to her. She spent all her time in praying, meditation, singing and dancing before her beloved idol, installed in the palace premises. The place started attracting many devotees, wandering saints and spiritual seekers. Mira found great solace in their company.

But this strange behavior was not acceptable to royal household and the ruling king, her brother-in-law. They thought of various modes of diverting her attention and save the glare of public. (Rajput women then and even now (year 2001) observe strict purdah) .Some songs of Mira reflect the agony and persecution she had to undergo. But her Giridhar Gopal always proved her savior.

"The Rana sent Mira a basketful of flowers with a snake inside. Mira absorbed in worship, put her hand into the basket to take flowers. Oh God! The snake had changed into a Saligrama! (Saligrama is a small round shaped black stone from the Gandaki river in Himalayas and is worshipped as a symbol of Vishnu).

Determined to kill Mira, the Rana sent a cup of poison. She prayed to Gopal and drank it. The poison turned into nectar. The Rana got a bed of sharp nails and Mira was made to lay down on it. But the nails turned to flowers. Mira was saved from all these dangers by none other than her Lord. Now intoxicated with immense love, she wanders all over in search of her Lord, dedicating herself to him entirely" she sang.

When many plots failed to kill Mira, it is said that Rana, the new king, cursed her "Why shouldn't this ignoble woman drown herself and die?"

Mira came to know about this wish and thought it would be a great relief to her royal relations if she put amend to life by jumping into the river. But in the nick of time divine voice addressed her. "It is a great sin to kill oneself... go to Brindavan."

So she undertook pilgrimage to Brindavan. It is considered sport field of Lord Krishna. Brindavan, a sacred place, was abode to several holy men. Jeeva Goswami had taken a vow never to see a woman--even her shadow! So, disciple of Goswami stopped her. "The Swamiji will not see any woman."

Mira laughed. "I though the only Man in Brindavan is Shri Krishan. now I see, there is a rival to him!"

In the Bhakti cult the love of the wife for her husband is said to be the best form of devotion. Hence all devotees in this world are women and God is the only man. In Brindavan the only man was supposed to be Krishna and other men and women were gopis, as gender distinction did not exist among real Bhaktas. If a devotee really felt as a gopi, he could never refuse to see another woman devotee. If anybody thinks himself a man it amounts to being a rival to god.

Mirabai's words stung Goswami and he at once understood the hidden meaning. He came out from cottage, bowed to the great lady and escorted to the hermitage.

From Brindavan she went to Dwaraka singing and praying. "I discovered the great secret in uttering the name and learnt it was quintessence of sastras. I reached my Giridhar through prayers and tears."

She gave many helpful suggestions to spiritual aspirants. "Oh my mind! You must do spiritual practice and worship.

"To love and live for Him" was the central theme of her songs. "Without pure love, the darling son of Nanda cannot be attained."

It is said that Mira got merged into the idol of Krishna in the temple of Ranchod at Dwaraka.

More than 400 songs ascribed to Mira known as Padas (lyrics) have been collected. She herself set tune to her songs and sang in soul-stirring divinely sweet voice. "Rag Govind" and "Rag Mira Malhar" are her creations. All her songs could be set to music easily and have become immensely popular throughout India, an indication to national solidarity established through Bhakti and through music.

Article Source : http://www.kamat.com/indica/faiths/bhakti/mirabai.htm

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Life is infinite and so is the spiritual journey. We are the All, so there is never a destination that is arrived at. I have been receiving mails from some of my readers, wondering why I am not writing. To those of you who do not know my unpredictable rhythms yet, I am always on the verge of moving into the 'cave'. Especially when I enter a very creative phase. Right now I am working on The Alchemical Journey of Everywoman - an exhibition that I am planning. I am also working on producing enough art for a very big artist market and another exhibition (which I have not even started on yet!) And to support me in this, my internet server crashed and my phone's battery died! And oh yes, my car also had a flat tyre! I am listening!

Over and above my creative life, my life as guide to a small group of students continue. As their journeys deepen, I spend a lot of time in energetic support, deep meditation and also facilitating initiations. You may also have noticed that my spiritual name has changed. And indeed, I myself, was initiated into another part of Tantra Yoga and blessed with the name of Bhaktymayi Ma, shortened to Bhakty Ma.

I will post some more detail about this path, the path of the Mystical Marriage. My devotion to this understanding has been very obvious in my writings and especially my poetry. More on this later.

Speak to you soon, blessings to you

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Love is carried on the wings of hope

Suffering is inherent in our journey to uncovering the Divine Within. And this is indeed the message of Maryam/Mary/Ma and in whatever form She has been acknowledged and worshipped through the ages. The light does not exist without the darkness. The divine feminine has a dark redemptive and transformative side to Her and the personal life of Mary so clearly illustrates this. It is through the redemption from victimhood and martyrdom that we become the victors in Love.

The suffering is not a punishment, nor an evil that is imposed on us. We, the human beings, are our own jailors and our minds are the bars of the jail cell. The suffering lasts while we are locked up within our own pain, yearning for the way out and we cannot see that these bars do not really exist. That is the real suffering. When the disease strikes, or the loss, or the pain of betrayal, it is the 'Change' that is striking. And the Change calls on us to allow death and redemption and resurrection which follows on death.

It is the dying process that is the part of the journey that stands out in illumination. In those travels to the Underworld, we are Graced with numinous experiences, deep insight into the nature of all things and we are shown where paradise was lost and how to regain it.

Death is the rebirth. The feminine imagery and symbolism equates the womb with the tomb, also often referred to as the cave. In deep meditation we enter the Cave of Brahman, deep inside the brain, and we die to this world and its senses, returning renewed and regenerated by Source. In the story of Jesus in the Bible, His dead body is put into the cave and after three days He is resurrected. In the ancient days, and still in some of the Hindu traditions, the yoni is worshipped as the Great Mother and Her ability to change and to transform us; to take us into deep bliss of leaving ourselves behind. And in the same way, we bury ourselves in the ivory towers of the mind and in the mind's arrogance and the belief that "I know what is best for me and I know how things are'.

She is the Triple Goddess. In the Bible there are three Marys and in Mary's own personal story we see the Virgin, Mother and Queen - birth, death and resurrection or transformation. She embodies and manifests for us the Divine experience of virgin, mother and queen in ourselves and our own personal journeys. And each of these three stages contain the dark side as well as the light; the night as well as the day. And indeed, we can truly clearly see the moon, the symbol of the feminine, in the night sky rather than in the light of the sun, the masculine.

The suffering is that which we feel, that which we sense and intuit, without the rationale of logic and words. The nature of personal psychic suffering is indeed feminine and the soul its vessel. The suffering is embodied in the patterns deeply ingrained in our psyche. In an effort to protect us against further pain, our minds take a healthy survival instinct and distort it into a grotesque fairy tale character, often seen as the Wicked Stepmother or the Evil Queen. And indeed, she lives within us. She is the distorted dark side of the feminine. The true dark side of the feminine has our liberation, not disempowerment, as intent and focus. (A wonderful resource for this theme is The Maiden King by Marion Woodman and Robert Bly).

It is through suffering that we are motivated and inspired to search and to continue the quest for absolute Love. Only when we abide in and have become the absolute unconditional Love does our quest end. Our journey is to seemingly leave the Source of Love, and then to find our way back to Source, only to discover that we never left! That it was all an adventure in the name of Love!

You know that feeling when a really stressful situation has passed and you look back and you say to yourself 'why on earth did I make such a big deal of it? it was nothing after all' - that is the feeling of an enlightening moment. That which seems so dire right now, will pass and then you will maybe regret the power that you gave it in your life. And if you do not regret it, you may realise that you actually enjoy the drama and excitement, but eventually you may consider that the price that it demands, is too high.

Frozen in a block of ice


Locked up in a cube

Bars of the mind firmly in place

Here, my beautiful bird

Never leave this gilded cage

you will Sing

when I command


that you are happy

Daily I feed you a piece of the poisoned apple

Just enough to make it last till the next time

Sing my sweet little bird

Let’s keep them all fooled

One day soon

The branch will break

And you will be set free

Cauldron of Love

Dark, dark, swirl the waters in the black Cauldron.

He looks into its smooth surface and sees

only the reflection of imperfection.

No, he cries,

madly swirling the waters

breathing his poisonous breath

into the words,

‘you are not good enough’,

‘you need to be more, better,

taller, thinner, kinder,

sadder, happier, angrier,

slower, faster, whatever,

you need to be perfect,

you need to be more like Her’

Slowly he crawls away,

never looking back,

ignorant of Her Divine reflection

in the blackness of the dark waters

of the Cauldron of Life.


Today hope was born

as I received my Purusha in my Heart

She is carried by Faith

on the wings of Love

Hope of fulfillment

sweet nectar of life

Hope that the Golden City


that he will make me whole

Hope that the virgin needs be no more

Hope that the marriage

made in heaven will be

She rides in a chariot drawn by two beasts

tamed and reigned

Intent on her goal

Hope offers the Holy Grail

the waters that flow

the red and the white

rushes to meet




Friday, April 1, 2011

A Meeting at the Well

Life Itself taught me that there is no separation between human and divine; that there is no separation between within and without, above and below.

It is only our minds and our belief systems (which we have been conditioned into over the ages) that make us believe otherwise. And our minds are incredibly powerful and we will see what we believe to be there. Thus, it can be very challenging and confusing at times, when this exact statement is used against you and you are taught that this also applies to the spiritual life and journey.

There is only one way to really Know and that is through personal direct experience. Until you experience directly, you will always follow the mind and its many theories and concepts. And even then, even after a direct experience, it still takes time and many changes to embody That which you have come to know. So all in all, it requires patience and commitment - every second of every day - and even your deepest Knowing will continually be challenged and opposed in order for you to expand and to embrace evolution of yourself.

Many other amazing incidents happened in Italy. All of those served to create my foundation in my own personal truth and from that trip onwards, life did change drastically. However, the challenges also became bigger and more subtle and the Trickster became much more devious!

I quickly learned that spirituality does not mean angels floating on clouds in heaven and nor does inner peace mean stagnant waters within. Being awake in your life is truly an awesome thing, in other words, something that inspires awe and therefore breaks down the status quo.

On my return I entered my sabbatical - my self-made entry into a life of contemplation. And then the depression assailed me. A deep dank darkness that I could not get rid of. I used a strict routine to help me cope with these unspoken and unspeakable feelings. My dreams were filled with visions and images, symbols and beings. I wrote these down and I journalled and painted the unfolding. I wrote poems and for each of my paintings, but it was as if everything conspired to drag me down into the depths of my own unconscious.

I started Jungian therapy and this led me to explore many other avenues, other than the alternative modalities and therapies. Eventually I found myself in the embrace of a small Roman Catholic community of healers - ex-nuns and ex-monks - who had embraced the alternative into their tradition. During this time I also experienced the old paralysis of my lower back and hip (more about this later). Also during this time, I experienced incredible dizziness and vertigo, even nausea at times and I became aware of an insistent sound in my ear. There was nothing wrong with my ear - I would at times sit and listen to the interesting sounds in my ear - they changed without warning and I noticed that when I meditated, I could focus on the sound to take me deeper into the vastness of the inner world.

All these physical and emotional changes and challenges are indeed part of the awakening and unfolding of the kundalini. And as I said previously, that which I knew about kundalini was not enough to explain this to me. Nor was I ever attracted to find out more about kundalini. At that stage I had not connected the dots yet!

Through the loving healing and support of this community, I started the practise of contemplation and meditation contained in the Cloud of Unknowing. The Book of Wisdom in the Catholic Bible became my mainstay: 'wisdom is brilliant, she never fades, by those who love her, she is readily seen, by those who seek her, she is readily found, She anticipates those who desire her by making herself known first, meditating on her is understanding in its perfect form, and anyone keeping awake for her will soon be free from care'.

I studied Sophian Theology and the many meanings of Mary. Raised as a Calvinist Protestant, this feminine approach, however slight as it is in the patriarchal religion, was like a breath of fresh air to me. I read every book ever written by Marion Woodman and the Jungian approach to individuation and the patriarchal just made so much sense to me. Very soon it became obvious to me that I suffered from the wound of the repressed feminine. You will see in my early writings, how strongly I felt about the patriarchal culture and the mechanisation of the feminine and how this has impacted and still continues to impact the lives of our souls.

During this time I was looking for something in an old storage cupboard and a calendar fell out. I perused through it and found an image and article on Vesta and Bridgid. I was mainly interested in the fire element and the beautiful images contained in the pages.

A few days later I was struck by an image on the counter of a book store. It was the front cover of a box of The Glastonbury Tarot. It had a striking painting on the box of the Tor and a structure on top. On the same day, I walked past another bookstore and a book in the window called me in. It was Glastonbury : Avalon of the Heart by Dion Fortune, which mainly called to me because of the cover of the book : a beautiful painting of the Tor and Tower seen through the walls of Glastonbury Abby. I bought the book, literally ran back to the first bookstore and bought the Glastonbury Tarot Deck as well.

And thus a magical part of my journey started. I discovered that the structure on top of the Tor (a man made mound) is the St Michael Tower. And I discovered that there are two images on either side of the arch of the Tower : one of St Michael and one of St Bridgid. Many other synchronicities followed and I felt called to travel to Glastonbury. During my last therapy session, the therapist said to me, 'may you in Glastonbury find the well that you are looking for'.

I will never forget my first sighting of the Tor - it took my breath away. The entire Tor had a very vivid but yet gentle pink aura. Great big balls of energy was clearly visible around Glastonbury and the energy radiated from the Tower. For the first few nights in Glastonbury I could not sleep at all and wheverever I walked in the landscape my mind was assailed with vivid memories. It also seemed as though the high energy in the area, kept the imprint of times past.

Glastonbury on its own is filled with wondrous tales and magic and it is a wonderful melting pot of all religions and traditions.

I spent hours and hours in the grounds of the old Abbey, lying on my back gazing at the incredible energy radiating from the Tor and Tower. In the town posters was up everywhere about a public performance that night forming part of the Goddess Conference. At this stage my knowledge of the goddess traditions was limited to myths and archetypes. I went to the musical performance and sat next to a very wise and experienced local dowser. He told me about the Michael and Mary leylines and this conversation made my hair stand on end.

The owner of the bed and breakfast at which we stayed was and still is a Priestess of the Lady of Avalon! So the bread crumbs was once again left for me all over the globe. Koko became my very good friend and was a co-presenter at the Goddess celebrations at my own Goddess Temple in 2008! (www.hertemple.co.za).

It was indeed exciting times for me - almost like reading a brand new book as a child, filled with magical characters and wondrous events that pop out at you! My one song to myself was, 'it is true, it is true'. That was the most eloquent way I could verbalise to myself the knowledge that my first and deepest knowing as a child, was indeed true, despite all that 'they', (the grown-ups I suppose) said. I never really stopped to analyse these thoughts; I treasured them to myself till they had seeded and became strong trees under which I could shelter.

Koko arranged a tour for myself of the local Michael and Mary sites as they appeared on the leylines in Glastonbury and Avebury.

Outside a tiny church dedicated to Mary I had my first truly numinous experience with Her. I stood outside the church, near the old well. The Mary leyline always followed the water and the wells and healers in ancient days lived on this line. Churches were later erected on these spots to harness the powerful energies. At this specific spot, the line flowed through two hillocks that looked exactly like two breasts, the breasts of Mary, according to the Avalon Temple priest that was our tour guide.

As I stood there, the wind, the hillocks and the light, all became one sound and one voice and one presence. It blew through me and I was the sound and the presence. Although I say 'voice' no words were spoken; it was more as though a knowing woke up in my brain which I afterwards interpreted as a voice. I knew this numinous experience to be the Presence of Mary, the divine Mother of All.

I felt very shaken after this experience and virtually out of my body. After this I lost interest in the rest of the tour including Stonehenge. I was no longer 'myself' and I just wanted to bask in this absolute feeling of infinity.

I had one day left in Glastonbury and I felt guided to a certain place in the ancient Abby. It was in a corner that I did not explore previously - I think there were too many people there at my previous visit and I preferred the lawns in the far off corners. And in this corner I found Mary's Well.

A meeting at the Well

Parched, dried out, desert

Stone on stone

Arid winds, white skeleton bones,

Skull bone,

bleached by the sun

Her body shrunk,

Skin pulled tight,




Waiting by the well

Like Mary of old

Emptied out

She stares down the dark pit

Of her

forgotten soul

Leaning forward, craning her neck

She smells the air

Hoping, yearning, longing



I need water

The cry sears through her heart

Burns her dry throat

The Siren Song of the Soul

Echoes and shakes

‘Pour Your eternal waters into me

Fill up my well

Oh my Lord

What have I done?

Hear my call

Echoing in my hollowed out bones’

She falls on her knees

Bone on stone



To meet at the Well.